- For ages 6 and up
- For 2 to 4 players
- Approximately 30 minutes to complete
- Counting & Math
- Logical & Critical Decision Making
- Hand/Resource Management
- Child – Easy
- Adult – Easy
Theme & Narrative:
- Spend your time and money wisely
- Gamer Geek rejected!
- Parent Geek mixed!
- Child Geek approved!
Before we all had jobs and moved into a career, we had chores. These were small tasks that paid us money. Not much, but the fact that we were paid for our time and effort helped us to understand the value of money and of work. In this game, players will need to balance their time and their money, learning that how you make your money is just as important as how you spend it.
Gobs of Jobs, designed by Lisa Bowman-Steenson and published by Gut Bustin’ Games, is comprised of 4 Player boards, 12 wooden “Kid” meeples, 12 Job boards, 50 Spend cards, 50 Save cards, 50 Give cards, 48 Coins (in the values of $2, $3, and $4), 1 Coin box, and a small assortment of rubber bands. The game component quality is excellent. The boards and coins are made of cardboard and very sturdy. The cards are small (perfect for little hands) and as durable as your standard playing card. Artist Sam Turner splashes color and cartoonish images of children helping out around the house and the community, further strengthening the game’s theme and narrative.
That Entrepreneurial Spirit
To set up the game, first take the Job boards and arrange them so they form a circle with space in the middle. Make sure the side with the yellow arrow is facing up and all the arrows are facing the same direction, pointing in a way that suggests movement is clockwise.
Second, separate the cards into three different stacks by type. These will be Save, Give, and Spend. Further divide each of the stacks by their dollar amount. This will result in 15 stacks (five stacks each of the three different card types). Remove the stacks worth $8 and set them back in the game box (these are used in the advanced game described later in this review). Use the supplied rubber bands to band together each of the remaining stacks. Place these 12 rubber banded stacks of cards in the middle of the playing area.
Third, flip all the Coins face down and randomize. On each of the Job boards, place a stack of four Coins, face-down. Place the Coin box in the middle of the game playing area along with the cards.
Fourth, have each player select a Player board and take the “Kid” meeples that match the color of their selected Player board. The Player boards are placed in front of the player, face-up and visible to all opponents. Any “Kid” meeples and Player boards not taken should be returned to the game box.
Sixth, decide which player will go first and have them place one “Kid” meeple on any of the Job boards of their choice. The next player does the same and so on. This is repeated until all the “Kid” meeples have been placed on a Job board. There can be more than one “Kid” meeples per board.
Seventh, flip over the top-most Coin on the stacks found on the Job boards, revealing their money value. Leave the remaining Coins face-down.
That’s it for game set up. Time to earn some money and learn how to spend it.
Chasing Cash, Earning Value
Gobs of Jobs is played in turns with no set number of turns per game. On a player’s turn, they take one of two possible actions. After the player completes their action, the next player in turn order sequence takes their turn.
The actions are as follows.
Look for a Job
If the player decides to move, they take any of their “Kid” meeples and move them in the direction of the yellow arrows. The number of Job boards that the “Kid” meeple can move is dependent on the number of total “Kid” meeples that are occupying the same Job board. For example, if the active player is the only one with a “Kid” meeple on the Job board, they can move to only the next Job board. However, if the active player is sharing the same Job board with four other “Kid” meeples, they can move a total of five Job boards.
After the active player ends their movement with their selected “Kid” meeple, they collect the revealed Coin and place it on their Player board. The next Coin on the same Job board is then flipped, revealing its value. If the last Coin has been collected from the Job board, remove it from the game. That job is not longer available.
Spend That Money!
If the player starts their turn with a combined Coin value of $6 or more, they must take this action (i.e. they cannot move their “Kid” meeple). If they have less than $6, they can still take this action, but they do so by choice.
The player selects a stack of cards in the middle of the game playing area that represents what they want to do with their money. That is, save it, spend it, or give it away (via charity). The player takes the card of that type that they spend their Coin on.
The Coins spent are taken from the Player board and placed in the Coin box. The active player must be able to pay for the exact amount of the card they select or more. No change is given, which means a player could spend $3 for a $2 card.
A player cannot collect additional Save, Spend, and Give cards until they have a complete set of three. For example, if the player first collects a Save card, they must then collect a Spend and Give card (of any value) before they can collect another Save card. Once the card is collected, it’s placed on their Player board. The remaining cards are placed back in the middle of the game playing area.
The endgame is triggered when a specific number of Job boards are removed from the game. The number of Job boards removed that triggers the endgame is dependent on the number of players. For example, eight removed Job boards when playing with two players and six removed Job boards when playing with four players.
