Shaken, not stirred

Occasional ramblings on playing and designing boardgames (by the designer of Extra! Extra!)
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Shaken #6. Up for auction

Andrew Bond
United Kingdom
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At Epsom Games Club tonight, we helped Steve Kendall try out some ideas for a new auction mechanism for Workshop of the World. The current game uses a blind-bidding mechanism, whereby each player puts his or her bid in hand and all players reveal simultaneously. The winner gets the card representing a city in the UK.

So what alternatives did we consider?

1The first player selects the card to be auctioned and then bids at least the initial price on the card. Each subsequent player must overbid or pass. Once a player has passed, he or she may not re-bid. Continue until only one bidder remains.

2The first player selects the card to be auctioned, but the bidding starts with the next player to his or her left. Each player gets to bid just once, so the first player gets the opportunity to make the final bid.

3Each player bids on one of the available cards and may not change bid unless over bid on the same card. The auction continues until each player has bid on a different card. Used in Amun-Re.

And the winner was ...? Probably the original blind-bidding mechanism! Although auction 2 is certainly worth trying out as an alternative.


At the end of the evening, we had just about one hour left and evryone agree to give Extra! Extra! a run out. James had played before, but Russell, Gordon, and Steve were new to the game.

Unfortunately, the game's rules take a while to explain, so we ended up having to finish after just 45 minutes with no-one having completed their front page. I stole victory with the fewest number of Reporters, because I concentrated on getting my stories out. In this game it is not a given that more Reporters (workers) wins you the game. The sweet spot may be 4 workers, not 5.

Extra! Extra! uses an overbidding mechanism, whereby contested spaces (orange circles) are taken by the Reporter who is accompanied by the biggest bid, If your Reporter is overbid, you get your Reporter back with your bid for re-user later. You can then re-bid at a higher level at the same (or another) space. Spaces can be won with no bid, but the Reporter is used up. You cannot withdraw a bid to get your Reporter back. The tension comes in when and where to bid.

The card mechanism worked well - so I don't want to change anything there. Russell suggested adding a space to allow the start player token to be claimed, but I'm not sure that is necessary. But perhaps there needs to be some game balance for starting position. Maybe the second player gets a black or white cube; the third player a black AND white cube; fourth gets two cubes and an extra card; and the fifth player two cubes and an extra coin?

I also need to get some labels for adding to the bonus disks - the players who were new to the game struggles to remember how to claim the different bonuses (extra exclusive, and interview)


An enjoyable evening, marred only by me missing the opportunity to play Kaispeicher because I was engaged on another game. I struggle to get this to the table at home. For it to get to the table at the club and me not being able to play it is really frustrating!

And, of course, the beauty of this game is its bidding mechanism...
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