deck building game

Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game (2012) by designer Devin Low is one of the great granddaddies of the deck building world. In this (semi)cooperative card game, players collect recruitment power to add new superheroes to their deck, then use the fighting abilities of these well-known heroes to defeat the villains marching on the city. But beware, there is a Mastermind Villain behind all this evil, unraveling a diabolical Scheme. Players need to defeat the Mastermind before the Scheme plays out to fruition in order to win at Legendary.

Publisher Upper Deck Entertainment has supported the game well over the years, amassing almost 20 expansions with innumerable Marvel characters, and the latest (for the completionists among us) is[CT1]  Legendary: Revelations. Revelations is a “deluxe” small box expansion, containing 200 cards instead of the standard 100, and it includes the popular heroes Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, War machine, and many more. New Location Cards represent infamous places in the MCU, and every villain group will come out with a Location. New card keyword mechanics include Hyperspeed, Last Stand, and Dark Memories. Scheme cards in Revelations also reflect the changing nature of this set, and are double sided, flipping over at key points in the adventure.

Revelations includes 9 new heroes with 14 cards each, 4 new villain groups of 8 cards each, 2 new henchmen groups of 10 cards, 3 new Masterminds and 4 new Schemes (each double sided), and 3 new Bystander types. This new expansion is due to hit stores at the end of August 2019. For more information, check out the official webpage here.


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Rudiger Dorn’s latest game, Rune Stones, is now available on Kickstarter. The game plays 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, in about 60-90 minutes. The game is being published by Queen Games with an anticipated delivery date of October 2019.

In Rune Stones, the players are druids trying to prove that they are the most powerful so that they can claim the throne of their land. To do this, the players will use both deck building and hand management, summoning creatures with their cards, playing cards that will give them additional resources, and forging artifacts.

There is also an expansion available, Nocturnal Creatures, that adds banshees, an additional board, wisps and light tokens to the game.

If you would like further information on Rune Stones‘ Kickstarter campaign, check out the Kickstarter page here.

Update: Originally this article reported that this International Edition would be an improved version of the original available everywhere. This is not the case, as told by Ravensburger the International Edition will be it’s own product under the new name El Dorado distributed only in regions outside of Ravensburger’s current reach. This has been corrected below.

Prolific and renowned designer Dr. Reiner Knizia announced via twitter that his hit deck-building design, The Quest for El Dorado, will be getting an International Edition. It will be distributed under the new name El Dorado later this year in regions Ravensburger does not currently serve and will have all new art by Vincent Dutrait featured on large format cards. Understandably there were many concerns about whether this would cause compatibility issues with future expansions and those concerns were quickly addressed. The new International Edition will stand apart from the English version of the game and will not interfere with expansion content that is still planned for release from Ravensburger. As tweeted by Ravensburger:

“This international edition of the base game will not be published by Ravensburger, but by other publishers selling into areas we do not cover. Future Ravensburger expansions will be compatible with the Ravensburger base game.”

The Quest for El Dorado is a deck-building racing game where 2-to-4 adventurers cut through thick, unexplored jungle to reach the legendary city. Each turn players will buy more cards that will help their deck run more efficiently, make travel across specific terrain types easier, or help with buying even better cards. The game made such a splash when it released in 2017 that it already has one expansion, adding heroes and hexes, and there’s a standalone expansion is on the way. It’s easy to see, from the pedigree and it’s following, why El Dorado deserves wider distribution and it will be awesome to see this on shelves in many more countries by the end of the year.

Ultra Pro is releasing a new expansion for the popular deck-building game, Shards of Infinity (awarded the Dice Tower Seal of Excellence), titled Shadow of Salvation. The expansion is set to release in fall of 2019.

Along with adding 118 new cards, a new Hero dial counter, and a new faction with new mechanics, Shadow of Salvation will introduce a cooperative, branching, campaign mode of play in which players will work together to in multiple boss battles.

For more information, visit Ultra Pro’s website here.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Space Invaders, the officially licensed board game is on Kickstarter. This is the real deal, unlike a few other games in past years that have tried to replicate the same feel of the arcade cabinet. 2 to 4 players will move their cannon and shoot aliens competing for points in this deck-building-driven adaptation. Shooting aliens gives you upgrades, bunkers protect you from retaliation, and the player with the highest score at the end of it all will be deemed the best moon defender.

“As long time fans of tabletop games and electronic games alike, we were astounded that, during all this time, nobody had yet developed a genuine SPACE INVADERS board game. […] Our primary goal is to create a fantastic board game experience while remaining true to the original game’s visual presentation and atmosphere.”

While this isn’t an average video-game adaptation, it’s not an average deck-building game either. Really this is as thoughtfully produced and designed as modern board games get, and I justify that statement based on the excellent 8-bit graphic design, the appropriately-jagged components (especially the translucent deluxe edition pieces), and the palpable sense of fun from seeing waves of enemies get wrecked in demonstration. At the time of writing this the project has already funded and is already working towards stretch goals for both it’s standard and deluxe editions, and there’s a commemorative diorama available for purchase for super fans of the arcade classic. If you’re interested in learning more about Space Invaders – The Board Game, check out the Kickstarter page for more images, rules, and updates.

