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Star Realms is a spaceship combat deckbuilding game by Magic Hall of Famers Darwin Kastle and Rob Dougherty (Ascension Co-founder).

Star Realms is a fast paced deckbuilding card game of outer space combat. It combines the fun of a deckbuilding game with the interactivity of Trading Card Game style combat. As you play, you make use of Trade to acquire new Ships and Bases from the cards being turned face up in the Trade Row from the Trade Deck. You use the Ships and Bases you acquire to either generate more Trade or to generate Combat to attack your opponent and their bases. When you reduce your opponent’s score (called Authority) to zero, you win!

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AEG fan
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124 of 131 gamers found this helpful
“The Little Game that Could”

Star Realms

If you were to mail order Star Realms, the first surprise that you will get is how small and portable the game is – it fits in a single triple-thick deck box. Small and almost pedestrian, you can easily fit the game into the palm of a single hand or tuck it into a pocket to carry.

We are often asked to believe that good things might come in small packages, and weighing in at only 128 cards, Star Realms is indeed a very small game. If you were to compare it to most other deck building games, it is not even the size of a small-box expansion favored by other titles. So does something good come in this little box?

Introduction to Star Realms

Each player starts with the same amount of authority (life or hit points if you prefer) and reducing your opponents authority to zero is the goal of the game.

Star Realms starts with a simple concept. You get 5 cards every turn except the first turn, and you have to play them all – there is no cost associated with playing a card. The real goal of the game is to improve and expand your card pool until your resources overpower those of your opponent.

Your cards do one of three things: they can place a ship, they can place a base, or they can place an outpost. Ships are temporary and go to your discard pile at the end of the turn and they represent the bulk of your combat and economic power. Bases are permanent structures and typically lend small advantages to you. Outposts are bases that must be destroyed before bases or the player can be attacked.

The cards are divided into 4 major factions. When you have two or more cards from the same faction in play, this often activates a special power on each card. Since outposts and bases satisfy the need for an ally, they are frequently the important element in taking an early lead or winning a fast victory.

The factions and their strengths are thus:

The Blobs – Green. The Blobs are unique in that they have no Outposts and and five bases. They do have a wide selection of ships, with some of the strongest combat vessels in the game. They have modest card drawing powers, some deck thinning capabilities, and are the only race that can destroy cards that are for sale.

The Machines – Red. The Machines the masters of deck thinning and even have an outpost or two that will help thin your deck. They have six different outposts with one of them acting as a ally wild card which can be very powerful indeed. They also have a ship capable of cloning another ship that you have played, so the Machines often fit neatly into decks and are perhaps the most flexible of the factions. The Machines also have ships that can destroy outposts and bases as an ability – no lost combat points and they make an excellent foil to opponents that have invested heavily into bases.

Star Empire – Yellow. The namesake of the game is adept at card manipulation. Most of the ships either allow you to draw an additional card or they force your opponent to discard one – and early in the game, losing a few points of purchasing power can be very telling later. For combat, The Star Empire relies a bit heavily upon having other Star Empire cards in play.

Trade Federation – Blue. The Trade Federation is excellent at making money and it is the only faction that can restore lost authority – they are basically wealthy healers. They only have a few ships that can attack directly, but they can act as the core economic engine for your empire while buying you time to expand and grow.

The most common powers that ship and bases provide are:

Draw another card
Force a discard by your opponent
Allow you to destroy a card in your hand or discard pile (deck thinning)
Gain funds
Gain combat strength
Gain Authority

Turn Summary

A turn is conducted by playing all of your cards. You total and spend your funds by buying new ships or bases which are immediately placed in your discard pile. You total and spend your combat by eliminating bases or outposts and by reducing the authority of your opponent if no outposts are in play. You then draw a new hand of cards and your turn is over.

That is it.

Yeah OK, there are a few other little things like scraping cards or activating non-automatic special abilities, but it all works like you think it should – it is printed on the card. Star Realms is gloriously clean of rules and turns flow very nicely.

Did good things come in a small Star Realms box?

Star Realms hits on all marks. It is inexpensive at $15, it is easy to teach, fun to play, and plays quickly. It has meaningful choices to make and you get the sense of building your armada as your deck gradually improves.

