From Looney Pyramid Games Wiki
Joe Kisenwether
In Undercut, players try to bid low to get pieces with the lowest value.
:Players Players: 3 - 5
:Time Length: unknown
:Complexity Complexity: Medium
Trios per color: 5
Number of colors: 5
Pyramid trios:
Monochr. stashes: 5
Five-color sets:
- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -
1 marker per player, 1 or 3 bags to draw pieces from, pen and paper
Setup time: 5 minute
Playing time:
Strategy depth: High
Random chance: Medium
Game mechanics:
Theme: Abstract
BGG Link: 16389
Status: Complete (v1.0), Year released: 2004

Undercut is a auction game with a twist: players are trying to bid low to get pieces and sets of pieces with the lowest value. It is the winner of the second Ice Game Design Competition.

Object of the Game[edit | edit source]

To have the LOWEST score when the first player reaches 10 points.

Set Up[edit | edit source]

Dump all 5 stashes into the bag

Each player then draws six points worth of pieces (Large = 3pts, Medium = 2pts, Small = 1pt) in any combination of sizes that they want.

On the paper, make a score sheet, with one column for each player plus three extra. Label the extra three columns "Tree", "Triplets", and "Foursome", and write a 2 in each of these three columns. Like this:

Fred Daphne Velma Shaggy TREE TRIPLET FOURSOME
2 2 2

Game Play[edit | edit source]

The player most shaped like an icehouse piece will be the start player for the first round.

Each round consists of two phases: the scoring phase, and the auction phase.

Scoring Phase[edit | edit source]

Beginning with the start player and proceeding clockwise around the table, players must turn in any scoring combinations that they have in their hand for the points listed under that scoring combination on the records sheet. After each set is turned in, the pieces are returned to the bag(s) and the score for that combo is increased by one. The Scoring Combinations are:

  • TREE = One Large, One Medium, and One Small piece all the same color
  • TRIPLETS = Three identical pieces.
  • FOURSOME = Four pieces the same size in four different colors.

If a player has more than one scoring combo during the scoring phase he may turn in whichever he likes, but if still left with another scoring combo after those pieces are returned to the bag, he must turn in that one also.

Auction Phase[edit | edit source]

Once all players have turned in scoring combos, the start player draws several stacks of One Large, One Medium, and One Small piece and places them in the center of the table. There will be one fewer stack than players.

Beginning with the start player and proceeding clockwise around the table, players bid to acquire these stacks. Lowest bid for each stack wins. The value of a bid is the sum of the point values of its pieces. When two bids have equal value, the one using fewer pieces is considered lower. So, for example, two smalls is less than one large (2 pts < 3 pts) but one medium is less than two smalls (2 pts = 2 pts, but 1 piece < 2 pieces).

When making a bid, take the pieces from your hand and place them on the table next to the stack on which you want to bid. Place your marker with your bid so everyone knows who made the bid. You may bid zero by placing just your marker next to a stack. If there is already a bid on a stack, any new bid must be lower, and the bid that was undercut is immediately taken back by the player who placed it (Who will have the opportunity to place a different bid when the turn comes back to him).

Bidding continues around the table. Anyone who still has their marker has the chance to undercut any bid on the table when it is their turn. Bidding continues until one player decides to pass. You may not pass if there is any stack on the table with no bids.

The player that passes immediately gets one point added to his score and draws one additional piece for his hand. He can root around in the bag to draw whatever size piece he wants, but cannot choose a specific color.

All other players take the pieces for which they hold the lowest bid into their hands and return the pieces that they bid with to the bag.

The player who passes becomes the start player and you go back to the scoring phase.

Game End[edit | edit source]

When any player hits ten points, this triggers the end of the game. Finish the scoring round and then compare scores. Lowest score wins. In the event of a tie use the pieces in each players hand as a tiebreaker, fewest points wins.

Strategy[edit | edit source]

Bidding is as much about getting rid of the pieces you bid with as it is about having to take the ones you bid for.

Pay attention to the combos that other people will get (or avoid) if they win their current bids.

In the beginning, it's often worth it to take a scoring combo just to get the pieces out of you hand. Toward the end, you'll want to avoid taking any win combos at all (since they'll be worth more points). Try to arrange matters so that you can afford to take extra pieces without making any combos.

Additional Languages[edit | edit source]

Undercut (French)

External Links[edit | edit source]

Featured in Pyramid Arcade 22 More Great Games
Little Else Required
Apophis · Egyptian Solitaire · Freeze Tag
Gleebs and Grues · Logger · Timelock · Penguin Soccer
More Pyramids Required
Icehouse · Quicksand · Torpedo · Undercut
More Pyramids + Other Stuff Required
Alien City · Blam! · Builders of R'lyeh · Gnostica
Pikemen · Pylon · RAMbots · Stack Control
Subdivision · Synapse-Ice · Zendo
Entered in the Icehouse Game Design Competition, Autumn 2004
Winner: Undercut 2nd (tie): E, the Game of Martian Chinese Checkers and Ice Palace
4th: the Icehouse Plant Game 5th: King o' the Castle 6th: Spellcycles