(2013 – Stronghold Games)
If you’ve browsed BGG over the years, it’s very likely that you are familiar with the name, Scott Nicholson. Scott began doing a video blog series focusing on board game reviews back in 2005, entitled Board Games with Scott. Many of the reviewers found on the site nowadays would most likely mention Scott as an influence in their stepping into the review process. While he no longer does regular Board Games with Scott videos, he is still very much involved with the industry, focusing on theory of gamification at Syracuse University and running the Because Play Matters game lab. During the summer of 2013, Stronghold Games announced that they would be publishing Going, Going, Gone, a game designed by Mr. Nicholson to be released at Spiel 2013.
In Going, Going, Gone players take part in a local auction, bidding on various types of items from all across the world. Each Round, players have 10 seconds to bid their “Bucks” (wooden cubes matching their color) on a selection of items by placing their bids into a cup adjacent to the item. The player with the highest bid wins the item and adds it to their collection.
Throughout the game, players will attempt to complete collections, either by collecting items from one country, or the same type of items from each of the various countries. Selling these collections will earn players more Bucks. At the end of the 7th Round, the player that has earned the most Bucks, wins.
– Auction Cups
– Auction Cards
– Bidding Bucks (set of 40 for each player)
– “10” Bidding Buck tokens
– Auction Paddle
During each Round of Going, Going, Gone, players will bid on a selection of 5 separate auctions. Each of these auctions is represented by the 5 individual Auction Cups in the central play area, and the Auction cards adjacent to them. At the beginning of the game, these 5 cups are placed in the central play area, in the formation seen below.
All of the Auction cards are then shuffled together to create an Auction card draw deck. These cards will be drawn at the beginning of each Round to show which items will be part of the various available auctions. Seven of these cards are drawn for the 1st Round and placed amongst the 5 Auction Cups. Since there are more Auction cards than Auction Cups, two of the auctions will contains two items each.
Each player begins the game with 25 Bidding Bucks that they will place in front of them. Once setup is complete the play area should look something like this:
A game of Going, Going, Gone consist of 7 Rounds. Each Round is quite simple, consisting of only two Phases; a Bidding Phase in which players will place their bids on and win various auctions, and the Selling Phase in which players can sell their auction collections for more Bucks.
Bidding Phase – At the beginning of each Round, 7 new Auction cards are added to play. These cards are placed out randomly so that 3 of the auction areas consist of a single card a piece, and 2 of the auction areas consists of 2 cards a piece. Players will then determine the start player for the beginning Round, and that player will take the Auction Paddle. When players are ready, the start player will begin to count down from 10 to 1 at a consistent pace. When he reaches 0 he will say “Gone!”, immediately covering the Auction Cups with the Auction Paddle so that no other Bucks can be bid.
The start player can count as slow or as fast as he wishes from 10 to 1, as long as it is at a consistent pace. For example, he would not be allowed to count quickly from 10 to 5, and then very slowly from 5 to 1. During the countdown, players will have an opportunity to place their Bucks into any of the 5 Auction Cups to bid on the various items up for auction. Once the start player places the paddle over the cups, Bids are finalized.
Each auction is then resolved. The player with the most Bucks in a particular Auction Cup, wins that auction and receives the Auction card corresponding to the cup. The Bucks that were bid by that player for that particular auction is then placed into the supply and not given back to the player. He won the auction, so he must pay for the item won. Any other Bucks bid by other players for that particular auction, would be returned to them, since they did not win the item. If there is a tie amongst players for a winning bid, the start player will win the tie if he was involved in the tie. If not, then moving left from the start player clock-wise around the table, the first player involved in the tie would win.
Taking a look at the auctions for the beginning Round, the bottom, leftmost auction is for a Canadian Car. Player A (blue) has bid 5 Bucks for this item, whereas players B (green) and C (yellow) have only bid 3 Bucks a piece. Therefore, Player A would pay his 5 Bucks and receive the Canadian Car. Players B and C would both receive their 3 Bucks back, since neither of them won the Auction.
Next, we’ll take a took at the top, leftmost auction that contains two items; a Comic Book collection from Germany, and a famous painting from England. Both Player C (yellow) and Player D (white) have bid 6 Bucks on this item. Therefore a tie must be broken. Player A is currently the start player. Moving clockwise around the table from Player A, Player C is the nearest. Therefore, Player C will pay his 6 Bucks and wins both items in the auction.
After all auctions have been resolved, the Auction Paddle is passed to the player to the left, making this player the new start player for the next Round. Players may then sell their auction collections before the next Round begins.
Selling Phase – Between Bidding phases of each Round, player can choose to sell some of their items to gain additional Bucks. Items can be sold in sets and the number of items in a particular set will sell for a higher value. There are two types of sets in the game; similar items from each of the seven countries, or seven different items from the same country.
A complete set of Phonographs would consist of a Phonograph from each of the seven different countries.
A complete set of items from Italy would consist of seven different Italian auction items.
Players do not have to obtain a complete set in order to sell their sets for more Bucks. When players sell items from their collection, they are awarded Bucks according to the follow:
– A single item by itself will sell for 2 Bucks.
– 2 items of the same set will sell for 6 Bucks.
– 3 items of the same set will sell for 12 Bucks.
– 4 items of the same set will sell for 20 Bucks.
– 5 items of the same set will sell for 30 Bucks.
– 6 items of the same set will sell for 38 Bucks.
– 7 items of the same set will sell for 44 Bucks.
Player A decides to sell his Car Collection, consisting of a U.S. made car, a German made car, and a Japanese made car. Because he is selling 3 items of the same set, he would receive 12 Bucks.
Players will continue to bid Bucks and sell their collection for Bucks until the 7th Round has ended. “10” Bidding Buck tokens are provided in the game in case a player even needs to make change for Bucks when they’ve run out of wooden tokens. The player will the most Bucks at the end of the game is the winner.
This is probably one of the shortest reviews I’ve done, if only because the setup and gameplay aspects of the game are so quick and easy to explain. Seven Rounds of 10-second bidding usually keep each game under 30 minutes, regardless of player count, while players of all different gaming backgrounds can grasp the strategies needed right out of the gate.
In the end, what it really comes down to, is that Going, Going, Gone is just pure entertainment. There’s a high level of chaos that will deter some, and others may argue that the strategies found are light and random, but its an excellent combination of set collecting, auction mechanics, and laughter that bring it all together. The game could have included a sand timer, and I suppose that it will probably be an available option on Stronghold’s Timer app, but I find it essential that one of the players is required to count down from 10 to 1. It adds a needed social aspect to the game and keeps it from being taken too seriously, something the game could definitely suffer from. Slamming down the Auction Paddle, yelling “Gone!!” while wooden cubes bounce off of the top of it, rejected from their destination, never gets old.
The pandemonium of throwing cubes, slapping hands with the Auction Paddle, and all-round chaotic exchanges made in a 10-second time period result in a fresh and charming social experience. An outstanding mix of simplicity and hilarity, with the right group of course.