I give Star Realms my highest recommendation. I enjoy playing it and I greatly admire the design of the game.

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96 of 103 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 2
“Deckbuilding distilled in this great two-player gem!”


Star Realms is a sci-fi deck building card game for two players that comes in an inexpensive portable box. Players compete head-to-head to knock each other out while crafting their deck or star fleet to complete the job. You can play more players by buying more of the same starter deck, but this review focuses on two players only.


Expandable to more players with more decks (up to 6)
Awesome artwork
Plays quick!

Cards start to show wear after a few dozen plays.


Star Realms gameplay is pretty straightforward. Each player starts with 8 money or trade cards (Scouts) and 2 combat cards (Vipers) in their personal play deck and 50 authority points (think health). Five cards from the the main deck (not player decks) are dealt out into a trade row for purchase along with ten explorer cards next to the five in a pile. The explorer cards are special purpose money cards with potential combat bonus if scrapped. The rest of the cards are then set next to the trade row face down and are only drawn to replace one of the five if purchased by a player. There is also a “scrap” pile for cards removed from the game by “trash” actions or cards that let you scrap. The only exception is that the explorer cards go back to their starting pile if scrapped or trashed.

Each player will take turns drawing five cards into their hand from their personal player decks, and then play their cards. Each card has primary abilities that are activated right away such as “trade”, “combat”, or “authority” (think heal by adding to your own authority point pool). There can be other abilities on the primary side also like “draw a card” for instance. Also, some cards have “secondary” abilities besides the primary that can either be activated by having other cards of the same color in play (allies) or using a “trash” icon to scrap the card from the game.

The “trade” and “combat” go into a pool for each to be used by the player during their turn. Trade is used to purchase cards from the trade row or explorer pile. Purchased cards go straight to the player’s discard pile. Combat can be distributed to the opponent (including the target player!) based on how the player wants to target starting with the opponent’s outpost cards first, then to other parts once all outposts are dealt with if any at all. So, outposts are important cards to have to slow your opponents attack down, since they must be destroyed first before hitting the opponents authority point pool or other cards like bases.

Once a player finishes their turn, they discard any remaining cards and any left over trade or combat goes to zero. They then draw up another five cards, and the next player performs their turn. This proceeds until a player’s authority is reduced to zero points which means that player loses.

Strategic Analysis

The deck is composed of four factions: Trade Federation (blue), Blobs (green), Machine Cult (red), and Star Empire (yellow). Each have their strength and weaknesses, and some play together real well. I’ve played this game at least 20 times, but mostly on the digital form. I have yet to master it, but here’s a rough synopsis of each faction.

Trade Federation: Great for getting trade (money) and healing (authority), and multiple trade federation cards combo very well against each other. This faction is more about surviving attacks after your opponent has unloaded on you when sometimes it may be better to prevent the damage. A few ships have some decent combat (one really great one), once you get your money up to afford them. However, you really need to supplement it with another faction to get some heavy damage against your opponent. I’d recommend red faction to help thin weak cards out of your deck and still add damage, but the other two also have more damage.

Machine Cult: This robotic faction is all about thinning your deck into an efficient machine. Most of their cards allow you to scrap cards out of your deck and have a balance between combat and trade. They also have some very nice outposts that are medium to high in cost, but have nice benefits like Mech World, Brain World, and Machine Base. Their supply bots and trade bots make good replacements for explorers and scouts. Because of their scrap ability, they usually complement any faction, so you can fine tune your deck to get to the high-powered cards more often.

The Blobs: This strange alien green faction is all about cheap combat in the early game and rush your opponent towards the end game. They have the best combat per cost ratio of all the factions. If you can streamline your deck into mostly green, you will deal out some major damage by end game. Their bases (no outposts) just help heap on the damage. This faction can be dangerous paired with yellow, since yellow can draw up more cards like more green and yellow and deal out more damage with yellow. Cap it with a Blob World and watch your enemies burn.

