There are 52 cards in a standard deck and an endless list of ways you can use them — card games being the most popular.
For hundreds of years, handfuls of cards have given pirates something to argue about as they sailed across the Mediterranean, entertained nurses on the everlasting night shift, and kept kids occupied on rainy Sunday afternoons.
From poker and cribbage to crazy eights and gin rummy, this style of game is nothing new or noteworthy.
In 2008, however, a subgenre of card games emerged, taking gameplay in a whole new direction.
That genre, you ask?
What Are Deck Building Games — & Why Are They So Popular?
In deck-building games, players start with the same small deck of beginner cards and add new ones to their hand as they move along. Players pull cards from a central pool at every turn, building their decks around different themes and characters.
While the rules will differ from game to game, most deck builders share one ultimate goal: build the strongest deck and use it to gain advantages over other players.
These kinds of games usually have multiple players competing against each other. Still, they’re also great for playing just one-on-one because they’re relatively easy to learn and fast-paced enough that boredom won’t be an issue between turns.
Another reason to love deck building games is that they present the perfect combination of planning and luck. As a player, you can control which cards you will purchase to expand your deck. But here’s the kicker: there’s no telling when these cards will return to your hand for you to play — so your strategy is crucial.
The versatility and excitement of deck building games offer a range of strategy options and countless opportunities for combo attacks, breathing life into the game at every turn.
How to Play a Deck Building Game
When it comes to excitement and strategy, deck-building games are the best of both worlds.
So, how do you play them?
Read the Quick Start Guide to Determine Game Flow
As mentioned above, every deck builder is different, so you’ll want to flip through the game guide to learn the rules and get a feel for the general flow.
The flow of a deck building game is driven by the playing and purchasing of cards. You will start with a specific number of base cards and, depending on the rules, play or draw cards with every turn.
Once you understand the rules and have a feel for the game flow, you can begin to build your deck.
Build While You Play
The key differentiator of these games is that you build your deck as the game progresses, not before.
The tried-and-true mechanics of many deck building games entails using the cards in your hand as currency to unlock, activate, and buy better cards, performing actions, and using abilities that will earn you Victory Points.
You'll employ a range of different cards throughout the game. These cards give you different strategies when you play them together. However, card actions often bounce off one another, increasing the game's complexity with every turn.
Start Simple, Then Craft Your Strategy
As you play, it’s important to remember that only certain card combinations will work effectively — so you must be mindful of the cards taking up space in your hand.
If you continuously draw cards you don't want or need, you'll clutter your deck and slow down your gameplay, which could hurt your chances of winning. That said, you’ll need a certain degree of strategy to keep the card clutter at a minimum.
Most importantly, you’ll have to consider what kind of cards you’ll need to earn as many Victory Points as you can, as quickly as possible — and adjust your strategy with every relic and upgrade thrown at you.
The sheer number of options available can be overwhelming, so a beginner’s best bet is to start by finding a card that sparks interest. Then you can develop a method that incorporates that card into your strategy — by obtaining cards that pair well with it.
You’ll get a feel for the game as it progresses and, after a few rounds, you’ll know your strategy like the back of your hand.
Best Deck Building Games Get Started
The introduction of deck-building games revolutionized the gaming experience, leading to many new and exciting deck-building titles.
Here are some of our favorites to get you started!
First on the list is Ramen! Ramen!, a game fit for anime fiends and foodies alike.
Allow us to set the scene:
One of the world’s most coveted ramen restaurants requires more staff, and you’ve just earned your spot as a line cook. Here, people line out the door for their ramen, so you’ll need to work quickly and carefully to send bowls a flyin’ and keep your customers full and content.
But there’s a catch.
You and your fellow line cooks have come to an agreement: whoever serves the most (and the best) bowls of ramen walks away with all of the day's tips. So fire up your noodle boiler, and get ready, set, ramen!
Dynamite Nurse thrusts players into a mysterious realm of swords and sorcery, where adventurers make a living venturing into dangerous dungeon depths.
In such a world, one where peril lurks around every corner, magical healing is a necessity. As a player, you represent a magical hospital where it is your job to heal these heroes from injuries, ailments, and curses of the underworld and return them to their former health.
But beware, for magical hospitals are no safe haven.
There is a limited number of available beds in these hospitals, and having too many patients will result in an inability to take care of them. As such, you must dump your worst patients onto your opponents to maintain your status as the best hospital chief. Should you fail, the infamous title of "dynamite nurse" becomes yours for the bearing.
Last but certainly not least is Tanto Cuore — another deck-building game deserving of a spot in your coveted collection.
As a player, you act as the Lord of a mansion and hire maids of various skill sets to fill your house (card deck), trying to become the mightiest Master of the House in the game.
The game's objective is simple: obtain the most Victory Points by acquiring and employing a range of made cards. Certain card combinations grant you different strategies you can use throughout your gameplay. With every turn, you get the chance to hire more maids and use their powers to your advantage.
But do not lose sight of your opponents — they can harm your maids or bring bad habits upon them, which will lower your Victory Points and hurt your chances of winning.
Fun, excitement, strategy, versatility, and a little bit of luck.
These are the fundamental elements of every excellent deck building game; the features that set them apart from their counterparts and ensure they stand the test of time.
Anime deck building games, however, redefine what good gameplay truly means.
Whether it be as a ramen chef, the chief of a magical hospital or the Lord of a manor, these games immerse you in the world of anime. They enable you to use the power of your imagination to bring each character to life, regardless of the universe in which they live.
So if you’re an imaginative thinker, an anime enthusiast, or simply a player with a passion for deck building, we at Japanime Games welcome you to the fold.
Browse our selection of amazing anime-themed titles, and you’ll surely find a game fit for your kind of fun!
Japanime Games Brings Japan To You
For over a decade Japanime Games has been dedicated to bringing you the finest games from Japan and beyond! We're committed to uniting the wonderful world of anime with the classic comfort of tabletop games — a fusion that brings the best of Japanese culture right to your table.
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