Thursday, 29 May 2014


A few months ago I got the Star Wars Living Card game from Fantasy Flight Games. I had ordered the basic game and with a 20% off sale at the time, I had also purchased the complete Hoth cycle expansion packs and the Edge of Darkness expansion box (which has the Scum and Villainy / Smugglers and Spy packs)

So I have been spending a fair amount of time playing the game at the moment, and have to say it is a very good and somewhat very addictive, especially if you like all things Star Wars as I do, it takes anything from 30 minutes to 1 hour tops to play a game, so you can easily get multiple games done in a single games night/afternoon which is a good thing. Its a 2 player card driven game, where one fights for the Light side and the other for the Dark side.

The scene or history for the game places the Dark side with its large Imperial Navy and Sith Users, forever on the look out for the elusive Rebel base, and when they find it they hope to obliterate it with one powerful blast from their new deadly weapon, the Death Star. The Light side in contrast are running out of time as they can not hide forever, and with the stolen plans of the Death Star they have acquired thanks to those crafty Botham spies, the time has now come to mobilise their star-fighters and defeat the Empire once and for all. Meanwhile the Bounty Hunters/Smugglers have their own agendas in mind.

The game is centered on the older Star Wars movie trilogy which is good as these movies/story lines are far superior to the new trilogy in my opinion - too much CGi for my liking. The game itself is very colourful as all the cards are very well drawn with simply stunning illustrations on each of them, with easy to read text, and the themes/weapons/creatures all centred around the movies

For those of you who don't know too much about Living card games, it is basically a card game that starts you off with a core set of cards for each faction/side that can be played as is , but as you get more experienced with the game you can start to make your own deck of cards. This is where things start to get really interesting, as you can mix things up and have different affiliations interacting with one another within your game deck. You can also add in new expansion decks (such as the Hoth set) as they get released, as are all equally balanced for game play.

Example of Imperial Navy Objectives and Affiliation Card

An example of an Imperial Navy Objective and the cards that are part of that objective set
This one being the attack on Endor
Example of Rebel Alliance Objectives and Affiliation Card

Rebel Alliance cards
For the Deck building part, each player starts by choosing their Affiliation Card and a stack of 10 objective sets, a Objective set contains 6 cards with the first being the objective and the remaining 5 being the playing cards for that set that is placed in the Command deck. Each set has a number on it with the cards labelled between 1 of 6 so you know which card belongs to what set. This makes deck building fast and easy, as you don't have to individually weigh the options and value of each individual card, just pick a set that you think will work well with the other 9 sets and your away laughing.

The Dark side (easily my favorite) has 3 different affiliations you can choose from, these being:
The Imperial Navy :  They draw their power and vast resources from their command Star Destroyer Capital Ships, Tie-fighter squadrons, Storm Troopers, AT-AT walkers, and Leaders such as General Veers, Captain Needa and Grand Moff Tarkin.

The Sith: They draw their power from the the dark side of the Force, the Sith rule the galaxy through fear and is led by Emperor Palpatine with his apprentice, the dark lord Darth Vader, the Sith aim to crush their opponents’ throats (quite literally with the force chock card) and ambitions.

The Scum and Villainy:  If you like the bounty hunters such as Boba Fett, Greedo and Jabba the Hutt you will like this pack of cards. They cant match the resources of other factions but make this up by trickery and bounty and eventual capture of key unit cards.

Their is also a Neutral pack of objective sets for the dark side which include the Tusken Raiders, Espro Troopers, Probe Droids and Creatures such as the Rankor (which I must say is a very nasty and effective unit)

The Light side also has 3 different affiliations to choose from, these being:
Rebel Alliance: The Rebel fighters with leaders such as Leia Organa and Admiral Ackbar, Droids such as R2-D2 and C3-PO, Rebel freedom fighters, X wing and Y wing starfighters all out to make quick and tactical strikes against the Empire.
The Jedi: The old ways have not yet completely vanished, Obi-Wan, Yoda and Luke Skywalker are the hero's in this pack, Jedi mind tricks, protective characters and weaponry such as Lightsabers and the like being their main companions
Smugglers and Spies:  These are the heroic Scoundrels (others might say Scruffy Nerf herders in fact) of the light side, such as Han Solo, Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian. These draw resources from Botham Spies, Cloud City, and other useful tricks such as smuggling compartments and Wookies. Similar to the Dark side, the Light side also have a Neutral pack which includes the likeable Ewoks.

The game is easy enough to learn. To play cards, players must spend the resources they generate by placing “focus” tokens on their ready affiliation cards and objectives they have. Some units and enhancements also contain icons with resource values, and players can use these cards to generate resources, as well.

