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Subject: Star Realms Review rss

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Lucas Wiebenga
United States
Illinois
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This BGG forum post was composed as a course requirement for an honors seminar at Central College (Board in Class: An Academic Survey of Modern Board Games, SP18). Constructive feedback and conversation from all BGG users is welcomed and encouraged.
Star Realms is the first deck builder game that I have played. I grew up playing various card games with my family, and occasionally some of the classic board games. Since taking the “Board in Class: An Academic Survey of Modern Board Games” course, I have played many more of the modern board games. There are so many more components involved in the modern board games, and the amount of different strategies going into each game is very interesting.
After seeing that Star Realms was only a deck of cards, I felt confident that I would be able to pick it up quickly. Our class had multiple decks, and we bracketed ourselves into a double-elimination tournament. In my first game, I chose the strategy of adding blue cards to my deck. I would not recommend this strategy if you want to play the game in a short amount of time. In the later rounds, I began gaining health at a faster rate than my opponent was attacking me. However, I had not added many cards with attacking capabilities into my deck. I kept drawing cards with health boosts that built on one another, and my opponent and spectators became frustrated with how long the game was taking. Even though I knew I had chosen a poor strategy, it was at least enjoyable to see my opponent frustrated. Finally, my opponent drew enough combat cards to destroy all of my authority. Alas, I was not victorious in my first attempt. The game ended up taking over thirty minutes, which is slightly longer than the estimated twenty minutes. Even though I felt foolish for only collecting blue cards, I was surprised that I was fairly close to winning (I decreased my opponents authority below five on two of my turns).
One advantage to Star Realms is that the setup time is very minimal (it’s only a deck of cards). While I do enjoy the various meeples, tableaus, and other pieces used in most board games, having a simple deck of cards is quite convenient. I also enjoyed the fast pace of play (after my first game, anyways) and that it was an easy game to learn. I enjoyed the deck builder game style because you are constantly planning ahead, and there are many different strategies to choose from. Like most games, I would have to play quite a few times to get the hang of the different strategies and methods of countering my opponent’s strategies.
One disadvantage to Star Realms is that it is only a two-person game. For the most part, I enjoy having options for the number of players who can join a game. With a lot of people, there is a smaller chance that someone gets left out. With very few people, you are still able to play the game. That flexibility is one of the reasons I enjoy regular card games. For my class, however, we were easily able to set up a bracket and play in a double-elimination tournament. This boosted our competitiveness and helped us to learn the game better.
Soon after I played Star Realms, I ended up playing another deck builder game called Ascension. It takes between two and four players (recommended), and we played with four. Although I enjoyed Ascension, I actually found that I favor Star Realms over Ascension for some reason. Perhaps it is because I have only played Ascension once and I have played Star Realms a handful of times. Regardless of the reason, this was a good reminder that I won’t know for certain if I will enjoy a game until I have actually played it.
After learning the concept, I think it will be relatively easy to learn other deck builder games. If a game is quick and easy, then it is usually easy to find other people willing to play with you. Perhaps I will even buy my own copy of Star Realms since it is so cheap. Thank you for reading, I hope it aided in your ascent of knowledge mountain.

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Jonathan Hoffmann
Canada
Waterloo
Ontario
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I suggest thinking a little harder about why you liked Star Realms better than Ascension and give a real reason.
 
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