{Star || Hero} Realms Digital Sale!

One of the earliest deckbuilding card games, Star Realms has players attacking with space ships in a head to head battle to defeat their opponent. Designed by professional Magic:the Gathering player, Robert Dougherty, the game maintains a large following and has also made the jump into digital space. Not only can one play against the AI or an online opponent, there is an excellent series of solo challenges linked together to form a bit of a story-based campaign. By now, there are oodles of expansions available and each expansion has additional campaigns to play. Expansion cards are usable in regular games too, of course. The app has been out for a long time but I wanted to mention it today as, for the next few days, almost all the content is at a 50% discount. They have also managed to set things up so that any expansion purchase on one platform (iOS, Android, Steam) unlocks the same expansion everywhere else. Something I’d love to see happen in other digital games. Wise Wizard Games also has a spin-off game called Hero Realms that uses very similar mechanics but spins it into a full on RPG-style campaign game where one’s deck and abilities change and improve from game to game. It can be played head to head or cooperatively against set encounter challenges. Most of the Hero Realms expansions are also on sale. Be sure to check them out. More details on both games below (along with a note on the deckbuilder boardgame – Robot Quest Arena…)

Star Realms

As with nearly all deckbuilders, players begin with a hand of cards which are then used to purchase better cards which are then folded into their deck. Unlike the earliest deckbuilder, Star Realms added in a direct combat mechanic. Some cards provide purchasing power, but many others provide a player with attack power – which is used to attack the opponent’s ships or the opponent directly. Deal enough damage to your opponent and you win the game. One of the key mechanics in Star Realms arises out of the four basic factions (colors) in the game. Many cards give additional bonuses when more than one card of the same faction is in play. Thus, players are motivated to somewhat specialize in the colors of cards they add to their decks.

Since its release over a decade ago, Star Realms has grown in many different directions. In addition to more, slightly different cards, expansions include many other options: dual-colored cards, cards meant to change-up a player’s starting deck, cards that provide a special power each turn, leader cards granting special powers throughout a game, and more…

Online, you can play the digital game for free, but it is a few bucks to unlock the “full game.” As I mentioned, the base game and almost all the expansions are half off for the next few days. There’s no better time to give the game a spin.

If you are intrigued enough by the digital game, there is an upcoming physical release entitled Star Realms: Rise of the Empire that is a stand-alone (but compatible) legacy campaign game that plays over a series of 13 game scenarios. It is a 2 player campaign but at the conclusion of the campaign you are left with an ongoing game playable by 2 to 6 players.


Hero Realms

Hero Realms is very similar to Star Realms, with the whole deckbuilding in order to damage an opponent, playing cards of similar colors/factions to key additional abilities, etc… Where it diverges is in the option for ongoing gameplay from game to game. In the basic setup, players all start out with the same deck. However, there are class expansions which then give each player a unique (slightly more powerful) starting deck. The themed starter decks correspond to a specific class of hero: cleric, fighter, ranger, wizard, or thief. In addition to a unique starting deck, classes also have a special hero ability. The game can be a straight up player vs player game, cooperative multiplayer, or what I find most intriguing is a cooperative campaign. Here, players are on the same team and must fight through a series of set story-based scenarios. As they play, they “level up” their characters, adding and improving some special abilities as well as making some upgrades to their initial starting deck.



Robot Quest Arena

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the current crowdfunding campaign for another Wise Wizard deckbuilding-related game, Robot Quest Arena. This is a boardgame where players take on the role of a robot trainer. Using deckbuilding mechanics, players maneuver their robot around an arena, trying to take out the other players’ robots. It is a score-based game rather than an elimination, so no player is ever completely knocked out of the game. The game is undergoing a crowdfunding campaign for the next wave of content. It includes four new robots, a new arena to battle in, and a large box to hold all the content released up to the present. Be sure to check it out before it closes down in early April.

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