Public Office Auction Trouble

By Scud-O, in Constantinopolis

[Cross-posted from BoardGameGeek]

I picked up Constantinopolis at GenCon and had a chance to play it in a group of 4. We all really liked it but ran into one fairly confusing situation:

During the auction at the top of the round, the green player in Office I elected to stay in his office. The yellow player (me) was in Office II and decided to bid on Office IV, held by the blue player. After some back and forth bidding, yellow won Office IV. Blue decided NOT to take Office II, the office that the yellow player had just vacated (and which would have been free to take) and instead bid on Office I, which the green player had already elected to keep. The green player only had one coin, so he didn't raise the bid. However, according to the example in the rules, he would be forced to pay 2 coins in order to take either of the vacant offices, Office II (the one the I had vacated when I took Office IV from the blue player) or Office V (the black player had several coins, more than enough to hold on to Office III). I assume that the green player will have to just pay his one coin (since he doesn't have the 2 coins that taking a vacant office requires) to take one of the two vacant offices; however, there was some discussion that he may be able to take Office II for free, since that was the office that the blue player would have been able to take for free when he was displaced. The rules say that when a player loses his current office to an opponent, that player has the choice of taking the office that opponent just vacated for free OR can pay 2 coins to take a different vacant office OR can bid on an already taken office. It isn't clear on what happens when a player loses their office to an opponent who just lost their own office. The intent seems to be that when you are displaced, you always have a free option but this isn't clearly explained in the rules.

What does everyone think?

So, I saw this answered on BGG, just thought I'd put the answer here too in case someone else comes looking with this question. (emphasis mine)

as I can understand from your gameing situation, Green can occupy office II for free.
In your case only the Office 5 is considered Vacant.
Office II, even if not chosen previously by the blue player, is still considered as the office just left by the blue player so free of charge for the green player to hold.

As you said in the end, the intent is that when you are displaced, you always have a free option.

I hope it did not ruin your gaming experience and that you enjoyed Constantinopolis.


Pietro Rodilosso
Homo Ludens Games