The 10 Nerdiest Things of 2016

It's been a heck of a year.  People moan about 2016 for various reasons, but instead of looking back at any negatives of the year, here are the things that I enjoyed out of 2016.  Instead of posting several different lists for movies, tv shows, board games, etc, I decided to just combine them all together! Let me clarify - some of these items have been around for awhile, but 2016 was the year I was introduced to them.  And for me, whenever the year would get me down in one way or another, it was these 10 things (among others) that would lift my spirits.

10. Star Wars Roleplaying Game

Although Rogue One was a close contender for this list, I'll kick off this list with the Star Wars Roleplaying Game from Fantasy Flight Games.  At this point, I have 4 different versions of a Star Wars RPG on my shelf, but the FFG version is by far my favorite.  I had run Edge of the Empire in a previous year, so putting it on this list might be cheating, but this year was the year that I actually got to fully explore the game.  Previously, I didn't understand completely how the system worked and was figuring out pieces of the game on the fly.  This year, not only did I get the chance to figure out how the game was played (more on that in a bit), but I sat down with my friends and recorded an excellent campaign for The Dirtbags of Holding podcast.  If you haven't heard that series please go listen now!  Of the campaigns we have done so far, it has to be my favorite.  The pilot I came up with, Scratch, has to be the most fun character I have ever role played, and I know for a fact I'll be dusting off that character sheet at some point in the future.  If you've ever wanted to explore the Star Wars universe, even if you've never played a roleplaying game before, this game is worth taking for a spin.

9. The Campaign Podcast

Image from oneshotpodcast.com

Image from oneshotpodcast.com

How did I learn to play the Star Wars RPG?  Well, 2 of my fellow Dirtbags, Cory and Jimmy, introduced me this year to a podcast called Campaign.  The Campaign Podcast on the One Shot Network is an actual play podcast that features Kat Kuhl as game master along with a cast of awesome characters playing through FFG's Star Wars game.  It has action, comedy, drama, and a crap ton of Star Wars.  Once I gave this podcast a try, I quickly burned through the 70+ episode backlog in order to get caught up with the story.  If you want to get a feel for how good (or bad) this system could be used, then you need to give this podcast a shout.

8. Numenera

Image from montecookgames.com

Image from montecookgames.com

This year was also the year I figured out what the heck this Numenera game that I kept hearing about was.  Starting out as a Kickstarter in 2013 that raised over half a million dollars, Numenera is a science fantasy Role Playing Game that takes place in a billion years into the future.  Eight great civilizations have come and gone on Earth, and now you play as characters in the Ninth World, exploring the world and finding remnants of the previous civilizations.  The line between technology and magic is very thin in this game, as players get "Cyphers" - one use bits of technology (called Numenera in the setting) that can do all sorts of mysterious things.  This game, and the Cypher System that powers it, intrigues me so much.  It revolves around letting the GM easily make adventures and stories, while not being completely light on mechanics like other narrative focused games.  In fact, Monte Cook Games, the company that produces Numenera, touts that you can use the Cypher System to create adventures right on spot.  Here's an example of one of these instant adventures, hosted by the company at Gen Con this year (see if you can hear me in the audience shouting suggestions!).

7. Scythe

If you had told me at Gen Con that the board game Scythe by Stonemaier Games would end up on my Top list of 2016, I never would have believed you.  Scythe is a resource management/area control game set in an alternate World War I era….with giant mechs.  Yeah, sounds like it would be right up my alley right?  However, when I gave this game a try at Gen Con, it seemed very complicated and too complex for me.  Fast forward a few months, and I decided to pick up a retail copy of the game at a nearby store.  Since I had played with the Kickstarter version, I *had* to of course pick up the metal coins and realistic tokens.  Then, the game seemed complex to set up so I *really* needed to get The Broken Token insert.  Makes total sense…..  By this point I had gotten a few plays in of the game and was completely sold in.  The components, the artwork, the strategy, all of it just hits me right in the sweet spot.  I even took it home for Christmas and taught my dad how to play - and he normally is not much for very complicated games.  Yet we played the game multiple times together over the break - and had a blast doing it!  This is a game I can't wait to take out again, and I feel that purchasing the expansion for the game is in my near future.