Placing a focus token on a card indicates that it has been committed to a specific activity or course of action. Until a card has a focus token on it, it is considered “ready,” but once given a focus token, the card is then exhausted. Exhausted cards can’t be used again to generate resources or take actions until after their controllers have removed all focus tokens from them. Typically, players remove one token from each of their cards during the refresh phase, but some cards can be “focused” twice in a single moment, and some cards allow players to place focus tokens upon their opponent’s units, luring them deeper down the paths they have chosen. This can leave them unable to fully refresh on their next turn and quite unable to respond to other threats. This is where it gets somewhat interesting as if a unit is focused to generate resources for example he/she/it then can not be used to attack and more importantly used to defend such attacks from your opponent so a balance has to reached sometimes.

Victory conditions for the game - the Light side win if they destroy three of Dark side objectives, the Dark side win if the Death star dial gets to 12. The Death star dial starts at 0 and moves along 1 space every game turn, also moves an extra space if the force is on the dark side and also every time an objective is destroyed by the Dark side.
A player will also loose if they have no cards to draw in their turn (i.e. an empty command deck)

However, destroying an opponent’s objective requires getting sufficient firepower past their defenses.
Most of this firepower will come from unit cards, representing the characters, creatures, droids, vehicles, and starships that players may use to strike against their opponents. Enhancements like skills, weapons, and other items make your units more effective in battle, while other enhancements like locations can allow you to expand your play area and resources needed. The faster you can gain more resources, the faster you can launch massive star ships like Home One or even Dearth Vader's Executor Star Destroyer.

When combating, the attacker declares which objective he wishes to strike and puts forth their eligible units they wish to attack with while the opponent declares which units will defend his objective and then all these units then enter what is called an edge battle, each card in your hand has a edge value and players place cards face down in an attempt to win the edge, you can use as many cards as you have and also use fate cards in these battles, this is one of the most important parts of the battle as you want the edge as it allows you to strike first and use edge enabled icons on your cards (more on this in a minute). So its all about how you play your edge battle, sometimes you may wish to trick your opponent and play twists of Fate cards and make him waste their cards and then have to start over again, this is a useful tactic if you have more cards in play than your opponent.

Once the winner is declared each player takes turns nominating which unit strikes (starter with the edge winner) then works out each cards damage icons and applies hits/damage to units and objectives

Each card can obtain 3 different attack characteristic, these being :
A Handgun symbol which is the Unit damage: Deal one point of damage per unit damage icon to an opposing unit in the same combat. If a unit takes an amount of damage equal to its hit points, it is destroyed.
Blast damage symbol: When it strikes, an attacking unit may deal one point of damage per blast damage icon to the attacked objective.
Tactics symbol: Place one focus token on an enemy unit. This cunning ploy may prevent an enemy unit from striking in combat, or it can disrupt your opponent’s plans by exhausting a future unit or resource

The white battle icons on the units card are only used if you have won the edge battle, where as the black can be used if you either lost or won the edge (so all the time). The Millennium Falcon picture opposite shows it has 4 icons black and an extra white can be used if it has won the edge. Some cards only have white icons so its vital to win these battles if you have put forward such a unit to fight with, because if you loose the battle they are then useless and wont be able to strike.
Examples of Twist of Fate cards - used in Edge battles
At any time players can interrupt this to play an event card which could help them , for instance using Darth Vaders Force Choke card to inflict one damage (and hopefully kill that unit) before it gets to strike and so forth.

Finally players enter what is called the force phase, they can try and sway the balance of the force to their side by committing units to the force, the player with more Force icons than the other can flip the force icon badge to their side and gain its benefits

The balance of the Force has a profound effect upon the game. When the balance of the Force tilts in favour of the light side, the light side player may deal one damage to a dark side objective at the start of Light sides turn. When the balance of the Force favours the dark side, the dark side player advances the Death Star dial an extra point each turn

So a very good game
My favourite Deck build would be the Imperial Navy Affiliation with General Veers and his AT-AT and AT-ST walker on the assault of Hoth with Snow Assualt Stormtroopers ... very good at shielding and blast damage and has a fair amount of resources available to it. Throw in some cheap Espro Troopers and you get a good combo going with Veers on the table.

Andy's favourite deck build (and fast becoming my nightmare) is the Scum and Villainy sets with Bounty Hunters such as Bossk, Dengar, Jabba Hutt and Boba Fett. They struggle for resources but they make this up with other tactics such as capturing and cashing in bounties, forcing their opponents to loose vital components(units) to their set of cards.

Now, for those of you who have played this game before now, this might amuse you !!! -  Never have a Rancor beast in place and then put down your Krayt Dragon ... only to have your own Rancor eat the Dragon in your next turn as its the only unit on the table !!!  I did this without thinking as I got all excited about placing such a powerful card in play and forgot the silly Rancor .... My brother was pissing himself laughing when this happened  ... very amusing stuff.

1 comment:

  1. They look and sound good, I still have an old set of cards you could buy in the shops.