Board Game Bites for New Gamers: Card Drafting

by Mrs. Saint

A couple weeks ago, we talked about Dice Drafting. This week, we’re going to cover the Card Drafting mechanic and discuss a few different games that use card drafting. If you’ve read some of my other articles, you may already know that my husband is the one who introduced me to hobby board gaming. After my experience of playing Arkham Horror Second Edition with him, I was hooked and excited to learn and play more board games, outside of the traditional ones like Clue and Monopoly that I had grown up with. When his board game collection became “our” board game collection, one of the first games we purchased together for our collection was a Card Drafting game: Sushi Go Party! by Gamewright. 

Sushi Go Party! (hereinafter SGP) is a great example to show the core of the simplistic mechanism of card drafting. I think the game box describes the core of card drafting perfectly when it refers to SGP as “the deluxe pick and pass card game.”  In SGP, you’re creating a menu for a delicious sushi feast. Players are vying each round to get the most points. Each player is dealt a hand of cards (number of cards dealt depends on total number of players) and then for each round they pick one card and pass the remaining hand face down to the player beside them. This continues until all cards have been chosen/drafted. You pick your cards based on the number of points you think they’ll give you for scoring. With the exception of dessert cards, all cards you drafted are scored after each of the three rounds, with the dessert cards being scored at the end of the third and final round. The player with the most points after the third round scoring, wins. 

In a nutshell, that’s what card drafting is. You are dealt cards, you select the one you feel will best help you score the most points or meet the criteria for winning and then you pass your hand to the next player and continue in this manner until there are no cards left to be passed. SGP ends when all cards have been dealt, but other games have additional play after the cards are dealt. An example of play after the drafting phase is Bargain Quest by Renegade Game Studios. In Bargain Quest, after you’ve drafted your cards of items and equipment, you then sell them to and equip the heroes with the cards you drafted. Once they are equipped, they go off to fight a monster, where stars (used later in scoring) are awarded based on both wounding and/or surviving the monster encounter. 

Another popular card drafting game is 7 Wonders by Repos Production. In 7 Wonders, you’re leading one of the great ancient civilizations and trying to grow and develop your city over three rounds/Ages. 7 Wonders is different from the other two card drafting games we’ve already talked about, because during 7 Wonders you take one card and set the remaining cards facedown and after each player has made their selection an action is taken.  Only after any card actions are complete do players pass hands for the next card draft. 

These are just three examples of card drafting games but I hope you feel after reading the article that you have a better understanding of the card drafting mechanic. What card drafting games are your favorite? Or, what is that one card drafting game you can’t wait to take off your wishlist and official add to your collection? Leave us some comments and let us know! 

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