You play both a farmer, investing in fair production, and a trader, buying fairly produced goods. You do this through secret bidding. The higher your farmer bid, the more you will earn from the trader bids. The higher your trader bid, the more fair trade markers you will earn.
The game encourages conscious consumption but also emphasizes the economic realities necessary to enable this. The simultaneous bidding minimizes downtime and maximizes tension. Simple rules and language independency makes the game accessible for the whole family.
Earn the most fair trade markers without going bankrupt.
0.1: First draft
The complete rules are available in the PDF file to the right. In the following sections, I will describe how they came
Already as a kid, I realized that poker is boring if you don't play with real money, since you can place unlimited bids. Likewise, the money in Fair Trade must be limited. The starting amount of 64 coins for 12 rounds was derived by assuming that players are willing to bid twice as much traders compared to farmers. That would give an average farmer bid of 4.5 and an average trader bid of 9. With bid cards ranging from 1 to 13, both bids allow interesting ranges while still forcing the players to plan their bids to last all 12 rounds.
Open bidding requires no tie-breaking rules, since each new bid must exceed previous bids, but how about closed bidding? Forcing the tied players to bid again would only delay the game while clockwise tie-breaking is unfair to the last player in turn order. Or is it? Fair Trade actually has two simultaneous bids, the farmer bid and the trader bid, so why not let one use a clockwise tie-break order and the other a counter-clockwise tie-break order. This also adds additional challenges to the closed bidding. Should you risk a lower bid, hoping for the tie-break, or even place a deliberately low bid, expecting the other players to bid unnecessary high?
No money for the worst farm
Since the lowest possible bid is 1 coin, an investment of 1 coin in a farm would guarantee the
money back. A simple remedy for this, and to further encourage the best farm, was to punish the
worst farm with no coins and giving them to the best farm instead. This would also enable a
"farming strategy" to earn money for future bids.
Locked bid cards
Closed bidding is similar to rock-paper-scissors, where you have very little information to base your decision on. The more information, the more interesting the decision. By letting previously used bid cards be locked for current use, the players were given more information for their decisions and hence made them more interesting.
... and Rejected Rules
There are of course also ideas that will be rejected and here I will explain why.