We’ll be keeping this page updated throughout the year.
Pretty much everyone in our group loves deck building games, and so do plenty of other people. Competitive games like Dominion and Star Realms have been top sellers because people seem to like having that feeling that they are designing their own decks.
Unfortunately, there really weren’t that many cooperative deck building games to choose from until a few years ago. Well, it seems like designers have realized that people like co-op deck builders because a lot of them have been creating them recently and more are on the way.
Since there aren’t a ton of cooperative deck building options out there right now, it was tempting to add a few that used just a little bit of deck building. Rather than doing that, though, we decided to stick with just straight-up deck builders in the main list.
So, with that being said, we think these are the best cooperative deck building games out there right now:
As you will find out below, Marvel Legendary is not our favorite in the Legendary series of games, but the theme will certainly work better for most people. There are about a million Legendary expansions at this point, so those who are fans of the base game will end up having hundreds of hours of fun to add to it.
This game deserves a lot of credit for being the one that popularized cooperative deck builders. Even after 30+ plays, it’s still a ton of fun for us to fill up our decks with the heroes we think will give us the best chance to take down the villains.
What’s great about The Big Book of Madness is that it is very easy to teach, yet it is deeper than it looks. It’s also a lot more challenging than you would think. We’ve played this game a lot and have only beaten it on the easiest level a couple of times.
As far as deck building goes, The Big Book of Madness does an excellent job of giving players a chance to pick cards based on their characters, who all have different starting decks.
Read our The Big Book of Madness review!
XenoShyft: Onslaught is very tough to beat, but it’s not a frustrating game. It’s the type of game that doesn’t allow you to breathe too much, but it’s straightforward enough to where you always have a pretty good idea about what you are supposed to be doing.
What’s great about XenoShyft is that it is a perfect mix of cooperation and deck building. You will be adding troops and items to your deck throughout the game, but the game pretty much forces you to want to help everyone on your team. If you don’t work together, you will have no shot at beating this game.
Read our XenoShyft: Onslaught review!
Shadowrun: Crossfire is the only game on this list that has a campaign, which allows you to build up your characters to be stronger in future playthroughs. The designers deserve a lot of credit for making a different type of deck builder that actually works.
One of the issues that deck building games often have is that a lot of the cards can feel similar. In Shadowrun: Crossfire, the weapons and actions all feel unique. This is great because it makes you feel like a unique character in the game.
Read our Shadowrun: Crossfire review!
We’re obviously huge fans of Legendary Encounters: Alien considering it’s in our favorite co-op board games list. It’s fun, it’s intense, and there’s always the potential for an epic moment. While you can’t go wrong with any of the Legendary board games, this one has been the biggest hit with us.
Easily the best thing about the deck building in this game is that you usually don’t have an obvious choice. You have to think about the aliens that are going to pop up, but you also want to give your deck as much balance as possible. It’s also pretty great that your “recruitment” options change from game to game and from turn to turn.
This might be a surprise pick to some people, but Legendary Encounters: Alien is easily the best deck building game for us.
Read our Legendary Encounters: Alien review!
Here are some other great games, some of which use deck building as a secondary mechanism:
Mage Knight – Even though the deck building aspect of Mage Knight is almost an afterthought, most people who enjoy deck builders will still love this one. It is one of the most complex board games around, but it’s one that everyone should experience. (read our Mage Knight review)
Mistfall – We definitely wouldn’t recommend Mistfall if you were looking strictly for deck building games, but it’s a very solid game with some light deck building mixed in. (read our Mistfall review)
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – If you’re a Harry Potter fan and also happen to like deck builders, this is an obvious choice. Plus, there is a lot more cooperation in this game than in most other co-op deck builders. One person in our group actually thinks this is the best deck building game out there right now. (read our Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle review)
Paperback (Co-op) – Most people think of Paperback as a competitive game, but it actually has an excellent solo/cooperative variant in the rulebook. People who love word games need to own this one. (read our Paperback review)