Review: Cash Cab
Publisher: Imagination Games
Year: 2008
Tagline: The trivia game that puts you in the driver’s seat

Cab Cab cover showing host leaning against cab

how we met

I found Cash Cab on an otherwise unspecial day. I do not buy trivia games. I do not enjoy trivia games. If I can help it, I do not play trivia games.

Cash Cab is a trivia game. I never buy trivia games because I am awful at them. Bill was the one who found Cash Cab wherever we were. I knew that my sister was a big fan of the show. I picked it up, knowing that at worst I would pass the game onto her. Also it actually rhymes with “cash grab.” I thrift a lot and recognize that for the rarity it is.

how it plays

Cash Cab is based on a television game show of the same name. In this show, people throughout New York will enter a cab and start on their journey when suddenly lights and noises happen to indicate they are in the cash cab and can win money! The board game does a service to the show. Each player starts the game with $50 and a destination. On their turn, a player rolls the die and can move as many spots.

Game board showing Manhattan map

The island you will be cruising during play

On your turn, if you land on a destination that you are not focused on or a random yellow dot then you are asked three trivia questions. The questions are clearly labeled and asked in order from 1 to 3, if you make it that far. If you successfully answer the first question then you receive $50 cash. The second answer is worth another $100! And the third is worth $200! If you get a question incorrect then you get a STRIKE card with a big X on it and play moves to the next player.

Card showing a large X

X marks the losers

If you happen to get three strikes then you are left on the cold street, as you would be on the real show. You turn in your unbanked money and destination cards. You have nothing. On your next turn you draw a new $50 and destination card.

Sample destination cards

Some of the many destination cards

There are Stop Light spaces on the board that cause you to answer a RED LIGHT CHALLENGE question, found at the bottom of the trivia card. If the player answers correctly they gain $250. If they are incorrect, their turn ends but they do not collect a STRIKE card. So that’s nice.

When you reach your destination you can choose to “pocket” or bank the money you have so far, placing it in a special area that is untouchable, or you can bet it all for a double-or-nothing wager. If you do the latter, the player to your left gets to choose from amongst any of the three questions to ask you. If you win, you get double your money and it is banked. If you lose, you lose all unbanked money and your destination.

Example questions

Example trivia cards, including one with a SHOUT OUT! If you get a SHOUT OUT question you automatically get that money and roll again.

The board game solves for a one-way taxi trip by giving each player multiple destinations. It works.

The first player to bank – not just win, but bank – $1,000 wins.

how it went

I was pleasantly surprised and found myself even, kind of, liking this trivia game. It drew on all of my hard-earned knowledge of hair metal, classic literature, Law & Order, cartoons, acronyms and, okay, common knowledge.

For a period we wondered why someone is given $50 every time they start a new leg of their journey. Then John showed us when he rolled something ridiculous like a 4 and moved from his previous destination to his next destination. It allows you to double something, bank something – even if only $50 – if you are so lucky.

I think we had a healthy balance of banking and pushing our luck. I myself did both. It is important to consider your risks and bank when it makes sense, or ride your random trivia knowledge when it makes sense. I am a gambler, as you know, and rode those instincts to victory.

The in game money

Cash is sweet. Double cash is sweeter.

Only the next day Bill and I had breakfast at a new little diner in our town. Across the room the television was playing the Game Show Network, and, you guessed it, Cash Cab. It was like the universe was saying, “Hey remember that victory last night? That was awesome.”

play or pass

Play. I liked Cash Cab because it’s easy, I’ll admit it. But you can still lose. Just ask my friends.