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Popular Action Selection Board Games (Mechanic)

These are the board games with the Action Selection mechanic.
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Small Samurai Empires Review - Action programming meets area control in the Japanese Archipelago image
ReviewSmall Samurai Empires Review - Action programming meets area control in the Japanese Archipelago (https://youtu.be/ZX3D_b_QyPs) [Small Samurai Empires]Like| 0 comments | [+]
Maracaibo: Solo Review image
ReviewMaracaibo: Solo Review [Maracaibo]Like| 8 comments | [+]
Trajan First Impressions Review image
ReviewTrajan First Impressions Review [Trajan]Like| 15 comments | [+]
ReviewThe Gallerist First Impressions [The Gallerist]Like| 21 comments | [+]
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  • #Orléans w/ the new Beneficial Deeds board from #Orléans: Trade & Intrigue 1x @ 2p - this game is a favorite of my wife's, and I really like it too, but the new Beneficial Deeds board makes it way better, IMO. The board from the base game was basically a way to purge pieces from your bag, but the new board has actions that actually make you want to do them!
  • #Windward 1x @ 2p - a friend of mine got this for his birthday, and we tried it out. This is a cool game! It's got really cool aesthetics and components, and the sci-fi theme is fresh (to me, anyway) and well-implemented. It's not a very heavy game - some action selection, hex movement, dice rolling combat with some opportunities for dice mitigation. It was fun at 2 players and I think the scaling was done well, and I think it will be even more fun at 3+. Here's a pic I took:
  • #Everdell w/ #Everdell: Spirecrest 1x @ 3p - love this game as always! I think I've decided that this is my least favorite expansion, but I still really like it. From what I've seen, that's a minority opinion, as well.
  • #Dungeon Mayhem 3x @ 2p - a few games of this before everyone arrived and we got to our main event next...
  • #Inis 1x @ 5p - the main event! 3 of us had played at least once, and we had 2 new players. This was so much fun! One of the first-timers ended up winning after a fairly long and hard-fought game. We played with the 5th player module of the #Inis: Seasons of Inis Expansion, as well as the "We Want A King Module" (which didn't come into play). Here's a pic I took near the end of the game:
  • #Here to Slay 2x @ 3p - some of us played some quick games of this to finish out the night. IMO this game is #Munchkin but much faster.

#6 Nimmt! is great at all player counts and the higher player count changes the strategy and increases the chaos.  Doesn't matter though since its such a quick/fun/silly game.

#Wits & Wagers Party Edition is great at all player counts and I've bought extra dry erase boards so I can go higher than the player count when taking it to family events.

#Gloomhaven is fun from Solo to all 4 players.  It does a great job of scaling. 

#For Sale is geat at all player counts.

#Railroad Ink: Deep Blue Edition#Welcome to... - All roll & writes work no matter the player count

#Azul - while the strategy changes depending on player counts...all are fun

In general the following things would be true:

  1. Co-ops in general work at all player counts since everyone is working together
  2. Area control games typically play better at the higher player counts then lower player counts.
  3. Games with simultanious action selection works well with games with higher player counts (5+) so that the down time between turns/actions is reduced. 
  4. Games that are silly/light also play better at higher player counts because there is less AP that can drag the game down.  If you are playing with 10 people in #6 Nimmt! there is very little planning you can do so  just pick a card and hope for the best. 

I started on this and then realized that I can use so many categories that I could probably keep my entire collection for one reason or another. :)

So I narrowed it down to my top 10 favourite mechanics from the BGA mechanics list and games I own and would keep:

Action Selection: #Scythe

Area Control: #Forbidden Stars

Coop Play: #Spirit Island

Deck Building: #Clank! In! Space!

Dice Rolling: #Big Trouble in Little China: The Game - Deluxe Edition

Network and Route Building: #Brass: Birmingham

Rondel: #Teotihuacan: City of Gods

Tableau Building: #Terraforming Mars

Tile Placement: #Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King

Worker/Dice Placement: #Village

 

 

I got in a lot of digital versions of games this week and a couple solo plays. Ended out the week with a new game and of course some Monikers.

#Food Chain Magnate - played online for the first time and was surprised at how easy it was to teach to new players. As I've said a few times on the forum, I still prefer the physical version - set up is a beast but I'm getting an insert and organizer to hopefully help with that.

#One Deck Dungeon - I bit on the $0.99 app sale that had posted about. Played it about 4 times now and am pretty bad at it lol. Lots of fun though!

#Raiders of the North Sea - I have this on my switch and hadn't played it in awhile so I gave it a go this week. I think the action selection mechanism in this game is pretty cool but like with One Deck Dungeon, I'm pretty terrible.

