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Subject: Convince me there is such a thing as a good Deck-Builder rss

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Josh
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So, I don't enjoy Dominion for the 'solveable' aspect of it. (know the game, able to pick 'best combo' from the 10 options, everyone repeats, flip coin to determine winner)

I don't enjoy 'semi-co-op style games where everyone can lose, but you win by being just enough of a jerk to your allies that you score more points, but not enough of a jerk to cost everyone the game.

Once I've looked at: Dominion, Thunderstone, Ascension, Legendary(Thunderstone in long underwear?)

Ones I havent: Tanto Coure, Resident Evil, Nightfall

So, can anyone point out any strong points/differences/fun aspects of the games I haven't looked at, or ones I might not have mentioned that'd make them stand out?
 
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jflartner
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Meh...I'd move on if I were you...but have you considered A Few Acres of Snow?
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Ryan James
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Here are the DBGs I'm familiar with:


Dominion - There are tons of expansions for this game, as well as multiple decks to choose from in the main box, that will give you much more variability than just 10 same decks. Knowing the game, and being able to pick the 'best combo' isn't quite as easy if you continually randomly select those cards before you play. It can be great fun.

Thunderstone - This game is pretty great. It's got more theme than Dominion, and adds the 'fighting monsters' mechanic, which all earns victory points to win. There are tons of expansions for the main game, and then with the re-boot, Thunderstone: Advance, there is just lots and lots of game here.

Ascension - This game is also awesome. It's got the theme like Thunderstone, but things go much quicker in this game. There's no static cards that exist for the whole game like in Thunderstone and Dominion. There are six cards in the middle of the table that are constantly being changed around, as you fight monsters and recruit heroes. Developing a strategy is more difficult, but doing the best with what's available is awesome, as is the feeling that you just really want to know what the 'next' card is going to be. It really is a great, fast paced game.

Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game - Just picked this up. It's also outstanding. If you love the Marvel universe, you won't be disappointed. It takes a lot of the mechanics from Ascension, and adds a bit more to it, but it's cooperative. The semi-cooperative you mentioned isn't the same type of semi-cooperative in this game. In Legendary, you get victory points for defeating villains and the masterminds, as well as rescuing bystanders, but those are all secondary to winning as a team. If you don't defeat the mastermind, you all lose. If you defeat the mastermind, then you ALL win, with someone being the overall winner (think 'first citizen of Arkham'). The game is really fun.

Shadowrift - This is a fully cooperative deckbuilder where you're all working together to save the town from monsters. The theme in this game REALLY works, possibly the best integration of theme in all of the games. It can be really fun.
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With Dominion there's really no way to pick the "best combo" if you are constantly playing with different stacks of cards - plus with the expansions it's also unlikely that you'll see the same things over and over again.

I think you were thinking of Euro-style games in general.

Legendary, Ascension, RfTG, Dominion, Thunderstone (by most accounts), are all supposed to be excellent. Same with Quarriors...
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Jessey
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Tanto Coure is just Dominion in anime-maid's clothing.

I have and have enjoyed playing Nightall, which I think the worst thing about is that it is ideal with 3 players. 4 players hangs too much on who gets jumped on the least, and 2 players really brings out player skill/game knowledge discrepancies (better players will dominate moderately weaker players). With 3 it' the right blend of brutality and politics.

Nightfall demands of players to pay attention to what the person to your right and left and putting in their decks, and also calls players to be very choosy about what goes into their own (because of the chaining mechanic) it's all very neat. The game also fundamentally hinges on attacking each other and dishing out wounds. Worth looking at depending on how much you want/desire player conflict (because that's what it is all about).

