Ryan James
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SWD has been out exactly one year now, and with 201 logged FTF games in that time, and many other Tabletop Simulator plays, I actually feel pretty confident giving this one a review.

SWD is a collectible card/dice game (CCG), in the same vein as M:TG, Pokemon, or YuGiOh. It also shares some similarities with the Dicemasters games. If you’re unfamiliar with the model, basically you buy starter sets, which are all the same, and then purchase booster packs, which are random; building decks with what you have. If you’re like me, you spend gobs and gobs of money and collect the entire damn thing.

I won’t go much into the CCG model here, as I intend to review the game only, though as the model does have some impact on the game I’ll go into it just a tiny bit, later.

Quick Overview:

So how the game works is you build decks around characters, which you fight against your opponent’s characters, and the first to kill the other wins. You can also win if your opponent, at the end of the round, has no cards in his deck or hand. I’ve only played this casually. I’ve never entered a tournament, so I don’t know a ton about that scene, but I am to understand that there is also a way for the game to end due to time.

The Characters:

So, each player has up to 30 points to spend on characters, which usually equates to anywhere from 1-5 characters being able to be used, though usually it’s 2 or 3. Palpatine, for instance, costs 28 points for his stronger elite version, which means he’s the only character you can use, though as you would imagine he’s VERY powerful. You could alternately run a set of four First Order Storm Troopers, as they only cost 7 points per, but individually they’re incredibly weak. Each unique character (major characters like Palp or Vader) comes to the table with either one or two dice (having two dice will increase the point cost of the character), and non-unique characters (lesser characters like Stormtroopers and Rebel Commandos) only ever have one die; and these dice are the main way to deal damage, acquire resources, discard opponent’s cards, take shields, etc…

The Deck:

Aside from your characters, each player also comes to the game with a 30 card deck. Your deck is made up of Upgrades, cards you attach to characters (each character can have, at most, 3 upgrades attached to them at any one time); Supports, cards you play off to the side that do various things; or Events, cards that are used with an instant effect and then discarded. Each card has a resource cost that must be paid prior to playing, a color (Blue, Yellow, Red, or Gray), an affiliation (Hero, Villain, Neutral), and an effect. Some Upgrades and Supports also come with dice.

The restrictions on deckbuilding are:
As I said, there are four colors in the game; Blue, Yellow, Red, and Gray. You are only allowed to include cards in your deck that match the color of the character(s) you have. The only exception is gray. Gray cards can go in any deck. For example, Count Dooku is a blue character, and Jabba the Hut is yellow. So my deck is not allowed to have red cards in it. Any other color is allowed.

There are three affiliations; Hero, Villain, and Neutral. You are not allowed to mix Hero and Villains together, but neutral cards can go in either side. For example, I couldn’t play Luke Skywalker and a Stormtrooper together as their affiliation is different. I also couldn’t include hero affiliated cards in my Dooku/Jabba deck.

You are only allowed, at most, two copies of the same card in your deck. So you will always have at least 15 different cards in your deck.
Other than that, you can do whatever you’d like. If you want to make a 30 card deck of nothing but upgrades, go for it. If you want to build a support deck with absolutely NO upgrades, you can do that too. It’s very flexible and not difficult to remember.


The Battlefield:

Each player also comes to the game with a Battlefield card. Thematically this is where the battle is taking place. The battlefield has an effect on it, which triggers when it is claimed. I’ll go into further detail about that in a moment.

How to play:
Each player places their character cards faceup on the table, and places the dice associated with them on the cards. They place the Battlefield they’re bringing to the game faceup and to the side of their deck. Each player starts the game (and each subsequent round) with two resources (money), and then draws five cards from their deck. They get one chance to mulligan their hand, returning any card they don’t want back to their deck, shuffling, and then drawing back up to five cards.

