06 February 2017
Like BB-8 across the deserts of Jakku, we’re rolling for our lives in this collectible dice game
Between the dozens of Star Wars tabletop titles released over the last 40 years (yep, it’s really been four decades since A New Hope), almost every corner of the galaxy far, far away has been explored.
There have been epic galaxy-wide battles (Star Wars: Rebellion), fast-paced dogfights between handfuls of ships (X-Wing) and intense tactical firefights between squads of Rebels and the stormtrooper forces of the Empire on the planet surface (Imperial Assault). Yet, Star Wars: Destiny may just be the best tabletop portrayal of the moment-to-moment clashing of lightsabers and whizzing overhead bolts of blaster fire yet.
Two players go head-to-head, each equipped with a deck of up to 30 cards and accompanying dice relating to either the heroes or villains of the Star Wars universe. Character cards are activated in order to roll their respective dice, plus any dice added through upgrades such as weapons or abilities, and added to that player’s pool.
The dice results can then be ‘resolved’ to spend their results on attacking, gaining shields and resources, or activating special abilities. Players trade blows back and forth until all the characters on one side are defeated or a player runs out of cards – both resulting in defeat.
Players can only perform one action per turn, including activating a character and rolling their dice – dice cannot be rolled and resolved in the same turn. This is a little strange to begin with, as turns are often over within seconds, but results in a breakneck pace of play, the dice-rolling equivalent of humming blades of light sparking off each other as duelling Jedi and Sith swing and riposte. The ability to spend resources to play event cards to alter dice rolls on either side of the battlefield adds another dynamic to the battle – do you cash in your ranged damage now or move to block an incoming assault?
Key to victory are special abilities, which can be devastating if left to activate, but all depend on the right roll of the dice – leading to as many air punches of joy and despairing gasps as any on-screen clash. Players can discard cards to reroll any number of unused dice in the pool, introducing a risk-reward mechanic where useful events, upgrades and support characters can be sacrificed in a last-ditch attempt to score another blow.
Dice are cashed in and cards spent until both players pass, which triggers an upkeep stage where all exhausted cards are refreshed and resources gained, before a new bout begins. Think of it as that bit during the Duel of the Fates with Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace (also known as the best bit of that movie) where they take a breather behind laser walls – the tension quietly builds as everyone prepares to unleash everything they have.
The first two starter packs are themed around Rey and Kylo Ren from Episode VII: The Force Awakens, which both include 24 cards – so you’ll need to buy a few boosters, consisting of five random cards and a die, to get to the ‘standard’ deck size of 30. With both the Rey and Ren starters and six boosters, we were still unable to make a complete deck for either – so, as with any collectible game, be prepared to invest.
Otherwise, deck building is easy but flexible, with cards restricted only by hero or villain allegiance and their colour – you’ll need a red character to include red cards, yellow for yellow and so on. The cards' artwork comprises of beautiful painterly takes on the films, which are mirrored on their respective dice faces, making them easy to identify and separate. The dice themselves are satisfyingly solid and roll with pleasant weightiness – though the artwork printing could be a tiny bit clearer.
Destiny is a simple but superbly crafted dice-rolling game wrapped up in the continually captivating Star Wars universe; if you’re even a passing fan of Star Wars, dice mechanics or collectible titles, this is the game you’re looking for.
Playing out with the moment-to-moment speed, strategy, tension and excitement of a Jedi lightsaber duel, Star Wars: Destiny is both a fantastic dice game in its own right and a bright star in the already vast Star Wars tabletop galaxy.
Publisher: Fantasy Flight
Price: £13.99 (Starters) £2.99 (Boosters)
Genre: Collectible dice
Time: 30 mins
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