Haggle - a game of trading and secrets

As authorized by fluiddruid, and thanks!

Inspired somewhat by the success of the mafia variants, I’m hoping to get a game of haggle started, as described in detail over [thread=417405]here[/thread]. Very roughly, all players are competing to put together a high-scoring portfolio of valuables, but nobody starts off knowing all the rules by which valuables are scored. Each player begins with a certain collection of ‘rule slips’ and valuables, and the competitors must make trades in an effort to advance further than all their competitors.

I’ve been thinking about some of the subjects that were discussed in the previous IMHO thread about how to make it as good an introductory game for the SDMB as possible, and here’s what I’ve got with so far:

  • Fairly small group of players… anywhere from nine to fifteen, with twelve probably best.

  • Time limit of the game will be around three weeks, with up to a day at the end between ‘trade deadline’ and ‘submission deadline.’ If any player is unable to send a submission message, the assumption will be that they submit everything they have, which will almost certainly be better than giving them no score at all.

  • The valuables and rules will be fairly simple, only one ‘kind’ of trading token for instance instead of two or three different logical sets. And no especially tricky rules like entirely repealing other rules. No white elephant tokens, and fairly few penalty rules.

  • No partnership rules, whispers, or anything allowing different players to communicate strategy or rule information off-thread. All players will be on the honor system in this respect.

  • I’d like to try a system of numbering trade offers, on a per-person basis. That way, when accepting, you can say that you’re accepting so-and-so’s offer #12, and if it hasn’t been taken already, and was available to you, I’ll go ahead and punch it in.
    All are welcome to post their signups or questions in reply to this message. I’ll repeat the rules in more detail before we begin, or at request. Sound fair?

Hmmm…sounds interesting. I’m in!

Count me in.

Based on the description, I’m guessing that this game won’t have a whole lot of viewing gallery potential. Is this correct?

Hmm… probably less than mafia, but I’m not sure if there’d be none. (And thank you for bringing up that question.)

It’s probably tempting fate to allow rule slip knowledge into the ‘viewing gallery’ while the game is in play, thus spectators would be confined to pure speculation about the strategems and market forces involved, in a way that bona fide players wouldn’t be, since the players at least know some of the rules. Speculation is welcome, but - well, if somebody wants to open a viewing gallery I’ll be sure to drop by. Can’t really say anything more right now.

Don’t you have work to do in Mafia3?

Okay, let’s see.

Players so far:
Hal Briston
Followup to the viewing gallery thing: Like in mafia, strategy, speculation, and most other discussion by non-players is discouraged in the game thread once play starts. (Lighthearted jokes are permissible, but accepting or proposing trades ‘as a joke’ is not funny.) If you do wish to speak of such things, then start a viewing gallery. K?

And… I think I’ve just put the finishing touches on my rule set. Yay! (It might get tweaked a little later on, when I’m trying to sort out starting player kits.)

Sure…but I can lynch scum and wheel n’ deal at the same time. :slight_smile:

billyb0b will give it a go.

I will try it…though I dont understand it whatsoever at this point.

Player list so far:
Hal Briston

I do wonder if you’ll continue posting in the third person throughout the game, billyb0b. :wink:

And MadTheSwine, is there anything that I can do to promote understanding? I’m hoping to put together a bit of sample game action to post sometime today - that might be helpful.

I’m not MadTheSwine, but will answer anyway. I think I would understand the game a whole lot better if you’d give a couple of sample rules, just as examples of what a rule might look like. Is it things like “A type C token is worth 4½ Hagglebucks, 7 if you also have a type G token”?

Yeah, that example is fairly good, although those two different clauses might also be on different rule slips just to complicate matters. Here’s some of the ruleset I quoted on the opinions thread, linked to above:

  1. White index cards are worth 4, Blacks worth 6, and reds are worth 10
  2. Yellow index cards are worth 12, greens worth 15, and blues 18
  3. Brown index cards are worth 20 and purples worth 25
  4. Three or more black cards are valued at an extra 50%
  5. Four or more green cards are valued at only 1 point per card
  6. Purple cards in excess of two are only valued at 2 points per card
  7. Any full rainbox set, (eight index cards of different colors) are worth an extra 30 points per, as long as no other rule might be seen to affect their value beyond the base points.
  8. American flag bonus: Handing in exactly two blues, two whites, and two reds (no more of each,) is worth an extra 25 points.

The listing at Board Game Geek (which I found from wikipedia ) also has a few odd rule samples, some of which are unfortunately in other languages.

This should be enough to give you an idea. Often, each token has a base value, and then there are combinations, special clauses, extra boni, and so on that override those basic values in special cases.

Hope that helps.

Do the players know what other players have from the start? For example, if I have a green, a red, a blue and rules 15 and 17, does everyone else know this?

Yes. Player assets, both hard (reds, greens, blues or whatever,) and informational, (rule slips posessed, rule slips seen,) will be a matter of public record throughout the game. As moderator, keeping track of this and posting updates will probably be a large part of my job, though I expect players to help out by keeping track of their own stats and stating them if there’s an inquiry and I’m not around to respond.

And yes, the slips that you have seen but do not hold are still part of what you ‘have’ - if you’ve been shown a slip as part of a trade but not given it, or if you’ve given away one of the slips that you used to hold so you remember the rule but don’t hold the slip anymore, transparency suggests that this is public information, and should be kept track of, especially since nobody wants an opponent to acquire complete or very nearly complete information.

Going back to your example, the only thing that the other players do NOT all know about your situation is what the content of rule slips 15 and 17 actually are. Though they’re free to guess based on their own rule slips and on what kinds of trades you seem to be interested in. Also, some of their rule slips might actually refer to your own rule slips by number, thus giving them context hints. Rule slip 18, for instance, might say “turning in three blue cards reverses the bonus on rule 17 into a penalty of equal amount.”

Cool. I’m in.

What’s the difference between knowing the information on a slip and owning the slip?
The slip itself is useless, only the information is of value. Are you only allowed to trade information for slips you own? Why can’t you trade information from slips you have seen but do not own?

Pretty much what you’ve guessed above is correct - if you have seen a slip but don’t have posession, you can’t trade on it in the version of play rules I’m thinking of, this time.

In a party game environment, people are usually free to trade on secondhand rules on a ‘caveat emptor’ basis, but the information is much less reliable than actually seeing the rule information in black and white, (or whatever colors are on the slips.) Here, since I’m trying to keep a lid on off-thread communiques between players, and on the potential for deceit and disaster, I thought it would make more sense just to prohibit such trades. If you want to be able to trade away rule information, you must get physical posession of the slip. Alright?

I’d like to give it a go. My weekend days are very limited online though, will that be a problem? I can check in in the early morning and possible late evening hours though.

Week days/nights aren’t a problem.

Good? If so, count me in. I’ll have to figure it out from scratch like some of the others in this thread.

I don’t imagine that this sort of thing will be an issue - generally the only person you’ll hurt by being unavailable at any time will be yourself, though a would-be trading partner might get a little upset if he proposes a counter-offer and you’re not there to respond to it.

Sounds like your online time will be reasonably good anyway - nobody is around the dope all the time. :smiley: (though I’ll be trying, in order to keep up with what’s going on AMAP.) And there aren’t any situations where one player will be holding up the whole game by not posting, just the trade offers made to him. Any trade offers that you make Friday evening, say, could be accepted and completed saturday afternoon in your absence, with me filling the other party in on the rule slips coming his [or her] way.

Signup list:
Hal Briston
Uncommon Sense

We’re on our way to a reasonably comfy little game! :slight_smile: