Board Game News Special–Deck Builders

Over the last few weeks I’ve been running a poll to determine which deck builder is best:

    • Dominion  8 (50%)
    • Thunderstone  6 (37%)
    • Puzzle Strike  0 (0%)
    • Nightfall  0 (0%)
    • Arctic Scavengers  0 (0%)
    • Resident Evil  1 (6%)
    • Ascension  1 (6%)
    • Heroes of Graxia  0 (0%)

Other than Thunderstone, Dominion really doesn’t seem to have any competition. Now, to be fair, Nightfall has only just released, Arctic Scavengers was a small release and has been out of print for a while and Puzzle Strike was a reasonably small print run. So can I really draw any meaning full conclusions from this data? Probably not.

But what I can say is that Deck Building isn’t dead. Fantasy Flight games is releasing yet another 2 deck builders this year, the first of which is Rune Age. I threw some of my thoughts on Rune Age up on Twitter last week after the announcement, but, like in Thunderstone, Rune Age seems to offer a reason to build your deck in a certain way.

Rune Age will, according to the FFG website, be scenario driven and based on the fact that the game will only release with 4 scenarios we have to assume that these will be massive game changers and not just slightly altered victory conditions.

If this is the case then Rune Age may well be the first implementation of the deck building mechanic that really elevates the game to more than just Deck Building. By which I mean while the primary mechanic revolves around building a good deck, you have significant challenges to overcome using that deck.

That of course is just speculation and until the game hits I reserve judgement. The second of the Deck Builders is the rather overly anticipated Blood Bowl Team Manager. Since the initial announcement of this game before Gen Con there has been not one single peep from it.

Of the two games Blood Bowl has my interest piqued, especially having recently played Thunderstone for the first time, as the concept of building your team of heroes in TS can easily be seen to work for building a sports team too.

Of course there are many questions about how exactly the game would function and how you could possibly play an entire season in 30 minutes, but even so I’m kinda pumped for it. Blood Bowl has always been a game I wanted to like, but even when I played the PC version I couldn’t, The game was ultimately too clunky and too random. A single failed dice roll cost you 1 of you 16 turns, lose multiple rolls in a game and you’re at a massive disadvantage,

Obviously a card game can be just as random but with a sound design philosophy (as opposed to rehashed mechanics a couple of decades old) and FFG’s production quality and I might just have a version of Blood Bowl I can enjoy.

But… despite all that will these games ever garner the respect lavished on Dominion, or the loyal fanbase that has been a gift to Thunderstone?

In 2008 Dominion was the first of it’s kind and so far it seems to have remained king.What do you reckon, can FFG knock Dominion off the top spot and re-write the book on Deck Building or will this just be another drop in an ever growing ocean of choice?

EDIT: Just checked the Description page for Rune Age and which paints a much clearer picture of what to expect from the game including faction specific decks, scenarios which can include co-op play, random events and more. Check it out… I can already feel the pennies leaving my pocket!