I personally think games that use deckbuilding as a mechanic (and not *the only* mechanic) are much more enjoyable. My favourite "deckbuilder" is easily Mage Knight Board Game (then again, MK is my second favourite board game so maybe that's colouring my opinion).
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Michael Off The Shelf Board Game Reviews
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Core Worlds
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Christopher Dearlove
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Shadrach wrote:
So, I don't enjoy Dominion for the 'solveable' aspect of it. (know the game, able to pick 'best combo' from the 10 options, everyone repeats, flip coin to determine winner)


I don't know any two people who are equally that good and who could flip a coin. The probably best person I know is the person who plays the most. I've never asked him exactly why so, but I presume it's that every set if new cards from however many hundred it is now is a new challenge, and you've got to be pretty good to pick not just the best buys from what's on offer, but the finer details, in the not much time you'll be allowed to do so.

Of course this is irrelevant to whether you like the game. If you don't, you don't. On to the next game.
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Chuck
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jobin13 wrote:
Meh...I'd move on if I were you...but have you considered A Few Acres of Snow?


This. So very much this. Ignore the haters that claim it's broken. Deck building with soul and a purpose.
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Christopher Dearlove
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For me, the games I've seen fall in three groups:

Generation 0: Dominion.

Generation 1: Games that took the Dominion concept and played with it. The only one I've played is Thunderstone (which I didn't rate, but each to their own).

Generation 2: Games in which deckbuildimg is part of the game, not the whole game. Examples I've played (I usually miss one when I make this list) are Mage Knight, A Few Acres of Snow, Core Worlds, Copycat.

In the last group you can really like or dislike any combination. I happen to like all of these, but can see reasons people might dislike each (different reasons, not related to deckbuilding).
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Sky Zero
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You don't have to look much further than Core Worlds. Outstanding deckbuilder and my favorite of all the ones mentioned in this thread.
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Smurf-o-Deth
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I'll recommend Puzzle Strike for the second time today.
 
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Jaime Lawrence
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A few thoughts:

Nightfall is excellent for actually forcing player interaction. The deckbuilding aspect is there, but it's more of a tactical card game with a bit of db thrown in.

Resident Evil and Thunderstone are distant cousins. Tanto Cuore is all too much like Dominion.

Rune Age is probably the most 'pure' deckbuilder I've seen, if it's the mechanic yourself that you like. You are racing your opponents to make the most efficient deck that can do [objective]. The fact that it has co-op and competitive modes is also good.
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Scott Mellon
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Have to respond when there's another L5R avatar.

Try Core worlds or Eminent Domain. Both use deck building as a mechanic, and not just the game itself.

If you want interation, try Nightfall. It's all about the killing of everyone else.

If co-op is your thing, try Shadowrift as it's everything I wanted Thunderstone to be.

Legendary looks interesting, we'll see once I play it.
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Adam Kazimierczak
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Dominion is pure deckbuilding. There is nothing else there. Other games either use deckbuilding as a tool in a more complex whole (Mage Knight Board Game) or copy Dominion wholesale with extra thematic bells and whistles added.

Puzzle Strike is interesting because while it is built upon a Dominion clone, the asymmetric character abilities and increased interaction (crashing gems into your opponent) sets it apart.

But I prefer doing my deck building before the game and then actually playing against my opponent instead of my deck, so bag deckbuilding all together and try Android: Netrunner and Seasons.

edit: I notice you already have Seasons. Going back to Dominion clones would be like eating Spam when you have prime rib.
 
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Joe Huber

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The only deck building games I've found that have appealed to me are Trains and possibly Copycat - both of which offer significant elements outside of deckbuilding.
 
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Scott Douglass
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I've played more than 15 deck builders (depending on your definition of a deck building game), and there are some that are much better than others. I enjoy Ascension, but I can definitely understand why some people dislike the game. I'm not a big fan of Dominion, and I think Thunderstone is basically a longer, worse version of Dominion. I haven't played Legendary, so I can't comment on that.

I haven't tried Tanto Coure or Resident Evil, and I don't have enough experience with Nightfall to feel like I can make informed comments.

