Rules Updates and Clarifications

About Rules Editions

As of September 2019, we are including edition info with the copyright info on our rules components (inserts and/or books). This will enable us to communicate changes and/or corrections separately for each edition. As a result, owners of newer editions will be able to ignore changes and corrections for older editions. For example, there were some minor errors in the First Edition Star Realms Frontiers Rulebook. In the next printing, we will correct these errors and include “Second Edition” in the rulebook. Rules components printed prior to September 2019 do not include edition info and may be assumed to be “first edition” or a minor variation of it.

Frontiers Corrections (1st Edition)

In the rulebook, “Nemesis Beast” section, page 34, the 5th sentence should read “If playing solo, you start with 50 Authority. Otherwise, all players form a Hydra team (see page 17) and share a score of 50 Authority.” (In a Hydra team, players do not use separate Authority scores.)

In the rulebook, “Cost of Freedom” section, page 40, the 5th sentence should read Each player starts with a standard Personal Deck (8 Scouts and 2 Vipers)”. (The boss uses the remaining Trade Federation cards from Frontiers to make its personal deck. It does not use a standard personal deck.)

Star Realms Box Set Corrections (1st Edition)

In the rulebook, “Nemesis Beast” section, the text has been updated as follows: Players start with 50 Authority each. When playing with more than one player, players are a Hydra team (see page ##) and add their Authority together. All players share a score of 50 Authority (regardless of the number of players). When playing with more than one player, players are a Hydra team.

Also note: The challenge score card set only goes up to 159. With 4 players, the Nemesis Beast starts with 200 Authority. Use a pencil and paper as needed.

Multi-Faction Cards and United: Missions Clarifications


A multi-faction ship, base, or ally ability is treated as having both factions. For example, the Assault Pod ship is Blob/Star Empire. It is considered Blob for effects that check if it is Blob, and Star Empire for effects that check if it is Star Empire. Multi-faction ships, bases, and ally abilities count as both factions for the purpose of missions.

If an effect would check the faction of something that has multiple factions, perform the check for each of those factions. If one or more of the factions would satisfy the effect, you must use one of those factions to resolve the effect. For example, the Ally mission can be completed with any two ally abilities from different factions. You have Assault Pod and Blob Fighter in play. Assault Pod’s ally ability has two factions (Blob/Star Empire), so Ally will check both of them:

  • Ally sees Assault Pod’s ability as Blob and Blob Fighter’s ability as Blob. This does not satisfy Ally’s conditions.
  • Ally sees Assault Pod’s ability as Star Empire and Blob Fighter’s ability as Blob. This does satisfy Ally’s conditions and allows you to complete the mission (assuming you haven’t completed another mission this turn).

Two Assault Pods would also complete the Ally mission as either Blob and Star Empire ally abilities, or Star Empire and Blob ally abilities.

As a special note for completing the Ally mission, both ally abilities may come from the same card, if there are two separate ally abilities. For example, if you activated both ally abilities on a Coalition Freighter, you would complete this mission by activating a machine cult and a trade federation ally ability.

The Colonize and Influence missions require you to have multiple cards of the same faction in play. Cards are considered to have the same faction if they share a faction. For example, an Assault Pod (Blob/Star Empire), an Embassy Base (Star Empire/Trade Federation), and a Recycling Station (Star Empire) would complete the Influence mission, because they all share the Star Empire faction. However, an Assault Pod (Blob/Star Empire), a Blob Fighter (Blob) and an Imperial Fighter (Star Empire) would not complete the Influence mission, because there is not a common faction across all three ships.


Errata 11-6-2019

The Rule and Unite missions require playing cards from multiple factions. Similarly to Ally, playing an Embassy Base (Star Empire/Trade Federation) and an Alliance Landing (Star Empire/Trade Federation) in the same turn will activate the Rule mission, because there are two factions across both bases. Note that cards without factions such as Mercenary Garrison (an Unaligned Base) do not count for these missions, and that there must be two separate factioned bases for Rule and three separate factioned ships for Unite.

