As others have pointed out, the penalty for making a successful bid that you can't afford to pay is quite severe (discussion here). Is the intent that players may bluff and take the risk? Or isn't it considered a legal play?

The penalty is quite significant - although it's less costly in a two-player game and almost seems worth risking on occasion in order to try to make your opponent pay more than he otherwise would. Is the idea that the penalty is big enough to cost you the game, thus functioning as a deterrent to discourage any bluffing an over-bid? Or is bidding more than what you can pay intended to be legal and part of the game - you just get punished quite severely if you're caught?

Bidding more than you can pay = cheating? Or a legitimate sneaky (but risky) strategy?
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Sheamus Parkes
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Cheating? It says right in the rules that you can bid more than you can pay.

I've always played that it's just a bluff that can get called on you. We definitely have used it. It makes the bidding that much more interesting.
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Craig Duncan
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EndersGame wrote:


Bidding more than you can pay = cheating? Or a legitimate sneaky (but risky) strategy?

I interpreted the rules like Sheamus: bidding more than you can pay is a legitimate sneaky (but risky) strategy.

A follow-up question: The rules to the new Biblios version of the game (as opposed to the older VHS box Scripts and Scribes version) define a "medieval variant" of the bluffing penalty.

According to this variant, the player caught bluffing (that is, the player who wins an auction but can't pay his bid) must discard ONE card from his hand. This card is drawn randomly from his hand by the player to his left; then the drawn card is put in the discard pile (the rules do not specify whether the card's content is shown to everyone before discarding). After this, the auction is done over again with the penalized player being forced to sit out the auction.

This is quite a different variant -- especially so, with three or four players.

Obviously, the variant's effect is to make bluffing less risky than in the original rule set, and hence to increase the frequency of bluffs in the game.

What do you think? Which penalty do you prefer, the original harsh penalty or the less harsh "medieval variant" penalty? And why?
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Original rules, all the way. If you're going to bluff like that in a game of poker you best be prepared to lose it all. So it goes in S&S.
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Sheamus Parkes
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stormseeker75 wrote:
Original rules, all the way. If you're going to bluff like that in a game of poker you best be prepared to lose it all. So it goes in S&S.

I don't know... the original was almost crippling. I like the idea of a wrist slap for bluffing.
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Jason
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One side of me likes the lesser punishment as well since bluffing is a fun part of the auction. On the other hand, the brutal punishment seems more fitting (and makes getting away with it all the better). So to answer Ender's question - not cheating but a risky strategy.
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Isamoor wrote:
Cheating? It says right in the rules that you can bid more than you can pay.
I couldn't find this specifically mentioned, at least, not in the rules of the Biblios edition - can you cite the relevant rules you're referring to perhaps? In the Biblios edition it just says: "If the player cannot pay the bid amount, that player is penalized."
The rules then go on to describe the penalty as follows: "The other players each pick a card randomly from that player's reserve and add it to theirs. The auctioned card is auctioned again and the penalized player cannot participate." There's no real indication whether this penalty is intended to penalize illegal play, or whether it's the cost of being caught out on a risky bluff. I'm inclined to lean towards the latter along with most others in this thread, but perhaps the designer can give us an official word whether this is indeed the intent.

For the benefit of those who have the Scripts & Scribes edition, here's how the Biblios edition then describes the penalty of the "Medieval bluff" variant: "The penalized player must discard 1 card from his/her hand, to be chosen randomly by the player to the left. The penalized player can't bid during that auction." The rules here omit to mention that the auctioned card is auctioned again - presumably that's an oversight, and the intent is that the penalty works in the same way, the only difference being that only a single card is lost rather than one for each other player. At any rate the addition of this bluff variant does suggest that with this variant bluffing becomes an accepted part of the game. Which still begs the question - is it also an accepted part of the game with the regular rules, just with a stiffer penalty?
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I'm used to take rules' wording as law, so, if they mention a penalty, it's usually allowed. If not, they would just say: "it's forbidden to bid more than you have." At least that IMHO.
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The allowance of bluffing and "cheating" is no different than in Scrabble. In Scrabble, you can play any word you want; the other players can challenge the word if they don't think it is legal, or they can let it pass. It's up to them.

Personally, I like the harsher penalty. It makes it harder to determine when someone is really bluffing, because that's CRAZY. Who would do it???????
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Sheamus Parkes
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I will look at the actual wording in the original edition when I get home.

