Simultaneous Action Selection = Randomness
There are many games with a mechanic such that all players choose an action in secret at the same time, then reveal them and resolve. This is better known as "Simultaneous Action Selection" or SAS. It is used in games as diverse as 6 Nimmt!, Caribbean, Fairy Tale, A Game of Thrones, Himalaya, Hoity Toity, Niagara, Nobody But Us Chickens, Piranha Pedro, Pirate's Cove, RoboRally, and Wallenstein.
It is my contention that SAS is simply another form of Randomness, not too dissimilar from rolling dice or drawing cards.
When players make choices, they are making intelligent choices, not random ones.
True. But given a finite set of choices, there are usually a small number that are directly beneficial. Given that, the choices are somewhat predictable. This means that you should not always be predictable. A certain amount of reverse psychology and reverse-reverse psychology ensues.
The best play for me is A, but everyone knows that, so I'll take B. But everyone knows I'll probably take B, so I'll really take A. What if they think that as well? Maybe I should take C just to through everyone off.
With multiple choices and multiple players, the final choices basically become unpredictable. Although they are being made intelligently, they are statistically random.
Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. Some games mitigate SAS very well. Wallenstein, for example, handles it by giving each player the same set of chocies. You put them in a certain order. Each player will always do (or have the option to do) all the choices. So it's less about what actions you ar choosing, and more about when they occur and how much money wil be available to carry them out.
In most games, however, SAS significantly lowers how seriously I take a game. Most of my list above shows the typical SAS game to be relatively light. This is where I think SAS belongs for the most part.
What heavy games have SAS? How is the "randomness" of SAS mitigated? Are there any really clever or novelle SAS mechanics?