If there's two things I'm sick to death of, it's zombies and deckbuilding games. Here then, is my review of a zombie deckbuilding game that I really like.

I've already encountered several gamers, including the infamous Will Kenyon, who have turned their noses up at the RESIDENT EVIL DECKBUILDING GAME for various reasons. Yep, it uses DOMINION mechanics wholesale. But instead of just twirling its meat about how clever it is, it puts the mechanics to good use and throws in player characters, a small adventure game element, and lots and lots of guns and ammunition. It isn't as "deep" (tee hee) as DOMINION, but it's a hell of a lot more fun to shoot a rocket launcher at Nemesis than it is to build a medieval village. It looks great, it's fairly cheap, and it has three different gameplay modes and it does solo really well. This is a good game, unexpectedly. Review in its usual spot. Also, check out the new archive at the end of the article- you can now see the titles of all 180 columns I've done at Gameshark.

Also front-paging this week is my review of the PS3 racing epic GRAN TURISMO 5. I love it. Some were disappointed with it, but I think it's a great game and I've come to love its quirky, idioisyncractic nature. It's very directorial and obsessive and only knows about one thing and will only talk about one a bossy kid with Aspergers or something. The takeaways from this game are that a Lamborghini Murcielago is easier to look at than it is to drive and "The Entertainer" isn't really the song you want to hear when you're buying an aero kit for your Maserati.

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Comments (56)
  • avatarkookoobah

    Love the fact that the past articles now have titles. Going to re-read your old columns. Good stuff.

  • avatarKen B.

    Alright Mikey B, you know I've been a bit of a deckbuilding whore. RE appears to me at first blush to be Thunderstone where you topdeck the dungeon monsters instead of have 3 to choose from. How far off the mark is that?

  • avatarAncient_of_MuMu

    I do concede that this sounds like the best deck building game yet, mainly because having your cards out there each turn has a thematic purpose. However as with what everyone will sat here, I too am over deck building and zombies, so for the moment it gets a pass.

    For me to buy another deck building game it really has to speak to me on some primal gaming level and RE doesn't do it (but strangely if the exact same game was Arkham/Lovecraft themed it would and I would rush out and buy it). The forthcoming Blood Bowl deck building game might be the one that gets me to pry open my wallet.

  • avatarbill abner
    Love the fact that the past articles now have titles.

    Long overdue. I'm just lazy. In fact, I want to make the archive a separate page rather than just slapping all those links at the bottom.

    I had forgotten about a lot of those columns. I bought Montjoie today because of that.

    Ok I'm really not lazy...but dealing with gameshark's CMS is a nightmare.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    That's a comment that only someone who's played the game one time would make. If you have played it at least once (or just looked through the mansion deck, or had someone explain monster strengths to you before hand), you would know that if you explore with only 20-30 damage going in that you're taking a big chance of getting hurt. If you know that the monsters range from 15 health to 90, then you know that if all you've got is a knife and a handgun, it's a dicey proposition. Unless you find a yellow herb or a weapons case.

    The mansion deck adds unpredictability and surprise. What fun is it if you know what monster is behind the door?

    There's plenty of planning as well, and just like in DOMINION there's ways to tune your deck by trashing cards and gearing your card set to work with your character. If you're Jack Krauser, obviously you're going for knives and not worrying so much about ammo and low-grade handguns.

    The player interaction in RE is much better than in HEROES OF GRAXIA for me. It's direct, to the point, and there's not a bunch of calculation involved. Plus, if you've played it more than once and you've done the Mercenaries or Versus modes, it's ALL interaction, as in "I shoot you with this gun".

    I've seen a lot of complaints like these, and every one of them is from someone who played it once, thought it was too much like DOMINION, failed to see the strategy and point of the game, and then wrote it off. Big mistake, because it's actually the BEST deck building game out there- it's the one that comes closest to making a game out of the mechanics.

  • DoctorJ

    It's nice to see someone sticking up for GT5, since all I seem to read is people bitching about it. We've had a blast with it and love that it's bursting with content and that there's so many ways to play. Yeah, it's got flaws -- upgrading your car in the tuning shop takes way too may presses of the X button -- but it's been fun.

  • avatarmoofrank

    Not quite: Dominion is still the best deck building game out there. You need to drift into some of the expansions to get the interaction.

