Dostihy a Sázky is a board game that came out for the first time in 1984, before the Velvet Revolution. The author of the game was Ladislav Mareš, who did not deny his inspiration from the foreign board game Monopoly. His popular story game, which teaches the tactics, to buy horses, stables, and acquires trainers, became an absolute hit in Czechoslovakia in the mid-1980s. Although throughout the world, board games such as Monopoly were played back in the 1930s (the game Monopoly was patented in 1938), the first game built on a similar principle came up almost half a century later.
Ladislav Mareš and his colleagues found out that there was a board game called Monopoly, which, however, was at the time inadmissible due to the ideology of that time, because it taught children the principles of the market economy. At that time, the market economy was banned in Czechoslovakia because of the communist régime.
The game is played on a game board that consists of four square pieces that fit together like a puzzle. The basic principle is the same as in Monopoly – players move around the board, trying to buy a monochrome stable. In addition to the stables, they are also looking for cards representing trainers (train stations), finance, chance, and the notorious distance (prison). The players get a small amount of starting money which they will then use to purchase horses with the goal of making more money.
If you manage to buy a whole stable, by stepping on the desired horse with your figure or by trading with another player, you may then start the horse racing part of the game. You only benefit from another player visiting your stable, once this happens profits can increase significantly.
You can take part in the races once you own the entire stable (all horses from the same color). In this case, you can purchase participation for your horse in a race whenever you land on it. Then you mark a racing horse with a token. There are also four levels of racing.
In my opinion, Monopoly is a slow-moving game whereas, Dostihy a sázky, is more dynamic with the betting component, which makes the game more interesting. I know people who play Dostihy a Sázky as a mere Monopoly, without betting, but this makes the game lack a rival atmosphere.
The biggest drawback in Dostihy a Sázky, is that the whole game is built on chance. While a player can decide on his own, whether or not to purchase a horse. The roll of a dice and shuffled cards decide the winner. Another potential drawback is time. The game is very long, and it often becomes boring before you finish it. This is especially true with a larger number of players when the playing time often exceeds two hours, and that is often too much time for some people to dedicate to a game. For children though keeping them occupied for long hours is a plus and a great alternative to electronic devices.
Dostihy a Sázky is full of joy and tears. I will not deny that I have nostalgic memories of it. It’s like other childhood things, we buy them not because they are better, but because they are ours. If you want to remember your childhood, I strongly recommend purchasing this game.
Title: Dostihy a sázky
Manufacturer: DINOTOYS s.r.o.
Age of players: From 10 years
Number of players: 2 to 6
Playing time: Very long game – usually takes more than 2 hours