by Kevin Pollock
It’s hard to imagine that the deck building powerhouse, Dominion, has been around for more than 10 years. Surprisingly, after 12 expansions, it is still going strong. Donald X. Vaccarino did not invent deck building but he make it a household word. Since then the number of deck building games has skyrocketed. So, I thought, for this article I would cover a few of my favorites.
If you want to take baby steps first you might try Trains from AEG. Most of the mechanics are the same ones you are familiar with in Dominion. The difference comes in the board which allows players to build rail lines and stations for victory points. It is the perfect segue to other deck builders. Still on the lighter side is the Ascension series which is fantasy based. From there you can go to Star Realms and Hero Realms which borrow heavily from Ascension. In the Ascension games players are collecting honor but in the Realms games you are in direct conflict with the other players.
Clank and Clank in Space are both terrific games in the deck building genre. The rules, once again, are very accessible and well written. If you like comic book themes you might want to take a look at the Legendary series or the DC Deck Building Game. Both have many expansions and stand-alone games.
There are also many more complex games like Mage Knight and Stronghold. I am particularly fond of Stronghold. It is about as close to a 4X space game as you can get with a deck builder. If you are a war game enthusiast you might want to check out Time of Crisis which covers the turmoil of third century Rome as it dealt with internal as well as external strife. This game is out of print at the moment but is due back next month. If you prefer cooperative games then you will probably enjoy Aeon’s End or Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle to name just a couple.
As you can see, there are a lot of deck building titles to choose from and I have only mentioned a few. You can find many more on Boardgame Geek or come on by the store and we will gladly show you the other deck builders we have in stock.