Crusaders Games

Deckbuilder (cards)

For quicker solo play I have a growing fondness of fantasy deckbuilders & card games. These are usually, but not always, co-operative where deckbuilding or pre game deck construction is often a primary gameplay mechanic, and the game usually culminates in a boss enemy to take down or a mission to complete. A campaign element will permanently upgrade your card pool over time, :

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1. Lord Of The Rings LCG (2011) – Fantasy Flight

A living card deck construction game based within a famous fantasy setting, and featuring amazing artwork. You embark on varied scenario quest challenges which are determined using a specific encounter deck from which locations, monsters and treachery events will emerge. To combat this you choose three hero characters to adventure with, and build yourself a custom deck of allies, events and equipment to support you. The choices each round are tense, as you decide each turn who to quest with and who will defend or fight for you. This is such a great solo or co-operative game and one of the toughest deckbuilders to consistently beat, but many expansions will enable better deck building which improves your chances of success. This is a hugely collectable game too with packs offering huge quest variety. My more detailed overview > Lord of the Rings

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2. Thunderstone Quest (2018) – Alderac

Thunderstone was re-launched as Quest with fresh looking artwork and adding in new village locations, lovely dungeon room tiles to explore, wounds and generally making the gameplay more interesting and engaging. As a dungeon themed deckbuilding game, players each turn work from a hand of six drawn cards to build a strategy, gradually improving their deck by obtaining or upgrading heroes, and buying new weapons, equipment and spells and / or entering the dungeon tiles to and defeat monsters. This game has great theme and artwork, and is easy to learn and play, and more depth to the previous versions which can increase gameplay time. Originally competitively designed, the excellent addition of the solo and co-operative expansion called ‘barricades’ completes the game for me. My more detailed overview > Thunderstone Quest 
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3. Marvel Champions (2019) – Fantasy Flight

A living card deck construction game where you get to play as your favourite superhero, flipping between your alter ego and hero states and calling on your allies to support you to defeat a villain and thwart his plans. This game features smooth card play, and a cut down deck construction experience where your core hero deck of 15 cards is supplemented by one of four aspect styles, which focus on leadership, aggression, justice or protection. There is so much variety in the game by using the different deck combinations as well as each villain having options of sidekick decks to change their difficulty level. The expansion content is immense now, there is so much choice and playing as a superhero is a really fun experience. My more detailed overview > Marvel Champions
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4. Dice Throne Adventures (2021) – Roxley

Dice Throne was originally a competitive dice battling game based on the yahtzee three roll mechanism to activate character abilities and wear down your opponent. The adventures box is a co-operative expansion upgrade that turns it into a light dungeon crawl experience with minions and boss battles, wrapped together by a simple campaign to beat four bosses. This game is now a real mix of dice rolling, dungeon crawling and light deck building, as after each stage of the adventure you will obtain loot to improve your deck of cards, which you play to boost or tweak your dice rolling. The artwork and production of all elements of this game are amazing and its easy mechanics and really fun dice rolling make it family friendly, where learning and building up a character is a neat experience. My more detailed overview > Dice Throne Adventures
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5. Thunderstone Advance (2012) – Alderac
This was the second edition of the dungeon themed competitive deckbuilding game, where players each turn work from a hand of six drawn cards to build a round strategy, improving their deck by upgrading heroes, and using gold to buy new weapons, equipment and spells from the village. With a good hand of heroes, enter the dungeon to fight creatures and earn victory points, and these enemy cards will go into your hand providing gold or occasionally extra abilities on future turns. This game has great theme and artwork, and is easy to learn and play, with so many different set up options for enemies and available village items. It is a customisable game and does have some basic solo rules which i added to, but is more a competitive game than co-operative. My more detailed overview > Thunderstone Advance
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6. Pathfinder Adventure Card Game (2013) – Paizo Pathfinder Adventure Card Game is co-operative with mix of styles being card based, having slow long term deckbuilding with dice rolling resolution for skill checks and combat. The game is very hero character driven, all with roleplaying class character statistics which determine what skills you are good at. Your adventures take place over multiple short missions with levelling happening over multiple plays by gaining new card items, spells and equipment alongside skills upgrade which ultimately add to you dice rolls. The gameplay has a relatively easy card and dice rolling play style which does feature repetition, its artwork is for the most part good rather than best in class, and there are many adventure themed sets you can decide on with different themes and enemies. It is a great way to experience roleplaying games solo. My more detailed overview > Pathfinder Adventure

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7. Warhammer Quest Adventure Card Game (2015) – Fantasy Flight This small box co-operative card and dice dungeon crawl game sets up a neat character and player interaction, as your heroes interact and support each other to complete quests. Monsters will come thick and fast from the shadows, and your characters each have a set of four actions to use to combat the dungeon, and combining them with each other is critical. There is a light but specific storyline being told by each of the quest cards, and the mechanic of using your card actions and dice rolling works beautifully. It is a relatively quick dungeon experience, and mostly about combat, and its strength is in the hero interaction that takes place. I enjoyed the game so much i wrote four custom scenarios for the original game, which have become popular with game fans > Warhammer Quest Adventures
Previously Owned Fantasy Deckbuilder Games …due to space and funding restrictions i regularly trade out games to fund and try newer ones, producing an ever changing favourites list, but one of these games may be right for you.

Aeon’s End : New Age (2019) – a cooperative deckbuilding game where you play a mage defending their home city Gravehold from the nameless invasion. Each mage has unique start with spells the primary way to damage the attacking nemesis attacking via variable challenges with different decks and abilities. There are many core versions of this game since the original in 2016. My more detailed overview > Aeon’s End

Dungeon Alliance (2018) – a dungeon themed game with deckbuilding where you play four heroes, but more of a puzzle game experience than an exploration journey. A good game but a complex brain burner and a little too lengthy with mixed artwork quality. My more detailed overview > Dungeon Alliance

Xenoshyft Dreadmire (2017) – an aliens attacking the base survival deckbuilder, where heroes set up in defensive formation each turn to repel the onslaught from the aliens and prevent damage getting through to the base. A good multiplayer deckbuilding game with great monster artwork.

Dragonfire (2017) – dungeons and dragons themed deckbuilder with many expansions and characters, however its mechanisms and rules felt overly fiddly and it uses stickers to place upgrades on hero cards as you progress, which gives it a legacy feel, but is not an ideal process.

Aventuria (2016) – a card based adventure game with various play modes including solo, co-op and competitive duel and essentially a narrative driven combat game using 20 sided dice. A light deckbuilding element exists alongside nice hand management decisions, overall offering a lighter and easier to play game. My more detailed overview > Aventuria

Arkham Horror LCG (2016) – a fantasy flight living card game strong on campaign and storyline with a Lovecraftian theme, however its token drawing for every test and location map lock outs became tiresome for me with Lord of the Rings LCG feeling so much smoother and more enjoyable

Marvel legendary (2012) – a superhero theme and generally a lighter less complex deckbuilder, and a nice entry point to the genre for newcomers or less experienced gamers and loads of expansions to collect but replaced by Marvel Champions now