Human Ad Server: Real Time Bidding

About Human Ad Server: Real Time Bidding (HAS:RTB)

HAS:RTB is a multiplayer game expansion to the HAS: Shortform. HAS:RTB simulates what it’s like to “Demand Side Platform" (DSP).

Just like in the real world, the DSP (you) bids for the chance to serve ads in realtime against other DSPs (the other players). The objective of the game is to make the most advertising money.

If you are familiar with HAS: Shortform, the gameplay is similar. The biggest difference with RTB is you will first need to win an auction against other players for each request card before you can serve an ad against it.

Game Setup

  1. First, remove all the placement cards with an impression budget of 3. They aren't fun in this version of the game, so just place them to the side for now.
  2. Next, count out a number of Ad Requests from the deck according to the chart below (those are shared between all players, and you wont need the rest this game).
  3. Also, give each player a number of bidding chips to start with according to the chart below.
    • You can use any objects for bidding chips.
    • I like poker chips.
    • I would avoid using anything wet.
  4. Each player draw two Ad Placements before the game starts.
    • Don't show them to the other players.
    • Unlike HAS: Shortform, you will ignore the durations of the placements in this version of the game
    • Just as with HAS: Shortform, whenever you draw an Ad Placement, look at the top two placement cards and select one. Then put the other card on the bottom of the Ad Placement deck.


Each round of the game is identical and plays like this...

    1. Reveal the top ad request card.
    2. Each player decides how many bidding chips they would bid for this request, and puts that many bidding chips in their hidden hand.
    3. All players reveal their hidden bidding chips simultaneously.
    4. The winning bidder pays for the ad request and delivers it to one of his Ad Placements
The game ends when all each ad request has been auctioned off.   
Note: Unlike Shortform, the Duration on the Placement Card is ignored in HAS:RTB

Who wins the auction?

Each is resolved as a second-bid auction like this:

    1. Whoever bid the highest number of bidding chips wins the ad request.
      • If more than one player bid the same highest amount, those players play rock-paper-scissors (best of one).
      • The winner decides which of the winning bidders buys the ad request.
    2. The winning player pays the price of the second highest bid
      1. To pay for the ad request, place the bidding chips that were paid for the ad request somewhere separate. They are spent and removed from the game.
Corner case 1
If the top two bids are the same amount, the winning bidder pays that price.  This comes up when two or more players tie for highest bid 
Corner case 2
If only one player bid for the ad request, the winning bidder still pays 1 chip (not zero.  Nothing is free!) 
Corner case 3
If no one bid, discard the ad request 

What does the winning bidder do with the ad request?

The winning player "serves" the ad to one of their placements that match the targeting criteria of the request (see HAS: Shortform for more detail).

If this completes the budget of the placement...

reveal the placement and place it into your scoring pile face up. Then draw a new placement to replace the one that scored (using the draw 2, keep one method).

When revealing a completed placement, if the Ad Requests do not match the Placement's Targeting, the advertiser refuses to pay and the Placement counts as zero points.

If this does NOT complete the placement's budget...

just keep track of which placement you delivered it to by putting the Ad Request card behind the Placement (both hidden).

Scoring the game

After all ad requests have been auctioned, your game is complete. Each player adds up the monetary value from the placements they completed with matching Ad Requests during the game. Whoever has the highest score wins.

If more than one player ties for the highest score, there is a fight to the death amongst ALL the players...unless players can elect a winner peacefully.