Recommend
30 
 Thumb up
 Hide
5 Posts

Byzanz» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Finally an auction filler that bumps off For Sale rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Ralph T
United States
Signal Hill
California
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
For Sale used to be the gold standard auction filler game. It plays six. It's small. You can teach it in five minutes and play in 20 minutes. And it is highly accessible to everyone.

After about twenty plays of For Sale, it begins to get stale. It's not very strategic. It's not great with three either. While there are some interesting filler auction games such as "No Thanks" and "Felix the Cat in the Sack," to me, none really replaced For Sale--and they don't really play six.

A couple years ago Amigo published Byzanz. Unfortunately Amigo is not a US publisher, so it never got published in the US. Had it done so, Byzanz would probably be well-known in the community, instead it's really a hidden gem.

Byzanz is a set collection auction game. It has a number of auction rounds which are straight up auctions for bundles of goods (the number of goods depends on the number of players). You bid for the goods with cards in your hand, which consists of goods with values 1-4. When you pay, you can combine any good card to pay. Afterwords, you get the bundle for sale, but must throw one of the goods in the bundle into the market, along with your bid.

After all bundles have been sold, the players, in reverse order that they bought the bundles, get to take one type of good from the market, for free. This rewards people who buy later in the round.

Scoring: At any point, you can trade in three of a kind goods in your hand for the point value of the highest value good. There are also Haggler cards, which act as wild cards which can finish a set, or three of a kind of Hagglers will get you 5 points.

How does it compare with For Sale? Scalability: It plays three to six, but it plays each number well. The game with three is surprisingly tight. The game with six, while reduced to only three auction rounds, is also tight as every round counts.

Teachability: It's about the same. It will take five to ten minutes to each. Portability: It's definitely superior--the size of a small Amigo card game, it can fit in your pocket. No extra bits.

Depthwise: It is deeper than For Sale. You are constantly faced with tough choices: because you're paying with your victory points, and you also have to deal with deciding whether to hold a set in hopes of a higher number card comes up, or cashing it in (you have a seven card limit), or spending it.

At the same time, it is not that much heavier than For Sale. The game lists a 45 minute play time. This is a lie. The game will not take more than 30 minutes, and coming down to 20 minutes with experienced players.

The only thing that For Sale has on it is the theme, which is more real-world and the art of Byzanz, while clean and colorful, doesn't have the detail that each card of For sale does. The six types of good cards are all the same whatever their value.

My verdict: If you love auction games, buy Byzanz if it's an American retailer. It's the best auction filler I've played. As of this posting, Boards & Bits has it in stock for less than $11.
21 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bruce Murphy
Australia
Pyrmont
NSW
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm not sure it's better than For Sale. Cute, yes, great game for 2008, but with a lower rating than several other games on my geeklist of lightweight auction games. Certainly, I don't think it's better than High Society.

B>
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
William Crispin
United States
Wilmington
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I like it but I am not sure if I have not discovered the strategy yet or if there is not much to discover. The jury is still out for me on the deeper part although definitely a solid filler.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
tom moughan
United States
Rochester
New York
flag msg tools
ahh....I love the smell of a stack of sketchily placed animals in the morning!
mbmbmbmbmb
good review.

So...only in my world is it difficult to even find 3-4 players to sit around a table? cry

Since I enjoy set collection, I will certainly look into this one.I enjoy the reverse auction pay out for other players.

I have only played For Sale twice and enjoyed the two separate stages of game play. But For Sale like many other titles, like high society, felix, modern art and medici vs. strozzi, the other players help to dictate what you should be paying for things. This fact is definitely part of the interesting mathy strategy of an auction title. How does that compare in Byzanz?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ralph T
United States
Signal Hill
California
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Naturally as in all auction games players can bid up a price on something they don't want to make another player overbid. Unlike the filler auction games, you benefit directly when someone overbids because you will have a chance to get what they bid for free.

Another difference between this game and High Society and For Sale is that you aren't quite sure of what the bundle of goods is worth to another player, and you may not know what the player will leave behind from the bundle.

If it's 4 wood and 1 wood, and 3 olives up for auction for example, the player might need both woods and leave behind a value 3 olive. Or they might take the highest value items and leave behind the 1 wood. If you had two olives then it might be better not to win the auction and have a chance to pick it up from the marketplace for free.

I like the fact that the economy is closed in this way. You don't run out of money like For Sale and High Society and end up watching the last rounds. While Felix adds money as you go along, it is flawed in that if you overbid you can essentially not be in any auction again because you always end up first to pass. In Byzanz you always get more via the marketplace phase.

All in all the balance between bidding what you have full information over (bidding on bundles), versus getting for free what you will not yet have full information on (grabbing one type of good from the marketplace) is a fine one.

One thing I didn't mention which I like is the scores tend to be quite close. At the end of For Sale when players are scoring $60,000 or more, then there's not really any feeling of accomplishment or loss when you win or lose. In Byzanz, someone might get 16 points and the winner gets 17. The numbers will be close and small, and this somehow makes determining the winner more satisfying.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.