Set Collection is another popular mechanic in board games. Set collection can be defined by the act of collecting groups of cards or items in a game where there values are determined by being part of a set rather than being a stand alone item. That is a fancy way of saying if you collect a set of something its worth points rather than each item being worth points.
Set collection is a core mechanic in a lot of popular hobby games like Pandemic, Sushi Go, Point Salad and 7 Wonders Duel. There are also plenty of popular games that have set collection as the main mechanic such as Rummy and Poker. If you are playing hobby games or popular games most people are familiar with how set collection works or will pick it up pretty quickly. This is what makes this mechanic so popular to use throughout the hobby.
Most people are familiar with how set collection works or will pick it up pretty quickly
To look at set collection we will take a look into Point Salad. I have recently done a review of it so Point Salad is fresh in my mind. Point Salad is a game of set collection that adds two interesting thing to set collection making the game a stand out card game. The first part of Point Salad is the open drafting of cards. There are columns of cards laid out on the table and players will take turns picking up 2 of the ingredient cards or a point card. The ingredient cards are what is going to be used in the set collection aspect of Point Salad. The point cards are the ones that will determine the values and what the sets are for each player.
The players will try and make a mental plan on what to draft on their turn but the other players will be drafting what they want potentially
The first interesting decision players will have to make is weather to take a point card or the two ingredient cards. By choosing the ingredient cards players will add to their sets and hopefully start scoring points. The other decision is weather or not to draft a point card. This is what is going to give the players direction in what ingredients to choose. Mixing set collection with open drafting is a great combination as it will add tension to the players when it is not their turn. The players will try and make a mental plan on what to draft on their turn but the other players will be drafting what they want potentially.
The most interesting part of Point Salad's Set collection is the ability for players to adjust and change the point values throughout the game. The point cards are really just the back of the ingredient cards. On a players turn if things are not going the way they thought or if its more advantageous to change players may flip over one point card. This will turn the point card into and ingredient card. This has two potential effects, players might complete other sets or gain further points in an existing set. Or players may avoid negative points. In Point Salad some of the point cards do have negative values along with the positive values.
Set collection has been around long before hobby gaming and is not going anywhere. Its ease to be understood is an great positive when designing games. Designers would love to be able to set a game down on a table and within minutes have the players moving on with their experience. Mechanism like set collection will be around as ling as people are playing games. Please join the email list and come back as we continue on with The Game Mechanics.