Once around Auction Games
Alban Thomas
France
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Auctions games were not used to be my cup of tea. I can mention two main reasons :

1) "classic" auctions phases with multiple turns are slowing down gameplay to my eyes, encouraging to get the item at lowest price possible. Depending on players behavior, it even can be endless.

2) I play a significative number of games with just 2 players. And the least that we can say, is that classic auction mechanism is not enhanced in this case.

Without avoiding them really, a part of me was remaining skeptical with this type of mechanics.

But one day, I had a revelation. It cames out with my first game of Goa : I was suprised to appreciate the auction phase so much (like other parts of this fantastic game).
What did make the difference ? Once around bidding, for sure.

Quote:
Principle : during each auction, each player can bid once (or pass).

It implies two enormous benefits in my opinion :
thumbsup No more loops between players raising theirs bids one by one unit
thumbsup More tension, you really have to announce the perfect amount immediately

Here comes a list of games I know using this principle.

You're welcome to add games I undoubtably missed :
- please enter a short description of the auction phase,
- feel free to describe the particularities of the auction mechanism within this game, and why you like it (or not)
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1. Board Game: Goa [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:126]
Alban Thomas
France
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Items auctionned :
- First player "Flag" token (plus extra Action card)
- Tiles representing plantations, income or various powers

Auction phase description
- Players are alternatively designated as "the Auctioneer" for an item that they previously selected.
- For each item, everyone bids (or pass) except the Auctioneer. A bid must be higher than any preceding bid. Then, the Auctioneer has two options :
1) He can claim the item for himself, paying the amount of the highest bid* to the bank.
OR
2) He can let the highest bidder claim the item and take the appropriate amount of money from the bidder.


* : Official rules update, Auctioneer pays highest bid -1.
This change is welcome since it makes it less expansive to get the items you choose, and easier to follow your plans. Of course other players still can bid high to bother you...

Comments
This game is a must, and guess what, it is good with 2 players...
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2. Board Game: Ra [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:143]
Caleb
United States
Seminole
Florida
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In Ra, when an auction happens, each player has one chance to raise the bid (in Suns) or pass. Each player only has 3 or 4 Suns total per each of the 3 rounds, so every decision on whether to bid or not is VERY important - you have to really pay attention to what's on offer at the moment and what your opponents may want/need.

Sometimes an auction is forced on the players when no one wants what's on offer; then everyone just passes in rapid-fire succession. So in those cases you're not thinking much, but for all the other ones, it's great - you have to be on top of your valuation game at all times.
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3. Board Game: New Amsterdam [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:1377]
Alban Thomas
France
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Items auctionned :
- Two or Three action tokens which determine the actions you will make in the next action phase, plus eventually a cash amount.

Auction phase description
- In turn ordrer, the first player who has not yet won an auction this round chooses the next items to be auctionned
- He makes the first bid, other players can make a higher bid (or pass) in clockwise order, once.

Particularities
- Players make their bids using any combination of resources : Coins, Furs, Goods, Wood, and Corn (each type of resource is considered to be of equal value to all other types in this phase)
- Current turn order token of the player who made the first bid is added to the items won ! Meaning, if I get the items auctionned by player with #1 turn order token, I become first player for the rest of the round, and he gets my turn order token until he wins an auction.

Comments
Knowing that playing before others very important to get the best ships and land cards during the action Phase, I like having to bid for a lot that includes turn order token.
You really have to try this game if you didnt!
 
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4. Board Game: Peloponnes [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:764]
Alban Thomas
France
Blain
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Items auctionned :
- Land Tiles or Building Tiles with variable powers

Auction phase description
- In turn order, each player offers a single bid on one of the available tile. Each bid must be at least equal to the minimum amount for that tile
- A bid can outbid another player's inferior previous bid. This player has immediately to move its bid to another tile. As an alternative, he can take back his bid plus 1 coin from the bank (he renounces to get a tile this round).

Particularities
- When outbided, players can't change the amount of their bid, but they still have to respect the minimum amount for other tiles.

Comments
When bidding, I like having to evaluate the chances I have to be outbided, and to plan on what other tile(s) I will be able to move if this happens.
You always have to overpay or thake some risks!
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5. Board Game: Sylla [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:1375]
Alban Thomas
France
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Items auctionned :
- "Building" tiles giving permanent or instant variable advantages

Auction phase description
- Players designated as "the Auctioneer" choose an tile to be auctionned within a pool of 6 available tiles
- Starting with player left of the Auctioneer, everyone bid once (or pass), ending with the Auctioneer. A bid must be higher than any preceding bid.
- If all players have passed, tile is discarded and the Auctionner chooses another remaining tile (until 5 of the 6 tiles are processed)
- Otherwise, the highest bidder pays, gets the tile, an becomes the new Auctioneer

Particularities
- Bids are "payed" by taping "Character" cards owning a ressource flag of a given color (fixed for each Building tile)
- Special powers of tapped cards cannot further be used this round
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6. Board Game: Strasbourg [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:785]
Carl Garber
Canada
Vauxhall
Alberta
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A 3-5 Feld Auction game made in 2011 and nominated for the same award that Bruges just was.

