The Best Deck Building Games
Deck Building Games!
I love deck building games. Normally I hate board games. But my brother wanted me to play this new game he had just gotten (Dominion). So I started playing and loved it. If you like board games but are tired of all the old standards you should try deck building games. And if your like me and you don't really like board games as a rule you may find you like these types of games. They are great (especially Dominion, but we'll get to that in a bit).
Below is my list of the best deck building games available today. These games meet all of the following criteria: (1) deckbuilding format (e.g., you are creating a deck of cards to use during the game, etc.); (2) compelling "theme" (not too abstract); and (3) fun to play (the most important thing). This is a list of the BEST! As always, your mileage may vary and some entries may be "controversial." As such, please feel free to comment, debate, or just express your own point of view.
What Is A Deck Building Game?
This is a great explanation of what a deck building game is and how to play them.
This is not the first deck building game but it is arguably the one that started the current the current popularity of deck building games. It's the one that got me addicted to deck building games. And is probably the best one if you've never played a deck building game before. The rules are simpler than some of the games on this list but still not super easy. I feel that anyone over 10 years old should be able to play and enjoy this.
In Dominion, each player starts with an identical deck of cards. And there is another set of cards that are added to each players hand as the game progresses. Players "buy" these additional cards as they can afford them. Through their selection of the cards they buy, and how they play their hands as they draw them, the players construct their deck , The goal is to build the most efficient path to the precious victory points by game end.
From the back of the box: "You are a monarch, like your parents before you, a ruler of a small pleasant kingdom of rivers and evergreens. Unlike your parents, however, you have hopes and dreams! You want a bigger and more pleasant kingdom, with more rivers and a wider variety of trees. You want a Dominion! In all directions lie fiefs, freeholds, and feodums. All are small bits of land, controlled by petty lords and verging on anarchy. You will bring civilization to these people, uniting them under your banner.
"But wait! It must be something in the air; several other monarchs have had the exact same idea. You must race to get as much of the unclaimed land as possible, fending them off along the way. To do this you will hire minions, construct buildings, spruce up your castle, and fill the coffers of your treasury. Your parents wouldn't be proud, but your grandparents, on your mother's side, would be delighted."
There are also a number of expansions packs available.
This is the basic version of the game it's really all you need.
This is an expansion pack for the original game. It focuses on more characters such as thieves and spies. I found this to be the best expansion pack.
This is another expansion pack. It offers buildings, rooms, objects and characters all having an ocean/seaside theme.
This is another expansion pack. It offers cards that are similar to the markets and traders found in the original game. This is a great expansion if you base your tactics on these types of cards.
This is the ultimate collection. It's a great way to start off playing dominion. I actually
bought it to expand my game. Now my games are twice as long.
Dominion on iPad
There is now an unofficial iPad app version of Dominion. It works great and allows you to play against the computer or others online. I've been using it to practice and develop new tactics. Look it up on the app store. I recommend giving it a try.
Tired Of Dominion?
The Joy's of Expansion Packs
I'll admit that since I wrote this article several years ago I got tired of Dominion. It's a great game but after you play it every 2 or 3 days for over 3 years it can get a little boring. Fortunately they make expansion packs that add to or in some cases completely change the game. All of the basic game play remains the same but with new cards entirely new strategies have to be created. I can't recommend a specific expansion pack because I keep changing my mind about which I like most. I will say I've never disliked any of them. Having 2 or 3 expansion packs and the base game give you a large variety of decks to create. My favorite expansions (the ones I keep coming back to over an over again) are: Dominion: Intrigue and Dominion: Alchemy. I'm going to buy the Dark Ages expansion pack next.
Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer
Ascension is very fast paced. In this game players spend Runes to acquire more powerful cards for their deck. It offers a dynamic play experience where players have to react and adjust their strategy accordingly.