    Resident Evil has a decent model. It is nicely themed, simple enough to grasp the rules. If anything, it suffers from lack of development. The rulebook is one clue. The "what the HELL were they thinking" Classic set of cards last night was obviously not thought through very well. Character powers are crazy unbalanced. The suggestion that you should "choose cards to create your own game. Use a few or use all of them." is truly weak development.

    There is a reasonable amount of card management going there, and it is one of the few that really makes you deal with purging your deck. Your review even has you wanting for more cards, which is kind of a bad thing in a game you've played not that much.

    IF you are looking for a Dominion variant with a theme, I'd go for Arctic....Scavengers? For Resident Evil, I'd wait until it gets out of the prototype stage.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    I've played some of the DOMINION expansions, and they just adds more cards- not more game. Of all the deckbuilding games I've played, DOMINION is the one I've liked the least. Just because it was "first" (provided we discount MAGIC, all CCGs, and similar CCG-derived mechanics in STARCRAFT and other games) doesn't make it the best, and it remains even after expansions something like a tech demo looking for a game.

    ARCTIC SCAVENGERS, ASCENSION, HEROES OF GRAXIA, ARCANA, RE...all of them are better _games_ than DOMINION. Maybe DOMINION has that finer, ultra-developed Eurogamer balance, but it also completely lacks anything compelling beyond its mechanics. RE, for example, adds the character bits, way more atmosphere and theme, and a minor adventure part. But like I said in the review, there are things where the potential isn't reached and I think that speaks to the claims of underdevelopment.

    As for wanting more cards, that happens in all deck building games. There's always something more that can be added, more abilities, more effects, more options. That's not a fault of the game, that comes from playing CCGs and feeling restrained by a limited card pool.

    But definitely, if you play the game, throw out that "choose cards" business. The "classic" set is ridiculous, it's supposed to be all stuff from the first RE,'s not. Plus, with that assortment, characters like Sheva are useless- she gets a bonus with long rifles, and there's no long rifles in teh game. Just use all of the cards, every game, seriously. I'd even suggest that you alter your starting hand so that you can choose any set of ten cards from the starter items.

  • avatartomvasel

    Michael, I know you are all about hating on what's popular, but I think the reason you say all those games are better than Dominion is based on fewer plays. How many times have you played each?

    I like Arctic Scavengers and Ascension, but both have VERY limited replaybility when compared to Dominion. I've played Dominion hundreds of times and can't see it getting old. I've played the other ones quite a bit less (in the teens?) and am wishing for expansions BADLY.

    I don't get this "it's cool to hate on Dominion" vibe around here. Sure, all of the other deckbuilding games have more theme, but none of them are close to being as good a game as Dominion. Well, maybe Puzzle Strike. Arctic Scavengers has potential, but too few cards. Ascension is fun, but WAY light. Heroes of Graxia is interactive, but a little chaotic under it's "strategic" hood. None of these games has people playing over and over again like Dominion.

    With possibly the exception of Thunderstone. That's a game that just gets more thematic the more you play it. Although I think Richard L.'s variant is probably a must these days.

  • avatarJonJacob

    I do like deck building games. I've enjoyed Thunderstone, Arctic Scavengers and Dominion alot. Unfortunately I like Dominion the best of those ones. I want Thunderstone to be better and it certainly looks better, but the game seems to drag a bit (especially if the toughies come out early) and the theme just doesn't make any sense. It's obvious they designed it backwards... "that's a cool mechanic, let's try to theme it up a bit"... I don't mind if that's what they do but I want it to feel like the theme came first.

    I want the mechanics to disappear... in Thunderstone they not only don't disappear they actually become more apparent as you question some of the weird rules/limitation choices.

    Tom, there's plenty of people here who like Dominion, plenty. I've played it ... pheeew, over a hundred times I'm sure. Great game, fast, good with mixed company. But I want a deck building game that I love and Dominion can never quite be that. The theme just blows unfortunately.

    Arctic Scavengers is the best one I've played if only if stayed that way for more then ten plays it would be my favorite, but Dominion is the king for now.

    This one sounds pretty cool but I've never played a Resident Evil game all the way through, just a few stoned plays at a buddies place so the theme doesn't mean dick to me. I'm still waiting on that re-print of AC for another dip into deckbuilding... unless I see Puzzle Strike for a good price.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    What are you talking about Tom, "hating on what's popular"? That's nonsense, especially considering my very favorite games are some of the most popular hobby games on the planet. I'm ALWAYS going on about games being accessible and approachable, aren't I? And part of that is that I want good games to BE popular. So you're really making a pretty unfounded statement there.

