If you’ve played deckbuilding games such as the hugely popular Star Realms, you’ll be right at home with Fantasy Flight’s latest licensed Star Wars title: Star Wars: The Deckbuilding Game.

Players choose to play as either the Empire or the Rebellion, each starting with a deck of ten basic cards for their respective side of the conflict.

The aim of the game is to destroy three of the enemy’s bases; on their turns, players buy cards from a central market (the ‘galaxy row’), using resources earned from played cards, but can also attack cards in the galaxy row or commit them to attack their enemy’s base.

Some cards have bonus abilities – and there’s also the Force, which is tracked as being on either the light or dark side, sometimes also giving bonuses if it’s on one player’s side (or ‘the Force is with you’ as it’s thematically referred to in game.

If you are familiar with deckbuilding games, this addition to the genre courtesy of Star Wars will hold few surprises, though the Force and the fact that you can only purchase cards from your own side or neutral cards, does add an extra layer to proceedings.

It’s a very slick design and I was surprised at just how easy it is to learn, teach and play. Star Wars: The Deckbuilding Game is also incredibly thematic, with great artwork, superb clarity in the text and icons on the cards, as well as nicely implemented mechanics that fit the characters, vehicles and settings of the sprawling universe incredibly well.

Given how easy it is to pick up, it’s suitable for players of just about any age too.

There’s a few minor issues, but this really does feel like nit-picking.

For one thing, using cubes to track damage can get really unwieldy when there are lots of damage points to account for on any particular target.

There’s also the fact that it doesn’t take long for the cards to become over familiar; though this is a superb base game, it’s definitely low on cards when you consider that Dominion – one of the earliest and still one of the most popular deckbuilding games – has around 500 in its core set.

With 150 total – split between two sides – you can see why this can quickly become an issue.

However, Star Wars: The Deckbuilding Game is a triumph of both game design and respectful licensing, which is to be expected from Fantasy Flight.

It’s clear that there are plenty of Star Wars fans at Fantasy Flight, who know the franchise inside out – given the love and attention they have lavished upon games such as Armada, X-Wing, Legion, Outer Rim, Rebellion and more.

I can unequivocally recommend Star Wars: The Deckbuilding Game to fans of gaming and Star Wars; even non-fans of the franchise itself should enjoy the excellent, back-and-forth, gently strategic card play in this superb title.

You can buy Star Wars: The Deckbuilding Game from Amazon here.

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