Game of the Week 1

So I’m joining a other game designers in a Game of the week challenge, where we design board or video games for a week and get many ideas and go through many failures to find some successes. This challenge was given by Rami Ismael at Gamasutra.

You can follow other games on twitter by following the #GameAWeek hashtag.  So here is my first game attempt in the challenge.

Bid War

Deck Trimming Bidding War game

Game Design by Greg Koeser, March 2014

Number of players: 2-4

Estimated time for a game: 15-30 minutes

Objective: Collect the most points by playing a 1-3 card bidding war game. You get additional points for collecting your own suit, and the most points for collecting the jokers.



  •          Take 2 decks of cards and separate by suit (hearts, diamonds, spades and clubs)
  •          Each player selects one suit and the cards from 1-10 (20 cards per player)
  •          Combine the Jacks, Queens and Kings in the suits playing and a joker per player – this becomes the Prize Deck. Shuffle these cards and place in the center of the board.
  •          Everyone shuffles their 20 cards and draws 5 cards from their deck

How a turn works:

  1.       Everyone draws back up to 5 cards from their personal deck. If your deck doesn’t have the  cards, shuffle your own discard deck to refill your personal deck.
  2.       Flip a prize card from the center
  3.        Jacks are worth 5, Queens are worth 10, Kings are worth 15, and Jokers are worth 25
  4.       Your own suit is worth double for you
  5.       Players can play their action cards (2s and 7s)
  6.       Players decide on 1-3 cards to bid for the prize
  7.       When everyone is ready everyone simultaneously reveals the bidding cards
  8.       After cards are revealed, reinforcement cards (1s and 3s) can be played from your hand
  9.       Count the total value of each player’s 1-3 cards and the highest number gets the prize. Everyone should keep their own prize pile which you should keep separate from your draw, discard, and trash piles
  10.       Everyone’s bid cards goes to their own discard pile. Unplayed cards stay in your hand
  11.       In the case of a tie, no one wins the prize and a new prize gets added to this prize for the next round.
  12.    The game ends when the last prize is won. If there is a tie on the last round, you replay the round for the current prize without a new prize added.

Each card is worth the value of the card, but many cards have an additional power as well.

  •          1s and 3s can be played after cards have been revealed to add to your total number
  •          2s can be played as an action card before revealing cards to draw 2 additional cards into your hand. They could also be used as one of your 3 facedown cards.
  •          7s can be played as an action card before revealing cards to remove a card from your hand from your personal deck. Put the 7 in your discard pile and your “trashed” card in a separate pile. When you need to reshuffle to draw cards, do not shuffle in the trashed cards.


The game ends when the Prize deck is empty and the last round does not end in a tie. Everyone counts the cards in their Prize piles (Jacks being worth 5, Queens worth 10, Kings worth 15, and Jokers worth 25, with the value doubled if in your own suit).


Example of play:

Alice (hearts), Betty (spades) and Carl (clubs) are playing the game. At the start of the round, the prize deck is flipped and a Queen of spades is revealed. This card is worth 10 points to Alice and Carl, but 20 points to Betty, since she is playing spades. Alice has a 2 and chooses to play it to draw 2 new cards, she draws another 2 and plays that – she now has 7 cards in her hand. Carl has a 7 and chooses to play it to “trash” his 4 of clubs – Carl now only has 3 cards in his hand.  Betty does not have any action cards. All three players decided on their  1-3 cards to bid, when they are ready in they reveal their cards. Alice shows a 9, 6, 5 for a 20. Betty shows a 10, 6, 4 for 20. And Carl shows a 5 for 5 points. Seeing the tie, Betty plays a 1 from her hand to bring her score up to 21. Alice doesn’t have a 1 or 3 to answer and so Betty claims the prize for the turn.

Everyone draws back up to 5 cards (for Alice, this is just one card, for Betty this is 4 cards, and for Carl, this is 3 cards), and a new Prize is turned over.



–       For a 2 player game, there are 14 rounds, 21 rounds in a 3 player game and 28 rounds in a 4 player game. It is important to use your 7s to trash your lower value cards (4s, 5s, and perhaps 1s) early and then later in the game use the 7s for its value and not the trash power. Trashed cards are not reshuffled into your deck and give you a stronger deck in future game rounds.

–       If you don’t think you can or want to take the current prize, use the turn to get rid of your lower cards. Even if you don’t particularly want to take the prize, you might bid 3 lower cards, just to be able to draw more cards at the end of the turn. 8s, 9s, and 10s are your power cards and 4s, 5s, and 6s are your lower ones in this game.

–       You might also play your 1s either in the 3 cards bid or as a reinforcement cards even if it doesn’t change the balance of the bid, just to cycle through them in hopes of drawing better cards.