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Top 10 Card Drafting Games

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Top Ten Card Drafting Games

Ever since I first got my hands on 7 Wonders, card drafting, or the “pick and pass mechanic” as it’s been called, has been one of my absolute favorite mechanics in tabletop gaming. I love the sense of wonder and anticipation that I get each round when a new hand is passed to me. Will it have the card I need? What could be in there? I feel like a kid on Christmas, and I can’t get enough of this mechanic.

Surprisingly, card drafting isn’t as ubiquitous as other mechanics. While you will find dozens upon dozens of worker placement games, card drafting is only slowly making its way into more games. Even still, there are quite a few really good drafting games out there, so let’s take a look and see which games are our favorites.

Top 10 Card Drafting Games

Honorable Mention: Blood Rage

Blood RageTo be honest, Blood Rage could easily be a top 3 game on this list. However, I’m not really sure it’s a card drafting game. I think it’s more of a minis/war game that has some card drafting in it. So looking at it from that angle, I can’t qualify it as a “card drafting” game. But Blood Rage is still pretty awesome, so it at least deserves a mention here.

2-4 Players • Ages 13+ • 60-90 minutes • $60Get Your Copy

 

 

10. Lost Legends

Lost LegendsLost Legends is a game that sounds great in theme and mechanics, but fails a little bit in execution. It’s a game about equipping your adventurer before you head into the dungeon to fight some monsters. I really enjoyed the drafting aspect, getting weapons, armor, spells, and skills. However, the second part of Lost Legends, where you actually fight, doesn’t work that well. And if you happen to die during that phase, forget about ever catching up. You’re basically done.

3-5 Players • Ages 10+ • 60 minutes • $30Get Your Copy

 

 

9. Treasure Hunter (review)

Treasure HunterDesigned by legendary game designer Richard Garfield, Treasure Hunter is an excellent medium-weight card drafting game. The rules are fairly easy to pick up and the theme/art is family friendly. It involves players drafting cards in the hopes of acquiring treasure on an expedition. Its rules, art, theme, and mechanics all make Treasure Hunter a great “next step” game.

2-6 Players • Ages 8+ • 40 minutes • $35Get Your Copy

 

 

8. Fairy Tale (review)

Fairy Tale BoxFairy Tale is a card drafting/set collection game where players are trying to score the most points, while also interfering with their opponent’s ability to do so. While the artwork isn’t really my cup of tea, I can definitely see it appealing to others. The rules in Fairy Tale aren’t as easy as some other gateway drafting games, but are still simple enough for new players to pick up quickly.

2-5 Players • Ages 10+ • 30 minutes • $15Get Your Copy

 

 

7. Best Treehouse Ever

Best Treehouse EverA relative newcomer to the card drafting genre, Best Treehouse Ever is a family friendly, card drafting game with some super simple mechanics. Players are trying to build a great treehouse, consisting of a number of different colored rooms. You can jump into a game with only a minimal rules explanation, making Best Treehouse Ever and ideal gateway drafting game. The game is fairly light, so whether you are looking for something to play with your non-gamer friends, or as a filler in between other games, Best Treehouse Ever can be a great choice.

2-4 Players • Ages 8+ • 20 minutes • $20Get Your Copy

 

 

6. Nevermore (review)

NevermoreNevermore has players trying to acquire the most victory points over the course of the game. The unique aspects of Nevermore come from the action cards that can be drawn each round, allowing you special onetime powers or the ability to attack your opponents. Each player in Nevermore also has a number of life points that, and when run out, the player turns into a raven. The cool part is that even as a raven you aren’t out of the game and still have a chance at winning.

3-6 Players • Ages 13+ • 45-60 minutes • $20Get Your Copy

 

 

5. Hollywood

HollywoodIf you’ve ever wanted to create your own movie, Hollywood is for you. In this card game, players will be drafting different parts of their movie: script, director, and actor(s), at a very minimum. In addition to those, players can draft cards with special abilities, such as a PR Specialist or Lawyer, to help increase the marketability of their movie. Although this one is hard to find, it’s got a great theme and is a fun game for any fans of the drafting genre.

