Star Wars Destiny – Review

Last post I discussed what Star Wars Destiny was.  This time, I’ll cover how the game plays and give more of a review.

The intended starting point for Destiny is the starter sets.  There are 2 currently available for you to play either Hero (Rey and Finn) or Villian (Kylo Renn and a Stormtrooper).  Each set has a premade deck of 20 cards and the corresponding dice for any Legendary or Rare cards in the deck, in this case 9 dice each set.  Along with the 2 characters in each deck, they are supported by upgrades, support and event cards.  The decks are balanced to be played against each other, however it should be noted that the standard deck size is 30 cards, so the starter decks as they are won’t allow you to play in any local store tournaments.  This is where the booster packs come in to help round out your deck.

Objective

To win at Destiny you basically have to defeat your opponents characters.  Simple as that!  Reduce their health to zero.  The dice are your route to causing damage, but also generating positive effects for your own characters, such as shields, resources, disrupting your opponents plays and changing the results of die rolls.

Gameplay

For the first few games I just used the starter decks.  Having a small set of cards allows you to get to know the cards quicker, plus you know you’ve got a deck that will work!  It’s also worth playing both sides of the force, hero and villian, to get a view of as many cards as possible.  You’ll start with your 2 charcters in play (characters don’t count towards the 30 card deck limit) and a hand of 5 cards, the remainder make up your deck to draw from.  Each round is made up of the players alternating single actions back and foward.  There are 6 different actions that can you can choose from, including playing events, upgrades and support cards from your hand – provided you can pay the cost – activating a character, resolving dice and more.  You can also pass on your action and do nothing – sometimes useful to see what your opponent has planned.

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Getting upgrade and support cards with dice into play gives your characters more options in battle.  The dice provide damage values – ranged and melee – and other benefits for your characters, or disruptive results against your opponent.

In one action you’ll activate one of your characters and roll their dice, this includes rolling the dice for any attached upgrades on that character.  During other actions you can activate other characters and gradually build a pool of dice.  In a subsequent single action you can resolve all dice of the same symbol.

Hero characters

Certain cards will enable you to change dice results or re-roll dice.  You can even discard a card from your hand to re-roll 1 or more dice in your pool.  Characters are only activated once in a round, and dice are only resolved once each in a round.

You and your opponent take actions back and forth until both of you pass consecutively on taking an action.  Then the game round ends, you reset your characters and put any unused pool dice back to your characters and support cards.  Now begin the second round.  Remember, your objective is to take down your opponents characters.

Villain characters

The one card I’ve not mentioned is the battlefield.  Each player comes to the table with a battlefield card and at the start of the game 1 of them is selected for the battle.  For the player whose battlefield is not selected they get 2 shields to use.  Each battlefield card has an ability or benefit that is triggered when a player “claims” it.  This is an action you would take during the game.  The play controlling the battlefield plays no more actions in the round but plays first in the next round.  Your opponent gets to continue playing turns until they pass.

Thoughts

Star Wars Destinty is fast! OK, you’re first few games will be slower as you analyse the cards in your hand and try to think a few actions ahead.  But, once you start to become familiar with the cards in your deck, the game can flow back and forward between you and your opponent very quickly.

A word of warning here.  Pay close attention to what dice your opponent has in their pool.  Be prepared for when they suddenly unleash a whole bunch of melee or ranged damage dice.  Also watch their resources and the number of cards in their hand, as you can play cards and dice that can affect both.  Disrupting your opponents plans by denying them resources to play cards from their hand can tip the balance in your favour in a round.

Similarly, you want to be planning a couple of actions ahead once you have a dice pool in play.  What dice should you possibly change?  Are there any that might be worth re-rolling?  You can re-roll 1 or more dice in your pool by discarding a card from your hand, which is always something to keep up your sleeve.  I’ve seen me re-roll my entire pool in an action, to get better options.

Characters

This game is fun!  It’s fast.  You feel like you’re controlling your characters actions (and yes, you will make the sound affects as you resolve dice against your opponent!).  It’s also interesting to build diffecent team match ups.  Do you stick with the storylines and play Han and Leia, Han and Chewbacca, Kylo and Captain Phasma?  Or mix it up a bit?  I’ve recently been playing a Kylo Ren and Asajj Ventress deck.

Of course there’s still the elephant in the room to deal with.  This is a collectible card game (CCG), and at some point you have to decide if you’re all in.  And that’s the dilema I found myself in after a few weeks of playing.

So yes, I like the game a lot.  I’ve invested around £175 (US$200) in it, and have a reasonable pool of cards, but it’s still missing a lot of key characters (Vader!) and powerful support cards.  If I come up against an opponent with a wider pool of cards to choose from and the money to buy some of the powerful character combos out there, then I’m toast.  And in some cases, pretty quickly.  So, for me at least, i think this will be a casual game.  I’ve got enough hero and villian cards that I can make 2 decks, so I can set up a friendly game.  Or I can revert back to the starter pack decks and supplement them with an extra 10 cards.

Besides, I have a growing wish list of board games…there’s only so far my gaming budget can stretch.

Happy gaming!

Star Wars Destiny @ Fantasy Flight Games

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