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Subject: So...how tough is this game to learn/teach? rss

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So I want to pick up a copy of this game to play with my mom. Yes...my mom. lol
We've jumped into Star Wars X-Wing and both of us love it...now I'd like to see if she'd play a card game with me as well.

Thing is, is she's suffered some brain damage a few years ago and can have a difficult time with certain things. She's done an amazing job with picking X-Wing up...I'm always surprised by how many of the rules, names of the ships/upgrades/pilots and whatnot she remembers...and she's actually a heck of a lot better at strategy then I had anticipated her being.
But there's limits. She can't build her own teams for instance, as it's all too overwhelming for her to try and go through all the upgrades and try to figure out which cards would work well with each other.
And she can get frustrated when I try to give her too many ships to pilot. It becomes too overwhelming when she's got too many things to keep track of.

Sorry for the long post this is becoming xP.

How hard is this game in a nutshell?
Think of my mom as a 7 or 8 year old kid. Is it overly complicated? Is there TONS of things to keep track of each round? Is deck building super complicated (though this isn't too much of an issue, as I can build her decks for her)?

I think I'll pick up a starter or 2 this month, but I don't want to get them if I think this game will be too tough for my mom to enjoy.

Thanks a lot guys!
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Matt Lernout
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Like all collectible card games, it takes not only learning the framework, but individual cards, which can make it hard to grasp. Every new card that enters play has the ability to change the game-state and it can be overwhelming to try and track it all. On the flip side, if you play a lot of the same cards, it can be easy to recall what they do from just seeing the artwork.

There are also a large number of possible decision points. Play this card or keep it for edge? How many units should I send here? How many engagements am I going to start this turn? Do I want to compete for the force this turn?

One thing in your favor is the deck-building design of the game. It boils down to picking 10 sets and your deck is auto-built. Most of the sets are balanced enough that you can pick assortments and not end up with a terrible deck. And if theme is a helping hand, you can always just go "I want Han, Chewie, Falcon, Luke, Yoda" and throw those sets in.

I want to recommend it as I game I like, but I think the complexity might present a barrier in your case. If you do end up trialing it, I'd have your mother play the dark side - it's an easier and more forgiving play, since they can usually hunker down and play a defensive game, which is easier to pull off than trying to destroy objectives (sides are asymmetrical and different victory conditions).
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Drew Thomson
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I love the game, but I don't think I can recommend it in this case. It is complex, and there are a lot of things to remember as cards get added to the table.

Perhaps check out the newly-announced Star Wars: Destiny, if you are OK with the collectible format. It looks much simpler than the LCG.

Edit: It's not scheduled to release until November.
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Michael Schwarz
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twitch77 wrote:

I think I'll pick up a starter or 2 this month, but I don't want to get them if I think this game will be too tough for my mom to enjoy.

Thanks a lot guys!


If you're thinking of Starters... you might be thinking of a different Star Wars CCG on the market. The Wizards of the Coast one and Decipher game are still floating around on the secondary market, so you might be seeing those. This game's core release ships in a single complete box.

This game is fairly straightforward. Deck construction is very simple, with some intricacies. You only actually select 10 cards, but your deck consists of sets of six tied to each of those cards.

Otherwise, this game is mechanically pretty simple. Some of the later cards get pretty involved, so that could pose an issue, but the basic game is fairly easy to teach.
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Michael Schwarz
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Okay, so here are the rules, in brief.

Deck Building

You select an affiliation card, there are six of these (3 light, 3 dark). The affiliations are Jedi, Rebel, Smugglers & Spies, Sith, Imperial Navy, and Scum & Villainy. So you select the affiliation card that matches the kind of deck you want to use. Bounty Hunters and organized crime? That's Scum & Villainy, Obi-Wan and Yoda? Jedi. AT-ATs? Imperial Navy. It's worth noting that in a two player game, one player must pick a light side affiliation, and the other must pick dark side one. In larger multiplayer formats you must have an even number of each (with the exception of the Challenge Decks game mode.)

Some characters appear in multiple affiliations. So there are Jedi versions and a rebel version of Luke. There's multiple Rebel and Smuggler versions of Han, and so on.

Cards are organized into six card pods called Objective Sets. These contain one Objective, and five cards that form your actual deck. When you select one card, you must include the other five associated cards. If you want a second copy of one of those cards, you'll need to include the entire set twice.

You select at least 10 objectives (and the 50 cards associated with them) to build your deck. You can include two copies of any objective unless it has the "limit one per objective deck" text. Additionally, you cannot include Objectives the text "X affiliation only," unless the named affiliation matches your affiliation card.

You can include objectives from other affiliations in your deck if you wish, though there are incentives to staying within your own affiliation. You also cannot include an objective set from the other side of the force. So, if you're playing Jedi, you can't simply toss in a set with Vader or Thrawn.

You can also select more than 10 objectives, this is strongly discouraged, but it is legal.

That's... actually, all you need to know to build a deck. It's remarkably simple and fast.

Goals

The game is asymmetrical. The Dark Side player begins with a 12 stage dial set to 0. Each turn it advances by 1. If it reaches 12, the Dark Side player wins the game.

The Light Side player must destroy three of their opponent's objectives. Objectives have a health value, which can be depleted by attacking them (in this sense the game is sort of like a standard burn damage game, except that Objectives have differing health values.)

Dark Side Players can also attack a Light Side player's objectives, and each time they destroy an objective, they advance their dial by one for each objective they've already destroyed. (1 for the first, 2 for the second (3 total), 3 for the third (6 total), and so on.)

Finally, there's an initiative system, where players can commit their units to the force in order to strengthen their position in some abstract way. The player with the higher force total (it's a card anatomy thing I'm glossing over for the moment), has the initiative (called Balance of the Force). At the beginning of the turn, if the Dark Side player has the balance, then the dial advances by 2 points instead of 1. If the Light Side player has the balance, then they get to deal a free point of damage to one of their opponent's objectives.