    I gave DOMINION a decent review and I stand by it, as well as my opinion that the game is just a mechanic, and little more. I've certainly not played it hundreds of times as many of its acolytes have, but I've played at least 30-40 full games in various combinations since it's been released- ironically, I only played the set I owned maybe four or five times before trading it away. I've played twelve or so games of RE, across all modes and with everywhere from two to four players and several solitaire games (which it supports quite well). Most of the others I've played anywhere from five to twenty times. So I've still played DOMINION the most, and still like it the least.

    DOMINION is overdeveloped, plain and simple. It doesn't have the wild streak that is what made MAGIC and its deckbuilding metagame come to life. No matter how clever the structured deckbuilding is, it's contained and overbalanced to the point where it's sterile and completely mechanical. The other deckbuilding games have a little roughness, chaos, and unpredictability that make them more interesting to me. The one thing DOMINION does have over the others is there is more "synergy" for lack of a better term between cards, and that generates more consistent combination play. But at the end of the day, DOMINION is an efficency game about tooling a deck to generate resources effectively. Nothing else.

    You're right that none of these games have people playing over and over again like DOMINION. And to be honest, I don't know if one of these games came out before it if it would have the same staying power. I think the reason DOMINION is so widely played like that is because it's so generic, noncomittal, and mechanical- not to mention that it's practically universal at this point, and even those who don't particularly care for it usually don't mind playing a hand for twenty minutes.

    I also stand by my belief that Donald Vaccarino probably had something far more chaotic and wooly in mind than what its developers turned it into. I don't know that for a fact, but given some things I've heard about his other designs and the concept that DOMINION was originally a combat resolution mechanic for a larger game, I'd be willing to bet that his original game wasn't nearly as finely tuned and robotic.

    I mean, seriously. To call DOMINION (or RE for that matter) the best deckbuilding game out there is frankly ridiculous. The best deckbuilding game out there is, and always will be MAGIC. DOMINION will never, in all of its history and future, have people playing nearly as much, as deeply, or as often as MAGIC. I think if you've played MAGIC semi-seriously at any point, then the hoopla over DOMINION is going to be naturally diminished.

    I do agree with you on one point- the "it's cool to hate on DOMINION vibe" is kind of dumb. DOMINION is more interesting than a lot of what passes for AT these days, regardless of my issues with it. That being said, I think the general feeling around here that the deckbuilding thing is quickly becoming overdone has to do with the fact that most of us here have done our time with MAGIC at one point or another.

  • avatarJosh Look

    Tom, I played quite a bit of Dominion before I made my conclusion on it. The problem for me is that it's just mechanics. There's very little interaction in the first game, so you're essentially playing multiplayer solitaire within the confines of mechanics...that just doesn't appeal to folks around here, myself included. And when it comes to expansions, yes, some added more interaction, but the end goal of the game and how you get there remained the same. It isn't just a lack of's that Dominion feels like moving gears, like it's a machine, and that not only is it soulless, but that's entirely against the reason why I play board games. Where is the escapism? Where is that reason why I chose to get some friends together, sit a table face to face, and play a board game, as opposed to sitting at home by myself playing video games (solitaire gaming in a much more efficient manner)?

    It's a clever mechanic, absolutely, and it's still in it's infancy. I haven't played it, but I get what Michael is saying about RE being a game that goes beyond just being about a mechanic.

  • avatarJosh Look

    And FWIW, I know for a fact that to this day Barnes will still praise the ever loving bejeezus out of Catan. Hobby gaming really doesn't get any more popular than that.

  • Mr Skeletor

    Am I the only person who has totally missed the 'deckbuilding' train?
    I've played dominion twice and that's it. It's weird hearing people say they are "sick of deckbuilding games" when I only vaguely know a few of the titles. Reading about them is confusing as shit, I can't get a grasp on how the mechanics come together. I basically feel like average Joe Q does when he looks at hobby games.

  • avatarBlack Barney

    i think that Barnes hates on what's popular too. I think he wants to find the diamond in the rough very badly and be that discoverer.

  • avatarJonJacob

    I basically feel like average Joe Q does when he looks at hobby games.

