Larry Levy at Boardgame News had this interesting discourse on drawing cards in games. In particular he was discussing Bruno Faidutti’s comments on his preference for the traditional mechanic found in games like Rummy where you draw a card at the beginning of your turn as opposed to the “newer” mechanic where you draw your card at the end of the turn. The latter ostensibly prevents additional downtime because it enables you to plan out your next turn in advance with the knowledge of all of the cards you will have for that turn. I tend to agree with Bruno in that I like the “surprise” aspect of the draw at the beginning of your turn and in fact I like that it forces you to only partially plan your turn until you draw your card. Of course this puts more burden on the game designer to make sure you have enough to plan with the subset hand. I prefer games that require some amount of advance planning, some amount of player interaction when it is not your turn, and some amount of activity/surprise on your turn. Games like Bohnanza, Oltre Mare,  and Settlers of Catan come to mind. Of course all of these have taken the traditional “Draw a Card” mechanic and twisted it quite a bit. …and then there is Scopa where the card replenishment is every third turn causing a completely different pacing and feel!

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