Dennis
Germany
Berlin
Berlin
flag msg tools
Warning, wall of text incoming. The actual requirements for the game I'm seeking start at the bolding:

My best friend and I love LCG-style games, that is Magic-like (pregame-)deckbuilders.
We both refuse to spend money on "collectible", ie: random boosters anymore, so actual Magic is out.
Thankfully, there are a lot of fixed pool games of that ilk around, so we're looking for the one that's just perfect for us.
Sadly, we're at about the opposite spectrum of strengths and weaknesses in regards to games like this, which makes finding the right game problematic at best.
We have vastly different ways to go about building a deck, but roughly comparable skill levels, so that's not too much trouble usually.
He is a brilliant opportunist, though, finding the perfect "at this time" move, while being weak at seeing the bigger picture. I'm the opposite, missing opportunities that spontaneously come up, but having a strict plan as to how to win 5 turns from now.
Basically, he kills me in Hearthstone or Poker, but has no chance in Chess.

Now, depending on if the game is more tactical or strategic, often one of us wipes the floor with the other, which is not too much fun for either of us.
I hope you fine folk can help me find the perfect game with just the right balance to allow us to enjoy both our favorite game genre together at last.

What we've tried up to now:
Android: Netrunner: Our current "fallback". The only LCG we've found to date that plays to his strengths. Apart from money budgeting and power now vs. power later considerations, it's mostly winnable by just playing your best possible turn every round. My friend is notably better than me, but at least it's not a slaughter.
a Game of Thrones, Second Edition: Utter failure. I love the game to bits, but my friend is utterly incapable of dealing with the challenges phase. If there are 5 characters on the board for both, with 3 possible challenge types, he stops being able to see the forest for the trees and has no idea what aproach is good without mathing it out for half an hour.
Warhammer 40k: Conquest: Current try, not looking good. Having the units split up on multiple planets where they usually don't directly interact and only having one type of interaction (burninate the other side to death) makes for a much smoother experience for my friend than in aGoT, but still the late game ramp up usually kills him, usually with me being already well fortified at the planet I need to win while he has too many units in the HQ-train and is unable to stop my victory.

Games we've decided against:
Star Wars: The Card Game: My friend loves successively iterating his decks to be better and better (and is much more capable at doing so than me). The objective set-based deckbuilding basically kills that, making it a non-starter.
Doomtown: Reloaded: While I find the spatial element intriguing, that's probably exactly the kind of thing my friend has trouble with, leading to the same problems as in aGot or Conquest.
Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn: Interesting dice mechanic, but no factions and a really, really small card pool with a slow release schedule seems to make the decks samey and the deckbuilding to be strictly secondary to deck piloting. My friend is way too fond of deckbuilding to be OK with that (and I'm not too thrilled, either).

So, taking all of this into account, which game should we try next? My current best guess would be Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game, whose story-based objectives seem to have just enough long-term buildup to satisfy me, while not enough to overburden my friend. The game's already done, though, so might be annoying to find for a reasonable price.
Any better ideas?

TLDR: Please suggest the best LCG-style game taking into account the list (and the problems) given above.
Help me, BGG, you're my only Hope!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Weber
Germany
Wendeburg
Germany
flag msg tools
Yo quiero estar contigo, vivir contigo, bailar contigo
badge
Yo quiero estar contigo, vivir contigo, bailar contigo
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Sounds like Mage Wars Arena or, if you do NOT want to play with a gameboard Mage Wars Academy may fit your needs. Both games reward the best long-time planer or gamer who sets up the best combination of spellbooks, while at the same time there are a lot of tactical decisions to be made.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Thanee
Germany
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game

Since you will play together cooperatively, differences in approaching the game do not matter that much.

In fact, your different strengths would probably complement each other rather well in this game.

Bye
Thanee
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Julian S
Singapore
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Warhammer Invasion which can be found quite cheaply although it's OOP.
Frankly I don't think you should be expecting that many new responses because other than this and Ascension to a certain extent with all the expansions, there aren't really that many LCGs left to recommend that aren't already mentioned!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
G Strobel
United States
Kentucky
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
+1 The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dennis
Germany
Berlin
Berlin
flag msg tools
The LotR Card game is indeed awesome and one I already own.
For the purposes of this thread, I'm only interested in competitive games, though.

I'll take a look at Mage Wars. Although I had heard of it before, I somehow conflated it with Summoner Wars in my head and never took a closer look.

I feared I've unearthed most of the alternatives already, but I still hope there's a similar game out there I haven't heard of yet.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
G Strobel
United States
Kentucky
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Have you tried Summoner Wars: Master Set?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Peter Bowie
United Kingdom
Crewe
Cheshire
flag msg tools
mb
Keeping with Android: Netrunner's probably your best bet. When you have runners like Andromeda or MaxX, or corps like Near-Earth Hub that offer better consistency, long-term strategic planning gets easier.

Mage Wars might work, but your friend will probably get analysis paralysis from the lack of deck randomness (you choose the cards you want to use from your spellbook).

