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Building Your Deck

In the last post I talked about whether the deck that a player has built over the course of a mission should reset at the start of the next mission or whether the progress should be saved over the course of the campaign. Which is great, but we haven't talked about how the player builds their deck yet! The subject of today's post is about how the players get new cards into their deck. As far as I can see there are three ways of doing this:

  1. Using cards themselves as the source of the money to buy cards.

  2. Players earn money by using cards (kept track of by a cube on their player board). They can then spend this money on cards at the end of their turn.

  3. At certain points during missions - killing certain enemies, completing story based objectives or at the end of each scene - players get the chance to select a card to add to their deck.

Using Cards as Money

The game that put Deck Building on the map was Dominion. In that game the starting cards included money cards, which are then used to purchase cards, some of which also generate money. A lot of deck builders have used this approach, but changing the term money to whatever was thematically appropriate. I'm not sure this would be the best approach for Spaceship 47. On the one hand, it would give another decision for the player to consider while playing the game - "Should I use my action to buy a better card so that I can be better on future turns or should I do something now?" but even though Deck Building is a part of the game, I don't want it to be the game.

Actions Earn "Money" Which Can Get Spent on Cards

For this option, I imagine some of the cards having values on that when the player uses the action they increase a track on their board. At the end of their turn they can buy a card if they have enough points. In some ways, this is a speeded up version of Gloomhaven. Some actions on Gloomhaven cards gives the player XP, which when they hit a certain value they level up and get to add a card to their deck. This implementation for Spaceship 47 would speed this up drastically so that a player should be buying 4 or 5 card per mission. The positives for this option is that it can help balance cards as some of the weaker ones could have greater values when played. It could also help mitigate the crushing disappointment of missing with an awesome attack by letting the player increase their points if they fail the attack. The downside is that it adds something extra to keep track of.

Events Cause the Player to Add Cards

When a player does certain story driven things - opening the door that the heroes need to get through to complete the scene, killing the enemy that is preventing them from getting off the planet etc. then the player draws two or three cards and picks one to add to their deck. The positives for this option is that the player doesn't have to keep track of anything, and it wouldn't stop them from playing the actual game. The downsides is that it might mean that the players don't add that many cards to their deck over the course of a mission.

Removing Cards

Part of deck building is gaining better cards, the other part is removing cards you no longer want, to increase the chance of drawing cards you do want. I think to keep it simple, I will just say that at the end of each scene a player can remove one card from their deck.

Communal Deck

As well as the player's individual decks, I need to consider how the communal deck gets built. I think the mechanism for building the communal deck should be different to the mechanism for building individual player decks. At the moment, like with removing cards from individual decks, I was just thinking of at the end of each scene, players can add one card to the communal deck and remove one card from the deck.


So that is where I currently am with the deck building aspect. Unless I have missed a way of adding cards to the deck, I will go with option 3 where events during the game allow players to add cards to their deck and then at the end of each scene, players can remove a card from their individual deck as well as adding and removing cards from the communal deck.

Please let me know if there are any ways of adding cards to the decks that I missed!

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