Star Wars Destiny Review - Seduced By The Dark Side Of Gaming

I thought we were past this. I know there are some very popular CCG's (Collectible Card Game) around like Magic the Gathering and Pokemon, but I was hoping that LCG's (Living Card Game) would now take over as the norm. 

For the unitiated, a CCG is one where after you have the initial starter box full of fixed cards, you have to purchase additional booster packs to obtain more cards and each pack will be different in accordance with whether a card is common, uncommon or rare (and beyond). In contrast an LCG starts off the same, but instead you purchase expansion packs which contain the same fixed cards in each one so that every regular player is on the same level. There are no common, uncommon or rare cards. Both can be expensive to maintain, but it is no surprise that a CCG will always end up more expensive especially if you're desperate to collect every single card or obtain the rarest, most powerful cards for tournament play.

I personally am done with CCG's and only maintain two (originally three) LCG's now. But Fantasy Flight have brought out Star Wars Destiny, a dice/card game to rival Marvel Dice Masters that both use the CCG model. Assuming Destiny is good enough in the first place, is there enough value in the original starter box or is this going to be a huge money-sink for anyone wanting to take it up competitively?  

Designer: Corey Konieczka, Lukas Litzsinger
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games Age: 10+ Players: 2 Time: 15-30 Minutes RRP: £14.99 / £3 per booster From Fantasy Flight Games Captain Phasma and Count Dooku battle Han Solo and Luke Skywalker in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. Jango Fett and Jabba the Hutt attack Rey and Finn as they pass through the frozen wastes of Starkiller Base. Play out your own epic, saga-spanning, “what if” battles in Star Wars™: Destiny, a collectible dice and card game for two players! In every game of Star Wars: Destiny, you’ll gather your small team of iconic characters and battle to defeat your foes, using your dice and the cards in your deck. The last player with characters left standing wins the game, but to successfully outmaneuver your opponent, you’ll need to carefully consider your options and enhance your deck with new dice and cards. If you ever wondered who would win a duel between two teams of heroes and villains from the Star Wars universe, there’s no better way to find out than with Star Wars: Destiny. Each character in Star Wars: Destiny comes with a corresponding premium die. These large, full-color dice are different for each character, and by rolling the dice and spending their symbols, you’ll strengthen your forces and deal damage to your opponent’s characters. Each character’s health is shown in the card’s upper right-hand corner, and once you’ve dealt that much damage to a character, it’s defeated! Of course, the dice aren’t the only tool you have as you duel your opponent—you also have a thirty-card deck of cards that you’ll draw throughout the game. On your turn, you can take an action to play a card, paying the resources in the card’s upper left-hand corner as you can see below.


The cards in your deck are divided into three major types: events, upgrades, and supports. Events offer an immediate effect when they’re played, and are then discarded. For instance, you may use an event to stage a Daring Escape from an enemy attack or remove your opponent’s dice with The Best Defense. Upgrades like Force Choke, on the other hand, attach to one of your characters, giving them dangerous new tools and skills. Support cards such as the Millennium Falcon remain in play, independent of your characters but still contributing to your overall plan. 

Many upgrade and support cards have their own dice associated with them. When you play these cards, you can bring the corresponding dice into play, giving you more dice and thus more options for outwitting your opponent! Finally, it’s important to know that the cards in your hand all have more than one use—as an action, you can discard a card from your hand to reroll any number of dice in your dice pool, giving you a better chance of getting the results you want.

Star Wars: Destiny invites you to command a team of iconic heroes and villains from throughout the Star Wars saga and face your foes in a massive duel. Whether you join the heroes or villains of the galaxy, the only limit to your battles is your imagination. Tell your own Star Wars story with this collectible dice and card game!



I LIKE THIS GUN!


You've got two starter decks to pick from depending on your Force preference. Kylo Ren for Dark and Rey for Light, naturally based on the recent Star Wars Episode 7 movie (which I still defend as being better than Rogue One). Each of the boxes contain a pre-made twenty card deck with two character cards, a battlefield and six dice and of course all the various rule sheets and tokens. As with all pre-packed starters you'll forget how to repackage it afterwards to make it all fit snugly again! 

Each dice has some great imagery to depict the card it relates to and thankfully they're not just stickers - could you imagine how bad a reception that would get if it was? They are larger than your average D6, and have a very nice weight to them, solid and chunky. Not quite the level of "Seasons" awesomeness, but still pretty decent. The cards are of equally impressive quality, but it's Fantasy Flight, so what's new?

