I know, I’m not supposed to be designing games this way any more. But I was thinking about mechanics, and I came up with some that seem to fit together quite nicely. Now I need a theme that will actually make sense with them.
So the mechanism is a combination of bidding and predicting. Both fun, right? You aim to win bids in the usual sort of way, but also to predict correctly how the auction will go for you.
This is the sort of thing I’m thinking of. Each player (there are 2-4 players) has a set of tokens numbered 1–12. These are used both for bidding and for predicting. Each round is a set of 12 quick auctions: auctions take place by each player secretly choosing one (or zero) of their bidding tokens and then simultaneously revealing. If the leading bid is double the next highest, they win that auction. If not, everyone gets a chance to (again secretly) add a further one (or zero) token to increase their bid, and so on.
Before the auctions start, you have to secretly predict both how many of the 12 auctions you will win, and also how many of your tokens you will have left at the end. You mark these predictions by removing the corresponding tokens from your hand and placing them face-down in designated spaces. (So you don’t have those two numbers available to bid with.)
You score 1 point for each auction that you win. If you correctly predicted the number of auctions that you won, you score +10 points. If you correctly predicted the auctions and also correctly predicted how many tokens you would have left, you score +[that token’s value) points, and also you ‘retire’ it, ie. it is not available to you in future rounds. The game ends when one player has ‘retired’ six of their tokens. Whoever has scored the most points by that stage wins.
There will need to be some tweaking of this, eg. there might be an obvious optimal strategy, or it might go on far too long. It might be that the things up for auction should be of different values, rather than just 1 point each. But anyway, that’s for the future.
The current problem is: what’s the theme? I can’t think of any real-life situation where you ‘score’ in that sort of combination of ways.
The use of ‘retirement’ suggests that perhaps the bidding tokens could represent people, eg. members of your family that you’re trying to get into infliuential posts? Or they could be quanta of effort that you’re allocating to a series of races? It needs a bit of thought… what d’you reckon?