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Popular Variable Player Powers Board Games (Mechanic)

These are the board games with the Variable Player Powers mechanic.
Root board game
Rank: 1
Trending: 24
Gloomhaven board game
Rank: 2
Trending: 26
Scythe board game
Rank: 3
Trending: 59
Spirit Island board game
Rank: 8
Trending: 62
Pandemic board game
Rank: 9
Trending: 142
Clans of Caledonia board game
Rank: 33
Trending: 98
Roll For The Galaxy board game
Rank: 46
Trending: 195
Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island board game
Mansions of Madness: Second Edition board game
Forbidden Desert board game
Rank: 74
Trending: 848
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All games I decide to buy (to play with my wife) are with the solo mode in mind, so they're always solid! My favorites so far are #Pax Pamir (Second Edition), #Root, #Architects of the West Kingdom, and #Clans of Caledonia. I honesty haven't played enough to get to a point of tiring myself out from them, but I can say that it's not likely to happen soon because:

  1. Either the AI is really tough to beat or there's a high ceiling cap in terms of skill (Clans is somewhat like this)
  2. I typically acquire games with lots of variability (either in setup or through variable player powers)
  3. There's never enough time to get in a play so I'm usually just hoping that my schedule will clear off so that I can finally get in a session

I had a dice phase some months ago when I was on the lookout for the perfect game with dice workers! And I agree with you, I really enjoy the perfect mixture of strategical thinking and tactical decisions you make when trying to deal with the bad rolls.

The only ones I've played are #The Voyages of Marco Polo, #Atlantis Rising (second edition), and #Camel Up (second edition)

Marco Polo bears some resemblances to Coimbra I believe. In MP, you have a set number of dice workers that you can place on various spots. You can spend resources to hire more workers or get re-rolls. The big catch in MP is (1) when taking an action that requires more than one die, the "power" of your action is determined by the lowest numbered die and (2) when you want to place your workers on an already occupied spot, (1) you have to pay to take that action. The amount you pay is determined by the lowest numbere die. This makes it so that low numbered dice are just as important when you're really needing to take actions on populars spots without breaking your bank for it. Besides this, this game features highly unique variable player powers where one character doesn't even need to roll dice haha 

For #Atlantis Rising (second edition), it's a co-op game where players work together to gather different resources from different peninsula that jut out from the center of the island. The probability of gaining a resource increases the further you go out to the end of the peninsula but you also run the risk of not being able to take that action if the location you're standing on happens to flood away. You roll dice to determine if you obtained a resource. You can mitigate bad luck by spending "Mystic Energy"


#Camel Up (second edition) is a racing game and each die corresponds to a camel of the same color. To be honest, I think this is my favorite out of these three games. I absolutely love the random, silly, chaotic fun of it even though there's very little strategy involved.

I'd love to try out #Troyes. I feel like it would be one of my favorites within this category. I also have #Root that uses dice but it's not the biggest part of the game.

I tend to agree with this and have heard similar thoughts from notable game designers in past interviews. I think each mechanism tends to evoke a unique feeling and the gameplay can lead the audience in a very different way depending on which mechanics you give more emphasis to in the design.

For example:

Worker placement - I think this is one of the easier ones to identify. It's structured and very tidy, and makes players put on the hat of a manager.

Variable Player Powers/Asymmetry - Increases the level of immersion and places players in the shoes of the character.

Dice rolling and press your luck - Summons the gambling spirit in us all!

Engine building - This one covers a wide range of mechanics but overall, it makes the players take on the hat of an engineer to analyze/evaluate and develop a complex system.

Point to point movement - You feel like you're on a journey. The more static the game, the more of other stuff/mechanics needed to generate that story element. 

OOOH I've been waiting for this one to come out. So I assume that the solo deck is included in the box this time around? Also, are they planning to work on expansions at all or will it entirely depend on the reception?

As much as I like Mico's artwork, this is quite a nice cleaned up version. Definitely better than my first impressions. And I adore variable player powers in games.

I'll jump in. Always open to good suggestions from others.

A brief intro to you as a gamer.  Been playing enthusiastically for about 3 years, but lots of off and on gaming for decades prior. My wife is my most consistent gaming partner, so anything that you recommend has to be very good with 2 players, but higher player counts are OK too, so long as they' re good with two.

Top 3 Favorite Games:  Gloomhaven (I've pledged for Frosthaven), Yokohama, Concordia. Let's go for five favorites: Five Tribes (I suck at it), Viticulture: Essential Edition.

Top 3 Favorite Mechanics: Worker placement, hand management, variable player powers.

Top 3 Favorite Themes:  I like themes, but any well-done theme will do.

Most Played Game: Pandemic. It's my wife's favorite game. We've played it 18 times this month alone. That's unusual, and is a by-product of the quarantine. I would prefer for Gloomhaven to be the most played.