    You shouldn't. They're all way simpler then any of the games I see you talking about.

    You'll get interested in deck building when they make one that takes four hours to play and you end the game with a deck that's a foot high. Until then I suggest you stay away.

  • avatarBearn

    Actually Barnes i've played the game about a dozen or more times to see if it really was better each time and it never got better. If anything it got worse and YES i truly despise Dominion for a few of the reasons you have stated and also because it has a large variety of unbalanced and obviously untested cards that are game breakers if played correctly. It's also only slightly more entertaining than playing good old fashioned solitaire.

    I certainly wouldn't say Graxia is the "best" deck building game out there because it's not but it does interaction between players and is more meaningful in the bigger picture of a deck building game. I guess if you want a game where you just go gunning each other down than yes RE would be the one to play but i could get the same effect and more pleasure from just playing Cash and Guns to be honest.

    To be truthful i recently got about 8 or so games in of Puzzle Strike and i was actually more impressed with how that game handled the player interaction and made it meaningful but encompassing to the game as a whole. While i am not completely sold on the game yet i have a feeling this might be the Deck Building game that many have been searching for since Dominion was released. It's kind of funny actually that this might be the "one" and it hasn't got a card in it. :)

  • avatarSpace Ghost

    As MB stated, I think that Magic is the end-all be-all of all deck-building games. You want cards, it has somewhere around 15,000 and it is almost 20 years old. Dominion is really nothing compared to that. That being said, Dominion is probably the bets of the "deck-building" games. Intrigue and Seaside make the interaction quite interesting...but, deck-building games really aren't that interesting.

    Magic is better. Type 1.5 and Type 1 are still thriving formats, so people can't bitch about having to buy new cards.

  • avatarMr MOTO

    Dominion sucks. 100% borefest. I'd much rather just play Magic if it weren't a CCG.

  • avatardragonstout

    There's no doubt that Dominion (and its ilk) isn't even a dirt speck compared to Magic. It cracks me up and/or makes me cry, the TOSsers who think "well, now that I've got Dominion, I don't need to try out Magic".

    That said, Dominion is my favorite of the deckbuilding games, and key to that is that it got a key part of Magic right: keep the RULES simple and flexible, to let the CARDS have a great variety of effects. Most CCGs that came after Magic had the big problem that they had really interesting rules systems, but that put a whole lot of restrictions on the variety of cards you could make. I think the post-Dominion deckbuilding games that I've played (haven't played Arctic Scavengers) have made the same mistake, of having a more interesting system in the abstract, but that allowed a smaller variety of cards.

  • avatardragonstout

    Also, I don't think Dominion is half as bland and generic as everyone makes it out to be. I feel like most games I play of Dominion have a lot of wildness and weirdness as the game twists and turns in ways I didn't expect. Definitely needs the expansions for that to happen, though.

  • avatarAgedOne
    If there's two things I'm sick to death of, it's zombies and deckbuilding games.

    Well, I hope your not too sick to death of zombie games, as Richard Launius has a new zombie game, "Run, Fight or Die!" up for pre-order on the Lock 'n Load Publishing website! :o

    Hey, Steve "the Walking Dead" Avery, did you have a hand in this?

  • avatarSka_baron

    Really think dragonstout nailed an interesting point that like Magic's copiers, Dominion copiers succeed less when they try to make the complexities in the rules instead of the cards/interactions.

    Why is CE such a great game? Because the rules are super simple, but every alien power has unique value in each game based on what other powers it's interacting with and how a player sees it.

  • avatarstormseeker75

    I've got RE so I just need to play it. Hopefully this weekend. I've owned Dominion and all it's expansions and got rid of them. It's the epitome of a "dry" game and is a great mechanic in search of a game. Thunderstone is fucking garbage.

    Magic, WOW:TCG, Star Wars (Decipher) - all those games, and CCGs in general, own Dominion and its ilk.

    Bottom line, we all like different shit. Enjoy!

  • avatarStephen Avery
    Bottom line, we all like different shit. Enjoy!

    Unacceptable Stormseeker. What I like is the Bomb and everything else is garbage.
    You'd better embrace the correct selection of games or else you'll be ridiculed then ostracised.

    Eventually you'll have to sell off your games and everything else of value.

    Ultimately your family will leave you, you'll loose everything and end up living under the highway.

