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Deck Building: Game Mechanics 101

Today we are talking about deck building. In a deck building game, players will begin with a starter deck of cards. They will add new and better cards to their deck over time. On a turn, a player will typically play cards from their hand followed by drawing new cards from their deck. There are a variety of ways deck building is utilized in games.

Want to skip reading? Watch the video here! Dominion was the start of the deck building genre. Players use their cards to gain victory point cards. These victory point cards help the players win, but also make it harder to get the cards they want to play in their hands. In Thunderstone, players use their cards to venture into the dungeon and fight the monsters within. The monster cards then junk up your hand like in Dominion but are also how you win. Some deck building games work alongside a board. The Quest for El Dorado is one such game. In El Dorado, players use their cards to move to spaces on the board. It is a race to the finish and no victory points are involved. Building a good deck means moving farther or having the ability to buy even better cards. Another popular deck building type is combined with cooperative play. The Legendary series and Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle are in this genre. In these games the players work together to defeat the villains. They use their cards to attack the enemies and heal themselves and their teammates.

Some games are deck building game from head to toe. There are many games that use deck building as a small element. For instance, I would describe Tea for 2 as a more advanced game of war. Yes, the classic children's card game. But it has a deck building element that allows you to fill your deck with higher cards or cards with special abilities.

In any deck building game the way you build your deck and remove cards from it is critical to play success. Next week we are discussing worker placement games.

You can start from the beginning or see all the weeks at a glance here.

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