There is something about simultaneous action selection that draws me toward it. When done right, there is some nice tension on what to do and when to do it. I wish more games had this mechanism. This is different than programmable movement (spoiler). Usually, when there is simultaneous action selection, everyone will choose an action to do secretly and then reveal them at the same time. This will usually trigger some kind of response due to who chose what action and how many chose it. This mechanism seems to work well with all kinds of different genres of games. The list today has a game from three different kinds of games that I feel works really well with simultaneous action selection. Again, these are not my favorite games of all time, but these are the games that use that mechanism the best, in my opinion. Here are my Best 3 Games with…Simultaneous Action Selection!
3. Mombasa by R&R Games
Mombasa is a fantastic game over all but one of the shining points is the simultaneous action selection. There is not much tension over the decisions that you choose each round but there is definitely some deep strategy. At the beginning of each round you have to choose what cards to play for that round. You could play exploration hats, diamond merchants, book keepers or just plain crops. The more you play of each, the better that action will be that round. BUT the more I play the more I have to split them up for the next round. The brilliant mechanism that Alexander Pfister instilled in Mombasa is the discard piles. Every round you discard the cards into separate piles based on where you played the card. So, if you play all your exploration hats one round….they will all go into separate piles making it take more rounds to get them all back in your hand to use them again. There are some advantages to having the most of each action, but that can change through out the round. If someone has 4 bananas and you have 3, if they use their bananas before you then you now have the most bananas and can take the special action for having the most. I love the simultaneous action selection is this game by R&R Games…..Mombasa! Plus, it’s just fun to say……Mombasa……Mombasa….
2. Hangtown by JonnyPac Games
Hangtown, by Jonathan Pac Cantin, uses simultaneous action selection in a tableau building game. In Hangtown, you are vying for power in an old western town. Beware though, there is an outlaw roaming in these here parts. There are only 5 actions that you choose from at the beginning of each turn. Only the actions that someone has chosen will trigger for that turn. It depends on how good the action is based on how many people chose it. If you are the only one who chose it, you get a nice benefit, this is called a boon. If more than one person chose the same action, that is called a common, meaning you get to do the action but are limited. Then comes the bust….this is when all cowboys, or the player number minus one, go to the same action. This also triggers if you go to the same action as the outlaw, and believe it or not you want to bust sometimes. Busting means you get to do the action, usually only once….unless you pay to do it more and money is tight!! This is a nice implementation of the simultaneous action phase that makes things really interesting. There is some nice tension on how and when to choose which action. You really have to pay attention to when and what others might be doing as well. It is a solid design in a good tableau game.
This game from Level 99 Games came out of nowhere for me. I had heard good things about it but never really invested any time researching it. When Alexander and I had a rare time where we only had 2 players we broke this out and played BattleCon: Devistation of Indines. This game is bar none the best example of simultaneous action selection, in my opinion. It is so tense, unique and smooth. BattleCON is a head-to-head, duke it out, mano y mano slug fest! This is the board game version of Street Fighter or Mortal Combat in video games. There are so many choices to make in this game and it starts with the action phase. Each player has a set of cards. Half the cards are stances for the fighter and the other half are moves. You choose one of each for the beginning of the round. The stance will give you some stats and the move will give you more stats. Put them together to get your final stats. The stats consist of priority, power and range. Once the round is over you put the cards you used into a timing discard pile. There are two of these, so it will be 3 more turns until you can use the same card again. Many of the individual player powers also make the decision making tougher with the actions to choose. Like last game, Alexander had a power that he was able to guess my Priority at the beginning of each round. If he guessed right I received a negative 10 in priority, meaning he always went first. It added another depth to my strategy of how much Priority I wanted to play to keep him guessing. I just absolutely love this game but especially this mechanism from D. Brad Talton Jr. in BattleCON: Devistation of Indines.