    Steve"Don't give me that We-Are-the-World-Crap"Avery

  • avatarSouthernman

    Steve Avery thundered:

    Unacceptable Stormseeker. What I like is the Bomb and everything else is garbage.

    OH NO - Steve Avery has disowned 'The Boobs' ... The End is Nigh :'(

  • avatarKen B.

    As far as Dominion, I do like it a lot, but it has been obsoleted. Thunderstone (which I will review soon) does the Dominion-with-theme better for me, and for pure gameplay, Puzzle Strike is miles above Dominion.

    Tom, I've definitely logged a dozen+ F2F Puzzle Strike games...and I'm guessing nearing 200 on the dev server. There's still much to be discovered in how to attack, and when, and how to best use certain chips, and certain characters. I *still* haven't figured out how to run Geiger effectively, even though I've tried...and I've seen people do some amazing maniuplation and combos with him.

  • avatarJexik

    I don't get all the Dominion hate either. When I teach it to people who haven't played a lot of board games, they almost universally ask to play again. It's a game I can play with my nephew, dad, or friends who have all played Magic. When there's 40 minutes left on game night and we just finished our game of BSG and the other guys are done with Power Grid, it's a game that a few of us can agree on.

    I really don't think the expansions will make someone like it if they don't like it already, but the expansions definitely increase the replay value a lot for me. I put all the cards into a few of those CCG-style white cardboard boxes, and now I fit it all in a bag I got for ordering Prosperity. It takes less space than one of the original boxes and consistently delivers a game I like playing.

    I've played both Ascension and Thunderstone once, and didn't come away that impressed. John Clowdus' Cartouche was very different and pretty good, but I don't think it'll be a lasting favorite. I'm looking forward to Puzzle Strike, whenever I get that this month.

    I'm kind of sick of Zombies too, so I doubt I'll be seeking this one out.

  • avatarAlmalik

    Puzzle Strike is in a completely different class than the other deck building games. Eventually another game will come out that will be a further evolution of the deck building idea, but I agree with Ken, I can't see the point in playing the earlier iterations of the idea when Puzzle Strike actually makes it a game rather than an efficiency race.

  • avatarstormseeker75

    I yield to Steve "the only opinion that matters" Avery. ;D

  • avatarbill abner
    Michael, I know you are all about hating on what's popular...

    Tom, come on.

    Starcraft, Chaos in the Old World, BSG, Agricola, Small World, Cyclades, Catan, Ravenloft, Runewars, ME:Q -- all received positive reviews from Mike. Pretty popular games, no? Hell we spoke last night about we're both digging 7 Wonders.

    I think the most "popular" games that received less than glowing criticism, at least in the LCD column, was Dominion, Civ, Race for the Galaxy..and maybe Dungeonquest and Android (is that considered popular?)

    So, where is this coming from?

  • avatarwkover

    I don't get all the Dominion hate either.

    Dominion is a game that I probably would have enjoyed back in 2001, but strongly dislike now.

    It's a simple case of Euro burnout for me, and perhaps for others as well. I've moved onto AT games (partly) and wargames, although I still love to play high-interaction Euros - and there are plenty of those. I can no longer handle "parallel play" or economic engine games, however.

    This means that there's a huge pile of now-popular games that causes me to cringe: Le Havre, 7 Wonders, Dominion, Agricola, Race for the Galaxy, etc. I may wander back into Euroland at some point, but I don't see myself returning anytime soon.

    And hey - there are still plenty of AT games that I can't stand either. If you step anywhere near me with a copy of Slapshot, for example, I will set both you and your game on fire. No offense.

  • avatarShellhead

    Slapshot? Wow, I haven't played or thought about that game in a long time.

    Was Slapshot the first deck-building game?

  • avatarmoofrank

    Wow. I never thought of Slapshot as a deck building game. But, it works for me.

    There is an expanded Slapshot called Phantoms of the Ice that adds more special cards and things that makes it MORE deck build-y. Then when you think about Empires of the Ancient worlds you kind of have a real game centered around a deck-building core.

  • avatarSan Il Defanso

    I love Dominion, and that's that. The game has proven to be something I can pull out again and again, and it has definitely been a rewarding game for me.

    The "just a mechanic" argument is a really valid criticism, but I guess the proof is in the pudding for me. Just a mechanic or not, I really love it. The expansions have taken it to a pretty great level.