Both players now roll their character dice and total the numbers rolled. The player with the higher number decides which Battlefield to use. If they choose the Battlefield they brought to the game, the other player removes his from the game, and places exactly two shields on their characters, distributed as they wish (each character can have, at most, three shields). The player who chose their Battlefield doesn’t get the shields, but gets to start the game. If they choose their opponent’s Battlefield, they get the two shields, remove their Battlefield from the game, and their opponent gets to start the game.

The game is then turn based, where the start player takes one action, and one action only (cards can break this rule, of course), then the other player takes an action, and so on and so forth until both players ultimately pass, or one is defeated.

The actions you can take are as follows:


Activate a character or Support – This means tapping your character or support card and rolling its dice (and all attached upgrade dice) into your pool. Your dice pool is the area right above your characters where your unresolved dice sit. Also note, only Character cards can have upgrades. Supports are never allowed to have upgrades attached to them.

Resolve dice – Resolving dice means to take your dice from your pool and place them back on your card, resolving the effect of whatever face was showing (this could be dealing melee or ranged damage, taking resources, taking shields, removing resources from your opponent, discarding cards from your opponent’s hand, or taking a special ability attached to the die’s card). When resolving dice, you are allowed to resolve any number of dice that have the same symbol. For example, I have three dice showing a resource side in my pool. I can resolve any number of them for only one action, but if I have only two dice in my pool, one showing melee damage and one showing a shield, it would be two separate actions to resolve them, because they’re different symbols.

Play a card from your hand, paying its resource cost – If it’s a support, it goes to the side, ready to be activated on a future turn. If it’s an upgrade, it gets played and attached to one of your characters. If it’s an event, it gets played and then immediately discarded. You are also allowed to overwrite an upgrade with another upgrade, once per round, and you only pay the difference in cost. For Example, I have a Holdout Blaster attached to Count Dooku, which has a 2 resource cost. I want to play a Force Throw on him. The Force Throw costs 3 resources, but I only have 1. I can overwrite the Holdout Blaster, which means remove and discard it, replacing it with the Force Throw, and I only have to pay the 1 resource.

Discard a card to reroll any number of unresolved dice in your pool

Use an Action on one of your cards

Pass – A player can pass if they don’t want to take an action. They’re able to take another action after their opponent plays an action, as long as the opponent doesn’t pass as well. You might do this if you have cards to mitigate your opponent’s dice, and you’re waiting for them to reroll into something you want to, or can, mitigate.

Claim the Battlefield – When you claim the Battlefield, you are permanently passing for the round, but taking the Battlefield and putting it in front of you, using its “Claim” ability, if desired, and then you get to go first at the start of the next round. Your opponent; however, gets to then take as many consecutive actions as they can/want without any intervention from you until they eventually pass, ending the round.

Once the round ends, you untap all of your cards, discard any cards from your hand you don’t want, and then draw back up to five cards. You collect two resources, and then whoever claimed the battlefield starts the new round, taking one action. It goes on like this until all of one player’s characters are dead, or until a player’s deck and hand is depleted of cards at the end of the round.

There are some other minor rules I didn’t go over, but this should give you most everything you need to understand how the game plays.

The Review:

This is my first foray into collectible card games. I was never into MTG nor had any desire. Pokemon felt too young for me and so the only kind of games I played that were anything like these were LCGs like Netrunner and LotR, and those were just okay. I didn’t even intend to get into this one. I was at my FLGS one night just playing games with the owner of the store, and it just so happened to be the pre-release of Destiny, which I had not heard of. He convinced me to give it a shot, and here I am 200 plays later writing a review about it. It was a magical time.

The Positive:
There is a laundry list of things I absolutely LOVE about this game. Some of those things will be why people DON’T love the game, and so to get that out of the way I’ll talk about the model.

