$10.00

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User Rating Comment Status
Francis Simon
United States
Malvern
Pennsylvania
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10
Sep 2003*
A great game! Everyone in our group enjoys playing it. Though we do play the variant where you get to see what magic cards you are bidding on.
2003-09-20*
Owned
Russell Ginns
United States
Bethesda
Maryland
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10
Jun 2004*
What a great bidding and bluffing game! Great pieces and art. Although it's not too complex, it takes a bit of focus to teach newcomers how to play in less than 15-20 minutes. Highly replayable!
2004-06-16*
Owned
Tim Reddy
United States
Florissant
Missouri
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10
Feb 2005*
Easy to teach, fun to play.
A family favorite.
2005-02-11*
Owned
Kemma Peters
United States
California
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10
Jun 2006*
I like this game. It's one of my favorite games ever. I like collecting gems and being the starting player. It's a really good game. If you can pick this up, do it!
2006-06-23*
Mauricio Gibrin
Brazil
São Paulo
São Paulo
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10
Dec 2006*
I just love how this game plays. Each player formulates a plan, and it's beautiful to see how the plans intefere with (and often frustrate) each other. Think I'll never get tired of it.
2009-06-19
"Kurosawa"
Belgium
Antwerp
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10
Oct 2006*
If you like bidding, then this is a must buy. Richard Breese always delivers high quality. Plays well with family and with more experienced gamers.
2011-12-04
Owned
Roland Alkemper
Germany
Erfurt
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10
Jun 2013
This is the blind bidding game to own. Very intricate mechanics and close to its theme.
2013-06-07
Owned
Want To Play
Marc pseudonym
United States
Martinsburg
West Virginia
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10
Jan 2007*
The basic game alone is a ton of fun. The secret bidding creates strategy and bluffing as does the numerous places to bid for control over. The advanced game takes it to a whole other level. Not only with 2 additional spaces to bid for, but with the addition of magical spells and the artifacts' uses, strategies must constantly be adjusted. Simply fantastic.
2007-01-21*
Owned
Shinya Uesugi
Japan
Yamato
KANAGAWA
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10
Mar 2007*
A great game.
recommended.
2007-03-17*
Owned
Ann Hamon (annhamon@aol.com)
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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10
Oct 2008*
3-5 players
2008-10-05*
Owned
John Dextraze
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
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10
Dec 2014
Out of all my games its the one I want to play however my friends do not like luck. I like luck in a game because it creates tension and bad luck is funny.
2010-12-21
Owned
Shanda Hoover
United States
Port Orchard
Washington
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10
Jun 2014
This is one of my favorite game. I just love the blind bidding mechanic, the bluffing, and the cool gems in the dragon caves.
2013-08-13
Owned
James Deignan
United States
Fremont
California
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10
May 2012
I know it's a simple game, but for what it is and what it attempts to do, it's near flawless.
2012-05-04
Owned
Carl Kramer
United States
Long Beach
New York
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9.5
Oct 2005*
Wonderful bidding/bluffing game. A precursor to Y's. Much depth and replay value in this rich emersive game. Juicy components too.
2005-10-13*
Owned
richard glanzer
United States
forest hills
NY
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9.5
Mar 2015
MPC
never fails to satisfy. Blind bidding but needs smarts and the ability to read people to blind bid well.
2010-07-18
Owned
Mitch and Michelle Swirtz
United States
Sioux Falls
South Dakota
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9.5
May 2007*
GREAT GREAT game, lots of fun, especially with all 5 people playing.
2007-05-13*
Want In Trade
Carl-Gustaf Samuelsson
Sweden
Borås
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9
Aug 2001*
Great blind bidding game. I have the German edition 'Morgenland'.
2001-08-02*
Owned
Eric Talbot
United States
San Diego
California
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9
Dec 2001*
Current group favorite!
2001-12-17*
Owned
Bill Koens
United States
Watsonville
California
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marks the spot.
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9
Oct 2002*
My gaming and non-gaming friends both enjoy this.
2002-10-04*
Owned
Glenn Price
United States
Newcastle
Washington
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9
Jan 2003*
Very entertaining bidding/bluffing game with a nasty pentient for getting even and pulling nasty tricks. A game full of surprises and deceit, along with a lot of good resource management. One of the finest german boardgames I have yet played.
2003-01-14*
Owned
Adam Deverell
Australia
Melbourne
Victoria
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9
Aug 2010
Very well executed bluffing game. No down time, you’re always involved in play and the winner is uncertain until the very end. Feels a bit repetitive at times and the magic cards can be strangely ineffective. The lack of control is offset by the tension in the bidding.
2003-04-15*
Owned
Bryan Kornele
United States
Derwood
Maryland
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9
Jul 2003*
Love this game. Easy rules, high suspense, lots of decisions, few bids, and little money. Fun...
2003-07-08*
Owned
Gabriel Gonzalez
Mexico
Unspecified
Unspecified
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9
Sep 2003*
Great game system on a novel board idea.
2003-09-01*
Shyue Chou Chuang
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore
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9
Jan 2004*
A masterpiece of blind bidding. A psychological game of outguessing your opponents.
2004-01-01*
Owned
Tony Barber
England
Aylesford
Kent
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9
Apr 2004*
Lovely
2004-04-21*
Owned
Frank Roberts
Canada
Vancouver
British Columbia
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9
Apr 2004*
This one is *very* tense and strategic and I just love the agony of choice in the blind bidding. I haven't had a non-fun game yet, so my rating stays very high.
2004-04-27*
Owned
June King
United States
Unspecified
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Bring me her heart in this box.
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9
Jun 2004*
Fun bidding game with lots of strategies, decision making and resource management. What more could you want? How about nice components.
2004-06-01*
Owned
Bradley Eng-Kohn
United States
Poughkeepsie
New York
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Lost Gamer
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I want to live here
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9
Jan 2014
I recommend playing the advanced rules with one modification (a common suggestion BTW) in that the spell cards are placed face up for everyone to see what they are bidding on.
2004-09-11*
Owned
Eddy Bee
United States
Marin County
California
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9
Oct 2004*
Always have a fun time with this game. Just the right amount of bluff and strategy to make it enticing for both gamers and non-gamers.
2004-10-09*
Owned
Jerry Teleha
United States
Toledo
Ohio
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9
Feb 2009*
One of the most under-rated games out there - wonderful, tense, and different game everytime you play.
2004-11-08*
Owned
Baronda Bradley
United States
Fort Worth
Texas
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9
Nov 2004*
Fun game, now with chicklets! Quick and relatively easy to play, even with newbies. Games Magazine recommendation, and it remains in the "sometimes played" category, even a couple years out of its initial appearance.
2004-11-29*
Owned
Jeff Carey
United States
Mount Pleasant
South Carolina
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9
Feb 2005*
Absolutely great game! No downtime. Rules are simple enough. Theme is nice. Plenty of decisions to make. If you don't like the blind bidding aspect, make all bids open.
2005-02-06*
Robert Jones
United States
Germantown
Maryland
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9
Sep 2007*
Fun, fun, fun. The best of the "bling bidding" games because there are a variety of winning strategies you can utilize. And the blind bid mechanic is just so much fun to use here. Plus, a beautiful board with fantastic bits.
2007-09-04*
Owned
RIK FONTANA
United States
St. George
Utah
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9
Feb 2015
Lot of fun; great components. Who wouldn't like a game with lottsa treasures to horde and spend, the game pieces are terrific. Clever bidding, interesting strategy, the ability to remember what other players have earned, and a little bit of luck. Unbeatable Combination.
2005-03-01*
Owned
Joel Fournier
United States
Columbia Heights
MN
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9
Mar 2009*
Blind bidding goodness.
2005-05-16*
Owned
Francois Petitclerc
Canada
Verdun
Quebec
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9
Jun 2005*
Bluffing and blind bidding at its finest. Exquisitely difficult to choose the right combinations every turn; the suspense revolves around where to put your pawns to get the best advantage. Tons of opportunity for mayhem. Keep your eye on the goal: the most artifacts win; it doesn't matter if you have lots of treasures and spells. The artifacts are it. Fantastic game.
2005-06-18*
Owned
Mike Frantz
United States
Wenatchee
Washington
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9
Aug 2005*
Just raised my rating from 8 to 9. Every time I play this I enjoy it more. Blind bidding...yes. Strategy, tactics, bluff, mindgames are all in abundance. Those that say that blind bidding is full of luck are just plain WRONG. If you play the game that way, you won't win very often. Each turn you must plan out a strategy...it's like another puzzle every round. How much risk/reward are you willing to wager.

