Last year I have started playing Star Realm, a spaceship combat deckbuilding game that got me hooked really quickly. I have bought the Core Deck and a few expansions, but I have never gotten the chance to buy a nice storage box for all my cards.
When the new edition of the Core Deck has been announced I’ve decided to pre-order it right away to both refresh my well-used Core Deck and to have some nice storage space for all my expansions (as advertised by the producer).
For those who are not familiar with the game, Star Realms combines the usual deckbuilding activities with the interactivity of the Trading Card Games. As you are able to acquire new bases and ships using a common Trade row. These new cards build your deck and are used to fight your opponent in Combat or to generate more Trade and get even better cards. You win when you are able to reduce your opponents’ points to zero.
Opening The Box
The first impact of opening the box is extremely satisfying: the box is sturdy, the aesthetic is great, and immediately sets the mood for the game you are about to play. Inside the box, there is a nice plastic organizer which has space to keep the four players’ starting decks (instead of the usual 2 of the standard Core box), all the cards from the Core Deck, the Gambit deck, and the two large challenge cards.
The plastic tray is carefully designed for holding the four starter decks separately, leaving space to store additional expansions. The space is enough to store all the cards even when they are sleeved, a thing that represents a nice plus to me.
Unfortunately, the space under the large challenge cards does not have a rectangular shape and cannot be used to store additional cards: this would have been useful in order to keep future expansions altogether and at the moment this space does not really serve any function.
A nice large rulebook and a playing mat that details where all the cards should be placed, complete the content of the box.
At A Second Glance
Following the excitement of opening a brand new game box, I have noticed that the print on the back of the cards is visibly eccentric. The cards are clearly a reprint as they are dated 2021 as the box does not contain repacked cards from previous editions. This, of course, doesn’t affect the playability of the game, but it’s one of those annoying details you notice, especially if you have played the game in the past.
An additional thing that stood out to me is that the challenge cards have the same print on both sides, while the same challenge cards included in the Frontiers expansion have a different print on each side (one side has the background information). The information on the background can be found in the rulebook, so you don’t lose it, but it’s way handier to have it on the back of the challenge card than in the rulebook.
This is even more relevant is you are planning to merge more of them from other expansions. I have contacted Wise Wizard Games to double-check if this is an intentional choice or just a print mistake.
If you are thinking about getting Star Realms for the first time this box is a great choice as you have four starting decks, the playing board that is useful while learning the game dynamic and helps in keeping everything tidy even when you are an experienced player. One of the best features of this 2022 edition is that you have the chance to try more than one game mode using the challenge cards and the gambit cards.
You can also play it as a cooperative game right with the Core Deck, while before you needed to purchase a different expansion. If you already have Star Realms, but you use only one main deck at the time, this purchase can still be of interest as you can have your game and expansions to the table ready for use, adding variety to your standard game by changing the main deck.
You still have enough space in the box also to add some of the smaller expansions or even one of the bigger ones, assuming to use the space for single starting decks as storage for additional cards.
If you are an experienced player, who has many cards and expansion already I would not recommend you to buy this as you won’t find anything new in the box and, if your goal is to keep all the cards together, there is not enough space unless you get rid of the plastic tray, that impacts the ability to pick up cards quickly and store them neatly.
In the end, I am pleased with my purchase, despite the printing defects and the choices about the shape of the tray I have mentioned before. As the box allows me to keep a good portion of my cards together and gives me the chance to bring it to the table quicker.