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The Cardboard Kid – 008: DC Comics Deck-Building Game

You’re one of the DC Superheroes. Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and so on. You’re trying to beat the Supervillains. Pretty simple, eh? If the name didn’t give it away, this is a deck-builder. Remember what I said in my Paperback review? I love deck-builders! Anyhow, you’ll eventually turn your weak starting deck into something powerful, and save the day. This game can be played on weeknights if you’re fast enough and/or lucky. To get a game in on weeknights, we usually play with four Supervillains instead of the recommended eight. With the full amount, you’re probably looking at a weekend game. Before I tell you what it’s about,
let me say a few things about deck-builders. You really should organize your
deck-builder boxes before your play your first game. Use dividers. Separate based
on the starting card piles, enemies, the main deck, and so on. The instructions will help you figure this out. Also, buy sleeves. Games aren’t cheap, and you’re going to be shuffling, like, a million times. Protect your cards! When at your friendly local game store, let them know what game you want to sleeve, and they’ll point you in the right direction. Okay, on to the game. You’ll pick your starting Superhero. This is a mechanism called Variable Player Powers. They have unique abilities that range from being incredibly powerful, to being pretty cool. You draw five cards from your starting deck of 10. As always with deck-builders, your starting cards aren’t very good. The Vulnerability cards are just in the way. The Punches, though, are +1 Power. Eventually, you’ll have enough Power to buy a card from the Kick pile – +2 Power, or something from the Line-up. You’ll continue like this until you have a great deck, filled with Locations that give you ongoing bonuses, and cards that pull off huge combos. If you have enough Power to attack a Supervillain — if your Power is equal or higher… Bam! He’s toast. Reveal the next Supervillain, and follow the First Appearance instructions. These are kind of like the bad guy’s attacks on you. Keep building your deck, keep crushing those Supervillains, beat the last baddie, and the game is over. Add up all the Victory Points, or VPs, shown on the star in the corner. The winner is the Superhero who’s the most… heroic? I don’t know, it’s kind of weird. Honestly, you probably don’t even need to track the VP, but it does make the game more fun. When I was five, I played my first modern tabletop game: NHL Power Play Team-Building Game, also by Cryptozoic, and it’s pretty much the same game as this. Instead, though, you’re collecting players, and making plays to score on the goalie. Once you’ve played one Cryptozoic deck-builder, you’ll know the basics for all of them. When we heard they had a DC Comics version, which it turns out came out two years earlier, we picked it up. You may not know this but we’re big comic fans. This wasn’t a story about this deck-builder, though, just the line in general. The cards look great. I’d even say the art is… Super. The problem is you don’t really feel like a Superhero. You’re kind of like a captain or something. You’re telling Superman to use his heat vision, or having a captured Gorilla Grodd swing his fists at the enemy. The game length is all over the place, too. I mean, maybe it’s because I’m young, but it can get frustrating to have to
quit just when things are getting good because we first weren’t getting the cards
we needed. We don’t have this problem in our other deck-builders, and we’ve played a lot of them. I think the game is fun, and we’ve probably played it probably 20-30 times. After about half of those plays, we bought the first Crisis expansion, and now only ever play with it. The Crisis expansion does make the game longer, so that’s something to think about. I don’t want to say that a game isn’t good without the expansion, but… I really recommend Crisis Expansion 1. If you’d asked me a year ago, I would’ve given DC (Comics Deck-Building Game) two thumbs, no problem. The thing is, there are better deck-builders, and better games out there. I’m sorry, DC Comics Deck-Building Game. It’s been good, but I think it’s time for me to move on. No thumbs.

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