I’ve just sat down after a fantastic few hours playing Star Realms Frontiers. It was a tournament full of great people who clearly loved the game. Each of my matches was a distinct sci-fi story unto itself. I thought I’d hide in the UK Games Expo Press Office and tell you about some of my adventures.
First though, what is Star Realms? Star Realms is a fast paced deck builder. Players each start with identical 10 card decks made up of scouts (money cards) and vipers (damage cards). In the middle of the table is a market place and players take turns to play their hand of 5 cards, buying new ones and dealing damage. However, each card in Star Realms is split into 4 different factions and frequently feature abilities that only trigger if you play them a card of that same faction. Think playing blue cards with blue cards, yellow with yellow and so on. And that is pretty much the game. It’s fast, it’s frantic and it’s a lot of fun.
So back to my tales of space combat and exploration.
My first game started quite nicely, I grabbed a few cards here and there slowly building up a fleet of ships with a few bases, too. When BAM, I’m hit by a massive fleet that deals extraordinary damage to me. Reeling from this, I frantically play some cards that help me recover some much-needed authority (hit points). Slowly I fight back against this front of powerful ships, dealing steady damage and slowly recovering along the way. However, it turns out not be enough as in one fell swoop, the enemy fleet strikes again deep in my territory, destroying base after base until nothing remained. I lost this game.
Game two went a little differently. I quickly spotted that I could use certain ships to help thin my fleet of the less useful starting vessels. This meant I was able to bring my best ships and flagship crafts to the front lines time after time – while my opponent struggled to see more than their standard vipers or less powerful ships. This gave me the advantage, and I pressed this to its fullest. Playing very aggressively this time, I took the fight to my opponent. After my last defeat, I was done waiting for my enemy to act – I took the initiative. My opponent could not deal with this aggression and eventually, their fleet was in tatters, and they were defeated. I won this game.
In game three, I started strong. I had powerful ships at my fingers very quickly. I was recruiting new strong vessels every turn. However, my opponent was doing the same. They were constantly destroying my bases, harrying my ships and taking some of the very best armourments for themselves. However, through careful faction play, I was able to develop a powerful strategy that looked to be pushing my enemy back. One turn at a time I was bringing myself close and closer to victory. Until in one devastating moment, my enemy made their counterattack. They managed to deal untold damage and recover vast numbers of authority in the same turn. It was left gobsmacked. I was undone. There was nothing for me to do but accept defeat. I lost this game.
For game four, I took a different strategy. I focussed early on damage and recovery. I wanted to deal blows to my enemy but I also wanted to recover from them. This meant that my deck primarily consisted of two factions that came up time after time. I pressed this advantage and began to overwhelm my opponent. They tried to fight back, establishing new bases each turn, but I destroyed each one and moved onto destroying all of their authority in the system. I won this game.
Finally, game five. I started strong. I had a good economy, and the ability to bring a new ship to my battle line quickly each turn. However, I was hamstrung by my own outclassed, and under-gunned ships. I could bring plenty of vessels to bear but struggled to damage an opponent who was quickly growing in strength. With one final push, I tried to destroy their vessels and get my powerful ships into the battle, but it didn’t work. I mustered only weak, transport craft who were quickly dispatched by powerful bases. This left my opponent a window to break through and devastate my economy. I lost this game.
And that was it. Those were my five Star Realms adventures. Each was a sweeping sci-fi epic of warring factions and massive space battles. If you haven’t already, then I implore you to check out Star Realms, it is a fantastic game that fits so much into a simple deck of cards. This is Captain Nevi D signing off. Far thee well space explorers.