This being a collectible game will REALLY make some people stay as far away from the game as they can, as they just don’t like it. I understand that completely. Dumping hundreds and hundreds of dollars into a game because you want to stay competitive is kind of a crazy concept to expect people to get on board with. I don’t play competitively at all, so I can’t quite speak to the same gripes people have about that. I’m a pure casual player, yet I still feel the need to collect everything. I honestly LOVE that part about this game. Having never experienced it before with any other game like this, it really gets my blood pumping opening packs hoping to get that great pull. It’s exciting. That’s really the word I think I’d use most about this game in general. Exciting. That excitement and fun makes me tolerate how much money I spend, for now…

I love how quick the game is. It plays very fast. Some games can take upwards of 45 minutes, but I’ve had more games go less than 15, and in those 15 minutes are some insane emotional loop-di-loops. The nature of dice games are swings of fate, which again, some people won’t like, but you’re able to play the odds enough that it rarely (but not never) feels like you won or lost simply because you rolled out of your mind. There really are levels to this. I will probably beat a new player 9/10 times, with that one loss being luck of the dice. I will also lose to a competitive tournament player 9/10 times the same way. You can play and have fun with this game at any level.

Another thing I love is how fast-paced the actions are. You take an action. I take an action. You take an action. I take an action. Rinse. Repeat. It’s so smooth and so good. You’re rarely waiting more than thirty seconds in between turns, and because of this the game has a real nice cadence.

The gameplay is outstanding. It’s very satisfying to pull off a combo that your opponent neither expects nor can do anything about. Rolling tons of dice is incredibly fun, as is the fear of your opponent mitigating the results before it’s your turn to resolve them. Do you deal your 4 damage to a character, or mitigate the 4 damage your opponent is showing and no doubt going to resolve on their next action? Do you claim the battlefield so you can make sure you roll your dice out first next turn, risking your opponent doing more damage to you with re-rolls, or do you hold off to mitigate any potential damage rolled against you, losing the chance to go first? The decisions are juicy and difficult and always fun.

My favorite part about the game is no-doubt the deckbuilding. Finding out different combinations of characters to play, and cards to synergize, is SO. MUCH. FUN! I’m constantly watching videos from Tiny Grimes and Double Blanks/Sir Christopher to see what they’re playing and how it’s working. I’m on swdestinydb.com, looking at what decks are winning and taking ideas for my own construction. Any time a new set comes out it completely obliterates everything I thought I knew about the game, and I rediscover it over and over again. I love this game.


The Negative:
The negative is much less than the positive for me, but it IS there. Part of the reason this game works so well for me is because one of my best friends is JUST as into it as I am, and we play every Monday night. If I didn’t have anyone to play with, it would completely die. I know that can be said about any game, but this one it is more problematic as there are new sets being released constantly and more money needs to be spent to keep up with it. So if you’re the only one playing, occasionally playing with someone who doesn’t really care or understand, it’s just not that fun. You need to play with someone who KNOWS the game the same level as you. Me and my buddy can rattle off 8 games in two and a half hours because we both know all the cards, we both know the cadence of the game, and we are in rhythm with each other. The game isn’t as fun for me if I’m playing with someone who doesn’t really understand what they’re doing, and I’m sure it isn’t as fun for them. This is a game you want and need to have someone as into it as you are, and that can be tough for some people to find.

Don’t get me wrong here, I don’t mind playing with a new player. It’s just that unless they’re planning on learning and playing the game frequently, I’m just dumbing down my play. I imagine this is a similar conundrum for people who play Chess or Go at an advanced level.

Another thing is of course the cost. I’ve spent a great deal of money on this game. Like any collectible game, you can get enjoyment out of the base box, but only for so long before you need to expand. It’s a huge money pit, and while I think it’s worth it, it’s a bit intimidating for new players. Thankfully the new formats with rotation will alleviate some of this, but it’s still a bit tough for new players to get into because of the cost.

Storage is also a big problem for this game. If you’re as into the game as I am you will have hundreds of large, chunky dice to manage, and there just isn’t a perfect solution. I use Zen Bins and they’re pretty great, but I have tons and tons of overflow dice dispersed in large white buckets from the Container Store, and it just chews up tons of real estate in my game room. It’s unwieldy and a pain.

