The Daily Worker Placement

Friday, April 12, 2024

Gamer Groupthink: Deckbuilding Games

by | published Friday, April 16, 2021

Reading the title of this article, you might be wondering – what is “Gamer Groupthink”? Great question! We’re going to start posing a monthly question to our wonderful team of DWP writers, and share their responses with you here on the pages of the Daily Worker Placement. For our first entry in the series, we wanted to know …


Keep reading to find out our favourites, and then we welcome you to hop onto social media and let us know yours! 


If we’re talking about deck builders, it’s hard for me to name any one other than Dominion as my favourite. I played it so much over a two-year span that it probably is one of the top two games (in terms of numbers) that I’ve ever played. From the base game, through Intrigue, Seaside, and Prosperity, I loved what new expansions added. Dominion is considered a bit dated by today’s standards, but you have to give props to the game that started a huge revolution in the board gaming world.


I, too, am a fan of Dominion. Full respect to the creator of the genre, even if it feels like the theme is pasted on. For a while there was a home-brewed print & play version (only covered original, Intrigue & Seaside) called Zombinion, that used art stolen from a variety of zombie video games, such as Left 4 Dead, and Evil Dead, etc. I made my own set because I liked the horror theme more than the dry feudal nobility theme of the real game. Due to copyright issues, the files are no longer available on BoardGameGeek so current zombie fans are out of luck.


There are so many great deck builders, and while there are many great games that are a solely deck builders like Dominion and Star Realms, I love it when deck building is combined with other mechanics. The combo of deck building and a race game makes The Quest for El Dorado amazingly fun to play.


For me, the innovative move that Aeon’s End makes in their deck building mechanic to NOT shuffle is brilliant. It is a wonderful cooperative adventure, too, which makes Aeon’s End (both the base game and legacy) a stand out deck building choice!


Eminent Domain is my very favourite deckbuilder, and one of my all-time favourite games. I love the follow/dissent mechanic for keeping everyone engaged, and I like that a jack-of-all-trades deck isn’t really a thing; you just have to specialize and commit to an idea.


Tyrants of the Underdark and Clank are my two favourite Deck Builders! Both of them are amazing games and I love them for different reasons. Clank was actually the first deck builder I ever played ! I love that it’s a dungeon crawl and there’s more to the game than just collecting cards. There’s a few ways to make points and I enjoy that aspect as well. It’s got a really clever theme to it and it’s got a great companion app for solo play! As for Tyrants of the Underdark, I love that it’s in the realm of D&D, that was one of the selling points for me when someone asked me to play. It took me a couple times of playing to really build on a strategy (I’m not always the best at area control games), but it’s a super fun one. The thing I like most about both of these games is how they aren’t JUST deck builders. I’m generally not a huge fan of games that only have that one element.


Deck builders are good fun and all, but at this point I feel like for a deck builder to really grab my attention, it has to do something different with the genre. I doubt I will play very much Dominion or Legendary when games like Clank! and Arctic Scavengers exist. Some mechanic that makes me care about what the other players at the table are doing is key for me. Clank!’s race to get treasure and gather points on a board and Arctic Scavenger’s contested resources make other player’s turns actually matter to you, so they are probably my two most played Deck Builders.


Right now, I think the best pure deckbuilder is probably Valley of the Kings, which is as elegant a set of rules as exists for a deckbuilding game.

Thank you for joining us for this first-ever DWP Gamer Groupthink. If you have a question you’d like to pose to the DWP crew, let us know through social media, or send us a lovely little email!


  • DWP Staff

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