For non-LCGs that aren't quite exact matches, but are worth looking into: BattleCON has a boatload of characters, perfect information and simultaneous play, which means you can plan out moves ahead of time... but if your opponent does something different than you were expecting, they'll have a tactical advantage.

Millennium Blades offers a meta experience of playing and investing in a TCG. While there's a good chunk of thinking on your feet, you can spend the game refining a single strategy or try out different decks each round, making it quite flexible.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Justin Strickland
United States
The Woodlands
Texas
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I don't think you should be so quick to dismiss Magic, or any other collectible game for that matter. They are no more money pits than LCGs that pump out expansions month after month. If you are playing casually then buy at your own leisure. There are also self contained Magic sets that don't require you to buy anything else. The Duel Decks don't require any additional purchases, support two people, and are only $15-$20. Who knows, it could be your next favorite game, and if not, at least you tried something new.

I honestly was like you. The CCG model intimidated me and I thought I would never get pulled into it. That changed when I decided to just try Dice Masters. And oh man, am I glad I did. It was so much fun. Yes, I did buy some booster packs, but after 20 er so, I felt I had plenty of content to play the game for a long time. That's about the same cost as a core set for an LCG. I'm not gonna lie, it is pretty thrilling to rip open those boosters to see what you're gonna get, much more than an expansion for an LCG anyways. But you don't NEED to keep buying content. If you're playing casually, even an LCG, you're going to buy what you want and most tournament scenes have an open card pool. Also, you can just proxy cards if you like the ability they have.

My point is; Don't knock it till you try it. I never would have thought I would get involved in a CCG due to the intimidating business model, but I did and they're fun.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dennis
Germany
Berlin
Berlin
flag msg tools
I appreciate the well meant advice, but I actually did play a few CCGs (including Magic itself) about 20 years ago and I have no interest of getting back into it.
I personally don't find the suspense of not knowing what I get in a booster thrilling. I just get annoyed that I build a deck I'd like to play and have no easy way of getting the cards I need without resorting to paying quite a bit on the secondary market.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Zachary Dill
United States
League City
Texas
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
+1 Warhammer: Invasion
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
HenningK
Germany
Berlin
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Mage Wars might work, but its playing time is very long at first and the learning curve is steep, even for LCGs. You basically have your whole "deck" in hand each turn and choose two cards to "draw", so you will be spending a lot of time reading cards at first. In addition to the card effects and their interaction, you also have the ruleset of a skirmish miniatures game on top, so learning it will take a while.

When I think about CCGs/LCGs, I think one of their strengths is that they offer a lot of depth, tactics and strategy while retaining a relatively short playing time for a single game. That's not quite the case with Mage Wars; my first game with a smaller "deck" and a board only half the size of the regular one took about 2 hours. The first "full" game took over 4 hours. Once you get familiar with the rules and cards, this will definitely become a lot shorter, but it's a lot of work you need to put into the game. If you and your partner are willing to do that, the game can be tremendous fun, but its length and complexity are something to be aware of.



I would really like to recommend Epic Card Game since I love it so much, but am not quite sure if it actually fits. It's like super-powered Magic where each card seems ridiculously powerful. All cards cost either 0 or 1 resource, and both players get one resource each turn. The game seems pretty random at first, but it actually rewards careful play *a lot*. The game revolves mostly around card advantage and around the order in which to play your cards. It's very much on the tactical side of things, as each play by your opponent will drastically alter the board situation.
In my opinion, the game is most fun with a draft before the actual game. Surprisingly, the 2-player draft formats suggested work really well. You can also build Constructed decks with up to 3 copies of each card if you buy multiple sets, but in my very limited experience with that format, games tend to be decided quicker and more driven by the luck of the draw - or I just suck at building decks, which is entirely possible.
The base game is cheap (around 20 €) and features 120 unique cards. Currently, there are also four expansions with 12 cards each that cost ca. 5 €.

As I said, not sure if Epic Card Game fits; its tactical nature might be more towards your partner's liking, but your advantage in seeing the big picture may pay off when drafting.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
maf man
United States
endeavor
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
the ones I've come across are usually dismissed by others here for being too light or too nonLCG or something but they were the prefect fit for my group (who came from MTG).
Smash Up - the deck building is just finding two types and putting them together. I saw you liked small world and I get the same feelings with this game. A lot of tactical choice for your friend and as you get better I think you'll find enough strategy for you to hold your own.
Pixel Tactics - similar to smash up but smaller. A better choice for your friend. Might still be worth a look. It has stand alone expansions which from what I read may get more draft friendly.

Dominion - you have. Ascension: Deckbuilding Game - felt just like dominion. so dont bother with those

and for my shot in the dark recommendation:
Baseball Highlights: 2045 - may not be what you think your looking for but check it out, it scratched the itch your looking for better than I expected for my bro and I.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt Brown
United States
Okemos
Michigan
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
RindFisch wrote:
Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn: Interesting dice mechanic, but no factions and a really, really small card pool with a slow release schedule seems to make the decks samey and the deckbuilding to be strictly secondary to deck piloting. My friend is way too fond of deckbuilding to be OK with that (and I'm not too thrilled, either).