Each player has a deck of 24 cards(4 each of cards numbered 1-6) which will be used to place bids in various auctions over 5 rounds. At the beginning of each round you must draw from this deck(as much as you wish) and separate these cards into different stacks that will be various bid amounts that can be used to place bids in various auctions during that round(I think there are about 8 auctions per round). The winner of the previous auction starts the bidding for the current auction, each player, going clockwise around the table, has one chance to use one of their bidding piles to place a bid(all bidding piles are face down, but if they are your bids you can check them to remind yourself of their value). When you place a bid you turn the cards face up. The highest bidder gets to do 3 various things, while 2nd and 3rd(at the higher placement) also get to do some things as well.

This game is interesting in that even if you don't win a bid you can still do some things and so you have to decide if you are going for the win or simply to place(depending on your goals). Since you have limited bidding cards you also need to carefully decide how much to draw and how many bidding piles to make to accomplish what you need to. Also, alongside this there is a resource management aspect that you have to keep in mind as well.

If you are a fan of once around bidding you definitely need to at least check it out!
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7. Board Game: Industry [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:4609]
Alban Thomas
France
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Items auctionned :
- "Fields" spaces providing variable powers

Auction phase description
- In player order starting with the first player, each player is "the Auctioneer", and chooses one of the available fields to auction.
- In turn, starting with the player to the left of the Auctioneer, each player – apart from the Auctioneer himself – can either make one bid for this field or pass. A bid must be higher than any preceding bid.
- Then the Auctioneer has two options :
1) He can let the highest bidder claim the field and take the appropriate amount of money from the bidder. He remains the Auctioneer and chooses another available field to put up for auction.
OR
2) He can claim the field himself, paying an amount equal to the highest bid to other players. In turn order, starting with the player to his left, the Auctioneer gives each player – including himself – 1 Taler until he has paid the full price.

Particularities
- You always have to calculate the optimal amount for your bid, trying to be at best position to get one more coin that some other players when Auctionneer claims the field.

Comments
This auction phase is devil ! Quite similar to Goa even if the rest of the game is less interesting in comparison.
 
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8. Board Game: Industria [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:1990]
Alban Thomas
France
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Items auctionned :
- "Cards" providing variable powers

Auction phase description
- In clockwise order, players are "The Auctioneer".
- The Auctioneer chooses one of the available cards to auction.
- In turn, starting with the player to the left of the Auctioneer, each player – apart from the Auctioneer himself – can either make one bid for this card or pass. A bid must be higher than any preceding bid.
- Then the Auctioneer has two options :
1) He can let the highest bidder claim the card and take the appropriate amount of money from the bidder. He remains the Auctioneer and chooses another available card to put up for auction.
OR
2) He can claim the card himself, pays nothing for it. His left-hand neighbour then becomes the new Auctioneer.

Comments
This his the ancester of Industry, the auction phase is less tense to my eyes.
 
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9. Board Game: Modern Art [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:216]
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
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Modern art has this kind of "once around" auction.

It is a classic auction game which also has several other types of auction:

* Sealed simultaneous bids (even faster than once around!)
* Free-for-all (open-ended, so you wouldn't like it)
* Fixed price (auctioneer names the price, and once-around people buy it or pass).
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10. Board Game: Neue Heimat [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:1607]
Mark Gerrits
Belgium
Leuven
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This one is pretty hard to find but it's one of the best auction games out there. It's also one of the meanest auction games out there devil
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11. Board Game: Medici vs Strozzi [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:1930]
Alban Thomas
France
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Items auctionned :
- Tiles representing goods

Auction phase description
- Active player draws 1 to 3 goods tiles, and sets price.
- Passive player buys, else active player must buy.

Comments
This is a game exclusively designed for two players, and the auction mechanism fits very well.
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12. Board Game: Medici [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:472]
Robert Seater
United States
Ashland
Massachusetts
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the parent of Strozzi and MvS features a once-around auction, combined with the twist that not all players are eligible to bid.
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13. Board Game: Strozzi [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:1896]
Robert Seater
United States
Ashland
Massachusetts
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Superficially similar to Medici, Strozzi actually plays very differently. I think of it as an auction boiled down to its purest essence. There are only 2 valid bids (0 or 1), and you will win exactly 3 auctions. But the game is very tense and subtle none-the-less!
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14. Board Game: Five Tribes [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:55]
Alban Thomas
France
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Items auctionned :
- No items but turn order is auctionned each turn

Auction phase description
- In previous turn order, each player places a marker on a scale with pre-defined increasing offers (0,1,3,5,8,12,18)
- He pays the corresponding amount, in Victory Points
- After everyone took place, the action phase is played : the more you paid, the earlier you play.
- The "0" spot is special : up to 3 players can choose it, and previously placed players are "pushed" away in turn order
- With two players, each player has two markers, meaning you sometimes get two consecutive spots and so will play two consecutive actions

Comments
- The auction is not the main mechanism, but it stil has sometimes a significative impact : you might have been noticing a good action to take, but how much worth the guarantee you'll have it ? How much is enough to discourage opponents, and how much is too much ? Interesting.
- Specially good with two players, cause you want two consecutive actions and you want to prevent your opponent to do the same.
 
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