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Deck-builder mechanics

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simons
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Joined: 12/28/2008

Hey all,

I had a thematic idea for a deck-builder game, but as I tried to think about how it would work, I realized I don’t have a very vast knowledge of what a lot of the deck-builder games out there are like. Without it, my ideas are starting to stagnate, and feeling too much like clones of the few I’ve played. Like, what are the basic actions you can get in different games? The three I’ve played are:

Eminent Domain- Each turn you may make 2 actions, a big and a small one. The cards in your deck determine what actions you can make, and how strong they are. By playing cards, you pick up more of those cards (thus, by colonizing a lot, you become a better colonizer). Certain actions give you victory points (such as colonizing planets, trading, etc).

Dominion- Each turn is based around buying something. 90% of cards either are money, or are cards which help you get more money. Eventually, you buy cards which give you victory points.

Runestone- Each turn, you can either buy something or fight a monster. Most cards have a value, the sum of which lets you buy something (much like Dominion). Many cards allow you to fight monsters, or increase your fighting ability. Many cards do both, but some are either-or. You gain victory points by killing monsters, or by empowering your heroes (with XP gained from monsters).

What are other games to look into and try out? What are the unique designs out there? If you have time to type it up, what are the main actions that players can make in those games, and how to they gain victory points?

Thanks!

Simon

hulken
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Joined: 04/18/2009
I think you meen thunderstone

I think you meen thunderstone and not runestone. Also there is a lot of other deck building games out there. Exept the three you just sort of named. I think the quickest way to learn what is unice about them is to watch a video revu of them.

TheYuseiMeister
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Joined: 01/21/2011
Yu-Gi-Oh! & Magic: The Gathering

I know I'm probably stating the obvious but these are the two most popular games right now. I'll see if I can find more.

sedjtroll
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simons wrote:Hey all, I had

simons wrote:
Hey all,

I had a thematic idea for a deck-builder game, but as I tried to think about how it would work, I realized I don’t have a very vast knowledge of what a lot of the deck-builder games out there are like. Without it, my ideas are starting to stagnate, and feeling too much like clones of the few I’ve played. Like, what are the basic actions you can get in different games? The three I’ve played are:

Eminent Domain- Each turn you may make 2 actions, a big and a small one. The cards in your deck determine what actions you can make, and how strong they are. By playing cards, you pick up more of those cards (thus, by colonizing a lot, you become a better colonizer). Certain actions give you victory points (such as colonizing planets, trading, etc).

Dominion- Each turn is based around buying something. 90% of cards either are money, or are cards which help you get more money. Eventually, you buy cards which give you victory points.

Runestone- Each turn, you can either buy something or fight a monster. Most cards have a value, the sum of which lets you buy something (much like Dominion). Many cards allow you to fight monsters, or increase your fighting ability. Many cards do both, but some are either-or. You gain victory points by killing monsters, or by empowering your heroes (with XP gained from monsters).

What are other games to look into and try out? What are the unique designs out there? If you have time to type it up, what are the main actions that players can make in those games, and how to they gain victory points?

Thanks!

Simon

I think the types of actions will depend to some extent on how you measure progress in the game.

In any Deck Building game you will likely have ways to do the following:

  • Add cards to your deck
  • Remove cards from your deck
  • Draw cards
  • Score points

Look at the three examples you mentioned:

Dominion:

  • Each turn you are allowed to add 1 card to your deck, which card is up to you, of the available choices that you can afford with your current hand.
  • There's a card called Chapel whose sole purpose is to remove cards from your deck. There are several other cards which can be used to remove cards from your deck or replace cards in your deck with better cards.
  • Many of the cards in Dominion allow you to draw more cards in order to assemble a hand that will be able to purchase better cards or victory points. There are MANY cards that allow you to draw cards in a variety of ways.
  • The whole thing about dominion is that some cards help you create a hand that will afford good cards, and other cards actually help you win (VPs). You ave to first customize your deck so it will reliably produce enough cash, then start using that to purchase cards that are worth points.

Thunderstone:

Thunderstone is VERY much like Dominion

  • Every turn you can either add cards to your deck in much the same way as in Dominion.
  • Every turn you have the option to "rest," and remove cards from the deck.
  • Many of the cards in Thunderstone allow you to draw other cards in order to have a bigger, better turn.
  • Every turn you can choose, instead of adding cards to your deck, to 'fight monsters' in order to score points. Like Dominion, the cards that are worth points generally don't help you during the game, and the cards that do help are not worth points.

Eminent Domain:

My game shares some deck building aspects with Dominion (and therefore Thunderstone), but it uses them as a smaller part of a bigger game.

