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Minor tweak on drafting

4 replies [Last post]
Grall Ritnos
Joined: 02/07/2011

So, I've been playing with an idea that seems so obvious that I'm sure it must have been done before, but I can't think of a game that has used it. I was wondering if someone could point me in the right direction, or else tell me why this is a terrible idea.

The idea is a minor tweak to the card drafting mechanic used in 7 Wonders and similar games. After each time hands are passed to the next player, a card is drawn off the top of a deck into each hand to replenish that hand and keep the number of choices constant after each round.

For example, a player drafts one of four cards in their starting hand, passes that hand left, receives a 3 card hand from the right. The player draws a card from the deck to get the new hand back up to 4 cards, and then drafts from those 4 cards, and repeats.

My intuition is that hand sizes should be kept small to limit the decision space and keep the game moving. There might also need to be a mechanic which rewards drafting cards that have lapped the table several times if "better" cards keep popping into a particular hand, but this could also be somewhat mitigated through careful balancing and/or creating incentives where each player value specific cards differently.

Are there games that use this mechanism I've missed? Thanks!

Joined: 07/18/2018
If I'm understanding you

If I'm understanding you correctly, you're saying players will draw from the tableu, but also be passing/drafting from player to player each turn? If that's correct, it seems like it definitely allows the player to have a constantly refreshed hand, but as a downside it seems like it would take away some agency from the player.

They can't really plan too far ahead because they won't be sure of what will be in their hand on their next turn. You might also go through your cards very quickly, but I don't know the length or pacing of your game, so that might be in line with what you want. No harm in testing it out anyway. I can't think of a game that does what you're suggesting (Or what I'm interpreting you're suggesting)

Joined: 07/03/2013
The reason for limits

I think that the chief reason designers let hand sizes get smaller is that it creates player interaction:

-The diminishing number of cards kind of makes the decision more interesting because you know you only get one shot to pull from this hand of cards before others get to it. How likely is it that the player to your left will let something this good continue from hand-to-hand?
-Not replenishing the hand lets you control what your opponents receive.

If you were to draw an extra card each time, there's a random element that could still benefit your opponent. Even though you made the play to remove the card they wanted (perhaps at the cost of a play you wanted more), another copy could just randomly be drawn, foiling your "attack".

It also means that you don't get stuck with completely crappy hands - someone is always forced to take every card. Even if I don't want the Sashimis in Sushi Go!, I have to take one, and maybe it'll matter in later hands (or not!)

This isn't to say that the change you've proposed won't work, but I've toyed around with it, and found that it just creates more hassle for players (having to remember to draw a card at the end of a turn is a frequent hiccup for less-focused players).

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011
Replenish in Drafting Games

Two quick comments:

  • I use this in one of my current prototypes. I do agree that it's a step that's sometimes skipped by players in their first game as they become used to the "extra step" in comparison to typical drafting games. Fortunately everyone does this (turns are simultaneous) so correction is quick and not a big deal in most cases.
  • The random addition of a drawn card does take away somewhat from affecting the player that receives the cards you pass. You won't know the card they've drawn to replenish their hand, and if your card draw had the effect you wanted it to in regards to affecting their choices.

All that being said, I like how the mechanic works. Generally speaking, when coupled with other game elements it can add to the quality of the whole while gameplay stays smooth and flows well.

Playtesting (as always) will likely bear this out and give you the information you seek.

Juzek's picture
Joined: 06/19/2017
It's not exactly the same

It's not exactly the same mechanic, but Tides of Time, in between rounds of drafting let's you pick up the cards you drafted last time, and manipulate them by tossing and drawing etc, so that the players have some control over what is being drafted the next round

It would be an interesting take if it was a drafting game where most of the cards are undesirable, and perhapse that would make players relieved to draw a card but reduce the specific "attacks" without feeling like you are passing a bunch of good cards. Now I'm just rambling. Test some stuff out and let us know!

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