Grab your cards and shuffle up because we’re about to dive into the world of the best deck building games of all time! These games are the ultimate fusion of strategy, creativity, and nail-biting competition. They’ve got that addictive blend that keeps us coming back for more. And who knew there was such a variety of these fun and creative games? Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, get ready to discover 11 best deck building games, perfect for all sorts of players. From Harry Potter fans to adventure seekers, there’s a deck building game for everybody!
THE CLASSIC DECK BUILDING GAME
Deck building games are complex, competitive, strategic, and entertaining, and Dominion was the game that brought this crazy board game genre to life. The game was originally released in 2008 and is still one of the best deck building games. Additionally, Dominion has influenced many different deck builders since, including essentially every other game on this list! Dominion is a relatively easy game to grasp, and those new to deck building should be able to play it without feeling too overwhelmed. Trust us. We know the feeling of unboxing a new game and having no clue what is going on in the instructions!
2 to 4 players can participate in Dominion, and it will take you around 30 to 45 minutes to play a round.
WHERE TO BUY DOMINION?
Dominion is a game that every board game lover should own. So, if you are looking for one of the best (and the original) deck building games to add to your collection, Dominion might just be the perfect pick!
- Dominion Deck Building Game (Buy it on Amazon)
BEST DECK BUILDING GAME FOR EXPERIENCED PLAYERS
Ascension, full name Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer, is another one of the most popular deck building games. Ascension is a slightly more advanced deck builder that is best for players that have some experience playing these types of games. If you are an absolute beginner, you are better off choosing a more beginner-friendly game on this list.
1 to 4 players can play Ascension. That’s right! You can even play this game by yourself! Ascension takes about 30 to 45 minutes to play. The game starts with all players receiving similar decks; then, through the game, players earn runes that they use to advance and customize their decks, making them more adept at fighting monsters. Fighting monsters earns players honor points which are the points that determine the winner.
WHERE TO BUY ASCENSION
If you are a serious board gamer and you are looking for a challenging deck building game, we highly recommend checking out Ascension. It is one of our personal faves!
- Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer (Buy it on Amazon)
If you are new to these types of games, you can play a dumbed-down version of Ascension called Ascension Eternal that is perfect for beginners!
- Ascension Eternal (Buy it on Amazon)
ADVENTURE DECK BUILDING GAME
Clank! is a deck building board game for 2 to 4 players. The premise of this game is that the players are all thieving adventures snaking into a slumbering dragon’s lair to steal valuable treasures. The deeper into the lair you go, the more valuable the loot you acquire. To retrieve and leave with your loot, however, you must be able to sneak, fight, and earn new skills. Throughout the game, you will modify your character to make them faster, stronger, and more advanced. The game is won by the player who retrieves the most valuable treasure and, most importantly, gets out alive!
Clank! is rated for ages 12 years and older, and it can take anywhere from half an hour to over an hour to play.
WHERE TO BUY CLANK!
Clank! combines deck building with role playing, making it one of the best deck building games out there. Here is where you can get your hands on this gem.
- Clank! (Buy it on Amazon)
4. LOST RUINS OF ARNAK
ANOTHER ADVENTURE DECK BUILDING GAME
In Lost Ruins of Arnak, players discover a deserted island with the ruins of an ancient city. Each player leads their own expedition to the island in search of artifacts and new discoveries. In this game, you only get to make one move per turn, so it is all about collecting useful cards and making strategic moves.
Lost Ruins of Arnak is a super popular game that is super fun to play with a group of friends. While the game does have quite a few moving parts, it won’t be too much to stomach for most players.
WHERE TO BUY LOST RUINS OF ARNAK
If you want to dive into a board game archeological race with your friends or family, Lost Ruins of Arnak is a fabulous game to have in your collection. This game definitely lives up to its name as one of the most popular deck building board games.
- Lost Ruins of Arnak (Buy it on Amazon)
5. THE QUEST FOR EL DORADO
EASIEST TO GRASP
Similar to the Lost Ruins of Arnak, in The Quest For El Dorado, players are on an expedition to explore an ancient city. El Dorado is a legend of an ancient golden city that many Spanish explorers searched for in the 16th and 17th centuries. In this board game, players compete to find the city and become rich off of its offerings!
The Quest For El Dorado is super easy to play and is the perfect game for family game night. Up to 4 players can play this game, and it will take around 1 hour to play through a round.
WHERE TO BUY THE QUEST FOR EL DORADO
This is a super fun deck building game with some interesting historical elements that is sure to strike up an interesting conversation.
- The Quest For El Dorado (Buy it on Amazon)
6. STAR REALMS
BEST DECK BUILDING GAME SET IN SPACE
A sci-fi deck building game to appease all self-proclaimed nerds, Star Realms is a fast-paced game where you combat your opponents to win control over the entire galaxy! To do this, players must grow their deck’s starting fleet into an armada strong enough to overwhelm and, yes, kill their opponents! In Star Realms, you play cards to gain Trade. Combat. Authority and other effects. You start with 50 Authority, but if it goes down to 0, you lose!
