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Play Mechanics: An Overview of Auction Games

Posted Tuesday, 27-Jan-2015


In an auction game, items of value are offered and obtained by the players.  In a well-crafted auction game, these items may have different values to different players, depending on individual goals or on the board situation.

Let’s take a look at several of the most popular auction games.


One of the finest examples of an auction game is Medici. In this game, players bid to fill their ships with wares. The auctioneer decides whether to put out one, two, or three goods, then the players bid once around the table.

When a player obtains a certain ware, his marker advances on the
corresponding track. The players who ship the two largest quantities of each commodity score, and there are bonus points for shipping lots of a commodity.  Additionally, the wares have various weights, and players with the heaviest ships get extra points.

# of Players: 3-6

Playing Time: 60 Minutes

Medici Game


The auction game Ra offers a unique system wherein players bid sun tiles to collect scoring tiles of gods, gold, pharaohs, civilizations, rivers and monuments; each of which scores in a different way. But beware! — there are killer tiles out there too, which can cost you your hard-earned valuables! Gods are especially useful in avoiding those — they let you swoop in and steal a particular tile off the lot.

# of Players: 3-5

Playing Time: 60 Minutes

Ra Auction Game

Modern Art

Another terrific auction game is the hard-to-find Modern Art. In this game, players collect paintings by five different artists, offering and buying them at auction to make money by both selling and collecting.  Card play determines the value of each artist’s work.

# of Players: 3-5

Playing Time: 45 Minutes

Modern Art Board


Yet a fourth excellent auction game is Basari, in which players bid
simultaneously for gems, points, or moving a pawn around a track which, if he makes it all the way around, is worth extra points. The players need to weigh the potential value of each choice, because if two people choose the same thing, there’s a bidding war to see who gets to do it!

Basari is currently only available from Amazon and BoardGameBliss.

# of Players: 3-4

Playing Time: 25 Minutes

Basari Auction Game


Finally, mention must be made of Amun-Re (currently unavailable everywhere), in which players bid for pyramid sites using one of the most innovative bidding methods ever devised.

# of Players: 3-5

Playing Time: 90 Minutes

Amun Re Auction Game

Auction games are certainly a popular and diverse genre of game!

Photo Credit:  https://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/461280/medici

Published by BoardGamePrices.com

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