Remember a few months ago, I talked about trading card games and their ilk. The reason I wrote that primer because one of my favorite genres of board games right now is what is known as ‘Deck builders.’ In a deck builder, you start with a small deck, and buy new cards to let you do more with your deck.

The game that set of the deck building craze is called Dominion. Good game, actually, but it doesn’t see a lot of play locally because most of my friends and family don’t like it. Good thing I have another deck builder that is fairly popular locally.

Puzzle Strike is from the same designer as Yomi. Sirlin’s games all currently use the same background world of a fighting game that doesn’t exist for a variety of skill intensive games.

In the case of Puzzle Strike, you use chips instead of cards, and a bag instead of a deck, but the basic idea is the same. Start with ten chips, 6 Gems, 1 Crash, and 3 character chips. Shuffle in your bag and draw a hand of five chips. You start your turn by placing an ante of one gem from the bank into your Gem Pile which is just an area to keep these ante gems. You then get one action, which is any chip that isn’t a gem or a wound. Then you use the gems you have in hand, and any money you earned with your action/s, to buy new chips.

The win condition is the interesting part. As your Gem Pile builds, you start getting extra chips at the end of your turn, but if, after your action step, you have 10 or more gems in your gem pile, you lose. To prevent this from happening you use purple chips, Crash Gems, Double Crash Gems, and Combines, to send your chips to your opponents.

The game is fast and furious as everyone chooses different things to add to their bags in an effort to keep their Gem Piles reasonable, while sending as much to your opponent in a effort to force them to be unable to handle them.

Images from Sirlin Games website.