Can you feel it? There has been an awakening. Your tabletop is now smitten with options to play out the battles between the Dark Side and the Light Side of the Force. So dig out that old lightsaber, ready your blaster, and lets get ready for some great tactical action. This week we’ll be looking at the card game version of everyone’s favorite galaxy far far away.
Welcome to TAY Board Game Night. Each week I bring you a new tabletop game to try out, throw in a short blurb about why you should play this game, and then highlight some alternate playstyles or expansions for you to try. This week is Star Wars: The Card Game (Fantasy Flight.)
I’ve made it no secret in these little articles that I love card games. When I’ve said I’ve played practically all of them, I mean it. Of course, I have hobbies and loves outside of the tabletop, and that includes the same universe that so many others love, Star Wars. So obviously when those two loves combine I’m all over it like flies on a bantha.
Star Wars LCG, or Living Card Game, is an asymmetrical dueling card game where two players take on one of a few factions of either the Light or Dark side persuasion. The asymmetry comes from a special ‘Death Star’ dial that comes with the Dark Side player. Each turn this Death Star ticks closer towards doom, and when it hits 12, its game over for the Light Side. But of course, the Light Side is not without its own course of victory. Each player has several Objective cards that come from their Objective Deck. These cards have their own health and income, as well as special abilities. The Light side player needs to only destroy three of the Dark Side player’s Objectives in order to win the game.
Each player will be deploying practically everything and everyone from the iconic series to make their goal happen. From the Lowly jawa, to Darth Vader, AT-STs, X-Wings, Bounty Hunters and Jedi, Canon characters and even some ‘Legends’. Each character comes with a cost which you’ll pay mostly using your objectives. Then each character comes with several icons, and this is really where Star Wars sets itself apart from other games.
Typically in most games characters or monsters have a simple attack and defense stat, and most of the time it comes down to the bigger one destroying the other one. The icon system in Star Wars instead gives characters different abilities and in turn gives them different strengths and weaknesses towards defeating objectives. After all, I don’t think Jabba the Hutt would every directly fist-fight Luke Skywalker, would you? The icons range from damage to characters, damage to objectives, and locking down characters with ‘focus’ tokens. This gives each character a personality as well as a role to play. Y-wings are great for bombing objectives, but not so great at manipulating characters, something Emperor Palpatine excels at. Each character typically comes with some special abilities to help flesh out their roles and strengths. Most also have ‘edge’ icons which only come into play after a player has won an edge battle, which takes place before every major combat. This means an overwhelming force may find themselves suddenly surprised by a much more powerful unit than they anticipated. Lastly, there are event cards, one time effects which will help change up a battle or work as a trick to turn the odds in your favor.
Star Wars the LCG is great for a more fast-paced and condensed version of the iconic battles and struggles of the Star Wars Universe. It is certainly focused around the more ‘dueling’ (1v1) aspect that you’d find common in most card games. So you’ll typically build two or three decks (both light side and dark side) to play against your friends with. Star Wars also has a unique deck building ‘system’ where cards are attached to objectives. You may have to choose between choosing an objective for the cards it brings, or passing on an objective because it may not be worth bringing several cards that don’t help your strategy. Serious Deck builders may not appreciate the ‘limited’ options, but other players may find it a little more refreshing. After all, your opponent will be just as limited as you!
One last thing that should be mentioned is that Star Wars is not distributed in the ‘random pack’ method you’d find for other card games like Magic: The Gathering or Pokemon. Instead each set and expansion comes with all the copies you’ll need to play the game (Except the core set, which you’ll possibly want 2 of if you feel the need to be a completionist). If you’re looking to get more players in on it, or simply try out some alternate modes, definitely look up the Balance of the Force expansion for unique multiplayer shenanigans.
(Luke Skywalker from the Balance of the Force Expansion)
Don’t forget to check out my older TAY Board Game Night posts about tabletop gaming, news, and reviews. Have any questions or news? Suggestions? Tweet me@Eon_Blackcraft or leave a comment below!