What: A strategic and tactical bidding game of perfect information
Time: 40-60 minutes
People: For those looking for something a bit more cerebral but easy to learn
Available: Get it here UK or here US (it’s a bargain and a hidden gem)
Why we recommend it
How much do you want that tanned leather frog purse on ebay?
The seconds are ticking away. It’s just you and TrueBelieber93 in the bidding war.
He’s pushed you up to 20 bucks. 5 seconds left. Do you raise him again? How much do you really want this? How much does he really want this? Is he just trolling you to push your bid up?
What if you had perfect information? You knew exactly how much TrueBelieber93 could bid. The only thing left to figure out then. Is who wants it most?
In Senator you are spending your influence to win political agendas, whoever has won the most agenda by the end of the game is the winner. Thinking of it like betting on winning a poker hand, or that frog purse. It’s a game of perfect information. You know at all times how much everyone can bid so you have to look them in the eyes and ask, “How much do you want this.”
There is a twist though. The Assassin.
When someone plays the Assassin everyone loses everything they’ve bid. It’s as if eBay could pull the plug forcing you and TrueBelieber93 to lose your $20 each and neither of you getting your beloved toad trophy. Fucking eBay.
There is more magic than just a game of strategic bidding though. The agendas themselves that you are bidding on keep changing the game and the stakes. They let you destroy the influence cards in people’s hands, destroy future agendas or even instantly grab another agenda. It’s like winning a poker hand and stripping everyone of their aces for the next turn.
But you can’t just grab all the agendas you want and win. Some of them conflict with each other. That means you can’t always bid to increase your lead as you will lose your conflicting agendas. Here is our next twist though, you can give agendas to other people. Forcing conflicts upon them. Toppling someone from the top of the pile to the bottom.
No game is the same because of one final element. Event cards that change the bidding rules every game and every round. They might let you only bid once (no increasing your bid), lose everything you bid even if you don’t win or other events that cause you to rethink your whole bidding strategy.
It’s a game about understanding your rivals, getting into their heads. Should you aim to go in quick, grab as many agendas as you can or wait for everyone to fight it amongst themselves and get some cheap wins when everyone is out of influence.
In principle it’s a simple game. It’s just a game of bidding. But what you bid on, how much and what you do with your winning makes this a rich game of tactics and strategy. Not surprising from the renowned designer Eric Lang (Just check out all the amazing games he’s made).