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Subject: Deck Builder for a young gamer? rss

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Tahsin Shamma
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My son is 6 and just starting to be able to understand some of the nuanced tactics of deck building games. Still, he likes something fast and with lots of replayability, preferably with some cooperative aspects.

I'm sure he would love developing a character and any system that can keep something from one game to the next. I know the Pathfinder game does this well. He likes deckbuilding, but I'm not sure a static set of decks to choose from like Dominion is what he likes. He likes the Lord of the Rings Deckbuilding Game a lot, but the luck and mindless play in that game infuriates me.

Our choices are:

Lord of the Rings LCG (I'm not sure I have time to help with the preconstruction of decks with him)
Ascension (I'm not sure which version to choose)
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game (we'd start with Rise of the Runelords)
Thunderstone Starter Set
Marvel Legendary

In your response, if you could order these in order of fun and replayability, it would help our decision.

Expandability is a side issue, but I know all of these have plenty of stuff extra.

Very appreciative of all the help guys!
 
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Joe Oppedisano
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I think LOTR isn't a good choice for exactly the reason you mentioned. It really does require a lot of focus on deck construction. However, you could construct decks using deck lists from others if you wanted to skip that. The gameplay is pretty easy to get into. The quests can be frustrating, though, as you'll lose many times, even with the best of decks.

The only one on your list I haven't played is Thunderstone, but I have seen it played. So I would rank as follows:

1. Marvel Legendary - does offer some variability with different villains, masterminds and schemes that removes the mindlessness you feel with the LOTR deckbuilding game.
2. Thunderstone
3. Pathfinder PACG - I like it, but it's not really deckbuilding. It does offer the character development, though.
4. Ascension - I think it's a decent deckbuilder. The art can be a turn off for some and it doesn't offer that much more than LOTR Deckbuilding in it's repetitiveness.

You might also consider effort in terms of set-up, take down and care. Marvel and Pathfinder take a bit of set up and take down, as you have to put every deck together and deconstruct when done. With Marvel you'll also have to separate all the cards when you first open the box - which can be a real pain. Also, the card quality for Marvel is not so great. So they may not hold up as well with rough handling; consider sleeving them (over 500+). But they are definitely not games where you can just throw everything in a box and be done! Ascension is the easiest in that regard.

There are other deckbuilders out there as well that might be a good fit, so I would look at them. 'Trains' is one that offers a different take on deckbuilding and also has more of a "board game" feel. Just don't limit to the ones you've listed.

Good luck! It's great that your son is sharing this interest.

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Roger Heil
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Try out Smash Up, its not as much about deck buildin, its referred to as a "shuffle building" game, but it has a lot of replayability and teaches a lot of the basic of these types of games.
 
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Tahsin Shamma
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oppedj02 wrote:
I think LOTR isn't a good choice for exactly the reason you mentioned. It really does require a lot of focus on deck construction. However, you could construct decks using deck lists from others if you wanted to skip that. The gameplay is pretty easy to get into. The quests can be frustrating, though, as you'll lose many times, even with the best of decks.

The only one on your list I haven't played is Thunderstone, but I have seen it played. So I would rank as follows:

1. Marvel Legendary - does offer some variability with different villains, masterminds and schemes that removes the mindlessness you feel with the LOTR deckbuilding game.
2. Thunderstone
3. Pathfinder PACG - I like it, but it's not really deckbuilding. It does offer the character development, though.
4. Ascension - I think it's a decent deckbuilder. The art can be a turn off for some and it doesn't offer that much more than LOTR Deckbuilding in it's repetitiveness.

You might also consider effort in terms of set-up, take down and care. Marvel and Pathfinder take a bit of set up and take down, as you have to put every deck together and deconstruct when done. With Marvel you'll also have to separate all the cards when you first open the box - which can be a real pain. Also, the card quality for Marvel is not so great. So they may not hold up as well with rough handling; consider sleeving them (over 500+). But they are definitely not games where you can just throw everything in a box and be done! Ascension is the easiest in that regard.

There are other deckbuilders out there as well that might be a good fit, so I would look at them. 'Trains' is one that offers a different take on deckbuilding and also has more of a "board game" feel. Just don't limit to the ones you've listed.

Good luck! It's great that your son is sharing this interest.



Thanks Joe. This helps A LOT. I hadn't considered setup time. The reason I stuck to these is that I know trains aren't really his thing. He likes adventure, comic book characters, sci-fi, etc.

Cheers
 
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Darren Belcher
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is direct confrontation a good thing or a bad thing when playing with dads and sons? If good - Star Realms looks good. If you don't want to directly attack each other though it's definitely off the list.
 
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Tahsin Shamma
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dbelcher wrote:
is direct confrontation a good thing or a bad thing when playing with dads and sons? If good - Star Realms looks good. If you don't want to directly attack each other though it's definitely off the list.


The competition is fun, but he LOVES games where he feels like he and dad are on an adventure together. We play Star Realms on the iPad and it's fun, but not the same as adventuring and gaining something in between games.
 
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Tahsin Shamma
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TobiasJeth wrote:
Try out Smash Up, its not as much about deck buildin, its referred to as a "shuffle building" game, but it has a lot of replayability and teaches a lot of the basic of these types of games.


Thanks. We have Smash Up, but were looking for something a little more visceral. One of the problems I see with Smash Up is that you can grow to love a certain faction and then end up only wanting to play that. When my son plays, he only wants to play Robots + Wizards, arguably one of the best combos.
 
