Your Best Deck-Building Games

Supporter

Let's talk about deck-building games!

  • How do you feel about them?
  • What are your favorites?
  • What do you think separates the good from the great when it comes to deck-building games?

Here are some of my thoughts:

  • If it's for a puzzly solo session, deck-building games are among the top choices for me. For multiplayer, I prefer deck-building games with more theme and other mechanics involved. In general, I enjoy deck-builders because they offer multiple viable paths in strategy, satisfaction of refining your deck/purchasing new cards, and have an element of luck in card draws.
  • Favorite to solo is #Friday. Multiplayer, it's #Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated.
  • I really haven't played many deck-builders to answer this question. 

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4 months ago

My issue with most deckbuilders is that they feel like multiplayer solitaire, even when you're attacking a player it feels mechanical and uninteresting. My two favorite ones break this mold.


#Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game is a fully cooperative game that can turn into a very non-cooperative game for an unlucky player but whatever you do, the game promotes looking at what other players are doing and communicating with them constantly.


#Dynamite Nurse is a competitive goodness that has players being very mean to each other. In the crazy world of anime nurses helping moe adventurers, you'd expect the game not to be very cutthroat if you just looked at the illustrations. But who gets admitted where is decided by players at the end of their turns so if someone is in the lead, everyone else will throw the most difficult cases at them. Just when you've barely stabilized an adventurer, 2 more appear at your doorstep and each of them is 1 turn away from dying. Great little gem that's less serious but more fun as a result. 

Supporter4 months ago

I'd also suggest #Vikings Raid & Conquer Game for this.  Ok, it's not the best deck builder out there but I picked it up because it has an awesome mechanic where you look at your hand and then decide if you are going to defend your "territory", attack a specific other player, or go raiding.  You are always trying to figure out what other players are going to do combine that with what you have in your hand to decide what you are going to attempt later on in that turn.


Everyone then plays their hand, buys cards etc but everyone's plans (they chose at the beginning of the round) are then revealed simultaneously.    It really adds something to the game that I quite enjoy.  

You need a boat to go raiding, you didn't draw one but you have some card draw.  Maybe you'll get one?  You also know that Bob wants to go raiding and he has lots of boats so he could bring you with him.  But Mary has been eyeing that powerful card you have in your discard pile.  She could try to come get it. Do you take a chance and go raiding, defend your territory, or maybe surprise attack Mary instead?

Lots of fun with that aspect.  The only caveat is you will want to play with 4 or 5 players to really get in to. 

Supporter4 months ago

Cool, I like the sound of this game.  

Supporter4 months ago

It's a pretty cool twist to the formula.  I wouldn't put it up there as the best deck builder ever but if you like deck builders and have a group of players that are willing to mix it up a bit I think it's worth it.

4 months ago

Cool I'll give it a shot. It sounds really interesting, kinda lilke #Arctic Scavengers but bluffing got old really fast in that game.

Supporter4 months ago

I have heard good things about arctic scavengers.  I'll have to see if I can play it online somewhere.

Supporter4 months ago

That's the strange thing about deck-builders for me. I love what it does when it comes to solo gaming, but when it comes to playing with my wife, I've never thought about getting a pure deck-builder because we prefer games with more player interaction. #Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated works for us because it keeps us interested in each other's moves a whole lot more.

As for Legendary, I've looked into the Marvel version a few times because I was interested in #Marvel Champions: The Card Game and wanted to compare. Still haven't gone for either!

Supporter4 months ago

I agree it feels like that at times.

Supporter4 months ago

I feel like #Arctic Scavengers: Base Game + HQ + Recon would be my favorite but I've never had the opportunity to play it more than 2-player which I think would improve the game.

#Star Realms is always good for a quick 2 player game

Supporter4 months ago

What is it about #Arctic Scavengers makes it your favorite do you think? Does the theme play into it?

Supporter4 months ago

I like digging in the junkyard and potentially finding useful cards.

I like that each round you reserve some of your cards for a fight with the other players for a more valuable resource card that is otherwise unavailable. It adds some player interaction that is missing from a lot of deckbuilders.

Supporter4 months ago

"Player Interaction" = music to my ears.

4 months ago

If I had to pick just one, my absolute favorite would be #Dale of Merchants and that whole series, mainly because as you get more of the sets, it becomes just a super customizable deck building game that can fit any type of gamer and you can discuss what aspects you want in the game before you start playing.

Supporter4 months ago

While I'm wanting to hold off on new games for the rest of 2020 I do need to consider a deck builder for 2021 so I'll be checking this out.  How many players can it play at?

3 months ago

Sorry about the delayed response, it plays up to 4 players.

