Crusaders Games

Fantasy Adventure Card Games

Some of the best fantasy adventure games use card decks instead of miniatures and tiles to create its world. These offer a different experience to play and often allow more direct solo options, so I have separated these out from the miniatures and board games into their own section. These games often feature deckbuilding, and loads of expansions, and i therefore do not tend to keep too many of them, preferring to build up the ones i like best. Card games also tend to see much more play than my other games. Here are my personal favourites :

1. Lord Of The Rings LCG – Fantasy Flights (2011)

A living card game based within the Lord of the Rings fantasy setting, and features some of the best artwork seen in a card game. You embark on varied scenario quests which are determined using a specific encounter deck from which locations, monsters and treachery events will emerge. To combat this you choose three hero characters to adventure with and build yourself a custom deck of allies, events and equipment to support you. The questing mechanic provides an amazing co-operative or solo game experience, as you decide each turn who to quest with and who will defend or fight for you. Now this is a relatively tough game, but many expansion player card sets will enable better deck building which improves your chances of success, and this is a key part of the game enjoyment. I play this entirely as a solo challenge with one deck, and with more expansions available than you will ever need, it offers more replay value than any other game i have. You can switch your heroes, take new allies and equipment, try different quests, and its combinations feel unlimited. This is the deepest adventure card game, and once you get to know the cards it is great fun to build up different types of support deck. My additional webpage focuses on the best quest scenarios available using a single deck solo game > Lord of the Rings

 

2. Thunderstone Advance – Alderac (2012)

An expandable deckbuilding card game, where players each turn will work from a hand of six drawn cards to build a short strategy for the round. They will build up and improve their card decks by obtaining or upgrading heroes, and buying new weapons and equipment from the village in order to enter the dungeon and defeat monsters. It is similar to the popular game Dominion, but for me has a much better theme. This game has great artwork, and a number of useful expansions which provide loads of extra heroes and monster cards, so that the choices for game set up becomes huge. Whilst largely a competitive game, there are different variants you can play, customising what is available to buy or recruit, and which monsters you will face, and you can tweak the game length by increasing or reducing the monster deck, or even play epic style where all cards are randomly available to draw from. My 14 year old son loves this game as it is so easy to learn and play, but working out some killer move combinations does take a bit more strategic thought, and as such the game works well on different ability levels. Setting up themed dungeons to play is immensely enjoyable, and this is the most thematic deck building game available. I have also adapted the boxed solo rules to my own version to make it more enjoyable and a little more tactical > Thunderstone Solo.

3. Warhammer Quest Adventure Card Game – Fantasy Flights (2015)

This co-operative card and dice game has the Warhammer Quest dungeon crawling theme and brand at its heart. There are no models in this game, but what this sets up is a brilliant character and player interaction, as your heroes support each other to complete quests. In line with the original miniatures game, monsters will come thick and fast from the shadows, and your characters each have a set of 4 actions to use to combat the dungeon, and combining them with each other is critical. There is a light but specific storyline being told by each of the quest cards, and the mechanic of using your card actions and dice rolling works beautifully. It also has excellent expansion possibilities beyond the original box set, although so far only two new heroes have been released. This game also works so well for solo play, controlling two heroes and offering up tactical choices and story development, and is reasonably tough to complete. It has some similarities to playing quests in Lord of the Rings LCG, but is slightly easier to set up, understand and digest, which will appeal to many. It is an excellent and relatively quick dungeon experience, but did need more content to keep it fresh which sadly we will not see officially as the agreement between FFG and Games Workshop has ended. Here is more game detail and some custom scenarios i have written > Warhammer Quest Adventures


4. Xenoshyft Dreadmire – Cmon (2017)

This card deckbuilding game is a development of its predecessor Xenoshyft Onslaught, and is based in a swampland setting, setting players up to co-operatively defend their base from waves of monster attacks in a thematic starship trooper style scenario. Players receive resources and basic militia and draw from a card deck each round, gradually buying better troops and equipment, and laying out their equipped troops to defend from the next attack wave. Hidden monsters will then be revealed from a brood deck and battle commences. As a co-op game other players can chip and help each other out, but each round the number of cards everyone has is finite, and any monsters that get through your troops will damage the base. Over time you will become stronger, but then so will the monsters. This new version features improved balance rules and has weather impacts which change gameplay triggers each round. The game also has a solo option, and can be expanded by buying a lava planet monster set called immolation, or by adding in cards from the original Onslaught game. The artwork is amazing, the game is great fun, with many similarities to Thunderstone Advance, but is co-operative rather than competitive and this provides a useful alternative game experience. It is at its best with one,  two or maybe three players, the many card triggers going on can become unwieldy as the player count increases.

 

5. Arkham Horror LCG – Fantasy Flights (2016)

A new living card game creates a solo or co-operative adventure in the Lovecraftian world. Your investigators search locations for clues to unravel mysteries, while fighting horror creatures emerging into the world. Supporting them will be their deck of assets and event cards which you will select before the game, some of which are character unique. This game has a strong storyline aspect, you will feel like you are living through an adventure as you find clues and the doom track moves unnervingly forward, usually triggering a worsening position. This game is also campaign based whereby your character will be developing after each adventure before moving onto the next chapter. Comparisons with Lord of the Rings in particular will made, and Arkham Horror is more story driven, visiting specific locations has much more meaning to them, and you will feel more connection with your investigator. LOTR has more deckbuilding options and interesting card combinations to pull together, and battles are so much more engaging. Arkham does feel a little too fiddly, with tokens to draw from a bag and triggers and conditions you carry around, and suffers from lower replayability once you know the story. I felt it worked much better as a multi-player co-op than as a solo game.