While one deck box supports just two players, by adding more copies, you can also play multi-player games. Star Realms is perfect for all players aged 12 and up and is a fun and moderately-challenging deck building game to add to your repertoire.
WHERE TO BUY STAR REALMS
If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to control the entire galaxy, Star Realms is the perfect game to play.
- Star Realms (Buy it on Amazon)
BEST DND THEMED DECK BUILDING GAME
Dragonfire is a DND themed deck building game for 2 to 6 players. This game is cooperative, so players all work together to complete the game!
In Dragonfire, you and your teammates build and upgrade your own heroes, choosing from several different races and roles (cleric, fighter, rogue, wizard, warlock, etc.). These adventurers will fight together through many battles, going up against many kinds of foes. Throughout the game, players should build out their decks and upgrade with the gold they earn from defeating monsters to make the “team” a better-equipped fighting machine.
WHERE TO BUY DRAGONFIRE
If you love DND, you will absolutely love Dragonfire. This game is an accessible and relatively fast-paced version of DND that would be perfect for breaking out at a board game night!
- Dragonfire (Buy it on Amazon)
BEST WORD GAME AND DECK BUILDING GAME MASHUP
In paperback, you are Paige Turner, trying to become a famous author and finish writing novels for your editor. You can write Westerns, Romance, Crime Noir, Science Fiction, or even a Best-Seller! In this unique deckbuilding game, players must form words with letter cards and wild cards and purchase more powerful letters, which can help them form longer words and have special powers, or fame cards (which also act as wild cards) to earn victory points.
A word-building deck building game, Paperback can be played with 2 to 5 players and takes around 45 minutes to play.
WHERE TO BUY PAPERBACK
Ready to jump into the world of paperback authors and finish writing novels in all sorts of genres? Buy this fun and creative deckbuilding game!
- Paperback (Buy it on Flowers Games)
9. HARRY POTTER HOGWARTS BATTLE
BEST BEGINNER FRIENDLY DECK BUILDING GAME
I mean, who doesn’t love Harry Potter? The Wizarding World has captivated the hearts of many, and now you can play through a legendary Hogwarts-Themed deck building game!
Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle is a coop game, so players work together to defeat villains and protect the school. This game can be played by 2 to 4 players. You will assume the role of a Hogwarts student in this game (Harry, Ron, Hermione, or Neville) and build a deck of spells, potions, other characters, and magical items to help you win the game. You may take damage during the game, but you can heal your character with potions to continue on. As the game continues, Dark Arts Event cards will be played, which all players will have to work together to resolve.
WHERE TO BUY HARRY POTTER HOGWARTS BATTLE
If you and your Harry Potter-obsessed friends are looking for the ULTIMATE Harry Potter-themed deck building board game, Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle is the game for you!
- Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle (Buy it on Amazon)
10. Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game
A SUPERHERO THEMED DECK BUILDING GAME
Play a S.H.I.E.L.D agent that is assembling a team of superheroes to defeat the Mastermind (super-villains) four times. In this cooperative deck building game, recruit characters from the Marvel Universe, like The Hulk, Spiderman, and Wolverine, to fight the enemy together! These superheroes give players stronger fight power, special abilities, and even higher recruiting power (to recruit more superheroes). Players win victory points as they each fight and defeat the Mastermind. If the players defeat the Mastermind, they all win the game. However, there is an individual winner as well, so make sure you get as many VPs as possible!
Released in 2012, Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game, AKA Marvel Legendary, is perfect for parties of 1 to 5 players and is best played by older kids and adults, aged 14 and up!
WHERE TO BUY LEGENDARY: A MARVEL DECK BUILDING GAME
Who hasn’t wanted to become a S.H.I.E.L.D agent and recruit some of the best superheroes of all time? Live out your Marvel dreams by playing Legendary!
- Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game (Buy it on Amazon)
11. MAGIC: THE GATHERING
BEST TRADING CARD DECK BUILDING GAME
Magic The Gathering is a unique deck building game because each player starts with a pre-built and customized deck. Instead of building a deck throughout the game, players bring their own deck, and build their hand by drawing from their own decks. Magic: The Gathering is a complex game that takes time and practice to master, but what makes this game so great is that there are around 50,000 unique cards. Additionally, there are more cards being added to the game each year!
Only 2 players can play Magic: The Gathering at one time, building Mana and attacking the opposing player with various cards in their deck. This is a super complex game, so be sure to check out our complete breakdown of the rules for more information on how to play.
WHERE TO BUY MAGIC: THE GATHERING
Another unique thing about this game is that rather than buying one board game and calling it a day, you can continuously buy Magic: The Gathering Cards to build and improve your deck. We have included a good starter kit for new players as well as top-up cards with rare and uncommon cards.
- Magic: The Gathering Starter Deck For 2 Players (Buy it on Amazon)
- Magic: The Gathering 50 Cards with 25 Uncommons (Buy it on Amazon)
So there you have it, y’all! There’s a huge range of deck building games to suit all tastes and styles of players, offering a mix of excitement, strategy, and surprise that’s hard to find elsewhere. From Dominion’s classic charm to the superhero showdowns of Marvel Legendary, these games are sure to be a blast!
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