If you’re a fan of narrative driven games, historical themes, deck-building, punchy two-player experiences, or all of the above, you will be interested in Undaunted: Normandy coming this August from Osprey Games. It comes with some whopping credits behind it, designed by both David Thompson and Trevor Benjamin (both of whom created the recently popular War Chest) with art by Roland MacDonald (whose brilliant, sharp illustrations are featured in Western Legends and Stop Thief!). This campaign-style game follows the history of the US 30th Infantry Division, where one player operates a deck representing those US troops as they drive into occupied France, while the other player controls the German opposition. Both participants must manage troops, reinforcements, and casualties as they simulate this titanic point in WWII history through tactical choices and card play.

“Undaunted: Normandy is a deck-building game that places you and your opponent in command of American or German forces, fighting through a series of missions critical to the outcome of World War II. Use your cards to seize the initiative, bolster your forces, or control your troops on the battlefield. Strong leadership can turn the tide of battle in your favour, but reckless decisions could prove catastrophic, as every casualty you take removes a card from your deck.”

While there are no shortage of war games that are capable of providing a tension-filled window into the Invasion of Normandy, this is no-doubt a much faster, more personal approach. Where there is a lack of miniatures, there’s an excellent use of Roland McDonald’s work that provides fresh, evocative faces of the stakes both players know. It may not have an expansive spatial element to it, but the struggles your deck will go through should more than impress. If you’re interested in learning more about Undaunted: Normandy, check out Osprey Games’ website/blog for further reading and announcements.

The 2017 Spiel des Jahres nominee, The Quest for El Dorado, is getting it’s first expansion – Heroes & Hexes! Reiner Knizia’s deck-building racing game through South America can be expanded to add heroes and demons to the course, injecting riskier decisions and daring rewards. Demon spaces are cheap, costing nothing to enter, and can even offer shortcuts, but all of it is for a price. Demon spaces bring curses, burdening the player with unsavory effects they’ll have to deal with for the rest of the game. It’s not all bad though, as everyone starts with familiars in their deck offering one-off powers and tavern spaces on the board provide heroes that can really give you an edge on your way to the City of Gold.

 “To play with this expansion, you must use the “Caves” variant of The Quest for El Dorado base game in which mountains are loaded with cave tokens. This expansion includes new cave tokens to be mixed with those of the base game, as well as four new types of expedition cards (with three copies of each) that can be pulled into the market once a stall opens. […] The expansion includes six suggested map set-ups — all at medium or hard levels, and all with three new terrain tiles — as well as guidelines for how to create maps yourself.”

Knizia’s games are often mechanically strong, elegant, and lacking frills, so to see an expansion to one of his designs which adds risk/reward systems is exciting. Do you take the path that’s really less traveled, or take the longer route to come out of this race with a clean soul and sounder mind? To me this feels like a must-have expansion for anyone who loves The Quest for El Dorado, as the familiars, cards, and map variability alone breathe more zest into an already rock solid game, all the other bits are an even more pleasing bonus. The expansion is slated to make it to retail soon, or at least before the end of the year as far as I can find, but If you’d like to find out more be sure to check out their website for rulebooks and further announcements.

Rick and Morty: The Rickshank Rickdemption Deck-Building Game  by Cryptozoic Entertainment is available for pre-order now! This Rick-diculous sequel to Rick and Morty: Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind Deck-Building Game can be played either as a stand alone game or mix it with the original for a wackier experience! This edition introduces Access Tokens which gives you access to votes. They are limited but you can relieve your opponent of them! Council Cards will create crazy scenarios that require players to vote – so make sure you have those Access Tokens.

Contents include: 84 Standard Main Deck Cards, 35 Genius Waves, 15 Smith Family Cards, 20 Morty Waves, 16 Portal Guns, 7 Nemesis Cards, which include Seal Team Ricks, 15 Location Cards, 9 Access Tokens, 1 Location Token, 6 Oversized Rick, Morty, and Summer Character Cards, 1 Rulebook and an oversized Promo Jerry card (first printing of game only!)

To be released in the 3rd Quarter of 2018.

Legacy games continue to be the hot item, and Indie Boards and Cards is joining in with a legacy game based on their popular Aeon’s End deck building game.  Aeon’s End Legacy is unique in terms of legacy games in that you aren’t playing a one-off type game where it’s used up at the end, nor are you creating a game like you do in Charterstone.  No, in Aeon’s End Legacy you are creating and building up your own unique character that you can then take to play in the rest of the Aeon’s End content.  But at the start of the game your character is bland and rather weak, so you have to play through games, called chapters, that allow you to get more powerful cards and add new abilities to your character.  This will mainly be done through adding stickers to your player board, until at the end of the game you have a fully fleshed out character with their own unique starting deck.

A base pledge of $65 plus shipping will get you Aeon’s End Legacy.  You will also be able to add on various expansions from the base game along with the base game itself  in case you need those.  If you want to run through the legacy game multiple times you will need recharge packs that cost $25 a piece.  There are even options for accessories to up the component quality of the game, and a playmat to help keep things organized on the table.  So if the idea of creating your own character in Aeon’s End appeals to you, along with just more content for the game, you will want to check out their Kickstarter.

Asmodee Digital continues to up it’s game by entering into a partnership with Playdeck. Four games that will immediately be transformed under the new brand are Ascension, Twilight Struggle, Summoner Wars, and Agricola.  Notice that these games aren’t new to the app space as they have been previously under Playdeck, but now they are under Asmodee Digital’s control.  Will we see new updates or additional versions of the games in the future?  Well we won’t know until Asmodee tells us about it.  You can download the games from your respective app stores, and check out each of the links above for more information on the individual game apps.