I'm with Filipe, if it really wasn't allowed, then I'd stick with just "it's forbidden".
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I'm on the "clearly it is allowed to bluff" side. Ender, your evidence that it might be illegal all points the other way to me. If it were illegal it would either not be mentioned at all, or only to say "it's illegal." Saying "If the player can't pay then..." means that it's legal.

I haven't tried the milder punishment but I like the original. You bluff when you both need to and you know your bluff will work, because if your bluff is called, you pretty much lost the game. If bluffing happened all the time then I think it would make the game drag and be annoying.
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If you're going to put rules that penalize a particular way to cheat, then you need to cover ALL the ways to cheat.

Oops, I stole a card from your hand while you looked the other way.
What's the penalty for that?

No, if they specify a penalty for an action in any game, it must be something legal.
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Steve Finn
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It's legal. I have to say that I went back and forth on the penalty. I didn't really know if I wanted to make a bluffing game or not. I guess when I made the original version, I was thinking that bluffing, if done, would be very risky, which adds a lot more tension to the person who is bluffing.

Over time, however, I changed my mind and thought increasing bluffing would be more fun. I tried to get Iello to change the rules, but we decided to just add in the medieval bluff variant. Based on this discussion, I can see why I was in a dilemma.

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Thanks for posting Steve - it's great to see an authoritative post from the designer that settles the matter, and it's good to know that bluffing was intended to be part of the game despite the high risk.

For general discussion: With the `medieval bluff' variant, the penalty for being caught out bluffing is identical regardless of the number of players. This is not the case with the original rules, because the penalty is less severe in two player games (you only lose one card) than in 3-4 player games (you lose 2-3 cards). The penalty in 3-4 player games is even more harsh given that competition in games with more players is tighter to begin with!

Does the 2 player penalty in the original game need to be adjusted to be more commensurate with the penalty in games with more players? Under the original rules, it's much less risky to bluff in a 2 player game than in a 3-4 player game.
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I am confused about this particular rule.

What exactly is the point? You outbid what you can pay, then you can't pay it, you're forced to sit out, and the item gets bid for again with you sitting out. How has anything changed aside from losing a card? What am I missing?
 
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Neverfade wrote:
I am confused about this particular rule.

What exactly is the point? You outbid what you can pay, then you can't pay it, you're forced to sit out, and the item gets bid for again with you sitting out. How has anything changed aside from losing a card? What am I missing?
There's an additional penalty that varies depending on which rules you play with:

a) Original rules: The player caught bluffing gives a random card to each other player.
b) Medieval bluff variant: The player caught bluffing discards a single random card.

So in a 4 player game, under the original rules you would lose three cards and each of your opponents gains a card. Under the variant rule, you only lose one card, and none of your opponents gains a card. That's a big difference, and makes it far more risky to bluff under the original rules!

Under the original rules, the severity of the penalty varies dependent on the number of players: you lose 1 card in a 2 player game, 2 cards in a 3 player game, and 3 cards in a 4 player game.
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That still doesn't answer my question. Regardless of how many cards you'll lose, you're always down something and everyone else can still bid on the item.

So whats the point?
 
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Neverfade wrote:
That still doesn't answer my question. Regardless of how many cards you'll lose, you're always down something and everyone else can still bid on the item.

So whats the point?
If I have no money, and never bid, my opponents gets whatever they want for 1 coin card each. But if my opponent thinks I have money, I can probably bit a few coins and she'll outbid me. It's a bluff, that's all. If your bluff works, your opponent runs out of money faster and buys fewer cards. If your buff fails, and your opponent lets you have it...then you're totally screwed.
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Aha!

Got it.
 
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Craig Duncan
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One question that the rules for the medieval variant leave unanswered is whether, once the penalty card is randomly drawn from the bluffer's hand, it is shown to everyone before being discarded, or alternatively, it is simply discarded face down with only the bluffer knowing its identity.

Personally, I think it makes sense to show the card to all players before discarding, to make it just that little bit more punitive for the bluffer (it's a bit more punitive since the information is no longer private; it can reveal what suit the bluffer is now weaker in than he/she was before the penalty).

As for Ender's question a few posts ago: he's right that the severity of the original penalty varies in force depending on the number of players. I don't think this requires any fix, though. Those whom this feature bothers have the medieval variant as a "fix," if they wish. Personally, I don't think it needs fixing. Other features of the game vary depending on the number of players, e.g. the number of sleeper cards removed from the deck. I think it's fine -- desirable, even -- for the feel of the game to vary depending on the number of players.
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