Ascension is similar to other deckbuilding games, with the player adding cards to their deck by purchasing them from a central deck, which has the top six cards revealed and available for purchase. When cards are removed, they are replaced with a new one from the top of the deck. Victory points are earned in three ways: firstly, each card purchased is worth one or more victory points; second, victory points can be gained by defeating monsters with a power resource featured on several of the cards; finally, some cards give victory points directly each time they are played.
If you don't like for games to take long this is the deck building game for you. Most games take somewhere between 5 - 15 minutes. While the games are short they are always different. You can't always use the same tactics to win. And if you add the expansion packs thing get even more interesting.
This game is also available on the ipad and there are additional expansion packs as well.
This is the base pack for the game. By itself it's a great game.
This is the best expansion pack available for the game.
THis is another expansion pack for the game.
Resident Evil Deck Building Game
Resident Evil is a well known video game and movie franchise. The Resident Evil Resident Evil Deck Building Game brings the story to life in a game of strategy where players construct their card decks while they play. Play as: Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, or Albert Wesker among others.
Players start with only the most basic of items and weapons. As the game progresses, players build their arsenal with additional Weapons, Ammunition, Action or Item cards to customize their deck and improve their ability in defeating the Infected! Your deck will be your lifeline to survival. How will you survive the zombie outbreak?
The Resident Evil Resident Evil Deck Building Game consists of 250 playing cards, 3 different game modes (Story, Mercenary and Versus) and hundreds of possible scenarios within each mode giving this game a great replay value. No two games are ever be the same!
Players start with a deck of 10 cards, which consist of Weapons and Ammo. Players must use their resources to obtain more powerful Weapons, Ammo, Items, and Action Cards that they add to their deck. As you progress in the game your Deck will become stronger and more efficient. You must use the cards in your deck to fight the "Infected" creatures which awards you Decorations . To win the game you must defeat more "Infected" creatures then your opponents, but the game only ends when the strongest "Infected" creatures is killed. Once he is killed, the player that has gained the most Decorations wins the game.
There are also many expansions packs available for this game.
The Resident Evil Deck Building Game is extremely fun. If you liked the video game or the movies you will also enjoy this game. This is the base pack for the game.
This is another edition of the game it's slightly improved. I included it because depending on the day it is sometimes cheaper than the original version. If it was me buying I would buy the cheaper game since the benefits of the special edition are minimal.
One of the great things about this game is how many expansion packs are avaliable for it. They make sure the game never gets old. Check them out.
This is another expansion pack.
Game description of the 2011 revised edition from the publisher:
Are you ambitious and cunning enough to rule the city of Cadwallon?
In the revised edition of Arcana 2-4 guild leaders send their loyal Agents into the districts of Cadwallon to entice, bribe, or win over powerful citizens, buy precious treasures, and utilize locations. Whichever player earns the most victory points wins!
This vibrant game creates a fantastical atmosphere for players to enjoy while they attempt to best their opponents through strategic card play. Make your guild the most influential by winning Stake cards and strengthening your deck with impressive Personalities, advantageous Locations, or tempting Relics to use in bribery.
The revised edition of Arcana introduces two new guilds, and six new rule options for players to choose from, or play with them all for a more challenging experience. Players can customize their guild, fulfill objectives, recruit Militia, invoke the ability of their Guild Masters, affect game play through random events, or optimize tactical strategy through card discards. Which variant will you use in your game?
Assassin's Creed Recollection
Assassin's Creed Recollection is a new iPad real-time board game from the Ubisoft Montreal studio that will allow players to live an entirely new experience in the world of Assassin's Creed. Fans of the franchise will be able to discover and amass a wide variety of artwork created for the Assassin's Creed games. They'll also be able to compete in political battles in a real-time board game with key characters and locations from the games.
If you want a deck building game that you can play alone and on the go I recommend this one.
Other Deck Building Games Worth Playing
Play as Spiderman, Captain America, Iron Man, etc. The whole pantheon of Marvel heroes are here. This game is very fast paced. While similar to many of the games on this list it's a bit different which I feel makes it worthy of note.