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Board Game Mechanics: Role Selection

Posted Friday, 20-Nov-2015

A quick overview of the most popular Role Selection board games.


Contributed by Bruce Linsey


What are ‘Role Selection’ games?

Role selection is a board game mechanic in which players choose from a variety of personas, adopting the powers and advantages of their particular character for each round of play. Typically, the game will have multiple rounds, so the players can each play several different roles throughout the course of the game.



One of the first role selection games was Citadels. In this game, players erect buildings for points, and the game ends when a player reaches eight buildings. Each round, players draft their characters from a common pile. Each role has a special ability, some of which help the player and others of which hinder other players.




Great fun. As an added bonus, the game takes up to 7 or 8 players (depending which version) and is best with a high player count.


2-8 Players ♠ 20-60 Minutes  ♠ Ages 10 & Up


Ready to buy?  Find the best prices for Citadels on BoardGamePrices.com.



Eminent Domain

Choose a new role every turn as you strive to expand your civilation in Eminent Domain.  Find the perfect balance while taking on the role of Survey, Warfare, Colonize, Trade, Produce, or Research to complete your objectives each turn.


Eminent Domain
Eminent Domain


Originally released through Kickstarter, Eminent Domain is a card drafting/hand-management game that takes around 45 minutes to play.  It was nominated for the ‘Golden Geek Best Card Game’ award in 2012.


2-4 Players ♠ 45 Minutes  ♠ Ages 10 & Up


Ready to buy?  Find the best prices for Eminent Domain on BoardGamePrices.com.



Puerto Rico

Perhaps the best and most successful role selection game is the ever-popular Puerto Rico. In this game, players are colonizing, cultivating and developing the eponymous island in an effort to accrue victory points, which are awarded for buildings and for shipping goods back to Europe.


Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico


Players choose roles each round:


Players choose new roles each round in Puerto Rico.
Players choose new roles each round in Puerto Rico.


All players may participate in the action allowed by each player’s role, but the player who chose it gets to do it first and gets an enhanced version of the action.


2-5 Players ♠ 90-150 Minutes  ♠ Ages 12 & Up


Ready to buy?  Find the best prices for Puerto Rico on BoardGamePrices.com.



San Juan

A card game version of Puerto Rico was later produced and called San Juan.


San Juan
San Juan


The game is similar to the parent game in theme and in that several of the same roles are reprised.  It is a fine game in its own right.


2-4 Players ♠ 45-60 Minutes  ♠ Ages 10 & Up


Ready to buy?  Find the best prices for San Juan on BoardGamePrices.com.



Bullfrog Goldfield

Join the last great American gold and silver rush in Death Valley, Nevada while playing Bullfrog Goldfield!  Construct towns, manipulate the price of precious metals, and keep your miners happy while trying to out-mine the competition.


Bullfrog Goldfield
Bullfrog Goldfield


Best with three players, Bullfrog Goldfield gives you the opportunity to choose new roles every round to maximize your overall efficiency.  Join the gold rush today!


2-5 Players ♠ 120-240 Minutes  ♠ Ages 16 & Up


Ready to buy?  Find the best prices for Bullfrog Goldfield on BoardGamePrices.com.



Race for the Galaxy

Finally, a more involved role selection game is Race for the Galaxy, in which players are exploring, conquering and colonizing new solar systems and worlds. Each round, players select an action role such as Explore (try to find new worlds), Settle (put a new world into play), or Produce (worlds in play produce goods).


Roll for the Galaxy
Roll for the Galaxy


Again, all players get to do each action, but each is enhanced for the player who chose it.


2-5 Players ♠ 45 Minutes  ♠ Ages 13 & Up


Ready to buy?  Find the best prices for Roll for the Galaxy on BoardGamePrices.com.



What are some of your favorite Role Selection board games?

Published by BoardGamePrices.com

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