Fantasy Flight Games Review – Tales of a Gamer: Part 3

Gaming, it feels like it has been in a bit of a hibernation these last few months. Since my last gaming article, I haven’t been able to play as much as I would like. Christmas, illness, parenting and life have just generally gotten in my way. Even worse, my partners in crime when gaming have also been equally busy and so meeting up for games has been a bit of an ordeal! I haven’t had a game of Legion in months, mainly due to the time needed to play a game. Yet there is one game that I’m always able to squeeze a bit of time into: Star Wars Destiny.

I originally discovered Destiny when I was getting ready to go on holiday almost two years ago. My son Charlie and I were playing X-Wing non-stop and I was a bit worried what we might play while we were away. X-wing is a great game, yet the models and all the tokens would take up far too much room in the car, yet alone keeping the pieces away from my six month old daughter while we were playing. Looking on the Fantasy Flight website, I found that they also did a collectible card game, called Destiny. It didn’t take very long to play and all I needed to transport were some cards and dice. Thinking this would be perfect, I grabbed two starter sets (one for me, one for my son) and brought them with us on holiday.

Charlie was ecstatic to have a new game to play, and the rules were fairly easy to learn. Thankfully, I’d also brought some boosters, each with another dice, to help vary our games. Every evening during our holiday, you could hear us rolling our dice and trying to defeat each other. Thus our obsession with one of Fantasy Flight Games’ (FFG) best Star Wars games began.

Within the game, each player is allowed 30 points of characters to create a deck. These characters have their own die (sometimes two), a colour (either red, blue, yellow or grey) and are either villain, hero or neutral. A player must select the type of side they will play (villain or hero) and the actual characters, which there are a massive range from all aspects of the Star Wars universe. A player must then construct a deck of 30 cards that reflect the colours of the characters. So if you have a blue character and a red character, you can include blue and red cards but not yellow (you can include grey as it’s neutral).

To make it even more exciting (or frustrating) every card had a rarity, the most elusive and prized, being the legendary cards that appear roughly one in every six packs. Well as you can imagine, Charlie and me brought boosters left, right and centre. New sets would come out and between us (and my friend Gavin) we’d buy entire boxes of boosters and split the cards between ourselves. It was a huge amount of fun and anticipation. Every week we’d get over ten games in, learning, refining and building new decks. This went on for months.

With us playing so much, and thinking we were pretty good at it, Gavin and me decided to take part in some tournaments, including a national one held in Birmingham. This is where we found our downfall. We went up against players who were playing over ten games a night (not a week), who had a wealth of cards that Gavin and me couldn’t find or simply couldn’t afford to buy. It was a little disheartening to say the least. With spending so much money already on the game trying to find most of the cards we wanted, it felt (at least to me) that we weren’t really getting the best gaming experience we could for out money.

Of course, the sensible response would be to just stay away from the big tournaments and enjoy the game by ourselves, as we had been doing for months (which we did). But then thankfully, FFG released a new aspect to the game, drafts. This was where every player had a basic draft set and then together opened a set amount of boosters. With some passing of cards and quick thinking, players then would make up a deck there and then on the day. Gone were the vast amounts of legendries in decks and combinations that had been practiced again and again. This was a level playing field for all players, new and old. It was also a great way to get more cards for our normal decks.

As previously mentioned in my last gaming article, thankfully, one of our local shops, Tritex Games, was doing a draft tournament within the first month of the draft set being released. Charlie, Gavin and me went down and had an incredible time. We got to meet the staff for the first time (and certainly not the last), meet new players and got to have a go at this new system for playing Destiny. Joseph and Jason (the guys at Tritex), It was so much fun and made me remember why we loved playing the game. Everyone ooed and ahed as cards were pulled and the decks that we all ended up with were very different to anything we were used to playing. But that’s what also made it so much fun. In the end, I actually won the tournament, I was really pleased with myself! Not only did we all get some promotional cards for taking part, but we had a lot of new cards to add to our games at home.

Since then, Tritex Games has put on a draft tournament every few months, and apart from one, Charlie and I have attended every single one. It reignites the passion in both Charlie and me for the game, and we find it’s a lot more fun getting new cards this way than just buying boosters. It’s also a way for both of us to meet new players but not feel intimidated by well-practiced decks, decks that we have very little chance of being a challenge to. I’ve noticed a massive improvement in Charlie’s skill, from his ideas on how to construct a deck, to his playing, and I’m sure the same can be said for me. A number of decks I’ve created have been as a direct result from cards I’ve discovered and played in the draft tournaments.

In the last few weeks, Destiny has seen a new release in the form of Convergence. It’s the first time that Gavin, Charlie and I have not brought an entire box of boosters since we started playing. Also, last week, a new draft set was released called Allies of Necessity. To coincide with the releases, Tritex Games hosted a new tournament, which of course Charlie and I went to. Discovering the new cards through this format was great fun, as well as having a whole new draft set to explore. Already we have over forty cards from the new set, both of us starting to construct new decks.

With all the new sets, it’s a great time to get into Star Wars Destiny. The game is quick and easy to play and doesn’t require a lot of space to play. My only advice? Remember these games are for fun. The tournament scene is not for everyone and can make you a little disheartened when you go up against better players and better cards. The draft sets allow a way into this sort of scene in a really engaging way. We are very lucky to have Tritex Games so close by, and so willing to run so many of these tournaments for us. Find your local store and ask them. With enough interest, they should be more than happy to run them for you. You don’t need to be an expert on the game and you get a lot of cards to add (or start) your collection. Until next time, good luck with the dice rolls and may the force be with you…