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Board Game Mechanics – Action Drafting

The action drafting mechanic in board games involves players selecting actions from a shared pool of actions that are available to all players. Each turn, players take turns selecting one of the available actions until all actions have been chosen. This mechanic can create a sense of competition and urgency as players race to select the most valuable actions before their opponents.

In some games, the available actions may be limited or expand as the game progresses. Some games may also include unique or secret actions that are only available to certain players. This mechanic is often used in strategy games, as it allows players to plan their moves based on what actions are available and what their opponents are likely to do.

Here are some popular games that feature the action drafting mechanic:

  1. 7 Wonders: In this card drafting game, players take turns selecting cards from a common pool to build their civilizations, each with their own unique abilities and victory conditions.
  2. Terraforming Mars: Players compete to terraform and colonize the red planet by drafting and playing action cards that provide resources, technologies, and opportunities for advancement.
  3. Scythe: In this alternate history game set in a steampunk world, players use worker placement and action drafting to expand their territories, develop technologies, and vie for control over resources.
  4. Dominion: This deck-building game challenges players to create the most efficient and powerful deck by selecting cards from a shared pool, with the ultimate goal of accumulating the most victory points.
  5. Blood Rage: In this Viking-themed game, players draft cards and deploy their warriors to battle for control over territory and resources, with the ultimate goal of securing a place in Valhalla.
  6. Agricola: In this farming game, players draft and place workers on their farms to gather resources, expand their homesteads, and raise livestock, all while managing food and family growth.
  7. Puerto Rico: Players take on the roles of colonists in this economic game, selecting actions to improve their plantations, ship goods, and construct buildings to earn victory points.
  8. Roll for the Galaxy: In this dice game, players draft and assign dice to activate abilities and expand their galactic empire, with the ultimate goal of accumulating victory points.
  9. Istanbul: This game features a modular board and action drafting, as players move their merchants around the bustling marketplace of Istanbul to collect resources, complete orders, and earn rubies.
  10. Concordia: In this game set in ancient Rome, players draft and play cards to expand their trade networks, establish colonies, and earn victory points by collecting resources and completing objectives.

One example of the action drafting mechanic in a popular board game is Puerto Rico. In this game, players take turns selecting a role card that determines the actions available to all players that round. Each player then takes that action, but the player who selected the role card receives a bonus or privilege for choosing that particular role. Players must strategize their role selections in order to gain the most benefit and outmaneuver their opponents.

In 7 Wonders, the action drafting mechanic is used to select cards to add to a player’s civilization. Players start with a set of cards and can use them to build structures and gain resources, military power, and victory points. On each turn, players choose one card from their hand to play and then pass their remaining cards to the next player. This continues until all cards have been played. 

The action drafting mechanic is important because it forces players to make strategic decisions about which cards to keep and which to pass on to their opponents. Additionally, since players are drafting from a common pool of cards, it creates competition and a sense of urgency as players try to grab the cards that are most useful to them before their opponents can.