For my 2012 game, Nieuw Amsterdam, soon to be released through White Goblin Games, I returned to one of the staple mechanisms of modern board games: the auction. The mechanism was a central part of so many games of the past two decades, and the most prolific designers of that time produced many of the classics of the genre that we still play today. Reiner Knizia, in particular, used variations of the mechanism again and again with Modern Art, Medici, Ra, Amun Re, Money, and many more. Even a look at the father of modern board games, Monopoly, reveals that auctions are central to the rules—when played correctly, of course.
The mechanism is so engrained in the language of game design, in fact, that auction games are being created without being recognized as such—even by their creators.