First of all, I have to say I really like aspects of this game. The assisting or blocking aspect is a great addition that adds a great deal of interplay and bluffing.
Even without this fun mechanic, the game provides a good enough deckbuilding experience.
Here however are several variant rules I've used to increase instances of difficult choices during gameplay.
You can either play a card or buy a card from the action cards. If you buy the card, you cannot play it that turn (it goes into discard). If you play a card, the other card is available to everyone else for 1 gold less than the listed price. You receive nothing for the card if it is purchased.
If you play or buy one card, your competitors have the option of buying the other card beginning with the next player and proceeding around the table...
If you don't play or buy a card from the action decks, no one else can access the cards, unless you choose to sell them. You can sell only one of them. You get one gold for your efforts if the card sells for the 'listed price' however if the card is bid up above that price, you get the additional gold above that amount...
We've tried some other things too, but so far this is the only recommendation I can make....
If you try this, let me know how it works for you...
The text is absurdly small on the cards and the art is too processed and too dark, but I love the way scouts can be used to help/hinder through bidding. The game is good enough that I can overlook these aesthetic issues (issues for me at least). I like the game even better with the above changes.
If you have done anything to improve this game, let us know below...
Also, If you are aware of any other games who make use of such a mechanic, (or somethings similar), let us know this too