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Subject: A humiliating first play rss

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Will Rice
United Kingdom
Chesham
Buckinghamshire
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Played my first game of this today and got laughed at quite a lot.

I bought the game off eBay after enjoying other auction games like Medici, High Society and For Sale, and had heard good things about You're Bluffing.

In hindsight i think it all started to go wrong for me in the mid-game where I bought too wide a selection of animals rather than focussing purely on collecting sets, then sat out of a lot of auctions where people seemed to be paying crazy money for some choice animals, which served to make the auctioneers on those rounds very rich, and left me without the best beasts. I then called a couple of cattle trades wrong and soon found myself in the end game with the fewest animals, mostly single animals, and was sure I had the least cash.

As much as it pains me to relive it, I was laughed at as follows:

I initiated a cattle trade with Andy and bid 500 in one card. My logic was that my next biggest cash card after the 500 was a 10, so if I bid two cards he would likely overestimate the strength of my bid and would be more likely to outbid me, which wasn't what I wanted as I needed animals. So I thought if I used one card he might take a chance that it was less than 500 and bid a little lower, to save some of his cash. Anyway, seeing my one card and knowing my max bid would be 500 in one card he simply bid 500 plus a 10 and got the animal for 10. From our faces and Andy's guffaws the table realised what had happened. Cue laughter.

Shortly after I proposed another trade with Andy and bid two cards, 500 and 100, trying to learn from my one-card mistake but still working with limited cash. He bid three cards which turned out to be 500, 100 and 10. More guffaws. More laughter

I managed to generate a bit of cash in one of the final auctions and soon found myself proposing another cattle trade with Andy in a desperate attempt to get even a mediocre set of animals. I bid three cards - two 500s and a 10, my maximum three card bid. Yes of course he outbid me by 10. Uproarious laughter.

I ended the game in a very convincing last place (out of 4), thinking that it seemed the sort of game that I like, good banter, good fun, and I'd like to play it again. But I couldn't help bitterly reliving those shameful cattle trades and wondering where it all went wrong. Was my play really as stupid as I felt?

Some thoughts and noob questions:
1. Is it stupid to make a one card bid in a cattle trade, because the other player can easily identify your max bid and outbid you? Is it always better to throw in a 0 or two to increase the possible range of your bid?

2. When I ended up with the least money and the least animals as the deck started to run out, I felt like I was doomed. I've seen mentions in these forums of cattle trades being a nightmare when others know you have less money, and I certainly felt like I was sure to lose - the other players rarely seemed to just "take the money", they simply outbid me and took my animals. Is this normal? Is the key to the game to avoid getting in that position in the first place?

3. Once i lost a couple of cattle trades, I felt like I was in a worse position for future trades. Is this right and does the game work in this way such that the winners of deals start running away with it and the losers find it more and more difficult to turn it around? Or am I just whinging?

4. On a slightly less whingy note (but only slightly), the game seemed to get a little procedural at the very end when it was obvious who had won (Andy, who benefited from having paid 30 to win three cattle trades from yours truly). Is there a way of working out how many points a player needs to win in an X player game, so that when someone gets that many points with their completed sets, the game can be declared over? Or is the game usually much closer so that this isn't an issue

Grateful for any thoughts, and to hear from those who have played this a lot about whether my painful defeat is a typical You're Bluffing experience. In any case I will be trying the game out again when I get the opportunity, hopefully with a few more trades going my way, and a few more animals ending up at my end of the table.
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Peter de Boer
Austria
Velden
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1. It is not stupid, and occasionaly can be a great way to bluf. But yeah, often it is good to add a few low value cards.

2. Yes!

3. Well, if you really "lose" several trades, you have deserved to lose the game. Note that losing an animal in a trade still might be beneficial, i.e. if you get a lot of money for it. You can't "win" all trades in the sense of gathering all animals. Sometimes you will buy an animal, sometimes you will sell an animal. The key is selling high, buying low. If you sell low several times, yes you are doomed.

4. I have never played a game where the winner had such a distinct advantage. Usually it is very close.
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Will Rice
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Thanks Peter, this is reassuring!

Interesting what you say about selling high, buying low. I think perhaps I was too focussed on the risk of ending up with no animals, and if I had held my nerve and taken the money in a few of the late trades rather than trying to win the animal every time, I would have had cash to compete in other trades and might have got a better result.

Looking forward to trying this one out again

Will
 
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