Heaviest Game:  Gloomhaven. Maybe Mistfall: Heart of the Mists.

Lightest Game:  Love Letter

Sector of gaming you wish to explore: I need some alternatives to Pandemic. My wife can play it forever, but I need more variety. Here's what she likes about it and what I need in an alternative game to get her to play frequently: easy setup and teardown, plays in less than an hour but has interesting decisions, player interaction, cooperative is nice but not mandatory.

Let me add another categories here.

Games that I already own, but have never played: Mage Knight: Ultimate Edition, Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition, Eclipse, Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, Arkham Horror: The Card Game, Hyperborea, Earth Reborn, Scorpius Freighter, The 7th Continent.

I always thought managing 4 spirits (let alone 3) would be a no for me. I think the most I'd go for is running two bots when playing Root haha.

Thanks for the write-up, it gave me a good idea about the game and I still can't quite see owning this one in the near future. I like what it offers because I love variable player powers and the progression of the spirits' powers, but I'm starting to move away from Pandemic-esque co-ops in terms of theme and turn structure. Plus, I have #Atlantis Rising (second edition), which isn't getting many plays either.

A brief intro to you as a gamer: My wife is my main gaming partner and we both prefer medium-light to medium weight games (between 3.0 to 3.8 in complexity) that can play in 2 hours or less. I like good art and components in games but it ultimately comes down to whether the game has that unique mechanic to hook me in. I also love elegant games that are light on rules overhead but are deep in strategy. I've also been getting into solo gaming so I usually want my every other or every third purchase to have a great solo option.

Top 3 Favorite Games: #Root#Viticulture: Essential Edition (with #Tuscany: Essential Edition), and #Clans of Caledonia. I recently got #Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated and #Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North and I'm guessing at least one of them will take this place once I get in some plays. Also, this list would look quite differently for my solo plays.

Top 3 Favorite Mechanics: Variable player powers or asymmetry (about a third of the games in my colleciton), some sort of engine-building, and point-to-point movement (very generic, and it's something I've only thought of just now), but I think I tend to like moving my pieces across some sort of a map.

Top 3 Favorite Themes: Nature/life-based, animals, a well executed sci-fi

Most Played Game: #Friday app, Viticulture/Tuscany for physical

Heaviest Game: #Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization (4.4) app. For physical copy, it's #Root (3.62). I also have #Pax Pamir (Second Edition) that needs plays (3.7)

Lightest Game: #Just One

Sector of gaming you wish to explore: Campaigns. I've also played very few "thematic" games but I can't see myself playing many of them because most of my sessions are 2p only.

I'm always an advocate for these games, but you should check out #Oceans. #Evolution: Climate is also fantastic, but Oceans will really scratch that itch for variable player powers once the "Deep" cards start coming into play, since they're all unique. Plus there's the nature/animal theme and GORGEOUS art.

I like this!

Top 3 Favorite Games (in no particular order):

Top 3 Favorite Mechanics: I'm not sure I've played enough games to be able to determine this, but here are some things I like, just looking at some of the games I like a lot.

  • Tableau Building
  • Hand management
  • Variable player powers

Top 3 Favorite Themes:

  • Animals/Nature
  • Licenses I love (Dune, Star Wars, etc.)
  • Science Fiction/Space

Most Played Game: 

  1. #Santorini. I've played a lot with a coworker. I love this game.
  2. #Century: Golem Edition
  3. #Everdell

Heaviest Game: #Dune

Lightest Game: #Kingdomino. This is such a good game.

Sector of gaming you wish to explore: Mid-weight Euros! I've been particularly interested in #Concordia of late, and some games involving dice placement, such as #Troyes and #Teotihuacan. There are also a couple of deck builders that have caught my eye of late - #Baseball Highlights: 2045 and #Dale of Merchants - though I think the themes have more to do with it than the mechanisms.

Ah, that's actually quite close to where I'll be at for this year. But since this is starting fresh, here's my list:

  • #Concordia - I love elegant games. I think my wife will likely place this among her top 3 games.
  • #Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North - Looks like my type of game and I really enjoy games with variable player powers and games that give you a feeling like you're building something significant. Plus, it looks like a great solo option.
  • #Everdell - This is in the right range of aesthetics and satisfying mechanics to draw my wife in. My mom should be able to jump in for plays but from what I've heard, I feel like the small font size may be too tough on her. For reference, the text size on Viticulture is hard on her eyes too. I'd probably enjoy soloing this too, although it may not my go-to choice.
  • #Aeon's End - This would be the first deck-building game in my collection. Seems like it'd be a great solo and co-op experience.
  • #Agricola (Revised Edition) - This is one of the games that I'd like to play as part of hitting a major milestone as a gamer. It's also a game with mechanics that my wife is interested in.
  • #Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar or #Keyflower - New and unique mechanics fascinate me to no end. Either of these will be good but I'm pretty sure Keyflower would win.