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Star Wars: Shatterpoint – The Trick of the 1 v 1 Experience

I’ve been playing Star Wars: Shatterpoint for almost a month now, thanks to our friends at Atomic Mass Games and Asmodee Canada. Every time we get the game to the table, we really enjoy ourselves.


The game is really, really good. Last night, while sipping on my decaf McCafe coffee – as I do at 35 years old – my father-in-law and I started discussing what we didn’t like about Shatterpoint. After all, all I’ve done for the past few weeks is gush about, both to friends and family and on this website .

Here’s the thing though – is it possible that everything in Shatterpoint is perfect? I wouldn’t say that, but even after talking for 30 minutes or so, we didn’t really have a concrete gameplay mechanic that we didn’t enjoy. Then we found one gripe, one thing that really made the experience less exciting than it could be – the player count.

Listen, when Atomic Mass Games says Shatterpoint is for 2 players – in a one versus one skirmish – I think they are asking a lot of those two players. Can the game be played with two? Of course it can, and if you play it enough and no everything that is happening, it might be very good with 2.

We’ve found, however, that the game plays best with 4 players, each player controlling one group of units. So many times during our early skirmishes we were missing out on powers that could have a huge impact in the game, since we were trying to learn and manage 6 character cards and 8 units. When we didn’t miss abilities, and played the game “the right way” our turns were taking way too long, as we made sure we weren’t forgetting or missing something, and it was dragging down the experience.

For the past few years, I’ve been attending a local Ontario gaming convention called Hot Lead – here, hundreds of people from around Ontario and even the United States, head to Stratford, Ontario to get their skirmish and war games out on the tables for 3 days of fun. While wargaming / tabletop gaming generally isn’t my cup of tea, I do see what so many of the people attending get out of it each year – the social aspect.

It’s always great to get a secondary opinion on the moves I’m making in Shatterpoint, and having someone on my side of the table helps with that. Further, when one individual is taking longer than normal to plot out their turns – remember, this is tabletop gaming, it takes time to make the right decisions – it’s fun to interact with the other people at the table.

Our 1v1 experiences in Shatterpoint had great gameplay – except when we forgot rules – but really lacked the social aspect I think makes tabletop gaming so fun. I quietly sat and played on my phone while my father-in-law planned his moves, only lifting my head when it was my turn to roll some defence dice. With more players around the table, the phone never comes out because there is always someone to talk to and something to talk about, even Shatterpoint strategy.

And yes, I fully understand that pulling my phone out to make an Instagram post or to check the sports scores is a me-problem, but it’s also not like I can converse with my father-in-law who is trying to figure out what to do. He’s focused on his task. So that just leaves me.

I think Shatterpoint is best played with 4 players. With more time and a better understanding of all the characters, 1 v 1 is definitely doable from a gameplay perspective. But from a social point of view – not so much.


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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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Twitter: @AdamRoffel