It’s been around for nine years, has been supported by lots of expansions (some that are standalone or compatible with the base game) and even numerous variants such as solo and co-op modes, so surely it’s about time that I review deckbuilding game Star Realms, right?

Especially as I’ve recently covered Star Wars: The Deckbuilding Game, which took lots of inspiration from Star Realms, adding a touch of asymmetry and a huge amount of thematic ambience to the game.

Going back to Star Realms though: there’s a reason it’s proven to be so inspirational when it comes to compact, fast playing two player deckbuilding games.

It’s a phenomenally lean game, with incredibly well implemented mechanics and brilliant balance.

In Star Realms, the aim of the game is to reduce your opponent’s Authority (essentially their health) from fifty to zero points.

With a hand of five cards each turn, you’ll use Trade points to buy cards from the central row (essentially an ever-replenishing market of cards), Combat to attack your opponent and Authority to basically restore your health.

Bases can remain in play between turns, and any with the Outpost designation must be attacked and destroyed before you can take down other bases or target your opponent directly.

There’s an incredibly addictive quality to Star Realms; partly due to its simplicity, but also in the to and fro of each turn.

Four different factions feature – and you can often build powerful combos of Combat, Trade or other effects if you have multiple cards from the same faction in play.

Star Realms is also really easy to play even if you can’t find a physical opponent to play against, as it’s available on mobile and Steam in robust, easy to play digital form, which comes with a great tutorial that’ll teach you how to play in minutes.

As a physical game though, not only is Star Realms easy to learn, but it also doesn’t take up much table space or cost a great deal.

It’s a great game for experienced players as well as newer or younger board gamers; though it may seem, at first glance, to be a bit more complex than famous gateway games such as Catan, Carcassonne or Ticket to Ride, in my opinion, Star Realms is just as effective an introduction to the joys of tabletop gaming as any of those three classics.

You can buy Star Realms from Amazon here.

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