Johnathan Elson
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Hey guys, im new to this website and the whole world of board and card games other than (mtg, pokemon, yu-gi-ho). I have played MTG for a while (not very competitively) and i love the game but I just want something new and something "more complete" than mtg. I recently discovered on this website LCG's (living card games) and looked up the LOTRO, Call of Cthulu, and Game of thrones ones. I like the concept of buying a box and being able to make many decks and have a more complete set than a ccg.

The problem is I would not be interested in buying all the expansions and they are very numerous and costly and am looking for a good card game that I can have a good experience straight form the box. If there was a card game that i could buy the core set (around 30 USD) play for a while and then buy the expansion for the same price when i want to expand i would like that, but I do not want to spend the 10 or 15 USD on the 40 card expansions that come out every month. Also the game of thrones expansions are focused on one house/faction instead of a good overall expansion which i dislike.

I really enjoy deck building and trying new ideas and i like the aspect of mtg that is combining colors (eg, red black deck, or blue white) to try new combinations and strategies. Cthulu looks like it has this with the many different factions and i like the resource system but i really do not like the story driven system of combat and the goal of the game. Game of thrones looks much more appealing to me gameplay wise but the core set has only 4 decks and seems very limited on its own in terms of customization and deck building.

Sorry for the huge post, should i go for a LCG or are there other non LCG's that are purely "PvP" (not into the co-op type)card games (not looking for a board game at this time) that will have a good library of cards and decks to boot, and all for the pricetag of the LCG core sets (around 30 bucks, i could go higher but id prefer not to if i could), OR should i suck it up grab me the game of thrones core set and being my collection of those. I was looking through the card games on this site and there are so many, i am LOST. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks
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Jonathan Baker
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Check out the Summoner Wars Master Set. Six different factions for around $30-35 online. Decks are pre-made but there is the option for some deckbuilding with the addition of reinforcements. There are also ten other factions available allowing quite a bit of replayability.

The Rodney Smith Watch It Played youtube series helped me decide to buy the game and I have not regretted it.

Good Luck!

Jonathan
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Jonathan Challis
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Dominion would be my first recommendation, followed by Ascension, Thunderstone, Core Worlds, Eminent Domain etc...

But they all involve deckbuilding during the game, not before it. If it's deckbuilding before the game you want then you really are talking about CCG's or LCG's and just limit your purchases...
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Aaron Morgan
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Ascension: Deckbuilding Game was designed by some former MTG Pro players, and each expansion adds to the game as a whole.

Netrunner is getting a re-release very soon as an LCG if you're a fan of that Richard Garfield game.
 
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Brook Gentlestream
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A new convert!!! Welcome, Welcome, Welcome!

I love non-collectable competitive card games. Enjoy doing some research on these beauties:

Innovation
Nature of the Beast: Farm vs. Forest
Mag·Blast (Third Edition)
Cutthroat Caverns
BattleCON: War of Indines
Summoner Wars
Yomi
Conquest Tactics (available now on kickstarter!)
Citadels


All of these are great 2 player games, are available online or in stores, and will cost less than $30 to get into and start playing.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.
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This seems to be right up your alley. Highest praise from the highest profile reviewer:
http://boardgamegeek.com/video/19582/mage-wars/miami-dice-08...
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Simon W
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What about Warhammer Invasion? It has 4 factions in the base set, and 2 more if you decide to shell out for a major expansion.
 
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Matt Gustafson
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You might enjoy Omen: A Reign of War.
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If you're looking for a game that works in the same way as magic (that is, the deckbuilding part is important, but not part of the actual matches), I haven't seen anything that offers the potential to build diverse and creative decks right out of the box, so you may have to go with an LCG/CCG. In that case I think A Game of Thrones LCG is an excellent choice. In my opinion, it's a huge improvement gameplay-wise over magic, mainly because you have a lot more options and decisions while playing (I think Magic has more options for deckbuilding though, due to the larger card pool). Also, it's a blast with 4 players. You're right that the big (aka "deluxe" expansions) almost exclusively focus on a single house, but the small ones (chapter packs) have a more even spread. If deckbuilding isn't crucial to your enjoyment, the game plays great out of the box, especially if you play multiplayer. Anyway, if you go for this, do yourself a favour and check out this excellent thread.

