The point of Board Game Top Shop, an obscure budget title released for the Sega Saturn titled Tenant Wars, and the original Playstation, is to deal in hard business and become the most profitable manager in the mall. The game is played on a 2-dimensional board, and the malls are divided into multiple spaces that can be turned into various stores. Every mall has stores that range from cheap operations on the bottom floor, to the high-quality shops on the higher floors. Every store can be expanded up to a four-tier store, which allows for more price-gouging of your foes, who have to purchases at least one item every time they land on your occupied space. Landing on your own spaces allows you to restock your stores to keep them from being bought out, because an empty store is just space waiting to be occupied. The winner is the person who reaches the target assets set before the game. The game has a very low-budget feel, as translation is sketchy at best and some actions are a little unclear due to the vague wording. Also, the backgrounds are all static, and characters only have a few frames of animation. Despite the low budget quality, it makes a very interesting game to play with friends.
Playing the Game
First you select how many human and how many computer players will be participating in a match. Up to 6 characters can play, all of which can be handled by humans. Only one controller is needed and is passed between players. Then, each player selects their character from a list of eccentric dudes and ladies who can then be renamed to their liking. You then pick from a selection of maps that will serve as the board you play on. From there, the target assets and starting money are both set, as well as the number of players that can go bankrupt before the game ends. The players are then randomized and play begins.
A player rolls their "die" (which is actually a pencil with numbers on each side) and moves that many steps. There are a few different types of squares a player can encounter on their turn:
- Empty Space: The most common at the start of the game, these can be bought and turned into one of 4 types of stores. The type of store depends on which block of four squares you are at.
- Occupied Space: If a space already has an opponent's store, then you must shop there. You can buy one or two items, which will give your foe the money you spend. If the store is out of stock, however, you can purchase the space from your foe and build your own store. If you buy something from another players store, you might earn points, and even have a random chance that the service you got was terrible, giving you not only your money back but a large bonus. If the space is occupied by one of your stores, you are able to restock one of your already constructed stores with items.
- Elevators: Landing on this square allows you to randomly move to another floor of the mall. Leaving it will allow you to choose movement directions.
- Stairs: Like any of these fat-man rivals, the dreaded "Stair" is how you move from one floor to another when moving accross the board.
- Bank: Passing the bank is like passing Go in Monopoly, you are granted a bonus amount of money depending on how long it has been since your last visit to the bank, as well as how much you own in total assets. Landing on the Bank grants you a large bonus. Also, every time you pass the bank you can spend accrued points to do anything from put a foes store out of stock, fill all of your stores with stock, or earn various amounts of money. A total of 99 points even allows you to claim instant victory.
During a player's die roll, they might roll the letter "E" which gives them an event card. An event card has various effects, either forcing you to sell a store (perhaps at 2x time regular selling price) or finding a large sum of cash on the ground. You might also miss your turn or end up giving some of your money to your foes.
Each player goes through their turn and then the next round begins. Rounds are set up to be different months, and you can track the progress of the game through stat charts provided on each player's turn.
Stores that players can purchase include George Video, Tokyo Restaurant, Men's Clothes, Sports Shop, Saving Groceries, Juice Pub, Italian, Aesthetics Julia and Pancake House.