I think Isle of Cats could be a good fit. We love it, and outside of maybe taking a cat someone wanted (which you would really only doing you could actually use it), there is very little if any take that. Especially if you play the Family node, which basically eliminates the draft.
Also, its a wonderful production and is about magic kitty cats!!
Valeria Card Kingdoms is a wonderful light tableau builder, similar to Macho Kori or Space Base, but better (imo). It also has wonderful art by The Mico. You roll dice and activate the associated characters in your tableau, gain resources and either hire people, by domains or hint monsters. There are 1 or 2 characters in the box that have a small amount of take that (like steal 1 magic from an opponent), but you can simply not use them.
As others have said, coops are also a fantastic option.
Probabilities. As a game unfolds, I imagine a chart of each player’s eventual chance of winning change and morph gradually from everyone having the same chance at the start to one player having a 100% chance at the very end. How those trajectories change and evolve in the intervening time is what’s interesting.
Winning isn’t everything. Make the game fun to play regardless of who wins. Make it so that players can set secondary targets, such as beating a previous high score or staying competitive for longer.
Have something riding on the margin of victory, not just the binary result. Often when card games are played for money, there is a scheme baked into the rules for how the payoff should be settled (Poker being a notable exception with its winner-takes-all approach). As the saying goes, “money you don’t lose buys exactly the same stuff as money you win”. Probably not recommended for most modern board games, given that the ease with which rules are missed and the level of trust required not to “accidentally” take the wrong number of resources make them unsuitable as vehicles for money to change hands, but still another potential way around the paradox.
In follow up to my previous post, Calico is absolutely wonderful! Beautiful art, super simple rules, but can be a brain burning puzzle.
There can be some hate drafting, but I’ve found its difficult enough just to manage my board, that I can be bothered with the mental gymnastics of also following my opponents board, so it rarely happens intentionally for us.
Akrotiri is a great little head-to-head racer/treasure hunt/tile flipper with a tiny little supply-and-demand market and adorable little boats. It’s got a great competitive streak but never relies on screwage to provide that feeling. The tension of the race and savvy use of the market is the name of the game.
Flamme Rouge would come highly recommended if it weren’t looking like 2P is the only option for a while. You can toss some bots in to make a 2P game passable, but it doesn’t change the fact that the game is all about the guesswork in the cardplay (big time more-the-merrier game).