Here are some of the better deck builders, and what I like about them:

Eminent Domain: ED is more of a role selection game than a deck building game in some ways, but manipulating the contents of your deck is essential to success. On your turn you may play an action, then you must lead a role, which your opponents can choose to follow or dissent (draw a card). I like the hand management aspect of the game. After your turn, you have to decide what you want to keep in your hand, and what you want to discard. You need to balance following the roles led by the other players with leading strong roles. I always feel that I can do something to improve my strategic position, and ED is much more dynamic than Dominion. Trashing is an essential aspect of the game every game rather than just in some games. You have to adjust to the planets you survey, what you draw, and what your opponent is doing. Since you're forced to take a card from the role you selected every turn, you'll get better at the roles you lead, but you don't necessarily want those cards clogging up your deck. As a result you have to balance other actions you could be taking or even leading a stronger role against making your deck more efficient and consistent.

Mage Knight: MK has a great deal more going on than just deck building. It's certainly one of the heaviest games with a deck building element. Every turn is a puzzle to solve. You can't always wait around in order to use your cards as efficiently as possible, as the other players or the clock (in solo or cooperative scenarios) will force you to push the pace of the game.

MK has a great deal more hand management than Dominion, as you don't discard the rest of your hand at the end of your turn. You can play cards in a variety of different ways; each card can be played sideways for 1 of any of the basic resources (attack, block, influence, or move), upright for an effect that is usually at least twice as strong, or powered by mana for an effect that is usually twice as strong as the unpowered effect. Mage Knight has far and away the most complicated turns of any deck builder I've played. You have to analyze what's in your hand, how badly you need to do the various things available nearby on the map, which of them your hand lets you do, whether you should move to a location in preparation for doing something next turn even if you can't do it this turn, how to most efficiently accomplish whatever you actually decide to do that turn, and how to set your self up for future turns.

There are different kinds of cards you can add to your deck, you get skills as you level, and you can recruit specialists. Specialists and skills allow you to mitigate bad hands to some extent, since you always have them available.

Puzzle Strike: PS solved all of my problems with Dominion; it's much more interactive, has more satisfying victory conditions, and is more skill testing. PS also has different characters, so you have variety in matchups in addition to variety in the bank. Different characters play fairly differently, and I like most of the characters. PS gets started faster than Dominion. You have to decide whether you'll go rushdown, econ, or defense, how far to push yourself down that path, and how to adjust based on your opponent's plays.

The chips in PS are more interesting than the cards in Dominion, partially because they are just more interesting, and partially because they interact in more interesting ways with the bank, character chips, and the victory conditions.

Being forced to buy a chip every turn, rather than being limited to one buy per turn is a much better restriction. It forces you to make decisions between a stronger late game or a stronger early game, and gives rise to much of the strategic depth of the game.

Rather than trying to get money so that you can buy victory points every game, like Dominion, in PS you try to knock your opponent out of the game by increasing their pile height to the point that they can't reduce it below 10 on their turn. This works much better than the VP condition in Dominion because money is not the be all and end all of the game. It can certainly help you, and getting the more expensive chips is essential to a late game plan, but you need to use actions to win the game rather than buys, which allows buys to be more strategically interesting.

Core Worlds: CW and MK are the best deck builders I've played at ramping things up over the course of the game. In CW you start out attacking weak planets that aren't worth many points and generate little energy with weak units like Galactic Grunts and Snub Fighters, and build up to conquering the core worlds with Laser Tanks and Battlecruisers. Since the cards are separated into sectors you don't have to worry about a card flipping up that no one will be able to deal with for many turns. As a result of the sectors, CW has a real sense of progression.

You can fill your warzone with units in order to be ready to conquer planets during the next round or use your units to conquer worlds right away. CW has interesting decisions revolving around prioritizing drafting units and tactics vs deploying units vs conquering planets, as any cards you don't take on your turn may be taken by another player before it comes back around to you.
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Roberto Pinheiro
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Shadrach wrote:
Once I've looked at: Dominion, Thunderstone, Ascension, Legendary(Thunderstone in long underwear?)

I played the same games as you... Except by Legendary. And didn't like any of them.

But I own Nightfall, and it is a nice game. Probably the best deck-building for everybody who don't like the Dominion's sons. There is combat and a lot of margin for negociation.

