Gateway Games: Set Collection Games

Gateway Games: Set Collection Games

February 20, 2019 Off By Tifa

Gateway Games is a series of articles aimed at helping you find the games that are right for you. Today, I am going to talk about games that focus on set collection.

Set collection games are exactly what you’d expect – games where players collect sets in order to win. This mechanic is used in a variety of games and the concept is one that is very familiar to folks. Children learn how to complete sets at a very young age, so it makes sense that this is used as a game mechanic and transformed into a deeper strategic concept.


SET is the most basic example of a set collection game and can be played with children as young as 6. Twelve cards are laid out and players race to find sets of three cards, replacing cards from the deck each time they are taken. A set is either three cards that all have a matching attribute (color, shape, or shading style) or are all different in every attribute. Examples of matching sets: 3 cards that are red, 3 cards with diamonds, 3 cards with no shading in the outline. If a player grabs three cards that are not a correct set, they cannot claim another set until someone else has done so. The game continues until there are no more cards in the deck and the player with the most complete sets wins.


In this fun garden-themed game of Bohnanza, players collect different beans. Each player has their own garden that they can plant bean cards in. The more beans of the same type that you have, the more money you collect at the end of the game to win. One unique feature of this game is the diplomatic player interactions encouraged by trading and making deals. In addition to that, you have to be very careful with how you manage your cards because you are unable to rearrange your hand after drawing and you must play cards in order. The strategy is actually fairly complex and the social aspect makes it interesting and entertaining.


My favorite set collection game is Splendor. Players compete to reach 15 prestige points first, drafting cards from the same pool in the center of the table. You receive points based on the cards you build. On each turn, players can do one of the following actions: collect gems, buy and build a card, or reserve one card for later use. Gems allow you to build cards. As you build cards, they help by providing you with free gems every turn to use, meaning that the further into the game you are, the more resources you have to build better cards. If you have built a strong empire of gems, you can even get visited by a noble for bonus points.The gameplay is fast and players must think turns ahead in order to strategize for a win. I enjoy the aspects of card drafting and the fact that you have to pay attention to what other players are doing so that you don’t go for the same strategy. The gems are also beautiful with a nice tactile feel.

I hope this article helped you find some new games to try!