  • avatarSan Il Defanso

    Also, Michael, how does the RE game play for people who don't really care much for the franchise in the first place? I'm guessing not very well, but then I thought that might be the case with BSG.

  • avatarSagrilarus

    So at what point does "deckbuilding" become the supporting mechanic in a bigger game? As it stands the concept seems to be junior-grade, creating 20 minute plays. Is there anything out there using deckbuilding as a component instead of in the feature role?


  • avatarMichael Barnes

    well, it _is_ a good mechanic...and you know, we're really kind of glossing over the fact that it's essentially two mechanics combined into one- deckbuilding and card drafting.

    RE for non-RE folks...I think at that point it just becomes a zombie game, to be honest. If you don't know why it's awesome to have Ada Wong in there and that she has a cool spy ability, it doesn't really matter but you're just not going to be aware of some of the really neat thematic bits. Like how the mansion deck has the old brown door that was essentially a loading screen in the first game. Or that the Item Management card is just a screenshot of the attache case that gives RE players conniption fits in trying to squeeze all the weapons and equipment into it. You also won't get why RE fanatics like me will say "Whaddya buyin'?" when the merchant is played or "STARS" when Nemesis turns up.

    The thing is, RE is much more than a zombie thing. it's a freakish, crazy combination of Romero, Japanese body horror, ridiculous science fiction, espionage, classic point and click adventure games, and ALONE IN THE DARK. There are a lot of genuinely cool characters that aren't quite the usual Japanese heroes, so it's really cool that they're a part of the game. But again, if you don't know Jack Krauser from Leon S. Kennedy, some of that gets lost.

    Oh, and RESIDENT EVIL 4 is quite likely the greatest console game ever made.

  • avatardragonstout
    Is there anything out there using deckbuilding as a component instead of in the feature role?


  • avatarSan Il Defanso
    So at what point does "deckbuilding" become the supporting mechanic in a bigger game? As it stands the concept seems to be junior-grade, creating 20 minute plays. Is there anything out there using deckbuilding as a component instead of in the feature role?

    It's sort of used in Starcraft, though that game has a TON more going on.

    I've enjoyed Dominion so much that I've been a little reticent to try out another deck-building game. RE isn't a license that interests me, so I'll probably give this one a pass. That Blood Bowl game that FFG is supposedly working on sounds cool in passing, though we haven't heard much on it since the announcement. I'll probably take a good look at that one when it comes around. I like the funny-goofy side of Warhammer/Blood Bowl.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    Thematically, BLOOD BOWL is a better fit for a deckbuilding/card drafting mechanic than anything else out there right now. It makes sense that you're drafting a team and then using the deck in a match. It could be good, but I think it's kind of unfortunate that such a venerated and long-running license is relegated to a new deck-building game instead of a proper re-launch. At this point, deckbuilding anything runs dangeoursly close to "cash-in" territory (particularly RE, in that regard). I hope the game stands on its own.

    As for a larger game using deckbuilding as one mechanic among many...yeah, CCGs. Done. There's all kinds of 'em out there. Quit looking.

    STARCRAFT does have it, and that was one of the things I really liked about the game. MIDDLE-EARTH QUEST kind of has it too.

    I think in the coming year we'll likely see some "next gen" deckbuilding games that do more with the mechanic. We've seen some vestigial attempts in expanding the concept, but I think by Essen we'll see a full-on board game with a deckbuilding core.

    The problem right now is that everyone is trying to recapture that lightning-in-a-bottle quality of DOMINION- quick, addictive gameplay with low overhead.

  • avatarShellhead

    I assume by next year or so, we will see some bigger game try to incorporate deck-building in a clumsy manner, as a grafted-on mechanic that doesn't suit the overall game. Probably AEG will do it.

  • avatarjeb

    I'm going to make the next big thing. A deck building deck building game. A game in which you build the deck from which you build the deck to play the game. Get Sirlin on the phone.

  • avatarShellhead

    Jeb, you could simulate that just by taking a few different deck-building games and shuffling them together. First player to win by the victory conditions of any game in the mix wins the overall game.

  • avatarjeb

    This is the point at which a joke becomes something cool.

  • avatarShellhead

    In a way, High Frontier is that bigger game that includes a deck-building component. And also a whole bunch of auctions.

