There are many deck building games in the board game world, and it has become one of my favorite genres of board games. Deck building games are incredibly addicting, and the replay value on most is extremely high because the experience is unique on each playthrough. While I certainly haven’t played every deck building game out there, I have played quite a few. In this post, I’ll cover the top 10 best deck building games you need to play! Also, this list is not in any particular order as they are all some of the best deck building games available.
Clank! A Deck Building Adventure
Not only is Clank one of the best deck building games it is also one of the best two-player board games. Clank plays from 2-4 players and is an extremely fun experience no matter the player count.
In Clank! A Deck Building Adventure, you play as various thieves that are competing to get the most treasure from a dungeon protected by a vicious dragon. The good news is that there is plenty of treasure to find, but the bad news is that every noise you make increases your chances of taking damage when the dragon attacks.
This is one of the best deck building games because there are so many ways to win the game and your strategy constantly evolves as you play. It contains deck building elements, map exploration, and a press-your-luck element that makes you risk your life to score more points.
You’ll start with basic cards that allow you to move and gain skill, which you can purchase new cards that improve your deck. You’ll also have the ability to gain cards with swords that you can use to defeat monsters and earn gold.
Each player can only hold 1 artifact which can be worth a wide range of points, but the further you go into the depths the higher the value. However, the harder it becomes to escape alive, which awards you an additional 20 points. You’ll have to choose your strategy wisely in this addicting and fun deck builder game.
Duffers: A Golf Inspired Deck Building Game
Typically you’ll find most deck building games are centered around some kind of fantasy or sci-fi theme, but with Duffers you get a unique golf-based theme. Not that there is anything wrong with those other types of themes, but the golf theme makes this deck building game unique and accessible to a whole new audience.
In Duffers, you’ll play as a golfer that is trying to get the lowest score on the golf course. You’ll do this by building a deck of various clubs that count as a number of strokes or credits you can use to buy new equipment.
In your turn, you can choose to use clubs and equipment for either credits to buy new gear, or as yardage to complete holes. The strategy will change throughout the game as you can choose to complete a hole first for an extra bonus card, or complete them later for the possibility of using fewer strokes.
You’ll also encounter luck cards which can be good or bad, and duffer cards that cause you to whiff, slice, and hook your ball. There are many holes to choose from and you can pick beginner holes or advanced holes for an extra challenge.
This game plays great from 2 to 4 players, but a 4 player game can get quite long so be prepared for that. The replay value is also very high on Duffers and I’d highly recommend picking it up if you like deck builders or golf!
Pick up a copy of the Duffers deck building game on Amazon here.
Hero Realms Deck Building Game
Hero Realms is a fantasy-based deck building game for 2-4 players when using the base starter deck, but it can be expanded to more players if you buy more base decks. In this deck building game, you play as a hero that is fighting for power against other players to be the last hero standing.
Hero Realms is very easy to learn, and game sessions for 2 players only take about 15-20 minutes. The game features beautiful artwork covering a variety of fantasy themes. The Hero Realms Deck Building Game was created by former Magic The Gathering world champions so some gameplay aspects feel similar to that but more simplified.
The extremely high replay value is another reason this is one of the best deck building games. Your overall goal is to reduce all other players to zero health, but there are so many different strategies and paths you can choose to get to that point.
For example, some cards heal your player, others deal more aggressive damage, while others summon powerful creatures to deal damage and protect your hero. Since the game is easy to learn and play it is accessible to new gamers, but also veterans as the strategy of each game is ever-evolving and can get quite complex.
Hero Realms also has many expansions you can get to further expand gameplay if you choose to. However, the base game is a stand-alone game and is very inexpensive which is another great reason to get it. If you are looking for a fantasy-themed deck building game, check out Hero Realms.
Pick up a copy of the Hero Realms deck building game on Amazon here.
Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle
Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle was my first experience playing a deck building game and it has quickly become one of my favorite styles of board game because of it. This is one of the best deck building games especially if you like Harry Potter.
You play through all seven years of the Harry Potter story and will start with a basic deck of spell cards and items that fit your character. You’ll play as Harry, Ron, Hermione, Nevel, and you can also play as Luna and Ginny with expansions.
