Tuesday , April 23 2024

PAX East 2024: ‘Star Wars Unlimited’

While I spend a good deal of my time at PAX east checking out new digital games, there is always time to experience some great tabletop or Collectible Card games. Wandering the hall I stumbled on a newer game called Star Wars Unlimited. There was a spot open so I sat for a tutorial and match.

Designed as a two-player experience, but expandable to four-plus players, Star Wars Unlimited is designed much like Magic the Gathering. Cards have resource requirements, you can add resources each turn, and every action is done asymmetrically. But past that the game here is vastly different.

The main product has two decks, Light Side with Luke Skywalker as leader and Dark Side with Darth Vader as leader. Decks can be designed and mixed up, but the best experience due to resource limits in mixed decks is to stick with Light versus Dark.

Setup is easy with the provided playmats. Place the shuffled deck down, add leaders and bases on each side, and then draw six cards each to start. The twist becomes apparent right away: two of those drawn cards get chosen to be placed face down and act as resource points.

This mechanic forces you to choose which units you don’t want in play out of your hand that will act as resources, as there are no specific resource cards. This was incredibly cool and required some thought, as early in the game you may dedicate high point cards to resources and later low point cards.

Resources get exhausted (or tapped) once used, as do any unit cards when they are first drawn (unless stated otherwise on the card). There are also Space and Ground units to choose from. Both can attack the base, but only similar style units (ground to ground or space to space) can attack each other.

As mentioned, aside from placing an extra resource every turn, all actions happen one at a time while alternating turns. If I place a unit, it’s then my opponent’s turn. They can attack with a single unit and then it’s my turn again. Damage is dealt to both sides on attack, so if my unit is attacked, it deals its damage back to the enemy.

All of this leads to a very strategic battle. Do I focus on attacking the enemy base and gathering healing units? Or do I stack some space and ground units so I can whittle down resistance while occasionally hitting the base? Further complicating matters are the leader cards, which have abilities that can used with resources, but can also be placed on the field once resource requirements are met.

These leaders are devastating but not invulnerable, so playing them is a very strategic move and can easily turn the tide of any session. Once they are defeated they can still use abilities, but cannot be recalled to the field.

Playing through a game of Star Wars Unlimited is incredibly thrilling as the cards are perfectly designed to evoke the feelings of the classic movies. Han Shot First enables an attack without taking damage if the enemy is killed. Obi Wan gives shields to an ally unit if defeated, and Darth Vader can do distance damage with his tapped ability.

What is interesting is how one tactic can win easily based on what the enemy chooses, and then horribly fail if they alter their positions slightly. Anticipating and planning are key to victory and this makes the game very fun and engrossing.

I enjoyed my playthrough so much that I bought the starter pack immediately and played many rounds at night with friends after the show closed. This was a game that garnered attention and people really wanted to learn about.

So far the game only has the starter set I described and booster packs, but there are plans to expand into different movies and eras to add to the depth of Star Wars experiences available. Star Wars Unlimited can be found at game shops around the world and many of them offer weekly boosters if you try out the game.

I strongly suggest checking this out at a nearby store and I suspect like me you will pick it up once you get a chance to try it out.

About Michael Prince

A longtime video game fan starting from simple games on the Atari 2600 to newer titles on a bleeding edge PC I play everything I can get my hands on.

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