Star Empire: This yellow faction also deals out the damage, but its main focus is on card denial by making opponents discard and drawing up more cards to strengthen its attack and cycle the deck. The Recycling Station base is brutal by allowing you to draw up two more cards to play. Most of the fighters increase damage when more fellow yellow come out while making your opponent discard down to nothing on their next turn.

All the factions seemed well balanced. You can’t always decide which faction you want to use before you start the game, because there is luck in what shows up in the trade row. You have to be somewhat opportunistic based on what is showing up in the trade row and what your opponent is buying. You’ll need to know not just how to counter your opponents strategy, but also learn how to deny your opponent cards they may need.


You may have guessed that I’m enamored with this game. This is probably becoming my “go to” two player card game. It plays fairly quick and has decent amount of depth for such a quick game. It comes in small box that is easily portable and setups up quickly. Although, I haven’t tried it yet, you can buy more decks to add more players to the game (up to 6). My kids really enjoy it too. There’s a lot more intensity in this deckbuilder compared to some of the more “multiplayer solitaire” versions out there, since you’re going head-to-head with your opponent. I would definitely use this as the game to introduce someone to the deckbuilding mechanic family of games.

If you’re looking for a pure deckbuilder that plays quick yet has some depth, you should pick this one up! I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Gamer Recommendations

Family GamerYES – Who doesn’t like space? Both 9 and 11 year old picked it up quick and love it. The use of authority as way to track player life may be a little less offensive than saying it is health.
Social GamerNO – .Doesn’t strike me as social.
Casual GamerYES – Probably the easiest deckbuilder to introduce to a casual gamer
Strategy GamerNO – may be too tactical in nature for long term strategists
Avid Gamer YES – Full of options and variety, plays quick to fill a niche in their collection.
Power GamerNO – This is not a what I consider a power gamer’s deckbuilder like the many expansions of Dominion

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Video Game Fan
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Book Lover
122 of 131 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“A fun game in such a small little box!”

This little gem was an early Christmas surprise for my husband. He had picked up the iPad app and had been playing it non-stop for the past few days and he had been eying the card deck so rather than risk him getting it for me, I beat him to the punch.

The short of it –
At first glance, it is visually appealing with an inviting science fiction theme. The game is extremely easy to setup and play. Very easy to teach, I would guess that even kids could pick this up fairly easily as well. Inexpensive, its always a huge bonus to find a great game at a fraction of what many others cost. It is small, making this one of the easiest games to transport and take on the go. Only downside is that it is only 2 player when you buy one deck. It can be played with more players once you have additional decks, however I have not tried this yet.

A bit more in depth-
I found it to be a simplified version of Magic, without the neverending cost since it is a set deck that both players draft from. The mechanic for drafting works very well since it allows both teams to build and adapt as they see what they are facing in their opponents deck. The bases are reminiscent of wall cards – some must be destroyed before you can damaged and some you can attack around, similar to walls that can be flown over. Control cards can be found mixed in between the various color themes – discarding, drawing cards, destroying bases, additional authority, all the fun of Black, Blue and White (my favorites) mixed together. Of course, if you are more of a Green or Red player, then the mix of small attack building to a big wipe out of your opponent should leave you fairly satisfied as well.

If you are not a Magic player, don’t be deterred though! Since its not customized decks, the game is more evenly balanced and is more reliant on real time game play and card buying than Magic allows. If you are a super-serious Magic player, you may find this game a bit too light in comparison. Though, I like it because my husband has refused for a couple years to face me in Magic, so this is a bit of a compromise that we can both enjoy.

Overall, try this game and see if its a good fit for you. Its not social so while I wouldn’t describe it as a ‘social’ or ‘family’ game, it is certainly a lot of fun and a light game for strategy players. With the holidays being only a couple days away, maybe even pick this up for a last minute stocking stuffer for your favorite gaming family member – you really can’t go wrong with it. 🙂

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I'm a Real Person
Smash Up Fan
I play yellow
Comic Book Fan
110 of 119 gamers found this helpful
“Great, cheap, fast, two player game”

So, one of my friends enjoys this game so much that he has actually bought several copies and is now giving them to all of his friends. Now, if he finds himself at their house he can play. That gives you an idea of how addictive and fun this game can be. It’s easy to learn, involves luck, but also strategy. So, a newcomer has the ability to beat a more experienced player, although the experienced player is much more likely to win.

