Games that use multi-purpose cards
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I find that I enjoy games with cards that can be used for multiple purposes (as money, for an ability, as a resource, as health, etc). I like the "agony of choice" when I have to decide how to use a great card. I am not talking about games like Port Royal where I have no choice in how the card is used. I am strictly speaking about having cards either in your hand or tableau and trying to determine the best way to maximize their usefulness.

Please list a game and explain how the cards can be used in multiple ways.
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1. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:59]
Board Game: Race for the Galaxy
Josh Bodah
United States
Jamaica Plain
Massachusetts
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Let's not forget this classic
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2. Board Game: War of the Ring [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:124]
Board Game: War of the Ring
Fenmar
Italy
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Players draw cards from two decks during the game. One deck is about the members of the fellowship of the ring, the other concerns tactical choices. Cards from both decks can be also played in combat with radically different effects. It is always the player's agony deciding whether playing a card in combat to save her troops or saving the card to exploit its main effect later.
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3. Board Game: La Granja [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:168]
Board Game: La Granja
Only played this once, but I remember how each side of the card could be used in your tableau for different things. One side was a building, the other a good, and so forth. It really made for some interesting decision making.
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4. Board Game: Imperial Settlers [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:212] [Average Rating:7.41 Unranked]
Board Game: Imperial Settlers
Chris SC

Madison
Wisconsin
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Tableau builder where each card has a few uses.

For common cards you can either:
1. Raze the card to instantly get the listed goods.
2. Pay the build cost to create this building.

For faction cards:
1. Raze the card...
2. Build the card...
3. Make a deal where you flip the card upside down and get a good every turn from here on out.

Early on you are particularly card and resource limited so having to choose which to raze in order to build other cards. Many a time have I had to toss an awesome card to get my engine started. It creates some fun choices. Later on in the game you have a ton more resources and cards so it is more about optimizing how to get all of your resources used (Since they don't carry over between rounds).

While I haven't played it, this was a re-implementation of the game 51st State. Mechanically they are similar so I'll just lump it into here.
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5. Board Game: Bruges [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:259]
Board Game: Bruges
Patrick Riley
United States
San Jose
California
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Feld's design for multi-use cards. You use cards to take an action (earn money, gain workers, build canals, ...), recruit the personage on the card and get their special ability, or play as a house in which to place your personages.
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6. Board Game: Lewis & Clark: The Expedition [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:203]
Board Game: Lewis & Clark: The Expedition
Captain Yellowbeard
United States
Winston-Salem
NC
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Cards are typically played for their face actions. However, the back side also offers Indians to power the front side actions or the card can be discarded for the value of Supply tokens.
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7. Board Game: Glory to Rome [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:201]
Board Game: Glory to Rome
Mathue Faulkner
United States
Austin
TX
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La Granja actually borrowed the multiple use card idea from GtR. Each side of the card can be used in a different way (and the cards are tucked underneath a board like in La Granja).
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8. Board Game: San Juan [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:293]
Board Game: San Juan
Jason Monroe
United States
St Louis
Missouri
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Cards are either buildings or money
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9. Board Game: Gears of War: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:479]
Board Game: Gears of War: The Board Game
Cards are your life. You run out and you start to bleed out. They are also the way to take really cool actions or to give yourself an advantage on the enemy turn. Brilliant card play in this one.
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10. Board Game: Summoner Wars [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:509] [Average Rating:7.25 Unranked]
Board Game: Summoner Wars: Master Set
Perry Fergin
United States
Baltimore
MD
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Cards are your units, and magic points.
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11. Board Game: ZhanGuo [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:526]
Board Game: ZhanGuo
Cards are either placed in a player's tableau to trigger future benefits or played to the court to trigger an immediate action. For just two options, this game is quite brain burning.
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12. Board Game: Eminent Domain [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:558]
Board Game: Eminent Domain
Matt Brown
United States
Okemos
Michigan
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Used as actions or roles.
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13. Board Game: Fleet [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:948]
Board Game: Fleet
Matt Brown
United States
Okemos
Michigan
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Can be used to buy, ship, and captain things.
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14. Board Game: Pixel Tactics [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:1218] [Average Rating:6.91 Unranked]
Board Game: Pixel Tactics
In Pixel Tactics each card can be played for one of five functions:
1. As the leader.
2. As a front row character.
3. As a flank character.
4. As a rear character.
5. As a one time special effect.
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15. Board Game: Raiders of the North Sea [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:91] [Average Rating:7.79 Unranked]
Board Game: Raiders of the North Sea
Mauricio Montoya
Colombia
MedellĂ­n
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Board Game: Raiders of the North Sea


Townsfolk cards have two possible effects listed at the bottom.