Another deck-building that is very confrontional is Pergamemnon. The game has some design problems and the art is not very good, but the idea is interesting and it is a very simple game with lots of combat...
Some good stuffs about it:
- Less setup time than any other deck-building;
- Only one copy for each card;
- Every starter deck is different and has it's own style of play.
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Scott Douglass
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kaziam wrote:
But I prefer doing my deck building before the game and then actually playing against my opponent instead of my deck, so bag deckbuilding all together and try Android: Netrunner and Seasons.


I refer to that as deck construction rather than deck building in order to differentiate between the two mechanics. I haven't played Netrunner, but I'd like to give it a try sometime. As for Seasons, I don't think it really fits in the same category.
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Adam Kazimierczak
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sdougla2 wrote:
kaziam wrote:
But I prefer doing my deck building before the game and then actually playing against my opponent instead of my deck, so bag deckbuilding all together and try Android: Netrunner and Seasons.


I refer to that as deck construction rather than deck building in order to differentiate between the two mechanics. I haven't played Netrunner, but I'd like to give it a try sometime. As for Seasons, I don't think it really fits in the same category.


Deck construction is the godfather of deck building. I don't find deck building per se to have enough meaningful decisions to justify the devolution. It's like someone made a game of turn based miniature painting.
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Matt Brown
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wytefang wrote:
Same with Quarriors...


Random factor of the dice prevents this from being the stellar game it could be. Case in point, I cleaned house on a game of it this weekend, and I think one player didn't even have a point by the time I won the game. If people don't mind it, by all means play it because I liked pretty much everything else.

infochuck wrote:
Ignore the haters that claim it's broken.


It's been proven to be broken. One can simply house rule to smooth things over, but the broken combo still exist.

Candi wrote:
I personally think games that use deckbuilding as a mechanic (and not *the only* mechanic) are much more enjoyable.


+1.
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Drew Hicks
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Radical School Hours
 
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kaziam wrote:
sdougla2 wrote:
kaziam wrote:
But I prefer doing my deck building before the game and then actually playing against my opponent instead of my deck, so bag deckbuilding all together and try Android: Netrunner and Seasons.


I refer to that as deck construction rather than deck building in order to differentiate between the two mechanics. I haven't played Netrunner, but I'd like to give it a try sometime. As for Seasons, I don't think it really fits in the same category.


Deck construction is the godfather of deck building. I don't find deck building per se to have enough meaningful decisions to justify the devolution. It's like someone made a game of turn based miniature painting.


This is how I feel, but I still enjoyed my two plays of Core Worlds.
 
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Adam
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skyzero wrote:

You don't have to look much further than Core Worlds. Outstanding deckbuilder and my favorite of all the ones mentioned in this thread.


+1 for Core Worlds. Dominion had me burnt out on deck building games. However, I am somewhat bias toward space themed games. Core Worlds is an excellent game, and I have yet to try my recently acquired expansion which I am sure is going to add more fun to it.
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Craig.
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Friday - SOLO PLAY!
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Scott Douglass
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kaziam wrote:
Deck construction is the godfather of deck building. I don't find deck building per se to have enough meaningful decisions to justify the devolution. It's like someone made a game of turn based miniature painting.


While I agree that deck building games drew inspiration from deck construction games like MTG, I disagree that deck building games are comparable to turn based miniatures painting. There is nothing inherent to deck building that forces it to be devoid of interesting decision making. I've found certain deck building games don't have enough interesting decision making, but that's a result of the overall design, rather than the inclusion of a deck building element.

The comparison that comes to mind immediately is Dominion and Puzzle Strike. Puzzle Strike is far and away my favorite pure deck building game, and it has many similarities to Dominion. On the other hand, I find Dominion to be fairly lackluster, with few interesting decisions, no tactical play, and extremely repetitive game play, while Puzzle Strike is dynamic, has a wealth of deep tactical and strategic considerations that inform your decisions, and offers far greater variety.

Maybe deck building games just aren't for you, and you wouldn't like any of them regardless, but there can be deep, interesting decisions to make in deck building games. You just need a well implemented deck building element that ties in with the tactical and strategic decision space of the game.
 
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