Since Dominion appeared at the end of 2008, the gaming world has been flooded with deckbuilding card games (and even dice games). You start in this type of game with a small set of simple cards, which earn money to buy more and better cards in your ‘deck’ (stack) to eventually have the best deck with the most points.
Not all the games in this genre are equally good or successful. And Dominion is still at the top, the only game that comes close to that is Ascension. But now there is Star Realms, which is mainly thanks to Ascension. It’s no coincidence that both games were designed by seasoned Magic players.
As in Ascension, you start with ten basic cards, which either yield money to buy cards, or firepower to do damage. Here too there is a large pile of cards, five of which are always open on the table. These are the cards you can buy, provided you can pay the price. Firepower is only used to damage your opponent. In your turn you have five cards, all of which you may play, after which you discard the cards you have played and draw five new ones.
The goal of the game is to be the first to fifty to zero your opponent’s live points. You do not do much damage with your starting cards, but the cards you can buy quickly generate a lot of firepower. These cards come in two types: ships and bases. Ships you play once and then go to your discard pile, bases remain in front of you until your opponent uses his firepower to eliminate them. In this way they form a line of defense and also provide small, but permanent and interesting advantages.
Star Realms A fast paced deck builder with style
Big fan of card games, especially the kind where you have to make tactical combos and everything revolves around opportunistic and efficient play will feel right at home. Star Realms fits perfectly into this profile and comes in a very compact box at an extremely friendly price.
A possible disadvantage of Star Realms is that luck, even more so than in its twin brother Ascension, can play a major role. If your opponent hijacks those good and affordable cards in the beginning, it can be difficult to come back. But because it’s such a short and fast game, most players won’t mind.
And fast it is. Your starting cards are very bad, but in no time you have a few strong cards in your deck and you can do serious damage. There is no such thing as a slow build-up, everything escalates rapidly.
Lovers of fast-paced card games and deck builders will do themselves a disservice if they leave Star Realms out.