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What’s the big deal about deck-building games?

Posted Monday, 13-Jul-2015

Contributed by Andrew Knighton


Decades on from the release of Magic the Gathering, deck-building card games are seeing a renaissance.


Players of Android: Netrunner and Doomtown Reloaded wait eagerly for the next expansion set, and card games have become an essential for cultural tie-ins from Warhammer 40,000: Conquest to the Game of Thrones card game. Why are these games so popular?


Exciting Play

There’s a difficult balance in games design between making a game simple enough to be easily playable and making it varied enough to be interesting. Deck-building games often feature the best of both worlds.


Deck-building adds news frameworks of customization.


The key to this lies in the cards. Because each card as a playing piece contains its own rules, they can all do different things without the players having to memorise their powers. It means you can have huge variety within a simple play framework.

On top of this, the randomization of shuffling a deck, and of facing a different opposing deck each time, means that no two games are the same. Every time you deal you’ll face new tactical challenges and fascinating card combinations.

The Game Between Games

Deck design provides another game in itself. Between matches, players go away and design new decks, trying different combinations of cards to see what works.


Popular games like Doomtown: Reloaded utilize deck-building in gameplay.
Popular games like Doomtown: Reloaded utilize deck-building in gameplay.


Regular releases mean that this never gets boring, as each new set of cards adds exponentially greater variety to what can be combined. Deck building games are games you can think about and enjoy planning for in any idle moment. Designing a deck is a great exercise in the creative side of game play.


The Game of Thrones card game
The Game of Thrones card game is another popular game utilizing deck-building.


A Sense of Community

On top of all this is, deck-building creates a sense of community. Competitive events and online forums give players a chance to meet each other and discuss their shared love of the game. Like anything, it’s more fun with other people.

Deck building games are exciting to play, intriguing to plan for, and supported by great communities. So why not pick up a started set for Doomtown Reloaded or Android: Netrunner and give them a go.

Published by BoardGamePrices.com

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