  • Every round you must add a card to your deck as a matter of course. Also, the Research role allows you to add better cards to your deck.
  • One of the standard cards (Research) allows you to remove cards from your deck. This is useful (in any deck building game) to help ensure better hands over the course of the game.
  • There are some cards which allow you to draw more cards. Also, on each opponent's turn you can opt to draw a card rather than participate in their Role.
  • In Eminent Domain there are 3 ways to score points: Planets, Research, and Trading. Because of that, there are actions which help you (a) get planets, (b) do research, and (c) produce and trade goods.

I think that last bit really pertains to your question. The actions in the game must relate to the way(s) that you pursue victory. Let's take a closer look at the 6 basic actions in Eminent Domain as an example:

Colonize and Warfare help you flip planets face up so that they're worth points. There are 2 ways to do this so that not all players have to do exactly the same thing.

Survey helps you get planets into play, which you have to do before you can flip them. 3 of the 6 basic actions pertain to flipping planets because even non-planet-oriented strategies have to get SOME planets into play.

Research helps you make your deck more efficient, and higher level research cards are worth points.

Harvest and Trade help you generate points buy producing and trading resources.

So you see, each action in the game directly relates to one of the things that's worth points.

hope that helps!

simons
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Joined: 12/28/2008
That really helps, thanks. I

That really helps, thanks.

I think I have some ideas at this point. If I get stuck I'll try watching game reviews (though honestly, "Glory to Rome" is the only other deck-building game I can think of).

Blake
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Joined: 01/05/2009
Some more suggestions

I haven't played either of these, but "Puzzle Strike" and "Ascension: Chronicle of the Godlsayer" are (I believe) both supposed to be deckbuilding games.

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/67928/puzzle-strike

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/69789/ascension-chronicle-of-the-gods...

Also, you might want to keep your eyes out for FFG's upcoming "Blood Bowl: Team Manager":

http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_news.asp?eidn=1530

Hope that helps!

larienna
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Joined: 07/28/2008
If for some reason, a deck

If for some reason, a deck building game does not work for your idea, you can always combine deck building with something else. This is currently the case with starcraft board game.

What Starcraft call the "combat deck" is a deck building mechanic. You start with a set of cards, and during the game, when you buy technologies to upgrade your units, you add cards to your deck.

The cards are used when a battle occurs.

sedjtroll
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Joined: 07/21/2008
simons wrote:That really

simons wrote:
That really helps, thanks.

I think I have some ideas at this point. If I get stuck I'll try watching game reviews (though honestly, "Glory to Rome" is the only other deck-building game I can think of).


Glory to Rome really has no deck building at all.

Ascension and Puzzle Strike are deck building games, and Larianna's right, the combat deck in Starcraft is a deck building mechanism.

Martin_cy
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Joined: 04/24/2009
for some more deck building

for some more deck building games:
Resident Evil, Heroes of Graxia, Guzo

of course then there is the difference between card drafting games and deck building games.. and sometime the blending of the two... e.g. 7 wonders I would call a drafting game..

I think you should be careful with a "Pure" deck building game because there are soooo many clones of those games being made currently and it will be a pretty full market because it is the hotness.. But I can totally understand wish to create something deck buildingish (I'm currently also doing it!!) because it is fun to play! and it can be pretty easy to produce if its purely card driven!

Glory to Rome, Race for the Galaxy, Inovation I agree are not strictly deck building game.. though I think they do have a sort of card building mechanics and might be called the predecessor to the new fad of deck buidling ..

Blake
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Joined: 01/05/2009
A Few Acres of Snow

simons, you also might want to keep an eye out for this one as well (due out in March):

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/79828/a-few-acres-of-snow

Given Martin Wallace's reputation, I imagine that if nothing else, this will at the very least be a different spin on deckbuilding.

bhazzard
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Joined: 01/25/2011
Only played Dominion

Having only played Dominion, I'm of no help. But it's a cool mechanic and I'm excited to see what you do with this game.

BOEOLDDOG
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Joined: 02/27/2011
Deck building Yea!!!

I have played all of the games that everyone has mention. And even had to buy Thunderstone. The one thing that i have notices is not so much the differnce in mecanics (they are all very simular) but in theme and artwork. For example Asention artwork is a distracting and I even heard one player say that they do not want to play it becouse of the artwork. When it comes to theme what do you got? fanticy has been done to death. And the Zombie has to (pun intended). You want a game that has lasting appeal. Thunderstone has done so well that they are on thier 4th addition to the game and it has only been out for two years.

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