Boardgaming in 2017!


Which version? Because the original game had serious balance issues that made it a horrible slog if you didn’t carefully select your town and monster pairings.


I played a bunch of Clank! In Space over the weekend and really stumbled with the deckbuilding. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve played thousands of games of more traditional deckbuilders (mostly Ascension) and not quite grasping how to calibrate my general strategy for moving around on a board. But it seemed really hard to thin out my deck and even harder to attain good color-unite synergy. And without thinning being able to thin my deck, the starting cards feel really clunky when you need to GTFO as fast as possible. I really like the concept, and it’s fun enough to play, but I feel like there needs to be some finer tuning on the deckbuilding aspect. Maybe some spaces on the board where you can trash cards, or spaces to draw cards. It is surprising (and perhaps disappointing) that there are zero ways to alter my deck by doing things on the board.


The Advanced version ironed some of that out, but I will add the caveat that I did not play it exhaustively as many have Dominions, so those balance issues may still exist when comparing the two. So if we are talking about something that needs to stand up to dozens and dozens of plays, I cannot speak to that as well. Ascension [digital version] I played hundreds of times, however, and its balance was excellent and I did prefer it to my physical plays of Dominions.

I still enjoy Dominions, but I really prefer the theme of Thunderstone and the market option. Having played the new version that is on the way, it certainly adds a lot to the formula that does not seem to detract, but instead enhances the game play and provides additional choices without muddying the waters too much.


Yeah, I heard Advance fixed quite a bit but I’ve never played that version so I’m not sure if I’d consider it to do enough.


Thunderstone Advance is probably some of the most fun deck building experience you can have. Up that a notch by playing in “epic” mode and you have on of the best deck builders to hit the table.


This is fair, and I will say that, as a matter of taste, I don’t mind this as much as others do. So that’s one reason I can highly rank Dominion. Although, to its credit, you can tune how aggressive the game is based off the cards you choose in a set. Still, it only gets competitive in certain circumscribed ways.

@tomchick – Maybe I’ll be able to take you up on scavenge some arcticitude in the future! To be honest, the more head-to-head nature of the game (from what I’ve heard) has been a reason I haven’t pursued it.

Hey, has anyone played the deckbuilder called Fleet? There was a podcaster I used to listen to (forget who now) who used to just rave about it, but I haven’t been able to find a copy and I don’t totally understand why it’s great. Anyone?


Man, I don’t know how you all can have a conversation about the best deckbuilders and not bring up A Study in Emerald, A Few Acres of Snow, and Time of Crisis. ;)

Tom Mc


I’ve never had a chance to play any of those! I’ve considered getting Few Acres of Snow several times in the past, but I find I rarely have opportunities to play 2 player games.


I’ve only played a couple of games of Fleet, but I have really enjoyed it. It’s not a deckbuilder, but a tableau builder (i.e. Race for the Galaxy). I found the design to be very elegant. Simple mechanics, but interesting decisions. The key design elements in Fleet are an auction system each round, building an engine out of the cards you win from the auction, and using cards you draw from your engine as resources (in several different dimensions - each card is a ship with a cost to play, coin value if discarded to use as money, and ship type).

The designer’s latest game Wasteland Express (which is a collaboration with the creator of Dead of Winter) is high on my list of games I want to try.


Cool. Most of the stuff seemed to be at MSRP so I decided to skip buying stuff, but damn did I play a lot of games.


Besides Clank in space, I found two small games which I might grab later on.

Love Letters and Kingdominos.


If nominations are still open, I’m going to suggest Valley of the Kings for the deckbuilder award. A neat little game (fits in a deck box) about assembling an engine with the purpose of disassembling itself.


Love Letters is a great game. Fun, easy to teach, quick to play.


Played it once 5 years ago. It’s so unmemorable that I had to go back to my notes to remember any details at all, other than having played it. Said notes ended with “it’s ok, no need to play again”.

I’ll disagree with both the description of it as a deckbuilder and as a tableau builder. I thought it was mostly an auction game. And that’s a tough genre to succeed in.

As for why that podcaster raved about this perfectly average game, that’s pretty much how board games work. When a game clicks with a group just by random chance, there’s a feedback cycle where they’ll play it more, enjoy it more, play it more, etc. And they’ll come to think of it as an all-time classic, even though in the rest of the world it’s totally obscure. I’ve got a bunch of those myself.


I think you’re being a bit harsh. It’s a tableau builder mixed with an auction game. I’m not going to say Fleet is a must-play, but it’s an elegantly designed, quick game that plays well for what it is.


I’ve played that! Yeah, it is pretty cool.


How do folks rate Aeon’s End in the deck builder hierarchy? Also, I have my eye on the sort of cutesy animal twist for deck building in the Kickstarter (still going) Direwild. It has some neat ideas, but I’m not sure if it’s a keeper.


I like it so far.


I tend not to sleeve games either (as my very worn Marvel Legendary set will attest), but for as many plays of this that are in the box, I’ll probably do at least the modifiers and monster abilities as you mentioned. Probably will do the player ability cards as well just given how much they’ll be handled.


The best deckbuilding game I’ve played is Sami Lasko’s Dale of Merchants, which feels like it was designed by someone whose sole exposure to the genre was overhearing someone talk drunkenly about Dominion in a bar. Everything about this game is delightful and insane: the premise, the art, the victory conditions, the card design, the loony factions, all of it. And with skilled players it can be ferociously competitive.