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Sci-fi deckbuilder Star Realms’ upcoming set Rise of Empire is a standalone prequel with a legacy-style campaign

Hitting Kickstarter this autumn ahead of release in 2021.

Star Realms is getting a new set featuring a legacy-style campaign that serves as a prequel to the sci-fi deckbuilding game.

Star Realms: Rise of Empire was confirmed by co-creator Rob Dougherty in an Facebook announcement video as a prequel to the sci-fi deckbuilder that “explores the origins of the Star Realms universe”. The competitive two-player game depicts the expansion of humanity across the galaxy, with players taking the side of either the Trade Federation or the Star Empire.

Dougherty described Rise of Empire’s deckbuilding gameplay as “regular Star Realms with a bunch of new stuff”, with players once again purchasing cards from a central market to add to their starting deck and whittle their opponent’s health to zero. In Rise of Empire, each player starts with a different starting deck unique to their faction.


Replacing Star Realms’ four factions are new card suits, with the Trade Federation and Star Empire fighting over three brand new factions in the market. Lore-wise, the factions are local governments that surround the Star Empire, with the Empire attempting to convince them to rise up against the oppressive Trade Federation while the Federation attempts to keep them on-side. As in previous Star Realms sets, each of the factions features unique gameplay mechanics that players can make use of in their deck.

The biggest addition in Rise of Empire is a campaign described as being a “legacy-style experience” similar to the connected scenarios of legacy board games. The players will play a series of battles that tell the story of the creation of the Star Empire, with the outcome of each match affecting the storyline and future games. The number of possible scenarios and individual plays in the campaign was not given.

Although Rise of Empire’s legacy elements will not feature any destruction of cards or other components during the campaign, it will have permanent changes in the form of stickers that can be applied to cards. When a player acquires a ship, they can choose to permanently recruit the card to their faction by paying an extra cost and applying a sticker. The stickers grant extra abilities to the multi-faction ships and make them more powerful, based on whether they’re aligned with the Star Empire or Trade Federation.

The stickers mean that each Rise of Empire set will be unique to each set of players by the time the campaign is completed. However, the card game can continue to be played past the campaign’s end by adding “additional content” that turns it into a custom Star Realms set that can be replayed indefinitely.

Rise of Empire was confirmed to be a standalone set, with the option to combine it with previous Star Realms sets by replacing matching factions in earlier releases.

Star Realms: Rise of Empire is currently planned to launch on Kickstarter this autumn, ahead of a retail release in the autumn of 2021. Dougherty said that publisher White Wizard Games plans to bring the upcoming board game to the Star Realms app “a little bit” after the retail release. A price is yet to be announced.


Matt Jarvis avatar

Matt Jarvis

Editor-in-chief

After starting his career writing about music, films and video games for various places, Matt spent many years as a technology, PC and video game journalist before writing about tabletop games as the editor of Tabletop Gaming magazine. He joined Dicebreaker as editor-in-chief in 2019, and has been trying to convince the rest of the team to play Diplomacy since.

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