Improving the Standard Blind Auction Process?

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Improving the Standard Blind Auction Process?

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 18 Apr 2016, 17:03

We came upon a conundrum in a recent PbF game in which there was a disconnect between the GM's understanding of the auction rules and some players' understanding.

Right now, the commonly used Blind Auction system allows for players to vote the same amount on multiple powers and also declare a preference between equal-valued bids.

While that seems to be the common practice, it also seems to run counter to the whole point of a blind auction. If you really prefer X power over Y, shouldn't you grant X at least one point more than Y?

I'd be interested to see what the popular opinion on changing this custom might be.
  • Option A: Make no change, all is well, nothing to see here.
  • Option B: Require all bids from a single player to be different values for each power (thus enforcing a ranking).
  • Option C: Allow same-value bids from a player, but ignore the concept of order or preference.
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Re: Improving the Standard Blind Auction Process?

Postby GhostEcho » 18 Apr 2016, 17:25

GMs will run the blind auction process a little differently from one to another, and the "no preference" bid is one of the common points of difference. The other (related) one is whether all bid points have to be used. For instance, some GMs will treat "no preference" as a bid of 20 (or whatever) each, while others will put it down as 1 each.

I'm not sure there's really an objective gain one way or the other, but there probably should be a forum games default in cases where disputes arise and the GM hasn't specified details.

To answer your question directly, I kind of like the no preference (but actually) option, as it saves the GM trouble... especially in the case where "no preference" assigns more than just 1 point.
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Re: Improving the Standard Blind Auction Process?

Postby Don Juan of Austria » 18 Apr 2016, 20:23

I'd vote a "B"...but would think that each GM would decide anyway.
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Re: Improving the Standard Blind Auction Process?

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 18 Apr 2016, 20:29

Don Juan of Austria wrote:I'd vote a "B"...but would think that each GM would decide anyway.


Oh, I'm sure each GM will handle things their own way. I think that option "B" would be a good default, since it provides the least potential for confusion.
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Re: Improving the Standard Blind Auction Process?

Postby EnlightenedMonarch » 18 Apr 2016, 22:35

I like the current way the best, as often if you put the maximum on one nation then you don't have many left. Using preferences allows you to put down more information, as the point of blind auctions is to give each person a fair chance to get a country they are fine with playing, not introduce a new part of the game.

That said, I think that B or C would be fine too, but in that case I would increase the number of points for each person.
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Re: Improving the Standard Blind Auction Process?

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 19 Apr 2016, 13:53

EnlightenedMonarch wrote:That said, I think that B or C would be fine too, but in that case I would increase the number of points for each person.


It seems that there also isn't a standard for how many points are appropriate for a given number of players. For option B there especially has to be some wiggle room.
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Re: Improving the Standard Blind Auction Process?

Postby nanooktheeskimo » 19 Apr 2016, 17:05

nopunin10did wrote:
EnlightenedMonarch wrote:That said, I think that B or C would be fine too, but in that case I would increase the number of points for each person.


It seems that there also isn't a standard for how many points are appropriate for a given number of players. For option B there especially has to be some wiggle room.

The standard is generally, at least in my experience, 20 points per country. In a 7 player game, 140, in a 5 player game, 100, etc., but it's also specific to individual GMs. I for one like round numbers, it suits my tics well. Others like the multiples of 20. Yet others like something else! So there's no real hard and fast rule, but the general practice I've observed is 20 points per power as the norm :)
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Re: Improving the Standard Blind Auction Process?

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 19 Apr 2016, 18:56

nanooktheeskimo wrote:
nopunin10did wrote:It seems that there also isn't a standard for how many points are appropriate for a given number of players. For option B there especially has to be some wiggle room.

The standard is generally, at least in my experience, 20 points per country. In a 7 player game, 140, in a 5 player game, 100, etc., but it's also specific to individual GMs. I for one like round numbers, it suits my tics well. Others like the multiples of 20. Yet others like something else! So there's no real hard and fast rule, but the general practice I've observed is 20 points per power as the norm :)


20 points per power works quite well for low numbers of players but will break down in the upper reaches (particularly for Option B).

I fiddled with some formulas, and I think I have a model that might work:
Blind Auction Calculator (Google Sheet)

This set of formulas keeps the point total and maximum bid at nice multiples of 10, and it will facilitate Option B's unique bids rule.

Let me know what you think.
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Re: Improving the Standard Blind Auction Process?

Postby nanooktheeskimo » 20 Apr 2016, 04:48

nopunin10did wrote:
nanooktheeskimo wrote:
nopunin10did wrote:It seems that there also isn't a standard for how many points are appropriate for a given number of players. For option B there especially has to be some wiggle room.

The standard is generally, at least in my experience, 20 points per country. In a 7 player game, 140, in a 5 player game, 100, etc., but it's also specific to individual GMs. I for one like round numbers, it suits my tics well. Others like the multiples of 20. Yet others like something else! So there's no real hard and fast rule, but the general practice I've observed is 20 points per power as the norm :)


20 points per power works quite well for low numbers of players but will break down in the upper reaches (particularly for Option B).

I fiddled with some formulas, and I think I have a model that might work:
Blind Auction Calculator (Google Sheet)

This set of formulas keeps the point total and maximum bid at nice multiples of 10, and it will facilitate Option B's unique bids rule.

Let me know what you think.

I've no opinion on whether it holds up for larger numbers, especially in the case of situation B, as I don't see that the system needs fixing myself, so will be devoting my time and energy to figuring other things out ;)

Just pointing out that there is a general standard in place, whether it's the "best" or most efficient (for lack of a better phrase) or not, or if there's a better one, this is the one that's around at the moment :)
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Re: Improving the Standard Blind Auction Process?

Postby EpicDim » 22 Apr 2016, 20:34

I've always had an issue with the preference lists not being unique. For me, it makes it difficult to use spreadsheet formulas to catch the max bid on the table. Because of this I messed up allocation in my last game and it wasn't noticed until Spring 1901 was mostly done creating a giant mess.

The problems with forcing unique are a user-error problem, and a user caring problem. It's hard enough for users to add up 7 or 11 numbers to make them match the total when most of them are 1, if you force unique the math just gets harder. The second issue is every game I get a list which contains fewer than the total and they just don't care. Either a no-preference vote or no-preference for order and so whatever you come up with has to account for that as well.
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