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Bidding on Semi-Secret Items

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RyanRay
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Joined: 03/27/2014

Hello All!

I've thought of a new mechanic that I haven't seen before, but curious if it's been used elsewhere.

The idea is bidding on items that are semi-secret. Here's a generic theme on the mechanic:

1. You are all chefs aiming to make certain meals. You acquire the ingredients for your meals by going to market.

2. Each round there are 4 markets with a few cards (3 or 4?) stacked face-down on top of them. These cards can have good, bad, strategic effects, but you must take them all if you take the goods from that market.

3. Each round players pre-program which 2 markets they'd like to visit that day. Example: Jim chooses markets 1 & 4, Jen chooses 2 & 4, Kara chooses 1 & 2, Carrie chooses 3 & 4. One at a time, they each pick up the cards in the stacks they chose and secretly look at them.

4. Once everyone has viewed the markets, anyone can begin bidding on any market and an auction phase begins.

5. There would be special cards that allow things like looking at a 3rd market in a day, having one market be face-up for a day, creating certain ingredients for free, etc.

I imagine that part of the big appeal would be the potential for seeing two other players get into a big bidding war on a market that you didn't look at, but now you're curious about what's there and might start bidding as well.

Players may also start making deals like "I'll let you take that market for X money if I can buy this certain card from you for Y money."

What do you all think?

MarkD1733
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Joined: 07/05/2014
interesting bidding mechanic

I think there is more to the part of choosing to look at a subset of the options and then bidding on them moreso than the semi-secret nature of bidding on the ones that weren't looked at. I am not sure I would see myself blind-bidding just because two others are bidding. In the whole calculated-risk situation, I suspect that unless the two sets of cards I looked at were so bad that they would hurt me more then help, that I probably would stick with bidding on what I know. Now, if the cards revealed a small hint on the backside, then that might be enticing. For example, what if there were more than ingredients...like cookware/utensils...or helpers...or possibly a combo of two (e.g., sushi chef and sushi knife). You could throw an icon on the back so that folks know what category they might be bidding on but not the specifics (e.g., I could be bidding on a dull sushi chef with a very dull sushi knife). This way if the market had 3 utensil cards (not knowing what they might be), I might prefer to look at the others, knowing that getting a bunch of utensils (assuming I really need them) are a set I am willing to risk taking, but only if there are no better sets out there. So, in summary, I think the semi-secret idea only works if there is partial information (partial is still semi-secret) to consider bidding. Just a thought. I am interested in hearing other opinions too.

RyanRay
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Joined: 03/27/2014
I like the idea of having the

I like the idea of having the card backs give a little info as to the category of what you're buying. Gives some direction into the markets you choose instead of them all being equally unknown.

Good feedback, thank you!

kos
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Joined: 01/17/2011
Bidding games

There are plenty of games that use the idea of bidding on partial information. Just a couple of examples:

Banana Republic
http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/605/banana-republic
You look at one of the 7 characters, then place a secret bid and an influence token. Rinse and repeat. There's lots of bluffing because you have incomplete information right up until the end of the game when the bids are revealed. (I found my head hurt after a while, though.)

Auction Junktion
https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/auction-junktion
Each player looks at only 1 out of 4 items, then take turns placing bids. You must take all 4 items if you win the bid, even though some items are bad. It's a simple game, but fun.

One of the keys to bidding in general is that the items need to have different values to different players. If everybody values all items the same then there will be a "perfect" bid and no game. Auction Junktion does this through character cards, where for example the Antique Dealer gets double points for Antiques so they will naturally pay more for a set which contains Antiques. Character cards like that are a fairly blunt instrument, but there are more nuanced ways to do it.

For your chef game, the effect could be achieved through recipe cards, where you can only score recipes that you have in your hand. After you score a recipe you discard it and draw a new one. If I have a recipe in my hand that requires chicken and you don't, then I will be willing to pay more for a market stall that contains chicken. Whereas if any recipe can be used by any player then there is nothing to differentiate them.

Just some ideas,
kos

RyanRay
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Joined: 03/27/2014
That Auction Junktion game

That Auction Junktion game looks like something I need to pick up. Has gotten positive reviews across the board and seems to work with the mechanic in a very similar way to what I proposed.

