Category Archives: star realms

star realms

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.


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.


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.

New Star Realms App Expansion Crisis Heroes Now Available

You may notice something different about which expansions to play with when challenging other players now.

It is now possible to buy the latest in app expansion based on an already available physical expansion, which is Crisis Heroes.

I’ve not played Star Realms with the Hero cards, so it will be interesting to see how these play. Will they give incredible insane starts like the Gambits/Events can give?

Continuing with the “pay once play anywhere” approach this is a snip at £1.49.

Epic New Stuff 26Mar16

Another week and more good more stuff dropping through the letter box.

From my FLGS I got the latest Fluxx to hit our stores Firefly Fluxx. As an incentive to buy from your FLGS or LGS if they are not that friendly when you buy from a store it should come with a promo card for the game too.

I also finally crumbled and got the Batman Fluxx. This had been on my wishlist for a long time.
Tiny Epic Kingdoms Second Edition, plus Heroes Call it's expansion qualifies as my first delivered Kickstarter of the year.
Star Realms Colony Wars is on its way (somewhere in the postal system) but I knew I didn't have enough sleeves for the new arrivals. So three packets of sleeves dropped on the mat this morning to solve that problem.
Finally a real bargain (aren't they all?) appeared on Facebook for three copies of the Kickstarter version of the game (that's basically the base game plus promos). I'd mentioned it to a friend who asked me to get it for them. So here we are a box full of awesome, ready for delivery Tuesday.


Hulk Smash

There you are sitting there on sixty authority, your opponent (me) is there sitting on fifty three authority.

Then I start playing cards. The attack starts to mount up. I’m scraping cards, buying cards with abilities for free, removing outposts with card abilities. All of a sudden forty four points of damage go flying across.

Sixteen authority left, oh wait if I scrap some cards for their attack value I can hit nineteen points and finish them off.

The killing blow taking them to -3 authority.



Here I’m hoping this is a video of this most epic of turns.

At sixty authority you really do think there are at least a few more turns left in the game. I’ve been on the receiving end of something similar. Usually this happens at around the forty authority mark.

These turns are few and far apart. But boy when they happen, they are something special. I’m just so glad I was the one dishing out the punishment and not on the receiving end. Far, far too many times this is usually happening to me.

You have to love Star Realms.


A mid week father son gaming day

I'm down visiting Natha at the moment. I had to come down to make sure he got to the dentist. Let's just say that his track record of attending has been poor. So yesterday he went to his second appointment to sort out some tooth ache he'd had a couple of weeks back. Which resulted in the pain inducing tooth being extracted! So even more pain for Nath.

We followed the dentist visit up with a trip to the Farnborough cinema to see Deadpool (such a great movie) and London Has Fallen (an average at best sequel). This is something that I haven't done in a long time, back to back movies. Between films we grabbed a quick guilt loaded bite to eat at McDonalds.

But that was our Tuesday. What about today though?

Well once Nath was up, and I had fed him breakfast (American pancakes) we played our first game of the day Eminent Domain. A game I have been wanting to get to the table since getting it second hand off Facebook.

I liked playing Eminent Domain a lot. The game did not disappoint. Setup was fairly easy, and quick. Always good. I like the turn structure a lot. It's simple, but does the job. At the start of your turn, you can play a card from your hand if you wish to perform its action. You then have to select a role from the middle and play that role ability. This builds up your deck, allows you to get resources for the path you are following, explore planets, research new technologies. The other players also have the option of also following that role or dissenting (which is basically draw a card from your draw pile).

Finally the turn is ended with a tidy up phase for the current player where played cards go on the discard pile, a player can discard unwanted cards in their hand, and finally draw back up to five cards.

I ended up taking an explore colonise path, while Nath went down the more aggressive war route and conquered his planets.

Neither of us tried the produce/trade route, and Nath was the only one out of the two of us who did any research to get those more advanced technology cards for the deck.

There is very little interaction between players, but you are still involved between turns, trying to work out whether following the others role phase is useful in advancing your own goals, or is it better to draw that extra card?

I ended up beating Nath 39 victory points to 27.

Next up was what must be Nath's favourite card game or even modern board game, Star Realms.

It felt like we were playing with everything plus the kitchen sink in the cards we were using. Base game, Gambits, Crisis (minus heroes cards), Colony Wars, plus Cosmic Gambits. That's a hell of a lot of cards. We had the draw deck for the trade row split into three piles.

There was

In the end having done superior scrapping to give him the edge he needed, Nath delivered the killing blow of 21 points of damage to remove my 19 points of authority.

Our final game of the afternoon was Discoveries. This game is on my list of ones to try and play this first quarter of the year.

Once again a very quick game to setup. There was a bit more referring to the rules for our play of this compared to Eminent Domain.

However once you get used to the turn structure this is a nice little dice allocation game. The part of American history this is set in is neither here or there for me. The look of the game is nice, and subdued. They have gone with wooden dice for the game, that do feel “light”, but look and fit in with the theming.

Once again there is very little interaction between players. Being limited to the grabbing of your dice back from another player, or grabbing a grey tribe dice from the player with the most of them. Between turns you are mainly planning how best to utilise the dice you have available to achieve your goal.

As I said I liked the game, it will be interesting to see how this plays with three or four players. Will it feel different?

Oh and as the score pad shows I won ^__^

Finally some news!

Coming soon to a Kickstarter near you I believe (can't remember where I saw this Kickstarter reference) from Albino Dragon is The Goonies Adventure Card Game. Once I know more details I'll post them.

