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Dan Blum
United States
Wilmington
Massachusetts
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I wanted to like this, but despite Mario's best efforts, I think it's broken. In this auction game, you're bidding on gem cards to make a necklace. A necklace has a center stone and then pairs of stones on either side, going out as many pairs as you like (for example, you might have garnet-topaz-diamond-topaz-garnet). Stones range in value from 1 to 10 - a necklace is worth the sum of the stone values multiplied by the number of different stone types in it. On each turn, gem cards are turned over until stones with a total value of at least 4 are showing, at which point the auctioning player can run a regular or Dutch auction. You can use previously bought stones (including necklaces) to pay.

So, what's the problem? Well, for starters, everyone begins with just $10, which is basically enough to win one auction. The only way to get more money (other than a free handout of a few bucks when the deck is reshuffled, or a one-time sale of a necklace to the bank for $10 max) is to run an auction, which gets you half the proceeds (or a gem, if gems were used to pay). The only way to run an auction is to win the previous auction. This produced a feedback loop where Player A runs an auction, Player B wins, Player B runs the next auction, Player A wins because he has more money than anyone else, Player A runs an auction which Player B wins...

If someone publishes precise English rules for this, I'll read them and see if we were doing something wrong, but if not, I'm afraid it just doesn't work.

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