Star Wars Destiny

destiny-logo

I wanted to not like Star Wars Destiny from the beginning. It was easy at first; I’m practiced at dismissing collectible games outright (never mind the late night browsing of Magic cards or that one time I paid $25 for three Wyrmbone Katanas). My resolve was strengthened by the easy comparisons with Dicemasters. I mean, they both have dice, right? And does the world really need more Star War products. No, I thought and my personal rebellion would be to ignore Destiny.

The empire won this one, friends

You don’t really think of the humble d6 as a thing that can be churched up. Sure, Seasons had some pretty hefty custom dice, and part of the aesthetic appeal of Dicemasters is seeing how the artist devises symbols that sort of relate to whatever character the die represents, but leave it to Fantasy Flight to make me rethink the appeal of a simple cube. These bad boys feel good to manipulate. Over-sized and of considerable weight, shaking the dice in your cupped hands, you feel powerful, especially as you add dice. Once the dice really get to clacking every shake feels like you might lose control and send a die across the room to pulverize a vase, or your opponent’s nose.

The dice could probably take it, too. When the dice are rolled, it’s hard not to feel sorry for the table.

My own previously undisclosed dice fetish aside, Star Wars Destiny lives up to its component’s potential.

Players begin with between 2 and 4 dice and a deck of thirty cards. The cards might add dice to your pool or allow you to manipulate your dice or your opponent’s. The object of the game is to generate enough damage on your dice to knock out the other player’s characters. Finally, we can learn who would win between Captain Phasma and Count Dooku representing the villains and Jar Jar Binks and 10 year old Anakin Skywalker as the heroes. Not really, I’d be shocked if see Jar Jar Binks show up… well, anywhere. Oh, and a player loses immediately if he or she runs out of cards. Milling is real.

As for the game itself, players take turns performing actions like rolling the dice associated with a character, playing a card, resolving all the symbols of a type in their pool, etc. The decisions are fast paced and tight so that every decision feels important as does planning out the order of your actions. It’s immediately engaging and quick to pick up once you learn what the symbols mean.

Star Wars Destiny really is its own beast. If Dicemasters is a game about managing resources to create the best dice pool, Star Wars Destiny is a game about managing your actions to best take advantage of a much smaller (numerically, not physically) dice pool.

Star Wars Destiny is a collectible game which means I won’t come right out and recommend it. However, if you like Star Wars, card games, finely crafted plastic cubes, have a healthy disposable income, and/or remarkable self-discipline, it might be your destiny to play this game.

**hangs head in shame**

 

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Hello, World

“Hello World”

The traditional first program a person learns to write simply prints those words onto a computer screen. I think it’s appropriate here too, signifying as it does the first faltering steps of something new yet something cut from the same fabric as programs that, you know, do something.

Which I guess reflects my anxiety over whether the world needs another blog about tabletop games. Aren’t Shut Up and Sit Down  or The Dice Tower or the hundreds of other game sites and blogs enough? Probably, but I’m still going to do it because tabletop games are interesting and are prosocial in a way that few human activities are.

Those are the two points I want to emphasize: that tabletop games as a phenomenon are worthy of thinking more deeply about, of situating in a historical context relative to other games and society in general, of poking and prodding just to see what makes them tick, and that the time we spend in groups playing games is in some way special and are experiences that bring people together. Not to get mushy or anything.

What I’m going to do is write about games in a way that I find stimulating and that will hopefully foster some discussion about the hobby, about what where games come from and why they work or, in some cases, don’t. i’m also going to push myself into finding more great (or terrible) gaming experiences and write about them either to encourage you to expand your gaming group or to at least give you some ideas of what not to do.

“Hello, World” might be the fist steps of an 8th grader learning BASIC, but it is also as broad a greeting as is possible and while these first steps might be just as clunky and faltering, I hope that you will join me in taking them.