Friday, August 21, 2015

How I learned to stop worrying and love the DC Comics Deck Building Game

The first time I tried the DC Comics Deck Building Game was at a game convention in 2013, and I didn't really like it all that much. I thought it was overly simple and not very interesting.

This was about a year and a half after DC Comics launched the "New 52," a complete reboot of all their comic book titles. I had been an avid DC Comics reader since the 1980s, but I didn't really care for the changes they made to their characters and storylines with the New 52, so I wasn't really very happy with DC at all, and my dissatisfaction was probably leaking through and interfering with my enjoyment of the game.

A friend reintroduced me to the game in January of this year, and this time I enjoyed it quite a bit. Maybe it was the fact that I was playing it with friends instead of convention demo staff, or maybe my irritation with DC Comics had subsided. Maybe it's just that I got to play as my favorite DC character (Superman). In any case, I did like the game enough to pick up a copy of the base game and the Heroes Unite and  Forever Evil expansions.

I still think it's a simple game, but I don't see that as a negative. As deck building games go, this one is about as easy to play as it gets: Each player chooses a hero with a unique game ability to play, and starts with a deck of basic Punch and Weakness cards. The main deck is shuffled, and five cards are played out, which represent heroic allies, villainous opponents, equipment, and super powers, all of which are bought by playing cards from your hand for their power value (just like any deck building game). The object of the game is to use the cards in your hand to buy better cards for your deck.

Additionally, there is a stack of super-villains, each of which must be defeated, again by playing cards from your hand. The super-villains tend to cost a lot more power than cards from the deck, and as each new super-villain card is revealed, it attacks all the players with a negative game effect. I particularly like the super-villain stack idea, as it gives the players something to work towards (building up higher-power cards to defeat the super-villain) and it gives the game a time limit, as the game ends when the last super-villain is defeated.

Rating: 4 (out of 5) Not a complex game by any means, but it's great for casual play with non-gamers, or as a light warm-up before settling in for something more involved.

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