Star Wars: Deck Building Game.A few months ago, publisher Fantasy Flight Games surprised everyone with the announcement of a new game set in a galaxy far, far away. And of course, as a lover of all things Star Wars, I couldn’t wait to check it out. Fast forward to the present and brand new Star Wars: The Deckbuilding Game arrived… though no points for creativity in the title.

Since then, deck building games are nothing new Dominion paved the way for the genre, we’ve seen countless offshoots and re-implementations. However, this is the first deck building game to feature a Star Wars skin. Was it worth the wait? Let’s find out!

Gameplay Overview:

If you’ve played a single-lane deckbuilding game before, a lot of Star Wars: The Deckbuilding Game will look familiar. One player will control the Empire and the other the Rebel Alliance. Each player starts with a starting deck of 10 cards (it differs only thematically). The game’s three main currencies are Attack Power, Resources, and Power. During his turn, the player can play any cards from his hand (5 cards) for free.

Star Wars: Deck Building Game.
Each player starts with a similar starting deck.

Unit cards are played in their favor and then discarded at the end of the turn. Any large ships remain in play, turn after turn, until they are destroyed by your enemy. Any resources generated can be used to purchase cards from the galactic series that go into your discard pile. Power points will move a power marker in your direction on the power track. Some cards will have advantages if “the force is with you”.

Finally, there is attack power. The attack power of units and capital ships can be used to attack enemy capital ships and bases. The ships will defend the base until it is destroyed. If you don’t want to attack your opponent’s base, you can instead use your attack power to attack your opponent’s cards in the galaxy row. Not only will this put them out of business, but you’ll also get a nice little bonus. However, only units can attack a number of galaxies (not large ships).

Once you’ve dealt enough damage to destroy an enemy base, it’s replaced with a new one (which has a handy special power). There are 10 of them in total, but the player who first destroys 3 bases of his opponent wins.

Star Wars Deck Building Game gameplay
You will play cards to attack your opponent and recruit from a number of galaxies.

Gameplay Overview:

If you’re a deckbuilding game veteran, many will feel familiar with Star Wars: The Deckbuilding Game. Star/Hero/Cthulhu Realms fans will probably nod their heads with a “yeah, that sounds familiar” look. And for the most part, this comparison is not far off. While it’s not Star Realms with a Star Wars skin, there are definitely enough similarities to make one question whether they should own both.

Star Wars: Deck Building Game.  Force Track
The power track was an interesting addition, if a little underused.

That being said, Star Wars: The Deckbuilding Game does branch out in its own direction in several areas. Especially the ability to hunt for heads in the galactic row and with the help of Force Track. I thought the ability to attack a number of galaxies was a great addition. Single-row deck builders can be tricky by nature, just because of the randomness of which cards are dropped. Doubly so in Star Wars: The Deckbuilding Game, because you can only buy cards from your faction or neutral cards. If you’re playing Empire and the row is full of Rebel cards, you’d be at a huge disadvantage. So being able to attack them not only to clear them but also to get a bonus was a great idea. In one game, I actually intended to recruit Han Solo, but a nasty Empire player killed him before I even had a chance to recruit him.

Destroying cards in a row of galaxies will give you a nice bonus.

Then there’s the power track, which is probably the most Star Wars-feeling part of the game. Some cards will help move the power marker in your direction. Many cards will also give you a bonus if you have a power token on your side when played. And if you can get the power marker to the end of your side of the track, you’ll generate an extra resource each round. This is a great balancing mechanic for stronger cards that gives your opponent a chance to counter those extra powers. My only complaint is that the power track seems a bit underutilized. There are only about 20 cards (out of 90) that trigger outside of the Force lane, and not all of them are unique. As such, this is an area ripe for future improvement through expansion.

I liked that there are 10 different bases to choose from when your base is destroyed. While everyone starts with a default base with no power, once it’s gone you can choose the next one and hopefully choose a power that matches the state of the game. The rulebook has a suggestion of 4 to use in the game for new players, but in the end we just put all 10 in our stack and chose the one we needed. I liked that while some of them were copies of each other, both sides also had their share of unique bases.

The game
There are 10 different planets for each side.

Overall, the game was a fun, fun, back-and-forth slugfest between the two players. It’s definitely a personal game with a lot of player interaction. You’ll be attacking your opponent almost every turn, so Star Wars: The Deckbuilding Game isn’t for players who prefer deck-building multiplayer solitaires. Speaking of offense, I find the game a bit shaky. Depending on which cards appear in the galaxy row, your success may change. Capitol ships are a must if you don’t want your bases to turn into chunks of Alderaan in a turn or two. But if you don’t get a chance to buy any of them, it will be a quick death. Our first game had almost no capital ships and was over in 10-15 minutes. We reset and played again, this time with a lot more ships and the game took almost too long (45 minutes).

Star Wars The deck building game.
Like most deck builders, you play all the cards you can on your turn.

Final thoughts:

Star Wars.  Deck damage game
Damage tokens are normal dice and are a bit annoying to count at higher health.

Overall, I liked it Star Wars: The Deckbuilding Game, like all my fellow players. I like that the two factions don’t just build off each other, they have their own feel. Rebels are a bit more slippery and can force the Empire to reset. While the Empire is definitely stronger and can hurt the Rebels with a large attack force. If you like conflict-oriented deckbuilding games, Star Wars: The Deckbuilding Game is an easy choice, especially for fans of the IP. While the game can be a little shaky and the damage/resource cubes seem cheap, overall it’s a solid game that’s ready for future expansions.

Final score: 4 Stars is a fun deck building game that will appeal to conflict-loving players and Star Wars fans alike.

4 starshits:
• Power track helps balance powerful cards
• The galactic array attack was a great idea
• Many bases to choose from
• Heavy player interaction

• Can be a little shaky
• The power of the force seems to be underutilized
• Damage/resource components feel lazy

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