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Peter Horoszowski
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While you're right that it's not really deck building except for choosing what you're going to keep at the end, my 6-year old daughter and I are having a real ball playing through Pathfinder CG. She loves the dice rolling and is definitely enjoying the progressive story track. I also took Lem and she took Lini so she likes that she's the "lead" character while I took the "support" role.

There's also a very strong sense of a character as opposed to typical deck builders where you're building more of a tool set than a persona.


 
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Tahsin Shamma
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calaban9 wrote:
While you're right that it's not really deck building except for choosing what you're going to keep at the end, my 6-year old daughter and I are having a real ball playing through Pathfinder CG. She loves the dice rolling and is definitely enjoying the progressive story track. I also took Lem and she took Lini so she likes that she's the "lead" character while I took the "support" role.

There's also a very strong sense of a character as opposed to typical deck builders where you're building more of a tool set than a persona.




I'm watching the gameplay tutorial for the Lord of the Rings LCG and this is looking very exciting. I think he would love exploring the deckbuilding side of the game since you get to choose characters in your own party.

However, I agree that choosing a single character and playing that character through a story would be interesting as well.

I've heard criticism of the Pathfinder ACG that it's repetitive in the actions that you take every turn, i.e. mostly searching for the objective. Do you find that to be the case?

 
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Moe45673
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I think Legendary Encounters might fit the bill. I wasn't a fan of Marvel Legendary but LE is a true co-op (all win or lose together) and is not overly complex, provided you (the dad) make sure the rules are followed
 
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Dezza
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You could try picking up Ascension: Apprentice Edition to just have a cheap version to try. It also has the new art style, which may be more appealing.
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I would strongly suggest Legendary Marvel for 4 simple reasons:

-Easy to learn deck builder
-Cooperative game so you can help him out
-Theme is perfectly suited for his age
-Tons of replayability with 4 masterminds and tons of different schemes, not to mention a wealth of expansions that can easily be added.

There is nothing else in terms of deck building that comes close. If you wanted a strictly coop game, and deck building wasn't critical, I would say Forbidden Island or Desert is your best bet. Castle Panic would be an honorable mention.
 
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Mr. Blue
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Also check out Fantastiqa, which even has simplified rules to play with kids. Great game.
 
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Tahsin Shamma
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Thanks for the suggestions guys.

I've taken a second look at Lord of the Rings LCG and it seems like the right difficulty for him and something he won't get bored of quickly. We can both learn the game together and learn some different tactics together.

I'll post in those forums about what expansions to buy.

I think we'll also pick up Marvel Legendary. It's got a different play style and he's got more of a connection to that theme than the others.

Thanks all
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Stephen Cooper
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Glad to see you're going for Legendary Marvel too.

On the one occassion I got to pry my visiting seven year old nephew away from the Xbox to play it, I got a never-before-seen fist pump from him when his Cyclops combo took down the Red Skull.

I like to use the app to generate the Mastermind/Scheme and game decks but you can choose which cards to play and thereby adjust the difficulty of the game to suit relatively easily.
 
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Joe Oppedisano
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Good choices. I think LOTR will be manageable with two players. Out of the box you can construct two decent decks with 2-spheres in each and capitalize on what each offers (and mix them up for variety). I play mostly solo and the second two quests are quite difficult solo, but should be easier with two.

Consider replacing the tokens for damage, questing, and resources with dice. It avoids the fiddlyness of tokens, and dice are much sturdier and less likely to get lost.

Legendary Marvel is a good option and will offer some good variety.
 
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Tahsin Shamma
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oppedj02 wrote:
Consider replacing the tokens for damage, questing, and resources with dice. It avoids the fiddlyness of tokens, and dice are much sturdier and less likely to get lost.


For hit points...
d6? d8? d10?

Same question for questing and resources.
 
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James Myers
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veector wrote:
oppedj02 wrote:
Consider replacing the tokens for damage, questing, and resources with dice. It avoids the fiddlyness of tokens, and dice are much sturdier and less likely to get lost.


For hit points...
d6? d8? d10?

Same question for questing and resources.


D6's would work fine for LOTR. You'd rarely need to use two, but when you did, it'd be fine.

I'd say Pathfinder over LOTR for playing w/ a six year old, although yes, Pathfinder is a bit more repetitive. Your mileage may vary, of course!
 
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Joe Oppedisano
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I guess you could use dice with any number of sides. But d6 work just fine. Even for quests that require 16 or more questing "points" you would just use multiple dice on the card and spin them up and down as needed.

But buying packs of plain dice is pretty inexpensive and can be used for any game that has lots of little tokens to represent damage and such.
 
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Josh Buchanan
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As the dad of a seven year old I want to add my two cents. I know all kids are different so here goes.

My 7 year old is on about a 4th grade reading level and very advanced at math. He cannot in any way handle LOTR. He kinda likes Marvel Legendary. He REALLY likes the Crytozoic LOTR and DC deck builders. They are competitive but not confrontational. You don't do things to each other. Yes, most criticisms are valid. It's simple. The best move is often obvious. But at this age fun is what matters. The worst thing to do is throw too much at him and turn him off.

Also, Castle Panic is the best Father Son game ever. That's not opinion. It's fact....

Hope that helps
 
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