I won’t lie – I’ve never played a deck-building game before. I thought they were something akin to CCGs: endless money spent on random packs of cards. As some games have tons of supplements, you can understand my apprehension.
Yet, here I was at my local game store, holding a box with Scott Pilgrim on the cover. I was assured everything I needed was inside, so I decided to give in to my inner geek and try it out.
For those who’ve never played deck-building games before, there is no need to worry. Unless you go all out on specific lines and their expansions, everything you need is in one box. “Deck-building” is merely the game’s core mechanic; you start with a minimum set of cards, but create a more extensive deck through the course of the game.
Funny enough, I’d seen this style before when I’d played D&D Dice Masters. It turns out they stole the idea from these deck-builders, changing the “deck” to pools of dice. Of course, WizKids did cash in on the booster pack mechanic found in MtG, meaning they’re money sinks… unlike this game.
So how does Renegade Game Studios‘ Scott Pilgrim hold up? Pretty well, for my first time at this type!
The learning curve from the instructions was a little steep. Some of that may have been due to lack of familiarity with deck-building games, but the instructions were a bit confusing at times. Once you learn the rules, however, the game flows fast.
Each person chooses a Character to play, a core Evil Ex for everyone to defeat, and two main decks that you maintain a pool of “plotlines” from which you choose new cards. Each turn you can acquire new cards for your deck, face challenges currently in play, or just end the turn. There’s a lot of overturn of cards, as you’re discarding your hand once or twice each turn.
The nice touch is the Scott Pilgrim flavor built into the game mechanics. The Characters to choose from (Scott, Ramona, Knives, Wallace, Kim, and Stephen) all have unique strengths and play styles. Combat is often formed around creating combinations of cards, which mimic video game “special move” codes.
Even more interesting are the Drama cards, filler cards that can hinder your deck but can also make combat more difficult for your opponent. Furthermore, individual Characters (like Scott and Knives) can gain bonuses when they use Drama cards, meaning they often want more Drama. Just like the comic book!
I’ll be honest; I wonder how much replayability it holds to non-Scott Pilgrim fans. Although we had a blast, part of our enjoyment was seeing our favorite characters and making up stories. If you’re less familiar with the source material, the game may be less exciting.
Still, for a basic introduction to deck-building games, this one does well. I’ll also say, that those who are fans of Scott Pilgrim will probably want to add this to their collection. There’s nothing better than earning points for gaining the Power of Love, then defeating a Giant Dude in a Purple Suit with two Butt Slides and a Flying Burrito combo.
Will Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Card Game last in its fun? It’s hard to tell right now, although the ability to play solo or with two or more players provides some variety. Otherwise, I think the game might be a little simple for experienced deck-builders and require some new expansions and flavor down the road.
Scott Pilgrim’s PLCG is on shelves now. 1-4 players, 30-60 minutes, Ages 13+.
I give Scott Pilgrim 4 devoted fans out of 5.
(We’d like to thank the Tom of Third Eye Games & Hobbies in Annapolis for recommending the game!)