Tableau-Builders: My favorite unrecognized mechanic, and the games that make it great
Cilantro V
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Columbus
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As a relative newcomer to serious boardgaming, I've quickly found myself drawn to a mechanic that I've discovered is un-named at the Geek:
Tableau Building.

I love building things. I like watching the empire grow, and reaping the bounties of continuing expansion. I love putting down developments and carefully sculpting how my game unfolds. Basically, I like games with cards that:

a- must be played to a tableau (a designated space on the table or a board) to be activated

b- have a lasting effect as long as they are in the tableau
updated to reflect discussion below:
b- have a lasting effect on game mechanics as long as they are in the tableau.

Not all games with a player board are tableau builders.
What makes a tableau a tableau? Well, the most important is that it is at least semi-permanent. A tableau will do more than just score you points, though; it allows you access to new gameplay options or tech-tree advancements you would otherwise be unable to use. When you play something to a tableau, it modifies how you play. Some examples:

Build a Smithy to get a discount on future Production buildings. thumbsup
Launch a Shrimp boat to enable you to collect fish cubes. thumbsup
Build a monument to get VP thumbsdown - Simply scoring points doesn't change any future gameplay after you build, so this is not an example of Tableau Building.

That's a pretty loose definition, so check out the list for some better examples.

meeple

This geeklist will hopefully help explain what I mean by Tableau-building, and provide a place to suggest games myself or other fans of this sort of thing might enjoy. (That includes games that "have a tableau-building elements" rather than being all about it, as well as games that might be Tableau-builders- everything is up for debate.) Feel free to contribute!
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76. Board Game: Uncharted: The Board Game [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:4558]
Board Game: Uncharted: The Board Game
Harold Clark
United States
Buda
Texas
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Just picked this one up on the cheap and is basically my introduction to Tableau building. (This is a great geeklist for me! Can't wait to try some of these other games.)

Your tableau starts with four cards (each a different color.) You can build your tableau up to having three of each color card - for a total of 12 cards max. As you build your tableau, you get better at attacking, searching, drawing cards, etc. Plus, it has a variable setup to adjust the range of difficulty for the players. (This is not a co-op though...)

This is a surprisingly fun game. This will go into the queue for me and the wife to play. For $13 - it's worth a shot!
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77. Board Game: Imperial Settlers [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:222] [Average Rating:7.40 Unranked]
Board Game: Imperial Settlers
Kris Wiggins
United States
Kingwood
Texas
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I'd say this counts. We've enjoyed it a lot.
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78. Board Game: Roll for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:99]
Board Game: Roll for the Galaxy
Kris Wiggins
United States
Kingwood
Texas
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Not cards, but tiles that you "build" by rolling and using symbols on dice as cleverly as you can. And that's my best effort to explain RftG in one sentence. haha
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79. Board Game: Lewis & Clark: The Expedition [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:207]
Board Game: Lewis & Clark: The Expedition
Daniel PS
Spain
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If I understand the mechanics "Tableau-Builders" then, is "Lewis & Clark" a good candidate?
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80. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:69]
Board Game: 7 Wonders
Tim Cooper
Scotland
Glenrothes
Fife
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7 Wonders definitely seems to match the criteria for tableau building. Quite surprised it's not here already.
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81. Board Game: Targi [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:125]
Board Game: Targi
Pauly Paul
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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Targi using worker placement in order to collect resources to buy cards for your tableau. At the end of the game it's that tableau, and how you built it, that provides that majority of your points. Great game
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82. Board Game: Elysium [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:443]
Board Game: Elysium
The card powers usually don't last the entire game in this one, since the cards themselves tend get transferred to collected sets for end game scoring.
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83. Board Game: Dice City [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:1160]
Board Game: Dice City
Daniel PS
Spain
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this game is a potential Tableau-Builders right?
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84. Board Game: Isle of Trains [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:1917]
Board Game: Isle of Trains
Your tableau is your train!

Plus who can turn down this adorable heart-warming art?
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85. Board Game: La Granja [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:174]
Board Game: La Granja
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Every card played impacts how you continue.
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86. Board Game: Ora et Labora [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:146]
Board Game: Ora et Labora
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Gainesville
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Along with all the other Uwe games of note.
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87. Board Game: Terraforming Mars [Average Rating:8.43 Overall Rank:4]
Board Game: Terraforming Mars
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88. Board Game: The Bloody Inn [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:778]
Board Game: The Bloody Inn
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89. Board Game: Jump Drive [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:1015]
Board Game: Jump Drive
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Spokane
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Tableau-building in a very streamlined form. Cards played to your tableau give you VP and card income, along with some special abilities. Fast but interesting. Quickly became one of my top-rated and often-played games.
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90. Board Game: Uruk II: Die Entwicklung geht weiter [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:6322]
Board Game: Uruk II: Die Entwicklung geht weiter
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Spokane
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Your tableau is limited to 5 cards (with a couple exceptions), after which you have to replace one of them with your new card. Most of the cards give you critical abilities, along with points. I really want to play this one more, but the title and elevator pitch don't seem to entice the people who would enjoy it.
 
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91. Board Game: Wingspan [Average Rating:8.11 Overall Rank:20]
Board Game: Wingspan
Mike Chipman
United States
Murray
Kentucky
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92. Board Game: Deus [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:404]
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Mike Chipman
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Murray
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