30m - 45m
2 - 4 Players
This mechanic requires you to place a bid, usually monetary, on items in an auction of goods in order to enhance your position in the game. These goods allow players future actions or improve a position. The auction consists of taking turns placing bids on a given item until one winner is established, allowing the winner to take control of the item being bid on. Usually there is a game rule that helps drop the price of the items being bid on if no players are interested in the item at its current price.
Theme 1, aesthetics 2, replay 2, length 3, ease 3, tact/strat 2, comp 3, score 2, Tile Placement/ bidding 3, area majority 2
Bidding, then area control. An interesting mix and simple enough to teach non-gamers, it doesn't leave a great first impression though. I find it becomes more interesting the more you play.
There's plenty to like here. There's simplicity. There's interaction. There's tension. There's lots of contemplation as you work to both advance your position and hinder your opponents' position. There are also some aspects that cut against those positives. For example, there are ways in which the randomization emerges in odd ways and there's a strong reliance on tie breakers. The biggest issue is that the interaction, catch-up mechanism, and win condition combine in a way that seems to bring everyone close together by the game's end. So every play has this period of definite engagement where the in-game processes, decisions, and interaction are enjoyed by all. But then everyone is nearly tied as we reach the end game, which leaves a feeling, perhaps in hindsight, of dissatisfaction. Some of that dissatisfaction may be due to the game play's mechanical feel, so the mechanical nature of the ties and tie breakers is brought to the fore. (I should note the catch-up mechanism is quite clever, it creates a trade-off between area majority and tile placement that is impactful.)