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Subject: Bid zero in base game for turn order? rss

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Sheldon Smith
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Hello,
Sorry if this is a dumb question...

I was curious if an opening bid of zero was allowed in the *BASE* game.

While the rules are clear for the more advanced Standard game ('0' is allowed), I couldn't find the answer for the Base game. Obviously, the initial turn order is just for setup as future order is determined by the chosen tile.

So far our group has played this version twice and has gone over really well. Looking forward to trying the Standard version - which should merge the AoS roughness (raising money @ beginning of turn, bidding for turn order) with the tweaks of Steam (openly displayed goods chart, City Growth & Urbanization, Income/VP track) quite nicely.

I think they have done a great job streamlining things with the base version of this game! It seems like it would cut at least 1/2 hour on the playing time while still providing a balanced, yet challenging & rewarding experience. It's nice to have both options available depending on how much time you have or if playing with newbies.

Secondly...

It also seems if a player uses the "free pass" in the Standard game, and the bidding has found its way back to the originating bidder *HE* will need to outbid himself (his previous bid) since the intent of the "free pass" is to put pressure back on the opponent(s)... even when it's the same opponent who made the first bid.

I.E. (4-player game):

Bill = Bids '1'
Sam = Bids '2'
Jake = PASS (he now goes to last spot and pays nothing)
Zak = uses FREE PASS action

Bill = PASS (he goes to 3rd spot and pays 1 (1/2 of 1 rounding up)
Sam = ??

- The last bid was '2'
- It was Sam who bid '2'
- Zak's FREE PASS puts pressure back on the bidding (in this case w/Sam)

This same logic can also be applied more simply:

I.E. (3-player game):

Bill = PASS (he reallllly wanted to make sure he goes LAST)
Jake = Bids '1'
Zak = uses FREE PASS action

Jake = ???

- There are only 2 people that placed bids.
- Jake made the first bid of 1, then Zak used his free pass.
- The pressure must be back on Jake to raise his own bid due to the use of Zak's action tile!


Thanks in advance,
Sheldon
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Albatros
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At the start of the game, there is an option to bid for the first turns order OR randomly distribute the Action tiles. After the first turn, the order is determined by your previous Action tile.

But I don't have the rules with me to know if you can bid zero on this auction.
 
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Sheldon Smith
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Lowengrin wrote:
At the start of the game, there is an option to bid for the first turns order OR randomly distribute the Action tiles. After the first turn, the order is determined by your previous Action tile.

But I don't have the rules with me to know if you can bid zero on this auction.


That's correct. You can either do the simple INITIAL random turn order (quasi-balanced by the "awarded" money penalties).

Or...

You can opt to *bid* for the INITIAL turn order (future turn orders are determined by the action taken).
I would like to know if you can bid zero for this specific auction.

Thank you,
Sheldon
 
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jim b
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They don't explicitly address this in the Base rules, in my reading - I see no reference to a specific minimum bid (I could be missing it).

In the Standard rules, they say the auction differs from Base, and then promptly say the bidding can start with $0 ... which still leaves it unclear, for Base.

I've been assuming $0 would be the minimum in a Base auction too - since that whole rule is new with Steam (AoS minimum was $1) - but now that you mention it, I think it's not clear.
 
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Pasta Batman
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The rules indeed aren't clear on this, but I wouldn't get hung up on it. We've been using the random turn order every time just to get going quickly, and it works fine. I read somewhere here that Martin Wallace himself always uses random start order in his games, and that this silly auction was added to appease the luck-averse crowd. Anyhow, if you're intent on using the auction, I'd say allow zero bids.

Edit:
Here's Martin's quote from this thread:
Quote:
The auction for player order in the basic game is really a sop to those players who don't like luck. Personally I prefer to go with a random start.

Martin
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Daniel Corban
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Re: having to outbid yourself in the standard game when a player uses the "free pass".

