Star Wars: Destiny is the latest collectible card game (CCG) from Fantasy Flight Games, and is about to release very soon. What you should know is that Fantasy Flight Games handle a number of licensed properties such as Star Wars and Game of Thrones, but are not known for CCGs. They mostly deal in miniatures such as the X-Wing miniatures game, or what they call Living Card Games, which are atypical card games that eschew the popular blind-pack format of CCGs. Instead, Living Card Games give players access to a total card pool—they do not force collectors to rely on lucky packs to get powerful cards. So, it has caught the attention of many a gamer, including me, that Fantasy Flight is getting back into CCGs, and with a Star Wars product. I was lucky enough to attend a launch party for the game over the weekend and got to see what the game was all about.
An important thing to note is that while a traditional CCG, such as Magic: The Gathering (the grandfather of all CCGs), uses only the cards with minimal modifiers, dice play a key role in Star Wars: Destiny. Most characters you will use, and a number of upgrades that you get, use large, colorful, 6-sided dice for the key gameplay mechanics. Additionally, there are tokens galore that keep track of resources, damage done, and shields for characters, so the game has a very tactile feel to it.
I arrived at my local game store, excited to get my hands on some product and to start rolling some dice. I picked up my event package, which consisted of a Rey starter deck (you could have also chosen the dark side option with Kylo Ren), a box to hold my cards in, an art print, a promo card featuring Rey, and six more packs. The event organizer let us know that we could play our first game with just our starter decks, and then modify it afterward with the cards we got out of our packs. I definitely didn’t want to wait until after my first game to open some packs, so I got that out of the way first. The first pack that I opened contained Captain Phasma, a legendary card, which was surprising, although not as surprising as getting Poe Dameron a few packs later. The chances of getting a legendary are about 1 per every 6 packs, so I was hoping to get just one; I got 2. After cracking my packs, I found an opponent and started up a game to finally see it in action.
Star Wars: Destiny plays very smoothly, and generally has rapid-fire bursts of players alternating actions. As opposed to most CCGs I’ve played, Destiny does not make you wait for your opponent to go through their turn or merely react to what they are doing. On any given turn, the players alternate back and forth taking actions. For example, a player may activate one of their characters to roll their dice, they will take a look at what they rolled, and then they will pass this side-turn sequence back to the other player who will roll their dice. The play then goes back to the main turn, where the first player decides what to do with the outcome of previous two dice rolls. For example, they can choose to damage one of the opponent’s characters. The game continues with more dice rolls, card selections, support character additions—like BB-8—until both players pass their actions to begin a new turn.
I managed to play a couple of games, and tweak my decks and try out some new strategies, all the while having great chats with opponents and other people that had showed up to play the game. The event was sold out, and our area of the store had plenty of sounds of cheering, groaning, and rolling dice. There were epic matches consisting of Kylo Ren and First Order Stormtroopers vs. Luke Skywalker and Qui-Gon Jinn, or Jabba the Hutt and General Grievous facing off against Finn and Poe.
The event was a success and the game itself is fantastic to play. I’m predicting that it will also have a very healthy competitive scene, as Fantasy Flight has been on the ball with their organized play events. I look forward to supporting the game right out of the gate when it releases on December 1 at most local game stores.