Howdy Gamers! It’s time for another Top 10 List! This time I’m taking a look at some of my favorite deck building games. I know that there are a lot of games that fit this category, especially if you’re just looking at the BoardGameGeek category, so, to make sure we’re clear, I define a deck builder as a game where you buy/obtain cards within the game to add to your deck in hopes of bringing cards together to make good combos or get you the most points (whatever the goal of the game might be). If you construct a deck before playing (as in Master of Wills for instance) that isn’t the type of game I have included in the list.

Again, I have narrowed the list down to games that I own to make it a little easier on myself, even though there are a lot of great deck builders out there that I don’t own. If you haven’t had a chance to try a deck builder yet, I highly recommend checking some out. They’re super neat and there’s a lot of varieties out there (which you’ll see in my list) so there’s something for everyone!

Happy Gaming~

10. Franklin’s Fortune

Theme: Health, wealth, and wisdom; Benjamin Franklin
Other Mechanics: N/A
Why I Like It: I think it’s a great beginner’s deck builder that can be taught to gamers and non-gamers alike, which is great for someone like me who has a bunch of non-gamer friends. It’s also an educational game which is cool because it’s a great teaching tool for kids/younger audiences!
Learn More: Franklin’s Fortune BGG

9. Paperback

Theme: werds; basically Scrabble, but a deck builder
Other Mechanics: Cooperative Play; Drafting (I believe these are not always available, however)
Why I Like It: I’ve always really liked word games, but Scrabble got old after a while. I like this because it has the same basically elements – you have certain letters available, you want to spell words worth a lot of points – but elevates it by letting you buy your choice of letters instead of drawing randomly, and combo-ing for more points (better than leaving it up to chance that you can spell something over a double word score space). It’s a pretty simple game without any of the extras/the expansion, so it can appeal to a wide variety of word game lovers!
Learn More: Paperback BGG

8. Star Realms

Theme: SPACE!; Sci-Fi; destroying other players ships
Other Mechanics: Take That/PvP
Why I Like It: The theme is a great one, and makes for some cool art on these cards. I find that it’s best at only 2 players (since that’s really how it was designed) and I like that it’s a quick PvP deck builder. There’s typically a good balance in what you’re able to buy from the market turn to turn, and the different factions on the cards allow for unlimited strategies from game to game. A lot of variety and replayability here, especially when you add in the tons of promos/expansions that exist!
Learn More: Star Realms BGG

7. Vikings Gone Wild

Image from BGG (c) Cosmik42

Theme: Vikings of course! All things vikings.
Other Mechanics: Building/resource management
Why I Like It: The theme works really well with the gameplay and there are always a lot of different options for players on each turn which also means there are a lot of different ways to approach victory, which is always a plus. Plus, the art is really pretty!
Learn More: Vikings Gone Wild BGG

6. Brass Empire

Image from BGG (c) mgnade

Theme: Steampunk; Economic
Other Mechanics: N/A
Why I Like It: I like the different corporations you can play as because they, of course, make each game a little different depending on who plays as which one. What’s even better is how certain cards in the market work with your corporation color as well so there are a lot of cool combos to be made in this game, which I always really enjoy. The New Canton expansion also adds in a campaign element which is awesome as it gives you more gaming features as well as an overarching story.
Learn More: Brass Empire BGG

5. The Quest for El Dorado

Theme: Adventure/Exploration
Other Mechanics: Racing; Grid Movement; Modular Board
Why I Like It: I really like how this one has a board element on top of the usual deck building mechanic. The board changes every game so players never know what to expect, but they have to build the best deck they can to get their piece(s) to the end first! I also like that on top of the changing board each game, you never know which cards will be available since players fill the store with stacks when one runs out, based on what they want. The variability and never knowing exactly what to plan for is what keeps this one interesting.
Learn More: The Quest for El Dorado BGG

4. Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure

Theme: Adventure/Exploration and Fantasy
Other Mechanics: Racing; Player Elimination (minimal); Press Your Luck; Board Movement
Why I Like It: Just like The Quest for El Dorado, the board element in this one is awesome. Players want to travel into the caves to find treasure without making too much noise so that they don’t get caught by the dragon. I like that you can push your luck by going deeper and trying to get more stuff and that there’s consequences to staying too long because you may end up not scoring at all. It is definitely a game where balancing the size of your deck is crucial to doing well and making sure that you’re able to get out in time.
Learn More: Clank! BGG

3. Heart of Crown

Theme: Anime, Royalty
Other Mechanics: Point Collection
Why I Like It: This was the first deck builder I saw that limited how you could play the cards in your hand. The cards have arrows on them to tell you you can play additional cards and if you don’t have more arrows, you can’t play any more of your cards. That’s a really cool element for one. Another cool feature is that once players choose a princess to back during the game, instead of buying up cards to help you buy more cards for your deck, you want to buy cards to give the princesses more succession points; I really like how that shifts the game play.
Learn More: Heart of Crown BGG

2. Mystic Vale

Theme: Fantasy
Other Mechanics: Press Your Luck
Why I Like It: I love how this changes up what I typically see in a deck builder. Instead of buying cards to grow your deck, you’re buying advancements for your cards and your deck never actually grows. It makes you a bit more particular about what you buy and which card you add it to to create the best combos. I also like the push your luck element because if you try to draw too many cards you might bust, but if you build your deck well enough, you could draw almost all your cards at once for a really amazing turn.
Learn More: Mystic Vale BGG

1. Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game

Theme: Marvel Heroes and Villains and saving the city or attacking the heroes!
Other Mechanics: Cooperative/Semi-Cooperative Play
Why I Like It: This is my favorite deck builder! A big reason is definitely the theme because it keeps me invested and keeps me collecting the expansions as well, haha! I love all the different characters that the game has and all of the different abilities that they have. There’s a lot of different keywords, and more are being added in with each expansion, but they’re well defined so the game is easy to follow. I also like to play it semi-cooperative because you do need to work together to save the city, but the *best* hero still comes out victorious!
Learn More: Legendary BGG