I sent a message to Mayfair "rules guru" a few weeks ago with this exact question and have yet to hear a response. I honestly no longer care, since I have no plans to play the standard game again.
 
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jim b
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fwiw the AoS auction is explicit about this issue - you can just say 'my bid stands', since you have met the AoS requirement of outbidding any other bidder (I'm paraphrasing). it's quite clear in AoS, because they give this specific example in the rules.

The requirement in Standard rules, though, is to 'outbid the current highest bidder', which doesn't exclude yourself.

You could take the AoS ruling until you hear otherwise .. since the auction is almost the same as Standard's.
 
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Sheldon Smith
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jimb wrote:
fwiw the AoS auction is explicit about this issue - you can just say 'my bid stands', since you have met the AoS requirement of outbidding any other bidder (I'm paraphrasing). it's quite clear in AoS, because they give this specific example in the rules.

The requirement in Standard rules, though, is to 'outbid the current highest bidder', which doesn't exclude yourself.

You could take the AoS ruling until you hear otherwise .. since the auction is almost the same as Standard's.


It's been a while since I played Age of Steam. Does this mean the "free pass" option is only useful when 3 or more bidders are remaining? I assume this means the free pass would not have a benefit if only the highest bidder still remains, etc.?

The bidding structure in the BASE Steam game doesn't feel as good the STANDARD game, so I'm starting to think random turn order (w/money balance) might be the better way to go. Still, I can't help but wonder if the board presents a sweet opening opportunity the random 1st turn may be too strong an advantage. It would be nice to know what the ruling is. As Jim stated above, the Standard ruleset goes out of it way to point out that a bid of 0 is acceptable. To me, this implies the Base game might intended to have a min bid of 1. But if that was the case, what happens if all players pass? Argh (lol), I guess a bid of zero only makes sense after all!

 
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Alex Yeager
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Wow - a few things to address here.

Our rulesguru@... is in flux at the moment, so I'm not surprised (disappointed yes, surprised no) that there's been a delay in a response. As far as the bid goes, I'll double-check and get back here with an answer.

More importantly, there's the discussion about whether the random turn order (which, incidentally, is MY preferred way to start as well) might still offer some imbalances in play. I'd argue no, for two reasons:
- The money start can be huge for the 4th or 5th player, as it could mean one less share to take during your first turn (assuming an average track-building turn of $6-$10). Effectively, you are squeezing an extra point and perhaps enough on-hand cash to pay your income cost at the end of turn 1. Going first guarantees (assuming a 3-track build) you'll take at least 2 shares to pay for track (let alone Loco, Urbanization or City Growth).
- So often, AoS turn one is a race to the best launch spots. With Steam, there's a lot more opportunity to make your own sweet spot. Assuming that there's a couple of good spots on the board, you can create one with Urbanization (using cube selection wisely), or City Growth an existing town (remember, you can City Growth on turn 1 if you like) to improve its cube mix. As an example, I'm a big fan of the Siegburg/Bonn corridor; if I can Urbanize Siegburg, then send out track to Bonn and Köln, I can get access to a 3-city network, with my chosen cubes tucked away behind mountain ranges on each side. And, in a 5-player game, getting $4 in spot 5 should give you a bit more flexibility in getting a good start, even if it means some complex track or hills-building.

Alex Yeager
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jim b
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Quote:
Still, I can't help but wonder if the board presents a sweet opening opportunity the random 1st turn may be too strong an advantage

Sure. Just a reminder, while we're on this topic - if you assign it randomly, remember to give the other players additional money before the game begins (ala First Game rules in Base - 2nd gets $1, 3rd gets $2, etc).
 
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Sheldon Smith
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jimb wrote:
Quote:
Still, I can't help but wonder if the board presents a sweet opening opportunity the random 1st turn may be too strong an advantage

Sure. Just a reminder, while we're on this topic - if you assign it randomly, remember to give the other players additional money before the game begins (ala First Game rules in Base - 2nd gets $1, 3rd gets $2, etc).


