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Star Wars: The Deckbuilding Game Review

Since the launch of Dominion, it seems that almost every card drafting and Deck building game that has been released to the market has been compared to Dominion. This would be a fair thing to do, as Dominion is easily one of the most dominant deck building games on the market. But how does Star Wars: The Deckbuilding Game stack up?


When reading through what made Star Wars: The Deckbuilding Game so popular, I was excited to give it a go. Usually, it makes the most sense to bury the lead, but here I’m just going to come out with it. Star Wars: The Deck building Game is phenomenal, but I wish it could be played with more people!

Components – What’s In The Box

When the box from Fantasy Flight and Asmodee Canada arrived, I was thrilled to get an additional pack of Star Wars themed card sleeves to keep my copy of the game clean. I’m sure these are an option to purchase, and before we even get into what’s in the box, I would recommend picking these – or really any sleeves – up. In deck building games, you will be shuffling and handling your cards a lot, so having that extra layer of protection is very important.


The cards in the box are of a decent quality. They are not the best cards I’ve ever used (no linen finish here), but also not the worst. This actually makes sense to me. In a conversation years ago with a board game designer, they informed me that linen finishing cards is one of the most expensive upgrades a board game can get, so to keep costs down, most companies opt for a cheaper, still durable card option. That is what Fantasy Flight has done here, and it makes sense.

It makes sense because there are a TON of cards in this game. Between the main deck, the Empire and Rebel starting cards and bases, as well as the Outer Rim Pilots, there are over 120 cards in the box. Also included is a white cube for measuring the force, a small little force board, yellow resource cubes and purple damage cubes. Overall, the quality of the game is very good.


How to Play

As always, this How to Play is talking about the game in the most simple of terms, and should not be used as a how to play guide. In Star Wars: The Deckbuilding Game, players will work to use cards to buy additional cards, move the force between the Empire and Rebels, and attack enemy ships, units, and bases. The ultimate goal is to eliminate all of the enemy bases before they have eliminated yours.

On your turn, players will have a hand of 5 cards. Cards will contain a lot of information, but most important is what’s in the top left and what’s written in the box at the bottom.

The top left numbers indicate (if any) a certain amount of damage a unit or vehicle can do, the number of resources it generates that turn, and the amount it can move the force cube. Players can play as many cards from their hand as they would like, gaining resources and adding up attacks.

Resource cubes can be used to purchase cards from the Galaxy Row in the middle of the table, while attacks must be allocated to either attacking cards in the Galaxy Row (and gaining rewards), or attacking enemy captain ships and bases.

The Galaxy Row will always have 6 cards face up (from a 90 card deck), and these will either be Empire, Rebel, or neutral cards. Each faction can only purchase their cards and neutral cards, but can attack the opposite faction to remove them from the game. It’s actually a great system, and there are multiple times where you will spend your time attacking Galaxy Row cards instead of attacking a base directly.

When you are attacking a base, players must always assign damage to any ships protecting the base first, before attacking the base itself. Most ships and bases have special abilities that can be triggered, and deciding which base to have in play at any given time can lead to some great strategic moments.

Is it Worth the Effort?

Dominion easily is the best deck building game I’ve ever played, and this Star Wars title draws a lot of similarities from that. Here, however, you are not limited by actions. You can do as much as you can on your turn, exhausting your entire hand if possible (and advised). But there is a layer of strategy here that I also found in Dominion.

There comes a time in the game where perhaps you shouldn’t buy cards, or you need to somehow remove less valuable cards from your hand. Like with all deck building games, the more you add to your deck, the more you dilute it and make getting specific cards harder and harder.

When playing a few games with my 13 year old, this became very evident. As I worked to remove less useful cards from my hand so I could play Darth Vadar, Lando, and more, he continued to buy and buy and buy.

While he had the upper hand through the first half of the game, the tables quickly turned as my continual use of attack cards overwhelmed him, and the game quickly ended. There is a lot of strategy here in how you are going to build your deck.

You need a good balance of resource management, attacks, and even cards that let you buy things from the discard pile, repair your base and ships, and more. Dilute it too much, you might be in trouble. On the other hand, diversify too little and you ALSO might be in trouble.

The theme here works well, and I enjoyed seeing some of my favourite Star Wars characters pop up in the Galaxy Row. I had a great team led by Darth Vadar (Empire Card) and the neutral Lando Calrisian, while Logan was boasting characters like Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker. There are notable names missing – no Palpatine! – but that probably signals potential expansions in the future.

There aren’t many things I don’t like about Star Wars: The Deck building Game. I think from top-to-bottom, it is a well thought out, and well balanced game. I’ve played numerous games with both the Empire and the Rebels, and I’ve won and lost with both. I just wish it could scale to more players!


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blank Adam Roffel has only been writing about video games for a short time, but has honed his skills completing a Master's Degree. He loves Nintendo, and almost anything they have released...even Tomodachi Life.

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