Star Realms is a spaceship combat deck-building game by Magic Hall of
Famers Darwin Kastle and Rob Dougherty (Ascension Co-founder).
Star Realms is a fast paced deck-building card game of outer space
combat. It combines the fun of a deck-building game with the
interactivity of Trading Card Game style combat. As you play, you make
use of Trade to acquire new Ships and Bases from the cards being turned
face up in the Trade Row from the Trade Deck. You use the Ships and
Bases you acquire to either generate more Trade or to generate Combat to
attack your opponent and their bases. When you reduce your opponent’s
score (called Authority) to zero, you win!
The game consists of:
One 80 card Trade Deck
Two 10 card Personal Decks, consisting of two Vipers and eight Scouts
10 Explorer cards
18 double-sided Authority cards for keeping score
One Rules Sheet
Each of the cards in the 80 card Trade Deck is a Ship or a Base
belonging to one of four factions: The Trade Federation, The Blobs, The
Star Empire or The Machine Cult.
In the far future, the more traditional governing bodies of the human
race have been replaced with corporate leadership. The earth and its
surrounding colonies are ruled by a group of corporations called the
Trade Federation. The Federation’s policies are focused around trade and
growth, but especially in profit and prosperity for those at the top of
the corporate ladder. While they prefer to deal with other star realms
using trade and diplomacy, they have a large defense branch dedicated to
protecting the Federation’s trade and other interests.
These mysterious creatures are the first alien life forms encountered by
the human race. Most of the initial encounters consisted of human
colonies being completely obliterated. On the few occasions that a Blob
ship has been recovered somewhat intact, the only biological remains
found inside have consisted of a gelatinous mass, thus leading to the
moniker, “The Blobs”. While for several years all encounters between
humanity and the Blobs have been extremely violent, there is currently
some limited trade between various Blob factions and some of the more
daring human traders.The Blobs are best at generating massive amounts of
Combat and at removing undesirable cards from the Trade Row.
The Star Empire consists primarily of former colonies of the Trade
Federation. These colonies were on the outer edges of the Federation.
Not only did they feel used by the corporations, but they felt the
Federation failed to give them adequate protection from the Blobs. As a
result, one ambitious colonial governor was able to unite several
colonies into an independent empire under his control, one with a strong
military, both for warding off the Blobs and for discouraging the
Federation from trying to reclaim their lost colonies. The Star Empire
is a combat oriented faction that draws lots of cards and makes the
opponent discard cards.
A cluster of industrial mining worlds were completely cut off from the
Trade Federation by the Blobs. With the threat of annihilation by the
Blobs always looming and no contact with the rest of human space, these
worlds were forced to take drastic measures. Soon a cult of technology
arose, focused on using advanced technology, robotics and
computerization to create strong defenses and a powerful military that
belied their relatively small population. Since their leaders believed
their salvation lay in technology, technology soon became their god and
their religion. The Machine Cult gains most of its power from being able
to remove undesirable cards from your deck and from having a large
number of Bases designed to defend your Authority from attack.
Playing star Realms:
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.