View Full Version : DC Deck Building Game - A Review

07-19-2012, 10:57 AM
Original article here.

The DC Deck Building Game – A Review


I’m the epitome of a casual player. I’ve been casually playing and casually deck brewing ever since Heroes of Azeroth. Lately, I’ve had the itch to get into the game more competitively, so I thought I’d head down to the temporary store Cryptozoic set up during Comic Con and participate in the Lootapalooza. Not much to say for the event (see my last blog for the details). To sum up: we used Class Starters from Block 5 and two groups of two players (out of 8 total participants) had identical decks (Alliance Shaman and Horde Priest). I received the Alliance Rogue with Shadow Dance and Silent Crusader, finished 3-1 and ended up in second place overall, but no rare loot was had by me (congrats to Josiah for the Chicken Mount!)

After the tournament, I grabbed a demo of the DC Deck Building Game by Marcos. He said that after the hundreds and hundreds of rounds that he’s played, the game is still very fun. Anyways, he was really friendly and explained the rules, which I will now explain to you. Please bear with me, as I’ve never played a deck building game before, so some of this might be old news.

Before starting the game, there are many different piles of cards. There is the main deck, which towers over all the other piles. There is a pile of green Weakness cards, a pile of orange Kick cards, a pile of oversize Hero cards, and a pile of 12 Red and Black Super Villain Cards. There are also piles of yellow Punch and Vulnerability cards.

To begin the game, each player is randomly dealt 2 hero cards. The player then has to choose which hero they would like to be for the game. Each hero has a power that can influence what kind of deck you want to build. For example, Wonder Woman (the hero I was playing) benefitted from recruiting Villains by drawing extra cards. Superman had a bonus when you played Superpowers. Flash drew more cards when you drew cards. The hero powers were full of flavor by closely mirroring their comic book personas.

Now you look through the Super Villain pile until you find Ra’s al Ghul; set him aside for now. Next, you randomly remove 4 other Super Villain cards from the Super Villain pile. Finally, put the Super Villain pile face down, with Ra’s al Ghul on top, face up. He will always be the first Super Villain the players need to defeat, with the other 7 being unknown.

You start the game with 10 cards, 7 Punch cards (worth 1 Power each) and 3 Vulnerability cards (worth nothing). This is your deck. You shuffle it up and choose draw the top 5. This is your hand for the round. Then, you flip over the top 5 cards from the main deck. This is the line-up, and is common knowledge for the entire table to see.

Now let’s look at the anatomy of a card.


The name of the card is on the top left. This card’s name is “King of Atlantis.”

Beneath the picture, you have a type line. This is a Hero type of card. You can also tell because the card is blue. Each card type has a different color. Villains are red, Equipment is grey, Superpowers are orange, Weaknesses are green, Locations are pink, and Starter Cards are yellow.

Beneath the type line is the text box, the meat and potatoes of each card. Here is where you’ll find what each card does.

On the bottom left, there is a star with a number inside of it. This number is how many Victory Points, or VPs, this card is worth. At the end of the game, each player totals the amount of VPs in their deck, and the player with the most VPs wins! King of Atlantis is worth 1 VP.

On the bottom right of each card, in a grey circle, there is a number. This is the cost of the card. The currency of the game is Power. You want to have as much power as you can. Why? I’m glad you asked. You want to buy more cards for your deck and make as powerful a deck as you can. Why? Well, let me pose a question to you. Remember that deck of Super Villains? Each one of them can be bought just like a card from the line-up. King of Atlantis costs 5 Power to recruit.

So, your first turn begins. You play each card one at a time. We’ll make up your first hand to have a total of 3 Punch cards and 2 Vulnerability cards, for a total power of 3. However, nothing in the line-up costs 3 or less. What do you do? Well, you can either pass the turn, which would be a waste of a turn, or can buy a Kick card. Kick cards are orange, indicating they are Superpowers, and act as a communal well for all players. Kick cards are very basic (I think they add +2 Power) and can be bought anytime you want.

If you can buy a card from the line-up, you put it onto the pile of cards that you just played. These cards then go into your discard pile and you draw a new hand of 5 cards. You’ll notice that you now have no more deck after your first turn. When it comes time to draw again, you will shuffle all your discarded cards together and that becomes your new deck.

Eventually, you will make your deck strong enough, by buying bigger and better cards, to buy a Super Villain card. Let’s look at a Super Villain.