A lot of people are going to recommend Dominion and other deckbuilding games, where you build your deck as you play the game. Personally, I didn't find that Dominion scratched the CCG itch, and to be honest I found it pretty dry. It's also much less interactive than an LCG/CCG. Your mileage may vary of course, you can try the game online at boardgamearena.com.

There's also the possibility to try a game that doesn't feature deckbuilding per se, but still has some things in common with MTG and the like. I think you would really enjoy GOSU. It features five different clans (colours) of goblins, and has a lot of take that action and chaining effects etc. It's not deckbuilding, but you draft your starting hand (not in the rulebook, but a "tournament rule" that was later made the official rule), and then you often focus on 1-3 clans, discarding cards you don't need to pay for your guys. A lot of magic players like this game.
I haven't played Summoner Wars, but that also sounds like something you might want to check out.
 
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Michael Cook
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Based on what you're telling me, here's the possible games that fall under your criteria-

Out of the Box playable card games that fight a little like Magic and do not need anything else to play-
Game of Thrones- While the initial 40$ spent for everyone to play is a very good investment/game, you will be sucked like I was and forced to pay more. This is a hardcore game, and if you can convert others to play this as I did, then maybe they'll buy and focus on their own houses (my friend plays two houses, I play three). We limit each other to how much we can buy, and that works too...but I've spent 200$ on this game, because I wanted to round out and have 5 expansions!

Call of Cthulhu- I feel that the mechanics are inferior to AGoT. The play just isn't as fun, and while there's a lot more going on (it's still complicated), the game is more of a mathing out kinda game, where anytime you send a group to attack, you have to calculate exactly what your opponent will do...and this can take some time to compute.

Netrunner- I haven't played the older version, but hey, it's made by the Magic guy Richard Garfield, and it's being rebooted into LCG format. It's probably going to be really good.

Ascencion- I would avoid this game. While it's fun in it's own right, and the price is just right (+30 bucks for each expansion, and the expansions are just more of the same!), the game is actually simpler than any of those I have described before.

Warhammer Invasion- Good to mention, but I have not played it.

Yomi- The game is closed in, and knowledge of each deck becomes the main draw of the game. There's no new cards added in like a CCG, so imagine if magic was limited to 600 cards...forever. You can't deck build, and when you fight an opponent, you should know exactly which 60(?) cards he has in his deck.

MY suggestion to you finally- Either wait for Netrunner to come out and see how that is from reviewers, or cave in and buy AGoT. AGoT is great out of the box, but it's complicated and requires some rules reading. After you buy that great game, you might cave in and buy more.

 
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Brook Gentlestream
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ironJames wrote:
A lot of people are going to recommend Dominion and other deckbuilding games, where you build your deck as you play the game. Personally, I didn't find that Dominion scratched the CCG itch, and to be honest I found it pretty dry.


This is because, for the most part, the "dueling" aspect has been removed from these games, which is the core of the Magic experience. The games I've recommended above may not be like Magic and may not offer deckbuilding, but definitely offer that solid "dueling" experience.
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Johnathan Elson
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Thanks everyone for the responses, i did not expect all this. I looked up Summoner Wars and Mage Wars and both of them look very good. My only caveat with summoner wars is the heavy focus on dice rolling to attack, all card games involve chance but this is something that bugs me, however it would not bar me from giving it a go.

Mage wars on the other hand has a price tag that i would try to shy away from(at 60 USD) but looks fantastic, and i am going to follow this and will probably end up grabbing it sometime soon.

Im not really set on games that you build while you play but i will give them a look, many of you guys have listed tons of games I haven't gotten to check out yet, thanks for all the replies.

And on Game of Thrones, this is something i might go with first depending on which my local card shop has (this or summoner wars) but both look very fun.

Thanks again for all the help guys, watching these reviews for these games has gotten me very excited and I look forward to trying these card games with my buddies (also mtg guys). I will keep watching the thread for more responses and tips and welcome them.
 
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Scott Douglass
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Try looking at:

BattleCON:
Probably my favorite 2 player game right now. If you want a highly strategic game with no luck that rewards multiple plays, get this. The characters are completely different, and since the game comes with 18, that is an enormous number of matchups. I haven't tried multiplayer yet, so I can't comment on how well that works.

