Category Archives: star realms

star realms

Verses: Star Realms vs Star Wars Destiny

If you have been following the posts of mine about ranking and my top games posts you will have seen that these two games have been in my Top 10 games since I started using my “match up engine”. Plus because of the nature of my process they were always going to go head to head.

So Star Realms or Star Wars: Destiny? Which did I choose?

I don’t think it’s any secret that I love Star Realms. Thanks to an awesome app I have up to 20 games on the go at a time. I’ve played thousands of games. Since records began I’ve actually managed to get the physical game to the table a whole 25 times. I really do like the deck building mechanic. The shared trade row. Plus the expansions. Oh my, the expansions. You can mix and match or if like me just play with everything thrown all in. With Gambits and Events you can get some crazy turn one purchases. Plus missions now change how a game can be won. This game just gets better and better. Oh and comboing cards so you draw your whole hand, and do one massive amount of damage. Or when you claw back from a single authority to get the win. You definitely get some great gaming moments in this game.

Star Wars: Destiny, OMG! I knew if I played it I’d get hooked. It ticks a lot of boxes for me, deck construction, dice, Star Wars. Ok the collectible side of the game is a big draw back.  But no worse than Magic the Gathering, Dice Masters or others of that ilk. There has been that initial difficulty in getting product. But hopefully that has been resolved by FFG, and so far it’s looking that way. I enjoy the deck construction side. I like building decks and playing them to see if they work. Yes there is a random element with the dice rolls. But there are ways to reroll and even chose a face of the die. So I don’t see that as a drawback. Sometimes the dice rolling adds an element of suspense that I like. Especially when the other player rolls badly letting you off the hook for an action or two while they mitigate that bad roll.

In the end I kinda copped out, sat on the fence and declared this one a draw. I really enjoy playing both of these games. And would find it really hard to make a choice between which to play if they were both in front of me.

And looking at the comments to the post on Facebook and Instagram, the slight edge goes to Star Realms. But it was close, one vote in it. And a draw if I take out the Hero Realms vote! The public can’t decide either then.

Holding on by my finger tips

This Wednesday sees a “massive” update to the Star Realms app.

In an email plus a more detailed post we got the following warning:

IMPORTANT: PLEASE FINISH ALL OF YOUR GAMES BY TUESDAY, MAY 16!

ALL IN PROGRESS GAMES WILL BE DELETED WHEN THE APP IS UPDATED

ON WEDNESDAY, MAY 17

So what changes warrant this ominous warning?

For starters the app is getting a graphic update.

Apart from the new look, we are getting more cards:

  • “53 All-New Colony Wars cards in the Trade Deck with fun, new mechanics
  • Cards that can be purchased from the Trade Row and can immediately be put into play or into a player’s hand.
  • Blob faction has a new ability to “acquire a ship of cost x or less for free”.
  • The Stealth Tower card that comes with Colony Wars allows you to copy any base in play!
  • Two new chapters in the ongoing campaign, each with six missions!”

In their infinite wisdom the way levelling works is changing:

Currently, we have a lot of players that are “Forever Fives” – stuck at level 5 (that’d be me). This isn’t much fun, so now, if you make it to level 6, that will be your floor. If you then make it to level 7, that will be your floor, and so on. Sounds more fun, doesn’t it? However, it should be noted that now challenges won’t count towards your level or weekly or monthly leaderboards, but they will still count towards your overall number of games played, as well as your win percentage.

So this change is going to be controversial. I welcome the moving floor. However the majority of my games are challenges against friends and the odd mystery Internet person I’ve never met, but been playing for a long time now. So basically if I want to level up I am forced to play random  games. Otherwise if I don’t want to play random games whatever level I’m at the end of Tuesday I’m stuck at. Wow that sounds fun!

Another big change is real time games! I’d go read the post for this one. I think it will replace the 3 minute games. Which I hardly ever played. I’ve seen some welcoming this. Mainly from those that stream games. I might start doing that myself. Who knows? The whim might take me to show the world just how bad I am at the game!

So I need to complete all my current games by Tuesday, make sure I don’t drop below level 6 (I don’t think I can push it up to 7).

You can read the whole announcement HERE.

Star Realms thinking aloud

So I was thinking on my drive into work this morning about Star Realms and promo cards.


In the bottom right corner of them is a little ‘star’ that tells you how many copies of the promo card you should mix into the game. Gold is one copy, silver is two copies of the card, and white three copies of the card.

Now I was thinking this is based on them being used with the base Star Realms or Colony Wars. Which is 120 cards iirc. 

