The definitive 2020 ranked list of the best simultaneous action selection board games. This is a very interesting mechanic where all, or at least some, portion of the game has many things happen all at once. What this does is make people make decisions based on not having all the information (like what your opponent is doing). It creates a very interesting strategic component that makes you have to chart your own coarse instead of just reacting. These titles span a variety of genres and provide different things to the overall gaming experience. These are the top 10 best simultaneous action selection board games.
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#10 | Food Chain Magnate
Food Chain Magnate makes the list of the best simultaneous action selection board games because at the end of the day you are running a business and that requires all sorts of sacrifices and prioritizing. With all the different aspects of how to grow your empire, not exactly knowing what is going to happen with other players is part of what makes the game great.
This is a heavy strategy game about building a fast food chain. The focus is on building your company using a card-driven (human) resource management system. Players compete on a variable city map through purchasing, marketing and sales, and on a job market for key staff members. The game can be played by 2-5 people in roughly 2-4 hours.
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#09 | El Grande
El Grande makes the list of the best simultaneous action selection board games because it is an area control game that brings in this mechanic in a very satisfying way. A turn then consists of selecting one of five action cards which allow variations to the rules and additional scoring opportunities in addition to determining how many caballeros (your knights) to move from your court to one or more of the regions on the board
You are a “grandes” lord. The king’s power is fledgling and it is your turn to step in and try to take control of the various regions. You need to draft “caballeros” knights (colored cubes) into your army to move onto the board and seize these regions. Everyone is doing the same thing but by strategically taking the right mix of powers and warriors, you can control the right area and get big points towards victory. For 2 – 5 players, games run about 1 – 2 hours.
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#08 | Race for the Galaxy
Race For The Galaxy makes the list of the best simultaneous action selection board games because you are colonizing, developing and conquering on the backs of others’ choices. At the beginning of each round, players each select, secretly and simultaneously, one of the seven roles which correspond to the phases in which the round progresses.
In the card game, you build galactic civilizations by playing game cards in front of you that represent worlds or technical and social developments. Some worlds allow you to produce goods, which can be consumed later to gain either card draws or victory points when the appropriate technologies are available. These are mainly provided by the developments and worlds that are not able to produce, but the fancier production worlds also give these bonuses. For 2 – 4 players, games run about 30 – 60 minutes.
#07 | Twilight Struggle
Twilight Struggle makes the list of the best simultaneous action selection board games because of the different groupings of decisions you need to make across this journey. In this campaign driven area control game, you will relive the Cold War over many steps and rewrite history in an epic clash between the USA and USSR.
The game map is a world map of the period (1940s – 70s), whereon players move units and exert influence in attempts to gain allies and control for their superpower. Twilight Struggle simulates the forty-five year dance of intrigue, prestige, and occasional flares of warfare between the Soviet Union and the United States. The entire world is the stage on which these two titans fight to make the world safe for their own ideologies and ways of life. For 2 players, games go about 2 – 3 hours.
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#06 | WWE Legends Royal Rumble Card Game
WWE Legends Royal Rumble Card Game makes the list of the best simultaneous action selection board games because it does a fantastic job of recreating the every man for themselves rumble of the famous WWE wrestling royal rumble. Like wrestling, everyone thinks about the move they are going to make and then it all gets revealed at the same time. Pay close attention to the speed of your attack and who you are going after, because the fast move revealed will go down first and sometimes that is all that matters.
Enter the ring as a WWE Legend and face off against your rivals in the WWE Legends Royal Rumble Card Game. Use electrifying attacks and signature finishing maneuvers to eliminate your opponents. Each player starts with a randomly dealt Legend, their corresponding Signature card, and six Action cards. All players go at the same time, and the game is played in rounds. Each round consists of four steps: Plan, Reveal, Attack, and End of Turn. For 2 – 10 players, games run 30 – 45 minutes.
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#05 | Blood Rage
Blood Rage makes the list of the best simultaneous action selection board games because most player strategies are guided by the cards drafted at the beginning of each of the three game rounds (or Ages). These “Gods’ Gifts” grant you numerous boons for your clan including: increased Viking strength and devious battle strategies, upgrades to your clan, or even the aid of legendary creatures from Norse mythology.
Each player controls their own Viking clan’s warriors, leader, and ship. Ragnarök has come, and it’s the end of the world! It’s your last chance to fight an epic battle and secure your place in Valhalla at Odin’s side! You have many pathways to glory, you can invade and pillage the land for its rewards, crush your opponents in epic battles, fulfill quests, increase your clan’s stats, or even die gloriously. For 2 – 4 players, games run about 60 – 90 minutes.
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#04 | 7 Wonders
7 Wonders makes the list of the best simultaneous action selection board games because it is one of the best secret card drafting games out there. If you know anything about drafting games, all players make a selection at the same time. How your military and economy works does relate to your opponents so not knowing how they are going to proceed each turn brings in an exciting and speculative aspect that is wonderful.
This iconic title is played over three “ages” representing the progression through time. In each age, 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.
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#03 | Spirit Island
Spirit Island makes the list of the best simultaneous action selection board games because invaders are coming from all directions and you need to make a series of choices to best hedge your bets and up your chances for survival. In a cooperative manner, Island Spirits join forces using elemental powers to defend their home.
You are a spirit of the land with your own unique elemental powers. Every turn, players simultaneously choose which of their power cards to play, paying energy to do so. Combos and weighing fast versus slow initiative are big here. In the Spirit phase, spirits gain energy, and choose how / whether to Grow: to reclaim used power cards, to seek for new power, or to spread presence into new areas of the island. For 1 – 4 players, games last 90 – 120 minutes.
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#02 | Scythe
Scythe makes the list of the best simultaneous action selection board games because there are few games with as much going on as Scythe. Not only do you need to think three steps ahead, but you need to make a ton of decisions all at once. The game is very well balanced and the domino effect of the waterfall of all these things happen creates some amazing, and sometimes unexpected, results.
The game is set in an alternate-history 1920s period. You are a character from one of five factions of Eastern Europe, attempting to earn your fortune and claim your faction’s stake in the land around the mysterious Factory. You must conquer territory, enlist new recruits, reap resources, gain villagers, build structures, and activate monstrous mechs. For 1 – 5 players, games last approximately 90 – 115 minutes.
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#01 | Gloomhaven
Gloomhaven takes the top spot on the list of the best simultaneous action selection board games because so much happens round by round and you are heading into that blind. This is a co-op dungeon crawler, so you are in your crew head through a location room by room. You enter, see what is going on and then you have to make a bunch of decisions, about how to proceed. You put your plan in place and then things go bonkers, monsters strike and it all goes down. It is an exciting explosion of action.
This is a game of tactical combat in a persistent world of shifting motives. You take on the role of a wandering adventurer forced to work with other players to clear out menacing dungeons and forgotten ruins. In the process, you will enhance their abilities with experience and loot, discover new locations to explore and plunder, and expand an ever-branching story fueled by the decisions you make. For 1 – 4 players, games last about 1 – 2 hours