DC Comics Deck-Building Game

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Welcome back to another one of my board game reviews here on A Roll of The Dice. My name is Adam, and by now you have probably noted that I tend to lean towards deck building games, which is why I have chosen to do just one more. It is one that I took a chance on just the other day, and have had a chance to play it several times since then. I am talking about the DC comics deck builder, which I was happy to be able to choose from three different starter sets. I chose the one with all of our classic Justice League members, but there was another one with Nightwing, Shazam and more, and finally there was an all Villain one as well, which was really intriguing. I know in the end, I will break down and get all three, but for now I focus on the one I own and have played.

Deck Builders in general is a game type for which you start with a set number of cards. Some cards are worth buying power, and usually some are worth attacking power. You will buy new cards as you play the game which will make your deck stronger, and give you infinite possibilities of card combinations. DC does this a little different. While they do have “buying power” known as Power, they do not have attacking power, and instead have vulnerability (which essentially makes those cards useless to you, and will make that hand have a dead card. It works like a real superhero though, as they all have time to recover, or things that can hurt them). Power is used to buy, and used to defeat the super villains (more about that soon), and to attack another player, there are cards in the deck with special attack powers (that too). Why don’t we jump right in and see how to play, and what it is all about.

GAME PLAY

The game starts with each player being given seven punch (plus one power) cards and three invulnerability cards. This is what will be our starter deck and we will shuffle them to draw five random starter cards. After those cards are dealt out comes choosing your hero, each of which has their own unique powers. Batman gives you plus one power for every equipment you play in that turn, Flash always goes first, and lets you draw an extra card from your deck anytime a card would make you draw (only the first time every turn), and then you have Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Cyborg, Aquaman, and of course, the man of steel Superman. An amazing cast of superheroes trying to defend the world, but be the best at doing so. We decided to randomly choose two heroes and pick our main choice, so not everyone jumps all over Batman. I played as Wonder Woman first and got completely decimated by Cyborg (it was really brutal) and then played as Flash and absolutely dominated Batman (the game does not really seem to have many close games. All of mine at least, have been blowouts).

The game starts with each played drawing the first five cards from their newly shuffled deck, which will be your starting hand. Next we will reveal the first five cards from the buying deck (which contains Heroes, Villains, Equipment, Super Powers, and Locations) which is the first cards we can purchase. They range in value from two to seven, which is a good medium for this game. They also have a smaller number in a star on the card which is the Victory Points you get (more on that later). The card you buy will then go into your discard pile, and will be reshuffled in once you run out of cards. Unlike most deck building games, the next item from the purchase deck is not drawn until your turn is over, so you can only buy a maximum of five new cards from this deck.

Now that you are assembling an army to fight the Super Villains, it is time to attack! Each Super Villain also has a purchase (attack) which is what you need to meet to take that Super Villain into your deck. They range from nine points up to twelve, so they are the cream of the crop. There is twelve villains to choose from, and the usual game uses eight of them. We also do that randomly, but Ra’s al Ghul must always be included, and must always be the first Super Villain you fight. When you defeat a Super Villain, they also go into your deck and start helping you with defeating the other Super Villains. Each Super Villain (except Ra’s) has a first time attack, when you flip them off of the Super Villain deck, they attack all of the players, usually forcing them to have a smaller hand for that round, or adding Weakness cards to their deck (minus one Victory Point). The game ends when the final Super Villain is beaten, and then you tally up your Victory Points. The player with the highest total, will win the entire game.

So there is the break down of a usual game, fairly simple to learn, and great to try out. Why don’t we see how it compares to the other games you can buy. I am doing this a bit differently, and instead of giving a rating out of ten, I will be rating it as follows : Must Have, Should Own, Decent Game, or Do Not Bother. This will give you a true reflection, and not rank it directly against games that do not compare to each other in game play styles.

DESIGN

Pros :

This game has a great art style as it showcases a lot of the DC characters you have come to love. You see them in art work that is DC comic worthy, and in doing so they really add a fresh look to the characters. Each card has a lot of creative talent that went into it.

The box was perfectly suited to the game style, with plenty of extra room for the expansions that you can buy. It makes it easier to keep all of the cards together, and with the ample room, you can own all of the games, while only needing the one box to keep it in.

The box art is simple and fresh, giving us a little hint of what is contained inside.

The extra features they added to the game did actually add to the game play, and didn’t really take anything away. It is a good, fresh addition comparing it to other deck building games.

Cons :

The characters themselves are a little unbalanced in their design. The special abilities they get can actually over run the game, making it almost too much to play. With any deck builder, you get the cascading card effect, but with DC I managed to pull of an almost twenty card combo. This is just crazy considering.

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REPLAY VALUE

Pros :

Like any other card game, there is a near infinite amount of options to be able to make. You can try and build an all hero deck, which can be very helpful in battle. You may choose to do all villains, which can be helpful in filling your opponents hands with weaknesses. You may just want to use Super Powers and equipment to decimate the Super Villains. No matter the choices you make, it will cause major game play changes.

The game itself plays in about thirty to forty five minutes, so it is easy to replay a game or two in between the heavy timed games. Always a good feature, especially in a game that can play four players.

There is so many expansions, all of which add new cards with new abilities, that you can completely change the game with a small pack from Arrow, or Flash.

Cons :

There is not too many of them, except the limited amount of Locations to be able to use. I’ve played twice now, and in the first game never had we seen a single location. In the second game, we were able to see one of them (Teen Titan’s Tower) so I just wish there were more of them.

FUN FACTOR

Pros :

I love deck building games, from Legendary to Star Realms. Love them, so I am a bit biased.

You get to crush Super Villains, while bringing the pain to your closest friends. Who doesn’t want to watch a friend squirm because they know Poison Ivy or Scarecrow is coming for them?

You will recognize almost all of the references, but of course there will be a few that are a little less known to some people. It makes it fun for hardcore DC fans, and also the casual readers.

Cons :

I thought long and hard about this one, as I never want a game to have no con to it. There is only one I could come up with. I was dissapointed at how easy it was to defeat the Super Villains. Once you have taken out one of them, you can guarantee it is mainly downhill for the other player. Both games I played, one person was responsible for taking out the majority (seven out of eight) of the Super Villains in the game. This really unbalances the game after a few turns, and basically gives the game to the person who got first blood.

Keep in mind, I am basing this on the few times I have played, so this may not be the same way I feel in a few more games. I know that all of my other pros and cons are locked in, this is the only one that bugs me a bit.

OVERALL ­- Should Own

My overall rating really takes a lot of things into consideration. I take the game play, the dynamic, and the ability to play with multiple people. I love to check out all of the aspects of a game when I play, and will intensely study the rule book to make sure I understand it.

This game is fun, it may not be Legendary fun, but it is still a good gateway game into the deck building world. It is the game you can blow an afternoon on without even realizing it. This kind of game is one that will grow as we go on, and see a lot of variations coming from the TV shows and movies that DC has lined up.

This is a game that every player should own, and let me know what your tactics are/who you prefer to use in battle. Thanks again for reading, and I hope you like the new format. If not, please let me know why, as I can always make some changes to it. I want to evolve with your help.

Next purchase I make will be Roll With It Deluxe Edition, so I can not wait until I can get a review up on it. Still a few more games to go through though!

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