Each character will improve as you build your deck by acquiring various items, spells, and allies. Also, as your characters reach later years in the game, you’ll acquire more character-specific abilities and additional abilities you can choose between. This further expands your strategy and the different choices improve variety.
Your goal is to take out various death eaters and villains from the series before they can corrupt classic locations from the Harry Potter universe. The early years you play in the game are pretty simple, but they get you the feel of the game and help you understand the mechanics.
When you get to the later years and the expansions for the game, you’ll need to be incredibly strategic if you hope to win. Even if you aren’t a huge Harry Potter fan I think you’ll enjoy this game as the replay value is extremely high.
Another great aspect of this deck building game is that it is cooperative and plays just as well if you are playing with 2 – 4 players. It scales appropriately, and you’ll get the same experience and challenge no matter the number of players you go with.
Pick up a copy of the Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle deck building game on Amazon here.
Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle Defence Against the Dark Arts
This deck building game plays similar to the original Hogwarts Battle game, but this time it is a competitive 2 player game. In this game, you are playing as two Hogwarts students that are battling it out in a wizard dual in defense against the dark arts class.
The game is played through a series of rounds where your goal is to stun the other player a total of three times. Unlike the first Hogwarts Battle game, you get to keep your deck through the entire game vs starting over with your base set of cards each year.
Since you get to keep your cards it can really alter the strategy you might be building on throughout the rounds. There were many times we played where one player would lose the first two rounds but then come back and win the next three rounds in a row. It may take a few rounds for your deck building strategy to pay off, but when it does it is extremely rewarding.
If you are a fan of the original Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle, many of the same game mechanics are present in this game as well. However, instead of facing off against death eaters, you battle each other to be the winner.
You don’t need to be a Harry Potter fan to have fun with this game, but you’ll enjoy it more if you are. There are a lot of references from the series and most artwork comes directly from the movies. This is one of the best deck building games and one of my favorite 2 player board games as well.
Pick up a copy of the Harry Potter Defence Against the Dark Arts deck building game on Amazon here.
The Few And Cursed
The Few and Cursed is an action-adventure deck building game that can be played cooperatively, competitively, and even solo. This is one of the best deck building games because of its unique theme and gameplay.
The Few and Cursed is a deck building game based around a comic series, so for starters, the artwork is amazing. It also features a unique backdrop of a “wild west” like feel, but it takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, where most of the world’s water has mysteriously evaporated. The world map is actually the new desert of what used to be the Pacific Ocean.
You’ll take on the role of a variety of different bounty hunters or “curse chasers” that hunt deadly monsters that are terrorizing the desert. You’ll build your deck to acquire movement, bullets, deal damage, and more. As you travel you’ll acquire water that acts as money to buy weapons and items to power up your characters and it incorporates some RPG elements to the game as well.
The game also gives you the option to take on various quests to earn grit which gives you points to win the game. These quests can be completed in a variety of ways as well, which can alter your strategy and how you build your deck.
I’ve played through every mode of this deckbuilding game and all of them were extremely fun and I’d definitely recommend The Few and Cursed as one of the best deck building games available.
Pick up a copy of The Few And Cursed deck building game on Amazon here.
In Aeon’s End, you play as a group of survivors protecting their last city Gravehold, in a post-apocalyptic world that was destroyed by the Nameless. These are huge terrifying monsters that threaten to wipe out the rest of humanity. Aeon’s End is a cooperative deck building game that features some unique deck building mechanics.
For example, in this game, you never actually reshuffle your deck. After your turn you will take your played cards and put them in any order you choose into your discard pile. If you ever reach the point of needing to draw from your deck and it is empty you simply flip your discard pile over and make that your new deck. This means that instead of your deck being randomized, you can strategically plan out your future hands to some extent.
Another unique aspect of this deck building game is that it is cooperative. Your goal as players is to take out massive enemies in each game called Nemesis. Players will need to strategize and work together to defeat these creatures before Gravehold is destroyed.
To simulate the chaos of battle this deck building game also features a random turn order for players. This randomization keeps you on your toes and you’ll need to change your strategy to compensate for this randomness.
