The Card Games genre is a heavily saturated market. From the colossal Magic The Gathering, to quick filler games such as Guillotine and Saboteur - the range is endless. The LCG format pioneered by Fantasy Flight Games is now also beginning to emerge, having gained a lot of traction with those frustrated due to the random nature of CCG packs, and seeking a less volatile card pool.
With all of these games it falls to us at Zatu to attempt to sound out our top five, so without further a do let's get into it. Though I should mention that we have not included CCG's on our list as instead of being a game, they are more a way of life!
5. Guillotine - Treading that fine line between card game and board game, Guillotine is a fast filler game about the execution of the bourgeoisie following the French Revolution. Sure it sounds heavy but it most certainly is not. Each player turn the character closest to the Guillotine will be in for the chop, with the points of those individuals differing greatly as the excitement to see Marie Antoinette beheaded is much greater than a mere peasant. Clever manipulation of the chopping order through cards is the way for you to score the most points and be sure that a move from one of your opponents doesn't seen you taking the wrong head.
4. Marvel Legendary - One of my top games of 2016, Marvel Legendary is a deck-building game produced by WizKids which brings superheroes to the tabletop. With 13 expansions, Legendary Marvel has all your fan favourites along with some of the rather more obscure characters, such as Speedball and Tigris. Smart deck-building is the key to this game as whilst you may want all those heroes you also want to try and keep your draw pile as streamlined as possible, or you will risk not having the right hero for the job.
3. Summoner Wars - Another game that treads the line, Summoner Wars is a frantic pre-constructed card game that simulates a fantasy war game in a short space of time. Played across a grid players will play one vs one, with each trying to kill the others summoner. With 16 factions to choose and a new master set that creates an additional eight out of existing ones, Summoner wars has a huge amount of replay ability and with its fast game speed is the perfect filler game. Me and some of my good friends have easily clocked more that 30 games.
2. Dominion - The king of deck-builders, Dominion is a great game where each player will start of with the same set of cards but through spending resources they will slowly mould their deck into a point-scoring engine. Dominion is now in its second edition owing its huge popularity and has a multitude of expansions adding more card types that bring new features and concepts to the game. Its simplicity also plays to its advantage, being an exceptionally easy game to teach whilst retaining plenty of features for experienced players to sink their teeth into. If this was a chartt for engine builders then Dominion would certainly be at the top however.....
1. A Game of Thrones 2nd Edition - The crown could only really go to one game! Now in its second iteration since leaving the CCG format, A Game of Thrones remains one of the hottest card games out there. Streamlined for its 2nd edition, it is now also more accessible than ever! Players will be pre-constructing their decks before attempting to seize glory in one of two formats: either the joust which is one vs one or a melee which is its multiplayer format. With it's popular LCG format and great support from Fantasy Flight Games, A Game of Thrones will most certainly be seeing an increase in popularity this year, especially with the new season of A Game of Thrones on the way.
Concluding Thoughts on Card Games
Their are so many great card games out their now and I was really spoiled for choice. Arkham Horror being a rather significant title missing from this list due to the lack of a large card pool and games such as Lord of the Rings LCG and Star Wars, though being well themed just don't have that same depth of mechanics, but I have not bought packs for these games for along time so perhaps I should take another dip into these.
The upcoming Legend of the Five rings LCG also looks rather interesting, especially since I played L5R in its previous format so I will most certainly be keeping an eye out on that front!