Created by Alex Kutsenok
The Auction game is literally an auction. Each player starts with some 'money' and bids on 'items'. A good player will try to spend the least amount of money to buy the best items. The game is played with a normal deck of cards, which are used to represent both money and the items being bid on. The game can be played with 2-4 players, but we will assume that a 2-player game is being played at first.
Starting the Game
Each player starts with 9 cards. These must be 2 through 10 of any one suit. For example, one player may have the Spades and another may have the Hearts. The choice of suit does not matter. Each card represents money. A 2 is $2, an 8 is $8, and so on. There are always 8 items on which the players bid. They are 2 Jacks, 2 Queens, 2 Kings, and 2 Aces. Thus, a small deck of 9 cards must be created containing those exact 8 cards and also a Joker (the Joker will be explained later). The suits do not matter. This 9-card deck must be shuffled before the game can start. The Jacks, Queens, Kings, and Aces represent items that are being bid on. A Jack is worth 1, a Queen is worth 2, a King is worth 3, and an Ace is worth 4.
Goal of the Game
At the end of the game, the players will have purchased all 8 of the item cards. For example, I may have purchased 2 Aces and a Jack, while my opponent purchased 2 Kings, 2 Queens, and a Jack. So who wins? At this point, it is important to figure out who holds the most valuable items. My items are worth 2*4+1=9 while my opponent holds items that are worth 2*3+2*2+1 = 11. Thus, my opponent has won. Notice that the items are worth a total of 20. It doesn’t matter how much money you have left over except in one case. If at the end of a game there is a tie where both players hold items worth 10, the winner is the player who spent the least amount of money. Thus, both players must add up what money they have left at the end to see who spent the least (or has the most left).
How the Bidding Works
There are 9 rounds. Each round the top card from the Items deck is revealed. That is the item being bid on. Remember that Queens are worth 3 and Jacks are worth 1, so you would expect people to spend more on a queen. To make a bid, each player selects a SINGLE card from the money he has left and places it face-down (hidden from the other player) on the table. When both players have done so, they reveal their cards simultaneously. The player who bid the most wins the card and must pay the money card he had placed. The loser gets his money card back since it was not used to purchase anything.
For example, let’s say that my Opponent and I are bidding on a Queen. When we reveal our bets, it turns out that I placed a 7 and he placed a 4. This means that I purchase the Queen for 7 and he gets his 4 back.
Money spent in one round and the item it purchased remains face-up (revealed) on the table until the end of the game. In our example, it means that I cannot spend that 7 again, as I no longer have it. However, my opponent can spend that 4 again since he got it back. Keep in mind that players can only place one card at a time during a bid.
What If We Both Bid a Seven?
Sometimes, both players will bid the same amount of money. When the cards are revealed, those bids remain on the table and the bidding goes into overtime. In over-time, players are allowed to bid a second card that they are willing to spend for the Item in addition to the money they had already spent. Overtime bidding occurs in the same way as normal bidding, so both players must reveal their second card at the same.
For example, let’s say that my Opponent and I both bid 7 on that Queen. In second overtime, he bids a 3 and I bid a 5. This means that I win the auction. I have paid a 7 and 5 for that Queen. My opponent gets all of his money back.
Overtime can go on for more than one round if there are repeated ties. Anytime there is overtime, a player can pull out and withdraw his bid. This player gets all of his money back and his opponent wins with whatever money is face-up on the table. If both players try to pull out, the first player to do so is allowed to pull out and the last one is stuck with the purchase.
The Joker is not an Item that can be purchased. If a Joker comes up, it means that the players are bidding on the next card in the Item deck without knowing what it is (bidding blind). If the Joker ends up being the last card in the Items deck, it does nothing and the game is over.
Playing With 3 or 4 Players
If there are 3+ players, each player starts with 2-10 of a single suit just like before. Also, the players bid on 8 Items just like before. Notice that this means there is more money in play, but the number of Items has not changed. Players are not required to bid in every single around. Also, it is possible for 2 players to go into overtime in which the other players do NOT participate. Of course, you can have overtime with more than 2 players participating.
The game can be played differently by assigning the value of 1 to the Joker. This means that now a total of 21 value points are being auctioned off, which eliminates the possibility of ties in a 2-player games. This change has a big effect on strategy and is a great way to mix things up.