6. Legends of Tomorrow

Image from cwtv.com

Image from cwtv.com

I love the DC Comics TV shows that are on the CW network.  So when I heard about "Legends of Tomorrow", a show where some of the characters spun off from previous shows "The Flash" and "Arrow" time travel to stop a massive plot, I was sold.  Featuring characters such as Captain Cold, Firestorm, The Atom, and Rip Hunter, the first season of the show had its problems but was still enjoyable to watch.  If that was all that I had seen, however, it would not have been enough to end up on this list.  Luckily, the first half of the second season has come out, and has made this show a part of my "must watch" TV each week.  Now, I can not stand to be behind in this show, for they have taken out what didn't work in the first season and cranked up what did work to 11.  Not to mention, the huge crossover episode "Heroes vs. Aliens" between Supergirl/The Flash/Arrow/Legions of Tomorrow put together is easily the best live action work that DC has put out in years (sorry Batman v. Superman, but you had some serious problems).  With drawing in at least 3.3 million viewers each night, I'm probably not the only one who felt this way.

5. Ice Cool

This game completely caught me by surprise.  Ice Cool, by Brain Games, is a dexterity game where you flick penguins around a school trying to score fish before the hall monitor hits you.  The penguins are weighted like "weeble-wobbles" so that they are always wobbling around and can result in some special trick shot maneuvers.  Here is a play through of the game, if you want to see the game at work.  It is such a simple game that was sold to me as a kid's game but I've had more fun playing this with adults than I have kids.  You can get some really ridiculous shots in some times, which makes the game more than a straight skill game.  One randomly good move can get you caught up, and is hilarious to watch someone try and repeat the same shot.  This game is a ton of fun that you can play with all of your friends and family, so I encourage you to give it a try.

4. Overwatch

Image from playoverwatch.com

Image from playoverwatch.com

Anyone who truly knows me will not be surprised to find a Blizzard video game on this list.  Overwatch is the company's latest game, a team based first person shooter that plays a lot like Team Fortress 2.  Players take on different roles and try and score objectives instead of a traditional "deathmatch" style game.  These traits that make the game different from classical shooters like Call of Duty are exactly why the game appeals to me so much.  In this game, I don't have to be the best crack shot, as I can help my team by shielding them from damage or healing them instead.  There's a whole layer of strategy that you don't get in other games.  Not only that, but Blizzard puts their heart and soul into everything that they do, which means that you get a game with all different kind of characters.  Each character has a detailed backstory that builds to the overall lore of the game.  Playing this game with my friends has become a big thrill for me over the past few months.

3. Pokémon Trading Card Game

For a reason you will find out soon enough, I have gotten really back into Pokémon this year.  Like, in a big way.  I've been playing through different versions of the video games, buying up related shirts, artwork, etc.  However, the biggest way I've been "catching them all" is through the Pokémon TCG.  All of us here at the Renshaw house have jumped on the bandwagon of the game, at the right time it seems as Pokémon celebrated it's 20th anniversary last year.  All through the year, The Pokémon Company did several events to get people back to that 90s nostalgia, including releasing a set featuring artwork from the original version of the game.  Suffice to say, every time we go to the store now, we are picking up booster packs of the card game and enjoy opening them to see what we've "caught".  We don't get to play the game too much but we still have plenty of fun collecting the cards together.

2. Pokémon Go

I've been an off and on Pokémon fan since the 90s, but what sparked this most recent bout of Poke-mania?  Oh, you know, just a tiny mobile game called Pokémon Go.  Taking the world of Pokémon and fusing it with our own, Pokémon Go was an unstoppable force during the summer.  Oh, and Pokémon Go is still a thing, despite what some would lead you to think.  From a peak of 40 million players, less than 15 million people still play the game as of October 2016.  That's still more people than the population of Illinois!  My wife, daughter, and I all play Pokémon Go, and we love going out to places and walking (or driving in this colder weather) around catching various Pokémon.  Ashley and I will have dates where we go out and just sit around at a popular place for Pokémon and catch as many as we can together.  People scoff when they hear that I've actually spent money in the game for items and such, but spending $5-10 for an hour or more of entertainment together is a pretty cheap date, in my opinion.

