The Auction Game by Dr. William C. Jones, Jr. shareware for charity (see below); Version 1.1 August 2002
Runs in Opera 5 and Netscape 6; also IE with Java Plug-in. The download includes the source code Auction.java, which is worth studying as an example of object-oriented MVC software.
This game comes from trying to simplify Monopoly and remove the luck factor. It can be played in about 3 to 5 minutes per game, with different levels of difficulty. Each new game starts with a different layout of the pieces.
Since we do not have any dice throws, we have no movement around the board, so how do the two players (you and "compy") acquire properties? Answer: All properties are auctioned off by the bank to the highest bidder. This is done in the order the properties are shown in the top part of the display (reading left to right in the first row, then going on to the lower rows). This order changes randomly at the beginning of each new game (unless you click the "repeat game" button).
In place of collecting rents from opposing players, both players collect rent from the bank equal to 10% of property value at 4 points: After the 9th, 12th, 15th, and 18th properties are sold. At the end of the game, each player adds the total value of all properties owned to see who wins.
The game has 20 properties: 8 valued at $100, 8 at $200, and 4 at $300. That
makes a total of $3600 in value. Each player starts with $500 to $700 in cash
(this initial amount changes only at the beginning of a session). You take
turns bidding, 1 bid per property, in $5 units. High bidder takes the property
and pays for it, but the other player has the advantage of having the first bid
on the next property. The hint at far left of the middle panel has a number
that tells what the computer thinks the property is worth bidding, e.g.:
1. hint=55...59 compy means it is compy's turn to bid first and compy bids 55 but will pass if you bid 60 (since compy thinks it is worth at least 55 but less than 60).
2. hint=55/56/57 you means it is your turn to bid first;you bid 55 to get it, pass to let compy have it for 55. (For your convenience, a pass is taken as a bid of $5 less that forces compy up; it saves you the trouble of entering a bid of 50).
3. hint=58/59 you means it is your turn to bid first and compy will bid 60 if you bid just 55; you bid 60 to get it, or pass to let compy have it for 55.
In general, hints ending in 3,4,8,9 show compy thinks it is better to bid higher, since it is better to lose 1 or 2 than for the opponent to gain 3 or 4. If the first bidder has spent so much cash that the displayed bid is the most that the first bidder can make, but compy thinks it is worth more, the hint switches to CHEAP! if you can take the property and GONE! if you cannot.
Note: Zero bids are legal, to make sure that every property is in fact sold to someone. If you pass a zero bid (a very unwise choice), compy will take it for $0. The human always gets the first bid of each game, so you should win each time IF you think and play right.
THIS IS SHAREWARE FOR CHARITY: If you play it for 3 or 4 hours and see that you will be playing it for quite a few more hours, consider yourself morally obligated to send a check for $10 made out to "CCSU Foundation". This is a tax-exempt charitable organization that gives scholarships to college students. Send the check to me -- Dr. William C. Jones, Department of Computer Science, CCSU, 1600 Stanley Street, New Britain CT, 06050 -- and I will take it in to the foundation. This way, I get the pleasure of knowing how many people like my game. This contribution is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. If you send a check, you will not get a better version or an ad-free version; but if you don't you're a fink. .
Students currently in my classes are exempt from the above obligation, as are students in a K-12 class where the instructor is using this game as instructional material for the teaching of logical thinking. Repeted users should download the zipped software onto their own computers.
1. Click 'start new game' to play another game (random order of properties).
2. Click 'repeat game' to start the current game over (same order of properties as you just saw).
3. Enter a whole number in the text field on the 'options' panel to have (a) the next game be the one with that 5-digit ID (which determines the order of the properties), or (b) your initial cash be what you specify as a 3-digit amount. You can see the ID of the game you are currently playing when the game starts, so that you can make a note of it for later use under this option. In fact, you can enter any word or phrase (e.g., your name) and get the game ID that is the numerical equivalent of your name (actually its "hashCode").
4. Click 'loan $50' on 'options' to add $50 to the amount of cash compy starts with. Compy repays this loan interest-free at the end of the game. Use this option when you get good enough that compy is too easy to beat with an even start. In other words, this option provides different levels of difficulty. You may up the loan more than once, to spot compy $100 or more at the beginning of every game, but you cannot lower it until you start a brand new session.
5. Click 'vs person' on 'options' to have 2 real people play against each other. Click it again to switch back. In this version, you two bid against each other, then enter the result (by clicking '5 higher' or '5 lower'), then click 'bid' for "human" to get it, 'pass' for "compy" to get it. The correctness of the bid is not checked by the computer. Optional rule (only if both people agree): Each color group of 4 consists of two "twins" (properties with the same first initial). Immediately after any buy, the buyer can click 'gotcha!' to also buy the twin of the property just bought, and for the same price, from the opponent, but only if the opponent owns that twin at the time of the purchase.
6. Click 'use the crutch' on options to obtain an analysis of what bids compy will make in response to each sequence of choices you may reasonably make. This analysis is only available on groups of 3 properties between two consecutive RENT places.
7. Click anywhere inside the main textarea so that typing the letters b,n,m,s,rhave the effect of b='bid', n='pass', m='5 higher'THEN'bid', s='start new game', r='repeat game'. This option lets you avoid using the mouse (the letters b/n/m were chosen because they are right together; think bid/no/more). In any case, the sequence of choices you make is echoed in the textarea (p/b when compy gets the property after you pass or bid; B/M when you take the property by Bidding what is shown or More than what is shown). That way you can click 'repeat game' and repeat the first few choices easily, to try a better strategy.
COMPUTER'S STRATEGY: On the first 5 properties, compy sets a fixed value per
$100. On the next 4 properties, it sets a fixed value that is $5 higher if you
have bought at least $200 more in property than compy has, but $5 lower if
compy has bought at least $200 more in property than you have (no change
After the first RENT is paid: On a group of 3 properties before RENT, compy makes what seems to be the optimal value without looking past the next RENT, subject to not paying over $75 per $100. You have the advantage that you can look past the next RENT point to see what your strategy should be.
NOTE: If you quit after the first RENT is paid and have more cash than compy, and if you are ahead by at least $65 (counting both cash and final property values minus any loan), the game counts as a win for you, and vice versa.
ANOTHER WAY FOR TWO PEOPLE TO PLAY THE GAME AGAINST EACH OTHER: One of you plays a randomly chosen game against the computer, then the other repeats it and has to beat the score. Then reverse the roles for the next competition.