This week I wanted to take a look at a few of the lesser known LCGs from Fantasy Flight Games. Many people know and have heard of Android: Netrunner. But few have heard of Star Wars the Living Card Game and Lord of the Rings the Living Card Game. Today we will take a closer look at Star Wars, how it plays, how cards work, and is it worth trying out.
Star Wars the LCG is a 2 player card game that takes place in the Star Wars Universe. Players chose to play the Light or Dark side in the conflict. For tournament play players take turns playing each for a best of 3 match-up. In Star Wars each side has different goals. The Light side is looking to destroy 3 of their opponents Objective cards while the Dark Side is looking to activate the Death Star. The game is similar to games like Magic except it has it’s own twist. When building a deck in the game you do not go out and chose 3-4 copies of all of the best cards. Instead you build your deck off of Objective cards. Each Objective set has a specific set of cards that goes along with it. So if I pick Prepare for Evacuation I must run all the cards in that set even if they are not optimal. This makes the game very easy for deck building purposes, but it also can make competitive play dull since most of the field will be running 2 of each of the competitive objective sets.
Paying costs in the game is very similar to Magic with a twist. If an objective provides 2 resources and you use 2 off of it then it will not be available for use next turn. During the refresh step only 1 token is removed from each card on your field. This can make for interesting decision making. So let’s take a look at a standard card.
The cost to field the card is in the top left. Type is in the middle of the card along with affiliation. The white circles under the cost are used during edge battles which we will explain later. on the bottom left is the Health value of the unit. The icons down the middle of the card tell you what kind of damage this unit does in combat. So Luke does 2 unit damage (guns) and 1 Objective Damage. The white icon is added if you win the edge battle. Just like in magic their are other cards such as enhancements, events, and cards that are edge battle specific. So lets go through a turn.
In this phase you determine what faction the force favors. There is a token that is flipped based on Dark or Light. Dark wants to be in control to help move the Death Star Track. Light gets to do free objective damage if they control the force.
In this phase the active player removes 1 focus token from all of their units and objectives.
In this phase the active player can first chose to discard a card and then draw up to their max hand size of 6 cards.
Next the active player focuses objectives and units to deploy more units and structures to the play area.
In this phase players try to attack opposing objectives and destroy enemy units.
What makes this phase unique is the edge battle. Once units are selected to attack and defend players alternate turns putting cards from their hand face down into a stack to determine who wins the edge battle. The winner gets to deal damage first as well as activate all white icons on their characters.
During this phase players dedicate units to the Force struggle to see what side is more in tune with the force. This sets up the balance phase for the next players turn.
Overall the game is pretty simple to follow, the starters are relatively balanced against one another, and games end quickly. I enjoy playing this game from time to time, but I do not see myself ever getting into it competitively. The art is all original which is a great thing that Fantasy Flight has going for their LCGs. This one is not for everyone and because of that I have to rate this one a 3/5. The linear deck building leaves little room for creativity and variety. Also combat is not very thematic in that Luke can take down a Star Destroyer. This one would be on my try before you buy list.