1. Deadpool

Image from foxmovies.com

Image from foxmovies.com

If you are reading this blog, chances are you've already seen Deadpool, the movie about the violent and vulgar Marvel comic mercenary .  You might know how great it is.  Why do I think it is better than everything else on this list?  Typically, when I enjoy a movie a movie in the theater, I can't wait to purchase it on DVD/Bluray/iTunes.  If I really like a movie, I'll even rewatch it a couple of times after it releases.  I've probably watched Deadpool over 10 times by the this point, and it hasn't even been a whole year since its theatrical release.  This movie is perfect for me in so many ways - the superhero genre, the humor, and the way it doesn't take itself serious at all.  Every time that I watch the movie, I laugh at the same parts.  It never gets old!  Granted, this is not a family movie, nor even a movie I would ever think about showing Chloe.  Still, the enjoyment I have gotten from this movie definitely solidifies its place here on the top of my list.

What About 2017?

Now that we've talked about last year, let's look ahead and briefly see a couple of things that I'm looking forward to this year.

(Movies) Superheroes.  More superheroes.  And did I mention superheroes?  There's a lot of comic book based movies coming out this year that I am really looking forward to.  I don't even have to wait very long, as The LEGO Batman Movie (probably the one I want to see the most) comes out February 10th.  On the opposite side of the year, we get to see if Batman v. Superman will redeem itself as Justice League opens in November.  Inside of those layers of DC bread, we have lots of Marvel goodness that will be drawing people into the theaters.  Between Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, and Logan, Some are predicting that Marvel will rake in over 3 BILLION dollars.  That's a lot of dough - I hope the movies turn out to be good!

(TV Shows) DC is already killing it with all of their CW shows, but in addition to more episodes of my favorites, the show I'm really intrigued about is DC's latest attempt.  Powerless is a new comedy debuting on NBC that features goofy scientists making all the high tech gadgets that the world needs when superheroes fighting supervillains is an everyday occurrence.  I thought the idea of a comedy in the DC universe was a weird idea, until I saw the promo.  The show reminds me a lot of another show I enjoyed, Better Off Ted.  If it can be even half as good as that show, and with the talent that is behind the show, it may turn out to be a real winner.

(Games) This year, I'll have many Role Playing Games that I'll be trying out for The Dirtbags of Holding podcast, but I think the one new game that I'm the most curious about is Starfinder by Paizo.  Taking the Pathfinder ruleset and throwing it into science fiction, Starfinder releases during Gen Con this year.  If you want more information about this game, I did an interview with James Sutter, the Creative Director behind the game.  Paizo has a radical fanbase and I'm sure the game will sell very well, but the real reason I'm curious about the game is that Paizo has a great staff of creators who weave together awesome adventures and gameplay.  Thus, Starfinder is bound to be a very interesting RPG experience.

--

So there you have it.  What tickled my fancy in 2016 and what I'm anxiously awaiting in 2017.  What about you?  What did you enjoy last year, and what are you looking forward to this year?

Betrayal at House on the Hill, Superfight! - Boards & Swords #34

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2014-12-23 05.57.42

Merry Christmas everyone! Just a regular episode this week as I've been so booked that I have been unable to prepare any sort of Christmas special. Don't worry, I've got a couple of new things planned for the new year. In this episode, we talk about Superfight, along with a breakdown of Betrayal at House on the Hill, and we wrap a bow (HA! Christmas joke) on the ongoing D&D campaign I've been discussing.

