GTF 2011 – Deck Building
My annual guys/gaming weekend wrapped up a week ago. I was able to play a few of the games I listed in my preview as well as some new (to me) titles. Before I talk about any games, let me say the weather was perhaps the best we’ve ever had. It was sunny and easily in the 50s/60s most of the time we were at the park. Not that the weather is a major factor in our gaming but pleasant weather does mean we tend to find time for a hike down to the falls or other outdoor activity to clear our minds before jumping into another game of epic proportions. And now, on to the games!
Nightfall is another ‘deck-building’ game published by AEG (Thunderstone). My impressions are based on a single play and I’m not sure I really like the objective of the game. The goal is to have the fewest wounds at the end of the game and you do this by sending your monsters (vampires, zombies, etc) against other players. With this approach, everyone must think about who has the fewest wounds and not be vindictive just because they were attacked by someone else earlier in the game. Regardless, Nightfall adds a new mechanic to the ‘deck-builders’ that I really like – Chaining. When you are the active player and you play a card from your hand, you must be able to ‘chain’ off the card if you want to play another card. In the simplest chain, a card of a color can be chained by playing a card of the same color (e.g. I chain a red card from a red card I just played). Of course, the complexity increases allowing you to chain a card of a different color (e.g. play a red card and that allows you to follow [or chain] with a blue or white card). Once the active player is finished, each other player can chain off the last played card. This is a great mechanic allowing each player the potential to put cards in play on another player’s turn. I’d like to see this utilized in other games. 😀
This is another ‘deck-builder’ type game using chips instead of cards. You draw ‘your hand’ from a bag of available chips and refill the bag with your discards when you exhaust the bag rather than the shuffle-draw typically seen in other, similar games. A lot of gamers created homemade Dominion sets using poker chips and claimed it sped up the game. Perhaps I need more experience, but I did not feel using chips increased the game velocity. For now, I’ll stick with cards and shuffle-draw. I didn’t find anything new in Puzzle Strike that would draw me away from Dominion or Thunderstone.
This is the game that kicked off the current ‘deck-building’ game craze. I only logged 1 play over the weekend using Intrigue. Still, Dominion is the best of this genre in my opinion. It is fast, streamlined and a random set of cards in the general pool will not cause the game to go too long. Thunderstone is a close 2nd due to its fantasy theme. 🙂
Magic: the Gathering
Not a ‘deck-builder’ per se but the deck building aspect of Magic and other CCGs is credited as an inspiration for Dominion and the games that followed. We had an 8 player, single elimination tournament over the weekend and drafted cards using 3 booster packs per player built from an MtG cube based pool created to run this tournament each year. I drafted primarily red and white and was able to construct a mono-white deck that made it out of the 1st round but lost in the 2nd round to a bigger and faster mono-red deck. MtG is still my favorite 2-player CCG even though I no longer purchase new cards. I prefer to play the pre-constructed theme decks against other players these days.
More to come … including a game of epic proportions!