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Subject: Auction? rss

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Anthony Simons
United Kingdom
Royal Wootton Bassett
Wiltshire
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I played this game for the first time the other day, after having owned it for seven or eight years and never getting it played (at least one player in the group having taken a dislike to it previously).

It was great, it was tense, but it was long. One of the reasons it took so long was that nearly every movement of the tower, and nearly every building action, seemed to degenerate from negotiation into auction. The problem then being that the current player usually doesn't want to stop the bidding until he gets as much as he can - and that takes time.

To those of you more experienced with playing this, do you find it usually goes this way? Are we doing something wrong?
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Tom O'Keefe
United States
Richmond
Virginia
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Sometimes our negotiations get auction-like, but it doesn't take long. There are so few denominations on the currency in the game, and you can't really value all the other commodities the same as currency.

I'd guess it's just a matter of experience. Once you've played a couple more times you get pretty used to the different buildings, and people understand what they want/need better. It's rare in our games for more than 2 or 3 people to be trying hard to get a single building on the path.

Our most typical negotiations might look like this:
Player A: I wan't spices. I'll give you 5 and the salt for it.
Player B: I'll give you 10 for it.
Player A: 10 and the salt.
Player B: ...
Tower player: OK, 10 and the salt.


Also, it's a unique game in that different plays can take vastly different amounts of time depending on who's playing, and as the culture the table develops. Similarly, games can involve LOTS of money with huge scores or they can be very stingy.

Hope this helps ins some way.
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Todd Redden
United States
Manchester
Connecticut
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Seldom. We have a good feel for the true value of things now after many plays. Usually, each player wants to direct the parade to one spot and only rarely is that spot a shared desire amongst players (best is when you can benefit in different areas). The turn player knows to make decisions quickly, and to pick the player who benefits the least from a shared and equal offer. Our games don't stretch out TOO long. However, negotiation is the heart of the game, not something to be breezed over.

The hardest negotiation is to get the parade to move in the direction you want. Secondarily, picking a spot along the way for a worthy price doesn't usually take as long. The turn player needs to make it his responsibility to manage quickly when auctions occur. Oh, we've had some good knock-down/drag-outs, but they don't happen with every turn nor make the game drag on and on. Different players play differently too, so some players click faster than others.
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J C Lawrence
United States
Campbell
California
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fellonmyhead wrote:
To those of you more experienced with playing this, do you find it usually goes this way? Are we doing something wrong?


No, you are doing something right. There are groups that play ToG in 45 minutes. I rate such games a 3.5. There are groups who negotiate everything to death and play in 4+ hours. I rate those games at least a 9.0.

Aside: I find the game improved if the entire path of the tower is sold all at once rather than step by step.

Also, remember that cubes and chits can be traded as well as money.
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Anthony Simons
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Royal Wootton Bassett
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Great, thank you all for your comments; glad to hear I'm not missing some obscure rule. I was concerned I had, but I couldn't find anything in the rules restricting the number of offers made.

I have to say, I agree wholeheartedly with JC insofar as I would tend to prefer the game goes longer; that generally entails a lot of deal-making and unsavoury decisions. There's certainly not going to be much negotiation in 45 minutes, anyway!

And yes, everybody was trading everything allowed by the rules.

So I suppose "degenerate" was the wrong word to use! Thank you all, once again.

 
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Al G
Canada
Sherbrooke, QC
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We play with a one-minute hourglass. Make decent offers or I just move on pronto.
 
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