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Subject: The Universe in a Box, Crisis Revew rss

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Ike Evans
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Shakopee
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No thanks needed. I'm just your everyday galactic hero.
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Star Realms was originally a game that I met with skepticism. There was indeed a lot of hype about this game, but I could help but wonder how much of a “game” there is in such a small package for such a cheap price. Alas, after buying the game, I was pleasantly surprised. As I stated in an original review I wrote for the game, Star Realms is one helluva game that does indeed lives up to all the hype. This is a game that I enjoy very much. For the price, I consider SR to be “essential” for anyone’s gaming collection.

But how does the Crisis expansion hold up? For this review, I will explore each mini-expansion individually.

Fleets & Fortresses / Bases & Battleships:

These two expansions represent several new ships and bases to the collection. Of the four expansions, these two are the least peculiar of them all. There aren’t any new rules associated with these cards, though several of the cards do come with new abilities that we haven’t seen in the base set. Since the base game is so extraordinarily well balanced, the game designers don’t need to correct for any underlying issues with the base game. Although there isn’t anything wrong with this expansion, I feel like there’s nothing notably innovative about it either.

Heroes:

This is where the expansion gets to be a little more creative, and fills a needed niche to the gameplay. When a hero hits the trade row, their cost is pretty cheap, so their impact to the game isn’t usually going to be monumental. But, because they don’t go into your deck (and therefore will never clog things up), there’s no reason not to snatch up a hero and have it sit on the side if you have one or two trade left over to spend. With this in mind, a cheap hero becomes something to pay attention to. It works, and I like this particular expansion best out of all of the Crisis expansion.

Events:

Like Heroes, this expansion lends itself to also being more creative than F&F/B&B. Unlike Heroes, this expansion doesn’t fill a needed niche. One could make a valid argument for how Events adds a little more variability to the gameplay, which is a point I will concede. Ultimately, I don’t care for this expansion for two reasons.

First, Events makes the game more arbitrary. The base game has a certain variability to it that makes luck an important factor, but not so strong that luck doesn’t dominate the game – i.e. the more skillful player will still win more often than not. The mix of skill/luck in the base game is just right. When we throw in the Events expansion, the luck factor becomes a little stronger. Even though most of the Events affect all players equally, there’s no doubt that the timing of the Events popping out will benefit some players better than others.

Second, my gripe with Events is that they seem to pop up at times that don’t flow very well with the game. For example, it doesn’t seem to be terribly uncommon for two or even three events to hit all at once. (Yes, I shuffle the deck very thoroughly.) Sometimes, this happens at the very onset of the game – my son and I played with the house rule that Event cards that pop up at the beginning are just tossed out. Besides that, when you play with Events, you really need to make sure all of the players are on top of turning over the cards for the trade row right away. If you make the mistake of ending your turn before placing new cards for the trade row, and the new card is an Event, this mistake suddenly becomes a much bigger problem to the game play.

To be clear, I don’t hate the Events expansion. If I’m playing with someone else who wants to play with them, I will concede without complaint. That said, my son and I do not play with this expansion anymore.

Overall Verdict:

There is nothing in the expansions that are vital to this game. The base game is excellent in its own right. I play SR 75% of the time on my phone anyways (which doesn’t come with the expansions) and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on all that much. I would still like to see the app come with the Crisis expansions, and would even pay a few bucks if that was offered. (Hint, hint, you developers. Money is sitting on the table.)

For the NOOB, playing with the expansions right away shouldn't be too much of an issue (especially if you are playing with an experienced player), though I do recommend playing with just the base game a few times before jumping into the expansions.

So is Crisis worth it? For the hard core fans (of which I am one), the answer is probably yes. For the more casual players, the answer is probably no.
Either way, Star Realms is still a spectacular game.
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Chris G
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Good review and I echo the comments. I actually didn't pick up Elements though I've played with them. For the same reasons you mention. They don't feel needed and to me feel like they don't really fit the overall flow of the game. The other three expansions fit in nicely and really its only captains that have a slight shift in play style not some of the dramatic shifts events can cause.
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-matt s.
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Eugene
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My son loves the events and I'm fine with them. Yes, a bit more luck and we do the same thing if they come out at the very beginning - we ignore them.

I just leave the events in the deck and, if we decide not to play with them, we just ignore them when they come up. Simple solution and works just fine with this game (i.e. no need to sort them out of the deck)

I like all the additional/new ships - more variety in this game is good as long as they aren't too crazy/overpowered (or underpowered)
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Timothy Pinkham
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I like game expansions that don't change how the game works, and that don't introduce new rules or mechanics.

So, I like the Fleets & Fortresses and Bases & Battleships expansions. They do exactly what I wanted them to do: Add more variety to the deck, while leaving gameplay unaffected.
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Fred Snertz
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I just learned that Heroes never go into your deck. Thanks for that!
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Nicolas Boulo
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Quick question here on the Crisis set,

I just bought the game & have played once up to now, a 2-player game with only the base deck.

Loved the game so I got my hands on one more deck & 2 copies of each crisis pack to be able to play 4 player games.

My question, would you add one set of crisis cards per basic deck when you mix the cards up or just adding the extra cards once is enough to make a difference in the card flow when combined with 2 basic deck ?

How about with 3 basic deck ?

Would love to hear from people that have played this a bit more than me before I start opening all my extras.

Thanks in advance

Nick 'The Prophet'
 
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