For Sale

For Sale boxAnother review from my Finnish site: For Sale.

Stefan Dorra’s For Sale is definitely one of the better small auction games. It’s a two-part deal that’s done in about fifteen minutes.

Two rounds of bidding

In the first round, players use their initial stock of coins to buy houses (cards with values from 1 to 30) in a regular, turn-based open auction. There’s one house for each player each round and the players who bid most get the more valuable houses. Everybody but the highest bidder pays half of their bid; highest bidder pays everything.

In the second round, players use the houses to win checks. Once again there’s one check (values 0 to 15, twice, except there’s no 1’s) for each player; this time it’s blind bidding. Choosing the right house for the current selection of checks can be quite tricky. That’s good, because while playing the first round well is instrumental to winning, good bidding on second round can work wonders even with mediocre houses.

Gorgeous looks

For Sale looks really good. The illustrator Alvin Madden has worked wonders, the game looks really great (except the checks, which are a bit bland, but that’s understandable). The only problem is the really oversized box: the 60 cards, bunch of cardboard coins and the rules could probably fit in an Amigo card box.

However, nobody actually forces anybody to use the box, so that’s hardly a big deal. The game looks great, the art is funny and makes the theme work and the components serve their purpose well — what more can you want?

Overview

For Sale is one of the best small auction games I know. The decisions are deliciously tough, yet still the game is over in 15 minutes, even though it has two distinct phases that offer different challenges. That’s something quite amazing.

Some might be put off by the blind bidding element in the game, but that’s not a big deal. I’m not a huge fan of blind bidding, yet I like the second part of the game. It’s an integral part of what makes For Sale work. Buy the game: these small card games don’t get much better than this.

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