Negatives with the actual game are pretty minimal for me. Everything is smooth and streamlined and pretty much exactly what I want in a game. No complaints there.

Final Verdict:
At the end of the day, this is my absolute favorite game of all time. I’m confident and steadfast in that statement. It quickly shot up my list of favorites after just a few plays, and has remained for an entire year with no end in sight. I’ve played over 200 plays and still feel like I know nothing about the game. Like I said, every new set obliterates everything I thought I knew. I can’t wait to see where it goes from here, and hopefully it holds my interest for many years to come.
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Elijah
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Thanks for the review!

I refuse to consider this game solely because it’s collectible. I know I would love it (which is why I stay away); lucky for me there are plenty of games out there
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Ryan James
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derp wrote:
Thanks for the review!

I refuse to consider this game solely because it’s collectible. I know I would love it (which is why I stay away); lucky for me there are plenty of games out there


Hey I hear ya. The collectible aspect is probably the main reason why everyone who stays away, stays away. I can't argue with you, and you're right, there are plenty of games out there, but nothing and I mean NOTHING has made me feel the way I feel after playing this game. It truly is something special.
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Justin R
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derp wrote:
Thanks for the review!

I refuse to consider this game solely because it’s collectible. I know I would love it (which is why I stay away); lucky for me there are plenty of games out there


What if they released a standalone version of the game that did not contain any legendary cards/dice, but did contain a good sampling of rare characters, for around $100? Plenty of variety and replayability out of the box to justify the price tag, but not so much that a tournament scene would develop, so you wouldn't have that option.

Would you buy such a game?
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Pete R.
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Great review and stellar presentation! I really enjoyed reading and viewing your review and completely agree - SWD is really a collectible game and a great game. That combination is very hard for some gamers (myself included) to make work. I tried. I was swallowed whole. But, the game is really fun and captures all of Star Wars so, so well.

Maybe if I just get one more booster... shake
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Kirk
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Nice review Ryan! Now when are we playing again...?
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JJRR_Esq wrote:
What if they released a standalone version of the game that did not contain any legendary cards/dice, but did contain a good sampling of rare characters, for around $100? Plenty of variety and replayability out of the box to justify the price tag, but not so much that a tournament scene would develop, so you wouldn't have that option.

Would you buy such a game?

Aren't you essentially describing "LCG without expansions"?
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Perf wrote:
JJRR_Esq wrote:
What if they released a standalone version of the game that did not contain any legendary cards/dice, but did contain a good sampling of rare characters, for around $100? Plenty of variety and replayability out of the box to justify the price tag, but not so much that a tournament scene would develop, so you wouldn't have that option.

Would you buy such a game?

Aren't you essentially describing "LCG without expansions"?

Or two-player starter with twenty-five boosters?
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Elijah
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JJRR_Esq wrote:
derp wrote:
Thanks for the review!

I refuse to consider this game solely because it’s collectible. I know I would love it (which is why I stay away); lucky for me there are plenty of games out there


What if they released a standalone version of the game that did not contain any legendary cards/dice, but did contain a good sampling of rare characters, for around $100? Plenty of variety and replayability out of the box to justify the price tag, but not so much that a tournament scene would develop, so you wouldn't have that option.

Would you buy such a game?

Possibly.

I have zero interest in tournaments of any kind. I want to play casually but have a large set to mess around with. With the CCG model, it’s more or less cost prohibitive as you’ll pull dupes, etc. and in this regard I’m really opposed to blind buying (I don’t play the lottery). Turn it into LCG and I’m in. I have a nice collection of Netrunner and AH:TCG and have no problems spending money because I know what I’m getting.
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Justin R
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derp wrote:
JJRR_Esq wrote:
derp wrote:
Thanks for the review!

