"Recycling" Deck Building Mechanic

Orrery Steam Punk Assemblage by urbandon
Most deckbuilding games have each player keep their own self-contained ecosystem of cards. They buy cards from a general supply and gradually grow their own deck. As their cards are used, they discard their cards into their own discard deck. Once their main deck runs out, they shuffle the discard deck and begin anew. Rarely in this process do players actually affect each other's ecosystems positively or negatively. (There are some exceptions, like Miskatonic School for Girls.)

What if there were a deckbuilding game where your discard deck actually belonged to your neighbor? So, when your neighbor's draw deck runs out, they don't reshuffle their own discards. Instead, they reshuffle *your* discards and that becomes their new draw deck. How does that affect gameplay?

  • What goes around comes around: If you use a very fierce offensive card against an opponent, that card could very easily re-emerge and be used against you as well.
  • Timing is critical: You would keep a wary eye on your opponent's draw deck. The shorter the deck, the sooner he'll have access to your discards. That may not be the best time to use an offensive card. Instead, short, persistent defensive tactics may be a better option until his draw deck gets tall again.
  • "Buy" vs. "Play" effects: With such a strong potential for retaliation, players could be reluctant to buy cards at all. So, cards could have two different effects: The first activated when a card is first bought from the general supply. The second when played from a hand. 

And all that being said, what exactly is the best theme for this mechanic? Folks on twitter suggested recycling, yard sales and remixing. Your thoughts?
Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.