Each player then has one last chance to spend their Coin on the Spend, Save, or Give cards still available. Purchased cards are placed on the Player board and the Coin spent, along with any other Coins the player may have, are placed in the Coin box.
Players now determine their score by counting the money value of all the cards they have collected. The player with the most money wins the game. Ties are broken with victory going to the player with the fewest cards.
The standard game described above is pretty simple. Great for younger and inexperienced players. If a more advanced game is wanted, the Job boards are placed so the pink arrow is face-up (representing more complicated jobs), the $2 card values are removed instead of the $8, and the Coins are randomly placed as normal, but the top-most Coin value is revealed before the “Kid” meeples are placed.
Game play is the same, but players are forced to purchase a card when they have $10 or more in Coins (not $6).
When the game ends, players are forced to purchase cards if they have $3 or more saved on their Player board. Additional points are earned if the player saved, spent, and gave of an equal amount. For example, if the player has a total cash value of $10 for Save, Spend, and Give cards (for a total of $30), they also earn an additional $5 (for a new total of $35). The player need not have the same number of cards in each of the three types. Only the total money value of all three must match.
To learn more about Gobs of Jobs, visit the game’s web page.
Gobs of Jobs was enjoyed by the younger Child Geeks and those who were not familiar with board games. According to one of these Child Geeks, “I like the game. I like how you can spend your money on the things you want.” Another Child Geek said, “Looking through the cards for things to buy is like going to the store with Mom and Dad, except in the game I can get what I want without asking.” For the most part, the Child Geeks were aware that the game was attempting to teach them a lesson, but they never really understood what that lesson was until the Parent Geeks clued them in. After they politely listened to the game’s deeper meaning, they smiled, nodded their head, and kept playing. Hard to say if anything was really learned, but they all had fun, resulting in the Child Geeks fully approving Gobs of Jobs.
The Parent Geeks liked what the game was attempting to do, but the majority felt that it fell short of being a valuable teaching tool. As just a game, however, they felt Gobs of Jobs did alright. According to one Parent Geek, “The game isn’t that interesting to me and feels little more than just simple set collecting, but I have been using it to start conversations with my kids about money and the importance of it. If nothing else, the game does a great job of allowing parents a fun context to have these types of conversations.” Another Parent Geek said, “Not a game for me, but I think there is value in playing games with your kids that help teach them as early as possible how to be responsible with their money.” When all the games were over, the Parent Geeks agreed that the game had value, but not everyone believed that game was good enough to fully endorse.
The Gamer Geeks went easy on Gobs of Jobs, identifying very early on that this was a game intended for children. Instead, they focused on the game mechanics, determining if the game really made the player’s think. They decided it didn’t. According to one Gamer Geek, “It is not obvious in the standard game where you should go to collect money and the movement rules are horrible. Set collecting limitations feels heavy-handed and the fact that all the cards are worth points at the end makes it feel that there is no difference between spending your money, saving it, or giving it away for charity.” Another Gamer Geek said, “The game is meant for kids and I won’t judge it from a point of view that I normally would. But I will say this. The game has the right idea but is not executing it. There needs to be strategies in place that teach the player the best possible way to spend their money and penalize them when they don’t. The game has none of that.” The Gamer Geeks voted to reject Gobs of Jobs.
The intent of Gobs of Jobs is to teach Child Geeks the value of saving, spending, and giving money. This lesson is completely lost on them unless you immediately talk to the Child Geeks during and after the game. I also recommend you play with the advanced rules, as the additional points earned for smart set collecting helps drive the point home that saving, spending, and donating your money, as well as managing how you spend your time appropriately, is all about balance.
The game itself is too simple for my Child Geeks (they are playing Advanced Squad Leader for fun nowadays) and all but the younger and less experienced Child Geeks found themselves getting a bit bored. Really, it isn’t much of a game. As a teaching tool I think it has a great deal of potential in the same way a map has a great deal of potential to teach a student about the world. By itself, it won’t do anything. It takes a teacher and a willing student to make a teaching tool into an instrument that molds and guides the mind. The same can be said about Gobs of Jobs. Just play the game and you won’t get much out of it other than quality time with the kids. Which isn’t a bad thing, but the lesson is not taught.
I cannot recommend this game, as I feel that there are so many other games available today that do a better job with the game play and can be used to teach the players lessons in proper management of resources. As a player, I felt that I wasn’t doing anything important. As a parent, I thought the game wasn’t doing enough to help me teach the lesson. Games are always a good approach, but this game felt like work that didn’t pay enough to make it worthwhile.
This game was given to Father Geek as a review copy. Father Geek was not paid, bribed, wined, dined, or threatened in vain hopes of influencing this review. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek.