Set collection is a very simple mechanic in which you are attempting to gather as many as you can, or a set number, of a specific thing. It could be cards representing something, resources or gems, or whatever the theme of the game may be.
These sets are often collected for the purpose points at end-game scoring, or in order to complete a certain task within the game.
If you’re looking for some recommendations of the best set collection games to get you started, here are some great options.
Popular Set Collection Board Games:
The set collection mechanic has reared its head into all types of board and card games ranging from card games played with a standard deck of playing cards all the way to heavy euros. Here are some of the popular games and their utilization of this mechanic:
Lost Cities (1999)
- Players: 2
- Time: 30 minutes
- Where to buy Lost Cities: Local shops, Amazon
In this 2-player card game, you are competing to have the most profitable expeditions of lost cities by collecting and playing sets of each of the 5 expedition suits.
On your turn, you are simply playing an appropriately suited card to that expedition or to that expedition’s discard pile and then drawing a replacement card from the deck or from any expedition’s discard pile.
The catch is that you must play cards in ascending order, you can skip any numbers but you can never put a lower number than the most recently played number on that expedition. The game features a unique scoring system and is one of the consensus best 2-player set collection games.
There’s also a Lost Cities board game that was released in 2008.
- Players: 2-4
- Time: 30-45 minutes
- Where to buy Azul: Local shops, Amazon
In this abstract strategy game, you are competing to decorate your palace with a set of beautiful azulejos.
The gameplay involves drafting a tile from one of the available sets and then placing it onto your palace board. The only problem is that each row of your palace may only contain a single color and at some point, you may be forced to take tiles you can’t use, and these wasted materials will provide you negative points.
Collecting sets of specific colors is a core mechanic of the game but unlike Lost Cities, in Azul there is such a thing as too much.
One important similarity is that they both have some placement restrictions that may adjust your set collection strategy.
Azul won the Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year) in 2018.
Terraforming Mars (2016)
- Players: 1-5
- Time: 120 minutes
- Where to buy Terraforming Mars: Local shops, Amazon
Terraforming Mars is a hodgepodge of mechanics including, but not limited to, tile placement, engine building, resource management and set collection.
The cards in Terraforming Mars allow you to do a ton of really interesting and thematic things on your journey to make Mars livable, however, many of the cards have specific requirements you must fulfill before you will be able to use the benefit of the card.
In order to get your engine up and running the way you want, you’ll be collecting these symbols (conveniently placed on other thematically-related cards) and sprawling them out in front of you as a reminder of just how capable your corporation is.
Terraforming Mars is widely considered to be one of the top 5 or top 10 games of all time.
More of the Best Set Collection Games:
There are tons to choose from, so if the games above don’t catch your interest, here are some more that are worth exploring…
2-Player Set Collection:
Card Collection Games:
Family Set Collection Games:
Euro Set Collection:
There you have it, plenty of the best set collection games to get you started down this path. If you’re curious about other game mechanic and play styles, here’s a few more we’ve covered: one vs many, auction games, deck building games, coop board games, area control board games…