Supporter4 months ago

I had never heard of this one but have now added it to my list of games to checkout. Looks interesting.

Supporter4 months ago

Nice, I've heard great things about it. Did you end up backing #Dale of Merchants 3? How would you compare DoM vs. #Dominion: Second Edition? I've seen the two mentioned alongside each other quite often.

3 months ago

I haven't played Dominion in years. I did back #Dale of Merchants 3 . You don't need it all, more expansions just give you more versatility because each animal deck can add different mechanics to the game. So you can make it a  very friendly no take-that game with certain decks, or you can double down on it and make it a mad crazy super attacky game with other decks.

Supporter4 months ago

I like deckbuilding games, my favorite deckbuilder is #Star Trek: Frontiers. Of course, deckbuilding is only one of many parts of this superb game. 

If I have to go with a purer deckbuilder my first pick would be #Dominion: Second Edition and my second is #Star Realms.  

4 months ago

I don't own a lot of DB games, but I have one I really like. It's called #Path of Light and Shadow and it was a Kickstarter by Indie Boards and Cards. I don't think it got to retail, unfortunately , but it's an amazing game that mixes deck building with tech trees and area control. 

Supporter4 months ago

This sounds like it hits a lot of other check marks for me.  I've never heard of this game but will definitely be doing some research on it.

Supporter4 months ago

I remember seeing the Kickstarter but didn't get into it. The combination of mechanics sounds awesome though, I really like tech trees and area control haha. Do you think it would work well for 2p count?

4 months ago

I'd say it scales well to two (the map is double sided), but it turns itself into a completely different game. Even with a smaller map, the game with 2 tends to be a bit more of multiplayer solitaire, because there's not a lot of conflict and interaction. With 3 and 4 is where I think the game really shines, precisely because there is a lot more conflict, interaction and fighting for certain areas. In short, yes, plays well with two, but it wouldn't be my first recommendation for a 2 player game.

4 months ago

I have a general rule about deck builders, I want deck building to be a mechanic, not the entirety of the game. I can clarify here. I am looking at a game like #Dominion: Second Edition where all you are doing is buying cards from the market and building your deck. To me this is a bit of a snoozer, you just are waiting for your turn and hoping you get all of the cards you just bought into your hand so you can have a monster turn and have everyone wait for you to combo everything. I like a deck builder to have theme and to impact a board or a situation. The games that I feel do this well are #Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated, #Great Western Trail, #Aeon's End: The New Age. You build your deck for a purpose, and to impact the board state rather than just having a sweet deck. 

4 months ago

I will defend #Dominion. I still think it's a worthy classic. I have more exciting games, but I would absolutely play a base game of Dominion + Prosperity anytime, with anyone. A lot of games sand off corners of deck management, or make it a smaller part of a bigger game. But there is something really fun about starting with the same set of resources and building your way up. And with how simple and scaleable the game is, it can be wildly different each time you play it in a way that the other games simply cannot. 

4 months ago

I can respect that. I have only played the base game so I am sure there are some good expansions that liven it up, but my first play through left me wanting. 

4 months ago

The two deck builders I have played and have resonated with me are #Star Realms and any Aeon's End game. Love the implementation and the feeling of growth in these!

4 months ago

I really enjoy them. In fact, I'm working on my own right now. (Well, it's been a few months, but I am working on it.) I like the choices that I can add to my deck and make it mine.

#Clank! A Deck-Building Adventure is my favorite, and I'm sure Legacy will top that once I get it played. I also really like #Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game and Star Realms.

I think a "good" deckbuilder needs to provide something different, and give lots of options for how to build your deck. Clank! offers movement and combat, and a growing threat as the game progresses, for example. I think Dominion is a really good game, but I also think it has been improved on with many other deckbuilders. Still, I won't hesitate to play Dominion if asked.

Supporter4 months ago

This was the only thing I didn't really love about Dominion.  Yes there are options to build your deck but around the table they are largely the same.  I would still play it again and would like to see the different cards but it would be nice to have some cards that are solely yours to choose from to give you a little bit of variety in the play.  

Supporter4 months ago

This is still a genre I don't really own.  #A Few Acres of Snow (which was my entry point into the hobby) included a large portion of deck building.  I think I like needing to plan around the draw and playing my cards at the exact right moment in deck building.

I did play #Dominion: Second Edition for the first time last week and enjoyed it.  It was an easy learn.  I do feel like the components and connection to the theme are lacking for me in it though.  Maybe because I'd prefer Deck Building with more combat or something more concrete than what you build to in Dominion.

I am hoping that #Fort is going to fill that hole in my collection at some point.