So if you are playing with everything, so thats Star Realms, Gambit, Crisis, Colony Wars, Gambits and United, should you up it on the gold to two copies of the card? You are after all playing with 300 odd cards!

So to give you the same or similar probability of drawing that promo card surely you need two copies of it in the deck if you are playing with everything including the kitchen sink.

Yeah I know I need a life.

Star Realms on Penny Arcade

Woke up to find the following Penny Arcade strip in my social media timeline. 

Obligatory link to the source here

They really have captured how great and addictive the game is. It’s no secret how I feel about the game, I’m getting a warm tingly feeling just thinking about it now (Bill Hicks reference there).

After teaching Nath the game he too was hooked. He asked if he could have it for his birthday. This is a grown up early twenties, video game addict (like his dad) and he loved the game. 

We normally have three or four games in the amazing app of the game on the go. When I visit it’s normally the first game to hit the table. 

And it’s that app that has helped make this great game so popular. Like the physical game it offers great value for money, is available on several platforms, games can be played against anyone irrespective of the platform they have the app on. Plus the app really implements the game well. 

Physically and digitally this game is just such a great two player deck builder that doesn’t break the bank. Ok once you start buying the expansions, play mats, storage box and sleeves it adds up. However I’d say you don’t need them all at once, they are still cheap as expansions go. But just the base game has a lot of game play in it, whilst even adding like the Crisis expansions just increases that exponentially. 

You play with everything mixed in and you can get some crazy games. 

This is a game that definitely creates moments you talk about after the fact.

That madness, the cost, the in your face take that game play, oh and it has great art work too, backed up by an awesome app. It’s no wonder I love this game.

Bank Holiday Gaming At My FLGS

When I arrived at The Hobbit Hole my FLGS, a game of Spartacus was in progress. 

So I introduced Brian (a fellow gamer at Chatteris Warlords and here) to The Manhattan Project: Chain Reaction. 

The first game Brian did well scoring a bomb worth five points. But the cards were being really kind to me. Extremely kind. I played sixteen cards in one of my early turns. I love turns like that. You are playing combos, drawing cards, and hopefully getting resources! With the card gods smiling on me I naturally went on to win the game with a personal best score of thirteen.

Our next game saw the card gods abandon me, and I fell behind in the race to get resources and build bombs. Brian just had that little edge over me. But I did have a massive turn that saw me catch up and get ahead on the uranium front. Plus I’d used up all my cards, and was drawing five new cards. A position I was happy with, because I was hoping it would give me the engineers and scientists I’d need for buying a game winning bomb.

Yep Brian didn’t know it he was on his last turn, a uranium short, and with everything to do if he was to win. And Brian played his hand perfectly. He got the one uranium he needed, and had the labour he needed to complete his bomb to grab the win. 

I really really love it when the game is that close. 

Brain and I followed up our couple of games of Chain Reaction with Star Realms. But it was Star Realms with the new United expansions.

Because of the share size of the trade deck with all the other expansions mixed in (just over three hundred cards I roughly calculated)  I took the top third and shuffled in the new cards. That would make sure we hit some of the new cards. 

Our first game was over pretty quickly, very few new cards were bought. No missions were completed. But I’d been scraping a lot, and getting some nice attacks in. It felt like if you blinked you’d missed the game. But what you wouldn’t have missed is my win.

Our second game was much more epic. We were trading blows. We bought, and used the new cards. The Faction Pairs – oh wow does that make comboing interesting. The maths working out attack, money, or even card discards etc is insane. 

The new Heroes are expensive but that balances out their power nicely. CEO Shaner won me the game. It triggered enough additional authority to keep me in the game, buying me enough time to complete my three missions and grab the win.

When I won, it was close. Brian was on less than ten points, and I was less than twenty. I think less than fifteen. It could have gone either way with the right card draw.

It was funny we didn’t see any old Heroes or any events in either game. We also didn’t play gambits either. But maybe that was for the best. You can get some insane starts and purchases if the stars align just right for you.

I loved playing the new cards. The missions were cool. They have added new life to a game that for me anyway having played so many games, wasn’t screaming for a fresh injection of life. But I’ll happily play with them. Although I’d probably just play core set to teach a new player before throwing them in the deep end with the works. But I’m still loving this game so much.

After our games Brian had to return back to family life and the real world. Which meant I could watch the game of Spartacus. I’d not played the game before, and found it was interesting. Although I’m not sure it’s a game I’d place high up on my “to play” list. 

After a brief chat with John, plans made, which will be revealed later in the week, it was time for me to head back to my Wolfpack and watching The Big Bang Theory for the umpteenth time. It’s one of those shows I can watch and watch.