This game plays similarly to Ascension and Dominion. Your goal is to buy ships and space stations and take your opponent’s authority down to 0. The game starts with both players having 50 authority (essentially, it is health). Each turn you draw 5 cards from your deck, play the cards, then put them into the discard and then redraw to 5 cards. The basic function of ships are that they heal, do damage, or are worth money to buy new ships and space stations. There are always 5 random cards in the “trade row” where you purchase new ships and space stations. These ships and stations can be one of 4 different factions. Each faction has a general theme and the cards become more powerful if 2 of the same faction are in play. The purposeful purchasing of specific cards can create some very powerful combinations.

-Very easy to learn, but a lot of strategy is involved so can be tough to master.
-The 4 different factions allow for a lot of different strategy, this combined with the randomness of the trade row force players to work with what they have instead of planning on certain cards.
-Very fast game, can take 20-30 minutes to play. (Sometimes games do take 45 mins if a lot of defensive cards come out and not as much offense, but this is rare.)
-Very portable, you don’t need a ton of space to play and it all fits in a little box.
-Cheap! Also numerous expansions are starting to come out to add more variety.
-GREAT 2 player game, can expand to 4 players if you buy an additional base deck (I’ve never done this).
-Free app gives you a look at the game before purchasing.

-Score keeping can be a pain with the cards that are given.
-Could potentially be unlucky an entire game and not get good cards or poor combinations in your hand and that can be very frustrating.

All in all:
It’s a fantastic, 2 player deck building game that has multiple strategies that are all capable of winning. The strategy usually changes, given what cards are available in the trade row, and what your opponent is trying to do. The point of the game isn’t necessarily to only go after only one faction, this sometimes works but not always, it’s to make a better deck than your opponent. Most of the time you end up with a mix, given what is in the trade row and also you need the actions of some different factions. Anyways, for the cost, it’s definitely worth a buy! (Especially if your friend gives it to you for free!)

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102 of 111 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Star Realms, not just for two players!”

Deckbuilding was the game mechanic that really transformed my perspective of board games. After my first few games of Dominion I realized how there were so many more different ways that board games are played. I fell in love with deckbuilders, but I was looking for something a little different from Dominion. Enter Star Realms. I first tried the app of Star Realms (per suggestion of @Jay Atkinson) and I immediately fell in love with it.

How to Play:
Star Realms is a two player deckbuilding game with a space theme. Deckbuilding is played by drafting new cards into your deck and building a new deck with all of your additions. Deckbuilders involve a lot of drawing through your deck and building up from a little deck of weak cards into a larger deck full of powerful cards. You will draw cards, play them, discard them, and once your draw deck has run out you will shuffle your discard pile to create your new deck.

In Star Realms, all of the cards you play are either spaceships or bases. You start a game of Star Realms with 10 cards in your deck, 8 “trade” ships (money) and 2 “combat” ships. In the middle will be a trade row with a designated spot for improved trade ships and 5 spots for ships, drawn from the trade deck, that are up for purchase. Each player starts with 50 “authority” (health) and the goal of the game is to attack your opponent directly, with combat, in order to reduce their authority to 0.

Star Realms play is pretty simple, almost every turn you will play all the cards in your hand, add up your trade and combat, and then buy and attack. Because you are able to play all of your cards each turn the biggest decision you need to make is which cards you should buy from the trade row each turn.

The Unique Attributes of Star Realms:
Let’s start getting into the meat of the game. In Star Realms there are four unique factions:

-Star Empire (Yellow): these ships have a focus on card manipulation. Whether it’s allowing you to draw more cards, or forcing your opponent to discard cards from their hand. They have a little more focus on combat.

-Trade Federation (Blue): this faction is the only faction with the ability to regain authority (health). They also have a good mix of combat and trade.

-Machine Cult (Red): everyone’s favorite faction, these folks give you many chances to scrap (permanently destroy) your weaker cards from you deck, allowing you to make your deck smaller so you draw your better cards more frequently. Definitely a faction every player should try to pick up a few cards.

