More precisely referred to as "action drafting", this mechanism requires players to draft individual actions from a set that is available to all players. Players generally draft actions one-at-a-time and in turn order. If the game is structured in rounds, then all actions are usually refreshed so that they become available again for drafting. There is usually(*) a limit on the number of times a single action may be drafted in the same way for the same price. Once that limit is reached, an action can no longer be taken until a subsequent round or until the action space is no longer occupied by another player. As such, not all actions can be taken by all players in a given round, and action 'blocking' occurs.
Actions are commonly drafted by the placement of game pieces or tokens on the selected actions. Each player usually has a limited number of pieces with which to participate in the process. Some games achieve the same effect in reverse: the turn begins with action spaces filled by markers, which are claimed by players for some cost.
From a thematic standpoint, the game pieces which players use to select actions often represent workers of any given trade (this category of mechanism, however, is not necessarily limited to or by this thematic representation). In other words, players often thematically "place workers" to show which actions have been drafted by individual players. For example, in Agricola you start with two family members who can be placed on action spaces to collect resources or take certain actions like building fences. When someone places a piece on a given space, that action is no longer available until the next round.
The world you know no longer exists. There is no government. No army. No civilization. The United States has collapsed, and now thirty years after the war started, new powers finally try to take control over the ruined country, try to establish a new order, try to control others and create a new cou.... Read more
In Agricola, you're a farmer in a wooden shack with your spouse and little else. On a turn, you get to take only two actions, one for you and one for the spouse, from all the possibilities you'll find on a farm: collecting resources; building meadows; and so on. You might think about having kids in .... Read more
It is the late 26th century. Earth is recovering from a catastrophic explosion that exterminated the majority of the population centuries ago and made most of the surface uninhabitable due to unearthly weather conditions. The surviving humans organized along four radically different ideologies, call.... Read more
In Archipelago, players are Renaissance European powers competing in the exploration of a Pacific or Caribbean archipelago. They will explore territories, harvest resources, use those resources in markets both internal (for their use and that of the natives) and foreign (to sell it in Europe), build.... Read more
Stake your fortunes in the mysterious island world of Bora Bora. Journey across islands, building huts where the resilient men and women of your tribes can settle, discovering fishing grounds and collecting shells. Send priests to the temples, and gather offerings to curry favor with the gods.
In.... Read more
The "Arte di Calimala" — the guild of cloth finishers and merchants in foreign cloth — was one of the greater guilds of Florence, who arrogated to themselves the civic power of the Republic of Florence during the Late Middle Ages. The woolen cloth trade was the engine that drove the city’s economy a.... Read more
In Serge Laget's Cargo Noir – his fourth standalone box game from Days of Wonder – players represent "families" that traffic in smuggled goods in a 1950s noir setting. Each turn, you'll set sail to various ports where cargo is known to get "lost" for the right price – Hong Kong, Bombay, Rotterdam, N.... Read more
Carson City is a strategic game played in four rounds, and in each one of them, the players choose a character from the seven available that gives certain advantages.
After selecting characters, your cowboys are placed on action track locations that allow you to construct buildings, houses, or ro.... Read more
Champions of Midgard (formerly Defenders of Nidaros) is a middleweight, Viking-themed, worker placement game with dice rolling in which players are leaders of Viking clans who have traveled to an embattled Viking harbor town to help defend it against the threat of trolls, draugr, and other mythologi.... Read more
Coal Baron – or Glück Auf in German, after a greeting German miners use when wishing one another luck – has players sending miners underground to dig tunnels and acquire coal, which comes in four levels of quality and is used to fulfill contracts.
The game lasts three rounds, and in each round pl.... Read more
The city of Essen, Germany at the turn of the 20th century was a center for coal mining in Europe. Immerse yourself in the dark world of coal mining as you extract coal from pits, load coal to wagon trains, and then rail your coal off to distant locations in search of fortunes.
Coal Baron: The Gr.... Read more
In Dungeon Lords, you are an evil dungeonlord who is trying to build the best dungeon out there. You hire monsters, build rooms, buy traps and defeat the do-gooders who wish to bring you down.
From the publisher's webpage:
Have you ever ventured with party of heroes to conquer dungeons, gain p.... Read more
In Ex Libris, you are a collector of rare and valuable books in a thriving gnomish village. Recently, the Mayor and Village Council have announced an opening for a Grand Librarian: a prestigious (and lucrative) position they intend to award to the most qualified villager! Unfortunately, several of y.... Read more
In Florenza, the players are the heads of the most powerful families in Florenza during the Renaissance period. The goal of the game is to become the most famous patron of the arts by hiring the most famous artists of the period and financing their works.
Each player can commission artworks in hi.... Read more
Return to a bustling Plymouth Harbor in 1572 as an aspiring Elizabethan captain making preparations for three exciting voyages to the Spanish Main in search of fame and fortune! As captains, players will have to plan their missions and provision their ships accordingly.
Francis Drake is a race to.... Read more
For several decades during the Viking age, parts of England were occupied by the Norsemen. Under their influence, one of the larger cities turned into a flourishing center of trade and craftsmanship. The Vikings called the city and its surrounding kingdom "Jórvík", which is today known as the city .... Read more
Keyper is a game with high player interaction for two to four players played over four rounds. Each round represents a season: spring, summer, autumn and finally winter.
