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Tabletop Review: DC Deck Building Game Crossover Pack 2: ARROW: The Television Series

DC Deck Building Game Crossover Pack 2: ARROW: The Television Series
Publisher: Cryptozoic Entertainment
Cost: $10 ($6.90 at Miniature Market)
Card Total: 27
Release Date: 07/21/2015
Get it Here: Miniature Market

It looks like we’ll be getting an expansion pack for the DC Deck Building Game once a quarter at this rate. In late March these packs started with The Justice Society and now we have our first pack based on a live action DC property – Arrow. Is it bad I now want a Christopher Reeve Superman expansion? Anyway, this pack comes with twenty-seven cards and rules sheet. Please note that as an expansion pack, you’re supposed to use this with one of the four available core DC Deck Building Games– the original, Heroes Unite (My favorite), Forever Evil and the newly released Teen Titans.

In order to use the crossover pack, you take one of the four main decks and remove both the oversized Super-Hero (PC) cards and all of the Super-Villain cards. Then you replace them with their equivalents from the Arrow pack. Of course, there are less of each in the Crossover Pack, which means you have less options in terms of heroes. Don’t worry though. Your five options are pretty great: Oliver Queen, Roy Harper, John Diggle, Felicity Smoak and Sarah Lance. Thank god Laurel isn’t a PC. You just pick a PC (or are assigned one at random). It’s just like the core game – but with less options. With the eight villain cards things are a bit different. In the core game, the first villain is always the same and then you shuffle the rest of the bad guys, make a small deck out of a certain amount (based on players and length of time you have) and you have a bit of randomness. Not so with Arrow. Instead the same eight villains are put into a deck from lowest to highest cost. This means the villains will always appear in the same order every time you use the crossover pack. So the element of surprise and randomness is gone. That’s a bit disappointing, but it is similar to the JSA Crossover Pack.

Each deck tends to have a card theme going on. Forever Evil, for example is about destroying cards to get a short-term bonus. Arrow is about placing cards under your Super Hero oversized PC card. Think of it like a quiver of gimmick/trick arrows. Each Super Hero, Super Villain and even some of the added extra cards works off this idea. Oliver Queen, for example, lets you discard a card from your hand at the start of your turn. If it is an equipment card it can go under your Super Hero. If you discard any other card, you take a random card from under your Super Hero and put it in your hand. So you can store a +5 Power card or whatever for when you really need it instead of hoping it appears in your deck at the right time. Roy Harper can put a Super Power in the line-up under his Super Hero PC card. That’s huge. Then at the start of his turn, if he has four or more cards under his PC card, he can get +2 power in exchange for destroying four cards under his Super Hero card. So this kind of combines the Forever Evil and the Arrow mechanics. Interesting. As a final example, let us look at Felicity. With her, if you play two or more Heroes (not Super Heroes) during your turn, you may put the top card of your deck under your Super Hero PC card OR you can take a card from under your Super Hero and put it in your hand. Again, think of this as storing cards for when you really need them. Once you get the hang of these new Super Hero abilities, you’ll realize that you can have just the right card for when you truly need them.

I won’t spoil the eight Super Villains for you, but I will say that the choices are based on seasons one and two. There are no season three cards, so don’t look for Ra’s Ah Ghul or the like. You will see both big bads from the first two seasons in here as villains. Each of their attacks do force you to put cards under your Super Hero. Only one actually gives you a Weaknesses card out of the eight which is a big change. It’s very hard to get Weaknesses cards with this crossover, which surprised me. Again, the slight differences in play style that you will see with Arrow are subtle but really do change the way the game is played.

Besides the Super Hero and Super Villain cards, there are fourteen other cards to add to your core deck. You don’t have to take anything out from whichever core game you choose to play ArrowArrow show. Equipment cards include Oliver’s bow and Sarah’s staff. The location is Verdant, Oliver’s nightclub. Heroes are Detective Lance, Laurel, Moira and Shadow (No Nyssa?) and Villains include Mr. Blank, Bronze Tiger and Huntress. Yes, the latter two are Heroes in the regular DC universe but not in Arrow. I was surprised Amanda Waller didn’t show up in one of there. Finally we have Super Powers which include Mirakuru and “You Have Failed This City,” which you know had to be the name of SOME card in this set.

Out of all of these fourteen new cards, three will radically change how you play the game. “A Promise to a Friend” is a permanent ongoing card. You get an additional +1 Power on your turn, but you may not destroy cards. So this would be insane in a Forever Evil set. Moira Queen gives you 1 VP at the end of the game for each card under your Super Hero. Not only does this tie in to the Crossover Pack’s theme, but it can give you a TON of VP…unless you are Roy, as his special ability requires you to destroy cards under your Super Hero. Finally, if you are using Sarah Lance as your Super Hero, you’ll want to get the Collapsible Staff card as it lets you gain ALL the Villain cards in the line-up for free. EACH TIME IT IS PLAYED. Considering her special ability, this card is one Sarah Lance’s player needs to get at all costs.

So there you go – that is the Arrow Crossover Pack for the DC Deck Building Game. It’s impressive how much it can change the gameplay strategies for each of the four base decks. I’m also impressed that after six different releases for the game, each one still manages to feel fresh and new, while adding something to the DC Deck Building Game instead of feeling derivative. With a MSRP of ten dollars though, the Crossover Packs can be pricey compared to the cost of a full core game. $6.90 over at Miniature Market though is a fantastic deal. It’s thirty percent off, so if you’re a fan of Arrow and/or the DC Deck Building Game, this is certainly the route to take.

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  • aaron b

    question, is storing the cards like it is on the street fighter version? i haven’t read anything anywhere that refutes this idea. in the street fighter version, there are only a few cards that let you select the card you want to get from under your hero, just like this pack.