I refuse to consider this game solely because it’s collectible. I know I would love it (which is why I stay away); lucky for me there are plenty of games out there


What if they released a standalone version of the game that did not contain any legendary cards/dice, but did contain a good sampling of rare characters, for around $100? Plenty of variety and replayability out of the box to justify the price tag, but not so much that a tournament scene would develop, so you wouldn't have that option.

Would you buy such a game?

Possibly.

I have zero interest in tournaments of any kind. I want to play casually but have a large set to mess around with. With the CCG model, it’s more or less cost prohibitive as you’ll pull dupes, etc. and in this regard I’m really opposed to blind buying (I don’t play the lottery). Turn it into LCG and I’m in. I have a nice collection of Netrunner and AH:TCG and have no problems spending money because I know what I’m getting.


What I was describing is what is available to everyone already--buy singles at CSI and you can play this game with a ton of rares for under $100.
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Matt Asher
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JJRR_Esq wrote:
derp wrote:
JJRR_Esq wrote:
derp wrote:
Thanks for the review!

I refuse to consider this game solely because it’s collectible. I know I would love it (which is why I stay away); lucky for me there are plenty of games out there


What if they released a standalone version of the game that did not contain any legendary cards/dice, but did contain a good sampling of rare characters, for around $100? Plenty of variety and replayability out of the box to justify the price tag, but not so much that a tournament scene would develop, so you wouldn't have that option.

Would you buy such a game?

Possibly.

I have zero interest in tournaments of any kind. I want to play casually but have a large set to mess around with. With the CCG model, it’s more or less cost prohibitive as you’ll pull dupes, etc. and in this regard I’m really opposed to blind buying (I don’t play the lottery). Turn it into LCG and I’m in. I have a nice collection of Netrunner and AH:TCG and have no problems spending money because I know what I’m getting.


What I was describing is what is available to everyone already--buy singles at CSI and you can play this game with a ton of rares for under $100.

Yes, lots of dice can be bought in the 50-80¢ price range... and get a full common set for around $8 for each release. Add in the 2-player set and you are golden!

$50 in single rares (about 50 dice), $30 2-player set, 2-3 common set (eBay) for about $100.
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Ryan hits his review dead on I believe. A few of the biggest pros for me are:

- Easy to teach (can get a person up and playing in ~10 minutes)
- GREAT theme; after all, who doesn't love Star Wars!?!
- Well designed game that is FUN to play and not too long
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derp wrote:
Thanks for the review!

I refuse to consider this game solely because it’s collectible. I know I would love it (which is why I stay away); lucky for me there are plenty of games out there


And that makes your smarter than me. I have been playing this game from day one. The fact that it is a CCG makes it very expensive and heart breaking at times. The cheapest way into this game is to buy a pair (2) of the Two-Player Starter sets. This will give you two full decks (though one was just nerfed by FFG).

The mechanics of this dice and card combat game are fantastic and I WANT to love this game. I have found a wonderful, non-CCG alternative! ASHES: Rise of the Phoenixborn. The base game comes with 6 TRULY complete decks and enough dice for 4 players to play at the same time. You NEVER need to buy another expansion to enjoy this game. You can play with pre-built decks , build your own, and there is even drafting rules right out of the box! The con for this game? It's not Star Wars, but the artwork is beautiful none the less.
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stone37 wrote:

And that makes your smarter than me. I have been playing this game from day one. The fact that it is a CCG makes it very expensive and heart breaking at times. The cheapest way into this game is to buy a pair (2) of the Two-Player Starter sets. This will give you two full decks (though one was just nerfed by FFG).


The nice thing about playing casually is you can completely ignore the errata and balance of the force. If you're not playing in organized play events, then it doesn't matter one bit. Buy two of the 2p sets and play both Kylo and Phasma elite. It's not like R2P2 isn't overpowered in its own right

Target randomly has them on clearance for as little as $9/set. They tend to sell out pretty quickly since one of the cards in there goes for $12-15 on the secondary market, but it's certainly possible to catch it for cheap.
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