-Blob (Green): these goons are all about COMBAT. With already some high combat they get more combat with increased numbers. Also have some card drawing abilities.

These factions are important because if you play cards from the same faction you will get a bonus depending on the card. Usually it’s beneficial to focus on one or two factions when you are buying cards to maximize the use of these ally abilities.

Bases are another important part to Star Realms. When you play a base it will be in play until it is destroyed. Each base also has a faction and these continuous abilities really add up. Your opponent can attack these bases if they have a combat equal to or higher than the bases health.
There are two different types of bases, normal bases, and outposts. Outposts act as a wall for you and your other bases. Your opponent can not attack you or your other bases until he/she first destroys that outpost. This extra line of defense could be the difference between a win and lose!

Scrapping cards is the final important concept in Star Realms. Scrapping allows you to permanently destroy a card, so instead of sending the card to your discard pile you will send it to the scrap pile, never to be seen again. Scrapping is important for either getting rid of early, weak cards (see the Machine Cult above) or some ships have special scrap abilities. These are bonus abilities that could give you a little boost for that turn, but you have to pay by scraping that ship. Let’s say you almost have enough combat to destroy an outpost, you might be able to scrap one of your cards to increase your combat that turn giving you enough to destroy it. Scrapping is often times situational and you don’t want to scrap all of your cards too early in the game!

A Look at Multiplayer:
Star Realms is a fantastic two-player game. It’s compact, and not very expensive for such a quality game. However, I usually play games with a group of friends compared to just a significant other. Luckily Star Realms has rules for playing 3-6 player games, you just need multiple copies of the game. I immediately bought a second copy of Star Realms, and it’s been a ton of fun!
There are multiple different ways to play multiplayer games. You can play free-for-all, running the risk of people teaming up on others. Or you can play Hunter, where you can only attack the player to your left directly, and you can attack the persons bases to your left OR right (allowing you to defend yourself a little bit from your attacker). There’s also rules for team play with a shared authority or a 1 vs. many type of game. I haven’t been able to experiment with all of these different game modes.
Do not fear the multiplayer in this game. It plays exactly the same as the two-player game, just a little bit slower (obviously because there’s more players) If you have a group to play with, invest in more than one copy of Star Realms, or have multiple people in the group buy their own copy and then combine them on game nights!

Impressions of Star Realms:
Star Realms is a fabulously executed game. Each faction is unique and balanced with their own strengths and weaknesses. The art on each card is also unique and it gives you a good feel for what each faction represents. Whether it’s the nobility of the massive Trade Federation ships, or the aggressive swarm of Blob ships. The mechanics within each faction are solid as well.
The game is very straight forward and the rules are simple to understand. I also love that you are directly attacking each other instead of individually building up victory points. Each defense you put into play directly effects your opponents attacks.
If you love deckbuilders, Star Realms would be a great addition to your library. If you want to try deckbuilders, Star Realms is a great place to start. If you are looking for a cheap, compact game great for traveling, Star Realms is the game for you. If you’re looking for a fantastic game overall with some good strategy and brilliant gameplay, look no further than Star Realms.

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60 of 67 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Pick a card, any card”

And I make sure you’ll pay for taking the one I wanted!
Star Realms is well balanced deckbuilding game which takes from Magic the Gathering (last I played Magic was in 2006, so be lenient on this reference), remove its flaws and improves upon. It’s cheap, easy, fast, so perfect filler, but does it rise above that?

Mechanical machinations (Summary)
This game is for 2 players only, of course there is rules for more players (up to 6). That takes a huge bite on claim that this is a cheap game, since you need additional decks to play these. I found that it’s more fun to play several individual 2 player games than Emperor or Hydra mode. Now this is my opinion, but I feel this game is best on 2 player format.

In beginning of game each player starts with set of 10 base cards (2 damage and 8 purchase cards). In middle is 5 common cards and one increased purchase card (value 2 compared on value 1 of base cards) which can be bought from value you have on your hand. Game goes around turn to turn where you try damage your enemy while bolstering your defenses and buying best cards you can. It’s really simple, bring your opponents authority (health) to zero and you win.

