Medici: Auction Time


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iOS adaptation captures the tense bidding gameplay while adding Renaissance theming

Veteran designer Reiner Knizia’s classic auction board game Medici has made its way to mobile devices. This iOS adaptation captures the tense bidding gameplay while adding gorgeous Renaissance theming.

In Medici, players take on the role of wealthy Italian merchant families seeking to acquire the most valuable goods shipments by way of high stakes auctions. On each round, sets of cards representing goods like spices, silks, and dyes are revealed. Players then engage in free-for-all bidding using numbered tokens to win shipments.

The auctions themselves are straightforward but provide plenty of replayable tension. Seeing which opponents drop out as the price rises forces you to make careful gambles. Do you risk overpaying for a coveted set or hold out for the next round? Finding the right balance of aggression versus restraint is key.

The simple but satisfying mechanics give Medici an approachable feel even for casual gamers. It also runs briskly at around 30 minutes per game. However, those seeking deep strategy may find it lacking compared to other iOS titles.

For presentation, the game impresses with lovely period-style artwork and animations. Flipping over cards to reveal goods and banking coins captures the merchant theme nicely. The solo AI opponents offer a good challenge, but online multiplayer is unfortunately absent.


  • Each round starts by revealing new shipment cards consisting of different goods like spices, fabrics, and dyes.
  • Players then take turns placing numbered tokens secretly to bid on shipments. You can bid as much as you want.
  • Once all players have bid, the bids are revealed. Highest number takes the shipment, paying the amount of the 2nd highest bid.
  • After 6 rounds of bidding, final scores are tallied based on the value of sets you acquired. Most points wins.
  • You can collect sets of the same good for big bonuses. But diversifying into different goods balances risk.
  • Bidding strategy involves predicting what opponents want and forcing them to overpay while still winning goods yourself.
  • Finding the ideal pace of bidding is important. Bidding too much early can leave you cash poor later.
  • Knowledge of the scoring sets and card odds helps inform how aggressively to bid each round.
  • The limited information adds tension as you try to guess if opponents are bidding high or bluffing.
  • In later rounds, incomplete sets lose half value, so filling your collection gets tougher.

Overall, it’s a game of risk assessment, valuation, and economic brinksmanship. The simplicity of just bidding tokens each round belies the undercurrent of strategic thinking needed to come out on top.

Medici offers an accessible and lively auction experience on mobile centered around straightforward but compelling bidding decisions. Fans of the original board game will be delighted by the graceful iOS implementation. However, the strategic depth doesn’t quite reach the heights of other conversions in the genre.

6.5 – OKAY


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