Welcome to another installment in “My Top 3 Wargames” series. I am presenting here the titles which follow the common theme, mechanics or historical subject. Such articles gave me a lot of inspiration in the past so I hope you will find them useful too! Today the focus will be on Wargames with Deck-Building mechanics!
Definition of this type of Boardgames Mechanics:
Players play cards out of individual decks, seeking to acquire new cards and to play through their decks iteratively, improving them over time through card acquisition.
We all are familiar with that type of games, don’t we? Still, these were probably the EURO games – like Dominion, Clank! or Concordia – rather than conflict-based positions. But believe me, this genre has a lot to offer in Wargaming world.
So let us see the titles in my selection!
Other articles in the series:
Undaunted: Normandy by Osprey Publishing
As you probably can observe from my blog, I am devoted fan of David Thompson creations. I play mainly his solitaire titles – like Pavlov’s House, Castle Itter or Soldiers in Postmen’s Uniforms. But I also discovered this small, simple, fast-playing but very deep jewel – Undaunted: Normandy!
The story told in the game starts in June, 1944. Thanks to the D-Day landings, the Allies have seized a foothold on the beaches of Normandy. Your task is to lead your troops forward as you push deeper into France and drive the German forces back. Of course, you will face intense resistance, machine gun fire, and mortar bombardment, but a great commander can turn the situation to their advantage!
Undaunted: Normandy is a deck-building game that places players in command of American or German forces, fighting through a series of missions, critical to the outcome of World War II. Cards are used to seize the initiative, bolster forces, or control troops on the battlefield. Strong leadership can turn the tide of battle in one’s favor, but reckless decisions could prove catastrophic as every casualty taken removes a card from a respective deck! This is great balance of deck building and operations on the map.
I own the Polish edition of the game and started to introduce my cousins to the wargames using this title. That proved a fantastic idea as they quickly grasped the mechanics. But do not be fooled; even the grongard will find this title entertaining and full of suspense! Highly recommended!
More about game:
Time of Crisis by GMT Games
Third century AD was not the happiest era for the Roman Empire. Actually, it was almost end of its might. Torn by internal squabbles as well as external barbarian invasions it was at the verge of collapse. The game uses well-established deck-building mechanics, as well as a hand management. It covers all important elements of the epoch: Praetorian Guard, civil wars, barbarian invasions, angry mobs, rival emperors, pretenders, etc.
Players take role of one of the Roman dynasties building – via influence cards – its power in military, political and public approval areas. They can construct huge public buildings, fight with other families (for glory) or with barbarians and foreign leaders (for even more glory!) Thanks to the superb expansion, there is also a possibility to play solitaire.
The game is easy to learn, can be played in 2-3 hours and is a great introduction – as a light option – to the world of wargames. On top, GMT stood to its reputation and made sure that the components of the highest quality were used.
What I especially like about this game:
- Deck building mechanics – that is really great and interesting – a real puzzle within the game; from level 2 to 4 cards have not only more points to spent but also special event to use. And you need to be very careful not to buy too many of them – as you dilute your hand. And how to later get rid of one of those 1 point trash cards. Really enjoyable dilemmas.
- Quality of components – GMT really shines in that area and I am very satisfied with the pieces created for the game.
- Bots – rarely you have such a good, intuitive, easy to learn and fast bots. See more here.
- The game is very thematic and you can really feel the Roman Empire being torn apart by internal and external dangers.
- The expansion brings not only bots, but new cards and emperor traits. That makes game much more fun.
- Last but not least, there is a great vassal module and the game is very well suited for play by email.
In my humble opinion, Time of Crisis should find place on the shelf of every GMT Games fan. The game is really interesting, thematic and fast, has expansion extending its replayability, allows for play with intuitive and easy to learn bots. On top of this, the position has some nicely incorporated luck factors and events, which influence game in unpredictable way from time to time. Highly recommended!
More about game:
- BGG page
- My articles on the blog
- How does it play with Bots?
- REVIEW – Time of Crisis + expansion
- UNBOXING Time of Crisis + Expansion
Blitzkrieg!: World War Two in 20 Minutes by PSC Games
The article title is about deck/bag building wargames, yes? So now time for the latter type. No cards this time but units / special tokens which fuel your actions and strategies – all this in PCS Blitzkrieg!. Publisher claims you can recreate World War Two in 20 minutes in this perfect wargame for non-wargamers, which allows two players to battle across the War’s most iconic theaters, winning key campaigns and building military might.
So how the game works? Players draw army tokens from a bag to determine their starting forces and to replenish their losses. Rather than ‘fighting’ battles with dice or cards, players allocate their military resources to each theatre’s campaigns, winning victory points, further resources, special weapons, and strategic advantages as they play.
I found this small, easy to learn and fast to play game really enjoyable and engrossing. You always have a decision – to invest in the future units, building-up forces for later offensives or immediately attack and gain the strategic advantages. And the special units adds additional flavor to the game – really, try it if you had not have a chance so far!
The game includes Solo mode by Dávid Turczi. Sic! The solo module for Undaunted is also created by this author!
More about game:
A deck/bag building mechanics are pretty common to boardgames nowadays. Still, they are not so popular in the Wargaming part of the hobby. I truly hope we will see more titles like the ones above – and I see those numbers growing!
All above titles are highly recommended – hope you will find some interesting here! As always, any comments are welcome!
Thanks for your article, Michael. The only game of this type I have played is Hands in the Sea, about the First Punic War. I didn’t get on with it because I felt that the deck building mechanism has no correlate in the history that the game is simulating. Given your review, though, and your interest in ancient history, I recommend you to try that game if you have not already done so.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you Paul! I will put this to my “to-play” list!