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Best / Worst Drafting Methods

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bonsaigames
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Joined: 12/20/2010

We're developing a game that has a Build Phase were the players will gather resources from a common pool.
What is the community's feeling on drafting methods?
Which are the best you've seen?
Which are the worst you've seen?

The three we've been playtesting are:
Roll Dice > Clockwise > Counterclockwise
Auction Draft with Base $ & Max $
Card Rarity

What experiences (if any) have you had with these types?

Thanks in advance for the feedback!
Levi Mote
www.bonsaigames.net

Meldryn
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Joined: 07/15/2011
You've definitely got to be

You've definitely got to be careful using drafting mechanics if the resources available will be determined by player order, unless you then go on to give the last player a chance to spend resources first or utilise them at a lower rate, etc, as in Power Grid ( http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/2651/power-grid ). A drafting mechanic I really enjoy is using worker placement, as in Stone Age ( http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/34635/stone-age ). You have multiple resources and several meeples to disperse into the limited spaces for each resource...then, the more meeples you've got on a resource, the greater probability you have of a greater return on those resources. In general, I'm a fan of drafting mechanics, but the worst thing to happen in a drafting scenario is to wind up with something completely useless or even detrimental. I feel like it's better to promote the tendency for every player to wind up with something they can work with, but force them to think outside the box in order to make it useful...

Cogentesque
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Hey again Bonsai, Drafting is

Hey again Bonsai,

Drafting is cool but to make the most of it I really think you need it tieing in with another aspect of the game that enables it to actually negate itself away. Eg, in Meldryn's idea like stone age, you put workers down for resources. Perhaps an idea for this is that the resource areas of a map would be in far apart locations, so one player will head towards these, whereas another player will try and limit this somewhat for preference of keeping all close linked territories (perhaps adding some other bonus that scales with units in proximity). I think the purpose of drafting is to give players different opportunities and to make game progress differenetly from game to game, not to make one player better than another: so I would always try and work it so aafter drafting, the players may have chosen different paths, but they are fundamentally in an equal opportunity phase that they are both on the same level. If I play with a bad player who chose wrong, the game would be broken. If the X card ensures victory: the person to draft this wins. As long as after the draft we are in a similar situation as far as the possiblilty to win goes: any drafting is fine I think :)

Maaartin
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Joined: 05/15/2011
Excellent article on drafting

I've found an excellent article on drafting.

Cogentesque wrote:
I would always try and work it so aafter drafting, the players may have chosen different paths, but they are fundamentally in an equal opportunity phase that they are both on the same level.

IMHO, this is nice but in general very hard to achieve.

Cogentesque wrote:
If I play with a bad player who chose wrong, the game would be broken.

I disagree. More exactly, I disagree if you're speaking about a "real" strategy game (as opposed to beer and pretzels games). In many games (chess, etc.) any bad move means you lose. In aforementioned Stone Age, choosing stupidly makes you lose a lot of points. In Settlers of Catan, the initial placement (first clockwise then counterclockwise) may be considered a sort of drafting and is really hard to get right.

Playing with bad players (either bad in strategy or newbies) is always a problem, and I agree that drafting (and also auctions) aggravates the problem. In such a case I always try to give then a good advice what to choose.

Cogentesque wrote:
If the X card ensures victory: the person to draft this wins.

We surely agree that there must be no card X.

Soulmate
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Joined: 05/23/2011
Auction Drafts?

I like card drafting a lot. Almost all of my game designs have a drafting mechanic in them. Here are some things I found out about drafting:

- Never make them random, like drawing the top X cards of a main deck. This increases the luck of the game infinitely, and can really frustrate some people.
- Give a choice between two good things, it's a mental advantage to choosing between two bad things. So in essence, each card has to be playable for each player and strategy (of course some cards are better with certain strategies).
- Let players choose a card's worth, like with an auction mechanic: Try to melt the auction and crad draft mechanic together. This way you can never actually make overpowered cards, because players will balance out their power by the amount payed (I think this is a must-have with card rarity).
- Give cards multiple values, this way you can draft a card for their basic function, or their 'special' function.

Personally I think 7 Wonders is the best drafting game (and Fairy Tale for that matter), because it actually forces players to make tough descisions between pissing off your opponent, or doing things for your own gain.

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