[Video] Star Wars LCG Review

My thoughts on the Star Wars LCG… aka why everyone else is wrong!

Profile photo of Zach Bunn By Zach Bunn On November 27, 2012 Posted In Star Wars LCG

There have been quite a few reviews for the Star Wars LCG hitting the internet lately, including a not so flattering one right here on Team Covenant! As someone who was fortunate enough to grab a copy AND have many other local players also have a copy, I thought I would add my voice (and face) to the mix.

Most of the reviews I’ve read so far sound as though they are coming from someone who has played three, maybe four games of the Star Wars LCG. I think they are absolutely wrong in their assessment of the game. Tune in below to find out why!

For those of you who trust your feelings (and me, of course), you can pre-order the Star Wars LCG for only $29.97 here. If you’re pretty sure you’ll end up playing, I’d recommend two copies of the game. I already desperately want two copies!

Zach

  1. Couldn’t agree more with this video review Zach. I’m about 8 or so games in and I’m extremely excited about more people getting to play this game and see how much fun and strategic it can be. I’m sure once the force packs start coming out that the flavor of the game and deck building possibilities will only get richer and richer. I’m also super excited to see how the multiplayer game is going to go and for the first deluxe expansion to hit.. In other words I couldn’t be more excited about this game! lol

  2. Agreed, also. My very early impressions, largely in accord with yours, are here: http://tinyurl.com/SWLCGTactics. A bunch more games in, I still feel much the same way, though, of course, I’ve learned to be somewhat more circumspect about aggression.

    When people say it isn’t “epic” enough, they seem to expect a single instance of a game that is necessarily short (so you can play a match as both sides) to capture the “feel” of the whole trilogy or something. Perhaps a 2-3 hour board game could be that, but that’s not what this game is supposed to be.

    To use FFG’s word, the game goes for a ‘cinematic’ experience. One needs to view each game as one battle in the overall epic war. The Core set is pretty much the end of Episode IV. The next cycle will be centered on the battle of Hoth. IOW, a single game of SW LCG is but one significant engagement in the Rebellion, not the whole thing. And, at that level, it succeeds. Edge battles are a big part of the reason. When you first start playing, it’s easy to treat them as secondary to just building out one’s board and being aggressive, but they’re definitely the key thing in the game.

    A second Core set will allow for better, more consistent decks, of course. Absent one, there is a tendency for the decks to play somewhat randomly (as was the case with AGOT’s Core set decks, as I recall). Apart from that, though, the game is very tight and a lot of fun.

  3. I have only solo played trying to figure out the steps and played my son once and that was shaky. I only know of one other person in my area that has this game, ah-hum… Dragon, and look forward to more games of it. I was drawn in right away by the theme and love the Imperial Navy deck. Hopefully this game takes hold of the Chicago area.

  4. You’ve mentioned a few times that you want a second core set, but haven’t said why and didn’t really hit on it in the video.

    There’s a lot of discussion online by those of us without the game yet if two set will be needed or are even desired. So, what’s the scoop from your perspective? Why are you so hot on getting that second core set? What are you not able to do without it and what will it add to your arsenal by having it?

    1. Fair question!

      In the game, you can run two of any objective set. Depending on the deck, there are definitely 2-3 for each affiliation that I really want two of. It’s really a matter of consistency.

      If you’ve ever played another card game, imagine running a 50 card deck and only having 1 of each card in the deck. That alone for some objective sets is why I’d want two. Both sets for the Emperor and Vader are just pure amazing (not just the main characters).

      It’s the same issue with the objectives themselves. You start the game by drawing 4 and picking 3 of them to start the game with. Most of the time, that means you are only ever going to see 6 objectives out of 10 (the four you draw, then the two replacements. Unlikely you’ll have a third objective destroyed and not be losing the game immediately). By running two of an objective, my odds of seeing at least one of them is extremely high.

      What I’ve found is that deck building with these pods is extremely similar to building a deck in any other game. The key difference is that they are more sweeping decisions. A lot of objectives are great, but I’d be unlikely to run two of them because they are a pod of utility cards. Some pods, however, are the money makers and you’ll want 2 of those for sure.

