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Popular Drafting Board Games (Mechanic)

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Well if you're looking for a card dueling game, I can't really help. But I do have a few games that are mainly cards that I really enjoy.

  • #Oceans - really cool tableau/combo building game about adapting to a constantly changing ecosystem and eating the most fish. The card interactions are interesting, and the variability is great, mainly due to the "Deep" deck, which is almost 100 completely unique cards that have all kinds of crazy powers, in addition to the "Surface" deck which has duplicate cards. The art is amazing, which is a nice bonus.
  • #Dale of Merchants - this is a series of games that can all be mixed and matched together. It's a deck-building game about building your merchant stalls faster than your opponents. It's anthropomorphic animals and they are really cute. It is made by a small publisher from Finland, though, so it might be difficult to get outside of their Kickstarters.
  • #Shards of Infinity: Deckbuilding Game is probably the closest thing I've got to a card dueling game. It's also a deck-building game, not too distant from something like #Star Realms, if you've played that, but with some interesting twists. There's a co-op expansion as well, which I've not played but heard good things about.
  • #7 Wonders - this is a classic card drafting game that works well at 3-7 players.

Got to play some #Draftosaurus on Board Game Arena. It is a very quick and easy drafting meets roll-n-write game. You pass around colored dinosaur tokens in the same way you would draft cards. Everyone has a score card with 6 different scoring areas. A dice is rolled which always determines around 3 of the 6 scoring areas that you can place a drafted dinosaur token in. They all have different scoring rules like if they are all the same you get points, all different you get points and so on. You have 12 moves to put together the right mix of sets to hopefully get a good score. The "pro" version is where you play the front side of the score cards that has its own rules (summer) and then you do the same for the back side of the card that plays the same but has different rules (winter). Played at 2 players to teach someone, which was not enjoyable, and then several games at 4 players which were.

I started playing arena mode and got up to Silver. Currently ranked about 441st. 

Life has been really busy but I finally got into a nice groove this week!

  • #Star Realms x2 with Melanie. I won with only 2 life left the first game then Melanie stomped me the second game...
  • #Russian Railroads x3 through BGA. I am getting worse at this game...either that or I am playing better people lol. I still really enjoy this though. If anyone wants to try it out on BGA let me know and we can start a game!
  • #Lost Ruins of Arnak on TTS - This was fun! The easy comparison is to #Dune: Imperium and they both have different flairs. Arnak feels like the Euro gamers preference and Dune is more the thematic gamer preference but they both are fun!
  • #Fort @ 4-players - I really enjoy this game but I will say 4 players seemed a little too much. 3-players is the sweet spot and drafting cards before hand definitely makes it more balanced!
  • #Hansa Teutonica: Big Box @ 4 players - This game is just great. I felt like I got a solid strategy going this time around but fell short by 4 points of the win. I let the game drag on too long!

5: #Pirate Dice: Voyage on the Rolling Seas - It's simply not a game that I find works all that great.  My wife is a big fan, but I don't connect with it.  I'm all for programmed movement, but this one just has too much take-that and randomness to make it work.

4: #Camel Up - I like the idea of this game OK, but it feels like every game plays out the same.  Sure the randomness of the dice could throw things off, so you can't predict what camel will win, but the decision points still feel the same.  I can't decide whether I want more randomness or less, but as it stands I'm still lukewarm on the game.

3: #Silver & Gold - Fun filler that does flip-and-write in a different way.  Everyone has different cards they work on, and that makes it work quite well.  It's the type of game that will never be Top 10 material, but I doubt will ever leave my collection.

2: #Sagrada - This dice-drafting game is a total blast.  I love all the mental gymnastics I have to go through in order to plan out my window.  It's also visually appealing, and gives me that feeling of accomplishment when I am done and can see how it all turned out.

1: #The Quacks of Quedlinburg - I never tire of this game.  It's kind of astounding to me, because it's tied as one of my most-played games since I acquired it, and yet I constantly desire to play it again.  My entire family seems to enjoy it as well, and that makes it so easy to get to the table.