Base set has restricted amount of cards from which to choose and you’ll get very familiar with them as you start to expect them in hopes of graping them before your opponent. Card are quite diverse from each others and factions have nice touch on it, since you can combo them very neatly. However sticking with specific faction is tough and benefits on them are extremely similar within the faction which reduces the diversity. You pretty much need to have some Machine Cult (Red faction – not the game from 2001, thank you Volition) cards if you dream to get rid of the starting cards which are dead weight on your deck by halfway of the game. There are other cards like Recycling Station (space station which acts as buffer on your health and has abilities like all the cards do), but these get targeted instantly as they come to game, so benefit is short lived.

Some cards can be discarded from game by activating their special ability, which is good, but on most of them won’t be used unless it gives you that edge to get the last damage to your opponent.
More than often the game can be decided on what initial hand you get on first 3 deck shuffling rounds, especially against experienced players. You’ll notice that on most cases all players go for same cards and some get ignored completely.

Oooh! Pretty ships! (Components)
Not much to say here since it all is in cards. Art is beautiful and very thematic, symbols are few and clear on what they do. Special effects on card are written in plain english, which is good and bad same time. Unlike in 7 Wonders Leaders where you have to look on references what is what, you just read it. However it means that it’s too much for smaller kids, especially for non-native english speakers, which is sad since this is a great game for them.

I do think they could have used better way of tracking authority. This is my only complaint on components. Pen and paper is superior solution on my books.

Don’t fly in the mouth of Blob Carrier (Learning curve)
Name of the game is easy to learn, it won’t take much to teach to new players after you pull this out from your pocket. There are 5 symbols in whole game you need to distinguish from each others.

Mastering the game isn’t all too difficult either, so to get up to par players in short time isn’t hard. However you will be seeing yourself on mirror almost every time you play, since path to victory is often similar.

Within realm of stars (Conclusion)
So let’s take a look on earlier statement:
Cheap – Arguable, single deck yes, multiple ones come rather expensive in end. Has the makings of LCG so prepare to say goodbye to your money.
Easy – Most definitely, one of the easiest games to learn out there.
Fast – Games range from 15 min and up, so yup, you won’t be going Arkham Horror with this one.

This game is great as filler, if you have multiple decks, on game evening or if you need to burn through some waiting time. However I have to say that this has not made it on table with my game evening gang, just as time passer while we wait missing players. There are so many more in depth card games that I find more fun, such as 7 Wonders, Among the Stars, Gloom or Race for the Galaxy. It is better than many other games though and it is fun for certain, just don’t expect to breathe life on it for long with base deck.

I find this game fun to extent, but I have found I play it more often on mobile app than with anybody in person and to pass the time rather than for fun of it. Demo version of the app is free, so I suggest you try it out before buying the game.

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Rated 5 Games
66 of 74 gamers found this helpful
“Super quick to learn and lots of fun!”

Picked up the physical version of the card game after trying the PC version.
I already played it with several friends and family members.
Everybody loved it, since it is so easy to learn.
A good mix of luck and simple strategy make this game a sure winner!
At 15$ a set, it will be a stocking stuffer for several kids and adults this Christmas.
Something else I really like about Star Realms, is the short playing time of a single game. In an hour we can expect to play at least 3 games!
I didn’t get the expansion sets yet, but I surely plan on getting them soon enough.
Good work White Wizard Games!

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7 of 7 gamers found this helpful
“Massive fun in a small box”

This review can also be found on our website: Star Realms Review


Today we are reviewing Star Realms. It’s a card game with a space theme that is playable with 2 players. It’s designed by Rob Dougherty and Darwin Kastle, both known because of their place in the Magic hall of fame, and published in 2014 by White Wizard Games. The game started as a Kickstarter campaign in 2013.

The base game consists of 128 illustrated cards and a rulebook and that’s all that you need. Because the game is contained in a small box, it’s easy to take it with you on vacation and it doesn’t take up too much space on your shelf.

