|In Undercut, players try to bid low to get pieces with the lowest value.|
|Players:||3 - 5|
|Trios per color:||5|
|Number of colors:||5|
|- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -|
|1 marker per player, 1 or 3 bags to draw pieces from, pen and paper|
|Setup time:||5 minute|
|Status: Complete (v1.0), Year released: 2004|
Undercut is a auction game with a twist: players are trying to bid low to get pieces and sets of pieces with the lowest value. It is the winner of the second Ice Game Design Competition.
Object of the Game
To have the LOWEST score when the first player reaches 10 points.
Dump all 5 stashes into the bag
On the paper, make a score sheet, with one column for each player plus three extra. Label the extra three columns "Tree", "Triplets", and "Foursome", and write a 2 in each of these three columns. Like this:
The player most shaped like an icehouse piece will be the start player for the first round.
Each round consists of two phases: the scoring phase, and the auction phase.
Beginning with the start player and proceeding clockwise around the table, players must turn in any scoring combinations that they have in their hand for the points listed under that scoring combination on the records sheet. After each set is turned in, the pieces are returned to the bag(s) and the score for that combo is increased by one. The Scoring Combinations are:
- TREE = One Large, One Medium, and One Small piece all the same color
- TRIPLETS = Three identical pieces.
- FOURSOME = Four pieces the same size in four different colors.
If a player has more than one scoring combo during the scoring phase he may turn in whichever he likes, but if still left with another scoring combo after those pieces are returned to the bag, he must turn in that one also.
Once all players have turned in scoring combos, the start player draws several stacks of One Large, One Medium, and One Small piece and places them in the center of the table. There will be one fewer stack than players.
Beginning with the start player and proceeding clockwise around the table, players bid to acquire these stacks. Lowest bid for each stack wins. The value of a bid is the sum of the point values of its pieces. When two bids have equal value, the one using fewer pieces is considered lower. So, for example, two smalls is less than one large (2 pts < 3 pts) but one medium is less than two smalls (2 pts = 2 pts, but 1 piece < 2 pieces).
When making a bid, take the pieces from your hand and place them on the table next to the stack on which you want to bid. Place your marker with your bid so everyone knows who made the bid. You may bid zero by placing just your marker next to a stack. If there is already a bid on a stack, any new bid must be lower, and the bid that was undercut is immediately taken back by the player who placed it (Who will have the opportunity to place a different bid when the turn comes back to him).
Bidding continues around the table. Anyone who still has their marker has the chance to undercut any bid on the table when it is their turn. Bidding continues until one player decides to pass. You may not pass if there is any stack on the table with no bids.
The player that passes immediately gets one point added to his score and draws one additional piece for his hand. He can root around in the bag to draw whatever size piece he wants, but cannot choose a specific color.
All other players take the pieces for which they hold the lowest bid into their hands and return the pieces that they bid with to the bag.
The player who passes becomes the start player and you go back to the scoring phase.
When any player hits ten points, this triggers the end of the game. Finish the scoring round and then compare scores. Lowest score wins. In the event of a tie use the pieces in each players hand as a tiebreaker, fewest points wins.
Bidding is as much about getting rid of the pieces you bid with as it is about having to take the ones you bid for.
Pay attention to the combos that other people will get (or avoid) if they win their current bids.
In the beginning, it's often worth it to take a scoring combo just to get the pieces out of you hand. Toward the end, you'll want to avoid taking any win combos at all (since they'll be worth more points). Try to arrange matters so that you can afford to take extra pieces without making any combos.
- There is an archived sample of play available at the Ice Game Design Competition web site.
- Undercut is listed at BoardGameGeek.
|Featured in Pyramid Arcade 22 More Great Games|
|Little Else Required|
|Apophis · Egyptian Solitaire · Freeze Tag|
|Gleebs and Grues · Logger · Timelock · Penguin Soccer|
|More Pyramids Required|
|Icehouse · Quicksand · Torpedo · Undercut|
|More Pyramids + Other Stuff Required|
|Alien City · Blam! · Builders of R'lyeh · Gnostica|
|Pikemen · Pylon · RAMbots · Stack Control|
|Subdivision · Synapse-Ice · Zendo|
|Entered in the Icehouse Game Design Competition, Autumn 2004|
|Winner: Undercut 2nd (tie): E, the Game of Martian Chinese Checkers and Ice Palace|
|4th: the Icehouse Plant Game 5th: King o' the Castle 6th: Spellcycles|