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Auctions

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phonyamerican
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Joined: 11/29/2009

Why are auctions unpopular?
It seems like they have fallen out of favor as a mechanic, but I cannot figure out exactly what people dislike, or what are some good or bad examples.
When I think of auctions I think of Vegas Showdown, or Power Grid, both games that I enjoy.

The Professor
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Curious observation

Given the success of Power Grid, Vegas Showdown, and other games, I'm curious as to why you feel the "auction" mechanic has fallen out of favor.

Cheers,
Joe

MarkD1733
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auctions are alive....

There are two auction games we play a lot--Nanuk and Revolution! Both auction mevhanics have a good dose of humor tacked on. I think some mechanics work through fads--deck building, card drafting, etc. It may be that auctions as at a mechanic haven't innovated the same way. But I think the they are alive and well.

AdamRobinGames-ARG
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Joined: 02/11/2015
Auction from a younger generation

I think the reason Auctions are seen less in games these days is because my generation (I'm 29) and younger don't seem to go to auctions anymore. I'll attend the local coin show with my dad, and everyone at the auction appears to be 60+. These are just some theories, but I think today's consumer has a mindset that newer is better, and when it gets old, pitch it. Auctions are generally all used items (or at least in the mindset of the young). Yeah you still have your eBays and the like, but in general it appears to be fading as a way of doing business (in person at least). (This is good for people like me who don't care if it's new. As the older competitors stop attending, I can get better and better deals.) But as such, few younger than me knows how to participate or run an auction or have any interest to learn so because it's archaic (I don't mean that as an insult to those of you who still attend auctions). These are merely my thoughts and observations. I bet someday, this will be popular again.

radioactivemouse
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Auctions

I believe auctions are disliked because it puts the player in a position where they have to sacrifice their own resources in order to gain advantage in 1 situation.

I think that in certain situations, it works in a controlled environment, but it really gives advantage to the player that can simply obtain the most resources TO bid. Then the real game is just to get more resources and for a lot of people, it's just too much to think about.

I'm not a big fan of the auction mechanic, but I think it works in some ways. I personally don't like bidding...especially when the numbers are low; resources become very valuable and I'm not good at managing money.

MarkD1733
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not all auctions are necessarily bidding resources

While the bidding of resources is the typical auction mechanic you don't always have to bid resources. Unless I am mistaking it as an auction mechanic, Nanuk plays its auction as boasting--i can hunt more birds than you in 3 days. I can catch more fish than you in 4 days. And you can increase either or both of the 2 dimensions of the auction.

Similarly Revolution! Uses 3 different currency to bid with in a rock-paper-scissors arrangement. In addition, some of who you are bidding for takes only certain currency.

These are the types of innovations which are less abundant at this time. I do agree that it is a lesser used mechanic, but more exploration of the auction mechanic is around the corner, I am sure.

phonyamerican
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Joined: 11/29/2009
Thanks for the responses.I

Thanks for the responses.
I have wondered about it for some time now. It seems like fewer games that have auction mechanis are being released, at least not ones that get critical acclaim.
I have seen some users at BGG complain that auctions often "take over" a game, in that the auction becomes the prominent space where the rest of the game is decided regardless of the other mecanics that said game may feature. Other complaints I have seen is that the calculations required for auctions detract from the fun.
It is a bummer to me, honestly, because I am working on a game that has an auction mechanic, but I hear groans from testers when I mention the auction part.
Anyway, I was wondering if there is a way to improve auctions, so they are more appealing to people.

EDIT sorry for spelling, on a phone.

EDIT thanks Mark, I am intrigued by the examples you gave. I'll check them out.

TreffnonX
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Joined: 02/28/2015
I think you are right when

I think you are right when you say the auction takes over the game, especially because auctions are usually time consuming.

I usually see quicker alternatives theese days, amoung them are:
-drafting
-bidding poker
-reverse auctioning

The last one I have seen only recently, though it seems to have been around for a while apparently. The idea is, that new items start out expensive and become cheaper over time until either bought or dropped. A variation of this is new items come into play without bonuses and bonuses (like currency) are added over time as incentives.

MarkD1733
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Cargo Noir is another auction/bidding game to look at

I forgot that I own Cargo Noir...which is a straight up bidding mechanic coupled with set collection.

Also, I have seen some games where the auction mechanic is a lesser mechanic for some game advantage...starting position, etc...rather than victory points or similar end game stuff.

I think the real fun part of the bidding is the Press Your Luck piece...how far am I willing to go to get the item OR am I just upping the bid to waste my opponent's resources. I think people like that.

I don't own any of Reiner Knizia's auction trilogy, but you can look at those as well to see how auction mechanics are used. Again, I think there are creative uses for auctions. Maybe it is not a focus on the auction itself, but what you are auctioning for that counts. That is where you can innovate. Good luck.

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