Setup

At the beginning of the game, each player shuffles a 50 card deck, that includes all of the non-objective cards they selected. They shuffle their objectives as a separate 10 card deck.

Each player draws the top four cards off their objective deck, selects three which they put into play face down, and returns the final card to the bottom of their objective deck.

They then reveal their objectives and draw 6 cards from the top of their draw deck (called the command deck).

Objectives (and your Affiliation card) provide resources which allow you to play other cards. (When you're playing a non-neutral card, at least one of the cards generating the resources needs to match the affiliation of the card you're playing. If you go too heavily out of faction, it's possible to get into a situation where you can't pay for the cards you want to play.)

There are Units, which are your characters, starships, creatures, and other things. There are enhancements, which attach to units, or play to the table, and provide beneficial effects. There are Events which are play once and discard effects. Finally, there are Fate cards, which factor into the game's combat system.

Units and Enhancements sometimes allow you to generate resources, just like objectives. So there is some resource building in the game, but you're not entirely dependent on it to play.

Combat

During your turn, you can assign units to attack one of your opponent's objectives. Your opponent then can assign available units to defend the objective. Before anything else happens, each player can play cards from their hand face down in a pile, alternating, until both players pass.

Almost every card in your command deck will have a series of icons called force icons. Major characters tend to have more (Yoda and the Emperor have 5 for example.) (This is also the card value used when determining the balance of the force.)

Once both players have passed, the cards are flipped face up, and the total icons are tallied. The higher total wins initiative for the battle (called "edge") and their units (usually) become stronger. Fate cards are played face down into these stacks and their effects range from dealing damage to an objective, to canceling the edge battle and starting over (an excellent way to empty an unsuspecting opponent's hand). Once this is over, any cards played into the edge battle are discarded.

At this point, starting with the player who has the edge and alternating, you can focus (think tapping) one of your units to deal damage to your opponent, until every unit is focused.

Units can deal damage in up to three ways. They can have Character Damage, which is dealt to your opponent's units. They can have tactics icons, which allow you to focus (again, think tap) your opponent's units (even ones not participating in the battle), and they can have blast damage, which will damage the objective they're attacking (if you're defending, your units' blast damage does nothing).

Additionally, units can sometimes have additional damage icons that are edge enabled, meaning they only get those icons if you won the edge.

This means that effective defense is often more about stopping or destroying an opponent's objective damaging units before they can attack, not simply about soaking up damage like in a normal burndown CCG.

...and that's kinda it.

I mean, I'm glossing over a few things. Focusing cards is accomplished by placing a token on them, instead of rotating a card, and cards can have multiple focus tokens placed on them at once, but they only get to remove one per turn. So you can tap out a card for multiple turns. The most common example would be an objective that can generate two resources. You can put one token on it, get one resource to use, and have it available next turn, or you could put two on it, and have two resources, but not have access to it next turn.

But, that's the basics of the game.
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Michael Schwarz
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Incidentally, the normal burndown damage to kill three objectives is ~15. Depending on the objectives chosen, this could be as low as 12, or as high as 18.

There are also a few objectives with fairly powerful cards, that have extraordinary health (usually around 10), but will eliminate you from the game if destroyed.
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Andrew Frazier
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Due to the number of "resources" to track, ever changing game state, and gambling nature of conflicts, I would not recommend SW:TCG at this time.

However, I think that Dominion, Star Realms, or Ascension could be great alternatives. Starting cards are always the same. The number of resources or stats to track is minimal. And the gradual deck building should lend itself to faster recognition of combos.

I think it's great that you are supportive of your mother in this fashion! Hope you find something that works well!
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Thank you guys so much!

Sounds like I'll be passing on this game with my mom for now. I don't want the first card game I get her into to be a bad experience for her and to chase her away from further trading/deckbuilding games.

There's a new card and dice game coming out in november from FFG called star wars destiny I think she'd really enjoy that doesn't look too overly complicated (I watched a full game of it on youtube). I think I'll try that with her next.

lol she's an UBER star wars geek. She's in the process of setting up an entire room dedicated to all her star wars collectables haha...I'd love to get into other games with her, but she wants our games to be star wars themed.

x-wing has been amazing. It's one of the greatest games I've ever touched and it's something she's actually good at. I only wish she could build her own squads.
Plus she loves the figures (almost a year into the game and the figures still blow me away!) and likes to display them.

Anyhow, sounds like this card game isn't the card game for us quite yet. And that's okay ...I can always attempt to drag one of my friends into it...or who knows? Maybe someday I'll try it with my mom and be pleasantly surprised .

Thanks again everyone! I appreciate everything!!

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Hedyn Brand
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I bet Destiny will be perfect - apart from the collectible aspect, if you find that annoying. If it's priced anything like Dice Masters it'll be fine though. Looks like it has more focus on the card action than the dice (but still very simple), so it's different enough from DM that I'd give it a try once it's out.
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Seth Dortch
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gnurf wrote:
I bet Destiny will be perfect - apart from the collectible aspect, if you find that annoying. If it's priced anything like Dice Masters it'll be fine though. Looks like it has more focus on the card action than the dice (but still very simple), so it's different enough from DM that I'd give it a try once it's out.


According to the FFG website the boosters will be $2.99 a pop. So not quite as cheap as Dice Masters. But you get 5 cards and 1 die included so it's probably worth that I guess.
 
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Hedyn Brand
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Not quite as great as other boosters. Puts it up there with Yu-gi-oh and Pokémon (which both give you less per booster than MtG). The questions are if boosters expire eventually or if they keep all series in print, and how many different cards there are to collect.
 
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