Star Realms Colony Wars from White Wizard Games is the latest entry in the vastly popular Star Realms series which consists of the original game, several expansions, and an app available on iOS, Android, PC, and Mac. Star Realms is a deck building game for two players (up to four with multiple base sets) that plays in about 20 minutes. Both players start with identical decks consisting of ten cards which provide trade credits and combat damage. On a player’s turn they play the cards in their hand to the table, banking the trade and combat with which they purchase cards from the trade row and attack their opponent in an effort to reduce their authority (life) to zero. Cards purchased from the trade row are added to the player’s discard pile which is shuffled in whenever the deck runs out. Colony Wars is a stand-alone expansion meaning that you can play it straight out of the box, but the new cards are 100% compatible with the old ones. In this set they have given us a myriad new ships and bases, most all of which have similar mechanics that can be found in the original set or expansions. One notable new mechanic is a cycle of cards (one from each faction) which state “when you acquire this card, if you’ve played a [this faction] card this turn, you may put this card directly into your hand.”
Star Realms has been a favorite game of mine for quite some time now. I played it at a game night and shortly after snagged a copy for myself. Shortly after that I had picked up a second copy (have to be able to play 4-player games right?!?) and all of the available expansions. Oh, and I bought the app… and each expansion as it comes out in the app. And did I mention that I also backed White Wizard’s other game Epic? So basically, everything that they make, I own. As soon as I saw Colony Wars sitting on the shelf I snatched up my copy. I have only played one game with the new cards as of now, but I should say, they are quite powerful… especially (and this is just my limited experience) the Trade Federation ship and base which give trade, combat and authority! The new ships and bases have the same feel as the originals, but are slightly different. Is the Stealth Needle anyone’s favorite? Well, now they have a base version, and it copies ANY base in play! I do have one negative point, and that is after only one play of the game, many of the cards are starting to wear. I was disappointed by the quality of the cards, but in the end I sleeve up everything so it doesn’t really matter any more. I just wish that I had sleeved the game before that first play. (I didn’t because I didn’t have a box to put the sleeved deck into. I look forward to including Colony Wars with my base set, and honestly, I’ve been pretty excited about sitting down with all of the cards and creating my own 80-card trade deck (as opposed to just cramming all of the cards into one giant trade deck).