Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Stitch in Time Saves Nine

I was thinking about the Museum of Time (?) game idea I posted the other day, and thought it might be interesting to add another layer of auctions to the game. Suppose each player starts with some amount of money, and money counts as Victory Points at the end of the game.*

When resolving the Liar's Auction and receiving the Artifacts, players could have a choice - instead of simply keeping the artifact, there could be a quick auction where each player bids money to buy the artifact. This could be done 3 different ways:

- Player decides to Keep or Auction the item, if Auction is chosen then they must take (or maybe pay) the highest bid

- Player automatically auctions off the item, and chooses either to take the highest bid, or simply keep the item (possibly must pay the high bid to the bank, as in Goa)

- Players blind bid simultaneously for the artifact, and the auctioneer either accepts the high bid (or maybe anyone's bid) or else keeps the artifact (maybe having to pay the bank something).

The first idea there might go hand in hand with either of the other two. The main purpose of this is twofold:

1.) A player could go for an Artifact not because they want it for their set, but because it will fetch a decent price from one or more of the other players.

2.) A player who did poorly at the Liar's Dice portion of the game could still get an Artifact they want, at least a couple of times during the game, by paying money for it.

Another interesting thing about this idea is that a player's Museum could be limited to maybe 3 different categories of Artifacts, while there are 5 different categories in the game (the 6th being Futuristic Technologies, or a wild or something). Therefore a player winning a Liar's Auction for an item they cannot place in their Museum would be forced to auction it off. This could potentially foster competition for items, as you might want to get an item that is valuable for another player even if it's not valuable for you, so that at least when they buy it from you you get some money from them.

* In fact, there could be Scoring Rounds during the game wherein players show their current exhibits, earning some money. Each artifact could have an income value, so you just add up the value of your collections, and each collection could get a bonus if you have some condition met (3+ of the same type of item, or the same color of item, or whatever). This reminds me of JC Lawrence's Corner Lot scoring a little bit, as well as Cow Tipping's scoring in a way.

Another thought I've been pondering for this game is whether or not a player should be able to switch which Artifact they're 'bidding' on when they are outbid. One of the fundamental parts of the mechanism is that you can bluff another player into bidding too high, and thus far I've considered that to be a viable tactic - you bid on a color you don't really care about in order to bluff someone into a bid you think is too high, then you move your bid to another color which you do care about - your opponent's bid marker is trapped in an overbid on that first track. I wonder if it might be better to have to commit to a color when yu place a bid. You still want to bluff people into overbidding, but doing so doesn't let you get something else for 'free' - if you want the item you have to 'bid' right, and if you try and bluff someone into overbidding you have to be a little careful or at least realize you might be overbidding as well. I don't know if that really counts as a bluff anymore.

Just some thoughts to chew on. If you have any thoughts feel free to post them!

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