Don’t tell anyone else this, but I’m a sucker for trashy reality television & there was definitely a point a few years back where I wound up binge watching Storage Wars. Maybe it was because I had been working at a record store at the time and always found it hilarious that on the show they would claim that obviously worthless junk actually had some sort of value. There was no way that those records weren’t moldy!
Vault Wars by Floodgate Games was one of my favorite games of last year and it captures the haggling, auctioning and guessing in the television show so well. In Vault Wars the players act as novice adventurers who need some loot in order to jump start their career. Coincidentally there are a bunch of vaults whose owners have gone delinquent on their payments. Maybe the past owners were eaten by a dragon or maybe they just settled down and gave up on the life of peril and intrigue. Their vaults of treasure are about to be auctioned off and that’s where you come in!
The vaults each contain various numbers of items, represented by a deck of cards, which range from the completely worthless “Junk” to invaluable gems or armor. The contents of each individual vault go up for auction and players need to pay storage fees between rounds on anything they decide to keep. What makes Vault Wars great is that each vault has its own special rules and usually some players will have more information about what might be inside than others.
The auctioning and bidding mechanisms fit perfectly with the theme of the game. Additionally it is extremely easy to teach and at this point I practically have it down to a science when it comes to introducing it to new players. The game plays with 3-5 players but I feel like it really shines when played with 4. Much of the fun comes down to figuring out who might know more about the contents and whether they’re trying to bluff that the vault is valuable or not. Because of this, typically more experienced players will have an advantage over those who’ve never played but it isn’t to the point where it takes away from the game. So far I’ve had this game work for just about any audience and I highly recommend checking it out!
Bonus points for: Having a magnetic clasp on its box!