  • avatarSagrilarus

    I don't see CCGs as the same kind of thing really, since the cards you capture aren't purchased with game energy but with dollars. Fundamentally Dominion and its cousins seed you with a bit of power that you use to capture more. Keep a positive ROI on each turn and you continue to grow. That's a pretty foundational concept for any economy-driven game and I'm writing an article now about how it works in Monopoly.

    CCGs don't do that. You come to the table with a charged battery and expend it as best you can at your opponent. Dominion is optimal absorption, Magic is optimal discharge.

    I believe the Overlord in Descent has a kind of Deck-building aspect to him (it's been awhile so that may be incorrect -- you may get the same amount of cards each turn regardless) but I'd be curious to see a game where that deckbuild aspect serves as the power source but the overall goal of the game is something different. Shellhead recommended a one year moratorium on Victory Points. I don't think you'd have to go that far. Even challenging a designer to take Victory Points off the table for one design could be sufficient to turn deckbuilding into a constituent part of a grander game. By my tastes deckbuilding just isn't big enough to carry a game on its own. I like bigger. But I could see it being a dynamo used to support other mechanics.


  • avatarBulwyf
    So at what point does "deckbuilding" become the supporting mechanic in a bigger game? As it stands the concept seems to be junior-grade, creating 20 minute plays. Is there anything out there using deckbuilding as a component instead of in the feature role?


    Besides the previously mentioned Starcraft and MEQ there's also the 2000 Martin Wallace title "Empires of the Ancient World". In that game you drafted cards portraying various military units and then used them in your army deck to fight battles. The rumor is that Martin's next game "A Few Acres of Snow" may use a similar mechanic.


  • avatardragonstout
    I don't see CCGs as the same kind of thing really, since the cards you capture aren't purchased with game energy but with dollars.

    We're currently doing a Jyhad league in which the only cards you're allowed to add to your deck come from playing the game: for each VP you get, you get one booster pack added to your pool (it's slightly more complicated than that, but only slightly). So any CCG can be turned into a closed system like that, where the cards you capture are indeed purchased via winning games. It's really fun.

  • avatardragonstout

    Cube drafting with MTG is COMPLETELY "cards you capture are purchased with game energy and not dollars"; in fact, if you ignore the starting cost of a normal draft, once you're in any kind of booster draft you're building your deck not by buying better cards, but by drafted better cards, which is a game in and of itself.

  • avatarmikoyan

    Sometime ago, I got the preview edition of GT5, can I just get an update for that?

  • avatarevilgit

    I saw some folks playing RE this weekend and it didn't look like my kind of game. I'm not a video gamer at all so that might be why. I didn't like the art and general graphics of the game. Dark, cluttered and that CGI look. Which is appropriate for the video game fans?
    How does it holds up to folks that aren't familiar with the video game? I've never watched the new Battlestar TV Show (I know, I know. I'll turn in my F:ATtie card on my way out) but I love that boardgame.
    Id' give RE a spin cause a zombie deckbuilding game sounds good. But the hipster cynic in me can't help but think "meh"

  • avatarAgedOne
    Well, I hope your not too sick to death of zombie games, as Richard Launius has a new zombie game, "Run, Fight or Die!" up for pre-order on the Lock 'n Load Publishing website!

    As well as a Zombie Wars, also up for pre-order by Lock 'n Load Publishing, which

    looks at a war against zombies on a strategic level. Instead of lone survivors battling it out at the mall, it is an international scale, with players managing the global response to an unknown threat.
  • avatarDair

    I agree with Sag that comparing deck-building games and CCGs is not similar. Magic isn't the ultimate deck-building game, it is a game with a deck-building component. Too many other factors come into play (skill of play during the game, metagame prediction, etc.) than just how you built your deck. That is why I was never scared of a net-decking noob. He had the perfect deck and nothing else. His skill was usually low and he probably picked a deck that was now behind the metagame curve.

    Drafting does bring a deck-building theme into CCGs and is probably why it is my favorite format for CCGs. Unfortunately it is very cost prohibitive. You either constantly buy packs to fuel your drafts, or constantly spend your time creating draft cubes. I don't want to spend the time or money for those options, so deck-building games and the like fill a portion of my desire.

  • avatarAgedOne

    AMC's hit series, "The Walking Dead," returning July 2011.

  • avatarAgedOne
    Well, I hope your not too sick to death of zombie games, as....

    Victory Point Games has in initial development "Dawn of the Zeds," a States of Siege series solitaire game. ;)

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