The first one is a permanent bonus that you get if you hire the character as part of your crew, and it remains active as long as the character stays alive.

The second one is an immediate effect that triggers if you use the characters at a certain space in the board, but you have to discard them from your hand and then you have less options to hire as crew. You don't draw more cards automatically each round (it costs an action) so you have to consider if getting the immediate reward is worth the sacrifice.
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16. Board Game: Sylla [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:1691]
Board Game: Sylla
Cards in your tableau can be used for various things but if you use them to buy buildings they are "tapped" and useless for the rest of the round. Spending them wisely can be really difficult.
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17. Board Game: Skyline 3000 [Average Rating:6.30 Overall Rank:4614]
Board Game: Skyline 3000
Perry Fergin
United States
Baltimore
MD
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Cards are used for actions and auctions (as money).
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18. Board Game: The Dungeon of D [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:4991]
Board Game: The Dungeon of D
Perry Fergin
United States
Baltimore
MD
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Cards are used for:

-Attacking
-Skill checks
-Determining which monsters attack you
-Hit points
-Items
-Determining events
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19. Board Game: Strike of the Eagle [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:1921]
Board Game: Strike of the Eagle
Matt Brown
United States
Okemos
Michigan
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Can be used for added firepower or maneuvers, an event, or reinforcements.
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20. Board Game: Port Royal [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:456] [Average Rating:7.13 Unranked]
Board Game: Port Royal
Kathleen Nugent
United States
Tamworth
New Hampshire
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On one side the cards are money. On the other they are either ways to get more money (the ships) or ways to get victory points (the people).
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21. Board Game: Goa [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:180]
Board Game: Goa
Roberto Bueno
Spain
Gijon
Asturias
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Cards with 3 functions:
.- To colonize (ok here you do not have any choice)
.- VP for the end of the game
.- Bonus
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22. Board Game: La Isla [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:954]
Board Game: La Isla
Roberto Bueno
Spain
Gijon
Asturias
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Cards are used for Bonus/ Resource/ "Market"
you have to select where to assign them
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23. Board Game: Unemployed Clowns [Average Rating:5.67 Unranked]
Board Game: Unemployed Clowns
patrick stevens
United States
Los Angeles
California
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Board Game: Unemployed Clowns

Cards can be used any of 3 ways. Use top or bottom to increase your clown's skills, or use central text towards another player to affect his ability to get a job.
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24. Board Game: Brew Crafters: Travel Card Game [Average Rating:6.33 Overall Rank:3479]
Board Game: Brew Crafters: Travel Card Game
Sam Hillier
Canada
St. Albert
Alberta
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Not as complex as those above, not even as complex as its Rabbit-cousin Isle of Trains, but the travel version of Brew Crafters uses cards as either people/equipment you can place in your brewery, or ingredients to brew beer with. This manages to create an interesting challenge: playing cards into your brewery makes you better at brewing, but it doesn't help you brew. The more expensive beers are worth more points, but they cost more cards.

Again, a great game packed into 54 cards.
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25. Board Game: Isle of Trains [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:1851]
Board Game: Isle of Trains
Sam Hillier
Canada
St. Albert
Alberta
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This tiny little game makes great use of the multi-purpose cards mechanic. Cards in hand function as money (as in RFTG), as train cars or buildings (the things you buy with the money) or as goods to load into trains.

Add this to a very interesting game - you're building a train to ship goods, but you get bonuses for loading goods into other players' trains - and the result is a really fun and deep experience. All of this in only 54 cards!
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