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Subject: Fairer Auction Variant? (with catchup mechanic) rss

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Alex Fiedler
Australia
Colebee
NSW
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As outlined in some reviews and threads, it's probable that the standard auction system is a rich get richer and poor get dead auction.

So how about this simple addition to the rules?

Any player that stays on the 0 bidding space, gains 1 resource of their choice.

This acts a little like a catchup mechanic and addresses the poor get poorer issue outlined.

It also injects a small amount of extra resources into the game making acutions more interesting (no point having an auction system with no resources to auction with).

It also adds more choices into the game. Do you try to advance your turn postion or just stick with a safe +1 resource but have poorer route options.

Any thoughts?
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Todd Fast
United States
Mountain View
California
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Interesting idea, and subtle enough that it probably wouldn't affect the balance too much. I assume that players take resources upon completion of the auction?

Though I'd probably use it mainly for adrenaline, I like the fact that it could also be used to complete a pair of fuel tokens.

My only concern would be how it's used in the last round, where resource majorities come into play. But even then, it might help balance the outcome a bit. You'll have to make sure that players take resources in some order. I'd suggest initiative order. This gives a little bit of compensation to lower-initiative players in that they can react to what earlier players take. This might be enough to let them snag a resource bonus at the end of the game.

I'll be happy to try this one next time and report back if I feel it worked.
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Markus Steger
Austria
Absam
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What about this idea: the player who has to choose the last path may trade one of his resources into another with the supply before entering the path. That would not expand the amount of resources in the game but would help that player and gives him an additional tactical option.

Opinions?
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Alex Fiedler
Australia
Colebee
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I dont think that would do anything significant Markus. The problem is that those who come last in the auction could still end up spending resources and/or gain nothing, which leads into a vicious cycle.

At least with gaining 1 free resource for bidding 0 (which is sometimes the only option anyway) there is some way to catch up.
 
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Daniel Kearns
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
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I don't have many plays yet but I'm not sure I have a problem with a power spiral in an auction game with elimination.

If someone hits the spiral down, they will be eliminated and if someone hits the spiral up, they win, hopefully faster.

More aggressive auctions should balance this a little although I realize that in a competitive auction with high bids, the winner will likely get a very beneficial path while the second place bidder may get a terrible path and not be able to recover.

By bidding zero, the player still gets the gains off the path for no cost (essentially free tokens whatever they may be) admittedly likely with a whole lot of bad stuff too. I'm not sure the extra free resource you propose will do much beyond a general 1 resource inflation in bidding.
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Michael Van Biesbrouck
Canada
St Catharines
Ontario
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As mentioned in other threads, this breaks the resource economy in the game. Here are some of the ways that it messes up the game:

* injects resources into the game; everyone will have more resources even though they are supposed to be scarce
* nearly doubles resources available in deck 3
* makes using a resource you are low on less tense because you can always get a replacement of any type
* penalizes participating in the auction (bidding '1' costs you two resources), increasing the number of times people bid 0
* breaks the cards that require you to have a particular resource; instead of bidding to avoid them you bid 0 to defeat them
* affects endgame scoring in a way that interacts with earlier gameplay

Alex, have you played this game? Have you seen how many times players can/should bid 0 without your modification?
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aeegik norstvv
Belgium
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As Michael said here before, I find in the last rounds people have different "goals" and they value paths differently. Even if you get to pick last (bid zero), it often happens that you'll get a card that not that bad _for you_.

I find al this "rich get richer" complaining way overstated.
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