#75 – Star Wars: The Card Game

Star Wars

At a Glance: Star Wars: The Card Game is a tactical 2-player game that fits pretty snugly into the feel of the Star Wars universe.

Star Wars: The Card Game is a game for 2 players that was published in 2012. More specifically, it is a Living Card Game, a genre term trademarked by Fantasy Flight Games, where each box or expansion pack are not random but standardized, and each player can customize and optimize their decks as they wish. One player plays the Light Side of the Force, and the other plays the Dark Side. Each side has different Objective cards that provide certain abilities and the means to play other cards, such as characters and events. The Dark Side has a Death Star dial, which functions as a sort of countdown timer for the game, and unless affected by a special ability, increases 1 notch per round. To put it simply, players will be deploying different characters, events and enhancements to try to destroy their opponent’s Objectives. There are also another couple layers to the game, one of which is the Force Struggle. Both sides can “Commit” some of their characters to the Force, and at the end of each round, the player who wins the Struggle with the highest Force total is given some advantages that can affect the rest of play. Also, there is the Edge Battle aspect of combat, which is sort of like the old card game War where players secretly place a number of cards down and reveal them at the same time. The Dark Side wins if the Death Star dial reaches 12. The Light side wins if they destroy 3 Dark side Objectives. Either side can also win if their opponent cannot draw a card from either of their decks because they’ve been exhausted.

This is one of the best games out there in this genre. I like how each side feels pretty different in its execution, but when it comes down to it, they’re not that asymmetrical. It’s not like the Empire is the all-powerful Dungeon Master and the Rebels are fumbling in the dark, but there are times where you can feel the brute force of the Dark Side juxtaposed with the noble desperation of the Light Side. It is all pretty balanced though. The multilayered nature of the game creates a depth that I love with these types of card games. I like how the Force Struggle is a tug of war that permeates the gameplay in a really cool way.

The deckbuilding in this game is interestingly different as well. Instead of trying to amass single cards, each Objective card is paired with 5 other cards that must always be included. So it is interesting to combine the different sets and experiment with how well they interact. It also makes deckbuilding a less time-consuming exercise. The cards are very different, but that does not mean they lack cohesion. Everything feels tight and firmly within the system. I have been a huge Star Wars fan most of my life, so it is cool to pit the familiar characters against each other.

Last but certainly not least, the card artwork is probably in my Top 10 of the games I have played. It has an elegance and clarity to it that I was not expecting. I was very impressed with the great effort that was evident in creating each and every card. If you like card games that have some depth to them, both strategically and thematically, give it a shot. If you are a Star Wars fan, then DEFINITELY give it a shot. Even if you have never delved into a card game of this sort, don’t be afraid to learn it and try it out. Of all the CCGs/LCGs, it is one of the easier ones to pick up. As good as this game is though, there is another Star Wars game that is even higher in my Top 100…

For what you get, this is a great price: https://amzn.to/2J525GU


TERMINOLOGY

Living Card Game (LCG) – Trademarked and self-described by Fantasy Flight Games as a card game similar to the classic CCG (Collectible Card Game−think “Magic: The Gathering”), that lacks the random buying and collecting that comes with a CCG. Instead, LCG’s offer standard base games, starter decks, and expansion packs where you know exactly what will be in each box.

Deckbuilding – A game mechanic that involves creating a usable deck from a larger collection of cards. In many games, it almost borders on being a delicate art form, trying to combine different cards and their effects to maximize the strength of the deck as a whole.

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