Ring Side Report-Board Game Review Star Realms

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Product– Star Realms

Producer– White Wizard Games

Price– $15 here http://www.amazon.com/White-Wizard-Games-Realms-Deckbuilding/dp/B00HRGMPIU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421897585&sr=8-1&keywords=star+realms

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 15-20 minutes (2 players, but multiplayer options available)

TL; DR– Lack of theme hurts an excellent game.  83%

 

Basics-Ready to rule the galaxy?  In Star Realms, two players face off by trying to destroy the authority and fleet of the other player.  Each player starts with 50 authority and ten cards.   These ten cards are eight one-trade cards and two one-attack cards.  Players have a hand of five cards.  On your turn, you can play as many cards from your hand as you want to give you trade (money), attack, more authority, or other effects.  From the pool of trade and attack, you can spend trade to buy as many cards as you can from a row of five cards set between the players and attack the other player.  Cards you buy are placed in your discard area.  Each card you buy will have a trade cost and can be one of two types: bases and ships.  Ships function just like the starting cards providing trade, attack, and authority.  Bases function like ships except that they are played in front of the player and act as a shield for an amount of damage.  Both of these may also have faction abilities and scrap abilities.  Faction abilities provide additional resources, but you have to have another ship or base in play of the same faction to trigger the ability.  Scrap abilities permanently remove a card from your deck, but provide you with a onetime ability.  With your attack you can attack bases first, then the player’s authority.  At the end of your turn, you discard all cards you cannot play, and then you draw a new hand of five cards.  If you cannot, you shuffle your discard pile and draw from the new stack of cards.  Play continues like this until one player has zero authority left, and the other player wins!

 

Mechanics– This is a game like magic made by two guys who won the pro tour.  They knew what they were doing when they made this game.  It’s sleek, quick, and full of tactics.  You get all the fun of combo building for magic with a onetime price tag for a trip to McDonald’s. 5/5

 

Theme- Here is the weakest part of this game.  The rules don’t have much more than a simple paragraph on what’s going on.  The factions are never really discussed in any detail.  The cards have some great art and flavor text, but aside from that there is no theme or story here at all.  It’s just deck building.  2/5

 

Instructions– The game is easy to play, and even easier to learn.  The rules are less than a double sided sheet of paper.  Honestly, I sat down with a sealed box, and was playing in five minutes.  My wife who hates to have to learn new games on the fly absolutely whooped my butt.  That’s a testament to how good the rules are. 5/5

 

Execution– It’s a box of cards with two rules sheets.  The best part is the point cards.  Rather than have you write down your score like in magic, this game has double sided cards for your points.  It takes a bit to get used to as they are double sided 10/20 and 1/5 denominations, but it’s a nice touch.  However, the card stock is a bit low quality.  I’ve played about five times now, and some of the cards are already bending and ripping.  4.5/5

 

Summary– I feel a little bad about the score of this one.  It’s honestly an awesome game, but the severe lack of theme in this one really hurts it.  It plays quick and teaches as quick.  I think I’m going to have to buy some card sleeves because this one isn’t as well put together as some other card games.  This is a fun game, but don’t come into this one looking for any story.  83%

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