James Ryan
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I've come across vague complaints here and there about blind bidding.

Do people just generally not like blind bidding as a mechanism? Why not? Is there a way to do it well? Are there examples of games that do it well or poorly?

I suppose blind action selection is a bit different, but I wonder if it suffers from the same problems. I'm thinking of Philip duBarry's *Revolution!* as something of a combination of blind bidding and blind action selection. User comments seem to suggest that the mechanism creates for fun bluffing, but is perhaps a bit repetitive. Are there other examples I should be looking at?
 
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Sean Conroy
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Ikusa is probably one of the great examples for blind bidding. Bidding for turn order and who gets to send the ninja out a hunting (or not), bluffs galore in that game. I know there are other games that I am not thinking of right now, but I personally really like the mechanic and enjoy the strategy that comes with any form of blind bid.
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Jeremy Lennert
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Well, the standard blind bidding algorithm--i.e. a sealed first-price auction--is a rather poor way to determine the true value of the item being auctioned.

Of course, that may be the entire point--to get people to bid strategically, rather than to simply try to make an accurate valuation.

But if for some reason you wanted to eliminate that aspect, you could use a Vickrey auction instead (which is like normal blind bidding, except the winner only pays the second-highest bid instead of his own bid).
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Lizzie
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The Mines of Zavandor has a nice mechanic if you are having multiple auctions. Each auction occurs simultaneously as each uses a different currency, and the rewards for winning are different whether you bid 1, 3 or 7+ of a kind (get a VP, get 4 VP or a card, get 4 VP and a Card).
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Lucas Smith
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I think blind bidding/selection is used in two different ways:
a) "blind" meaning that the auctioned item is clearly visible to everybody but the biddings are maid "blind" i.e. hidden, sealed; e.g. by taking money into your hand

b) "blind" meaning that the players can't see the item they are bidding on.

Is it only me or is this really the case? Does blind bidding refer to option b)?

A Vickrey auction with sealed bids sounds quite clever, this is similar to ebay's system.
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Ian
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smithlucas wrote:
I think blind bidding/selection is used in two different ways:
a) "blind" meaning that the auctioned item is clearly visible to everybody but the biddings are maid "blind" i.e. hidden, sealed; e.g. by taking money into your hand

b) "blind" meaning that the players can't see the item they are bidding on.

Is it only me or is this really the case? Does blind bidding refer to option b)?

A Vickrey auction with sealed bids sounds quite clever, this is similar to ebay's system.


I think that "Blind Bidding" on BGG usually refers to option A - everyone secretly and simultaneously selects what they will each bid for a single visible thing.

But option B does happen. It kind of happens in Artic Scavengers, where each round there is a bidding for 1 item, but only 1 of the players has seen what the item is and therefore knows (and could bluff) about how valuable the secret thing is.

If option B was used in a game and nobody had any clue of the value of a thing, I imagine the mechanic would feel very chaotic and that the players couldn't make any meaningful decisions.

I considered that option A (all players secretly select their bid for a visible item) was a good thematic way of simulating part of a design I started for a game about building firms: Each player is a building firm and has to blind bid for a contract to build something from the local council. The bids would be in cost or time-to-complete, and the lowest bid would win (because obviously in reality a local council would like to pay the least money if possible, or have their contract completed quickly.)
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Chris in Kansai
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I can't see why anyone would have a problem with this particular auction mechanic. Strikes me as pretty myopic really.
 
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Seth Brown
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A lot of blind bidding games have the losing bids expend resources to receive nothing in return, which can be a frustrating game of guesswork to many people. Some games mitigate this more than others.
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James Ryan
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smithlucas wrote:
I think blind bidding/selection is used in two different ways:
a) "blind" meaning that the auctioned item is clearly visible to everybody but the biddings are maid "blind" i.e. hidden, sealed; e.g. by taking money into your hand

b) "blind" meaning that the players can't see the item they are bidding on.

Is it only me or is this really the case? Does blind bidding refer to option b)?

A Vickrey auction with sealed bids sounds quite clever, this is similar to ebay's system.


I agree with Ian that "blind bidding" normally refers to your option A.

A good example of a game built entirely around your option B is Friedemann Friese's Felix: The Cat in the Sack. Players each play one card to the center, face-down, and then the entire lot is auctioned off. Each player has a small amount of information about the actual value of the lot. Lots of opportunity for bluffing.

