Star Wars: The Deckbuilding Game has had its gameplay detailed, ahead of a newly-announced release date next spring.
The upcoming card game was teased over the summer during publisher Fantasy Flight Games’ Gen Con 2022 livestream, which shed little light on the 2023 title beyond its name, the knowledge it would be designed by Marvel Champions and The Lord of the Rings LCG veteran Caleb Grace, and confirmation that it would be a two-player-only competitive experience.
Now, Fantasy Flight has unveiled how Star Wars: The Deckbuilding Game will actually play, explaining its deckbuilding gameplay, competitive objectives and the presence of The Force.
Unsurprisingly, the deckbuilder will pit one player as the Rebel Alliance - including the likes of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo - against another as Darth Vader and the Emperor’s Galactic Empire.
Gameplay is built around the pursuit of bases, with the first player able to destroy three of their opponent’s strategic locations, such as the Rebels’ starting base of Dantooine and the Empire-controlled planet of Lothal. Matches are estimated to take around half an hour.
Being a deckbuilding game like Dominion, players start out with a fairly small deck - in this case, ten cards each - and must use their available cards to generate resources and acquire new cards over the course of the game. Seven of each player’s ten starting cards generate resources.
Cards are purchased from a central galaxy row, containing a total of six cards made up of cards aligned with both factions and neutral cards that can be bought by either side. The cards are drawn from a shared galaxy deck of 90 cards. Rebel and Empire cards are rotated to face their respective players across the table, with neutral cards oriented sideways between the two.
Purchased cards are added to each player’s discard pile, appearing on later turns as their deck is exhausted and reshuffled.
Cards with attack power can be used to attack the opponent’s bases. Once a base is destroyed, the player chooses a replacement from 10 possible bases for their faction, with the second and third bases each having unique powers depending on the card picked. Bases can be protected further by capital ship cards, which remain in play and grant additional effects, including the need to be destroyed before a base is targeted.
As well as attacking their rival directly, players can target cards belonging to the opposing faction in the galaxy row - an action known as bounty hunting for the Empire and sabotage for the Rebels. Eliminated cards - calculated by comparing attack power and target value - are removed from the row and grant a set reward to the attacking player, such as resources and Force.
Star Wars’ mysterious presence of The Force is a resource that swings between the two players on a dedicated Balance of the Force track - being either on the Light side of the Force, or the Dark side of the Force. The Force allows the players to activate specific Force abilities (denoted by actions stating “If the Force is with you”), as well as granting additional resources for either player if the marker is at the furthest point of the track. The Rebel start with the Force fully in their favour, with the Empire taking the first turn of the game.
As well as revealing its gameplay, Fantasy Flight announced that Star Wars: The Deckbuilding Game will release in March 2023.