The game is quite easy to learn/play, but still gives you many decisions that can give you the edge above some other players. Every player starts with the same deck of cards and 50 authority. Authority is your life in this game. Every round you draw 5 cards and you get to play them on the board. The cards can, when played, give you any of the following effects:

Trade: used for buying new cards from the trade row

Combat: used to damage your opponent

Authority: used to gain more authority

There are 2 types of cards in the game. There are ships and bases. Both those cards can give you the effects that are listed above, but could also give an additional effect. Ships go away after your turn, but bases stay on the playground until they are destroyed.

There is also a trade row in the middle of the playground consisting of 5 cards. You can buy new cards from the trade row with the trade you get that round. You cannot keep trade through your turns, so it’s usually smart to spend most of it. New cards go into your discard pile along with the cards that you played that turn. When your deck is empty, you shuffle your discard pile and use that as your deck. So you are always improving your deck.

Some cards that share the same faction have a separate effect. So it’s good to base your deck around at least one faction. There won’t always be enough cards to build your deck with only one faction, so experiment with different combinations and see what works best for you.

The core of the game is basically to draw cards, play cards and expand your deck. Doesn’t sound too difficult, right?

There are 4 different factions in the game and they all play very differently. They all follow a certain theme, so they are fairly easy to distinguish on the cards.

Trade Federation:
The trade federation focuses on trade and growth. They are not very aggressive, but they do have a defensive branch to protect their trade from other factions. In the game, they specialize in generating large amounts of trade and gaining authority.

The blobs are the first alien life that the human race encountered. Ever since humanity met them, they have been very aggressive. The blobs specialize in generating large amounts of combat and removing cards from the trade row.

Star Empire:
The star empire consists of former colonies of the trade federation. They felt like the federation failed to give them enough protection from the blob, so they decided to unite and create their own empire. The star Empire specializes in drawing cards and discarding cards from the opponent.

When the industrial mining worlds were completely separated from the federation due to the blobs, they decided to take measures in their own hands and advanced their technologies. Soon the technology became their religion and god. The machine cult specializes in removing cards from your deck and have many bases.

Factions just bring so much more to the game in the way of playing. Sometimes you’ll only be using one faction but usually, your deck will consist of multiple factions that all work together to make sure that you win.

Our opinion
This. Game. Is. Amazing. For the price (around 15 euros), you get so much content that’ll definitely keep you going for quite some time. The base game supports only 2 players. You can also play with 3-4 players, but then you need to buy another copy of the game. The different factions really play differently and you will usually need to combine them together for your own deck. We do think some faction combinations are very strong. And sometimes this can be difficult to beat due to the trade row being random. But usually, this balances itself out quite well.

Card games come with a bit of randomness due to drawing the cards. Sometimes this can be annoying, but it’s not too bad due to you buying your own deck. Sometimes you’ll get unlucky and help your opponent to get a card that helps him to beat you later on, but the games are quick so you can quickly beat him in the next game.

Should you get it?
If you are a fan of quick 2 player games that appeals to either casual and competitive players, then yes, go get it right now! Honestly, for this price, you can’t quite go wrong. Even for 3-4 players, I think this game is worth it. If you want to buy 2 sets, make sure to buy the base set and the expansion one. This way you get even more fun out of it!

Maybe if you are really competitive and don’t enjoy the randomness of card games, then this game won’t be for you. Or maybe the theme isn’t something for you. If you want a different theme. The makers of this game also created a game like star realms, but with a fantasy theme called Hero Realms.

Happy playing!

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Z-Man Games fan
Plaid Hat Games fan
Stone of the Sun
71 of 80 gamers found this helpful
“Perfect for your Pocket”

