Lunchtime auction games - which is your favorite?
Damon Asher
United States
Jefferson
MA
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I’m looking for a light to medium weight auction game for my workplace lunchtime group. We enjoy highly interactive games and I think that a bidding game or two would go over very well. Game time would optimally be about 30-45 minutes. Below is a list of some of the games I’m considering. I don’t have any experience with them, so I turn to you, my fellow Gamegeeks, for your expert opinions. I’d appreciate any comments as to why any of these is your favorite or what you see as the weaknesses of any of these games. Please also feel free to add any games that fit the bill.
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1. Board Game: Fist of Dragonstones [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:2431]
Damon Asher
United States
Jefferson
MA
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My group’s current favorite is Citadels, and FoD shares some of that game’s elements (it was originally conceived as a sequel) so it might be a nice gateway to the genre. I like the idea of bidding for control of characters and then using these to generate your victory points. It appears that there are enough paths to victory to keep things interesting. The Days of Wonder bits also appear to be typically top-notch.

I worry a little that the bidding may become a little repetitive, especially as it seems that this game might run long.
 
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2. Board Game: High Society [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:860]
Damon Asher
United States
Jefferson
MA
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This one has a bunch of neat mechanisms. I like the way that that you can’t make change for your bid cards. This must make bidding agonizing (in a good way). The “misfortune” cards that you must bid NOT to get also seem like a lot of fun. The rule that the lowest amount of money at the end instantly loses also seems brilliant.

My concerns with this one include that I don’t generally enjoy having to do any card counting any more difficult than is required for, say, Duell. It seems as though keeping track of your opponents’ spent cards might be needed for optimal play. Also, I wonder if the random game length adds frustration or a feeling of lack of control.
 
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3. Board Game: For Sale [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:261]
Damon Asher
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Jefferson
MA
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This one looks really slick. I think that the two-round auction mechanism where you use the spoils of the first auction to bid on the second is fantastic. I also really like the card art depicting the range of properties from the most humble to the most opulent, as this is much more interesting than just bidding on a range of numbers (which I guess is what you’re actually doing, but I’m happy to be fooled). This looks like it would be a lot of fun in a short time span.

I don’t really see any obvious caveats to this one, except that maybe it’s too short?
 
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4. Board Game: Boomtown [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:1408]
Damon Asher
United States
Jefferson
MA
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There are a few things to admire here. The theme is great. I like the way winning bids are passed around the table by halves, while the player that gets the least money gets the second card. This seems like it would help keep anyone from getting too far behind. The area control element could add considerable strategy to the game.

The main thing that worries me about this one is that the outcome of the game may be too reliant on a relatively low number of die rolls. Can you compensate for this by using smart play to maximize your odds, or does it feel too random?
 
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5. Board Game: Modern Art [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:227]
Damon Asher
United States
Jefferson
MA
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This one strikes me as the game on this list with the most depth, and is probably the “best” one on this list. The multiple auction types and fluctuating value of goods are sure to keep this one interesting.

However, I’m concerned that it is a bit to complex and runs too long for workplace lunchtime play. Also, the components in the new edition may be the chintziest on this list.

 
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6. Board Game: Ra [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:134]
Damon Asher
United States
Jefferson
MA
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Undoubtably a classic, but I have the same concerns here as for Modern Art. Is this so heavy it will interfere with proper digestion of lunch?
 
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7. Board Game: Chess [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:415] [Average Rating:7.09 Unranked]
pronoblem baalberith
United States
Pleasantville
Massachusetts
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You cannot go wrong with Chess on a clock. There is a couple games every day at my work. I've debated bringing something in, possibly Bang! or For Sale and see how that floats.
 
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8. Board Game: Pizarro & Co. [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:1793]
Mark Haberman
United States
Painesville
Ohio
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Haven't gotten to play my new copy yet, but looks perfect for lunchtime gaming.
 
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9. Board Game: Medici [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:442]
 
Jim Paprocki
United States
Green Bay
Wisconsin
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Medici is a winner. Closer in play to Modern Art than Ra. I consider it a middleweight, but it's definitely light enough and short enough for lunchtime.
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10. Board Game: No Thanks! [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:391]
Jim Paprocki
United States
Green Bay
Wisconsin
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Geschenkt / No Merci is very quick, very light and very fun.
 
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11. Board Game: Money! [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1421]
Jim Paprocki
United States
Green Bay
Wisconsin
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Money! is brilliant in that the sets you are collecting for points are also used as the money you use to make bids.
 
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12. Board Game: Dream Factory [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:575]
Lawrence Lopez
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Traumfabrik is an excellent auction game about making movies in the classic age of Hollywood. It's been my experience that a game rarely lasts longer than 60 minutes (on the long side), especially with players who are familiar with the game. Set up can slow things down a small amount but this can be mitigated by simply using an opaque bag for both drawing and storing aution tiles. Otherwise, this is one of the best auction games I've played!
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13. Board Game: Queen's Necklace [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:1701]
Lawrence Lopez
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Queen's Necklace isn't really so much an auction game as it is a buying/collecting game, but it's excellent nonetheless. A very addicting game - lots of fun market mechanisms at work, all within a simple and clean framework. Games will last between 30-45 minutes, if that long.
 
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