Thursday, March 23, 2017

Never Tell Me The Odds - "Star Wars: Destiny"

With the success of DiceMasters, it was just a matter of time before Fantasy Flight used their Star Wars license(-to-print-money) to come up with their own freakin' collectible dice game. But with the popularity of that venerable WizKidz game waning and Star Wars merchandising rapidly reaching the saturation point, did Corey Konieczka and Lukas Litzsinger manage to come up with a design so good that it overcomes the inherently-mercenary nature of collectible games?

Well, the answer is yes...and no.

So what's the opening crawl on Star Wars: Destiny? I'll just let the super-slick holo-vid experts at Fantasy Flight whisk you off to that beloved galaxy far, far away...

Looking to read the full rules holocron? Well, just click on the following link to review the entire saga!




With a random roll of four versus one, the Dark Side starts off the game. Since the good guys go second, they receive a consolation prize of free Shields. Daisy decides to place both of them on Rey. Adam then chooses to use his own Battlefield: I.E. the Frozen Wastes of Starkiller Base. Hey, that rhymes!

Both players begin the game with two Resources apiece.


Adam activates Kylo Ren, rolling his dice and getting two special ability Symbols.

Daisy's plays "Take Cover" for free. This Event gives Rey a third Shield, which is her maximum.

Adam then resolves his two special ability Symbols. He selects Rey, randomly draws "Use the Force" and "Awakenings" from Daisy's hand and and Rey loses two Shields!

Daisy spends one Resource to plays "Awakenings" which lets her to treat Modifier die result as if were a regular result.

Adam activates Captain Phasma, rolling a miss.

Daisy activates Rey, rolling a 1-Resource and a +1 Modified Resource.

Adam then spends one Resource to play "Isolation" which lets him kick Rey's 1-Resources die back to her card.

In response, Daisy spends her last Resource to play "Use the Force" to turn her one remaining die to the 1-Melee side.

Next up, Adam spend his last Resource to play "Boundless Ambition". He draws two new cards, up to his maximum hand size.

Daisy resolves Rey's lone Melee die, hitting Kylo Ren for a point.

Adam decides to gamble, throwing out a card called "Flank" to re-roll Phasma's die. He gets a +1Ranged modifier.

Daisy activates Finn, also rolling a +1 Ranged modifier.

Adam decides to take his Lightsaber and mask and go home by Claiming the Battlefield. This forces Daisy to remove a Character die, so Finn's 1-Ranged attack goes back on his card. Or course, this also means that the round is over for the bad guys.

With precious few options, Daisy decides that she's done as well, and so it's on to the next round. Daisy and Adam both collect two new Resources. Adam draws one card and Daisy draws three cards to get themselves back up to five.


Since Adam Claimed the Battlefield, he kicks things off by activating Kylo, rolling a special Symbol and a 1-Melee side in the process.

Daisy plays BB-8 for one Resource.

Adam decides to resolve his special Symbol Kylo Ren die. Once again, Daisy shuffles her cards and randomly reveals "Daring Escape" which cost two Resources. As a result, Rey loses her last remaining Shield and takes one damage.

Daisy activates Rey, rolling a miss and 1-Resource.

Petty emo fuck that we is, Adam resolves his 1-Melee damage die, causing a point of hurt to Rey.  

Daisy activates BB-8 and rolls the 1-Shield symbol.

Adam activates Phasma, getting a 1-Discard symbol on the roll.

Daisy resolves BB-8's die, giving Rey a badly-needed Shield.

Adam resolves Phasma's Discard die. Daisy reveals, and then throws out, "Force Throw". Ouch.

Daisy activates Finn but rolls a miss.

Adam Claims the Battlefield, forcing Daisy to remove her 1-Resource die.

Daisy also decides to pass and once again the round is over.

All characters refresh and get their dice back. Daisy draws two new cards while Adam is already at his maximum hand size. Both players then collect two Resources each.


