Some people enjoy the thrill of forging a good deal, whether it’s at a
garage sale or a flea market. The best bargainers know that a good deal is one in which both parties feel they have won. There’s a place in the wide world of boardgaming for such people too; the genre called negotiation games.
The classic negotiation game is Diplomacy. Seven players each control one of the Great Powers of pre-World War I Europe. Progress is made by wheeling and dealing with the other players. Players are free to make and break alliances, lie, back-stab, and swindle others in virtually any way possible on their way to controlling more than half of the board and thereby winning.
In another negotiation game, I’m the Boss, up to six players make deals in an effort to become the richest player by the game’s end. A hand of cards helps determine who can participate — or take over as the boss — in each of the available deals. Sweet talking and fast action are definitely assets in this game!
The negotiation game Lowenherz (currently reimplemented as Domaine) casts four players as possible heirs to a dying king. In order to impress the king the most (and thereby win), the players must negotiate using gold to wall off their territories, recruit knights, and expand their land holdings — often at the expense of another player! When the king finally croaks, whoever has bargained his way to the most impressive regions will win.
Even some extremely popular family games are also negotiation games. In Settlers of Catan, to obtain the commodities needed to build a winning infrastructure, players often have to trade for them. And in Monopoly, players can trade properties to form sets. And so on.
So if wheeling and dealing is your thing, give some of these excellent
negotiation games a go!