This podcast is an Obsessive Comics Disorder production. Please visit ocdcast.com for more great videos and podcasts, such as the main Obsessive Comics Disorder podcast, making fun of comics and all the other geeky things we obsess over. Like to contribute to the show? Send me an email with what you are playing to feedback@boardsandswords.com. On twitter, you can find me @ChrisTheProf or on facebook go to facebook.com/obsessivecomicsdisorder. Also check out my instagram (ChrisTheProfessor) to see pictures of all the games that I'm currently playing.

The Resistance, Dungeon Master's Guide - Boards & Swords #33

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2014-11-25 17.32.06

Lots of board gaming talk this week! Between Thanksgiving and other side trips, I share plenty of gaming experiences from the past couple of weeks. I've also got the brand new 5th edition Dungeon Master's Guide to talk about, and we breakdown the social deduction game The Resistance!

This podcast is an Obsessive Comics Disorder production. Please visit ocdcast.com for more great videos and podcasts, such as the main Obsessive Comics Disorder podcast, making fun of comics and all the other geeky things we obsess over. Like to contribute to the show? Send me an email with what you are playing to feedback@boardsandswords.com. On twitter, you can find me @ChrisTheProf or on facebook go to facebook.com/obsessivecomicsdisorder. Also check out my instagram (ChrisTheProfessor) to see pictures of all the games that I'm currently playing.

"Philip's A Dirty Rotten Cheater" - Obsessive Comics Disorder #65

2014-10-19 20.14.14
2014-10-19 20.14.14

We try out some new mic stands this week that I made from Ikea lamps, I finally got my hands on a new iPhone 6, and Philip is overjoyed with the new expansion to Star Trek Online. Plus we've got more monster manual mad libs and a letter from a douchebag editor as well!

If you'd like to comment or contribute to the show, send us an email at feedback@ocdcast.com.  You can also talk to us online, I'm @ChrisTheProf on twitter and Philip is @Philip_OCD.  You can also follow us on facebook at facebook.com/obsessivecomicsdisorder.  The background music in this episode was composed by Andrew Allen and can be found on his CD's "Free Play" and "Smooth Federation" - thanks for letting us play them on the show!  Check out ocdcast.com for other great stuff, including my tabletop gaming podcast "Boards & Swords".

Boards & Swords #16: Munchkin, Friday Night Magic Fails

2014-03-30 18.55.51
2014-03-30 18.55.51

Lots of great stuff this week - a couple of FNMs gone bad, news about the next X-wing pack (I CALLED IT!), what happens when my party gets into the dungeon I made, and a breakdown of the card game Munchkin!

Board Games

Quarriors on iOS - very nice, may even replace the print version.

Cards Against Humanities - Bought it, haven't had a chance to play yet

X-wing: Imperial Aces

News

Not sure about the next episode - will be at PAX East!

Journey into Nyx Prerelease is at the end of April!  Which means there will be a special in depth episode - send in any questions/comments about the last episode for me to answer on the show.

Rebel Aces Pack announced for X-wing!

http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_news.asp?eidn=4705

Magic The Gathering

Friday Night Magic Tales - hard time getting cards, made a 2 color deck and was not doing well with it.

- This week, had a good idea, got some sweet cards, but then released while playing the theme I was going for didn't really work in limited

Roleplaying Games

More D&D 4th edition campaign tales - The party begins their trek through the dungeon I created!

Featured Topic

None this week

Board Game Breakdown

Munchkin by Steve Jackson Games

Feedback/Shoutouts

MTGyou Podcast - 

www.mtgyou.com

Closing

This podcast is an Obsessive Comics Disorder production.  Please visit 

ocdcast.com

 for more great videos and podcasts, such as the main Obsessive Comics Disorder podcast, talking about comics and all the geeky things we obsess over.  Like to contribute to the show?  Send me an email with what you are playing to 

feedback@boardsandswords.com.

  On twitter, you can find me @ChrisTheProf or on facebook go to 

facebook.com/obsessivecomicsdisorder

.  Also check out my instagram (ChrisTheProfessor) to see pictures of all the games that I'm currently playing.

Boards & Swords #12: Carcassonne, What Makes A Good Gaming Store?

photo 2 (8)
photo 2 (8)

This week, we see the return of some roleplaying game talk, chat for a bit about what makes up a good gaming store, and break down the classic game Carcassonne!