Adam still controls the Battlefield so he goes first, spending three resources to equip Kylo with his Lightsaber! Ruh-roh.

Daisy plays "Draw Attention" for free, moving two damage from Ray to Finn.

Adam activate Kylo Ren, rolling a 2-Melee result, a +3 Melee damage modifier and a miss with his Lightsaber.

Daisy quickly spends two Resources to play "Block", removing all of Adam's Melee dice!

Frustrated, Adam activates Phasma, rolling a 1-Resource symbol.

Daisy activates Rey, generating 1-Melee and 1-Discard.

Adam pays one Resource to play "Disturbance in the Force" forcing a re-roll on all dice! Rey gets a 1-Discard and a +1 Resource while Kylo gets a miss and Phasma gets a +1 Resource. 

Daisy decides to exhaust her "Awakening" Support to use her +1 Resource die to get a Resource.

Adam resolves Phasma's 1-Resource die to do the same.

Daisy plays out her 1-Discard die and Adam is forced to throw out "Force Strike".

Adam Claims the Battlefield in response.

Daisy then activates Finn, but rolls a Miss. She follows this up by activating BB-8 and rolling a Disrupt symbol. She decides to resolve that next, forcing Adam to throw out one of his Resources. She then passes and the round comes to an end.

All Characters refresh. Daisy draws two cards and Adam pulls three. Both players collect two Resources apiece.


Adam starts off the new round by activating Kylo, getting 1-Melee, a +2 Melee and a miss!

Daisy spends two Resources to equip "Jedi Robes" on Rey. This activates her Special Ability which lets her take an additional Action when she gets an Upgrade. So Daisy activates Rey, rolling 1-Melee and two +1 Resource symbols.

Adam resolves his Melee dice, dropping three damage on Rey. She loses her two Shields and takes one point of damage.

Daisy exhausts her "Awakenings" card to resolve one of Rey's modified Resources die results.

Adam uses two Resources to play an "F-11D Rifle" on Phasma. Yikes!

Rey uses all three of her Resources to play "Second Chance" on Finn.

Adam spends a single Resource to play "Emperor's Favor" increasing his hand size maximum to six!

Finn activates, rolling a miss!

Phasma activates, rolling a special Symbol with her blaster and a 1-Discard.

BB-8 activates, rolling 1-Resource.

Adam resolves the F-11D's special Symbol, which deals two points of hurt to Daisy's characters, but she decides how to distribute the damage. As a result, Finn heroically jumps in the way, sparing Rey any harm! #truelurve

Daisy performs BB-8's 1-Resouce result.

Adam resolves Phasma's Discard and Daisy throws out a "Block" card.

Daisy responds with her 1-Melee result, causing a point of damage to Kylo.

Adam decides to cut out when he's on top, Claiming the Battlefield and signalling the end of the round. With no viable plays left, Daisy agrees to "move along".

Everyone refreshes. Daisy draws three cards and so does Adam, thanks to his "Emperor's Favor". They also collect two Resources apiece.


Adam comes out swinging, spending a whopping four Resources to play the incredibly nasty "Mind Probe" Upgrade on Kylo Ren.

Daisy activates Rey, getting a miss, a 1-Discard and a 1-Resources result.

Adam activates Kylo, getting a miss, a +3 melee and two special Symbols.

Daisy then spends all of her Resources to play a "DL-44 Blaster" on Finn. This Upgrade item forces Adam to select and return a die, so brings back the miss. This item also has the Ambush trait, which allows Daisy to take another action. She activates Finn, rolling a 1-Ranged result and 1-Resource.

Adam resolves both of his Symbol dice, targeting Rey. First, Kylo's special ability forces Daisy to reveal a card, which turns out to be 2-Resource "Daring Escape" so she takes an equal amount of damage. He then unleashes the "Mind Probe" Symbol which reads causes a point of damage to a character equal to the number of cards in their hand. That's a whopping four more points to Rey, leaving her with only three life left!

