The markers are shared, but it's not a problem. After a player marks their board, they put it back in the center or give it to a player. Players don't always choose the same color. Also, there is plenty to consider, so a pause is actually helpful. Especially when tracking opponents progress on the important Awards. Without this, you might just keep your head buried in your board. If this is something that is still a concern after a few plays, you could supplement your copy with a second set of pens. We plan to offer replacement pens as well ($10 or less).