Some of my favorite lighter games are:

  • #Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale: A great flip-n-write game where you are trying to draw a map based on cards played.
  • #Century: Spice Road: similar to Century: Golem Edition mentioned by someone else here, but the orginal with different artwork.  I don't know if there are any variations in the games
  • #Sagrada: A dice drafting game that does take some strategy to place dice within the placement restrictions.
  • #Downforce: A betting and racing game where you can still win even if your car isn't in first place.  It can depend on how you play your own cards.
  • #Azul: A tile drafting game where you place your tiles to fill up your board for points. Lighter cousin to it's follow-ups.
  • And I'm going to plug #Disney: The Haunted Mansion - Call of the Spirits Game becuase it's so much fun, even for non-gamers and gamers alike.  You're trying to collect ghost cards to earn points while avoiding the hitchhiking ghosts.  You only have three actions per round, but your strategy is going to change based on the cards available each round. Everyone I've played this with enjoys it.

Welcome! What are some of your favorite games?

Here are some of my favorite lighter games:

  • #Century: Golem Edition - pretty quick engine-builder with a race element. It's easy to teach and has nice art and pieces, so it's a good crowd-pleaser.
  • #Kingdomino - great 15-minute domino game. Also very easy to teach, and has a nice small box. It has a puzzley feel with some tough decisions. It's got some luck in it, but definitely not too much, especially for how quick the game is.
  • #Santorini - one of my absolute favorite games, and one of the best "abstract strategy" games around. It has rules for up to 4 players, but it's essentially a 2 player game.
  • #Tiny Towns - another puzzley feeling game. It plays up to 6 players, and plays fairly quickly. If you like Tetris, you might enjoy this one.
  • #Horrified - very fun cooperative game about defeating Universal Pictures monsters such as Dracula and the Wolfman

A couple of games that we enjoy that I would consider to be a step up from the above games:

  • #Wingspan - huge hit from a couple of years ago. Engine builder about birds. Very pretty and enjoyable game.
  • #7 Wonders - this is a classic card drafting game, and was my intro to modern board games. It plays very quickly once everyone is familiar with the rules, but does take a few minutes to teach. I recommend finding a good rules explanation on youtube. There's a fancy new edition that came out recently with updated art and components.
  • #Dale of Merchants - my personal favorite deck-building game (it's actually a series of games that can be mixed and matched together)

Thanks for the warm welcome.

Still pretty new to these types of games so my favourites will seem pretty standard.

  • #Coup - big fan of the fairly simple but fun mechanic.
  • #Love Letter - always good for a quick fun game. Like Coup, I like the mechanic because it's got a fairly big payout considering the mechanic is easy to get into.
  • #Sushi Go Party! - I don't think drafting games get any more addictive than this. Always end up playing for hours.
  • #Forbidden Island - again, one that I go back to again and again. Didn't think I'd like the co-op genre, but it's pretty decent.

Tried Wingspan the other day and enjoyed it. Definitely need to revisit it, though. And I'm hearing a lot about Horrified, so I'm gonna check that out.

Thanks for your tips, they're much appreciated.

Since we are talking Sushi Go Party, I will throw out a shameless plug. The game takes the #2 spot on the Board Game Halv list for the best card drafting games.


Played 3 games of #Roll For The Galaxy with the #Roll for the Galaxy: Ambition expansion and I'd never play without it now. Also played #Space Base for the first time, went over really well, played it twice. It fits a nice space in my collection. Played #Azul: Summer Pavilion to decide whether to actually put it on the trade block and it is. It's one of those games that I want to enjoy more than I do. I love drafting and I love all the pieces, but I just don't find it as interesting as it should be. My wife and others playing agreed it didn't fit for us sadly, even though it's gorgeous.

Great week of gaming! In addition to the online gaming mentioned by , I got to play:

  • #Jinja - an interesting worker placement game with tight resources but a clever combination of area majority scoring at the end with engine building in the middle; 
  • #Whale Riders - my Kickstarter copy of this new Reiner Knizia game came in and it has gorgeous Vincent Dutrait art and simple to teach, but deep, game play. Typical of Knizia's best! My wife really enjoyed this one;
  • #Red Rising - this is my most played game this week, played at 3-4-5 player counts -- I think I like 3p best, because you have time to read the cards, affect your hand, and still keep an eye on what other players are doing. I liked this one a lot more than the rest of the Gumbo Krewe, but my sons really dug it;
  • #It's a Wonderful World - been on my list for a while, cause my nephews adore this 7W style drafting game. I was lost at first, but the second half of the game made a lot of sense. I'd play it again but not sure I need to own it;
  • #Stockpile - another one of my most played games over the years, it has long been a Gumbo fave since we learned it from the designer way back at Gen Con 2016 (maybe?) -- we played with EVERYTHING -- all the expansion goodness, and I am convinced that's the way to play; and
  • #Block Ness - very polarizing little 10-15 minute abstract game with cute Loch Ness monsters for pieces. My family adores it and the Gumbo krewe was bored. What to do! I'll just keep it at the house and introduce it to friends and non-gamers and family alike. It is fun for what it is and looks great on the table! 

