Build your fleet and destroy your opponent. As with most good space themed games or movies, Star Realms: Frontiers puts you in the middle of a battle for space. You command a space force consisting of one or multiple different factions to take on the enemy. Will they bring others from similar factions or unite the remaining factions to stake their dominance?
What is Star Realms: Frontiers like?
To put it simply, Star Realms: Frontiers is just like Star Realms. If you’ve played the original, then you can pick up the new standalone version and start playing immediately.
If you haven’t played the original, then Star Realms and Star Realms: Frontiers are deck-building games where you go head to head with your opponents in an epic space battle. Each turn you draw your hand of cards and use them to purchase new cards from the trade row, attack your opponent, defend your fleet or increase your health.
Using the trade accumulated by your played cards you can purchase cards from the trade row, placing them in your discard pile. Most cards that you add to your deck belong to a specific faction and can trigger faction bonuses when played with other cards from that faction. Each faction specialises in something different. The blue faction gives you health, the yellow lets you draw more cards, the red helps you get rid of weak cards and the green hits your opponent hard. Of course, each faction can also allow you to do other things as well.
Attacking your opponent is as simple as seeing how much attack strength you have and your opponent decreasing their health by that same number. That is, unless they have bases. There are two types of bases in the game. No matter the type of base it has a defence amount that determines the attack needed to destroy it. If it isn’t destroyed it stays in play until it is. Outpost bases are a little different in that they must be attacked first whereas other bases can be ignored and damage dealt straight to the opponent bringing them closer to destruction.
After you have added any health accumulated from the cards you discard cards and draw a new hand of cards. Play continues until one player is reduced to zero health.
While Star Realms is primarily a two player game there are modes for more and fewer players. The solo challenges involve playing different bots which have simple rules to follow on their turn. The game plays similar to a two-player game, in fact your turn is the exact same. On the bots turn you do whatever the challenge card says and that is it.
I’ve enjoyed Star Realms since it originally came out and Star Realms: Frontiers improves on the original. The whole Star Realms series is a solid deck-building game, but what you get in this box is flexibility. Want to play solo? Cooperative? 2-4 players? You can with only what comes in this box. Of course, you can also add a variety of other expansions to spice up the game and give even more options.
What I love most about this game is it is solid for new and experienced players. Since the trade row only consists of 6 possible cards to purchase, players don’t have a lot of options when trying to determine what is best to buy. Experienced players can enjoy the base game by itself, but all of the small expansions give so much more depth to the game that they could play it over and over without getting bored.
My favourite aspect, though, are the solo challenges. I play a decent amount of solo games and Star Realms: Frontiers has several things going for it as a solo option. The ease of setup and play makes the game a great option for when you only have a short amount of time to play a game. It’s also easily transportable making it perfect for taking on trips. The best part is the different challenges that are included in the box. Each challenge can be played at a different difficulty, but they also are very different from each other, providing a nice variety making each game potentially very different.
- New and experienced players can easily enjoy this game
- What comes in this box provides great depth for old and new Star Realms players
- It seems infinitely expandable since you can combine the original, colony wars and all of the small expansions as well
- Storage for anything beyond the box can be a pain
The gameplay is pretty straightforward and the basics are easy enough to understand. While the game is recommended for players 12 and older, I think younger kids could easily pick up the rules. Where they might struggle is knowing the best cards to buy to maximise their deck.
- Players: 1 – 4
- Playing time: 20 – 45 minutes
- Suggested age: 12+