Beat The Bookie is the highly entertaining, sociable and strategic board and card game depiction of a day at the races.
Celebrating a race days three main characters; the Bookie, the Punter and the Horse Owner, players can purchase and sell horses, win prize money and gamble on the Bookie's odds on each of the eight races at the race meet.
The aim of the game is to collect the highest value combination of trophies from the eight races. Trophies are awarded to the player who makes the most profit from each race, either through prizemoney, bet winnings, payouts from players' cards or through horse sales.
There are three types of trophies on offer. Races 1-3 are known as Maiden Races, and are the least valuable. Trophies awarded for these races are bronze in colour and worth only 1 point each.
Prize money for winning owners in the three maiden races are 1x the Profits (100k for a win, 75k for second place and 50k for third).
Races 4-6 are known as Handicap races, and are more valuable. Trophies awarded for each of these three races are silver in colour and worth 2 points each. Winning horse owners get 2 x the profits if their horses finish top 3 (200k for a win, 150k for second and 100k for third).
Finally, races 7 and 8 are known as the Feature Races and are the most valuable, worth three points. Prizemoney is tripled for these two races (300k for a win, 225k for second place and 150k for third). The trophies awarded for these two races are gold in colour.
Beat The Bookie can be played with 2-8 players. At the beginning of a race meet, a player is nominated to act as the Bookie. The Bookie is a banker of sorts, and is responsible for auctioning the horses, collecting money, calling the horses, laying the horse cards on the track and settling any successful or unsuccessful bets. The Bookie also assigns the trophies are the end of each of the 8 races, but counting up the winnings of each player. The Bookie can also play as a player, but must keep their cash wallet and assets separate from that of the main 'bank'.
Once a Bookie has been assigned, each player is provided with 300k of Beat The Bookie currency. This is to form each players 'cash wallet'. Player are also given six Bet Slip cards, which depict the names and pictures of each of the horses in the field. These cards are used to place the players' bets.
The Bookie then conducts the pre-meet auction, and auctions off each of the six horses in the race, with a reserve price of 100k. Players may or may not bid on the horses, with the successful/highest bidder awarded an ownership card for the particular horse bought. The new owner must keep the ownership card until he/she elects to sell the horse to another player or back to the Bookie.
Once the pre-meet auction has concluded, all players must draw a players card from the left hand panel of the game board. If a player owns a horse, they must draw an Owners Card, which features any fees due or payable to/from the Bookie for their horse. Even if a player owns multiple horses, they need only draw one Owners Card. If a player does not own any horses, they must draw a Punters Card, which offers a special or exotic for the upcoming race. Finally, the Bookie must draw a Bookies Card, which features the odds for the upcoming race. Players can then bet on the odds provided by the Bookies Card, by overturning their Bet Slip Card to reveal the name of the horse they intend to bet on, and placing their chosen bet amount on top of the Bet Slip Card.
Once all bets are placed and accepted by the Bookie, the Bookie then shuffles the Horse Card deck. There are six cards for each of the six different horses. The Bookie then lays the cards out in order of the Horse, with each horse advancing once space down the game board each time it is drawn. The Bookie draws all the Horse Cards until there is a winner, a second place getter and a third place getter.
At the conclusion of the race. The Bookie pays out the prize money to the winning owners. If a horse, that finishes first, second or third, is not owned, no prizemoney is awarded in respect of that horse. For races 1-3 (Maiden Races), the Bookie awards 1x the Profits. For races 4-6 (Handicap Races) the Bookie awards 2x the Profits and for races 7 and 8 (Feature Races), the Bookie awards 3 x the Profits.
The Bookie must then payout any prizemoney owed under Punters Cards. Once done so, or if no prizemoney is awarded, the Punter must place his Punters Card back under the pile.
Once prizemoney and punters payouts are awarded, the Bookie either pays out or collects on players' bets on the calculation provided for by the Bookies Card. If the Bookies Card showed odds of 4:1, and the player bet 10k, the Bookie must pay the player 40k. Unsuccesful bets are collected by the Bookie and placed back in the 'bank'.
When all prize money and bet money is awarded, players must count their profits. A trophy (bronze for Maiden Races, silver for Handicap Races and gold for Feature Races) is provided to the player with the most profit from that race. The player keeps the trophy with their cash wallet for counting at the end of the game.
Once trophies are awarded, all players draw their players cards again ahead of the next race.
At the end of the game, the players then count the value of their trophies. Bronze trophies are worth 1 point, Silvers are worth 2, and Golds are worth 3. A Player could win the game by not having won any feature races. Conversely, a player might head into race 7 not having won any races for the entire meet, and could win races 7 and 8 and win the game.
Players can trade their horses with other players at the conclusion of any races for an agreed price. Horses are valuable as they provide an alternative revenue stream. Horses drawn frequently in races may be worth selling, as chance would mean it's unlikely to win again. Players who do not purchase horses at the initial pre-meet auction may wish to purchase horses ahead of the more valuable Feature Races.
A player is eliminated if they are declared bankrupt and have no more money or horses to play.
—description from the designer