Whew -- so nice to be playing in person again instead of just online, although I am thoroughly enjoying playing games with the Board Game Atlas krewe! 

My most memorable game moments definitely come from the games that have high player interaction and the opportunity for "dynamic" plays. That doesn't necessarily mean I enjoy games that don't have those things less, but this style of game just tends to create strong impressions, even though the enjoyment level in other styles of games can still be quite high. That being said, here are 3 games that are in my top 8, lol.

  • #Dune - of course this one is on here. Lots of memorable things can happen in this game, so I'll just give a few examples.
    • Tense battles where you don't know the outcome. What leader will they play? Do they have a poison weapon to kill my leader? How much spice can I afford to spend on this battle? Then the reveal happens, and sometimes...
    • TRAITOR! Revealing a traitor card to absolutely devastate your opponent in battle is an amazing feeling. On the flip side, it's definitely a feel-bad moment for the victim, but the possibility is part of what makes battles so nerve-wracking
    • Generally executing on a strategy to take strongholds. Winning this game via strongholds is always exciting, because it always comes down to at least one battle on that turn.
  • #Western Legends - this game just kind of lets you tell a western story that you want to tell.
    • Becoming a legend at the poker table - definitely seen some wins this way!
    • Become an infamous outlaw - rob the bank, rustle cattle, whatever you want! This is a fun path, but risky!
  • #Inis - this one is about clever drafting and timing, but there can definitely be some memorable swings throughout the game!
    • Efficient usage of the Geis card (cancel another player's action) is crucial to foiling your opponent's plans
    • Collaborating to stop the current leader from winning, just so the rest of you have the chance to grab the victory the next round

Euphoria is a great game and I agree the theme is there hidden in the mechanics.  My group quite enjoys it!

You really did hit a good list of esoteric games as I don't think I had heard of most of those!  Worth looking at.

My personal underated games are:

  • #Vikings Raid & Conquer Game - Deck building with some great strategy around attacking other players.  It's not a perfect game by any means but I have seen NO ONE mention it but myself and I think it deserves a bit more love than that.
  • #Okanagan: Valley of the Lakes - Tile laying game that again isn't perfect but has some interesting strategy around the buildings you place down etc.  Has some issues with luck for scoring cards which probably could use some improvement.  (Going to try some drafting variants.) 

Good list and an interesting topic!

Was able to get the following to the table this week:

  • #LUNA Capital x2 (at 2 players) - an upcoming drafting & tableau building game from Devir that asks players to build a settlement on the moon in an attempt to win the most points and become the capital. More thoughts to come on this as I work through the review copy.
  • #Juicy Fruits x2 (at 2 players) - Capstone’s first in their family line of games. This is simple to teach and setup, but the decision space is pretty interesting for such a light game. It has four solo modes that I’m amped to explore as well.
  • #Lawyer Up: Witch Trial x1 (at 2 players) - finally got this to the table - we love the base game/cases and were excited to switch theme. Turns out the rulebook for the expansion isn't fully developed, leaving a lot of rule clarifications out, and it made our first play a little rough. That said, the way the expansion switches up the core battle of the game is unique and we’re ready to give it another shot now that we’ve learned the rules via BGG forum questions.

I had a bunch of family/friend events this week as we are opening up more here (and I am fully vaccinated now, yay!) so I didn't get any games in with my group.

However, I DID get a lot of board game arena turn games played.  Man am I liking it!  I don't win a ton but I seem to come in second a lot which is pretty good considering I'm mostly winging the games turn to turn.

