Deck-building game

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A deck-building game is a card game or board game where construction of a deck is a main element of gameplay.[1] 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,[2] whose popularity spurred the creation of many others: notably Thunderstone, Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer,[3] Legendary (based on Marvel superhero comics) published by Upper Deck and Clank! published by Renegade. The term "deck-building game" has come to be more commonly used for a broader range of games that combine deck-building with other elements;[citation needed] some games, such as the Mage Knight board game, include deck-building elements but do not feature them as the primary focus of gameplay.

List of deck-building games[edit]

Computer versions[edit]

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,[5] and Star Realms.[6]

Roguelike deck-building games[edit]

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 momentum with the release of Slay the Spire in 2017.[7]



  1. ^ "So what exactly is a deck-building game anyway?". Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  2. ^ "Top 10 Deck Building Games". Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  3. ^ "How To Play". Archived from the original on 2016-03-31. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
  4. ^ a b c "Arcmage: Rebirth". Arcmage.
  5. ^ Soave, Robbie (April 2017). "Dominion Online". Reason. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  6. ^ Lazarides, Tasos (May 17, 2017). "The UI of 'Star Realms' Has Been Overhauled, and the 'Colony Wars' Expansion Is Now Available". Touch Arcade. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  7. ^ Gallop, Julian (February 6, 2018). "The Gollop Chamber: Rise of the roguelike deck builder". PC Gamer. Retrieved August 14, 2019.