Small, short games that you can quickly unpack and explain are a dime a dozen. These "nightcaps" are usually cleared away just as quickly as they are forgotten again. All the nicer when there are small micro-games for several people that also require a lot of brainpower. One of these “thinky fillers” is Turin Market by Jordan Draper.


Turin is a very special city with an eventful history. The city in the north-western part of Italy, framed on two sides by the Alps, was a military camp of the Romans, once also the capital of Italy and both beneficiaries of the industrial revolution and victims of economic crises. Despite all the ascent and descent, the Mercato di Porta Palazzo, one of the world's largest marketplaces, has established itself in the heart of the city since the Middle Ages. Up to 100.000 visitors a day make the Turin market the largest European open-air market event. And this place of flourishing trade also gave its name to a small auction game by Jordan Draper, the author of Import / Export, among others.

Jordan Draper, game designer and artist is one of the thousands of visitors mentioned who were left with a lasting impression on the market. Now living in Japan, the American has also spent a long time in Italy. Based on the impressions he has gathered during that time, he came up with the idea for his auction game Turin Market. Set in the 18th century, the Kickstarter project from 2016 makes us market traders, haggling for the greatest wealth and monopoly positions in various areas.

Turin Market is an auction game for 2 - 5 players. In a specified number of game rounds, the players put their own cards out for auction. The money bids are to be submitted face down and determine the selection sequence at the end of each round - whoever bids the most chooses his cards first, whoever is too stingy gets nothing. The auctioned cards represent shares in different types of vegetables, three different per card in three different values.

The aim of the game is to specialize within individual categories and to become the player with the most shares. All information is known: every player is always aware of which goods are on the cards how often, which goods generate how much money and in which order they are distributed at the end of the game. Well, almost everything. The players' financial assets remain hidden throughout the game.

Set up as a small micro-game with little more than a handful of cards and wooden chits, Turin Market can easily be seen as a psychological study. The question constantly arises as to what the opponents specialize in, it is unclear how much money they still have available, how much they will be willing to spend and where is it enough for me to offer little enough to be my second or third party to choose the auctioned cards? And when is it worth buying one of their cards from a fellow player for supposedly a lot of money?

A psychological challenge which not everyone likes either. If, as a player, you feel like playing from your gut, you will not feel any joy. It is more advisable here than anywhere else to calculate all conceivable options and your own options and to try to read your way into the heads of your opponents. This picture emerged in all games.

Impresses with its sometimes idiosyncratic look: Turin Market by Jordan Draper. Photo: Markus Gentzik

That is why it is of course definitely not to be recommended without reservation, a must-have or a must-have purchase at the next opportunity? No, it definitely isn't. However, if you are ready to engage in the psychological battle and are looking for a little brainburner for in between, you will certainly enjoy it here. Even if it is currently sold out, it is worth visiting Jordan´s well worth seeing website.