The following is a guest blogpost by Andrea Joki. Andrea lives in Finland, and is a top 100 Star Realms digital player, currently at level 28. She enjoys playing Star Realms, and wanted to share her thoughts on the Events expansion that is rumored to be coming out soon on the Star Realms digital app.
In anticipation of Events being released in the Star Realms online game, here is a little primer. I’ve been fortunate to play with these expansions weekly at the local shop since they were released and they do bring a new spin to the game!
1. Overview: Events are shuffled into the trade deck and are revealed when a base or ship is purchased (they come into play just like a ship or base). When they are revealed, something happens to both players and is done immediately. It could be: scrapping all cards in the trade row, losing authority if you don’t destroy a base, drawing two cards, gaining four trade, or scrapping two cards in your hand or discard pile. Some cards assign different effects to each player (e.g., the player taking their turn gains four trade and puts the next ship they acquire on top of their deck while the other player draws two cards). It should be noted that in the digital app, because of the asynchronous play, if it is not your turn, when an event is played, then the effects of an event will happen to you at the beginning of your turn. For example, “Black Hole” says “Each player may discard up to two cards. For each card less than two that a player discards, that player loses 4 Authority.” When Black Hole is revealed on the trade row, the current player can discard up to two cards. At the beginning of their opponent’s turn, they do the same.
2. There are multiples of some events. This stacking can sometimes turn into a first turn purchase of a power card (a “bomb”) such as Brain World! It is not uncommon to get more than one event at a time, even if playing with all expansions, promos, and original deck cards. I had one game start out with 4 events – translating into 11 trade on the first turn.
3. Players may initially feel like this is as problematic with luck as Gambits. But honestly, since the Events are balanced (something similar happens to both players), I’ve found it isn’t as lopsided as Gambits can be at times. Especially since Events don’t automatically start out in play at the beginning – they have to be drawn. That also makes Events very conditional – one on game, an Event may be advantageous and then on the next, the same Event will lead to your downfall.
4. You’ll want to go first if you can with events in the deck since almost always Events give the first player an advantage. There are 5 chances to get an Event on the first outlay of cards (the first player’s turn). Only 1-2, if any (e.g., previous person bought explorers and so nothing changed in the trade row) on the second turn.
5. Strategy: It’s very important to buy first and never play your full hand if you don’t use all your cards (e.g., extra Scouts or Vipers). You may get a card that scraps from the hand, for example. I always play Vipers after all ships/bases are purchased for that reason.
6. Strategy: some cards will help and others hinder certain deck types. E.g., the Events that do a lot of Authority damage if an action isn’t taken (such as destroy a base you control or lose Authority) will help aggro (aggressive damage) decks. But there are also cards that gain Authority (each player gains X life) which will wreck aggro decks.
7. Strategy: Things get interesting you are buying out of the trade row and will want two cards sitting there (e.g., two Cutters show up).
If you flip an event after the first purchase, you may end up with an Event that scraps all cards out of the trade row or makes you lose authority if you don’t discard cards. So you will lose the second card.
8. Events are the only time you can lose the game on your own turn! E.g., if you have low authority and get the card that says ‘Each player loses 5 Authority. Scrap all cards in the trade row” then the game ends.
9. In competitive play, Events are a great ‘check and balance’ to stop landslide wins or losses. I’ve found that Events can mitigate the luck that one player is having in trade row purchases over another. As such, the disruption Events present to strategy is very different than with Gambits. Because both players gain a similar and very situational advantage or disadvantage, Events have a very different affect on game play than Gambits.
Read more about the digital release of Events here.