This game is based on 2D fighting games, and you will try to outmaneuver your opponent. All of your cards are available to you at all times, except the cards on cool down.

Puzzle Strike:
3rd edition should be coming out soon. This is my favorite deck builder at the moment. Note that when I say deck builder, I mean a game where you build your deck during the course of the game, not before playing. Is quite confrontational, with each player trying to knock the other players out of the game. There are 20 different characters if you include the Shadows expansion, and each plays differently. There is a good amount of variety, and you can try different play styles (rushdown, economy, disruption).

Race for the Galaxy:
Not confrontational like the games I previously listed, but an exception game. Scales nicely from 2 to 4 players. With expansions you can play with more, but I almost never have. There is quite a learning curve to this game. With experienced players, this really is a race, with an incredible amount of variety and strategy for its length.

Summoner Wars:
Start with the master set if you decide on this one. Each faction has their own deck, and you try to eliminate your opponent's summoner. The game is kind of like MtG with a positional element, where you are actually on the board and can be attacked. With 16 factions, there is an enormous amount of replayability here. The deck construction options are much more limited than MtG, but it is also much less expensive, and the factions all seem interesting. I haven't actually played all of them yet, but so far I've been impressed with the balance between factions.

I'd also suggest

Ascension
Omen: A Reign of War
Penny Arcade: The Game
 
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Matt Brown
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Wasabi_Eater wrote:
This seems to be right up your alley. Highest praise from the highest profile reviewer:
http://boardgamegeek.com/video/19582/mage-wars/miami-dice-08...


As much as I'll forever +1 Summoner Wars, Mage Wars is the closest thing to a streamlined version of M:TG. SW is easier to get into, but MW has more of the deck building aspect you are looking for. Since it's just coming out, you don't have to catch up on getting stuff.

Here's the known difference between SW and MW from my end.

SW gives you more options with less freedom.

- 16 unique factions with a single summoner but new summoners are on the way so there will be 32 in the end.

- Deck building is limited to reinforcement packs and adding some characters from the Mercenaries faction.

- You get to draw up to 5 cards and are at the mercy of the draw. You can dump some of the crap and pump up your magic pool for later. This helps you play stuff later and lets you draw more cards next round. Unless something goes really wrong, or a game was just played that poorly, you will go through your whole deck and play on from there. This helps counter the freedom of card use in MW. You might not get the card you want right then, but you will get it.

- Characters are basically magic cost, offense, health, and any special abilities.

- SW board has 20(?) squares on it for tactical movement.

MW offers less options with more freedom.

- Core set comes with 4 unique mages. More will be added later. Unknown how many total there will be.

- Deck building has no real restrictions. If a mage grabs a spell from outside of their typical school, it will cost more to play, but that's it for limitations.

- You play any two cards from your spell book per turn. This effect means the flow of the game should be fairly consistent as SW's can have wider swings due to card draw.

- Characters have a lot more attributes than ones in SW have. This means the learning curve will be greater and more so with the deck building aspect.

- MW has four squares on it's board. I have yet to see a game of MW played so I can't really say what role the board plays in the game.
 
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Kevin Marshall
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I really think you should take a look at Dominion. It will scratch the deck-building itch, plays with 2-4 players, and while there ARE expansions...they are not necessary. You can get a LOT of play out the first box.
 
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Steve Holden
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+1 Ascension
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+1 Omen: Reign of War

http://www.smallboxgames.com

+1 Call of Cthulhu

Quite similar to MTG. I enjoy this game as well.

Oh, and try Rune Age... scenarios, cooperative, direct PvP dueling, or any combination of these. Nice game, affordable too. Only like US$25.

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Jeremy Peet
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I would certainly suggest:

1 : Dominion (very expandable with huge replay value)

2 : Summoner Wars (Think MTG on a playing board with dice)

3 : 7 Wonders (different mechanics but a good card game)

4 : Ascension (a quick deck builder with a cool theme)

5 : Race for the Galaxy (a bit heavy at first but a great game)

All these games do not share the element of being "collectable" which in my opinion is the downside of MTG.