Also, you don’t have a set storefront of cards to buy each game, you can choose from set layouts or create your own, which can further enhance the replay value of the game. If you are looking for a great dungeon crawling and deck building experience check out Aeon’s End as it is one of the best deck building games to date.
Pick up a copy of the Aeon’s End deck building game on Amazon here.
Star Realms Deck Building Game
Star Realms is a sci-fi deck building game, where you play as various space armadas trying to be the most powerful in the galaxy. This deck building game is very similar to Hero Realms, but with a different theme.
Players start with various ships that will give them gold they can use to purchase new ships and bases to improve their deck. All players start with 50 life points which can be depleted by other players. The last player standing is the winner.
This is one of the best deck building games because of its ease of play and simple learning curve. The replay value is also extremely high as players choose to buy cards from various factions all with their own unique play style.
It is also similar to Magic The Gathering, but you don’t need to worry about having specific mana types to play cards from other factions. This really allows you to have high flexibility in your strategy and to make deck combinations that play off of each faction’s strengths.
The Star Realms deck building game is also a stand-alone game. In most cases, you can get a Star Realms starter deck for under $15. This is enough for two players to play the game, and can give you hours of fun gameplay. There are also lots of expansions you can get to further expand the game at a very low cost.
If you like deck building games and sci-fi, Star Realms is one of the best deck building games to check out! Pick up a copy of the Star Realms deck building game on Amazon here.
In the deck building game Dominion, you take on the role of the ruler of a small peasant kingdom that is trying to expand its kingdom. You play against other players who rule nearby kingdoms as you all fight over the same resources to build the best kingdom.
Dominion may seem simplistic compared to other deck building games, as the goal is simply to have the most victory points at the end of the game. However, you have so many strategies you can use to achieve the most victory points and this greatly increases the replay value.
Each game is totally different and you can completely change which cards are available in the shop for each game. This means your strategy will change dramatically and you’ll need to find the best route to win the game.
Dominion is a stand-alone game so you won’t need to buy additional cards unless you want to try out one of the many expansions for the game. The base game comes with 500 cards so even without expansions you’ll get a lot of gameplay for your money!
Another unique aspect of this game is that on your turn you are only allowed to play one action card and can only buy one card. Eventually, you’ll acquire more cards that can expand your ability to play more actions and buy more cards, but you’ll need to figure out how to do that. Definitely check out Dominion as it is one of the best deckbuilding games available.
Pick up a copy of the Dominion deck building game on Amazon here.
Mage Kight is a unique game that combines elements of board games, RPGs, and deck building games. You’ll play as a powerful Mage Knight as you explore the kingdom while building your deck of spells, fighting monsters, and defeating enemy kingdoms.
This deckbuilding game is not for the casual player as campaigns can potentially take several hours to complete. However, if you are looking for a more complex gaming experience, Mage Knight can be a good option!
You can choose from a variety of different starting Mage Knights that have their own unique starting deck and strengths and weaknesses. The game map also evolves as you explore and isn’t fully revealed at the start of the game. This means that you won’t know what’s coming and will have to adjust your strategy as you go.
Mage Knight also features a variety of ways to play. You can play the game competitively, cooperatively, and there is even an extensive solo mode. If you like games like Dungeons and Dragons, but want more structure, or like video game RPGs, this game will likely be of interest.
Mage Knight also has an Ulitmate Edition which includes extra characters and expansions, so it’s probably best to start with that version of the game as you’ll get everything from the start. Mage Knight is a pretty complex game, but many people rank it as one of the best deck building games they own for that reason.
Pick up a copy of the Mage Knight Ultimate Edition deck building game on Amazon here.
As you can see, deck building games come in all shapes and sizes. Some are fantasy-based, some are space-themed, others are set in the past, and others take place on your local golf course.
One of the best aspects of deck building games is that they all feature a very high replay value. Each time you play can be a totally different experience which keeps the games fresh.
With this list of the Top 10 Best Deck Building Games, you’ll have lots of options to choose from that people from many backgrounds can enjoy. Likely you’ll find a theme you enjoy that has a deck building game associated with it.
Try adding one of these deck building games to your next game night and you won’t be disappointed! Also, did we miss any great deck building games on our list of the best deck building games? Let us know in the comments below as we are always down to try a great new deck building game!