When At Essen… Expect the Unexpected!!!
Hindsight is a wonderful thing! In my blog of the top ten games to get at Essen, I had cheekily put in Star Realms as one of the games to get there. I did this because of its limited availability. News was that White Wizards didn’t know if they would have any product at Essen, but on arriving at their stand, I wasn’t surprised to find gamers throwing their euro’s at the sales team. Especially at seeing the amount of product that was on offer!
If I had known that the Crisis expansions were going to be Essen, it would have been my number 1 game to get. In fact, like anyone who went near their stand, I bought everything I could lay my hands on. The set of four Crisis expansions, a play mat, deck box with logo sleeves – White Wizard were a little naughty in making you buy the sleeves with the deck box. I wasn’t interested in the sleeves, but having sleeved the cards in them, giving a white border around the cards, I have to admit it does give them a touch of class!
Speaking to Robert Dougherty, he was impressed by the reaction to Star Realms and had just got the new product two days before Essen. He was saying that all their proceeds basically went back into printing their product. They had blob playmats out for demonstration purposes, but would not sell any to protect the interests of kickstarters. I liked Robert, he had a great sense of humour and I admired his integrity during the show.
Fleets and Fortresses… Introductory Blobs, Bots and Star Empire Ships!!!
Each booster title pack holds the same twelve cards, the booster packs are a nice way to remind people where the designers have come from, Magic The Gathering. This first pack, Crisis: Fleets and Fortresses, holds two identical ships and a base for each of the factions.
Blobs have a new ship which enhances the scrapping element, by scrapping two cards from the trade row, while the Death World base gives Blobs the ability to scrap the other factions from their hand or discard pile and draw a card for the trouble.
The Machine Cult get a ship similar to the Patrol Mech, but of lesser cost and power. Their Border Fort base generates 1 trade or 2 combat and has the faction effect of scrapping a card in hand or discard pile.
The Star Empire faction have a level one ship that is rather lacklustre, just adding some draw power, however the Star Fortress base is a bit of beast. Having a combat value and letting you draw and discard a card, which is doubled with an identical faction ability!
The Trade Federation have a ship of medium power, which lets you acquire a ship of cost four or less and to put in on the top of your deck. It also has a faction ability to give you extra combat power and a scrap ability to draw a card. Whereas the Capital World base gives you six authority and lets you draw a card. It also has a defensive value of six.
Bases and Battleships… All Factions Get High Level Ships!!!
In the Crisis: Bases and Battleships pack, all factions gain three cards. however the Blobs and Star Empire factions gain two bases while the other two factions gain two low level ships. All factions get a new powerful ship to add to the equation.
The Blobs gain a low level base that has a trade good value and a faction ability of a combat value. The new level six Obliterator ship is very powerful, with a combat value of seven which is increased by six if your opponent has two or more bases in play. It also has a faction effect of drawing a card.
Similarly the Star Empire faction have two copies of a low level base that has a faction effect of discarding an opponent’s card from their hand. Their new power ship has three trade value and lets you draw a card, it also has a faction effect of gaining you more combat power.
The Machine Cult get a real power boost with this pack. A low level Defence bot that has the scrap ability, its power is magnified if you have two or more bases in play, gaining an incredible extra eight combat value! The Mega Mech switches things up with a high level combat value and lets you bounce an opponent’s base back to their hand. It also has a faction effect of drawing a card.
The Trade Federation have an entry level ship with a single trade value, a faction effect of drawing a card and a scrap effect of an extra trade value. The powerful Construction Hauler has an authority and trade value and draws you an extra card. It has a faction effect of allowing you to immediately bring into play the next base you acquire.
Heroes… New Cards to Crank Up Faction Abilities!!!
Crisis: Heroes provides a set of hero cards. When the heroes are purchased they enter play immediately, which is a new mechanic for the game. Each hero has a scrap ability that provides both a specific effect, as well as turning on Ally abilities for the turn.
So ,each faction was one Hero that costs two trade goods and two level one heroes. They all have similar effects that are linked to their faction. The Machine cults will let you scrap cards, the Star Federation heroes let you draw or make your opponent discard a card, the Blobs provide more combat damage and the Trade Federation have more authority.
What the Crisis hero cards do is inject speed into the game. If you have the right ships or bases in hand, the combos are going to go off at a much faster rate. To balance out this power, they have to be scrapped from the game to achieve their abilities, which means they are not too overpowered!
Events Shaking Up The Star Realms… Hold on to Your Lug Nuts!!!
The Crisis Events pack provides some interesting event cards to the game. This is another new card and mechanic to shake up the game. The event card activates the instant it enters the trade row. The event cards generally apply to both players, except the Trade Mission which gives the current player the edge with a bonus of trade goods.
Hold on to your Lug Nuts Star-Realmers as the game enters warp speed with these cards. Unlike the Hero cards, where you choose to scrap it, an Event card’s effect goes off instantly and then they are scrapped from the game. They also add more fun to the game and the shock factor of their unexpected arrival always switches up the ante of the game!
The Judge, Jury… Heroes and Events of Crisis Expansions!!!
In summing up this post, the new Crisis Expansions are a fun and exciting addition to the Star Realms card game. With forty eight cards being added to the eighty cards in the Trade Deck, there is definitely a change to the dynamics of the game. The Trade Deck, sleeved in the Star Realms sleeves, stands at just over three inches and needs to split down to be shuffled effectively. Which, in my opinion, means you won’t be able to add many more expansions without creating two trading decks! It feels like the game has sped up with the addition of the Crisis Expansions, yet as with all deck building games, there is still that element of luck of what card will come out next on the trade row.
Some Event Cards are wasted by being drawing early, but drawing an extra two cards late game can mean instant victory! Heroes enable players to win without investing in bases, but it is not a strategy you can rely on. They also mean that by diversifying in multiple factions, you will be able to tactically time the combinations of some of the factions abilities at key moments in the game.
The new ships and bases with improved abilities for the various factions, address some of the inherent weakness of the four factions. Again, unless both players are able to buy their way right through the Trading Deck, you may not even get to see them in a game. So I guess White Wizards have improved and added to the game without breaking it, which is a welcome relief. The only problem is being able to get your hands on copies of the Crisis Expansions! Hopefully Robert Dougherty and team can put this right too.
The following two tabs change content below.
Paul Matthews is a Sales Manager for Gamesquest Ltd, as well as a part-time Board game Demonstrator and Blogger. After several years playing Yu-gi-oh at Tournament level, his latest passion is all things board gaming. Besides playing board games, Paul is a part time author and enjoys reading and archery. Paul has a Degree in Humanities Psychology/Counselling and several Life-skill Degrees in Parenting, Horse Management and Ecommerce.