10 Thoughts On… Pawn Stars: The Game (Facebook)

So we don’t usually cover Facebook games here at DHGF. Of course, it used to be we didn’t cover pen and paper games either. The times, they are a changing. Anyways, I’m mostly immune to FB games as a whole. I occasionally go nuts with something like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire or Family Feud, but that’s because I like trivia. At one point I was a Mafia Wars junkie, but I pretty much reached a point where there was nothing left to do in that game unless I wanted to spend actual money. I draw the line there.

Recently, I started watching Pawn Stars on Netflix. I never watch these kinds of shows, but I ended up completely addicted to it. I watched something like twenty episodes in a few days. When they added episodes two weeks ago, I pretty much went straight through them. I fell in love with the show, its cast, and the nifty antiques that would show up. When I saw there was a game on FB, I thought I’d give it a shot.

Let’s see how it went.

1.) You start off by selecting a clerk to run your shop. More than just an avatar, these clerks add bonuses to your dealings. They have three stats: knowledge, friendliness, and salesmanship. Knowledge increases the likelihood that your clerk will know the value of an item. Friendliness is important, as it keeps customers from getting angry when you shoot them a low offer. (If they get too angry, they reject the deal altogether and leave.) Salesmanship increases the money you can get for an item. You can choose from a good range of low level clerks from the start, and you’ll eventually be able to hire better ones with greater stats.

2.) There are also a myriad of customers you’ll get. Each has their own personalities, and each respond to haggling in different ways. It would appear that any one of them can come in with any item, but they do seem to have preferences. The old cowboy tends to come in with antique weaponry, while the younger girl comes in with more modern pieces such as an apple computer. They all have a mood level ranging from angry to overjoyed. The happier they are, the easier it is to deal with them. If someone comes in with a bad mood and an expensive item, things are going to be tough. You can always chose to pass on their offer and just send them out the door, but if you want to fill your catalog, you’re going to have to make some concessions along the way.

3.) Here’s how you haggle. They present an item and give you the price they’re asking for. From there, you can appraise the item for a quick two hundred bucks, or look at your history with that item in terms of the highest you’ve sold it for and lowest you’ve bought it for. From there, it’s all about gauging mood and price. In order to make the most profit, you have to get items cheaply, and you can counter offers using a sliding scale or by simply typing in your offer. If they accept, the item is yours and you can begin selling immediately. If they deny your offer, they will give you a price lower than their initial estimate, but at the cost of their mood. The idea is to lower the price as much as possible without pissing them off so much that they leave. It may not sound fun, but when you’ve convinced someone to give you a jousting helmet that’s worth seventeen thousand dollars for only seven thousand, it feels pretty darn good.

4.) When it comes to which customers are fun to deal with and which customers must be avoided at all costs, the choice is simple. The hippie chick is a godsend to any would-be pawn star. Her prices are reasonable to begin with, but she’s also always in a good mood. This means you can low ball her into an outrageously low price. That helmet I got for a song? That was from her. On the other side of the equation, the ornery old cowboy is someone I’ve rarely been able to make a deal with. He comes in with retail prices and is always in a bad mood. On top of that, if you try to counter his offer, his new price will barely be lower. I’ve maybe bought all of four or five items off of the guy so far. He’s just impossible to deal with.

5.) Whenever you buy an item, you gain knowledge of that item. This actually works like an experience bar. When you gain enough knowledge, you level up on the item and gain one of four bonuses. You can know how much the item is worth at all times, sell it faster, sell it for money, and gain more prestige from it. The first three of those are particularly useful. Not having to spend time appraising the item or comparing it to past purchases makes things easier, while selling an item faster and for money is obviously a good thing. The prestige is nice only if you care about it, and I’ll get on that in a bit. I like this system. Not only does it give you reasons to purchase copies of items, but it even gives you little factoids about it as you go.

6.) The items in the game are all based off of real items that were featured on the show. However, there are no vehicles to be spotted. Instead, there are plenty of guns, knives, autographs, historical pieces, and even the odd collectible toy or two to keep you interested. There are currently more than a hundred and thirty items, with new ones being added fairly regularly. You sell them by placing them on your shelf and waiting a set amount of time. The more valuable the item, the longer it takes to sell it. If you don’t like the offer you get, you can keep the item on the shelf until another offer comes up, though it isn’t guaranteed to be for more. Once its sold, you can have something else take its place.

7.) The game, like most FB games these days, offers a leveling system. This is called your prestige level. You earn prestige by buying and selling items, as well as engaging in the community aspects of the game. When you gain enough, you gain a level. So far, all these levels do is unlock more clerks for you to buy and allow you to compare your rank with friends. I wish something more would be done with it.

8.) This game loves to find ways to get you to spend FB credits. You can use these to unlock additional shelves, purchase knowledge on an item, get faster offers on items, and to buy candy. What does candy do? Well, if a customer gets super pissed and wants to walk away, you can give them candy to keep the deal going. I hate that. For starters, you can only get candy by spending real money. Secondly, the very idea that a Jolly Rancher is going to get someone to significantly lower the price on an item they’re selling is insulting and insipid. (Now a Mr. Goodbar on the other hand…) Anyways, the game offers the usual cheats for those that spend money. You can buy crazy good clerks, skip hours of sell time, and keep customers in line even when they don’t want to be. My only issue is that the game locks off nearly half of your shelving space unless you spend credits. You can buy a couple for in game money, but that’s it. After that, you’re looking at a half empty store.

9.) This is a FB game. There has to be a way you can inundate your friends with requests and whatnot. In this case, you can visit a friend’s shop to do two things. You can raise the mood of the customer, which is the only way some of them are every going to be happy. In addition, you can clean up items for sale, which raise their value or lower the selling time. You also get prestige when you do this. At the same time, you can send requests to friends to get them to reciprocate. It isn’t much, but the system works. A group of friends who constantly help each other out can reap huge benefits, particularly because those better moods means better offers.

10.) I really enjoy this game. The past couple of days, I’ve been addicted as hell. I keep checking back hoping that I’ve made a profit. I keep wanting to expand so that I can have as many items in stock as possible. I really enjoyed the climb up from cheap items to the big stuff. The first time I was able to afford that gold bar worth thirty grand? I was ecstatic. The limitations are apparent. At some point, I’ll have made so much money that there is nothing I can’t buy. On top of that, I don’t want to spend credits on the game, meaning I can’t fill up my shop. I’m interested to see if the developers can add anything to keep long term players interested. In either case, if you like the show, I’d suggest giving the game quick look. The addictive nature of haggling combined with interesting items makes this a pretty safe play.

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