Builders!: The Building-Building Deck Building Game just might by the wonkiest and coolest name for a board game in ages.
And it is a deck-builder, so it checked off one of the boxes in terms of interest with our group.
That it is the creation of Nathaniel Sanderson of Guelph, ON. garners personal marks for me as well, as I hold a special place for Canadian games.
Builders! is a game about building towers, a game about knocking the towers of your opponents down, and a game about building a lean, mean, building machine of a deck of employees.
So what does this one offer?
“Builders! is a deck-builder where you’re trying to build the tallest, and most valuable, skyscrapers in the city. During your turn you will use the cards in your hand – ‘Employees’ - to buy more cards from the market. They could be additional
Employees to make your deck better, or ‘Floors’ that you can build in your plaza,” explained the game’s Kickstarter page.
“Employees are the cards that make up your deck, giving you the resources that you need to either build your own Floors, or to tear down your opponent’s Floors. Some specialize in building certain types of buildings, others help you hire more people to your deck, and still more have other special abilities.
“As soon as you build a Floor, you’ve got a Building. Multiple Floors can be stacked to build a higher Building, getting you more points in the process. Doing so puts you at risk of jealous competitors tearing your work down, or an unfortunate visit from the Building Inspector.
The game ends based upon the number of Floors in play (eight for four players, nine for three players, 10 for two players). There’s one final round after that before players determine their end score by adding the value of each Floor they have built, the height of each Floor, and any additional Value they may have added through other Floors creating buffs or advantages. The player with the highest cumulative value wins!”
What astounds is that this is a game with a relatively small deck of cards that supports up to four players in a game that relies exclusively on cards to do everything. That means most cards have multiple abilities within the game, and that means you have to be very aware within the game just what resources you have and then determine how best to use them.
In a game like the Granddaddy of the mechanic Dominion, often the path is rather obvious based on your play style. That is an important thing to remember. Builders! is just a bit more intense in terms of what each card icon means and on the in-game processes at play. That is not a bad thing, but with a lot of deck-builders being ‘lighter’ in terms of game play this one plays out differently.
Builders! is a game that out of the box comes across a bit too much in the detail for the ‘fun’ experience, but with additional plays the depth accomplished with such a limited deck improves the experience.
Check it out at www.brokenthings.ca/
Thanks to fellow gamers Trevor Lyons and Adam Daniels for their help in running through this game for review.