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Popular Deck Building Board Games (Mechanic)

Deck Building is a mechanic where you start with a basic set of cards and over the course of the game modify the deck through various means to add or remove cards.
Concordia board game
Rank: 16
Trending: 84
Great Western Trail board game
Rank: 23
Trending: 27
Star Realms board game
Rank: 29
Trending: 45
Clank! A Deck-Building Adventure board game
Arkham Horror: The Card Game board game
Dominion: Second Edition board game
Mage Knight board game
Rank: 76
Trending: 185
The Quest for El Dorado board game
Rank: 117
Trending: 196
Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game board game
Friday board game
Rank: 127
Trending: 448
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I have left off any game I played online, mostly because they just take so long to complete and it is a totally different experience. This was also very hard...I love all of these games and they fill a different part of my collection so I went based on what I would like to play this moment as my ranking!

1. Aeon's End - I am lumping both Legacy and War Eternal in on this one. I cannot get enough of this experience. I love the deck building, the progression and the team work, it is really great!

2. #The Estates - This game really hooked me. I love the uncertainty, I love how different people view the game state. I love how everyone (if prepped) is down with being a little mean...

3. #Welcome to... - Just so accessible and easy to play. It is a little tricky to pick up and teach for first time players that do not have a ton of game experience, but it is a delight. 

4. #Bus - Similar to The Estates, the game really hooked me, both games are simple and complex. I cannot wait to get another play of this in with my group, it will be much more competitive and cutthroat which I cannot wait for!

5. #Azul - This is a favorite of my wifes and it is really a relaxing experience but also a challenging little puzzle. Quick set up and tear down make this a winner. It is number 5 on this list just because I have played it so much!

Fun question!

  • #Apex Theropod Deck-Building Game - getting to play as a dinosaur in a deck building game just sounds awesome. I don't know if I'll ever get my hands on it, but it was definitely an instant wishlist game!
  • #Aquatica - I love Manta Rays. This game has Manta Rays, so it's on my wishlist.
  • #Baseball Highlights: 2045 - cyborgs playing baseball? Sign me up!

#Dune: Imperium when it's available, because I'm obsessed with the theme and it says it's going to include war and betrayal and have some deck building (a mechanic I don't own at the moment).

I like the highlighted text idea and the publisher and mechanic search ideas as well but I think the mechic search would benefit if the output sorted the games according to the amount or percentage they use that mechanic.  Gloomhaven should show up higher on a dungeon crawler search and lower on a deck building search.  I'm not sure there an engine that has a good algorithm for that as of yet.

I've only played Gloomhaven from your list.  My top 5 would be:

1. #Gloomhaven - for all the reasons you mentioned.  I think i did my 50+ scenarios in like 2 months.  I was a little obsessed.

2. #This War Of Mine: The Board Game - So hard with gut wrenching decisions but so good. 

3. #Dinosaur Island - Similar to TWoM I would play more often if setup wasn't such a pain.

4. #Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age - When in the mood for a quick solo play. 

5. #Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game - I have a couple of expansions as well which help to extend the replayability of this deckbuilder.

Honorable Mentions: #Paladins of the West Kingdom , #Wingspan, #The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire, #Terraforming Mars, #The Isle of Cats, #Aeon's End, #Sagrada

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.

#Dinosaur Island is good for 9yr olds if you play the short game.  My boys didn't have the attention span for the medium or long game, but they did enjoy building the dino's. 

Other games my boys loved that would be good at 2:

#Carcassonne, #Forbidden Island (or really any of them), #Pandemic, #Raptor, #Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Gameand #Dice Throne: Season 2 - Gunslinger vs. Samurai

Here's part 2 of my epic solo playthrough of my very own *Alien 5* scenario for Legendary Encounters - An Alien Deck Building Game!

Watch part 1:
Watch part 3: soon
Watch part 4: soon

0:00 Start
0:18  Gameplay starts
————  SPOILERS below!!!
————  All the "new" cards as they come out...
1:20  Killing the Hunter
2:42  Obj.2 • Event 1
9:52  Xeno-Toxin Insanity 1
13:37 New Drone: Another Tough Mo-Fo
15:40 Xeno-Toxin Insanity 2
17:47 Hazard 2
22:04 Vital Strike Drone
23:25 Bill & Ted
24:08 Bio Weapons Conversion Lab
31:21 Relentless Hunter
37:06 Xeno-Toxin Insanity 3
40:38 Obj.2 • Event 2
43:56 Bringing a Player Back to Life…

Try my other variants for this game!
“Orders” :
“Onslaught” :
“Med Pac” :

All the files you need are here in the comments section of the Youtube page.

Try my other variants for this game!
“Orders” :
“Onslaught” :
“Med Pac” :

I have put a lot of time and love into this, so I really hope you enjoy it! And if you end up printing it out and liking it, please consider a modest donation via Paypal! 😉

It's not my favorite.... But I would pick deck building just because it is so varied. 

I still haven't found (or played many really) the deck building game for me.  I really like the idea of the Mechanic and would love to add it to my collection at some point.  Fingers crossed that #Dune: Imperium would fit that need especially since I'm obsessed with the IP.

Honestly, deck building could be a bit esoteric for non-gamers. Not how it works, but the strategy that goes into it. I guess you could do it in a way that's more approachable and forgiving, but I still think it's a little tougher. Like, Star Realms is an easy game to learn, but if you're just buying random cards and your opponent actually knows what they're doing in terms of strategy, you will NOT win.

Tableau or engine building definitely. Deck building too. 

I appreciate all the discussion that has arisen around this post. I was hoping to spark some discussion and am pleased with the result. Obviously we have some disagreements about this issue in this group. I believe and trust that these disagreements are not anything that could drive a wedge in the good conversations we have on these forums.

I think much of the confusion around this point is centered on different definitions of what constitutes a game mechanism. I think that a game mechanism is the smallest, most discreet parts of the game. They are the components without which you cannot play the game without breaking the rules. For instance, in a game with worker placement, you will place workers if you are playing according to the rules. If you are playing a game that has a deck building mechanism, you will work at changing your deck, that is part of the game.

For all the engine building games I have played, building the engine was not strictly necessary. You can play most, if not all, "engine builders" without building an engine, and you can do so without doing violence to the rules. This is usually not a good strategy. And, it certainly does feel like it doesn't do the spirit of the game justice. BUT you can do it, it is not something that is inherant in the rule of play like placing a worker is in a worker placement game.

I don't think it is. To me, engine building is something that happens over the course of a game as a result of taking your turn and "turning the mechanisms of the game," if that makes any sense. The term "engine building" describes the strategy more than it describes what it is you're actually doing in the game. Terms like "deck building," "tile-laying," or "worker placement" actually tell you what your actions in the game are. "Engine building" does not, as it is a result of the other mechanics in the game. It's strategy - make your turns as efficient and effective as possible (increasingly so as the game progresses) - it doesn't say how. If I said "X is an engine building game," that would tell people very little of how the game actually works.

Would like to hear thoughts on my thoughts from those who disagree

Nice. I think I'm with you on tableau building as my #1. I think I'd like deck building quite a bit as well, though I've really only played Star Realms.

Fun list.  I like it.  I think mine would be quite different.  I defnitely don't have enough deck building experiene to put that in my list.

This is the video that sold me on the game. I love Leder games for a variety of reasons, but some of their games are just too much to sit down for a relaxing evening of games. This seems to buck that trend and give a pleasant lighter experience with still some meat and choices to make. I think my family will appreciate the theme and it's nice to see a cool twist on deck building.