Card Errata

Some of our cards have changed between printings or will change in future printings. This section identifies the most up-to-date versions of those cards. Players should use whichever version of a card they have, keeping any errata in mind. When using cards marked with an asterisk (*), use your version as printed literally and ignore any errata. If you’re using any of the marked cards, any player may request to see them before setting up the game.

Fleet HQ (Core Set)
Date of errata: Before 2019
Note: Only ships played while Fleet HQ is in play get the 1 Combat bonus.
New text: Whenever you play a ship, gain {1 combat}
Old text: All of your ships get {1 combat}

Fortress Oblivion (Year 1 Promos / Promo Pack 1)
Date of errata: Before 2019
Note: Added reminder text.
New text: If you played a base this turn (including this one), you may scrap a card from your hand or discard pile.
Old text: If you played a base this turn, you may scrap a card from your hand or discard pile.

*Megahauler (Year 1 Promos / Promo Pack 1)
Date of errata: November 6, 2019
Note: Acquiring a ship is now optional.
New Primary Ability Text: {Gain 5 Authority.} You may acquire any ship without paying its cost and put it on top of your deck.
Old Primary Ability Text: {Gain 5 Authority.} Acquire any ship without paying its cost and put it on top of your deck.

*Starmarket (Year 1 Promos / Promo Pack 1)
Date of errata: November 6, 2019
Note: This card was originally printed with cost 4. It was later printed with cost 5. The cost is 4 in the Star Realms digital app. The cost will be 4 in future printings.
New Cost: 4
Old Cost: 5

*Energy Shield (Gambit)
Date of errata: November 6, 2019
Note: In addition to its primary ability, this gambit now has a secondary ability.
New Secondary Ability Text: {Scrap}: Draw a card.

Unite (United Missions)
Date of errata: November 6, 2019
Note: This update clarifies the intended functionality. Unaligned ships do not have a faction and do not count toward completing this mission. Also note that a single ship may represent more than one of the factions. For example, a Machine Cult/Trade Federation ship and two Blob ships can complete this mission.
New Objective Text: Play three or more factioned ships across three or more factions in the same turn.
Old Objective Text: Play three ships from different factions in the same turn.

Rapid Construction (Scenarios)
Date of errata: Before 2019
Note: Cards only go on top of the deck if they would normally go to the discard pile. Heroes enter play as normal.
New text: The first card a player acquires each turn is placed on top of their deck instead of their discard pile.
Old text: The first card a player acquires each turn is placed on top of their deck.

Cargo Boat (Command Decks: The Alliance / The Coalition)
Date of errata: Before 2019
Note: This card’s second-row ability is a Trade Federation ally ability and should have a blue icon to the left of its gain-2-authority icon.
New secondary ability text: {Trade Federation Ally}: {Gain 2 authority}
Old secondary ability text: {Gain 2 authority}

Card Rulings

Mech World – Mech World may trigger the Ally ability for any faction, including all of the Ally abilities on Merc Garrison. However, Mech World doesn’t count as any other faction, so cards like Blob World won’t count it.

Stealth Needle/Blob World – If you copy a Blob card with Stealth Needle, it won’t count as a Blob card played for Blob World. This is because Stealth Needle copies a card after it enters play.

Merc Cruiser/Blob World – If you choose Blob for the faction, this will count towards Blob World, since you are naming a faction as you play the card.

(Megahauler / Blob Carrier) + (Emperor’s Dreadnaught / Colony Seed Ship) – If you acquire Emperor’s Dreadnaught or Colony Seed Ship with Megahauler or Blob Carrier, it will end up on top of your deck regardless of whether you played a card of the same faction this turn. You cannot resolve half of Megahauler/Blob Carrier’s ability, so if you decide to acquire a card for free, it is acquired to the top of the deck. There is no chance for the “acquire to hand” ability to happen before it’s on top of your deck.

Patience Rewarded – The player whose turn it is scraps and sets aside a card first (so the second player can pick the card that replaces it in the trade row).

