If you're reading this, you have probably played a version of Highest Bidder and are wondering how the "score boards" work. The boards serve two purposes: keeping scores (duh!) and providing the player with special perks.
When playing Highest Bidder you can easily keep scores by simply keeping the cards that you win in front of you. The rule booklet suggests turning cards that are worth half points 90 degrees sideways and cards that are worth double points 180 degrees upside down. This, however, means that you often find yourself adding your cards together in your head to see how you compare to your opponents. If only there was a way to easily see the scores at a glance...
Well, there is! With the Score Boards you place a little cube on your current score, and quickly see the scores of all other players by looking at their individual boards.
What if I have half points? There's no spot for 13.5 points...
The boards exist in different designs. The original version was made for Highest Bidder: An Embarrassment of Pandas. In this version, the best way is to simply place the cube in between two spots, for example in between 13 and 14 in the above example. This is not ideal and more recent versions of the boards, for example those that come with Highest Bidder: P*rn Stars, have an additional "Half Points" spot. Place a separate cube on this spot to indicate +0.5 points. For example, if your score is 13.5 your regular cube is placed on 13 and you take a second cube and place it on the "Half Points" box. When you don't have half points, you keep the second cube off the board.
Now to the fun part! The "Perks" listed on the Score Boards give you a number of abilities that can be used once each. At the start of the game, take a cube of your color and place on each of the spots. When you use a perk you remove the cube from the board and can't use that same perk again for the rest of the game.
When can I use a perk?
At any time! Simply announce that you are using it and remove the cube.
These are the available perks:
When you use use this perk you get to draw 1 card from the draw pile to add it to your hand. The board has this perk twice, meaning that in total you can draw 2 extra cards. You can either use
Skip a Bid:
Once every game you can skip a bid by not bidding any cards at all. Saves you a card to spend on a different bid instead.
Lost a bid but were very close to winning? No worries, here's a last chance to change the outcome! Draw a random card and see if it's valuable enough to save you.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do all "Highest Bidder" games come with Score Boards?
No, the Score Boards are an optional add-on, however you can use the Score Boards with any version of the game. At the moment, there are Score Boards specifically designed for Highest Bidder: An Embarrassment of Pandas and Highest Bidder: Porn Stars. The differences are only visual though.
How do I "skip a bid"?
To use the "Skip a bid" perk, simply do not place any cards when you count to three and place bids. You don't have to say that you are using this ability in advance.
Can I use all cards in my hand on the first or second bid if I still have the "Skip a bid" or "Draw 1" perks available?
Yes you can. The rules state that you must always bid at least one card each turn, but when playing with the Score Boards there are situations where you can overcome this. For example, you may use all of your remaining cards on the second bid and apply the "Skip a bid" perk on the third bid. Or, you can use "Draw 1" to give yourself the extra card that the rules require you to have for the third bid.
Why are there two "Draw 1"?
Because you can use this ability twice. You can either use them both at the same time to add 2 cards to your hand, or on separate occasions.
Can I use "Draw 1" after bids have been placed?
Yes and no. The card that you draw goes to your hand and since you have already placed your bid, you cannot add the card to it.
When do I use the "Random Card" perk? If several players wish to use it, who goes first?
You can use this perk when everyone has revealed all of their cards for the current bid. For example, if you just lost an important bid by a close call, you can use this perk to draw a random card in the hopes that it will add enough value to your bid to beat the current highest bidder.
Since perks can be used at any time, there's no order. If several players are thinking of using this perk and neither wishes to go first, the highest bidder will simply win the bid. Someone will have to be decisive and go for it, and if other players still wish to follow and also use the perk, they can.
Do I get a bonus for unused perks?
No, you don't. If you don't use all of your perks throughout the course of the game, nothing happens.
How do I track half points?
If you have a score of .5 you can track this by placing your score-keeping cube in between two scores, for example between 20 and 21 to indicate a score of 20.5. On some versions of the Score Boards there is a separate field called "Half Points". Place a second cube here whenever you have .5 points and remove that cube from the board when you don't.