Games We Play: Thank You Wil Wheaton

Today is International Tabletop Day. In case you did not know, a day to play tabletop games. Normally we play tabletop games or in the case of a few games continue to prep for the days when we will play them…cough cough 40k…over the weekend. Naturally, today we played tabletop games (as of now: Star Realms, Get Bit, and Roll For It).

I need to say thank you to Wil Wheaton. The whole family enjoys watching Tabletop. We have watched every episode at least once and because of what we have seen on his show purchased many games that we might not have. Because of Tabletop the kids are more informed gamers, more interactive gamers, and better gamers.  That alone merits a thank you.

This particular thank you though is for playing Star Realms on Tabletop a couple of days ago. I purchased Star Realms by White Wizard Games when it first was released. A non-collectable deck building game when we were playing a lot of deck building games seemed like a no brainer. For whatever reason nobody wanted to play. I mean nobody. I tried and tried.

Today on International Tabletop Day the kids watched Wil Wheaton play Star Realms and like the do with most of the games they see, asked if we could get that game.

“We already have Star Realms,” I said.

“Really?” they replied.

I pulled Star Realms out of the “Tried but No Luck” box and showed them. And that is how we found ourselves embroiled in a two-hour round robin series of games. Like I said above Star Realms in a non-collectable deck building game. You only need to purchase one box to play. There are add-ons, but we don’t own any.

Each player begins the game with a 10-card deck consisting of 8 cards that give you a dollar to spend and 2 cards that allow you to attack for 1 point. Between the players is the resource row; a draw pile and five face up cards that players may purchase on their turn. Plus on card that is always available, the Explorer card which gives 2 dollars when played.

A turn, after the first player’s first turn (if you are first player you only start with three cards), consists of playing your hand of five cards. Total up the dollars you have to spend and total up the damage you have done. Spend the dollars on cards in the resource row, purchased cards go into your discard pile, and deal the damage to the opposing player. Discard your cards and draw a new hand of five cards; when you run out of cards to draw, shuffle your discard pile to make a new draw pile. Simple, right?

The complexity and strategy has to do with the four factions, interactions, and outposts and bases. There are four factions, each with a theme, such a damage dealing, life gain, or resource manipulation. All cards have a primary ability that they do when played. Most cards have a secondary ability that only triggers when another card from that faction has been played. The interactions between cards of the same faction typically guides your purchases; players typically pick one or two factions to purchase when they become available in the resource row.

Outposts and Bases are two types of cards that remain in play, until another player blows them up. Both provide resources automatically during your turn. Normally when dealing damage the opposing player loses that much authority (life). However, if they have one or more outposts in play damage is dealt to that first and the only way to remove an outpost is to deal damage equal to its health in one turn. Bases, unlike outposts can be ignored, but often have large enough effects that you’ll want to take them out.

So in our round robin, our girl won two matches in a row, then lost, then I won two in a row, which put her versus me…I won. 🙂 All of the games were close, except one, but if our boy wants to watch Tabletop more than play, who are we not to take the easy victory.

I have to go now, there is a game of Epic Tiny Kingdoms waiting for me.


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