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Ways to End a Deck Building Game

6 replies [Last post]
Kurjen Rahija
Joined: 01/25/2016

Hey everyone, I've gotten knee deep into designing a deck-builder but am having "writers block" (so to speak) on how to end the game.

Much like other deck-builders players will be building/growing their own personal deck by purchasing cards from a general pool. Players will use these cards to move around on a board and defeat monsters in combat. I'd like defeating these monsters to reward the player with currency in order to grow their deck more. My problem is I'm having trouble on coming up with a way to end the game and/or decide a victor.

My question is not to have someone else simply solve this for me but this,

What are some common or unique mechanics you guys have seen deck builders use to reach/decide the end of the game and/or the victor?

Joined: 01/17/2011
Random ideas

Kurjen Rahija wrote:
What are some common or unique mechanics you guys have seen deck builders use to reach/decide the end of the game and/or the victor?

One common method in deck builders is to reach a Victory Point (VP) target which runs counter to the "kill monsters and get more powerful" strategy. In many deck builders, earning VPs actually makes your deck weaker (because it pads your hand with "useless" VP cards), so the players have to choose between getting more powerful and winning the game.

Another method could be to spend resources to progress towards victory. For example, you mentioned earning gold. Players could spend gold on getting more powerful or they could make donations to build the Temple of Enlightenment. Maybe the game ends when the Temple is completed, and then count some form of VP to determine the winner.

Another method could be to spend actions to progress towards victory. In pure game mechanics this is very similar to the previous method. Players could spend a turn doing nothing to meditate at the Temple of Enlightenment. Maybe they permanently discard cards from their hand/deck to earn VP.

Another method could be to trigger game end when the Big Bad Monster is revealed. Everybody has to fight it individually. Anyone who can't beat it is eliminated. Amongst those who beat it, the winner is the one with the most VP.

Another method could be to play a particular combo of cards in one turn. Obviously these would be expensive cards to earn. First person to play the magic combo wins (or maybe there are several magic combos to choose from).

Another method could be to beat the Big Bad Monster who is on the board right from the start. First person to beat it wins. But if you attempt and fail, you get some penalty.

Hope some of those trigger ideas for how you want your game to play out.


Kurjen Rahija
Joined: 01/25/2016

Thanks so much, this is a ton of info and is definitely helping me brainstorm some ideas for closing out the game.

Gabe's picture
Joined: 09/11/2014
Are you familiar with

Are you familiar with Ascension?

It handles rewarding players for defeating monsters pretty well. Once an enemy is defeated, you receive victory points, and the enemy card goes into your deck like any other card and gives you a benefit when drawn.

Also, there are only a specific amount of victory points in the game, and when all have been taken, the game ends.

pelle's picture
Joined: 08/11/2008
I like the goal of Star

I like the goal of Star Realms: To reduce the other player(s)'s authority to 0. Effectively authority is just a different name for hit points or health. It makes the game very interactive because you are so directly in a conflict against the other player(s) unlike other similar games I have played that are more indirect and feels like multiplayer solitaire more than a multiplayer game.

Arthur Wohlwill
Joined: 05/30/2015
Re; Ways to End a Deck Building Game

A number of games like Dominion and Trains end when a certain resource such as cards or trains stations run out. In your game, the game could end when some number or types of monsters have been defeated. (Something like that happens in one of the Comic Book Deck Builders but I can't remember whether it is DC or Marvel. Flip City ends when you get so many points in one turn.

Joined: 03/02/2014
If they're fighting monsters,

If they're fighting monsters, I think you get a real climax with the defeat of a boss of some sort. How about an approach like this: Players have a choice of where to attack each turn: a random choice from one of three decks of monsters, of increasing difficulty, or the boss. Defeating monsters gains victory points, but the boss is worth significantly more points and signals the end of the game.

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