Stealth Tower – This will become a copy of another base after it enters play, so it won’t count as a card played of the copied faction. Ally abilities will still trigger as normal.

Multiple copy effects (Stealth Tower / Stealth Needle) – in a 3+ player game, it’s possible for two Stealth cards to be played. For example, if a Stealth Needle copies another Stealth Needle, it will become a copy of whatever the original Stealth Needle copied (even if the original copy was scrapped.)

“Looking” at the Top of a Deck
If an effect would reveal or look at a number of cards on the top of a deck that is greater than the number of cards currently in that deck, the deck’s owner first puts their discard pile on the bottom of their deck in a random order. For example, this may happen in the following cases:

  • Convert (United Missions) – Reward: Reveal the top three cards of your deck. Put one in your hand, one in your discard pile, and one on top of your deck.
  • Mobilization (Frontiers Kickstarter Promo Pack) – Each player may look at the top four cards of their deck, put any number of those cards into their discard pile, then put the remaining cards back on top of their deck in any order.
  • Stellar Link (High Alert: Tech) – Pay {2 Trade}: Look at the top two cards of your deck. Put one into your discard pile and the other back on top of your deck.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have a rules question you don’t see answered here? Contact us!


Q: Is there a Star Realms Facebook Page?
A: Yes! We have an official Star Realms Facebook Page and there is also an awesome community created group called A Star Realms Fan Created Community Page.

Q: Is there a Star Realms podcast?
A: Yes! We highly recommend the Megahaulin Podcast and Megahaulin Blog. Tons of great interviews, tips and news for both new and advanced players.

Q: Are there any competitive leagues for Star Realms?
A: Oh yeah, definitely! You can find tournament details both in A Star Realms Fan Created Community Page and there is a Board Game Geek Star Realms League.

Standard Rules

Q: Can I go above my starting Authority total?
A: Yes! There is no limit to the amount of Authority you can gain.

Q: When do players discard cards as the result of discard effects (like on Imperial Fighter)?
A: In the digital game, players discard cards at the beginning of their turns, though in the physical game players should discard as soon as the ability is triggered.

Q: Do players get to choose which cards to discard, or is it random?
A: If an ability forces a player to discard a card, they choose which card to discard.

Q: When do my cards’ ally abilities become active?
A: You may use the ally ability of a card so long as you have another card of the same faction in play. The order in which you play your cards does not matter for ally abilities (if you play two cards with ally abilities, both will become active, regardless of which entered play first).

Q: Does damage dealt to a base carry over to players if more damage is dealt than the base’s defense?
A: In Star Realms, cards which grant combat add that combat to an imaginary combat stack, which you can distribute as you please. So, if your cards have given you a total of ten combat, you could use six combat to destroy a Mech World and use the remaining four combat to attack your opponent.

Q: If I use a card like Trade Bot to scrap a card from my hand or discard pile, will I get the scrap ability of the card that I scrapped?
A: No. Scrapping a card from your hand or discard pile does not trigger scrap abilities.

Q: Before I use the scrap ability of a card, can I use its other abilities (primary, ally) as well?
A: Yes! Put the card into play, use its abilities, then trigger the scrap ability last.

Q: If a card has two icons as one of its abilities (like Cutter), do I have to choose which one I want?
A: No, on a card like Cutter, you get both (2 Trade and 4 Authority). The only time you have to choose is if there is an “or” clause separating the two icons (like on Patrol Mech).

Q: When a base is destroyed, is it gone forever (scrapped)?
A: No, it goes to the discard pile.

Q: When do I get to use a United Heroes’ primary ability? Do I get to use it every turn the Hero is in play?
A: When a Hero from the United expansion is acquired, you do what is listed as their primary ability (the top-most text box). You only use the primary ability at that moment, so you do not get to use it every turn.

Multiplayer Rules

Q: How do I play with more than 2 players?
A: Each copy of the Star Realms base game supports up to 2 players. If you want to play with 3-4 players, you’ll need two copies. For 5-6, you’ll need three copies. Shuffle the trade deck cards together to maintain the game’s balance.