      1. Makes sense and that is basically what I was figuring. You want to be able to mimic that 4 card playset from MtG as much as possible to help your deck building strategy really pay off. Just wasn’t sure how much that would play out with this new “pod based” way of deck building

      2. Exactly–some duplicate cards are going to be desirable to improve the consistency of your draw and boost the theme of the deck. You can go through your cards pretty fast if you play a lot of edge battles but that doesn’t mean you’ll ever see any particular 1x card.

        Plus, you can’t really build a viable tournament-legal deck of 10 objectives from one Core set. There’s some ability to dodge resource matching with the off factions and neutral objectives but that’s going to very hit-or-miss. If you don’t draw into it when you need it, you’re going to have dead cards far too often. A couple of objective sets can reasonably be transferred over from one deck to the other for each faction but resource matching will still be an issue if you get an unfortunate shuffle on your objective deck.

      3. another reason why would want two cores compared to one, is because unlike agot if your best guy “dies” can play them again, so in this game no negative at all of running multiple unquies. Will be interesting when make different versions of unquie charcters and running a deck with x2 3 different versions of your favorite guy (don’t believe there is a limit in this game how many of same card can have just the limit on the objectives)

  5. Thanks for a very honest and candid video review. I was able to play the game once and to be honest – it did not hook me, like X-Wing hooked me. I felt the game to be very abstract and devoid of the cinematic flavor it purports to emulate.

    That being said, I was also trying to learn a brand new game and break down and ingest a fair amount of new mechanics and strategy so I wasn’t 100% focused on the big picture = the Balance of the Force.

    Zach, I really appreciate how you described this approach to the game and I think in my future games (because I will definitely buy a Core Set), the experience will evolve in a more positive manner – with a deeper understanding of the game to where the mechanics are secondary and the immersion is primary.

    Thanks again for the review.

    1. Thanks for the kind words! If you have any rules questions please do let me know. I’d love to help.

      If you have any trouble ordering it from us, let me know as well. I’d love to get your thoughts after it releases and you’ve had a chance to play it several times.

  6. I guess I’ll play the bad guy. In all fairness to this game. I have only played 3 games and the learning curve of the game is the same as AGOT and LOTR.

    My main concern with the game and I didn’t mention this in the post because I’m sort of waiting for the official ruling is choosing Sides. One player has to be Light side and the Other the dark side. This means for competitive play that would require players to build two decks. I don’t mind building mulitiple decks but I wish I could just focus on playing one side.

    Ok now that I have posted I will watch your video. Again I want to like this game and it is on my christmas list. I think once I get my hands on my own copy I will learn to like this game.

  7. Well, I posted a negative review elsewhere. Got a lot of hate for it, but I really wanted to review the game. My main problems with the game are things I think can be fixed and might just be partially my perception.

    I’m looking forward to playing someone with a positive outlook on the game. It currently strikes me as just “meh” or “beer and pretzels” as some say. It isn’t awful, but I can’t imagine picking it over… most of my games.

    I keep hearing two things from people:
    1) You have to play it a lot to find out why it is good.
    …What? That’s like when someone tells me to watch a TV show, but I have to wait until a dozen episodes in for it to get good. Maybe I’m impatient, but I want to like it sooner.

    2) You just need two core sets.
    I didn’t need two cores to love Netrunner, Game of Thrones, or pretty much any other game I’ve played. I understand the intent behind the comment, but I should be able to love the game more out of the box.

    BUT LIKE I SAID… I don’t like being wrong, so I’m willing to give this game another shot. And I will.

    1. Packaging can harm a game. I’ve seen far too much intentionally poor packaging in recent years from different games and companies. X-wing is packaged so that you need 2 core sets and at least 2 (if not 3) expansions to field a full 100 point force for each side — something I expect to really limit the number of people who will play it, given the price tag. Monsterpocalypse was packaged as badly as you can package a product — someone wanting to get into that game didn’t even have a way to guess how much they’d need to buy, and could spend hundreds without getting all they needed just to field 1 monster and 1 well-chosen force on the map of their choosing. I won’t go on, but I could.

      I find it greedy and weak spined. It’s a way to say “Hey look how low we got the price!” to certain people, but the customers suffer (and then the company suffers because the customers suffer).

      Maybe my least favorite moment of recent gaming (an X-wing game) — going to roll 4 attack dice against a TIE Fighter and sighing because the box only comes with 3… for the fifth time in a single game, in about my eighth game. It has gotten old. I love the game, but I now hate the people that made it. It would not have broken the bank for them to have included 4 dice per starter box. But then people would be less inclined to buy a second starter box! It turns out I’m getting another starter box and such for the game as a Christmas present. But it was underhandedly greedy of the company to package that way.

