Game Idea: Ikesai Deck-Builder

"Save Your Own Damn World!"

Inspired by Geoff Thew’s video on the ikesai genre, I want to imagine what an ikesai-themed deck-building game would look like.


Ikesai is a Japanese genre (very, very loosely) defined by how the protagonist or protagonists are teleported, reincarnated, or otherwise transported to a different world with different rules. Examples include Inuyasha, Konosuba, and That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime.

The deck-building genre features games where the players modify the contents of their decks (or deck-like elements) as a core part of gameplay. The decks typically start off mediocre but grow more powerful as players acquire new cards, remove old cards, and play cards that modify the deck directly. Examples include Dominion, Slay the Spire, and Luck be a Landlord.


The ikesai genre revolves around entering a new world with one’s memories intact, often accompanied by special abilities and/or with imported skills and experience disproportionately useful in said world. Sometimes the protagonist arrives with nothing but their original selves and must level-up (figuratively or literally) in order to survive in their new home. What better fit for a game genre like deck-building with its regular reshuffling of an ever-improving deck?


Let’s brainstorm some ideas:

  • The player deck represents their protagonist or protagonists. The acquisition of equipment, abilities, allies, and injuries are represented by modifications to the deck.
  • The opposing deck represents the world into which the protagonist has been reincarnated. This could consist of a series of challenges and events experienced in a linear fashion. Or, this could represent an evolving world where the player’s actions modify its contents via the removal of defeated foes, the addition of new obstacles, and alternations to the tide of battle.
  • Each round could represent a new loop in the reincarnation cycle. Certain cards would be removed, others added, and various numbers reset. The player’s gold and equipment stash would go back to zero, for example, but their skills and abilities would remain.
  • Play continues until the player defeats the main villain (who might only manifest after a certain minimum number of rounds) or when they run out of rounds in which to do so.

All promising ideas. This feels like a proposal worth further development. What genres do you want to see blended like that?