A deck-building game is a card game where construction of a deck is the main focus of gameplay. It is similar to collectible card games (CCGs) in that each player has their own deck. However, unlike CCGs, the cards are not sold in randomized packs, and the majority of the deck is built during the game, instead of before the game. Typically, the cards provide a type of game currency that allows players to buy more cards to add to their decks.
The original deck-building game was Dominion, whose popularity spurred the creation of many others: notably Thunderstone, Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer, Legendary (based on Marvel superhero comics) published by Upper Deck, and Clank! published by Renegade. Some games, such as the Mage Knight board game, include deck-building, but not as the primary focus of gameplay.
List of deck-building games:
- Star Realms
- Hero Realms
- Clank! In! Space!
- Mystic Vale
- Shards of Infinity
In many cases, computerized versions of deck-building games are available to play, directly mimicking the tabletop version. For example, Dominion can be played online via a web browser, and Star Realms.
Roguelike deck-building games
A novel version of the tabletop version of deck-building games are roguelike deck-building games. Typically single-player games, these games combine the deck-building aspects of Dominion and others with procedurally generated scenarios and rewards, a fundamental principle of roguelike games. These games require the player to build out their deck on the fly, usually having to add cards from a random selection as a reward for completing objectives. While the first known example of such a game was Dream Quest, the genre gained moment with the release of Slay the Spire in 2017.
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