Game Name: For Sale
Publisher: Gryphon Games
Designer: Stefan Dorra
Genre: Easy to learn auction game
Year: 1997; This edition for review 2009
Players: Three to six players
Playing time: 20 Minutes
For Sale is an auction game; probably one of the easiest to learn. If you are looking for a game to introduce the auctioning mechanic to your family or gaming group then this is the game I would start with. The game comes with 60 cards and a bunch of coins. Both are of good quality, and the artwork is nice. Whimsical is the term that I would use. The property cards range from the lowest value (1) being a cardboard box, to the highest value (30) space station.
Initially, after adjusting the cards for the number of players and passing out a stack of cash to everyone, phase one of the game begins. Turn up enough property cards to equal the number of players and the first player puts out a bid. Everyone bids until they decide it is too rich for them and they pass. Once a player passes, they put half of their bid in the bank, take the other half back, and pick up the lowest value property card that is on the bidding block. This continues until the highest bidder is left with the highest value property card. Then a new set of property cards is turned over and the bidding begins again. You can pass without bidding, which helps a lot if you blow all your cash early.
But it isn’t over yet. Now you take the stack of cash cards and put one out per number of players. Each player selects one of their properties in secret and flips them over all at the same time. The currency cards are given out to the players according to the value of the properties revealed. So if you flip over a 30 value card, you take the highest value currency card. You repeat this until all of the currency cards are gone. Everyone adds up their cash and the one with the most wins the game.
The whole game takes maybe 15 to 20 minutes to play. It has a surprising amount of strategy for such a simple game. Money management is the key of course, it can go bad for you if you run out of bidding cash early. But, the nice thing about this auction game is that making bidding mistakes early does not necessarily mess you up for the rest of the game. You can recover. It is a great filler type game and is a good auction game for those who aren’t too keen on auction games. I had a lot of fun and everyone usually wants to play a second game right after the first game is over. Recommended for families and gaming groups both.
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