Most definitely! That's what I was trying to refer to when I mentioned "money balancing" on Random turn order... but I should have phrased it better.

But is it safe to assume everyone would agree with the STANDARD game rules, the bidding for 1st turn order is a better method? If so, it would seem most players would rank their initial turn order method as:

- Standard Rules w/Standard Game = #1 (most preferred)
- Random w/Base Game (with money balance given out) = #2
- Bidding w/Base Game = #3 (least preferred)

All the best,
Sheldon
 
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jim b
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I'd head more in the direction of either playing Base as-is (with turn-order randomized as in Base First Game), or -

- with experts who want to restore an auction: use the Base rules to auction turn-order before every turn, and keep Base action definitions as they are (including paying the marked action price at selection - so, allow for that in your bids).

edit - minor
 
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Alex Yeager
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A quick check with Martin, and the answers are:
- YES, you may bid $0 in the Base game auction. (It's a bit less of a tool than it is in the Standard auction, but there you go).
- NO, you do not have to outbid yourself in an auction. If yours is the highest bid, and it comes back to you, your bid remains standing as the highest bid at the table.

I hope that helps!

Alex Yeager
Mayfair Games
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Sheldon Smith
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jimb wrote:
I'd head more in the direction of either playing Base as-is (with turn-order randomized as in Base First Game), or -

- with experts who want to restore an auction: use the Base rules to auction turn-order before every turn, and keep Base action definitions as they are (including paying the marked action price at selection - so, allow for that in your bids).

edit - minor


Gosh... I don't think I would want to play a BGG variant where players auction every round on the Base game. Seems to me if players are willing to invest 25+ minutes auctioning turn order, they might as well just dive into the Standard game where the true "meat" is. Determining how much money UP FRONT is so critical, but there is also a neat "mini-game" with the bidding itself in how the payments are determined:

-1st/2nd place = FULL price
-Last place = FREE
-Middle places = HALF price.

There are some interesting dynamics with this system. For instance, as the first bidder you can set the bar on how high subsequent players must bid if they still wish to be early in turn order. If the bid comes back to you, you can STILL PASS and pay nothing (sliding in last spot) while the remaining players pay hefty fines no matter which spot they land on! :-)

For me, I am liking your idea of just sticking with the random setup on the Base game while using the normal AoS auctions in the Standard game.
 
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jim b
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EyeInSky wrote:
Gosh... I don't think I would want to play a BGG variant where players auction every round on the Base game.

I don't blame you! meeple

Regarding your ranking, I think a lot of players like the random option best, overall.

If you like the financial and auction play as in Standard - that's all as you describe. For my groups, everyone seems happiest without the additional $$ phase, planning, and tight access (ie, in Standard or AoS), so that leads to Base.

The lack of auction there is a fair criticism; and, I think the Base auction blends with that system ala-carte. But, it seems overkill for just the first-turn, as you said. (Not everyone agrees.)
 
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Daniel Corban
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In most games there will be 4 good locations to build:
- three-tile two-link build with 2 two-link deliveries (whoever takes locomotive will look to build here)
- three-tile two-link build with only 1 two-link delivery
- four-tile two-link build requiring engineer
- three-tile two-link build requiring urbanize

Often, the fifth player will take first build and shoehorn in on the first location.

This suggests that a random turn order in a four or five player game should be fine. However, our games see people bidding anywhere from $6-8 for first and second place, and sometimes third (five-player games). This suggests that there is merit in a starting auction.
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Simon Woodward
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This thread should have more thumbs!

I came looking for an answer as to why the Basic game has an auction for the first turn order - it seems sort of out of place and overkill, and wouldn't the random turn order option work just as well... and here's the answer!

I guess that would make it the only random thing in the game, but even with the auction, the first bid is chosen randomly. So I think I'll prefer the first-game method.

So thanks everyone! And give this thread a few more thumbs.
 
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