Game Review: Star Realms (Gambit Expansion, digital version)

This is a great game made better.

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Star Realms

  • Genre: Deck building card game
  • Creators: White Wizard Games, LLC
  • Platform: IOS, Android, PC, Mac
  • Price: Gambit Expansion  – $3.99,  Full Base game – $4.99, Limited version – Free
  • Official site: starrealms.com
  • Notes: Review of the IOS version, played on my iPAd air. Latest update is 2.17 which fixed some bad bugs from the Gambit update (2.12).

Synopsis:

From Starrealms.com:

“Star Realms Gambit Expansion incorporates both the Gambit set and the Year One organized play promo cards from the physical card game. Just $3.99 once unlocks for all four platforms. The game changes in powerful ways with a new type of card — the Gambit. There are nine of them, and each player is given two of them at random to begin the game. When do you use your Gambits? When do you make your move? The war continues, and now the stakes are even higher!”

Gambit Expansion details:

“The new digital Gambit Expansion includes all the Gambit and promotional cards from our Kickstarter physical card set:

  • Nine new Gambit cards that give players special abilities
  • Fifteen new ship and base cards added to the trade deck
  • Two new campaign chapters with a total of 13 new campaign missions
  • Top 1,000 Rankings, lifetime, monthly and weekly leaderboards”

Personal Thoughts:

(after playing the iOS base version since its release, and the Gambit expansion for a few days)

This is a great game made better.

Star Realms, to me at least, so far..the best deck-building game on the digital formats. Now about time, with the Gambit expansion (worth the value), makes game more addictive and challenging.  So, here is why:

The new dimension to the game, are the Gambit cards that are randomly played for you at the beginning of a game (two at a time). There is often some advantage to each game, though not hugely significant as they do not decide the winner. Most Gambits often either quicken the game (usually though quick sacrifice ability for extra draws, damage, resources. Or, something taken away from the enemy), or stay held on for turning the tide later. It feels, the pick of Gambits are not blind luck to what one could hope for; they give some extra thinking for dealing with bad odds, or delivering a bigger blow to the enemy (always fun to go for the highest damage possible).

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The new cards for the stack are different, but not too off the wall for game balance. The regular cards are still often needed for the best devastating combos. Most notable are the new location cards, which give some sweet rewards for adding location. This makes locations more vital to the game, after thinning out Scouts and Vipers. These and rest of the cards, add unpredictability. Also, the AI seems upgraded through the update; as I now lose more in the ‘Hard” mode AI battles involving Gambit cards.

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The campaign mode is meh. Even so, good to get through them for some new bonus Gambit cards for the deck. The storytelling is a bit wordy and bland, and the voice-over is unnecessary. That’s okay, as campaign modes are not essential to a great card game. Playing the game is world-building enough. It would be nice to perhaps save the voice-over talent used in Campaign mode for surprise random sound-bites during the game itself, instead.

The new artwork for the cards are consistent, adding to the Star Realms atmosphere. I however wish there was some variance in the musical score. I love the epic soundtrack, but it does get stale after some time. I think I am getting used to the warping sound effect throughout the game. Still, room for improvement.

Overall, great expansion that adds excitement for the game. Also, a worthy in-app purchase for those who already enjoy the game (rather than having IAP beyond the full game present to enjoy the game, like so many other mobile games out there). Here, is hoping for an eventual Crisis (now out for the physical game), and many more expansions after.

– Orion T

About Orion T (186 Articles)
Writer, picture taker, local traveler. Also, a reader, player, and viewer of creative work, especially in the realms of science fiction and fantasy. Follow my personal adventures at travelingorion.com. You may also follow me at my other site focused on the creative science fiction and fantasy arts in all forms at strangerworld.com.

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