This is an article originally posted over on Reddit by user b1llyb0nez. Reposted here with permission. Minor edits/tweaks made for readability by TheeMystic.
I wanted to drop in and share my current Star Realms set with you. In recent months I spent many hours playing this amazing game with my friends. In this time I started developing an interest in deck-building, which made me come back to the game with the goal to make a definitive experience. I played with balance, card amounts and all possible variations that might give different angles to the whole setting. This is what I came up with after months of recycling, restructuring and rethinking my approaches.
First off I would like to give me three essential mantras for my set:
- Make it fun
- Make it balanced and all factions thematically coherent
- Easy on surface with big potential for clever plays
With all this in mind I hope y’all enjoy my Definitive Edition of the current Star Realms cards (at least until High Alert finally releases)
Tips for Fanatics
1. Dragon Shields are the best sleeves for SR cards. They fit perfectly, have a tight grip and just feel great to play. I recommend buying two packs with 100 Sleeves each.
2. Play-mats are a nice addition to the card game experience. For two player owning 2
Standard Mtg Size mats is totally fine (works for me), but for the true mood I recommend something like this:
Before I come to the core set of this build, I want to mention the two absolute must have expansions. Especially the first one is really hard to come by, but it’s most definitely the best and my favorite in terms of game-play compared to any other.
1.0 Absolute Must Have Expansions!
1.1 Star Realms Frontiers Promo Pack
This set, which I was able to acquire on a convention is absolutely bonkers. There is two core features that this will add to your game:
The ship played with effect base-docking will move to the side of the game if you control a base of same color at the end of your turn. The next turn you can take this card back to your hand additionally to your starting cards (can be used for target player discards a card)
2x Imperial Defender
1x Freight Raft
Red is not included because it simply sucks.
These cards are one of the reasons I don’t like double-color factions. When you purchase a Base-Dock you take a gambit with the equivalent bases that you will have to play appropriately. If you get this combo off in early game the reward is quite satisfying.
1.1.b. Self Destruct
You might be wondering why I chose to call the triggered scrap mechanic a self destruct. Well, the reason is that I interpret all explicit mentions of “scrap a card” as a demand and not an offer. If you take a close look throughout all available cards of SR, there are certain cards that do not include the phrase “you may scrap x”, but rather “scrap x”.
Unlike the official online game, which makes the scrap mechanic an optional choice in all cases, I interpret these exceptions as mandatory. So if you consider cards like “The Oracle” (Colony Wars) and “Reclamation Station” (Frontiers), there is a new potential danger to screw yourself.
From the very beginning of playing with this FP-Set I considered all cards with the triggered scrap mechanic to become self destructive and personally I really prefer it this way. It feels in character especially thinking about the “Spawning Worm” or “Recycling Bot” (real cuties).
This also gives another layer of consideration, because now there are cards that you will deliberately not choose to play, so you can postpone strong self destructs for a bigger blow.
Definitely use every card including the added bases EXCEPT the “Swarming Point”. This card is just braindead tempo which makes the “Swarm Cluster” pointless.
1.2 (kind of optional but not really) Universal Storage Box:
These special cards can only be received by purchasing the Universal Storage Box.
If you are able to acquire this big box definitely do it! It usually costs around 20 bux and the 13 cards included are game changers! It’s also a pretty neat storage box and I use it for all card games I possess.
2x Brooder – Maybe the only reason to buy this blyat box. This card gives a whole new level of game-play with its Russian-roulette-mechanics. Seriously, this might be my favorite card in the whole game and its kind of lost in oblivion. I prefer you guys check it out for yourself, because explaining this waifu just takes away all the fun)
2x Recovery Mech This card in its current state is completely overpowered, therefore you should consider only applying its effect to cards that have not been bought in this round)
1x Embassy Transport – the better cousin of “Embassy Yacht”
“Orbital Crane” is not included because in my opinion it does not balance well with its draw effect and additional money gain
It is a very big shame, that these cards are not as commonly printed as other expansions, because they truly take the game to its limits.
2.0 CORE SET: FRONTIERS
I’m talkin’ best visuals, best flow, best world building and just detailed trippy sh*t. Every core set has its own values, ups and downs, but this baby really knows what it is and where its going. Therefore if you cant add expansions just go back to Frontiers.
