16 December 2015
The deckbuilding game of spaceship combat
White Wizard Games | Deck building | £12.99 | 2+ players | 15 minutes | www.starrealms.com
Since Dominion was released in 2008 deck building games have become one of the most popular genres, none more so than 2014 release Star Realms, which has already blasted its way to number 58 in BBG’s rankings. So what is it about this game that has everyone buzzing?
Firstly, accessibility, at £10-£15 it’s cheap to buy, is a small box containing 118 cards and a rule book and it’s easy to pick up and learn. Along with that, it has a short play time, space theme, and as it’s primarily a two-player game. You can see the appeal.
You start with a hand of 10 basic cards (ships), drawing five to play on your turn, the basic ships are two types. Firstly, trade ships allow you to purchase better ships from a random selection of five ships in the centre. The second type is combat ships, and this is the big difference in Star Realms, the object of the game is to destroy your opponent, each player starting with 50 Authority points. Purchased cards come in four factions each with unique characteristics and combinations of trade and combat plus abilities like drawing extra cards or scrapping cards in your discard pile. There are also Bases for each faction, some of which must be destroyed before you can damage your opponent, additional bonuses also activate should you play a second card of the same faction on that turn.
Like all deck builders it has the random element of when certain cards get drawn, but you can understand why this game is so popular, the chaining of the cards means that you can sometimes get huge hit combos destroying your opponent in one massive hit, which can be very satisfying. Add that to price, theme and length, this game is a lot of fun a small box. (Stuart Webb)
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