  8. Oh, also: Good review.

    I actually liked that you pretty much just addressed the common complaints about the game. Currently, I only have three:
    1) It doesn’t feel like Star Wars (which you hit on)
    2) I haven’t enjoyed games (and don’t feel involved)
    3) The many parts don’t add up to a whole picture (for me)

    Well, I keep hearing I need to give it more games. I did give it some extra plays this week, but I really think I need someone to guide me toward the light side. I really liked your example about Yoda, Zach (and I’d noticed something similar about C-3PO), so that is a start.

    This game has a long future. That’s the good news. I won’t be able to stay away from it for long.

  9. I still haven’t played…Eric, if you’re looking for a guinea pig, I volunteer!…but I’ve been doing my research. I still think it misses the mark in terms of a great Star Wars game. But I think it could be a good, maybe even good enough, Star Wars game. It’s still so, so early in it’s life, that these initial impressions everyone is having may turn 180 degrees in a year.

    It seems that FFG’s overall approach to their product line is to try and fit as much in the box as possible, while leaving room for expansion and double buys. Especially with their LCGs, they (and they’ve been doing this ever since moving to the LCG format) are right on the balance point. The starter boxes ARE playable…maybe not fully competitively, but they ARE full games. Within the box, you get a full experience that should expose you to everything the game has to offer. Note, that’s an exposure, not an immersion. To get that, you’ll need to buy more..and yes, that means more core sets.

    At the same time, compare that to the CCG model, where you’d buy a box of boosters to start off really competitively. I haven’t looked lately, but 2xCore LCG games seems about the same price point as 1xBooster CCG game. I don’t think that’s accidental. FFG is trying to hit both the casual and the competitive markets, and I think is doing so in a pretty brilliant way.

    With X-Wing, they may have gone too far. The dice issue is pretty transparent as a money grab. You need 4 dice, not 6, so offering a dice pack with 3 more of each dice is pretty overboard. Other than that, though, I see the same plan: Offer enough in the box for casual play, but make 2 Cores about what you need to get going competitively. It’s hard to reach 100 points with just 2 X-Wings, so you need a booster there to help out, but you get close.

    If the SW LCG here does go as Zach suggests, using each big release to cover a new episode of the story, what will interest me the most is seeing how those future expansions mesh with what’s in the core. The Death Star Clock works when you have Episode IV cards. How well does the Superlaser Blast card fit with the cinematic feel the game shoots for when the Empire is using the Hoth Power Generator card?

    I’m not ready to put this one on the buy list just yet, but I’ll happily play it. Although..10 plays to like it? That’s asking a lot of a gamer.

      1. I was really looking forward to this game when it was co-op. It’s all been downhill for me since they announced the change in format. Quite honestly, 10 game IS unreasonable for people that don’t have others that would be interested in the game. Even if I learn the game inside and out, I can’t expect someone else to play ten games with me all the while saying “it gets better, trust me.”

      2. There is a game that we got called Small World, which is a fantasy-based risk-type game. The game has so many different moving parts that even after playing it about 10 times, we still haven’t played it right. Now, I’m going to give a couple of examples of what worked. Decipher’s Star Wars CCG was difficult, but immediately felt right the first time I played – even though I was still learning. FFG’s X-Wing game only takes a few turns to pick up and perfectly gets the feel of Star Wars space battles right away. My mom understood the game in about 10 minutes and proceeded to totally spank me her very first time playing. A game should work the very first time you play it, regardless of whether you totally understand it or not.

      3. It doesn’t take 10 games to just enjoy. It’s takes 10 to really “get” the vast subtleties to the game. It may only take 3-4, depending on how your hands play out.

    1. It was a mix of the intro decks and built decks (5 intro deck games, 1 built deck game). Since then, 2 more games with built decks with LS finally breaking through to win one. Decks used for LS: both intro decks, the community built deck (0-1), and a vehicle-centric deck my brother-in-law built last night (which is now 1-1). The DS decks have been both intro decks, the Sith deck I posted in my blog (2-0) and a vehicle-centric Imperial Navy deck (0-1, though I didn’t draw very many of its vehicles…).