So the production quality is higher than your typical CCG and certainly higher than Dice Masters, but then each booster pack is 3 times the cost of its competitor and you only get one die in each. But at least these ones don't require ironing the minute you take them out of the booster (seriously WizKids what was up with that, how did you ever expect that to fly?)


NOW THAT'S ONE HELL OF A PILOT!


With Dice Masters, the dice were really the main driver of the game. The cards themselves had abilities, but I felt that the synergy wasn't that strong. In Star Wars: Destiny it's a different story with the dice and cards synergizing very well together. There's also a decent amount of player interaction durin gameplay. Players can force their opponents to discard cards and resources, manipulate their dice results and of course lay the smackdown on their characters. 

Knowing the best times to pull these tactics off will aid you considerably. Now we're not talking deep levels of strategy here, overall Destiny is a fairly light game, but you can't simply auto pilot yourself to victory.

Blowing away your opponents characters isn't the only way to win though. The game also ends if you run out of cards in your deck. I like alternate victory conditions and this is something you don't get in Dice Masters. It's perfectly feasible to simply let their characters live, but force them to discard cards constantly. Not only does it deny them useful cards, but suddenly the option of drawing cards becomes a liability.

Even with the balance of different tactics to employ, you are playing a dice game at the end of the day, so from time to time, luck is going to be the crux here and sometimes a flukey or unlucky set of die rolls will swing the game, however you knew this going in and Dice Masters wasn't exactly short of luck with the bag aspect on top. Destiny games are also nice and short so if luck was a factor, just play again, we don't mind too much luck when it's for a short period.




IT WAS SAID YOU WOULD DESTROY THE SITH, NOT JOIN THEM!


Now I've enjoyed the game and if I could end it right there, happy days. But I'm sorry and I know I'll get flack for this, but hey, a review is a review, but here comes a rant. Those 3 letters that are stapled onto the end of the title "C-C-G". They alone single handedly destroy any intention of me wanting to continue playing this game and may be an automatic turn off for some of you as well. Why Fantasy Flight have taken this route after having so much success with the LCG model I don't know. 

You have to know that going in, this will be an expensive game to continue. The whole tension and excitement of opening a booster and seeing what you earned is all well and good, but that feeling died in the 90's for me. And more often than not you're met with disappointment instead of cheer. And at £2-£3 per booster it's too much to spend just to get the deck you want. I know of people who have paid £20+ just to get a specific legendary card in their deck from the secondary market. Really? There's disposable income and then there's being too young to appreciate what a mortgage payment is. 


I got a few booster packs with my copy of Star Wars: Destiny to see how deck building would fair. Each booster has 1 rare/legendary card, 1 uncommon card and 3 commons. I had a duplicate of something in my starter set and the other cards weren't really that cool either. Certainly I didn't see no Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader in my packs, hell I'd have settled for C-3PO. They added to my array of cards, but I didn't feel any would make any significant impact on my starter decks. And as fun as the game was, it will not last long enough with just a starter deck to entertain you. If you're keen on this game, you've got to go in properly. 




VERDICT ON STAR WARS DESTINY


If we were to simply take Star Wars Destiny by itself without outside considerations, it would be a cool game that's good fun to play. Games are quick, so it won't take long for the rules to absorb, there's a good amount of tactical depth and the component quality is solid. The luck aspect is going to be a big factor for some though as in other similar dice games I feel there is more you can do to mitigate it whereas here you may simply get hosed because you can't roll well.

But we can't simply take it by itself, let's face it. This is based on a CCG model, one which I consider to be outdated and basically a source of generating money for a publisher. You have to unload a ton of funds into this game to reach the level of variety required to make it last. Simply grabbing a starter and a few boosters isn't enough, it's good as a test drive, but you'll quickly get frustrated that you don't have access to your favourite characters.

If you don't mind the CCG model and have the cash to spare, it's a good game to sink your teeth into and you'll have fun, certainly I know I would if I owned every card and had the choice available. But if money is tight or you have other CCG's and LCG's on the go, I'd think very carefully before heading to the store to grab this one.  


     

BROKEN RATING - 5 Chasers for Unpaid Debts (7 Lightsabers if you're happy with the CCG model)




YOU WILL LIKE STAR WARS DESTINY IF:



You enjoyed Dice Masters, but prefer a Star Wars theme.


You like the synergy aspect with the cards and dice and having an alt win condition.


You like the quality of the dice themselves.




YOU WILL NOT LIKE STAR WARS DESTINY IF:



You hate the CCG model - this will be an expensive game to collect, period.


You feel the luck aspect is too high.


You wanted something a bit more involved and strategic.


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