United we stand

GenCon is just a distant memory now. I never went but a friend, game designer, publisher (Ages the deck building game) and Star Realms guru Chris Shaner managed to pick me up a copy of the next Star Realms expansion United that was on sale there.

Like the Crisis expansion, United consists of four twelve card foil wrapped packs. The United expansion introduces new mechanics to the much loved game.

Missions


With missions there is now a new win condition! So instead of just crushing your opponent, now complete your three missions instead and it’s an instant win! 

Sadly for your opponent they will have no idea what your missions are, because they are not revealed until you complete them. But you also have no idea what your opponents missions are. Oh the intrigue. 

You are only able to complete one mission per turn, and when you do complete one you get a reward. 

Missions will be something like have two bases in play from the same faction or play seven ships in a turn.

Rewards will be like get authority, but a ship of a certain value or less for free, draw a card. You get the idea. 

The Covert Mission reward reminded me of a card that does something similar in Valley of the Kings. The missions reward is draw the top three cards from your deck. Put one in your hand, one in your discard, and one on top of your deck. A great ability to get that one card you need. Shame it’s a one off.

Let’s start bulking out that now enormous deck that is used to populate the trade row.

Heroes


So we have new heroes which are more “powerful” to shuffle in. They also have a higher cost to match the increase in power. The humanoid heroes are based on tournament winners. Which is rather cool. You will notice my CEO Shaner card is signed. Yes CEO Shaner and Chris are the same person.

Let’s look at the two packs that bring more ships,bases and outposts to the game. These new packs bring another new mechanic to the game, Faction Pairs.

WTF?! Yep cards that are duel faction and can activate ally abilities for either of the factions they “belong” too.

Faction Pairs Pack A


I like the Coalition Messenger ship out of the four new ships. Mainly for its ally ability which allows you to choose a card of cost 5 or less in the discard pile and place that on the top of your deck. I like that a lot. The 3 cost is about right, plus its main ability gives you 2 gold to spend.

It’s the bases and outposts that really excite me about this and the other pack. Duel faction for starters. But Embassy Base, allowing you to draw two cards and have to discard one, and the Lookout Post with its draw a card ability. Awesome cards, but not cheap. Costing 8 and 7 gold respectively.

Faction Pairs Pack C

The Assault Pod at cost 2 giving 3 attack and ally ability of drawing a card is a nice cheap card that I like the look of. As is the Alliance Frigate, cost 3, 4 attack. Star Empire ally ability a further 3 attack, and a Trade Federation ally ability of gaining 5 authority. 

Out of the bases and outposts I think the only one that doesn’t grab me is possibly the Alliance Landing.

Now that I have sleeves for the cards by the time you read this I should have played some games with these shuffled in to the now enormous deck for populating the trade row.

It will be interesting to see what impact on the game these new mechanics have on the game. When you play with Gambits, and all the Crisis packs, you can get some crazy first turn turns. It’s going to be fun finding out.

I close this post with a request to White Wizard “please, please, pretty please, sell a larger storage box”. 

To the face

Having finally managed to get Esdevium to let them have an OP kit for Star Realms. My FLGS hastily arranged a competition for Saturday to win its contents after another planned event had to be cancelled.

So six of us with no lives and lots of free time at weekends sat indoors at our FLGS playing Star Realms, instead of being out in the world experiencing life.


My first game was against our youngest competitor. Two quick games and two quick wins for me. I almost had a twinge of guilt, but I managed to force those feelings back. And I feel proud of this next bit, I resisted screaming in the little girls face “in your face!”

My second match up was against Ben. This was basically us playing our games from the app in real life. I think I have the slight edge in wins in the app.

Through out our games when ever we dealt damage to the other player something like the following would be said “that’s four to your outpost and ten to the face.”

After two games we were one a piece. So a decider was needed, which Ben won. All three games were very close. 

The final match up for me was against the father of our youngest entrant. Who as you will remember I had destroyed. Sadly for me, this was the time daddy avenged his daughters loss and wiped the floor with me. 

So with the event over, I ended up fourth with a 3-4 game record. So outside of the main prize support. But I had the play mat already and yes the box would have been nice but I have a box also. But I did need the promos I got for Nath. Which means I was more than happy with that.

Oh Ben ended up in first place and proud owner of the play mat. With Bob taking second and the storage box.

So a great day playing Star Realms. Everyone enjoyed themselves, lots of banter, lots of fun. Now the “discussion” over the format of the Epic OP event. There are some conflicting views on this. One camp wants draft, while I’m on the righteous constructed side. But my full thoughts on this are best in another post.