When I mentioned to Nath about this, all I got was “what is The Goonies?” He hasn't seen the movie!!! I never thought I'd fall into that group of bad parenting that also includes having not shown their kids Star Wars, Back to the Future, Indiana Jones. How did this happen? I've made a point of making sure Nath has seen the modern classics.

I'm going to have to rectify this ASAP.


Driving Miss Daisy

Last night saw the monthly meet up of the Fenland Gamers. After a quick discussion about why I had handed in my notice at work, we had to decide on a game to play. I suggested that we played…

Formula D

I've wanted to play Formula D for a while, I even picked up a second hand copy off the Facebook trading and selling page late last year. Sadly I hadn't got my copy to the table. Over the previous weekend Gavin and I discussed what games we would be bringing along to the evening. Gavin mentioned he had got Formula D for Christmas, so being the lazy person I am (hey these games aren't light to carry you know), I encouraged Gavin to bring along his copy for us to play.

Before the race started we rolled for our starting positions on the grid. I was at the back of the grid in the fifth spot. The omens weren't looking good, my first dice roll, and I was rolling low.

I was going to have to drive aggressively if I was to make up for my poor starting position. I was determined to fight my way to the front and make a historic win.

We were playing the beginners rules.

I managed to claw my way into contention for first place with Jonathan and Gavin, by using some great rolls of the dice (oh yes I was rolling high when I needed to be low, truly the dice hated me), managing my damage, and when I'd take it on corners to catch up and put myself in the running.

Katie managed to join the battle for first on the last two or three corners. However Gavin stole first place, with a close second going to me. I think Jonathan was third with Katie coming in fourth and a distant last Debbie.

In fact it was Debbie and her distance behind the pack that inspired the title of this blog post. Yes it seemed like Debbie was driving Miss Daisy in her little plastic formula one car round the race track.

In an old episode of the Simpsons where if my fading memory is not playing tricks on me the Simpson family are racing round a kart track, Marge says “slow and steady wins the race”. This indeed did seem to be Debbie's game plan for Formula D.

Now as you may have guessed there was some “gentle” banter at the table about Debbie in last place. And while Jonathan was plotting to take any shine off a historic win (if I had gone on to win it), Debbie too was plotting her revenge for the next game.

Wow I enjoyed playing Formula 6 a lot. It's more than a simple just roll and move game. There are some tactics to employ. The game cleverly uses different sided dice to represent the different gears of the formula one car you are racing in. These dice have different number ranges on them. For example in fourth gear you will roll the green dice that only has values in the range seven to twelve.

You have to stop a predetermined number of times on each corner. One corner may be once, while another might be three times. So you have to plan which gear you need to be in so that you are rolling numbers that allow you to stop the required number of times.

Then you have damage to your car, end up adjacent to another players car, and you both roll to see if you take damage. Fail to stop the correct number of times on a corner, take damage. Take too much damage and your car engine blows up. So managing your damage is an important factor. In the advanced version of the game, this damage is applied to more specific areas of the car.

The game does a fantastic job of simulating the “thrills” of racing round a track. I'm not a formula one fan, I find watching it boring. But I still enjoyed playing Formula D.

Hopefully Jonathan's idea of having a Formula D league can see the light of day for our group. It certainly would be fun.

The next game of the evening to hit the table was…

Ticket to Ride: Europe (TTR:E) aka Debbie's Revenge! Her part in my downfall

I've played TTR:E only within the rather excellent app version of the boardgame. And only then a couple of times at most.

Naturally the map for TTR:E is a map of Europe instead of the U.S. Of A. for the original game. We didn't play with the stations, a decision Gavin, Jonathan and myself would later on come to regret. However we were using the other additions of tunnels, ferries and long routes.

I really wasn't focusing during the initial stages of the game. I had not a clue what I was doing, what carriages I should have been collecting, the optimal routine I should be having to complete etc etc.

Did this lackadaisical approach at the start of the game cost me the game? Well it didn't help.

There was a lot of routes being built in Northern Europe by everyone. It was becoming very clogged, and gave Debbie her first chance to get her revenge by building a route I needed. It happened again later on, forcing me to try another way to complete my longest route. I needed two links to complete my long route and get twenty one points after being blocked by Debbie, and forced to find another way to complete my card.

I had one pink in hand, was planning to take the multi coloured engine my next go ready to complete my long route. When BANG! Katie played her last four trains to complete her card and end the game!

I had finished an eight point route only, got totally shut out by Katie and Debbie from completing my twelve point route, and now had failed to complete my long twenty one point route by two pink trains.

So during the end scoring while everyone else was happily adding on lots of points for completing cards, I went backwards. If Katie had scored nine more points she would have lapped me on the score board. I think this was my lowest scoring game of TTR ever!

The final game of the evening was the new crowd pleaser…


So that the teams were even I sat this one out.

After taking a call from Kate, I had a bit of good news about a potential opportunity. Which was followed by a call from Nath. Who I thought was calling to gloat about ARSEnal being three two up against my beloved Liverpool. But no, he was telling me to take my go because he was going to win on his next go on Star Realms.

I took my go, which did some damage to him, but more importantly parked an outpost on the board and increased my authority. Which meant Nath was not able to get the win he was predicting. Although to be fair I only delayed the inevitable by about four turns.

But back to me being a bad Dad and disappointing my sons plans for victory at that moment in time. After Nath had taken his turn I got a text that was one word “lucky”. About five minutes later when Liverpool had scored a last minute equaliser in extra time I got another text “lucky lucky lucky”.

Back at the gaming table the game of Codenames was progressing. Now both teams ended up winning a game each. However I have to say I enjoyed spectating this game, and trying to work out which word(s) were meant by the clue.

This was another blooming brilliant evening of gaming, with great company. Thanks folks.