The definitive ranked list of the best card drafting games. Many titles use drafting as a mechanic but card drafting is a very specific subgenre. Players get a stack of many cards, take one and then pass to your neighbor with your other neighbor doing the same. This results in the stack of cards slowly depleting as everyone takes cards from their individual stack. You do this until they are gone and that is a round, with games often having several of these rounds. It is a wonderful mechanic that streches many different themes and intesity levels. These are the top 10 best card drafting games.
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#10 | Fairy Tale
Fairy Tale makes the list of the best card drafting games because this fairy themed title is simple and quick to run, like any drafting game, but the mechanics within paired with the fantasy backdrop elevate it to another level that makes for a unique and fun experience.
In each of five rounds, players are dealt five cards. They simultaneously select one each and pass the remainder, repeating until done. Then, they start playing cards simultaneously, playing three and discarding two. When the cards are revealed after each selection, card abilities turn other cards face-up or face-down. At the end of the four rounds there are 12 cards in front of each player. The players each score based on their face-up cards. For 2 – 5 players, games run about 30 minutes.
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#09 | Lost Legends
Lost Legends makes the list of the best card drafting games because it is a great title that combines a streamlined Euro game design and card drafting with an interesting fantasy theme and battle mechanic. The intensity level is certainly kicked up a notch here, but it is still quick and easy enough to play.
Players take on the role of heroes trying to assemble an arsenal of equipment in order to vanquish a series of monsters that they will encounter. Everyone chooses a uniquely powered hero and then must fight their own monster. Once revealed, players draft equipment cards to take them on. Players take one card at a time from a stack, passing the remainder until none or left. Then each hero sees how they stack up against the threats against them. For 3 – 5 players, games run about 70 minutes.
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#08 | Treasure Hunter
Treasure Hunter makes the list of the best card drafting games because this is such a great imperfect information title in this type of game format. There are only so many treasures and you need to roll with the cards to put yourself in the best position to win. It is very easy and light but it is a game with plenty of stakes.
Treasures are placed on the board and then all players are given a hand of nine cards from which to draft, drawing one card and passing remainders to their neighbor. All players must play any and all cards from their drafted hand of nine for each season they have cards for, whether they want one of the two treasures or not. Get as much valuable treasure and coins as you can. For 2 – 6 players, games last approximately 40 minutes.
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#07 | Point Salad
Point Salad makes the list of the best card drafting games because like a few others here, this is a colorful and light title that is as fun as it is to look at as it is to play. Collect groupings of fruits and vegetables with loads of ways to score points.
Cards come in six different types of veggies, and the back of each card has a different scoring method. So for instance, one scoring method may award 2 points for every carrot you have, but deduct a point for every onion. By drafting combinations of veggies and point cards that work for your strategy, you can amass the most points and win. For 2 – 6 players, games run 15 – 30 minutes.
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#06 | Among the Stars
Among the Stars makes the list of the best card drafting games because in a time of galactic peace, you need to draft rooms to construct the best space station, and all the gameplay that goes along with it is great. The theme bleeds in so well and will keep you entertained game after game.
The game takes place in a war-ravaged galaxy where the warring alien races have declared peace in the wake of a threat with the potential to destroy them all. You are one of those races trying to build the greatest space station. Through card drafting, select locations, and use these to build your station and score victory points based on their placement. The construction lasts four years, and most points wins. For 2 – 4 players, games last approximately 30 minutes.
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#05 | Ohanami
Ohanami makes the list of the best card drafting games because it is such and elegant and beautiful title that uses the marquee set collection mechanic of a drafter and pairs it with this interesting solitaire like alternative in your individual player space. The game looks great and it is fun to play.
Games take place over 3 rounds where each round has players drafting 10 cards. Cards are cherry blossoms that have a number 1 – 120 on it (one card per number). Each player has three “garden” columns in front of them that grow over the 3 rounds as you add cards into them. The only rule is that the numbers have to go in ascending orders. If you placed a 32, then you can’t put down a 28 or 16 down on that column. Each card is one of four colors and that directly affects scoring, where after each round, certain colors get are scored. For 2 – 4 players, games go for about 20 minutes.
FOR MORE: Ohanami Page | How To Play Ohanami | Ohanami Review | Games Like Ohanami | Buy Ohanami on Amazon
#04 | Tides of Time
Tides of Time makes the list of the best card drafting games because using interesting mechanics, kicks this idea up another notch. With what you are taking, you need to build new monuments and use relics from the past to create the greatest civilization of all the players.
Games are three rounds in which players draft cards from their hands to build their kingdom. Each card is 1 of 5 suits and also has a scoring objective. After all cards have been drafted for the round, players total their points based on the suits of cards they collected and the scoring objectives on each card, then they record their score. Each round, the players each select one card to leave in their kingdom as a “relic of the past” to help them in later rounds. For 2 players, games run 15 – 20 minutes.
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#03 | It’s A Wonderful World
It’s A Wonderful World makes the list of the best card drafting games because it uses the mechanism to create a robust strategic resource management game. Not only are you making key decisions about what to take and what to deprive your neighbor of, but the resource resolution of how things play out and how cards are used is a wonderful mechanic.
You are an expanding Empire and must choose your path to your future. Each round, players will draft 7 cards and then choose which ones will be recycled to immediately acquire Resources, and which ones will be kept for construction to produce Resources each round and/or gain victory points. When a card is fully built, it’s added to the player’s Empire to increase the player’s production capacity for each round. For 1 – 5 players, games run around 30 – 60 minutes.
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#02 | Sushi Go Party!
Sushi Go Party! makes the list of the best card drafting games because you do not get better light hearted, variable set collection than this. The rules and flow are super quick, but it also has the bonus of being one of these titles that can accomodate a very high number of players. Not to mention, it might have the most adorable artwork of all time.
This is a game about playing with your dinner, and there are all sorts of adorable sushi cards (tempura, dumplings, etc) that help you do this. Over 3 rounds players draft one card at a time to complete sets. Each card has its own special thing (like collect 4x of these and get 12 points) and it is up to you to strategically see what is coming around and pick the right card. Points are scored and new cards handed out in between each round. For 2 – 8 players, games last about 20 minutes each.
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#01 | 7 Wonders
7 Wonders takes the top spot on the list of the best card drafting games because it is not only a fantastic game in this subgenre, it is one of the best and most beloved board games in all of existence. You draft but as this goes on, and as you progress through the ages, you act within the moment and there is lots to do. A truly all-star game and one that is going to be hard to beat, even though it is over a decade old.
The game lasts three ages. In each, players receive seven cards from a particular deck, choose one of those cards, then pass the remainder to an adjacent player. Players reveal their cards simultaneously, paying resources if needed or collecting resources or interacting with other players in various ways. For 3 – 7 players, games last about 45 minutes.