I sorted all included cards by factions:
2x Orbital Shuttle
2x Outland Station
2x Patrol Boat
1x Long Hauler
2x Mobile Market
1x Federation Cruiser
1x Transit Nexus
2x Cargo Craft
3x Light Cruiser
3x Captured Outpost
2x Farm Ship
1x Imperial Flagship
1x Jammin Terminal (if you don’t consider “Starbase Omega”, this is the only card in game I know of, which does not have black defense on base stats. So if you want a nerf on discards, just go for the Starbase)
3x Destroyer Bot
1x Enforcer Mech
1x Reclamation Station
2x Blob Miner
2x Spike Cluster (definitely the first card to get a switcheroo with High Alert Release)
2x Moonworm Hatchling
1x Nesting Ground
1x Infested Moon
1x Hive Queen
1x Swarm Cluster
2.1 SIDE SET: COLONY WARS
Guys, I really love Colony Wars. It’s the first set I ever bought, so I just couldn’t get around not including some of my favorite cards in there (except the “Moonworm” RIP)
Side-Note: If you wish to include the “Moonworm” it is totally valid to exchange another 7-Cost creature in the Blob faction. Additionally consider spawning a Hatch-Token when triggering the effect from the worm
2x Lancer (is this ship printed on every yellow card?)
1x Command Center
1x Supply Depot
1x Imperial Palace
1x Mining Mech
1x The Oracle
1x The Wrecker
1x The Incinerator
1x Storage Silo
1x Colony Seed Ship
1x Factory World
3.1 Promo Pack 1:
1x Starmarket (Preferably 1st Print, because cost 4 instead of 5)
3x Fortress Oblivion (yes 1 additional than provided in the expansion)
1x Battle Screecher
1x Battle Barge
3.2 Fleets & Fortresses Expansion:
2x Patrol Bot
1x Customs Frigate
1x Border Fort
1x Death World (TWEAKING REQUIRED; with a black text marker: cross-out text “from your hand or discard pile” on the card, therefore including the trade row as possible scrap option)
3.3 Bases & Battleships Expansion:
2x Defense Bot
1x Trade Wheel
4.1 Solo Promo Cards:
These are kind of impossible to get without throwing money into the furnace. They are also quite overpowered, but their bonkers effect works for every player and rewards color commitment.
1x Tanker (Yellow, Cost 2: 1. Draw a card 2. II Gold 3. Scrap: Target Opponent Discards a card)
1x Seeker (Green, Cost 2: 1, Draw a card 2. III Damage 3. Scrap: Destroy Target Base)
Side-Note: There are two additional cards designed like this for blue and red, but I have been unsuccessful at finding available purchases (namely: “Interceptor” and “Disposal Bot”)
1x Mercenary Garrison (if I had a second one with alternative Print I would play it)
4.2 (Optional) Super-Spice:
1x The Colossus (look it up)
1x Lost Dreadnought (only available from the Lost Fleet Kickstarter Exclusive)
4.3 (Optional) Two-Colored-Factions:
I don’t like these cards. Simple as that. Double-Faction-Cards kind of deter the game from its restricting and simplistic nature. I still keep them as a mini expansion for all cases. Many of those are just double-faction expansions (Stellar Allies, United) and some single-Promo-Cards
1x Pact Warship
1x Summit Site (I wish they would sell this as a poster)
1x Needle Lancer
1x The Citadel
1x Alliance Frigate
1x Alliance Landing
1x Union Drone (Promo Card)
1x Union Cluster
1x Unity Fighter
1x Unity Station
1x Coalition Tower (Promo Card)
1x Lookout Post
Side-Note: If anyone of you knows what the ship on the right side of the “Coalition Tower” is please link me in the comments. I have been searching wide and low, because I am certain I have seen this ship before (might be a challenge card…?)
I won’t be going into much detail, but feel free to exchange the Promos with equals from the expansion.
5.0 Stuff I wish I had and we need to talk about
5.1 Promo Pack 2
Unreachable. You will find a post on the official WhiteWizardGames site about the available purchase, but in reality this relic has been lost in the abyss. I had one chance to purchase this 11 cards expansion, but my rational inner-self chose not to spend 50 bux for this.
Look up “Merc Cruiser”, “Merc Tower”, “Merc Battlecruiser” and “Merc Destroyer”. By themselves these cards seem rather uninspired and a bit weak. Now consider the upcoming High Alert Expansion, which will add cards that become cheaper the more cards you played from the same faction and suddenly we have a good reason to consider putting these back in (HYPE).
5.3 As Des As
Look this up on boardgamegeeks.com. Seriously what is going on here?
6.0 For the true believers only
You wanna know what really sucks?
Take a look at this beauty right here:
Apparently this alternative print of the starter deck was distributed as a one time prize at a tournament (in Denmark??). Let’s all pray, that this gem will be available for the masses one day.
Thank you guys for reading my little post. I have left some pictures sorted by color.
Feel free to leave your comments. I am very open to suggestions and any questions you might have.
Stay safe everyone and have fun playing!