Only drawback is that there aren't that many artifacts (the vp's) so if one player gets a "lucky" round and wins 3 or so..it can very difficult to catch up.
2005-08-22*
Owned
Kendahl Johnson
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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9
Aug 2009*
This game is a lot of fun. Gamers turned off by a lot of chaos should avoid this game (or play the basic version rather than the magic version). Lots of tough decisions. There are some chaotic elements in the game but this adds to the flavor. I would play this any time.
2005-09-14*
Owned
E Voyles
United States
Tahlequah
Oklahoma
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9
Oct 2005*
The board and bits are top notch. I enjoy the timing element of each round: steal some jewels, hit the town, bribe the guard, and get me some artifacts. Don't be spooked by the "blind bidding" analasys, there's alotta strategy that hedges each bid.
2005-10-10*
Owned
Olivier Valentini
Switzerland
MEYRIN
GENEVA
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9
Oct 2005*
Highly replayable. The scores are always very tight until the last turn. A lot of player interactions with the spells and magic items.
2005-10-27*
Owned
Robin Levins
United States
Round Rock
Texas
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Nothing's ever simple.
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Nothing's ever simple.
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9
Dec 2005*
Intense game. Critical choices on every turn make for a tense but thrilling game.
2005-12-19*
Owned
Jim OKelley
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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9
May 2013
I've played this quite a bit lately. It's a lot of fun, and the blind-bidding mechanism is different from most of the other games we play. -- Finally played the magic version, and it was a complete disaster. This is an improvement over the basic version? How do you plan?
2006-01-01*
Owned
james mccarthy
United Kingdom
stratford upon avon
warwickshire
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9
Jan 2006*
An enjoyable game which I have no hesitation in playing.
2006-01-02*
koen verstraete
Belgium
ruddervoorde
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9
Jan 2006*
A game with a lot of difficult choices to make. A lot of different strategies to win the game.
2013-10-09
Owned
Jonathan Badger
England
Stratford upon Avon
Warwickshire
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9
Feb 2006*
Good fun. Lots of bluffing and combinations.
2006-02-17*
Owned
Keith Palmer
United States
California
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9
Jul 2009*
This is such a great game. The board is gorgeous. If you like bidding games AT ALL you must play this one. I really enjoj the basic game. The advanced game creates a pretty different game, but it is excellent, as well.
2009-07-13
Owned
Kelly Bass
United States
Venice
California
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9
Apr 2006*
Very good game with a theme that works, but it is hard to get it on the table. I think the blind bidding may be too chaotic for many people. Don't tell anybody, but it's really an area control game, not blind bidding!
2006-04-27*
Owned
フィル
Australia
Ashfield
NSW
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Pushing a lesbian old growth union-approved agenda since '94.
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9
May 2006*
Original and extremely fun bidding game from Richard Breese of Reef Encounter fame. One thing that I really like about it is that the problems of the bidding mechanism are solved by further bidding. For example, tied bids are broken in player order precedence, and you can bid to choose the starting player.

