Simple deck builder (dominion?)

  1. The Quest for Eldorado is probably more fun to play with kids. It's a great gateway game even though it's not as main stream as Dominion. It's simple, not intimidating, easy to teach, and has plenty of replay value (though not as much as Dominion imo).

  2. I'd second this. Dominion is good and still a great deck builder but I think kids will struggle to get into it with the arbitrary win condition and not-so-obvious theme.

  3. I introduced my 12 year old nephew to Eldorado, and the entire week they were visiting we played at LEAST 2 games a night. I'm on the hunt now to try and find another game to get him for Christmas

  4. For a family with young kids I would also choose The Quest for El Dorado but it’s not a quintessential deck builder. You’re building a deck to properly move around the (modular) board but the cards aren’t that interesting and it’s going to be the same cards every game.

  5. I still like Dominion and think it’s a great deck builder that holds up. Some people like Clank better as it adds dungeon delving, but to me is not as repayable. I think Mystic Vale is a little more streamlined than Dominion - about the same difficulty in rules but strategy is more apparent at least to me, plus I like only having 20 cards at all times so you don’t have to worry about getting rid of glut, only focusing on building up your 20 cards. I have a tough time deciding on playing Dominion and Mystic Vale on game nights but I think too many people are sleeping on it as one of the great Deck Builders.

  6. Agreed. Abandon All Artichokes is good for teaching some key principles of deck builders (like it's okay to trash cards that aren't valuable) that can be applied to other deck builders down the line.

  7. Dominion isn't a terrible choice for a simple deck builder. However, for a family game experience I would recommend Quest for El Dorado above Dominion. In Dominion the win condition is the abstract concept of victory points and the game is more sequential than visual. Quest gives you a more tangible and exciting win condition (crossing the finish line first) and it has a more appealing visual presence.

  8. Dominion is still my favorite pure deck builder and may still be my most played game outside of chess. The base game is ok, but pretty basic. I'd recommend at least one expansion to mix things up a bit. Not really much in the way of theme though. I also like Legendary Marvel since you can solo that one, but it plays as a co-op same with this as you would want at least the Dark City expansion. Either one will be a great choice.

  9. A lot of people aren't recommending Dominion for kids. I'll counter that: I've got two boys, 8 and 10, who love playing. They don't quite understand the finer points of deck builder strategy but they don't have any issues with card mechanics or interactions and have a blast every time we play.

  10. Ditto, my son started playing when he was like 6 and had no issues with rules, although not great with strategy. He even started designing his own (very overpowered) cards! The main issue is actually the amount of shuffling. It’s hard for little hands to shuffle cards.

  11. Another one not listed here: DC Deck Building Game. The mechanisms are very similar to Dominion, it's simple to teach and learn, the theme might be more appealing to kids, and there are a ton of different sets to match what you might want in a deck builder, including some that introduce cooperative modes.

  12. This is the number 1 spot for me when it comes to deckbuilders personally. I adore everything about this game from the mechanics to the theme and the expansions build on it. It's also not immediately battle heavy (there is offense and defense but you don't have drain your opponents HP like in Starrealms.)

  13. Second for Star Realms. It's a pretty simple game at its base, but the different expansions add a lot of customization. Plus it has a single player "ai" if you pick up one, which also functions as a PvE boss. It's a solid game, if a bit simple at times.

  14. I prefer hero realms over star realms, and neither game is as good as dominion. In dominion you must adapt to your oponents, and you're never screwed because one or more game breaking powerful cards showed up on your oponent turn.

  15. I also like Legendary: Marvel Deckbuilding Game, it's fun, but it's nice b/c it has more of a cooperative game, which goes well with uber-competitive people (i.e. my family who usually get waaay too emotionally invested in games).

  16. Dominion is a great open information deck builder. None of the cards in the marketplace are random, so you can see how others are playing and what they are buying. It is a little complicated since you have to understand how the cards work together. I, personally, don't think this is a good gateway to deck building with children.

  17. On the other side of this, Hero Realms is made by the same company as Star Realms and has two co-op expansions. Not to mention the boss decks that allow everyone to team up to face one baddy. Sometimes I like to play the lich so my friends can co-op and I can feel like there's still some minor competition involved.

  18. If you have never played a deck builder before, Dominion is still a good choice. All deck builders share the basic mechanics that Dominion introduced. What modern games with deck building has is that it incorporates more mechanics outside of the basic deck building mechanic. Also, the deck building mechanic may be slightly different, but the basic principle is still the same.