Daisy resolves Rey's 1-Resource die.

Adam activates Phasma, rolling a 2-Ranged result with a +1 Ranged Modifier!

This forces Daisy to spend her one remaining Resource to play "Use the Force", turning Phasma's 2-Ranged hit to a miss!

Adam retaliates by Claiming the Battlefield, dumping Finn's 1-Ranged die in the process.

Daisy closes out the round by resolving Rey's 1-Discard die which forces Adam to throw out "The Best Defense". She then rolls BB8's die and gets a miss! Finally she cashes in Finn's 1-Resource die.

Everything is refreshed. Both players get two Resources each and draw two cards apiece.


Adam kicks things off by playing an Infantry Grenade on Phasma!

Daisy activates Finn but gets a miss and 1-Resource.

Adam activates Phasma and rolls a miss, a 1-Discard and a 2-Ranged with the Grenade.

Daisy reacts by playing "Daring Escape" for two Resources. She forces Adam to re-roll Phasma's dice. Both turn up misses and go right out of the die pool! And since this is an Ambush card, Daisy plays "Aim" to turn Finn's blaster miss into a 3-point Ranged hit!

Decidedly irked, Adam rolls Kylo's dice, getting a scary array of 2-Melee, 3-Ranged, 1-Melee and a special Symbol with the Lightsaber.

Clearly on the defensive now, Daisy plays "Unpredictable", forcing Adam to re-roll his 3-Ranged result. Unfortunately, the special Symbol for Mind Probe turns up instead, which is arguably worse! On the upside since this is an Ambush play, Finn gets to blast Kylo right in the grill for three Ranged damage!

Adam unleashes a hell-storm, paying one Resource to deal three Melee damage to Rey, eliminating her!

Daisy activates BB-8 and gets a 1-Focus result!

Adam resolves his special Symbol for Kylo's Lightsaber, causing two points of damage to Finn! He then plays out his special Symbol for the Mind Probe, dealing two more points of damage to our hero!

Daisy uses BB-8's Focus to turns Finn's die to 2-Ranged result!

Adam Claims the Battlefield, ending the round and discarding Finn's 2-Ranged damage die! 

Daisy has little choice but to end the round as well. Things are looking pretty grim for the forces of good!

Daisy draws three cards and Adam draws one. Both players refresh their cards and get two Resources apiece.


Adam kicks things off, paying two Resources to play the "Immobilize" Upgrade on Kylo!

Daisy activates Finn, rolling 2-Ranged and 1-Supply.

Adam activates Kylo, getting 2-Melee, 1-Melee, a +3 Melee, a Shield and a special "Mind Probe" result. It's just about the best possible roll he could have hoped for!

Knowing that the end is near, Daisy spends Finn's 2-Ranged die, wounding Kylo. He still has two life remaining.

Adam spends one Resource to resolve his special "Mind Probe" Symbol, dealing a whopping five points of damage to Finn, killing him.

But wait! Instead of being defeated, Finn heals five points of damage thanks to "Second Chance"! Daisy activates BB-8, rolling 1-Resource.

The reprieve is brief. Adam activates Kylo's Melee dice, dealing six points to Finn, killing him and ending the game!