The game includes rules for basic and magic versions. Don't bother with the basic version -- the magic version is simple, interesting, and (I think) well balanced. If you're struggling with it, a good way to play spells effectively is to accumulate say four spell cards, throw out a couple of nasty ones (e.g. Sacrifice) to draw out your opponents' counterspells, then cast the decisive spell. Control of the Djinn's House (double artefact) space is mandatory for spellcasting, as it prevents double counterspells being played in the late game. And of course you want to accumulate as many counterspells as possible yourself, to deny them to your opponents.

Some people prefer playing with the magic cards (the ones that are being bid on) face up. Haven't tried it yet, but it sounds interesting.

The rules have a few ambiguous parts, so check the BGG rules questions and run through a game solo before introducing it to a group. Technically out of print, but copies can still be found.

The potential downsides to this game are the play time, and a slight runaway leader problem (in that your score is equal to the number of artefacts you have, but the artefacts make you more powerful). These can be patched (if they bother you) by removing one artefact per player from the game, and by making artefacts (scores) public. Actually, playing without screens would make the game go down much better with many groups.

If you're not keen on repetitive blind bidding, you should try before you buy.

Update: Promoted to a 9, as I like this more and more as I get more experience with it. The runaway leader problem is a weakness, but it's just a matter of using open scoring or reminding the players that scores are easily countable.

Lately I'm playing with one spell card face up and the other face down. This gives a basis for bidding without making the cardplay too transparent.
2010-06-17
Owned
D S
United States
Mundelein
Illinois
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9
May 2006*
blind bidding, but everyone starts fresh with the same options available each round
2006-05-29*
Owned
Greg Williams
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
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9
Jun 2015
Set in Arabia, players in this game are competing to steal treasure from Dragon Caves and trade the treasure for magical artifacts. This game is blind-bidding at its best and a lot of fun. The rules are quite easy to learn and games are close, with the winner determined by clever choices and bluffing.
2007-03-01*
Owned
Want To Play

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