Board Games

Android: Netrunner - Still cannot win at this game! Bought the first data pack, made a pretty killer Haas-Bioroid corp deck

X-wing Miniatures - Also lost. My “tried and true” A-wing setup doesn’t work well against non-swarm builds.

Recently purchased, but can’t wait to play: Forbidden Desert, Rampage

News

“Join the Rebel Alliance” - Looking at the Star Wars: Age of Rebellion beginner game

http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_news.asp?eidn=4613

Magic The Gathering/Roleplaying Games

Continuation from the news segment, but I talk about getting Chloe interested in Roleplaying games.

Featured Topic

What makes a good gaming store? I talk about some of the experiences I had on travel and 2 stores in particular that I went to up in New Jersey.

Board Game Breakdown

Carcassonne by Z-Man Games

photo 1 (8)
photo 1 (8)

Feedback

None this week - let me know what you guys are playing!

Closing

This podcast is an Obsessive Comics Disorder production. Please visit ocdcast.com for more great videos and podcasts, such as the main Obsessive Comics Disorder podcast, talking about comics and all the geeky things we obsess over. Like to contribute to the show? Send me an email with what you are playing to feedback@boardsandswords.com. On twitter, you can find me @ChrisTheProf or on facebook go to facebook.com/obsessivecomicsdisorder. Also check out my instagram (ChrisTheProfessor) to see pictures of all the games that I'm currently playing.

Boards & Swords #8: Android: Netrunner & How I Screwed Up Pandemic

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photo (7)

This week I have LOTS of board games to talk about, I mention how my wife and I could not beat Pandemic until we read the rules again, and what happened to my D&D group in my second adventure.  Then we wrap everything up by breaking down the card game Android: Netrunner!

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Boards & Swords #7: Quarriors, Commander Decks, & The First Adventure

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photo 1 (4)

This week, I talk about my first time playing the Magic: The Gathering Commander Decks and acting like a first time player in Friday Night Magic.  I also discuss what happened at the end of that first D&D session that I set up, and finish the episode breaking down the board game (dice game?) Quarriors!

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photo 2 (4)

Boards & Swords #6: King of Tokyo Halloween

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photo (4)

I decided to kick off November with a short episode of Boards & Swords for you guys;  reviewing a game expansion that I just purchased last week: King of Tokyo Halloween!  Hear my thoughts on the game and whether or not I think it adds anything to the King of Tokyo experience.

feedback@boardsandswords.com

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Boards & Swords #5: Ascension, Theros Game Day, & Hearthstone

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photo 1 (2)

What's this?  A video game being discussed?  Yes, but not quite, as I recently got into the Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft closed beta.  Hearthstone is an online collectible card game based in the Warcraft universe, and you guys will definitely want to check this game out when it comes out of beta.  In addition, I discuss how the Theros Game Day went, how I finally won in X-wing, and elaborate some on the world that I set my recent D&D campaign in.  The episode finishes off with my Board Game Breakdown of Ascension by Stoneblade Entertainment.

If you are interested in purchasing Ascension via Amazon, consider using this affiliate link: http://ocdcast.com/ascension

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photo 2 (2)

Boards & Swords #4: King of Tokyo, Buying Cards in Magic, Starting a D&D Campaign

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image (11)

Not as many new board games to talk about this week; but I highlight a game I did NOT like.  I also won my first Friday Night Magic, and I give an inside look into how I started my recent D&D campaign and a couple of the thoughts that went into that first adventure.  Then, of course we finish up with a Board Game Breakdown of Richard Garfield's King of Tokyo by Iello Games.

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image (10)

Boards & Swords #2: Ticket To Ride, How To Get Started with Magic and D&D

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ticket1

This week, I back track a bit and discuss what D&D and Magic the Gathering are and give pointers on how you can get started in these games if you are interested.  I also talk about the new Small World iOS app, a kickstarter that I think D&D fans should support, and close out the show by breaking down the board game "Ticket to Ride"

Tabletop Connect Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/840448191/tabletop-connect-3d-virtual-tabletop?ref=live

feedback@boardsandswords.com

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ticket2

Ticket to Ride video review:

Boards & Swords #000: "Who Am I, & What Is This About?"

