Deck-building card games continue to be popular, with several new ones being shown at Gen Con.

3012 from Cryptozoic is an adventure-style deck-building game (a la Thunderstone) with a post-Mayan apocalypse theme. The players build decks with allies, weapons, and actions, and can select from encounter decks in four different difficulty levels. With each encounter, the other players can choose to aid or block, thereby possibly sharing or stealing the encounter’s experience points. Experience points are used to level up. The game ends when one player reaches exalted level but the winner is the one with the most victory points (won during encounters).

Advance copies of 3012 were available at the show for $45.

Another deck-builder demoed by Cryptozoic at Gen Con is based on a DC comics license. Unnamed but scheduled for release in November at $40, this one is relatively simple but was fun, even for a non-comics-reader like me. Up to five players work independently but simultaneously to defeat a series of eight villains. Hero, super power, equipment, and villain cards provide power that can be used either to recruit more cards or defeat the current villain.

Upper Deck’s Marvel Legendary Deck Building Game is also based on a comic-book franchise, also scheduled for November (holiday shopping season, y’know), also accommodates up to five players, and also was surprisingly quite fun, though on a different level. Legendary is semi-cooperative and more complex than Cryptozoic’s DC game, yet I still found it quite easy to pick up. Each game of Legendary features a hero deck, a villain deck, a mastermind, and a mastermind scheme. The goal is to successfully attack the mastermind four times with resources gained from recruiting heroes and defeating villains. The problem is the mastermind doesn’t sit idly by. Upper Deck has come up with some very interesting mechanisms by which the mastermind fights back. Cards in the villain deck can trigger actions on the mastermind’s scheme card, which also dictates conditions under which everyone loses.

The base set of Legendary will come with 600 cards, including four masterminds and five schemes, and retail for $60.