Crusaders Games

Deckbuilders

A new page which highlights my growing fondness of fantasy card deckbuilders as a specific genre of its own as they often make great solo games. These are usually but not always co-operative where deckbuilding or pre game deck construction is a primary gameplay mechanic :

 

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

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 questing mechanic provides an amazing co-operative or solo game experience, as you decide each turn who to quest with and who will defend or fight for you. This is a relatively tough game, but many expansions will enable better deck building which improves your chances of success. This is a hugely collectable game too and quests will feel like a different journey each time. My more detailed overview > Lord of the Rings

 

2. Thunderstone Quest – Alderac (2018)

Thunderstone was re-launched as Quest in 2018 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

 

3. Aeon’s End : The New Age – Action Phase (2019)

A cooperative deckbuilding game where you play a mage defending their home city Gravehold from the nameless invasion. Each mage has unique starter cards and an ability, and spends aether in a market to improve their deck from gems, relics and spells. Spells are your primary way to damage the nemesis attacking you, and these are played from breaches you must open, preparing and casting the spell on a future turn, making planning ahead important. The nemesis enemies provide variable challenges with different decks and abilities for you to overcome, and generally things get worse the longer you take. There are many core versions of this game since the original in 2016, and New Age, adding in a short expedition campaign story is where i returned, and its general ease of play is so good compared to other deckbuilders. My more detailed overview > Aeon’s End

 

4. Thunderstone Advance – Alderac (2012)

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 very customisable game and does have some basic solo rules which i added to. My more detailed overview > Thunderstone Advance

 

5. Dungeon Alliance – Quixotic (2018)

This is a strategic card drafting and deckbuilding game, where you take four heroes from a large pool to explore and plunder a dungeon within a time limited four to six rounds. Each hero has 3 specific ability cards, and any experience gained from killing monsters allows you draft new cards playable by specific character types. Whilst dungeon themed, this is more of a puzzle than an exploratory crawl, and the game constantly requires you to make choices on which cards to draft and play and who to activate. The component quality is generally good, but hero cards have better artwork than the enemies, and models are small and unlikely to be the reason to buy the game. Tactical card playing is the core of this game, and it can be quite addictive with so many great upgrade cards to choose from, and combining them to activate your heroes is great fun.

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.

 

Xenoshyft Dreadmire – Cmon (2017)

An aliens attacking the base survival game with great artwork and theme. Heroes are set up in defensive formation to repel the onslaught from the aliens each turn to prevent damage getting through to the base. This is a game i often wish i had kept, and since i have an increasing preference towards playing deckbuilders i am looking to repurchase a copy.

Marvel legendary – great superhero theme and generally a lighter less complex deckbuilder, a nice entry point to the genre

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game – deckbuilding mixed with dice rolling resolution and rpg style character statistics, a likeable game but longer set up time required

Arkham Horror LCG – a fantasy flight living card game strong on campaign and storyline with a Cthulhu theme, but token drawing for every test became tiresome and Lord of the Rings LCG is smoother

Dominion – the famous original deckbuilder of course, but surpassed now as its dry theme is lacking in comparison to newcomers

Dragonfire – dungeons and dragons themed with many expansions but it mechanisms and rules felt overly fiddly and it uses stickers on hero cards as you progress

Marvel champions – another fantasy flight LCG which i have not played but it looks great, with slightly easier set up and gameplay than Lord of the Rings or Arkham Horror