Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Deck building in the DC Universe

  You guys have seen me mention this game before, Cryptozoic's "DC Deck-Building Game".  It's based on playing as one of the superheroes from the Justice League, gathering power through equipment, recruiting heroes/defeating villains, and locations, and winning the game by having the most 'victory points' at the end, when all of the supervillains have been defeated. 

  In the original game, the concept above was what it was all about.  You started with your Superhero and 7 punches and 3 weaknesses for your hand.  Using 5 cards at a time, you put out power (punches are 1, kicks are 2, and other cards vary) and purchase cards from the line-up (those other cards) to go into the discard pile.  Every turn you do this, and eventually you shuffle the discard pile and use the cards that you bought.  Supervillains are defeated by simply playing enough power to 'purchase' them, and the last supervillain purchase will end the game.  At the end, players add up the 'victory points' found on their cards and the highest total wins!  Simple and really fun.

  Then came the second set, "Heroes Unite", which featured the members of the DC universe outside the JL.  That being said, there's definitely some connection from the 'originals' and these guys, such as half of them belonging to the Justice Society or Young Justice.  But onto the game- the basic rules are the same.  But the cards add some more effects and are really more about 'combo-building'.  A good deal of time is spent by each player searching decks and pulling cards as that seems to be a rather common effect in this version.  In addition, there's a good deal of trading and drawing cards in this version, again adding a 'little bit more' to the system.

  Recently came the third set, "Forever Evil".  This set literally flips the universe and system on its head.  In this version, you actually play as one of the Supervillains and must defeat the Superheroes to end the game.  The cards in the set are the same, but the artwork is different on the commons like 'Kick' and 'Punch'.  The craziest change to the mechanic, though, is the idea of discarding and destroying cards.  There are a number of Supervillains that gain effects by discarding and destroying cards from their hand.  Their are tons of 'attack' effects on the cards that force players to discard, trade away, or destroy cards in their hands.  On top of this, there are many many times that weaknesses are gained this way, so the ability to destroy cards actually becomes important!  This set is much more complex than the basic set, and departs from the 'combo-building' of the second.  This version requires some tactical thinking in trying to balance victory points and getting rid of cards.  Of all the sets, this one can be the most irritating to the less serious gamer and very rewarding to the strategic card-tossers out there.  It's really cool.  

  I gotta give all credit to Cryptozoic for getting these games right so far.  I know the universe isn't the most appealing to people out there, but remember that you don't need to know anything about comics to play this game.  The rules are simple (well, not the first edition's book- it was horrible!) and it can be used as a time-filler game or a serious game.  Any of the gamers can enjoy this as it can appeal to a variety of play style.  Best yet, the third box comes with awesome rules for combining sets and even team games!

  Go pick them up (each set is only $40 and they are COMPLETELY SELF-CONTAINED games, meaning you don't need the other sets to play) and give them a play or three.  Then, let me know what you think!  I know I enjoy these games- it's what my wargamer buddies and I play after we're all done pushing mans and throwing dice...

  Happy Gaming!


  1. THis is bar none my favourite deck builder out there.

    1. I haven't had the opportunity to play a bunch of the ones out there, but I like this one the best of all that I've tried so far. Simplicity and Elegance- things alot of game designers forget often...