  19. I think it depends on the age of the kids and how much gaming they have already done. Your average 6 year old who never plays games? No, not recommended. An 8 year old who loves games? Heck yes!

  20. I can vouch for Dominion still being good. I played it a few days ago and it was still fun, even after having played many other deck builders over the past few years!

  21. Try DC Deckbuilding, lighter than some of the others and less tightly balanced so you can build some crazy decks

  22. Dominion is a great game. But like others have said, it isn’t light-hearted fun. Not that it’s particularly heavy or anything, it’s just a solid strategy game.

  23. My group plays Summer Camp when we’re in the mood for Dominion but too tired to make in-game choices. It’s a great option!

  24. +1 for Clank! - Dominion is easily my favourite game, and I found Clank! in an attempt to scratch the game itch, and it did. I haven’t played Legacy yet, but that looks great too. I think it perfectly fits OPs post.

  25. The Harry Potter games are an easy break into deck builders, but the death eater one is more difficult. I think I have all the Aeons end stuff and it my opinion, it's pretty difficult and can get frustrating to play. I like games like that so I'm a fan.

  26. I'm a big Dominion fan, and I think it's an excellent choice. I'm mostly commenting to talk about one HUGE difference between Dominion and other deckbuilders such as Star Realms, Hero Realms, Ascension, etc.

  27. Dominion with expansions is still the best mechanical deck builder to date. If you really care about theme, maybe it isn’t the best choice for you, but I haven’t found anything to top Dominion in terms of pure gameplay yet.

  28. Dominion is still the king of deckbuilders. It's so good they're still making expansions and the subreddit is still quite active. You can try it for free online if you like.

  29. Yes, Dominion is easy to teach (especially the base game), has good re-playability, and it's got a lot of expansions. It's one of those titles that just about every board-gamer owns.

  30. Dominion is a great choice but it's relatively themless. One alternative you could check out is Valley of the Kings. It's a phenomenal game with an ancient Egyptian theme and plays very similarly to Dominion. If you get the Deluxe Edition you get a decent amount of variety and it's pretty inexpensive.

  31. My only negative to Star Realms is the random factor. We love it and have all expansions. Last time we played though, was no bueno due to random luck. First turn I bought a 2 coin scraper. On my second turn I got a 5 coin blue card that gave me health, and if matched attack power. Next turn I picked up two more small blues. The game was over quite quickly and wasn't at all fun for my husband.

  32. Seconded! It's so cheap too. The only downside is that there's nothing fun about the theme so it might be harder to attract your kids to it unless their into serious-sci-fi vibes.

  33. Dominion is still a great choice for a barebones deck builder. It definitely fits with the light gateway games you’ve been playing. Don’t go looking too hard for theme though!

  34. Dominion is still the best deckbuilder in my opinion. The other deckbuilders are either too complicated for the experience they provide or too dumbed-down to provide any challenge. Many of them are fun, but the original is still the best. I don't recommend the expansions unless you're getting tired of the base set, which shouldn't happen for the first 1000 plays or so (in my experience).

  35. To begin in Deck building I highly recommend Star Realms, which is really simple to play and to teach. Dominion is a little more complex in my opinion

  36. A game I picked up from a kickstarter that has gone retail called "Enchanters" is deck buildy and is easy enough to play that the old guys at work like it when I bring it in.

  37. Ack, I forgot all about Marvel Legendary. That is a great deck builder. I had a lot of fun with it. If you play it like you are a shield agent sending resources (heroes) where they are needed it works pretty darn good. I feel like it is a money sink and have gotten just as much enjoyment out of other deck builders. But, if you want a game with a load of re-playability, that is a good choice as long as you are willing to throw money at it.

  38. Summer Camp. Perfect beginner deck builder. Cute theming, lots of variety, simple mechanics, great replay value due to randomized board tiles and unique card packs, and only costs around $25. It’s simple enough for kids to learn, but complex enough that my adult gaming group loves it too and is one of our regular plays.

  39. Clank - it's a bit more than just a deck builder, but the things it adds are so much fun. The same company did Dune Imperium which I also love, but it is a little more complex and a few more steps away from basic deck building mechanisms.

