Gavitt’s Stock Exchange

Did you know that the stock trading game PIT was originally called Gavitt’s Stock Exchange invented in Topeka, Kansas in 1903? Did you know that the original game was at least as fun as PIT and even simpler to play? Well, neither did I. But apparently someone did. Someone in halfway around the world. In Australia, no less, who saw in the game such high play value that he decided to reproduce it as faithfully as possible – well, more faithfully than possible, given that the cards are laminated thoroughly enough to take the kind of punishment that is the inevitable destiny of such a highly interactive, exciting, fast-action game.

This is the game where you try to trade cards (stocks) with other players – either one or two cards at a time – in the effort to corner the market and get all eight cards of one stock. Everybody trades simultaneously, and with enough people it really feels like your playing in the pit of a stock exchange. Though Gavitt’s Stock Exchange can be played by two to six players, it’s definitely a case of the more the merrier. We tried it with two, and it was kind of fun. And then with three, and it was more the kind of fun you’d call fun. But with with six it borders on pants-wetting fun. Especially if you more or less tacitly allow cheating.

There’s something about playing with turn-of-the-century-looking cards that makes the game as charming to look at as it is fun to play. Fun enough to get a Major FUN Award. The rules are a little difficult to read because of the authentically small print. They are quaint, but unnecessarily complicated. Read enough to get started, and then get started. After a while, you can read more of the rules, for fun and authenticity.

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