You’ll notice that Super Villains cost a lot. If I remember correctly, the cheapest was 8, while the most expensive was around 12. Super Villains also have a greater than normal VP amount. And finally, most Super Villains have a great effect. For example, Ra’s al Ghul will add 3 Power to your hand, but will also go to the bottom of your deck instead of the discard pile. Thus, you will see Ra’s a lot more in your hand throughout the game.

Once a player buys a Super Villain and refills their hand, the next Super Villain shows up. Whenever a Super Villain arrives, they have a global effect that can hurt every player. There are certain cards that you can use as Defense cards that can block attacks.

The game ends when either the main deck is depleted (something that rarely happens) or you run through the entire Super Villain pile (much more common).


One of the best aspects of this game is that you can permanently get rid of, or destroy, some of your cards that adversely affect you, such as Weaknesses. Thus, you can continue to concentrate your deck with high power cards. I’m told this is different from other deck building games and a major drawing point.

I haven’t even started on the other card types yet, but overall, I cannot wait for this game to come out! The art is beautiful and the rules, while simple, offer many different deck building routes. CZE has not released a definite release date yet (they don’t even have a sub-forum to buzz it up), but hopefully, it will be released Soon™er rather than later!

Also of some or no importance: the hero cards did not have a DC logo on the back, but rather, a generic Cryptozoic logo, much like the VS System cards in the past. Also, someone may or may not have said that this engine is designed to be playable with other properties. Wild speculation: commence!

Until next time, mahalo!

07-19-2012, 11:06 AM
This is a great review and I really hope to get this game ASAP I loved demoing it over the weekend

07-19-2012, 07:43 PM
Sounds great. This is a must buy.

07-22-2012, 12:49 PM
you actually start the game with 7 punch cards and 3 vulnerability cards (Ive played it numerous times before Comic Con and I also demod it quite a bit that weekend since it is such a great game)

07-23-2012, 11:50 AM
from what seen so far the DC cardgame use's the same game system as Penny arcade game just with same changes her and there to names.

07-23-2012, 12:55 PM
from what seen so far the DC cardgame use's the same game system as Penny arcade game just with same changes her and there to names.

its a different system than penny arcade for the community cards

07-23-2012, 01:06 PM
from what seen so far the DC cardgame use's the same game system as Penny arcade game just with same changes her and there to names.

It is not the same, as in every deck building game there are common points to them all, but when you play this you notice the differences that make it better than other games.

07-28-2012, 05:11 PM
It sounds like a mix of Penny Arcade (I.E. the character cards with different abilties), Ascension (The ever-changing center row) and Resident Evil (the stack of monsters to kill that's separate from cards you buy).


06-25-2013, 06:26 PM
I'm interested to play this card game since it is related in super heroes, I just wonder if it is okay to make decks with combination of superhero and villain.

06-26-2013, 08:47 AM
I'm interested to play this card game since it is related in super heroes, I just wonder if it is okay to make decks with combination of superhero and villain.

Perfectly fine. You'll be hard pressed to win a game if you don't combine heroes & villains.

07-01-2013, 08:45 AM
Just wanted to add my two cents on this game:
My friends (8) of us love this game and we have deck building game nights a few times a week (however it must be told that we play for more than just friendship and entertainment)

We even have a detailed spreadsheet with a bunch of stats!
We've played hundreds of rounds and I wanted to give my personal input on various parts of the game:

1. Best way to play this game is 3 player. 4 player is getting a bit long between turns, and two player has too much luck involved on flops, and cards are unbalanced (X-ray vision, starro, brainiac, etc)

2. We did not like drawing aquaman and flash for a long time due to thinking they were very underpowered compared to the other heroes. After recording stats from hundreds of games, we can safely say they are about in line with the other heroes. However, disregarding luck of lineup flops, cyborg is definitely a notch above the rest, and batman/manhunter are underpowered and more flop dependent compared to the others. (Note: Wonder Woman is very flop dependent too, but everyone likes to buy batmans equipment, and manhunter is too dependent on draws)

3. Man of steel is godly, and anyone purchasing man of steel before mid game can win no matter which hero they are playing

4. Parallax+ clayface, and lex luthor/clayface is too legit!

5. Almost always buy green arrows bow

6. Lobo is too legit!!

7. Early game scarecrow (first 4 hands) is GG to the rest

That's all I can think of right now, can't wait for the expansion! Hope it stays balanced

07-01-2013, 01:14 PM
Wow...I almost always shy away from Scarecrow. I never really gave it much thought.