Star Wars Destiny is a collectable card and dice game for 2 players that can take anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes to play. It plays similarly to a board game – turn by turn actions played over several rounds. Each player creates a team of heroes or villains and goes head to head against their opponent. Equip your team with vehicles like a Ti-Fighter or the Millennium Falcon and weapons like Kylo Ren’s lightsaber or a rocket launcher. Recruit support characters or claim the battlefield and use its powerful effects…
Players begin with a team of characters and a customized deck of cards. Your characters and some of the cards in your deck will have corresponding dice which you can roll to gain resources and shields, damage your opponent, or trigger special abilities.
Players will also begin with one base each and the first player (determined by a dice roll) will get to choose which base to use in that game. The player whose base is not used receives shields to distribute to their characters. Players will shuffle their decks and draw a starting hand of 5 cards and have one chance to choose any cards from their starting hand to shuffle back into their deck, drawing back up to 5. Players will take turns preforming 1 action per turn and will continue play until either all of one player’s characters are dead or if, at the end of a round, after the upkeep phase, a player has no cards in their hand or their deck. Throughout the game players can spend resources to play various upgrades, events, and supports, increasing their strength and possibly their pool of dice.
The rulebook explains things well and since the overall mechanics of Star Wars Destiny are fairly simple, it’s easy to learn. Because of the plethora of cards available in this game you may occasionally have a question about specific interactions of two or more cards which will not be addressed by the rulebook, but this game has a passionate and helpful player base who can answer these questions through online forums like Facebook and Boardgame Geek. The starter sets include all the cardboard tokens needed to play the game and they are of decent quality. The cards are of slightly above average quality and the artwork is nostalgic and fun. The dice are an interesting component in the game. They are plastic-injected then rolled in a tumbler to add a smooth polish. The images on each side are then heat-pressed onto the dice, essentially printing the artwork directly onto the plastic. Finally, the die is covered in a scratch-resistant coating, which Fantasy Flight claims will “allow you to roll these dice without their quality deteriorating”. While many players like the dice, I personally think they look and feel cheap but seem to roll well and fairly.
Whether you choose to buy only a starter set or two or expand your collection with boosters, storage issues will arise immediately. The starters come in packaging that is not designed for long-term storage (pretty much throwaway packaging) and the boosters come in blind-pull packs that you tear open.
There is currently no official storage solution but players are using all sorts of things from shoeboxes to custom foam-tray-loaded bags and there are all sorts of options available at every price point and style.
The setup for this game is both easy and very difficult. If you have a deck prepared the game will take less than 2 minutes to set up. However, if you do not have a deck ready it can be very difficult to prepare for this game; you’ll have to create a deck based on multiple parameters, ensuring the cards you choose to include in your deck meet all the right criteria and conditions. Additionally, just because a card can be in your deck doesn’t mean it should be; you’ll want to tinker around with different cards and combinations to create the most efficient and enjoyable deck. While this can be a labor-intensive process, the ability to handpick each and every card that goes into your deck creates a huge amount of customization and individuality in every deck and allows players to finetune their game to a level previously unheard of.
As previously stated, this is a two-player game and is completely dependent on player interaction. Players take turns attacking and defending by taking just one action per turn, allowing for reaction amidst the resolving battle; my opponent takes an action then I have a chance to respond by taking my action. This creates a fast paced, highly interactive game that allows for varied style.
The overall difficulty level of Star Wars Destiny is low. If you have preconstructed decks players can set up, teach, and play a game in less than an hour, even allowing for new players to learn. Some of difficulties that arises with this game come in the forms of product availability, poor customer support, and, as usual with collectable games, potentially high entry barriers to new players. Fantasy Flight is notorious for printing a fraction of the product that could be sold and, in this game especially, this can be frustrating to players. Scores of people jumped wholeheartedly into this game but, frustrated by lack of product, many eventually quit the game and sold off their collections. In many cases lack of product created such a choke on some potential communities that many people never even got into the game to begin with, even though they wanted to. To date FFG has released two starter sets (Rey and Kylo Ren) and booster packs from 2 different sets – Awakenings and Spirit of the Rebellion. Each set has seen or will see 1-2 print runs and when the product is gone its gone for good – it is, after all, a collectable card game. Fantasy Flight exhibits poor customer service; a now-famous example: a player once opened a booster pack to find a misprinted Han Solo die, which Fantasy Flight replaced with a new random booster, not a new, correctly printed Han Solo die. This and other instances of a couldn’t-care-less attitude has left many players unsatisfied. Because this is a collectable game there is a potential barrier to entry for new players; if a new player grabs a starter deck and tries to play against someone who has been collecting cards for any length of time (or even someone who’s just bought a bunch of really good cards) they’ll face almost certain defeat. In the hands of a skilled player any deck can win, especially because of the randomness introduced by the dice, however to be competitive players will need to collect better cards than are provided in the starter decks and many spend a considerable amount of money and effort to do so.
Despite some issues I do recommend Star Wars Destiny, especially to fans of the franchise and to fans of collectable card games. It’s an easy-to-learn, fast-playing, fun, and thoughtful game that has simple and solid mechanics and nostalgia-inducing artwork. At the time of publication the player base is notably passionate, helpful, and welcoming to new and veteran players. One player gave me this advice, “Don’t miss out on the fun adventures that Star Wars Destiny provides, like Luke facing off against Vader, Han Solo battling the cunning Jabba the Hutt…this game is awesome!” Thanks for reading my review; I hope you enjoyed it! S