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James Ryan
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Chrysm wrote:


I can't see why anyone would have a problem with this particular auction mechanic. Strikes me as pretty myopic really.


I mentioned Revolution! and Felix: The Cat in the Sack above. User comments for both games tend to run along similar lines, even though the games are quite different. Players who like the games tend to like the bluffing and reading of other players' intentions. Players who do not like those games tend to focus their comments on randomness or "player randomness."

In Revolution!, users complained that a few lucky rounds in which a player's bids were uncontested would put that player at a significant advantage for the rest of the game and there was no real mechanism by which the other players could catch up.

In Felix, users complained that a single accidental round in which most players put high-value cards in the pot would result in a similar runaway leader problem.

Not being able to see and then react to other player's actions bothers some gamers. They think it makes the games less strategic.
 
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monchi
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I have always been a huge fan of blind selection. It forces players to put value on what they need or want the most and act accordingly to get it. I have always had a love hate relationship with auctions as most open auctions. I hate auctions that just go one round as they favour the person going last and allows the person going last to just out bid by 1. I also have issues with auctions where they keep going until the last man standing as it favours the person with the most money. What I like about blind auctions is that it forces all players to put a value on what is up for bid and puts everyone on an even playing field. Sure the person with the most money can still out bid people but it forces them to spend the max which then evens the playing field for the next auction.

Blind role selection is a little different as it depends on how the role selection is resolved when more than one player is able to pick the same role.

For me the one thing that is true with all blind actions is that it forces players to put value on what they want rather than reacting to what other players do. I feel that blind actions help to offset who people are sitting beside as in some games who goes before someone can make a big difference.
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Chris in Kansai
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williamj35 wrote:
Chrysm wrote:


I can't see why anyone would have a problem with this particular auction mechanic. Strikes me as pretty myopic really.


I mentioned Revolution! and Felix: The Cat in the Sack above. User comments for both games tend to run along similar lines, even though the games are quite different. Players who like the games tend to like the bluffing and reading of other players' intentions. Players who do not like those games tend to focus their comments on randomness or "player randomness."

In Revolution!, users complained that a few lucky rounds in which a player's bids were uncontested would put that player at a significant advantage for the rest of the game and there was no real mechanism by which the other players could catch up.

In Felix, users complained that a single accidental round in which most players put high-value cards in the pot would result in a similar runaway leader problem.

Not being able to see and then react to other player's actions bothers some gamers. They think it makes the games less strategic.


I'm still in the dark about it to be honest.
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P.D. Magnus
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Rock-Paper-Scissors is a game which demonstrates how the blind bidding mechanism can go wrong. The appropriate thing for you to do depends on what other people do, but what it makes sense for them to do depends on what you are going to do. A little bit of this double-think can be fun, but against some opponents you can't do better than to pick randomly. And once you are picking randomly, it's rational for them to pick randomly.

Not every blind bidding mechanism falls into this. For example, Modern Art has some closed-fist auctions. Because those happen in the context of lots of other things, it doesn't degenerate into randomness.
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James Ryan
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Let me propose a scenario that falls into the rock-paper-scissors problem, and let's see if we can fix it.

Four players have 11 cubes each, player boards, and screens to hide all this behind.

On each player board, there are three boxes, with the following options:

1. Attack player to your right
2. Attack player to your left
3. Attack player across table

Players can put as many cubes in each box as they like, and this will indicate the strength of their attack against each player.

A player could place all 11 in box one, or divide things up more evenly.

When the screens are lifted, players compare their cube totals. In any given conflict, the player who played the most cubes reduces their opponent's total cube count by the difference between their cubes played to that conflict.

For example, if Player A attacked Player B with 5 cubes, and Player B attacked Player A with 6 cubes, Player A would lose 1 cube, and player B would lose no cubes.

Another example: if Player A attacks Player B with 11 cubes, and Player B put no cubes in the box that would attack Player A back, then Player B loses all 11 cubes and is eliminated.


Two Questions:

1. Is the optimal play in this scenario to assign cubes at random? Or is there some kind of strategic meta-game bluffing that is the real strategy?

2. How would you improve the design I describe here? What is the problem, as you see it, and how would you fix it?
 
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Justus
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Blind auction works fine in container and blind action selection works great for basari.
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James Ryan
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aaarg_ink wrote:
Blind auction works fine in container and blind action selection works great for basari.
I had never looked at basari before. I really like how the post action selection negotiations work when two players pick the same action.
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