The games:

  • #Race for the Galaxy (x2): One of the games was pretty straightforward and one of them had a ton of crazy modules in it I had no idea about.  I think I prefer it with one or two modules but either way I always have fun with this game win or lose. 
  • #Teotihuacan: City of Gods: One of my top games.  Definitely got schooled in this game by one player.  I came in second but by a wiiiide margin.  Fun!
  • #Kingdomino: Not sure if I'll play this one turn based in the future unless it is 4 turns a day.  Playing a game of kingdomino over days of elapsed time just feels weird.
  • #7 Wonders: Another classic game but it stands the test of time. Fun drafting game that has enough strategy going for it that you get just the right level of crunchy thought in the play time.  
  • #Cacao: Quick little tile laying game and one I really enjoy.  Another one that hits the crunch to play time sweet spot for me.
  • #Yokohama: Another favourite crunchy strategic game of mine.  I am learning that I need to get a lot more focused and plan ahead if I'm going to win one of these.  It's harder to do it in a turn based game for me although I am getting better at it.

Good week!


"Card game" is a pretty broad category, so I'll break it up a little...

#Dominion: The granddaddy of the genre is the best place to start and still has the best pure deckbuilding gameplay. For more combative alternatives, go with #Nightfall if you'll have at least three players or #Shards of Infinity: Deckbuilding Game if only playing with two.


Tableau builder:
#Innovation is a nasty game of finding temporary advantages and beating your opponent to death with them for as long as you can. Great fun! For a less in-your-face alternative, go with #San Juan (Second Edition) or #Race for the Galaxy depending on which theme appeals to you more.


#Sushi Go Party! is a sweet little pure drafting game that handles a big group - and the art is cute as hell. :)

Card Battler:
I know you said you're getting away from MtG, but have you tried Jumpstart? The #Smash Up-like setup of shuffling two half-decks together means there's no deck construction, and they've done a good job of balancing things. My boys and I have bagged up each half-deck, and we play by drafting from three picks.

But if you're really trying to get off the cardboard crack, check out #Epic Card Game. It's a non-collectible MtG-style game that has eliminated mana screw! There are some good formats for drafting, or you can just deal out some random cards and go!


Hope that helps - good luck!


I had two game nights this week, one with my regular three neighbors, and one with my niece and her husband while they were travelling through (even better that they requested it!).  Also played #Splendor on Board Game arena with a few others from here, picking up a 5-point card and a second noble on my turn to double my points and win the game.

Regular game night included:

#7 Wonders: first time I've played this with other people since I got it for Christmas about three or four years ago.  It was too much thinking and too many point options for the family to grasp.  This time played with four people in about 45 minutes (after trying to explain the rules and symbols😉 ). Everyone liked it and said they'd like to play it again. I'm looking forward to more 7 Wonders!

#King of Tokyo with #King of Tokyo: Power Up: first time using the Power up cards. They are interesting! Somehow I survived two full rounds inside Tokyo with only 1 health and ended up winning the game. One person focues on all the cards. Most of us didn't intentionally attacked as we tried for energy or hearts in order to get more power up cards in play.  Interesting combination.  Hope to play it soon and try out other monsters and their power ups.

Night with relatives:

#Sushi Go Party!: introduced them to this one, and I think it was their first card drafting game.  They liked it.

#Century: Spice Road: introduced them to this one, too.  My wife pulled out a win, my niece and I tied for second just a few points behind, and our exchange student - the most competitive of us all- came in last.

#Sushi Go Party! is an easy game to introduce people to new games.  It's relatively quick each hand, regardless of how many players, it has a lot of replayability with so many card options, and it always fun to play.  Even for new game players, once they understand the drafting process, it's an easy learn.  We've played it a lot, but with so many different cards, we haven't come up with a particular strategy other than go for the desserts.

We have it, we enjoy it, and we have shared it with many people.  

This is a great family game. It can be taught to just about everyone quickly, and it's always fun! I do hate the metal box, though, haha.

I've seen this describes as "easier #7 Wonders," which I don't think is real a great description. Obviously it takes the core mechanism of 7 Wonders, but that game involves more long term strategy and engine building, and in my opinion requires more attention paid to your opponents. If you want a drafting game that is just breezy and fun, Sushi Go Party is the answer, where 7 Wonders is a great option if you're looking for something a little deeper.