#For Sale - played a couple times on board game arena and got my first win! I think I just got lucky with players outbidding each other for cards I was okay giving up on more than anything else.

#Spirit Island - played this solo with a spirit I hadn't tried before. I really have to start playing with 2 at a time because it feels impossible without having a good combo.

#Paladins of the West Kingdom - tried this solo too. I definitely did something wrong as the AI was wrecking me on the easiest difficulty. I'll need to watch a video play through to see where I went wrong.

#Silver & Gold - picked this up at Target for cheap thanks to a coupon I got in the mail. My fiancé and I actually had to go down to a few tiebreakers to determine who won! I just wish it played more than 4 because I think it would be a hit with her siblings and parents.

#Monikers - speaking of family hits, I introduced this to my brother and his wife Saturday. We saw a lot of new cards which was great but they were difficult! Still so much fun as always!

Bought #Patchwork for my mother for her birthday, taught it to her and promptly lost. She likes certain games and really doesn't like others so it's always nerve wracking bringing something to the table. Apart from only playing at 2 I still think it is one of the very best gateway games in existence.

Got in a four player game of #Mariposas. I was very concerned this game would be too light but we ordered it to support Elizabeth Hargrave. I was pleasantly surprised, action selection isn't a mechanism I particularly love, I feel like the only person on earth who thinks #Concordia is just an ok game, but this game surprised me. It is far from a heavy game but it does have a really cool decision space between trying to achieve goals, trying to collect sets for special abilities and trying to set yourself up to be able to make it back to the bottom of the board at the end of the game. It doesn't share much with #Wingspan but I do think it exists in a similar space of a game and theme that is appealing to non gamers and accessible but with interesting enough decisions for a heavier gamer. I was really pleasantly surprised by this one.

Played a two player game of #Everdell which is my wife's favorite, I like tableau builders but the mechanic in this game of going from feeling like you just don't have enough workers/actions to do anything to having a full city and resources and event cards etc is as good as any game, the snowball in this one when cards start comboing each other is great. Still looking for a house rule that better deals with the deck bloat and number of repeat cards but supposedly that will be addressed in the next expansion. It isn't my favorite game but one I always enjoy.

Played another two player game of #Pendulum on the advanced sides of the board. I really appreciate how unique this game is and what a puzzle it can be but, in my opinion, a change of pace from the typical decision making process I go through in a game. I really like this one as something different, still feeling out overall opinion on it. My big suprise has been that instead of the assymetric players giving some type of powerful advantage I find they all do a great job of disadvantaging different engine building methods and make you really puzzle around them. I really enjoyed that but do wonder if with more plays there will become a more prescribed way to play with each one and force a lot more intentional blocking amongst players as part of game strategy. 

Got in a first play of #Alma Mater which my wife was adament we get, she's a writer and wanted the book pieces even if the game didn't live up to its promise. I was concerned this would be a game that just wasn't particularly good at 2. While I still think it will shine at 3 the "dummy" player and deck were about as easy as it could get and made it an enjoyable game. The game worked much harder to be thematic than I expected and I really enjoyed every aspect of it but the research track, though i think that was my fault for not realizing that was something I'd want to mitigate with student pieces (they provide different engine building bonuses in the income phase of the game). The game has a variable market and real scarcity for both money and certain books and having a track that you need to move up to increase the value of your type of book but also being a MAJOR part of end game scoring that uses escalating amounts of already tight resources that allow you to perform the other actions in the game felt like an obstacle for the sake of an obstacle. I do think if you know this going in you can make decisions in the early game that make it less of an issue. 

We were able to see family and so played multiple games of #Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale and #Bang!: The Dice Game at 8 players. I am constantly looking for a game that is both accessible and has a great decision space at 8 players. Suggestions are always welcome!

Finally got in my first two plays of #Paladins of the West Kingdom. I haven't played #Architects of the West Kingdom but have played #Raiders of the North Sea and had heard so many good things about Paladins and was able to get a ding and dent copy and snatched it up. To me the decision space and game dynamics felt like a weird combination between #Orléans (colored worker spaces, workshops acting like tech tiles) and the track synergies of #Tapestry but a game I enjoy, so far, better than both. I had very little doubt this would be a game I would really enjoy but was surprised at how much. 

What's your interest level on Glory to Rome? Would you ever spend $250 for your "grail game"?

I would definitely dish out $250 for #Glory To Rome if I had that laying around, but I’d rather not sleep on the couch. Is the game worth it? One could argue that it is only worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it. I do wish I had backed it originally, but I do feel that it will eventually be reprinted despite its complicated history. I have spent some money on some Kickstarter projects like #Tokaido Collector's Edition, but never on a single game without some extras. It is not lost on me that I’ve spent way more collectively on games like #Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game which brings to mind that marshmallow test by Mischel (2014).  Aside from Glory to Rome and #The Palaces of Carrara, I don’t think that there a many grail games that I want that won’t get reprinted. I had my eye on #City of Chaos, but it looks like a second edition will be on Kickstarter some point next year as will #ZhanGuo.

