Deckbuilding Games I enjoy or want to try ("pure" and "board manipulation")
Aaron Gelb
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Los Angeles
California
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After playing a couple great deckbuiding games, I've decided to delve into the genre and try some more.

I categorize deck builders into two types:

Pure deck buiders - These are the most pure form of deckbuilder..the whole game is in the deck, and often times you are just pounding away at your opponents/enemies health or looking to get the most points. These games come in competitive and co-op. (ex. Dominion, Arctic Scavengers, Shadowrun: Crossfire

Board Manipulation deck builders - Deckbuilder that have you playing cards to manipulate a central board. These can be co-op or competitive. The central board is typically a map (area control) or a dungeon (tactical/dungeon delving/exploring) Games such as Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure or A Few Acres of Snow.

Games not on this list - I typically will avoid simple deckbuilders where the only goal is to "deplete your opponents HP"...I find those a bit bland and don't enjoy that back and forth. I will also exclude from this list games that may have slight variations to deckbuilding, but are more "other" types of mechanisms, such as Concordia. You probably won't find older deckbuilders on this list, either, such as Dominion. I know this is the grand daddy of the genre, but to me the dry theme and endless expansions aren't of interest. Also, I tend to like deckbuilders that have random cards to buy each game, and not just a set "pool" or "bank" with which to purchase new cards.


Below are deck builders I love and have in my collection/want to buy, or games that look intriguing that I want to play.

If you would like to make an addition to this list, please make sure you put the TYPE of deckbuilder it is, and please don't include older deckbuilders such as Dominion, or Eurogames that may have a deckbuilding aspect to it. Looking for just Pure deckbuilders (that aren't just beat up your opponent) and deckbuilders that manipulate a board (like Clank!)

Thanks!

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1. Board Game: Automobiles [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:609]
Aaron Gelb
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Type: Board Manipulation, bag builder, competitive
try/buy/own: Own it.

The game that started it all (for me).

I used to think I hated deckbuilders. This game, a variant of deckbuilding (bag building) is in essence a deck builder. But instead of buying cards and adding them to your hand, you're buying the cubes that have cards associated to their color, face up on the table. Drawing cubes from your bag instead of drawing cards from a deck, you use these cubes to place on the racetrack and race around the board.

Its one of my all time favorite games.
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2. Board Game: Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:59]
Aaron Gelb
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Type: Board Manipulation, competitive
try/buy/own: Buy- or I would, but my game group has a copy, which we play a lot. I may still buy this one to introduce to other friends.
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3. Board Game: Arctic Scavengers: Base Game+HQ+Recon [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked]
Aaron Gelb
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Type: Pure deck builder, competitive
try/buy/own: Gotta try it.

The theme on this one looks awesome. I don't own any "pure" deck builders..this may be my first. I love the theme, and enjoy the mechanism of searching through the trash pile.

Not sure if I'll love "Pure" deck builders, but this may be a good place to start. I like that you're not simply killing your opponent, but rather trying to get the most people into your little community.
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4. Board Game: Hands in the Sea [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:1871]
Aaron Gelb
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Type: Board Manipulation
try/buy/own: Gotta try it, but I think I'm going to want to buy it too.

I love the idea of a wargame/area control game meshed with a deck builder. I have a friend who has this game, and want to try it asap. I hear its a spiritual "next in line" to the popular (but apparently flawed) A Few Acres of Snow and Mythotopia.

Its now on kickstarter, reprinting for 2nd edition.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/knightworks/hands-in-th...
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5. Board Game: Dragonfire [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:1132]
Aaron Gelb
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Type: Pure deck builder, co-op
try/buy/own: Try

This is a rehash/update of Shadowrun: Crossfire...hopefully it will improve on Shadowrun, as I hear it had some issues. I do like the Shadowrun world better than D&D, so depending on the reviews of these, I may buy one or the other. Typically I don't love co-op games, but perhaps with deckbuilding it will be a better experience due to less "alpha" gamer issues.
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6. Board Game: Shadowrun: Crossfire [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:611]
Aaron Gelb
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Type: Pure deck builder, co-op
try/buy/own: Try

See "Dragonfire" above.
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7. Board Game: Trains [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:367] [Average Rating:7.22 Unranked]
Mike Jones
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Gainesville
Florida
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Board Manipulation

I am not a 'Huge' fan of Deck BUilders, but I am starting to really enjoy a few. (So I've been more willing to play them).

This was one of the first Deck Builders I enjoyed.

I think my enjoyment has a lot to do with the game board. I feel more 'invested' in the game because I am doing something more tangible than just building a deck.
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8. Board Game: Paperback [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:305]
Andrew
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Type: Pure deck builder, competitive

What can I say, I'm an apologist? Paperback subverts the traditional deck-building component for me, mainly because it appeals both to word builders and 'gamers' alike. Word builders will spend the bulk of their time building a word, while gamers will spend the bulk of their time choosing which cards to buy/add to their deck. In my experience, the two groups are fairly balanced against each other, which is nice.

Not very fun at two player, though, attack cards take on outsize importance.
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9. Board Game: Tyrants of the Underdark [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:272]
Greg Wilson
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Board manipulation

Deck-building crossed with area control. Central board has a bunch of minor and major regions linked by routes. You score during the game for taking total control of major sites, and at the end of the game for total or majority control of any site. You also score for any neutral or opposed troops you've killed.

Ascension-style row of cards to buy. Two major currencies; influence lets you acquire new cards, power lets you place or remove troops. There are also spies, which let you affect areas where you don't have troops yet and take various special actions. Promotion of cards is a major mechanic, with promoted cards worth more points but no longer acting as part of your deck. And of course there are a lot of special actions on cards.
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10. Board Game: Dungeon Alliance [Average Rating:8.15 Overall Rank:3294]
Aaron Gelb
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Type: Board Manipulation
Own/try/buy: Looks great, hope to try soon! Maybe at Gencon?

Mixes deck building and dungeon exploration. More about combat than is Clank!
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11. Board Game: Baseball Highlights: 2045 – Deluxe Edition [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
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12. Board Game: Direwild [Average Rating:9.29 Unranked]
Vas Obey

Washington
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I would humbly suggest checking out Direwild, a co-op deckbuilder with a dungeon crawling aspect to it. It goes live on Kickstarter this coming November, but it's been demo'd extensively at PAX's this year and you can get a good feel of the game from the website!
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13. Board Game: Aeon's End [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:178] [Average Rating:8.08 Unranked]
Aaron Gelb
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14. Board Game: Shadowrift [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1472]
Aaron Gelb
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2nd edition
 
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15. Board Game: XenoShyft: Onslaught [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:799] [Average Rating:7.07 Unranked]
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16. Board Game: Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:88] [Average Rating:7.82 Unranked]
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17. Board Game: Pathogenesis [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:4667]
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18. Board Game: Zephyr: Winds of Change [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:5921]
Aaron Gelb
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19. Board Game: The Quest for El Dorado [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:430]
Aaron Gelb
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Try/buy/own: I own this.

Got it as a gift. Nice little game, good intro to deck building. I wish there were more ways to cull the deck and more types of cards, but it is what it is. For now, this is a fun one and will stay in the collection. But I'd rather play Automobiles.

 
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20. Board Game: Edge of Darkness [Average Rating:8.14 Overall Rank:6320]
Aaron Gelb
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Looks gorgeous.
 
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21. Board Game: Aeon's End: Legacy [Average Rating:9.03 Overall Rank:7018] [Average Rating:9.03 Unranked]
Aaron Gelb
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Legacy + Deckbuilding - could be cool!
 
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