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Spotlight: Set Collecting Games

Set collecting games have been around in many forms for hundreds of years. For many years the most popular of these were in the form of card games such as rummy and canasta. In more recent times the set collecting mechanic has found it’s way into many modern board games. These games are destined to become classics in their own right, and in fact some already have. Here are some of the best:

Lost Cities
This card game is one of the most loved two player games of all time. The theme is one of exploration. The 5 (or 6) ‘suits’ in the game represent archaeological expeditions, which cost the player points to begin, but the more cards that are successfully added to the set will increase the value of the expedition. Each turn you must play one card from your hand either into an expedition or onto the central board, where it becomes available to your opponent. Generally three games are played in a session, with the scores for each game added together to determine a winner.

Ticket to Ride
The most successful train game in history, is a combination of set collecting and route building. To win the game you need to connect the cities on your train ticket cards, by laying trains on the board. But to do that you’ll need to collect the sets of the right coloured train cards. This game can be taught in about 5 minutes and yet offers many strategic choices. One of the best family games around.

Splendor provides an alternate take on set collecting. The aim of the game is to collect cards with point values totalling 15 or more. In order to take the cards you need to pay the cost in gemstones. Each turn you can either take gemstones or spend them to buy a card. The cards themselves also provide gemstones, which you can constantly use to purchase more valuable cards. Collecting sets of these also may let you acquire valuable noble cards which will add to your point total.

Players are attempting to decorate the walls of a Portuguese place in Azul. Tiles are drafted each turn from a central pool, these are placed into a staging area and at at the end of each round earn points when they are added to the walls. Completing certain patterns and collecting sets will earn players bonus points at the end of the game. Winner of the 2018 Spiel des Jahres.

7 Wonders
This game brings to life the seven wonders of the ancient world and the nations responsible for them. Played over three rounds, players draft a variety of cards to add to their developing civilization. There are numerous ways to earn points based on which sets of cards are collected, including military cards, science cards and resource cards. Additionally constructing your civilization’s unique wonder will add to it’s value and potentially give you a special ability.

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