I’ve been playing games for a long time, but my reintroduction to modern designer board games only happened in the fall of 2012. At that time, Agricola was the hot game, and when I finally picked up my own copy of the game, I went online to try and learn it. This was my introduction to Scott Nicholson, who ran a Youtube channel devoted to board games called “Board Games With Scott“. Beginning with a silly Ricola advert parody, Scott taught me how to play Agricola, step by step, and I immediately knew that this was a smart guy with a silly edge of wit.
Sadly, by that time, Scott had already moved on from his video channel, spending more time on his studies of transformative games and the process of gamification. He was also working on a game of his own.
Going, Going, GONE! is a very simple game of auctions. Now, typically auctions are my least favourite mechanic in modern board games. I often play games with 2p or 3p and at those player counts, auctions tend to lack any of the thrill that happens at 4p+. Going, Going, GONE! is a simpler and more pure auction game.
The box comes with five sturdy cups, a deck of cards, a bag bursting to the brim with wooden cubes, a cardboard auctioneers paddle (which also has the rules printed on it), and some multiplier tokens (in case the cubes, which count as your “money”, aren’t enough to tabulate your incredible wealth). All the components are quite nice, especially the cups – which are made of a thick and very durable plastic. The component quality helps to justify the pricetag – which seems to be the barrier that’s preventing more people from finding this lovely game.
Players lay out the five cups and take a number of cubes. You then shuffle the cards and lay them out next to the cups. Three of the five cups are assigned a single card, and the other two cups are assigned two cards.
These cards represent collectibles that you are bidding on, and they each have two important pieces of information on them. They have a country of origin (ie. Canada, USA, Japan) and a type (toys, cars, record players, etc). Building a collection means acquiring sets of cards that are either of the same type, or come from the same country.
To bid, one player takes the paddle and begins a countdown from 10. They can count down at any speed they like, but they must remain consistent in their countdown tempo. During this countdown, all players toss cubes into the cups they are bidding on. Once the countdown is done, the paddle is dropped onto the cards, and the tally is made. Players who win items (ie. have the most cubes) pay those cubes to the bank. If you didn’t win, you get your cubes back.
Between turns, you can sort your collection in any way you like, and sell off sets of items for money (if you need it). The paddle then moves to the next player, who becomes this turns auctioneer. Once the deck is exhausted, the player who has the most money and the most valuable collection wins the game!
Games of Going, Going, GONE! tend to be loud affairs of cube tossing. It’s a raucous game that gets everyone involved. Winning an item by a single cube is super satisfying. Discovering that you spent ten cubes on an item that nobody else bid on? Deflating! Replayability is likely very good. I suspect that even though the mechanics are very simple, the cube tossing will make each game so different. It’s easy to teach and lasts about 30 minutes. It’s more of a party game than a strategy game, but I suspect it’s the type of party game that will appeal to party people and strategy gamers alike.