For many fans of The Witcher franchise, picking up The Witcher: Old World will be their first foray into modern board gaming. If it isn’t their time to enter this wonderful medium, it’s almost their first time playing a deck builder.
A deck builder is a type of board game in which players customize their decks with efficient and synergistic cards. Players start with identical decks that are usually 10 or fewer cards and gradually acquire additional cards throughout the game. As the game progresses, players add new cards to their deck from a shared pool, fine-tuning their card combinations and strategies to achieve the game’s win condition.
In The Witcher: Old World, the deckbuilding consists of acquiring cards that make traversing the map efficient and more importantly, allows players to perform well during combat.
If deck building is a player’s favorite mechanic in The Witcher: Old World, then they might be delighted to hear that there is a whole genre full of these games. From the iconic Dominion to the word-savvy Paperback and the family-friendly Fort, these games offer a diverse range of themes and gameplay mechanics that will entertain both novice and experienced deck-building players.
Dominion / Tanto Cuore
Dominion is the trailblazer that helped popularize deck-building board games. It has the most accessible and basic ruleset in the genre, but many expansions have made it continue to stay relevant 15 years later. In Dominion, players start with a small deck of basic cards and gradually acquire more powerful cards to improve their deck’s efficiency. The game revolves around managing resources, optimizing card combinations, and crafting a deck that enables you to accrue the most victory points. Those who like the anime theme more might gravitate to Tanto Cuore, which plays nearly the same as Dominion, but with a coat of paint that is full of anime maids (And Butlers with the right expansion). Both games don’t have the depth and additional mechanisms that The Witcher: Old World has, but do the one thing that they specialize in well.
While Clank’s deck-building mechanisms aren’t anything special, the dungeon crawling and push-your-luck mechanisms make it one of the most beloved games in the genre. Players will build decks that allow them to explore the depths, fight monsters, and grab treasure. Some cards make a clank sound though, which can alert the dragon. If players get too greedy or wreckless, it won’t matter how much loot they have. It’s a delightful game of chicken in which players will want to head to the surface at just the right moment and survive with the most loot.
Cowboy Bebop: Space Serenade
Like The Witcher: Old World, Cowboy Bebop: Space Serenade is one of the best board game adaptations around. Players get can relive the series with their favorite characters, locations, and villains as they build their decks and collect bounties through the board’s planets. Fans of deck builders that utilize boards like The Witcher: Old World and Clank will delight in this one, assuming that they are a fan of the anime series. Admittedly, there isn’t too much appeal here if players aren’t already invested in the world.
Here is something different. Fans of word games and deck builders will likely be delighted at this clever combination of the two genres. Players are authors who use their turns to collect letters for their deck, then use their letters to create words. With strategic deck-building, cards that have abilities, and a decent vocabulary, players will create long words that get them better letters and the victory points needed for victory.
Maybe you want something a little more appropriate for kids, but still has that deck-building mechanism that you are now addicted to. Fort is the game for that audience. Players take on the role of kids who want to build the best fort. Building decks involves getting new friends that form a crew with various abilities. One neat twist is that not using all of your cards puts them at risk of being sniped by other players. If you don’t play with your friends, they will go somewhere else. It’s thematic, fun, and simple enough for light gamers to grasp.
It’s time to bid farewell. We hope this journey has ignited your curiosity and kindled a desire for new gaming experiences. As you step beyond the realm of The Witcher, we hope these deck-building adventures bring you joy, challenge your skills, and open the doors to even more thrilling nights at the board game table with your friends and family.