I was heading off on my holidays and needed a quick game for my wife and I to play in the evenings. I had 4 main criteria that that game would have to meet.
1 – My Wife would have to enjoy it.
2 – The Game would have to fit easily into luggage for traveling.
3 – It would have to play fast.
4 – It would have to be easy to teach.
I was looking on and saw the buzz that was beginning to generate for Star Realms. 8 reviews and an average of 8.2 for a two player game! Sounds good! I had to explore this nugget and see did it tick all my boxes..
Katte mentioned in her review that her and her husband play so that instantly appealed to me as I am always trying to get my wife into the games I play. (Tick)
Top Decker pointed out how excellently compact the game is. (Tick)
Every review mentioned speed of play. (Tick)
Mr Jay Atkinson reviewed it with style on the site mentioning that his kids enjoyed it which meant it was easy to teach and Sock Drawer Monster did an excellent review pointing out how easy it is to Learn. (Double Tick)
I won’t go too much into play (It has been covered excellently by my fellow hobbyists) except to say that this is basically similar to Dominion except the goal is to attack the other player and reduce their points from 50 to 0.
There are multiple strategies to this, whether you are buying the same factions with the in-game currency to create chain attacks with your ships or creating bases that protect you and give you guaranteed actions each turn.
It’s excellent and plays usually at ten to fifteen minutes long.
The real bonus here though, is that my wife thinks it is great. I was worried about presenting this initially, because of the space theme, but I told her to ignore it and focus on what the cards do, the space theme is just window dressing.

Replay Value – Quick and easy to reset after a game. When you both know how to play, the speed at which you can draw cards, attack, buy new cards, is thrilling.
Components – Nice sturdy cards with nice art work and clear instructions.
Easy to Learn – Like Dominion, by your third turn, a light will go on in the brain and you will just get it. Then you can discover the depth of it.
ick this up for some quick, easy, two player goodness.

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4 Beta 1.0 Tester
Gamer - Level 4
50 of 58 gamers found this helpful
“Deck Builder in a Pocket!”

Yes as my title says. It’s a deck building game, but surprisingly small.
The game doesn’t come with special setup, arrangement or even specific classes for each player. The cards are all thrown into one deck and each player has access to it though there are different factions on the deck all players are free to get them and build their deck with them regardless of the factions. The factions in a simple way only provides special ability activation when played, a chain combo element in the card play.

But in more complex way, there are more to it than meets the eye. You can combine the factions into you’re deck but these factions also have different specialties, hence different game play approach. This what makes it more interesting, simple but yet has enough meat to explore, to adjust and tinker.

And since it’s small and simple, the length play also fast. Around 15-20 minutes per game, you can play this one back to back or even several plays at once trying out new combos and different approaches.

The game also has a variant for 4 players but I never try it, so no comment here. It requires 2 decks of cards to play with 4 players in case you want to try.

My main issue was the Authority cards, the system is not the best of all, so I changed it with scoring tracks in one card and use a pair of markers to mark the Authority, works quite well.

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Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
Military Service
63 of 93 gamers found this helpful
“Gateway Deckbuilder”

Star Realms is a great introduction to deckbuilding games. It is fast and very portable and I always find after one play we always tend to play another round, and another, and another, ect. There is some strategy involved but the the cards that come up for purchase make it pretty random, so you have to change strategies on the fly.

There are expansion packs that can be added to the game so the game play can be customized a bit. Overall it is a great filler game.

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Smirk and Dagger Games fan
93 of 141 gamers found this helpful
“The Best Deck Builder?”

In general, I enjoy deck building games – but not all are created equal. Sure, Dominion started the whole genre, but the euro-style collecting of resources always seemed dry. Ascension really delivered for me for a long time – but the frustration of that game was that once you had finally assembled a ‘working engine’ from cards you collected – the game was over.
Star Realms solves beautifully for that. Card combos with your factions start happening almost immediately. You feel your deck taking on a ‘specialty’ as you form it. All of which is very satisfying. On top of that, the direct attacks upon another player scratch an itch for me more than collecting a number of victory points.
So for me, this game is the deck builder that has it all. Kudos White Wizard!

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My First Heart
9 of 14 gamers found this helpful
“Deckbuilding on the go”

This was actually the first ‘board game’ that I picked up, as I eased myself into my new hobby. I had played the iOS version, and when I saw this in the store I picked it up without hesitation. It’s simple to learn (I taught my non-gamer wife to play, and she loves it) and has just the right mix of luck and strategy. It was designed by two champion Magic: the Gathering players, and has some of that feel to it. The cards are well made, and stand up to repeated use. My only complaint is the ‘score’ cards that keep track of your remaining authority (life points). It’s easier to just use a sheet of paper.


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