I never played Magic. I briefly tried the original Vampire: The Masquerade (V:TM) themed CCG (Jyhad?). I had some Illuminati: New World Order (INWO) cards. I bought and listlessly toyed with a deck of the A Game of Thrones CCG. I really, really tried to like HeroClix. But every single time, the collectible element drove me away. I just couldn't see the merits of the game outweigh the pressure that random buys would put on my completist nature.
Now, there are a number of games that seem to take the good parts of the collectible games and do away with the collectible part. Can anyone offer a compare / contrast thumbnail of what seem to be the big deck-building games out today?
I'm an experienced RPG and boardgamer, so it's not like I'll be put off by some complicated rules or emergent complexity arising from multiple card interactions. And it's not like I can't hit BGG for some reviews. I just want to know what these games share and how they differ.
If there's another game like this, I'd be open to hearing about that, too. I'm not sure that the Fantasy Flight Games Living Card Games for A Game of Thrones and Call of Cthulhu qualify - aren't they just repackages of the old CCGs?