Good Luck!
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I actually think Star Trek: the Deck Building Game will scratch your itch. There's multiple paths to victory and it has different scenarios to also play co-op or team. My friends and I are all former CCGers and we love it. We think it's the best deck building game and we've played a lot.

Ascension's also good and probably the most like Magic out of all of them. I play it on my iPod all the time.

I would actually stay away from Dominion. There's a free iOS app if you want to try it out though. It has the complete opposite feel of Magic. It's very Euro and solitaire. I don't understand why people like it.
 
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johnathanfeezy wrote:
Hey guys, im new to this website and the whole world of board and card games other than (mtg, pokemon, yu-gi-ho). I have played MTG for a while (not very competitively) and i love the game but I just want something new and something "more complete" than mtg. I recently discovered on this website LCG's (living card games) and looked up the LOTRO, Call of Cthulu, and Game of thrones ones. I like the concept of buying a box and being able to make many decks and have a more complete set than a ccg.

The problem is I would not be interested in buying all the expansions and they are very numerous and costly and am looking for a good card game that I can have a good experience straight form the box. If there was a card game that i could buy the core set (around 30 USD) play for a while and then buy the expansion for the same price when i want to expand i would like that, but I do not want to spend the 10 or 15 USD on the 40 card expansions that come out every month. Also the game of thrones expansions are focused on one house/faction instead of a good overall expansion which i dislike.

I really enjoy deck building and trying new ideas and i like the aspect of mtg that is combining colors (eg, red black deck, or blue white) to try new combinations and strategies. Cthulu looks like it has this with the many different factions and i like the resource system but i really do not like the story driven system of combat and the goal of the game. Game of thrones looks much more appealing to me gameplay wise but the core set has only 4 decks and seems very limited on its own in terms of customization and deck building.

Sorry for the huge post, should i go for a LCG or are there other non LCG's that are purely "PvP" (not into the co-op type)card games (not looking for a board game at this time) that will have a good library of cards and decks to boot, and all for the pricetag of the LCG core sets (around 30 bucks, i could go higher but id prefer not to if i could), OR should i suck it up grab me the game of thrones core set and being my collection of those. I was looking through the card games on this site and there are so many, i am LOST. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks


Hi Johnathan! Welcome to BGG!

I am a former MTG player like yourself. I'm going to jump on the bandwagon and suggest:

Call of Cthulhu: Excellent game. Great artwork and storyline. Great deckbuilding potential with the different factions. Good player interaction.

Warhammer: Invasion: Another good game. Many factions to play. Great artwork. Good player interaction.

Summoner Wars: Good game that is easy to learn but has some depth. Many factions to play.

I strongly suggest staying away from A Game of Thrones, Dominion, and Star Trek (deck building game). Game of Thrones is too complicated for its own good and games just seem to drag. Dominion has no player interaction, IMO is dull, and expansions are a MUST. Star Trek just isn't a good game, it's rulebook is awful, there's no factions or colors just a jumbled mess, and the artwork is terrible. I also found Yomi to be very dry and dull, but it does have factions.

If you have many players, then 7 Wonders is a good play. Easy to learn as well. No factions though. Lord of the Rings LCG is also a good game. The base game is good as it is very challenging. Co-op game. There are factions to play and artwork is excellent.

Another card game to look into would be Nightfall. I'm on the fence with this one. Play is OK, fairly easy to learn and can play with the base set. No faction play. Good player interaction and some good artwork.
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Jon Dockter
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How big is your play group? Summoner Wars and Cthulhu are great two player games. AGoT is okay as two player, but plays much better mulit-player.
 
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I agree with Eric about Dominion and Star Trek. Dominion really needs expansions, and, even so, is rather dry and low on player interaction. Star Trek is one of the weaker deck building games I've played. The theme was weak, the abilities weren't as interesting as they should have been, the game was too random, players didn't have enough control, and I didn't like the art.

I remember that I didn't like The Game of Thrones, but I don't remember why well enough to meaningfully articulate my reasoning. Mostly I just remember that my favorite card was Shaggy Dog.

I think Yomi is a good game, but it doesn't really fit Johnathan's criteria (too expensive). On the other hand, you can try it on the Fantasy Strike server for free, along with Puzzle Strike.