If you get the promo Phoenixborns through PHG, you are looking at 13 different Phoenixborn. I'm not sure how that is a small card pool since the game hasn't been out a year. Also factor in most, if not all promo Phoenixborn aren't tied to a specific set of dice. IIRC, another bigger sized expansion is coming out this year.

Mixo wrote:
Sounds like Mage Wars Arena or, if you do NOT want to play with a gameboard Mage Wars Academy may fit your needs. Both games reward the best long-time planer or gamer who sets up the best combination of spellbooks, while at the same time there are a lot of tactical decisions to be made.


If Ashes has too small of a card pool, Academy really isn't going to work.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dennis
Germany
Berlin
Berlin
flag msg tools
matthean wrote:
If you get the promo Phoenixborns through PHG, you are looking at 13 different Phoenixborn. I'm not sure how that is a small card pool since the game hasn't been out a year.

If the official deckbuilder is to be believed, with all products together Ashes has 127 different cards by now. That includes all Phoenixborn and all conjurations (which are thus basically counted double as there is no way to get a conjuration without the ready spell that puts it into play).
That's less than just the corebox for aGot or Conquest had. Barely more than half of the aGot corebox, in fact (which had 219 different cards, Conquest had 188). And the game has been out for a year.
I regard that as a small card pool, especially in light of the much slower release schedule.

If the deckbuilder is wrong and the card pool isn't actually that small, I'm willing to take a second look.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jonathan Challis
United Kingdom
Hungerford
West Berkshire
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Mage Wars Arena
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt Brown
United States
Okemos
Michigan
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
RindFisch wrote:
matthean wrote:
If you get the promo Phoenixborns through PHG, you are looking at 13 different Phoenixborn. I'm not sure how that is a small card pool since the game hasn't been out a year.

If the official deckbuilder is to be believed, with all products together Ashes has 127 different cards by now. That includes all Phoenixborn and all conjurations (which are thus basically counted double as there is no way to get a conjuration without the ready spell that puts it into play).
That's less than just the corebox for aGot or Conquest had. Barely more than half of the aGot corebox, in fact (which had 219 different cards, Conquest had 188). And the game has been out for a year.
I regard that as a small card pool, especially in light of the much slower release schedule.

If the deckbuilder is wrong and the card pool isn't actually that small, I'm willing to take a second look.


GoT uses a 60 card deck. Ashes uses 30, so that's why the card pool is smaller. Having played Netrunner enough to see where card draw can screw you, GoT will do it even more so. Ashes lets you pick your first five which means card draw is a much lower factor and the smaller deck means what the deck is built for will get played. GoT is always going to be stuck with 8 houses. Try to sell variety when Ashes already has 10 Phoenixborn without promos.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dennis
Germany
Berlin
Berlin
flag msg tools
matthean wrote:
[...]GoT is always going to be stuck with 8 houses. Try to sell variety when Ashes already has 10 Phoenixborn without promos.

The Phoenixborn aren't equivalent to houses, though. They use the same card pool while adding a single special ability. They are more like agendas (or IDs in Netrunner).
Ashes has only 4 "factions" in the dice types and you're allowed to mix those freely.
The pre-constructed decks seem to feature 2 types, but from most tournament lists I've looked at, the standard seems to be 3, which means apart from the one unique card, the Phoenixborn all have almost the exact same access to cards.

People in Netrunner are annoyed with everyone importing Clot or Jackson Howard, but at least you have a strict limit of how many cards you can do that with (and not all cards can be imported at all).
In Ashes, Enchanted Violinists, Hidden Powers, Molten Golds and Frozenback Bears seem to be everywhere.
The decks just seem way, way more samey than in any other deckbuilder I've ever played.


matthean wrote:
GoT uses a 60 card deck. Ashes uses 30, so that's why the card pool is smaller.

I don't think this is true. That implies that there's a maximum card pool based on deck size, which clearly isn't correct and if the designers believed that, they wouldn't release expansion cards at all.
I think the thruth is the opposite. The card pool is a lot smaller, so the decks have to be smaller to allow for any variety in them at all.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark T
United States
Southern MD
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I know you've stipulated card games, but if you are open to another option, I would suggest Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game. Yes, I know it's not a card game, but I think it might provide many of the aspects that you might be looking for. It's not collectible, but, much like a LCG, they are constantly releasing new products that can change your strategy.

There's also an aspect much like deck building when're you can spend some time working out what ships, pilots and upgrades you want to use for your next battle. There are three fairly well-developed factions, though to really get the most out of any build, you will find yourself buying from all three to get the upgrades you want.

Last, there are opportunities to do well for both the opportunist and the planner during the game. The spatial positioning aspect of it may favor you, but there will still be plenty of opportunities for your friend to exploit as well.

The one drawback, if you want to call it that, is that it's been likened to a highly addictive drug. There's always another ship to buy or another list to try. I love it. Just wish I had more opportunities to play. I'm probably more of an opportunist than a planner, but I can still hold my own with this game.

Good luck! I hope you find something that hits the spot.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.