Which game did you enjoy playing the most this year and why?

This year was a little odd for me as I did not have a lot of extra time to play as much. I would honestly say Covid minimally impacted that fact. I will say playing simplified versions of games with our youngest was one highlight. The better half and I did manage to get #Rajas of the Ganges to the table at some point. I feel like the game is a bit open with two and we would be interested in playing with higher player counts. I do think it is neat that the end game is the same for everyone, but how a player arrives to the end is varied.

As we end 2020, what are your current Top 5 games and why?

I feel like I keep bringing up the same games. I am terrible at ranking so I’m just going to throw my picks out there:

#El Grande: I don’t think I would ever turn a game of this down (unless it includes the expansions and or has less than 4 players). This has a little of everything, hidden information, area control, and action selection. Game is still as relevant in 2020 as it was in 1995. I do wish that just the base game would get reprinted as the current big box is a waste of space. I am not so hung up on the mini meeples vs cube debate.

#Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game: Probably my most played game at this point. I have most of the expansions aside from the Spider-man homecoming and the villains’ standalone. I was a big marvel fan growing up and this game is able to conjure up comic scenarios. It is deckbuilding a team rather than playing as a single hero which I do not mind. With all of the current expansions, the game is infinitely repayable. Downside is that it is difficult to store of the cards at this point. While it is listed as a semi-co-op, we strictly play it as co-op because some of the schemes and mastermind combos are taxing that not working together makes the game much harder than it needs to be. I also won’t play this with more than two because the difficulty does not scale well with more people.

#Ra: My favorite Kniza design. I normally don’t like auction games, but this one is so elegant and streamlined how could I not like it. The game also has that press your luck and set collection element along with the calamities to keep everyone on their toes. Everyone needs to try this one at least once.

#The Castles of Burgundy: This is another one of those games where I dislike it with more than two. This is an example of where the quality of the game does not match its components. Dice placement at its finest. Game is flexible and it mixes strategy and tactics well. There is one sure path to victory here which makes it difficult to solve.

#Seasons: Game plays like a TCG/CCG so it scratches that itch for me. Does have a bit of a learning curve as figuring out which cards to draft together is paramount to success. Wish they would make at least one more expansion.

1) Extremely high.  I've never gotten a chance to play it, although absolutely love Chudyk games.  Innovation is #2 on my all time list.  Mottainai, Impulse, and The Bird Told Me To Do It (the last of which is either criminally underrated or just lacked the exposure to be properly rated) are all among my favorites as well.  I also played a ton of the beta for Aegean Sea, and it's equally as nutty and wonderful.

1b) I don't think I would ever consider spending $250 on a single game.  Guessing the most I've spent on any game is Summoner Wars, where I own a good number of the decks, but that's a different sort of model than a single purchase.

2) My favorite "new to me" game this year was Heaven & Ale.  I enjoy the action selection mechanism of deciding when to jump ahead on the track, and there's a lot of good decisions in where to place the tiles after acquiring.  The scoring system is a nice twist on score your lowest resource, since you can raise your lowest resource by spending some of your higher resources.

3) In a negative way, it was Orleans.  Had been recommended it by a number of people, finally took a flyer on it this year, and it completely fell flat for me.  It ran a bit too long for what I wanted and the decision points felt like they were automatic.  Will likely try to sell my copy and find it a home for someone who will appreciate it more than I did.

4) 2020 didn't change my top 5 of all time.  It remains #1 Macao, #2 Innovation, #3 Troyes, #4 Summoner Wars/Crystal Clans (I'm grouping them together as one entry), #5 Grand Austria Hotel.  I think Heaven & Ale (new to me this year) slots in pretty close behind that group), as do the Chudyk's mentioned above.

Well #Inis is one of two games on my wishlist, so suffice to say, it's high up for me.  I'd love to win the game.  Of course most know here I love area control, and I love the theme (being of Irish decent).  Also, everything I've seen makes it sound like the card drafting and action selection systems make for a truly unique experience.

I haven't played much with anything totally new to me recently, though there are a few games on my radar that have interesting mechanics.

#Calimala - This has a neat worker placement mechanism where when you place your disc on a space, not only do you take that action, but anyone stacked underneath your disc also gets to take that action. Pretty cool if you ask me!

#Trajan - Certainly not unique, but it's what drew me into this game - the mancala action selection mechanism. Allows you to really plan out your moves to get more powerful actions later on. Really hoping to play this one someday.