Mage Wars is more similar to MtG than Summoner Wars from what I've seen, but I wasn't going to suggest it because I haven't played it yet.
 
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Dungeon Command: Sting of Lolth has a playable deck/warband out of the box. It won't be tournament competitive, but it's lots of fun. To me it feels like Magic with minis.

+1 Race for the Galaxy. Non-confrontational without the expansions, but still fun with beautiful art.
+1 Rune Age the direct conflict makes this a fun simple deck builder.

Wiz-war is another fun card game with minis that inspired Richard Garfield to make magic (at least in part).

Discworld: Ankh-Morpork is a light but fun card game with a board set in Pratchett's famous city.

Call of Cthulhu is great, but I got burned out on all the expansions too. I'm over a year behind now. However, they are going to switch to a quarterly distribution model with large box expansions only.

As a former Magic player, I've avoided Dominion. For me the fun was the dueling not the deckbuilding. Dominion looks too boring and plain for my tastes.

After you try some card games, you should start to branch out to games like Arkham Horror, Claustrophobia, Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition), Rune Wars and then move on to war-games.
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Summoner Wars has great differences between the individual factions. Some have units with the "Precise" ability (meaning they'll always hit but are probably a bit weaker). You'll probably like the Phoenix Elves.

As others have pointed out there's an ever growing family of deck-building games starting with Dominion. Unlike MtG you're not building your deck up front but during the game. There are loads of different cards and the challenge is to recognize good combos quickly and build them into your deck but also to react to your opponent's strategy. Also you can easily start with one base game and buy expansions if and when you want to.

Race for the Galaxy and San Juan are both games that have a very competitive feeling without being too confrontational. They too require you to find good combinations of cards. You're always trying to position yourself to profit from your opponent's actions and make they don't profit from yours more than you do. San Juan is lighter, RftG is more complex but has expansions if you like it.

I would also like to throw 7 Wonders into the mix. The game is essentially an MtG draft made into it's own game. Everyone gets a stack of cards, picks one to play/use and passed the rest to the next player. Different card types help in different ways to get Victory Points and can have powerful synergies between them. You're always challenged to find a balance between furthering your own goals and denying your opponents the cards they want. There are two expansions with additional cards and new card types. Last year's City Tycoon and this year's Among the Stars also feature this same mechanic.
 
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Marcos Romero
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As a current(thinking about being ex) MTG player, I can completely sympathize. The joy of MTG at least for me is the design of unique interactions. The problem is the expense. It's an expensive hobby, and if you play Standard, then it's Super expensive as expensive investments get retired yearly.

The reality is there is no "cheaper" MTG out there. Nothing that quite has that type of challenge of building unique interactions that can defeat your enemies. But that's ok, because this new world of gaming offers challenges that are quite fun in and of themselves. My worry is that in your quest to find a replacement for MTG you might lose the potential of having some really incredible experiences that board gaming offers.

In MTG all of the "thinking" and creativity are in building your best deck that offers your interaction. And then the actual playing of the deck is less about thinking and more about playing to the benefits of your deck while avoiding the nasty parts of your opponent. With most board/card games you'll find here, each and every game offers heavy thinking "during" the game with less luck involved in many games. You don't get as much of the "bad shuffles" which cause you to lose.

I've never had a MTG tournament or game or match or whatever that has offered me the pure joy of a 5 player El Grande game, or a fantastic match of Puerto Rico. And I love MTG too, but given the choice I'm more fullfilled by many board games out there.

I can't recommend Race For The Galaxy enough. It has so many things to recommend it.
1. It's cheap, around $25 online.
2. It really doesn't need expansions, but they are offered as the game starts to get stale for you. Expansions are cheap around $20.
3. It epitomizes the joy of board gaming where you have difficult choices to make. The way the game works is amazing in it's simplicity and forces you to agonize almost every single play of the game.

As you build your game collection. You'll find a bunch of different games, each offering completely different experiences. Some are silly fun, some are brain busters, some are tense edge of your seat affairs. It's great to be able to still have fun, and have the completely different experiences of Arkham Horror and Guillotine in the same night. The problem is board gaming isn't cheap either, as many of us are collectors always adding to our collections.

Welcome, and Enjoy!

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