Q: How do I separate the trade decks after playing?
A: We recommend sleeving one set upside-down, or using different colored card sleeves for each copy of the game, to make them easier to separate afterwards. For reference, each copy of the base game contains the following cards:

Basic Cards

  • (10) Explorer
  • (16) Scout
  • (4) Viper
Score Cards

  • (12) Authority 1/5
  • (6) Authority 10/20
Star Empire

  • (3) Imperial Fighter
  • (2) Corvette
  • (3) Imperial Frigate
  • (3) Survey Ship
  • (1) Battlecruiser
  • (1) Dreadnaught
  • (2) Recycling Station
  • (2) Space Station
  • (1)War World
  • (1) Royal Redoubt
  • (1) Fleet HQ
Trade Federation

  • (3) Federation Shuttle
  • (3) Cutter
  • (2) Embassy Yacht
  • (2) Freighter
  • (1) Trade Escort
  • (1) Flagship
  • (1) Command Ship
  • (2) Trading Post
  • (2) Barter World
  • (1) Defense Center
  • (1) Port of Call
  • (1) Central Office
The Blob

  • (3) Blob Fighter
  • (2) Battle Pod
  • (3) Trade Pod
  • (2) Ram
  • (2) Blob Destroyer
  • (1) Battle Blob
  • (1) Blob Carrier
  • (1) Mothership
  • (3) Blob Wheel
  • (1) The Hive
  • (1) Blob World
Machine Cult

  • (3) Trade Bot
  • (3) Missile Bot
  • (3) Supply Bot
  • (2) Patrol Mech
  • (1) Stealth Needle
  • (1) Battle Mech
  • (1) Missile Mech
  • (2) Battle Station
  • (1) Mech World
  • (1) Junkyard
  • (1) Machine Base
  • (1) Brain World

Digital Game

Q: I purchased the full game but some features are still unavailable. What’s wrong?
A: To access the full features of the digital game, you must navigate to your user profile (within the “Play Online” section), then click “Restore Purchases.” That should unlock all content on your device.

Q: I purchased an expansion on Steam, but it’s not unlocking on my other devices. What should I do?
A: Please open Star Realms on your Steam device, go to Play Online, and go to the user profile in the bottom left. Click “log out” in the next screen, then go back to Play Online. The app will log you in automatically. Your purchase should be unlocked, and you will be able to use restore purchases to restore it on your other devices after.

Q: How do I remove completed games from my online lobby?
A: Currently, completed games disappear after 24 hours.

Q: What happens if my opponent refuses to take his/her turn?
A: If a player does not take their turn within a 48 hour period in 48 hour games, they automatically forfeit the match. If a player does not take his or her turn within 3 minutes in a a 3 minute game, they automatically forfeit the match as well.

Q: Mission (#) is impossible! What do I do!?
A: We assure you, none of the missions are impossible. Believe in yourself and overcome the odds!

Q: My Wins are not registering! What do I do?
A: Most likely, you are playing Challenge games, where you directly challenged someone, someone challenged you and accepted, or you are playing a “rematch”. In those games, the result doesn’t count towards your wins, nor towards your losses. This was implemented to prevent abuse with dummy accounts.

Q: When do the lifetime/monthly/weekly rankings get calculated?
A:We take the final user rankings at 3:05am UTC time (which is approximately the same time as GMT) to compute if you should get an avatar:

1) If it’s a Monday, you will get your lifetime and weekly avatars.
2) If it’s the 1st of the month, you will get your monthly avatars.


Challenge-Card Rules

Q: If I am playing against a challenge card and flip over a factionless card (like Merc Cruiser), what do I do?
A: The player whom will be directly affected by the card chooses its faction. If multiple players would be affected, they choose among them which faction to declare for the factionless card.

Tournament & Event Play

Q: Can I keep track of my opponent’s purchases by noting them on a piece of paper (or similar?)
A: As this would greatly slow down the pace of the game, note taking is not allowed in official Star Realms events.