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photo (3)

Hey everyone, just wanted to let you know that I'm going to be burying my head in a bunch of work for the rest of the month and unable to publish any blog posts/videos/or podcasts.  But, before I did, I wanted to put out something for you guys to check out while I'm busy.  Recently, I've become a much bigger fan of TableTop gaming, specifically board games and card games.  Ever since, I've had this big desire to put out a podcast where I can talk about these things, but I wasn't able to figure out how I wanted to do it.

Until Now.

What you've got before you now, is a *very* rough idea of what I want to do for this podcast.  I don't have any titles or album art yet, so this is just a barebones pilot episode for me to get some feedback from you guys on how to create this podcast.

In this episode - I introduce myself and give a brief history of my gaming experiences, talk a bit about what I want to do on this podcast, and then go into a review of Wizard of the Coast's latest D&D reprint: the 3.5 Rule Supplement "Magic Item Compendium".

Question of the Week - A question that I'd like answered by you guys and will read responses on my next episodes (for now, email them to chris@ocdcast.com, or comment on this episode).

Board Game Review: Legendary - A Marvel Deck Building Game

As many of you who follow me on twitter may have seen (or read about in a previous article), every Monday night our local gaming store hosts a board game night. For the past couple of months, Chloe and I have been attending each week to try out many new board games. Normally, when I review board games, I try and make a video for you guys so you can see the board and visualize the game. However, I don't have the money to buy every game we play so you are going more blog posts talking about the games we are playing. Whenever I do get around to buying a game, you'll probably see a video review come out of it as well. Some of these are going to be a bit old as I need to get caught up on all the games we've played. Last month, Chloe and I tried out a game that I was very excited to learn to play. That game is "Legendary", the Marvel Comics Deck Building Game by Upper Deck. The idea of mashing up two of my favorite obsessions, board gaming and comic books, seemed too fun to be true. What did I think of the game? Read on to find out!

As I mentioned above, Legendary is a deck building card game. That means your job is to use the cards you start with to gather better cards to improve your deck for later turns. In Legendary, there are two lines of cards in front of you, a line of heroes that you can "buy" and a line of villains that you "defeat". Each line gives you cards that will be used at the game to determine who is the winner. At the same time, however, there is a "mastermind" - a villain with a plot that the players must defeat together or else everyone loses. If that sounds confusing at all, don't worry the game plays pretty well and is easy to pick up. If you've played other deck building games like Dominion, you will quickly catch on to Legendary.

Chloe and I both enjoyed this game. It strays away from other deck building games like Dominion and Ascension by adding in the cooperative gameplay of the players having to work together to defeat enemies to help topple the mastermind. This aspect, combined with villains who are constantly trying to escape, really do a good job of bringing in the superhero feel of Marvel Comics. The people we played with commented that there have been several times they've lost against the board, and they will purposely break out the game to try and defeat that mastermind again.

Yet, the addition of the Mastermind also contributes to the only problem I have with the game, which is it's length. To defeat the Mastermind, you have to kill him like 5 times, and he has a pretty high life value that you have to beat. In the game Chloe and I played, bad luck on the cards that were available really hurt us early in the game which made it hard to build up a good deck that would give us the cards we needed to hurt the Mastermind. Luckily, a couple of the other players we were with managed to hit him in a row a couple of times during the game. This also led to those players winning the game, but by that point it was getting late and I needed to get Chloe home to bed, so I was more relieved that the game was over.

That small bit aside, we did enjoy the game, and it will be added to the list of games that I want to get at some point. If you are a Marvel Comics fan, pick this game up and give it a try. I'm sure that you will find it rather enjoyable. You can even use the affiliate link below to pick up the game cheap at Amazon, which will kick back some money here to the site to help us out!

What deck building games have you played? Let me know in the comments below!