Each player starts the game with their own village board, a mini keyp board, 12 village tiles, a keyper (waving meeple) in thei.... Read more
You've just inherited an old restaurant and you must turn it into a successful business! Hire personnel, order the right ingredients and be ready to serve the customers that enter your restaurant. The success will depend entirely on your efficiency in the kitchen!
Kitchen Rush is an innovative re.... Read more
In La Granja, players control small farms by the Alpich pond near the village of Esporles on the island of Mallorca. Over time, the players develop their farms and deliver goods to the village. Players are vying to earn the title of "La Granja" for their country estate!
Over the course of 6 game .... Read more
On November 30, 1803, the United States purchased Louisiana from Napoleon. U.S. President Thomas Jefferson decided to send two explorers – Meriwether Lewis and William Clark – to discover this huge terra incognita.
Lewis & Clark is a board game in which the players manage an expedition intended t.... Read more
Madeira is an island officially discovered early in the 15th century by Portuguese seafarers. Madeira, the Portuguese word for wood, refers to the dense forest that covered its wild, fertile landscape. This, and its strategic position far into the Atlantic Ocean made the island one of the most signi.... Read more
King Arthur is searching for a worthy heir. Together with Merlin he tries to find the best candidate among the Knights of the Round Table.
Players move their knights or Merlin with the help of dice around the action ring to get the most desired actions. While the knights are only moved by the cor.... Read more
In Mombasa, players acquire shares of chartered companies based in Mombasa, Cape Town, Saint-Louis, and Cairo and propagate trading posts of these companies throughout the African continent in order to earn the most money.
Mombasa features a unique, rotating-display hand-mechanism that drives gam.... Read more
Halfway through the 19th century, the first permanent settlements appeared in Montana. After this, many fortune seekers traveled to this region with their caravans in search of work in order to build a better future for themselves — and there is an abundance of work as in the mountains precious meta.... Read more
Nusfjord is a tranquil fishing village in the Lofoten archipelago in northern Norway. Fifty years ago, business was blooming when the codfish would come for spawning. Today, Nusfjord is more of a museum than a village, with less than a hundred people living there. Imagine how beautiful this place mu.... Read more
During the medieval goings-on around Orléans, you must assemble a following of farmers, merchants, knights, monks, etc. to gain supremacy through trade, construction and science in medieval France.
In the city of Orléans and the area of the Loire, you can take trade trips to other cities to acqui.... Read more
Outlive is a management/survival game in a post-apocalyptic universe in which nature has overcome its rights amongst the world of Men. In Outlive, players have six days (turns) to send heroes gathering resources during the day, while avoiding threats from other players and reinforce their settlement.... Read more
In a game of Pioneers, the players attempt to populate the cities shown on the game board with their pioneers, using coaches to transport them around the map. Each pioneer has a specific profession, and can only be settled in a city where their work is needed.
After all the pioneers riding in a c.... Read more
Raiders of the North Sea is set in the central years of the Viking Age. As Viking warriors, players seek to impress the Chieftain by raiding unsuspecting settlements. Players will need to assemble a crew, collect provisions and journey north to plunder gold, iron and livestock. There is glory to be .... Read more
Through tactics and karma to wealth and fame...
In 16th century India, the powerful empire of the Great Moguls rises between the Indus and the Ganges rivers. Taking on the role of rajas and ranis – the country's influential nobles – players in Rajas of the Ganges race against each other in suppor.... Read more
Each player represents a mining company drilling the Earth to get resources. But drilling often request the help of other players (forced or not). Each one therefore moves four drills on the arcs stratum of the planet to successfully implement his mines and extract maximum resources. The Fame points.... Read more
In Russian Railroads, players compete in an exciting race to build the largest and most advanced railway network. In order to do so, the players appoint their workers to various important tasks.
The development of simple tracks will quickly bring the players to important places, while the moderni.... Read more
It's the year 1899, and strange phenomena are being observed in places like Stonehenge and the pyramids of Egypt. Time goes crazy, and newly discovered crystals have exhibited strange properties that allow for the creation of fantastic apparatuses.
In a race to exploit these discoveries, the rapi.... Read more
Designer Eric Lang, known for his "dudes on a map" games, describes The Godfather: Corleone's Empire — a standalone big box board game with high-quality miniatures — as "thugs on a map".
In short, the game is a streamlined, confrontational worker placement game filled with murder and intrigue. Yo.... Read more
At the beginning of the 13th century, construction of the greatest and most beautiful cathedral in England begins. Players are builders who try to contribute the most to this cathedral's construction and, in so doing, score the most victory points.
Gameplay roughly consists of using workers to pr.... Read more
In 1271, 17-year-old Marco Polo started on a journey to China with his father and older brother. After a long and grueling journey that led through Jerusalem and Mesopotamia and over the "Silk Road", they reached the court of Kublai Khan in 1275.
In The Voyages of Marco Polo, players recreate thi.... Read more
Life in the village is hard – but life here also allows the inhabitants to grow and prosper as they please. One villager might want to become a friar. Another might feel ambitious and strive for a career in public office. A third one might want to seek his luck in distant lands.
Each player will .... Read more
In Viticulture, the players find themselves in the roles of people in rustic, pre-modern Tuscany who have inherited meager vineyards. They have a few plots of land, an old crushpad, a tiny cellar, and three workers. They each have a dream of being the first to call their winery a true success.
Th.... Read more