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Auction Web

Players have joined a brand new auction website, been given fourteen litcoins (the website’s currency), and now must compete for the best properties while making canny use of their coins.

Brought to Kickstarter by Myanmar Board Games, Auction Web fits into a category of bidding board games with secret card abilities — but is it fun?

Gameplay

Each player takes a set of fourteen litcoin cards; these are numbered cards with the numbers ranging from zero to six. Each player shuffles their deck of cards and draws seven to form their starting hand, except for the start player, who draws eight.

There are three decks of property cards, with decks numbered one through three corresponding to the round you will use them in. At the start of each round, you draw a set number of property cards (which varies based on player count) from that round’s deck and place them face-up on the table.

Each round, players take turns bidding on the properties or passing. Once you have passed, you are out for the rest of the round.

To bid on a property, you place one of your cards face-down on it. If yours is the only card, then you are currently the highest bidder. If there is another card already there, then you privately compare the two cards. The lower card is placed in the discard pile of the player who played it and the higher card is placed face-down back on the property card. Most litcoin cards have special abilities. For example, cards with a value of one cannot be defeated by a three or a four. However, most only trigger if you lost a bid on your turn. Some of these abilities include looking at any face-down card currently on the table or swapping any two face-down litcoin cards.

During the game, you may look through your own discard pile but never another player’s.

If you pass during the first and second rounds, you earn one victory point. Once everyone has passed or a player has used the last card in their hand, the round ends. You collect each property card that you have a litcoin on. All other properties are discarded and each player may draw up to five cards (to a maximum hand count of seven). If your litcoin deck runs out, you reshuffle it. You then draw the property cards for the next round.

The player with the most points after three rounds wins. Property cards are worth different amounts of points but can also have additional abilities. Some will be worth extra points based on the types of properties you collect or give an ability such as allowing you to draw an extra litcoin card for the next round.

Auction Web components

Review

Auction Web combines several neat ideas into one clever little card game that’s accessible, and easy to both teach and learn. There are a lot of factors that go into the choices you make. Where have other players already played so far? What cards have been discarded, giving you some idea of what might currently be face-down on a property? Which properties have you already collected and how might they combo with those currently available to be worth more points at the end of the game?

Auction board games with secret bids tend to be highly interactive, and Auction Web is no exception. That interaction shines in trying to guess what others might have put down, trying to use your card abilities to their best advantage, and trying to keep in mind what other people have already played. All of these elements really come together in a nicely strategic card game.

We were quite impressed with how well the prototype was put together. The rules were clear and effort had clearly been put into keeping the game balanced. There was one situation we ran into, however, where it wasn’t clear how it was meant to resolve. A certain property can cause you to discard the next one you acquire, but it’s not clarified if you get to choose which one if you happen to acquire multiple properties at the end of the next round or if there is a specific order in which you claim new properties.

The artwork is fun and colorful, particularly on the property cards themselves, and we liked how clearly the information is printed on both the property cards and the litcoin cards. Each deck of litcoins has its own name and a unique card back, and we wondered a little if we were missing the joke on some of them as we didn’t understand all the names, but that may have just been us being slow and we did quite enjoy the game’s aesthetic.

Auction Web is quite a compact card game, with a good bit packed into a relatively small box. There are several fun mechanics mixed together, and great back and forth interaction. Check it out on Kickstarter!

Pros: Bright and colorful artwork, plenty of player interaction, information presented clearly on the cards

Cons: One situation that wasn’t clear, potentially missing something in some of the card names

Disclosure: this preview is based on our evaluation of an unpublished prototype of the game, which is subject to change prior to publication. While a modest payment was received to expedite the review process, our thoughts and opinions expressed here are honest and accurate.