Going, Going, Gone!

Going Going GoneWhen 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.

awardWhat 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.

Goblins Drool, Faeries Rule

Such a beautiful, wee, fae game.

At first blush, it would be easy to dismiss Goblins Drool, Faeries Rule as a kids game. That kind of “kids game” like Go Fish and Old Maid that makes an adult look longingly at itemized taxes as a way of escape. But do not make that mistake. Like all things fae, the cuteness is but a glamour that belies a thing of great elegance and power.

And fun. It’s not all pomp and circumstance you know. It’s Major Fun.

The game, developed by Game-O-Gami and published by Game Salute,  consists of 20 double-sided cards. Each card is unique and depicts a faerie on one side and a goblin on the other. The faeries have names like Snowflake Shelley, Vanilla Scoop, and Morning Dew while the goblins have names like Full Moon Moo, Cuckoo Clock, and Vermin Vermicelli. Take a moment to notice that some of these names rhyme. That will be important later. Each card also has a pair of symbols. Cards with frogs on one side will have toadstools on the flip-side. Cards with suns on one side will have moons on the other.

One of the great strengths of this game is the artwork. The faeries are whimsical and the goblins are silly. We spent a lot of time just passing the cards around when we first opened the game.

The game starts with all cards arranged so that the goblin side is up. Players receive 4 cards that they keep on the table in front of them. When all players have their cards, 4 more cards are placed in the center of the table (this is called the faerie circle). Extra cards are set aside. Cards are never hidden in this game, but you can only see one side (no peeking at the side facing the table).

To win you must either collect 6 faeries or have no goblins.

awardOn your turn, you take one card in front of you and move it into the faerie circle. Any cards that rhyme with your card are flipped over (goblins become faeries and faeries become goblins). You then collect any cards that have the same symbol as your card (moon, sun, frog, toadstool), BUT your card stays in the circle.

Navigating these two simple aspects of the cards is wonderfully complex. It surprised me just how difficult it was to think about the rhyme AND the symbol. My guess is that the mental processes of keeping track of a rhyme (an auditory skill) and keeping track of a symbol (a visual skill) are different enough that my brain had to scramble to allocate resources.

To make matters even more complex, some sides of some of the cards have stars. These special cards flip over ALL cards in the faerie ring, regardless of the rhyme. All these features created an intriguingly strategic game. Knowing when to play a card because it would help your cause and when to play one so that it would harm your opponent was a big part of the decision process. All cards are visible so you can make plans for yourself as well as plans to thwart your rivals.

The game also comes with instructions to play solitaire. We had a blast with four people, and I can see how the mechanics would lend themselves to thoughtful solo play.

2 – 4 players. Ages: 7+

Goblins Drool, Faeries Rule was designed by David Luis Sanhueza. © 2012 by Game-O-Gami. Brought to us by the good people at Game Salute.

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