Me First: A turn order auction idea. Tell me if it's broken or been done.

Me First Token 1up
This morning I scribbled down a quick note: "Deck of numbered cards. Deal a row of 1 per player. Your turn: Keep a card, face up in front of you. This is next round's turn order." I've since been informed that this is the initiative system in Savage Worlds.

Then I remembered this old post from July when I was still buzzing from Libertalia. All this congealed into this odd two-phase game that I will share with you now, along with crude and hastily compiled print-and-play prototype chits.

There is a deck of cards like the ones shown above. They have a big number, 1-4 arrows, and 1-5 stars. The game is comprised of two phases, the acquisition phase and the tax phase. Within each phase is several rounds, in which players take turns. Here's how it all works.


SETUP

Shuffle the cards and deal one for each player, plus one. Place these face up in a row. For example, if there were a four player game, you'd deal five cards.


ACQUISITION PHASE

In the first round, the youngest player goes first, continuing with the next youngest, and so on. Thereafter, turn order changes with each round.

On your turn, take one card from row. Keep it face up in front of you. As you continue acquiring cards, keep them in one stack in front of you, so that only your most recently acquired card is visible on top of the stack.

The last player always gets a choice of two cards. Discard the remaining card that no one picked into a discard pile.

In every round after the first, the card number in front of you indicates the turn order, starting from the lowest number. If there are ties, the player with more arrows goes first.

END OF PHASE: When there are two few cards to make a complete row, this phase is over.

SCORE: Earn one point for every star in your stack. (I think there might also be set bonuses for collecting 3-, 4-, or 5-of-a-kind, be it a number, arrow or star. Haven't decided.)


BETWEEN PHASES

Each player now sorts through their stack and keeps it in hand. Shuffle the discard pile into a new draw deck.


TAX PHASE

In the first round, the oldest player goes first, continuing with the next oldest, and so on. Thereafter, turn order changes with each round.

In the beginning of each round, draw one card from the draw deck and place it face up in the middle of the table. This is the beginning of the row.

Each player chooses one card from her hand, then reveals it, and places it into the row.

Each player takes turns taking a card from the row and adding it to his stack (NOTE: These acquired cards do not go to your hand, they go to a brand new stack.) Again, the last player has a choice of two cards. Discard the unselected card.

In every round after the first, the card number in front of you indicates the turn order, starting from the lowest number. If there are ties, the player with more arrows goes first.

END OF PHASE: When there are no more cards left in players' hands, this phase is over.

SCORE: Lose one point for every star in your stack.


VICTORY

The player with the most points after the tax phase wins!

3 comments:

  1. For sale is kind of similar in the concept, the tough choice of the game is the correct evaluation between absolute value of the numbers and relative value within the single turn.

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  2. If you are looking for something similar from the past, take a look at the board game New England" The big hook in that was that you had cards labelled 1 - 12 (i think), and the first part of of the round, each player selected a single card. The number on the card gave you coins of the value on the card, and the card also indicated the order in you which bought something from a very very limited supply in the second half of the round. So selecting the 1 gave you only 1 coin, but you were guaranteed to go first, selecting the 12 gave you 12 coins, but it was obvious you were going to go last.

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  3. Thank you! I think Alan R. Moon has a few games with that mechanic, doesn't he?

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Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.