Dominion is the father of Deck Building games. In Deck Building games each player builds their own deck of cards which they usually buy from a common pool of cards. Each card has a unique special ability for the players to use. Since the cards that are available change from game to game, every game will be different requiring new strategies.
I’ve played Dominion several times for over two years. The two things I love most about this game are the simplicity and variety of play. In my opinion, each of the four sequels makes a great game even better. I’ve therefore listed the sequels as my 2-5 choice. Since the basic game mechanics are the same, I’ll just briefly touch on what comes with these sequels.
2. Dominion Intrigue
First sequel to Dominion, this game comes with 25 new Kingdom cards as well as a complete set of additional cards necessary to play the game. Can be played on its own or combined with Dominion for even more variety.
3. Dominion Seaside
Second expansion to Dominion this adds 26 new Kingdom card with and a seafaring theme. Requires either Dominion or Dominion Intrigue to play.
4. Dominion Alchemy
Third expansion to Dominion adds 12 new Kingdom cards and a new kind of card: Potions. Emphazing magic potions, this expansion adds a new fantasy element to the game. Requires Dominion or Dominion Alchemy to play.
5. Dominion Prosperity
The fourth and final expansion adding 25 new Kingdom cards as well as a new type of treasure and victory point card. The emphasis is on wealth. You can more easily accomplish a lot on your way to victory, but so can your opponents.
First of the Dominion inspired deck building games this one is set in a fantasy world similar to Dungeons and Dragons. 1-4 players (yes the game can be played solo!) take turns buying items at the village and leveling up their characters with the goal to go into a dungeon and slay creatures. The player that earns the most victory points from slaying monsters and leveling up their heroes wins. Game comes with over 500 cards and offers a lot of variety. If you like Dominion and Dungeons and Dragons or other similar fantasy games, I would highly recommend this one.
7. Thunderstone: Wrath of the Elements
Sequel to Thunderstone adding new heroes, monsters and a new challenge Traps! If you’re a fan of Thunderstone, this adds much more variety and comes with a box that stores and neatly divides the cards from both Thunderstone and this sequel.
8. Ascension: Chronicles of the Godslayer
This is a lighter fast playing deck building game. The main mechanic is that only 6 cards come out each turn that are available to buy. Like Thunderstone this is set in the world of Fantasy. You earn victory points by defeating monsters. There are also some cards that give you victory points each time you play them or are worth victory points at the end of the game. If you like quick tactical card games with a fantasy theme, check this out.
9. Heroes of Graxia
This is a deck building game with direct player confrontation. In other words, you are encouraged to attack each other! But non-violently of course! Players take 2 actions per turn and can either: Attack other players or monsters, or draw a card from their deck. They can also buy as much as they can afford from 4 stacks of cards. These are the cards from which they will build their deck.
If you like fantasy but are looking for a lot of direct player interaction, this would be the deck building game I’d recommend.