Do you know of any gameplay or rulebooks for Banana Republic? I've searched all my usual places and can't find much on it aside from the BGG page.

Recipe cards was one of my initial ideas as well. The idea was something along the lines of everyone having to create a few similar recipes or provide food to a collective pool of customers, but then they would have a few secret recipes that were "called in" by someone, or that only they serve as a specialty. Kind of a light Lords of Waterdeep setup.

Some orders would be as vague as having a customer simply want something with meat in it, while others would be very precise to the degree of wanting a burrito with spicy pork, lettuce, double sour cream, and monterrey jack cheese.

Also tossing around the idea of doing a card draft to gain your initial capital (knives, blenders, stoves, etc.).

Thanks for helping!

Zag24
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Joined: 03/02/2014
Thoughts

If there are tools among the ingredients that you are drafting, then the tools should be semi-optional but make for more flexibility.

For example, say your food cards include both Steak and Ground beef (as separate cards); the tool 'meat grinder' allows you to convert the former to the latter. There's an opportunity cost to picking up the tool, but then it might pay off later in making it easier to fulfill recipes.

RyanRay
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Joined: 03/27/2014
The other theme that came to

The other theme that came to mind was building robots with the parts that you buy at market.

The machines and bots that you build can be used to either give a strategic/functional gain (a Scout-bot that lets you inspect other markets, a set of Drill Bits that let you build certain parts for cheaper, etc.) or can be sold to other players/market for cash.

The goal is to build machines until you've gained X points, or to do a sort of economic build-up system where the ultimate goal is to build one of 3 different "ultimate" machines.

MarkD1733
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Joined: 07/05/2014
Founding Fathers -- Semi-secret caucus

I suggest you take a look at the game Founding Fathers and check out their cards. The cards present all the delegates of the Constitutional Convention and two pieces of information are displayed on the backs--the delegate's state flag (technically, they are still colonies at the time of the Constitutional Convention) and the delegate's faction (Federalist, Anti-Federalist, Large State,or Small State). Each card back combination (e.g., New Jersey Small State or Virginia Federalist) is actually different--forming a semi-secret caucus. In other words, you know two pieces of information, but you don't always know the exact delegate in someone's hand or available for selection. While there isn't a bidding mechanic attached to the cards, there is a card drafting mechanism in the game, which is the same thing minus the decision of how much to spend. You can see some good photos on BGG to get an idea on how they worked the semi-secrecy.

kos
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Joined: 01/17/2011
Banana Republic

RyanRay wrote:
Do you know of any gameplay or rulebooks for Banana Republic? I've searched all my usual places and can't find much on it aside from the BGG page.

http://www.gamecabinet.com/sumoRulesBank/Banana.html

I played it many years ago, so my description above was not quite accurate. But read the rules to get the real version. This game relies heavily on both memory and guessing, and you can lose easily if you mis-remember which votes where in which piles.

RyanRay wrote:
Recipe cards was one of my initial ideas as well. The idea was something along the lines of everyone having to create a few similar recipes or provide food to a collective pool of customers, but then they would have a few secret recipes that were "called in" by someone, or that only they serve as a specialty. Kind of a light Lords of Waterdeep setup.

Yes, any of those ideas would work.

Regards,
kos

RyanRay
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Joined: 03/27/2014
I've been think-playing

I've been think-playing through this system for a few days now and I think there's a solid game here.

I've added the opportunity to "bid" on the customers as well by adding special toppings or lowering the price. Example:

-Customer Card asks for a taco with Pork, Lettuce, and Pico at a price of $7.
-John offers to make the order at specification.
-Kari offers the same order for $6.
-John offers the same order for $6 and with Sour Cream.
-Kari offer the same order for $6 with Sour Cream and Guacamole.
-John lets the offer go to Kari. Kari sells the taco (plus Sour Cream & Guacamole) for $6.

I haven't played many bidding games before (except your basic Biblios, For Sale, etc.) but I bet there'd have to be an auctioneer in charge of keeping things moving pretty quickly.

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