  • When I first saw images of the dice I was afraid that they were stickers. Thankfully, Fantasy Flight came up a process whereby the images are heat-pressed right onto the plastic. To ensure that these images don't deteriorate, the dice are then covered in a scratch-resistant coating. Granted, people who've already invested in Fantasy Flight's other Star Wars themed games will likely bitch about the recycled art, but I love it. The cards are great to look at and easy to understand. 
  • The rules are crazy stupid simple. Yeah, the Discard and Disrupt symbols were a tad confusing at first, but now I've got everything locked down cold. Even when the wee little instruction sheet that comes in the starters fails you, the full online rules are pretty comprehensive.
  • The game's design is well in step with the quick pace of Star Wars. Since you can only do one thing on your turn, you're always chomping at the bit to go again. The cards that Lukas Litzsinger and Corey Konieczka have come up with neatly evoke all of the character traits, weapons, upgrades, events and game-changing conditions from the movies. From a design perspective it's head and shoulders above Dice Masters, which is essentially just a Quarriors / Magic: The Gathering mash-up. In the immortal words of a certain Dark Lord of the Sith: "Impressive. Most impressive."      
  • Interesting timing and tactical decision abound. Should I roll everything into my dice pool to try and polish off a rival character and risk being disrupted? Even though I technically still have plays left, should I Claim the Battlefield now to trigger its strategic reward? Do I spend all of my limited Resources to play this sweet Upgrade or try to mitigate that slew of Ranged damage that's eventually headed my way? 
  • I absolutely love deck building in this game. Even though Awakenings is a relatively small set, a myriad of different strategies quickly become apparent. And since your deck is only thirty cards with a "two of the same card" limit,  you can slap decks together super quick and trim the fat with minimal effort.
  • The game length is perfect. The "you lose if you discard your last card" caveat helps to ensures that Destiny doesn't over-stay its welcome.          
  • With all of these disparate, card-delivered mechanics crashing together there's bound to be a few confusing rules conflicts. Cripes, interpreting "Second Chance" alone under different circumstances is more than enough to inspire a host threads on Board Game Geek and Reddit. If you're playing with chill people this will be a moot point but the soft language on some of the cards might give rules lawyers plenty of ammo to paralyze the game.  
  • Once your team starts on the path of a death spiral, it's pretty darned hard to pull out of it. Not impossible, but pretty darned difficult. 
  • Just like all collectible games, Star Wars: Destiny comes with a disclaimer. Yes, a lot of the common cards are very useful. Yes, the starter decks are technically playable when you add a few boosters. But, let's face it, Fantasy Flight knew exactly what they were doing here. They wanted completist psychos like me to buy boosters hand over fist until we had two copies of every card. And, clearly its working since the game is now scarcer than a nudist Jawa. This also brings me to the painful topic of distribution. A friend of mine bought one box of boosters and got Luke, Vader, Grievous ×2, Leia, Nightsister ×2, Padme, General Veers, Han Solo, Bala Tik, Phasma, Tusken Raider, and Admiral Ackbar I.E everything you'd ever want for characters in one go. My box, on the other hand, had a First Order Stormtrooper, Grievous x 2, Veers x 2, Vader, Nightsister x 2, Bala Tik, Tusken Raider x 2, Ackbar x 2, Leia and Padme. And honestly, that sucks in comparison. This game would have been sooo much better if the sets were fixed set like a living card game instead of chasing the dragon for all the "mains and toys". I feel like we're back in the bad old days of Deciphers Star Wars Customizable Card Game.      


Man, I was really hoping that this game would suck. But, nope, Lukas Litzsinger and Corey Konieczka have actually managed to produce an original, fast-paced, nuanced, fun, engaging little game that's compulsively playable. More the pity, then, that the overall experience is soured knowing that you're barely-augmented Rey starter will always get thoroughly and viciously trounced by an Elite Jango / Veers combo.

In spite of this, Star Wars: Destiny earns five pips outta six with a tilt down into the collectible Rancor pit of despair.


Wanna pair Poe and Finn up in the same deck just to piss off the haters? #truelurve

Well, yer gonna hafta wait for awhile since the only source for boosters right now are unscrupulous scalpers who are selling them for thirteen bucks a pop.

In the meantime, you can click here to read Fantasy Flight's immediate plans for product availability. Sad to say, but it looks as if Fantasy Flight is going for the same "let's make as much filthy luchre from this as quickly we can by pumping out expansions before everyone gets sick of it" model that prematurely murdered Dice Masters.