  40. Having played (and owned) a ton of deck builders, I second recommendations for The Quest for El Dorado and Star Realms. They are very different games, but both have far improved on what Dominion began. Both still hit the table regularly at my house. Just remember you will need to buy two sets of Star Realms for four players. Also, we usually play the "Hunter" variant which means you can only attack to your left (except bases to your right). It limits kingmaking and dogpiling.

  41. I like deck builders as well mostly for the customization. I found having each player have vastly differently powers gave me the same joy. Cosmic Encounter is a somewhat asymmetric board game that you might like. Otherwise, an old classic famous for it's 1v1 balance is Ascension. It has MTG vibes as it was designed by one of MTG's creators.

  42. PLEASE check out Heart of Crown. It is amazing and would okay well with the family. Similar to Dominion with some additional layers that are easy to pick up

  43. I see other comments recommending Marvel Legendary and Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle. Those are among my favorite deck builders, and both have great theming that will appeal to kids. And they are cooperative, which is nice if you have people who get too competitive. Both games have very similar game mechanics. However, HP would be simpler if you have younger kids, due to the fact that it has a campaign mode, where you start playing a very simple game, while new mechanics get slowly introduced over the course of 7 games (one for each HP book), making it easier to learn and understand. But by the end of the game, it's complexity is equal to Marvel.

  44. Paperback and Hardback are fantastic games. Sometimes I think I’m the only person playing them, so it’s nice to see some love for them!

  45. Look into Fort while you're at it! You play as a kid trying to make the best fort by accumulating the most stuff and pizza. Doesn't get more kid-friendly than that!

  46. Dominion is good. I'd also recommend Big Book of Madness if the kids are 10+ (maybe 8 depending on maternity and attention span). It's a co-op deck building game where players take on the role of different magicians to fight creatures from a book trying to suck them in. Co-op games with kids can be really fun :D

  47. If you're willing to take on a deck builder with a learning curve, there's the Star Trek deck builders. I'd recommend playing Ascension or Tanto Cuore first before moving to this one, and if you do, play TOS before you play the vanilla version of the game.

  48. My husband taught then played Dominion (base game) with my 8yr old daughter just yesterday and she loved every minute of it!

  49. I really like Dominion, but it is at its best if you have lots of expansions. For a single set, I prefer the DC Deck Builder game. It’s got more variety than the dominion base set, and I enjoy the superhero theme.

  50. Cool. There's the Catacombs of Karak, its expansion, and now this stand alone deck builder that looks like it hasn't been released yet. But now I'm looking forward to it!

  51. I will be the third person to recommend Harry Porret Hogwarts Battle especially if your kids like the theme. It is fun, starts easily enough and gets really tough by year 7. Also its expansions Monster Box of Monsters and Charms and Potions are recommended as well.

  52. Dominion is great as an introduction to deck builders imo, since thats ALL it is. However I'm not sure how good it is for kids

  53. My parents got Dominion for me right when it came out and My brother and I absolutely loved it. (we would have been around 13/14 at the time)

  54. I have played sooo much Dominion (over 3000 online games) and was completely obsessed with it in the past. Its an amazing and incredibly influential game. I can't honestly recommend it for purchase though, simply because it plays better with the more expansions you have and they are A) expensive and B) bulky. I also think it's a game better suited to online play; IRL games can drag a little. I have the base game and 5 expansions and I've played maybe a couple of dozen IRL games ever because if I sit down to play a board game with partner or friends, there's tons of options that give a more satisfying experience.

  55. Star Realms and Clank! are both fun deck builders with more interesting themes than dominion imo. Clank has a bag mechanic and push your luck stuff which I find really enjoyable

  56. Dominion has two great weaknesses. First, it has very little player interaction, making it feel like you're each playing solitaire together. This could in some groups be considered a strength though. The second is the super weak theme. I've never met anyone who knew or cared about what you were actually doing. If those aren't problems for you it's a great game, but the lack of a good theme is usually a problem for kids. Kids tend to care less about gameplay and more about theme.

  57. We really love Clank! in our family - it has especially good excitement towards the end of the game when the dragon is getting super mad at everything stealing her treasure. Pretty easy to learn and lots of fun.

  58. I played dominion for the first time a couple months ago, and it’s a great game. It can be “gamed” if you ply with hardcore gamers that like to do that, which could be lame to play against. But it’s a color game. And it’s very much a “gateway game” like the ones you’ve mentioned.

  59. Dominion has held up well, and although it has a lot of expansions, the original base set is a nice simple deck builder that sounds perfect for you to start with.

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