I’ve just discovered Star Realms and it’s awesome. Why did I not know? Tell what I need

From the Department of Five-years-Late-To-The-Party

I picked up Star Realms for the Decathlon, but without enthusiasm because it’s just another deck builder and I suck at deck builders.

Well, I’ve been playing it solidly for 3 days now. Sorry everyone waiting for me to take my move in other online games but I’ve been occupied. I don’t know whether it’s the primary colours and pew-pew-in-space theme, or the skinner-box-esque feeling when the deck chains just so and unrolls 50 points of damage onto the AI, but I seem to be gripped.

Yes, the AI. I think I still have a sub-50% record against the medium AI, although I am about to pay the full version and can go even worse against the hard AI. I still suck at deck builders, obviously.

Anyway, so, there appear to be a lot of expansions? Which are worth getting to start with? Any good sources of advice (assume I’ve read all of BGG, for what that’s worth)?


Welcome to the Star Realms rabbit hole … it’ll take a while to climb out, if you ever do. :smiley:

I wouldn’t start with any expansions–get comfortable with the base game. Once you do, I’d lean toward adding smaller expansions that tweak the game slightly, rather than the bigger ones (Colony Wars & Frontiers) that contain new base sets. Love those sets; just wouldn’t start there.

My favorite small expansions are Bases & Battleships or Fleets & Fortresses, but YMMV. I would not recommend diving into Gambits or Missions early on.

For advice … there’s a ton of stuff on Megahaulin (https://megahaulin.wordpress.com/), but it can be tough to navigate all of it. The Star Realms Fan Created Facebook page has a lot of experienced players who are happy to answer questions. And we’ve got a few experienced players around here as well.


On a related note, tell me why Star Realms is somehow better than other deck builders? I’ve not played a lot and it seems perfectly fine, but it feels like other deck builders. Is there something that sets it apart?

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I disagree with @geigerm on this one, although there is no right or wrong answer.

The base game was great, but has some flaws, it favors the player that goes first with about a 5% edge, and Machine Cult (red) is overpowered.

The first full base expansion, Colony Wars, is great but it favors Star Empire (yellow) a bit too much and probably Blob (green). It’s a much faster aggro game overall.

Frontiers, is the most balanced of the 3 base sets.

Personally, my favorite way to play these days is all 3 base sets or Colony Wars + Frontiers

I would recommend getting the 3 base sets first, and then adding expansions in for flavor later.


Funny, I don’t find Frontiers balanced at all—I think Trade Federation (blue) is mostly garbage in that set and red’s underpowered, whereas it’s pretty easy to put together a very nice yellow or green deck. I think it’s fairly aggro as well, but maybe that’s just in contrast to the other sets. It’s entirely possible I haven’t played enough Frontiers games …

Either way, @SpiceTheCat, you can’t go wrong. And I’d defer to @kennfusion, who’s a much better player than me.

To answer @Mirefox … I appreciate that the goal in Star Realms is much clearer than Ascension (I know if I’m winning), while it has more variety, and therefore more interesting play styles, than something like Shards of Infinity. I also appreciate how easy it is to find a game in the app, particularly a real-time game, which is my preference.

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Part of my problem is that I have two close friends with whom I game, so games like Star Realms that are strictly a 1v1 affair don’t really work for us. Maybe the decathlon will bring me around a bit. It isn’t that I dislike Star Realms; I own the card game and think it is a good design. I just want to experience what the fuss is about.

I like it more for the direct confrotation of destroying the other players HP pool. I like Ascension quite abit but dislike its abstract Point mechanic…to each its own I guess…

And welcome to Star Realms. Here is your complementary free first (and last) Blob whiskey!

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I think it grabbed me because it’s a very much more open game than Ascension and even as a newbie I can get some feeling for the game state and game tempo which i don’t get from Ascension. The card interactions seem to be more understandable and easier to chain, and when I lose to the AI it’s clearer what just happened (ok, sometimes I have to read the log to find out wtf just happened to all my authority, bastard overkilling AI).

They are really vastly different.

Ascension having monsters is sort of (but not exactly) like a fifth faction. Also, the cards themselves have value in Ascension; in SR, every card is just a tool.

Bases/outposts are a pretty big deal … directly attacking the opponent, of course … and then there’s the whole chaining thing. It’s quite possible to win in Ascension while barely paying attention to the factions.

Other than the basic mechanics of center row/discard pile/always-available cheap units, I don’t feel like they are anything alike.

Playing humans online now. I’ve just missed a chance to win finally, after forgetting the battlecruiser scrap ability to destroy a base. Argh! Experience, eh.

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This is the kind of dramatic finish you don’t get with Ascension :wink:

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Yeah, I have to admit to kind of liking this game now that we’re playing it in the decathlon. I was kind of soured on just the base set, as I felt it was way too swingy, but do have to admit the expansions add some balance. Adding it to my regular rotation if anyone is up for a game. JonS there, which annoys me to no end tbh.

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I’m in for a game, nice change from Shards. Username JMH. Currently have the base and frontiers, but open for other expansions.


This has been my main game for a couple years now, and I am very involved with the online communities, several active FB groups, the BGG league and an active Discord channel, all with a lot of leagues and tournaments.

I have all expansions, and don’t know what you all have, but I accept all challenges, and usually have 20+ async games going at a time, so feel free to challenge all you want.


I’ll also accept any challenges, any time—I’ve got every expansion and am happy to play them all.

I’m also planning on starting another tourney here once the Frontiers tourney is done.


With the 48 hour timeout-timer that’s some serious dedication here o,O;



Grr. Now level 5, and so far I’ve managed 4 of the 6 needed wins to progress before crashing down to zero again. All good practice. Real-time games are awesome,

@SpiceTheCat Are you referring to a part of the campaign? Sounds like an interesting/challenging progression system. I’ve only been playing one off AI matches, so curious about what you’ve just described.

It’s the on-line ranking system, where you have to win (current rank +1) games to go to the next rank. Starting with rank 5, losses are deducted from your win total. Currently I’m on 5 wins of 6 needed to progress, and it’s a bit exciting…

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