Deckbuilding Game

A subgenre of Card Games that focuses on deck construction. While similar to the Collectible Card Game (CCG) in many respects, there is a major key difference: The deck construction happens during the game, not before.

Like CCGs, players in deckbuilders have their own personal decks. Unlike CCGs, the decks start off with the same types of cards. In general these are low resource or weak victory/offense cards. To win, the player must use these limited resources to purchase more powerful cards from a common pool. The players don't get to play purchased cards right away - they're sent back to the discard pile and eventually reshuffled into the new deck.

In addition, players don't keep their hand: At the end of the turn, the cards left over get discarded. Played cards are swept from the board, except for ones that get exempted. A new hand is drawn from the players deck. If the player runs out of cards to draw, its reshuffled and the new deck is formed. Players can also permanently remove unwanted cards from their decks using certain rules or card abilities. While this seems counterproductive at first, players soon discover if they don't get rid of less powerful cards their deck is going to be less effective.

The challenge in Deckbuilding is often figuring out how to design the deck to maximize their capabilities. Since the cards are shuffled and no hand is kept, gameplay heavily depends on how the deck is built. Players have to consider the types of cards they need, their abilities, how many cards they have, and what to keep. They need to clean out clutter, get cards to expand their actions, and to figure out which cards work great with each other. The ideal draw should be able to combine into a winning hand.

Video game adaptations of CCGs (which existed before the genre) also have the players construct their virtual decks. The contrast between the two genres is how integrated the Deckbuilding is. CCG video games often separate the two, one part were the player buys and build, and another to play the actual core game. Deckbuilders have the two aspects integrated within the core game in any version, digital or physical.


Deckbuilding Games include:

  • Dominion: Launched the genre back in 2008. The first deckbuilding game, it was influential and spawned many expansions and imitators. The players are feudal lords trying to build up their estate to win victory points.
  • Ascension Chronicle Of The Godslayer is based on a fantasy theme.
  • Barbarossa: World War II focus (specifically the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union), but the art is all WWII-themed cute anime girls.
  • Boss Monster: Fantasy setting where the goal is to build a dungeon.
  • Cerberus Engine Games, a catchall term for a number of deckbuilders based on popular properties such as Naruto, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings movies. The DC Comics Deck-Building Game, the first of this line, is based on the main DC Comics continuity.
  • Clank! A Deck Building Adventure is a dungeon crawler.
    • Clank! In Space takes place onboard a space ship.
  • Core Worlds: A sci-fi game set during the decline of a galactic civilization. Players attempt to expand their barbaric space empires on the ashes of the old.
  • Deck Building: The Deck Building Game combines the genre with the theme of building a patio deck.
  • Eminent Domain: Despite the title is actually a space opera. Players seek to explore the stars and build their civilization through expansion, trade, research, or force.
  • The video game app Empire has a deck building mechanic integrated into the 4X gameplay. As the game continues, the more cards become available to add.
  • Flip City: Players buy and upgrade buildings to win, while avoiding too much unhappiness. Notable for having double-sided cards (flipping them over to get a better building), integrating a Push-your-luck mechanic, and having no hand (the players play from the top card of the deck). Originally named "Design Town", probably changed to be more marketable.
  • Friday, a solitaire deck builder based on Robinson Crusoe.
  • Hand of Fate, a video game that combines deck building, roleplaying games, and Roguelike. A physical version based on the digital game, Hand of Fate: Ordeals, is being developed that will include deckbuilding as well.
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft has experimented with deck building in some of its limited-time Tavern Brawl game modes.
  • Legendary mixes a deckbuilding game with an Adventure Board Game. The main game and its expansions uses the Marvel Comics as the setting. Spin offs include other settings such as Alien, Predator, Firefly, Big Trouble in Little China and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  • Millenium Blades, a Deckbuilding game about building a deck and playing in a CCG tournament.
  • Paperback mixes the genre with word building.
  • Puzzle Strike, which simulates puzzle fighting games ala Super Gem Fighter. Instead of having cards, the game uses cardboard chips.
  • Reigns uses deck building to some extent. The player's choices may add in new cards. and thus new abilities and problems to deal with.
  • Space Dandy Galactic Deck Building Game, based on the anime series. Here, the titular protagonist has somehow merged the multiverse into a singular universe, with multiple versions of various characters and events existing simultaneously.
  • Star Realms, were the players fight each other in a Standard Sci Fi Setting using starships and bases.
    • Cthulhu Realms, a Cthulhu Mythos based spin off, and done in a more humorous tone.
    • Hero Realms is a direct fantasy spin-off, with bases being replaced by Champions and ships with Actions and Items. In contrast to Star Realms strategic viewpoint, players are characters operating in a traditional fantasy city.
  • Talecraft
  • Tanto Cuore has anime artwork and focuses on hiring Meido.
  • T.I.M.E. Stories
  • Thunderstone with the theme of Dungeon Crawling.
  • A Touch of Evil: Dark Gothic, and the standalone expansion Dark Gothic: Colonial Horror. Both are set in Colonial America with Flying Frog's boardgame A Touch of Evil.
  • Quarriors!, a fantasy game where the players are the titular magic warriors. The game has the mechanics of a deckbuilder but replaces the cards with dice.
  • XenoShyft: Onslaught were the players must build a sci-fi army to survive wave after wave of attacking aliens.


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