When I first got into board gaming as a hobby (in 2007), there wasn’t a whole lot in the Yafo video podcasting. Nowadays, it’s everywhere, but the pioneer of the form was Board Games with Scott. Professor Scott Nicholson of Syracuse University did an irregular series where he would take a game (sometimes more) and explain it, showing how all the bits worked together to create an experience. He ended the show in 2010, but his legacy lives on. Particularly now that he has a game coming out:
Going, Going, GONE! is a game designed by Scott Nicholson that is being published by Stronghold Games. It’s a realtime auction game for 2-6 players that takes 20 minutes. Normally, auction games make me run screaming in the other direction, but Scott has tried to put the fun back in auctions that is often lacking.
The game comes with 240 cubes, called “bucks”; 10 10-bucks chips; 5 bidding cups; 49 item cards; and a bidding paddle on which the rules are printed. Each player gets 25 bucks in one color, setting the other 15 aside. The cups are arranged in the center, and the youngest player becomes the first Auctioneer, taking the paddle.
GGG is played over seven rounds. In each round, the current Auctioneer deals seven item cards so that each lot corresponds to a cup (two of the cups will have a two-card lot). When players are ready, the Auctioneer begins counting down from 10 to 1, then says “GONE!” The pace of the counting must be steady, but can go as fast or slow as the Auctioneer wants. While counting, all players (including the Auctioneer) may drop bucks into whatever cups they wish.
On the word “GONE!”, the Auctioneer puts the paddle over the cups so no one else may bid. The highest number of bucks in a cup wins that auction, with ties going to the player closest to the Auctioneer clockwise. Items go into your collection, and are kept secret.
Players may, at this time, sell a collection. A collection consists of all cards of the same type, or all cards of the same country. The bigger your collection, the more bucks you get. The 10-bucks chips are used to make change if you run out of cubes, but cannot be used for bidding.
After the seventh round, the player with the most bucks wins (including cubes and collection values).
When talking about this game, Scott refers to how auction games never quite feel like an actual auction. There isn’t usually time to sit around and think about how much you want to bid, you have to act fast or you’re going to lose out. To me, that’s the appeal of this game – it seems thematically appropriate that you only have a certain amount of time. The biggest issue I can see with this format concerns the ability of an Auctioneer to count and bid at the same time, particularly since some players will take that role more than others. It might be better to have a dedicated Auctioneer who isn’t playing. At least for the first game.
Still, even with that thought, I think GGG looks like a very fun game, and that’s saying something considering my usual disdain for auctions. Scott spends a lot of time trying to create experiences when gaming, and I think this game will definitely do that. I’m looking forward to trying it out. Thanks for reading!