When I think of a bidding game, I generally think of a card game like Bridge or Spades. These were staples of my high school and college years. I loved (still love) the bidding because there is so much energy that goes into the decisions. It was generally a very quiet, intense energy, but when the stakes were especially high, that part of the game was often more enthralling (and took more time) than playing out the cards.
Going, Going, Gone is a bidding game that keeps all of that intensity AND compresses the time to about 10 seconds. Once the bidding starts, it is fast and frantic and anything but quiet.
And is it ever Major Fun.
Going, Going, Gone is perhaps better defined as an auction game. The goal is to use your “bucks” (colored cubes) to bid on items (cards) that you collect into sets. These sets increase in value as you increase the number of cards in the set. For example, a set with 2 items is worth 6 bucks, but add one more card to that set and those 3 items are worth 12 bucks.
Bidding occurs simultaneously which is one of the ways that the game generates excitement. All players start with 25 bucks of a single color. In the center of the table are five cups. Next to each cup is one or two item cards. Each card shows a collectible item (cars, comics, cards, phonographs, toys, art, and games) and the flag of a country (Germany, Canada, China, Great Britain, Japan, United States, and Italy). When an auction starts, the players drop their bucks (the colored cubes) into the cups of the items they want. Whoever puts in the most cubes wins the item. The losers get their money back but the winner’s money goes to the bank. In this way winners have less money in later rounds.
What really kicks the game into overdrive is the auctioneer. This position rotates through the players. This player holds a wide paddle (much like bidders would hold at an auction) and starts the bidding by counting down from 10. The auctioneer can count as fast or slow as they want but the pace has to be steady. We found that most people counted down in under ten seconds. During that time, everyone is placing their bucks into the cups. It’s madness. When the auctioneer reaches zero, he or she places (slams) the paddle gently (violently) but firmly (gleefully) over the cups, thus preventing any more bidding (by dislocating a few small digits).
There are 49 item cards and the game is over in 7 rounds. In between rounds the players my sell off their collections in order to raise money for later rounds of bidding. Sell off your collection too soon and you might miss out on that card you need. Wait too long and you might not have enough money to bid in the final rounds.
The pace is fast and there are lots of levels of strategy to the game. There are many decisions to be made in those ten seconds, and once the bidding is done the players have to decide what cards to keep and what to sell.
It’s a blast. Although there is no real money at stake and no real items to collect, the game does a wonderful job of weaving you into that fiction. I don’t know that I have ever wanted something so desperately as I wanted that Canadian phonograph.
I hope it plays cassette tapes…
2 – 6 players. Ages: 8+
Going Going Gone was designed by Scott Nicholson (of Board Games With Scott fame) and © 2013 by Stronghold Games LLC.