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Subject: Bidding game w/ unlimited money ? rss

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Richard Walter
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I was perusing the forums for American Rails where there is a question about bidding and a session report on 6 player games even though the game was only intended to go up to 5 players. And they got me thinking.

At the start of a game of American Rails, players get their initial seed money and there is an initial auction phase where one share of each of the train companies is auctioned off before players start taking normal game turns. One of the normal actions that a player can take is to auction off another share of stock.

In the first thread, during a 3 player game, one of the players didn't buy any shares during the initial purchasing and so the other two were left with little cash on hand. Then, that player used his first turns to put more stock up for auction and got shares cheap because the other players burned up their cash during the initial auctions and couldn't make any serious bids.

In the second thread, some of the discussion revolves around the initial bankroll for the players and how that affected the initial auctions as players didn't want to leave themselves low on cash.

So, this got me thinking: is limited money an artificial constraint in auctions that could make an interesting game by removing? Or change an existing game in interesting ways?

After all, what makes auction games interesting is that the item being auctioned may have different value to the different players. And decoupling a player's decision on how he can best exploit an item from the practicalities of how much cash he (and the other players) has in hand at the current time seems interesting.

Some games do allow players to go negative by accepting loans, but there is usually a price to pay for doing so (payment of interest (either periodically or lump-sum), loss of VPs at the end of the game, etc...). So, what if there were no penalties for loans?

I'm thinking that this could be achieved in a practical way by turning auctions around and rather than players bidding on how much money they are willing to pay to acquire an item up for bids, they would instead be bidding on the amount of money that they are willing to let all other players receive from the bank in exchange for them taking the item.

Does anyone know of such a game, where players may bid any amount for things?

I'm sort of tempted to try this with some future plays just to see what happens. I can see it working for American Rails, Chicago Express, Power Grid and Container. The question is: would it work well?

And I think that this would only work for games with auctions. In games where things are bought at set prices (even if those prices change over time), the point of the game is to manage cash-on-hand. So, doing this to Acquire seems like a bad idea to me.

Thoughts?

-Richard
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Ron Parker
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rw2e wrote:
I'm thinking that this could be achieved in a practical way by turning auctions around and rather than players bidding on how much money they are willing to pay to acquire an item up for bids, they would instead be bidding on the amount of money that they are willing to let all other players receive from the bank in exchange for them taking the item.

Does anyone know of such a game, where players may bid any amount for things?


Railroad Barons (Not American Rails, the other Railroad Barons) is sort of like this during the setup phase, but since it's a strictly two-player game there's only one bid per auction.
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Rob Steward
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Medici vs Strozzi is like this, if I'm recalling correctly.
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J C Lawrence
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rw2e wrote:
I can see it working for American Rails, Chicago Express, Power Grid and Container. The question is: would it work well?


In all of the listed games. manipulating player's liquidity and buying power is central to Good Play. As such your proposed change might produce a functional game, but it would greatly change the game from its current definition.

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And I think that this would only work for games with auctions. In games where things are bought at set prices (even if those prices change over time), the point of the game is to manage cash-on-hand.


Which is why controlling player liquidity in the games you mention is so important.

More generally, making this change in an auction game puts the focus of the game explicitly on e(V) evaluation, with the contest likely being not simply a question of mechanical e(V) estimation, but rather who wins the battle of forcing other's e(V) estimations to be the most expensively wrong.
 
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Breno K.
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Struggle of Empires has infinite money and auctions and really painful consequences for people who don't plan well.
 
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Cole Wehrle
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BrenoK wrote:
Struggle of Empires has infinite money and auctions and really painful consequences for people who don't plan well.


First game that came to mind. Well, that an Wallace's Lancashire Railways
 
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Eric Brosius
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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In real life, liquidity is almost always a constraint at some point, even when it appears not to be for a period of time. It doesn't seem unreasonable for that to be true in a game as well.

Another bidding game in which the trade-off between balance sheet and liquidity is important is No Thanks!.
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Justin
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To buy something it needs to have a cost. If you have unlimited money you're effectively reducing the cost of buying something to nothing.
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