2-6 Players • Ages 13+ • 30 minutes • Out of PrintGet Your Copy

 

 

4. Among the Stars

Among the StarsIn Among the Stars, plays are trying to build a space station worth the most victory points. Players will be drafting different parts of their station each round and must use the games two resources, money and power, wisely if they hope to win Among the Stars. The unique power plant mechanic means that you not only have to be aware of how much power you have available, but also the distance to the cards you want powered.

2-4 Players • Ages 12+ • 30 minutes • $30Get Your Copy

 

 

3. Tides of Time (review)

Tides of TimeTides of Time was the first game to bring us a fun card drafting game that can be played with only two players. Other games have tried through the use of variant rules and dummy players, but the results have always been a bit lackluster. In Tides of Time, players are trying to score the most points over three, quick playing rounds. This micro game helped interest me in the micro genre again and also boasts some incredible artwork.

2 Players • Ages 8+ • 15 minutes • $10Get Your Copy

 

 

2. Sushi Go! (review)

Sushi Go! TinIf you are looking to introduce someone to the card drafting mechanic, Sushi Go! is usually my go-to game (Although Best Treehouse Ever also makes a compelling alternative choice). The rules are super simple, choose a card, and pass the rest. In fact, publisher Gamewright Games calls it a “pick and pass” game. Sushi Go! is primarily a set collection game that distills the card drafting mechanic down to its essence.

2-5 Players • Ages 8+ • 15 minutes • $10Get Your Copy

 

 

1. 7 Wonders (review)

7 Wonders Box CoverThe first card drafting game I ever played and still easily my favorite. The theme, the mechanics, and the play time, are all just spot on for me. 7 Wonders is the game that launched the genre and, in my opinion, is still the king. There have been a number of expansions released for this card drafting giant, and it quickly turned into a game that I will play anytime anyone ever suggests. The long rumored 7 Wonders tablet app is going to be an instant purchase for me…assuming it’s ever released. If you want the best card drafting game out there, 7 Wonders is it, and has the awards to back it up.

2-7 Players • Ages 10+ • 30 minutes • $35Get Your Copy

 

There you have it, our Top Ten Card Drafting Games. What is your favorite card drafting game? Let us know in the comments below.

19 COMMENTS

    • No Star Realms? I love how simple and fun SR is. And its pretty good gateway game too, after I introduced my SO to Carcassonne, this was next and now she wants to play SR more than anything else.

      • Thanks for the comment. I would consider Star Realms more of a deck building game then a card drafting game. For this list, we were only considering games with the “pick and pass” style of card drafting.

  1. Dominion?
    Star realms?
    Dale of merchants?

    I think this list needs a little more research. Dominion being the first drafting game to go big and still is to this day should be on this list at least.

    • Thanks for your feedback Johnny. As mentioned above, none of those games would qualify for this list. This is list is about card drafting, specially, the pick and pass mechanic. While the games you mentioned above involve drafting cards from face up stacks, they aren’t really relevant to this list. Those are considered deck building games, and use a different style of drafting all together. In fact, you can find Dominion in our Top Ten Deck Building Games list: http://www.boardgamequest.com/top-10-deck-building-games/

  2. Why include Lost Legends in a Top 10 list if you didn’t like the later part of the game? If Blood Rage deserves a mention, & I could see why, I might suggest Arcadia Quest (by the same designer) should as well! In that game players draft the characters they will play, as well as the item upgrades they may purchase for their characters to use during a future scenario while playing campaign mode.

    • It’s true, I Lost Legends isn’t my favorite game. But I did enjoy parts of it and thought it had some good ideas. I just wish the second half of the game wasn’t so punishing.

  3. The ‘Get Your Copy’ link for Hollywood leads to the Amazon page for Cartagena, which although a great game, not Hollywood. I also haven’t been able to find Hollywood in American stores.

  4. Great list! Tides of Time would be much lower on my list, but I pretty much like all of these games. I tried out Fairy Tale as a two player game the other day and it worked pretty well.

    • Thanks for the comment, although I think I’d replace Tides of Time with Tides of Madness now. I like it better than the original.

    • To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of Seasons. It has its moments, but I wouldn’t put it in my top 10. The artwork is beautiful on it though.

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