Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Review - Star Realms: Colony Wars (2015) - White Wizard Games


Star Realms is the only deck builder Tyler and I have ever liked (to be fair, we have never dipped into Magic but I have been looking at duel decks). When this came out, it was a no-brainer to buy it!

The Blurb

Colony Wars is a deckbuilding game in the Star Realms series which is both a standalone box set for two players (featuring an 80-card trade deck, as in the original) and an expansion for the base Star Realms set that allows it to be played as a four-player game.


In Colony Wars, as in Star Realms, players will start with a fleet (deck) of 10 basic ships, and can spend Trade to acquire more powerful ships and bases from a central trade row of 5 cards. This row is continuously replenished by random draws from the trade deck. Many ships and bases deal Combat damage which you can use to attack your opponent and/or destroy their bases. When you reduce your opponent's Authority to zero, you win.

The Gist

Buy cards, build your engine, destroy your opponent.

BLURB 2: Electric Boogaloo

It occurs to me that I need to explain Star Realms a little more.

When you play Star Realms, you will be able to acquire and use Ships and Bases of any and all of the four factions. Many cards have powerful Ally abilities that reward you for using Ships and Bases of the same faction together, however.

As you acquire cards using Trade, you put them into your discard pile, to be later shuffled into your personal deck. When you draw Ships, you do what they say, and they get placed into your discard pile at the end of your turn. When you draw a Base, you play it face up in front of you and may use its abilities once every turn. In addition to Combat being the way you reduce your opponent’s Authority to zero and win the game, it’s also useful for destroying your opponent’s Bases. Some Bases are designated as Outposts. Your opponent’s Outposts must be destroyed before you can use Combat to attack your opponent’s Authority directly. 


Star Realms is easy to learn, especially if you’re familiar with deck-building games, but it’s a game that takes time to master. Each time you play, the game is filled with various strategic decision points. Should I take the best card for me or the best card for my opponent? Should I focus on taking cards of a particular faction or on taking the best card available? Should I be focusing on acquiring more Trade or more Combat? Should I attack my opponent’s Base or their Authority? These are just some of the many choices you’ll be faced with. New players needn’t agonize over these choices just to play, but as they become more advanced players, they will find this depth of strategy leads to great replayability.


The Play

The first few turns were fairly uneventful. On the 3rd turn, however, Ty was able to combo a couple of trade authority ships (blue faction), gain some extra authority, and deal some damage to me.
Dad 32 - Tyler 58

Several rounds later, Tyler kept trying to buy the highest cards and all the bases in the trade row while I desperately tried to only buy cards of two factions hoping that I could get some kind of massive combo and stop the whoopin' he was laying on me.
Dad 17 - Tyler 48

After my turn where I did 4 damage to him, Tyler took his turn where he could only purchase.  I played my 5 cards: first two...combo...next two...combo and an extra card.....and another extra card...and another combo. wiped out all his bases and did 27 Damage!
Tied at 17!

Ty then played some Trade Federation cards as I began to tell him when I shuffle my deck next turn he is toast.
Dad 5 - Tyler 22

Okay, one card and then shuffle....Need a big hand, and it's all over! ...And I draw..

x3 Scouts, a Viper and a Solar Skiff?

This is quite possibly the polar opposite of a good hand. especially this late in the game. As Tyler laughed for what felt like 10 minutes (and it very well may have been) he took me out with an onslaught of damage the next turn.

The Bits

I thought I would do the bits a little differently this time and show some cards from our favorite factions.


Dad:

"I love the Blob faction. It's an attack frenzy if you get a good combo!"
    


Ty:

"Trade Federation gives me back authority (health) and that helps me a lot when Dad tries to buy a lot of blob cards for combo attacks."













The Good, the Bad and the Rating

In the end, I just could not scrap enough cards (red machine cult cards), and it really cost me in that last turn.


Dad:

"This game is easy to teach and you can play it a variety of ways. You never know what cards you are going to be able to buy, so your strategy will changed based on what's available and what cards your opponent is buying. You never feel like you're out of a game, and I love that."

4.5/5



Ty:

"This game is the best two-player game I have ever played. We will add these cards in with our regular Star Realms and the expansion and make one giant deck. I would play this game every time someone asked me to."

5/5



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