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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Highly thematic of the Star Wars Universe
  • Familiar mechanics and intuitive deckbuilding
  • Beautifully presented with massive flexibility

Might Not Like

  • Chase rarities are pretty crazy
  • Does feel a little derivative in places
  • Art style will not be for everyone
  • Like all TCGs, depends on rarer cards.
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Star Wars Unlimited Review

STAR WARS UNLIMITED

Star Wars Unlimited is a TCG (Trading Card Game), where you build a custom deck from your collection assembled from the random cards you pull from boosters. The two player starter set is a good entry level product - it's effectively the same cost as, say, two Lorcana starters - in which you get a Heroism and Villain deck starring Luke and Vader respectively. There are a number of starter exclusive cards which you'll want, and you also get a couple of deck storage boxes, tokens and nice playmat/posters.

THAT'S NO MOON

Deck Construction is based on 3 of the 6 game Aspects (usually). To start, you choose your leader, who has either the Hero or Villain aspect, plus one other of the 4 colours: Aggression (Red), Vigilance (Blue), Command (Green) and Cunning (Yellow). Cards are broadly thematic across colours: the Emperor and his lackeys are Green, as are Leia and the Rebel commandos; Vader is Red, as are Sabine and the insurgent rebels; Krennic and inferno squad blue, as are Luke and the Echo base gang; and finally Han, Thrawn and Bounty Hunters are yellow. This doesn't preclude the possibility of, say, Vader as your leader with the Emperor in your deck - indeed there's a Red/Villain Emperor character in the Vader starter. Your base will usually be of the 3rd colour you wish to include, although there is an advantage to mono colour decks. The reason for this is Resources: each card (usually) has one or two aspect symbols, a colour and/or Light/Dark; for each one that you lack, the card's resource cost increases by two. However, there are some VERY powerful cards that are double coloured (Kylo Ren's Aggression for example is Double Red) so only the most focused decks will be able to play these at printed cost.

You start the game with 2 cards from your opening hand of 6 cards facedown as resources (yes, this does feel like Ink), and by Exhausting (your usual turn 90°) you pay for cards in hand. At the end of each turn, you draw 2, and Resource 1, gradually building your power in the galaxy. Although, yes, there are similarities with Star Wars Unlimited and Lorcana here, the same can be said of most CCG/TCGs with a cost mechanic from MTG onwards: it's the GAMEPLAY that makes this really stand apart, and stand outs.

STAY ON TARGET

The aim of Star Wars Unlimited is to destroy your opponent's base - and, yes, you may immediately think of FFG's Star Wars Deckbuilding at that point, which isn't an unreasonable analogy but this is FAR superior. Typically bases have 30 health, or 25 if they have a special, Epic Ability - a once per game feat (ahem) which gives you a significant boost, like the ability to play and immediately attack with a powerful unit.

Units are divided into ground and space, so you have 2 fields of conflict to attack and defend. Typically, a 50 card deck will be around 1/2 ground units, a mix of generic troops and unique characters (you can have 3 copies of any one card in a deck), 1/4 space and 1/4 other cards (one-time events and upgrades). Some characters have standard abilities, notably Sentinel, which have to be attacked before your base can be targeted, and Saboteur, that avoid Sentinel. As you would hope, these are very thematic and feel very fitting - so for instance Saw Guerrera's various guerrillas typically have the Raid ability (bonus to attack) when you control other Aggression units.

I'D RATHER KISS A WOOKIE

On the subject of thematic cards, events are the real superstars here - particularly for fans of the 90s ccg. For all its flaws, one of the great joys of that game was the ridiculous comedy text on some cards (Han 2 - Luke 2 - Chewie 0 springs to mind).
For example, Don't Get Cocky Kid is a Cunning event that allows you to reveal cards from the top of your deck and do damage to an opposing unit, but does nothing if you reveal more than 7. But to really drive this home, the Dark Side Starter comes with this gem:

It's just spot on because it's a reminder not to take things too seriously - and given this is actually a pretty fiercely, tactical, competitive game, that's no bad thing.

I LOVE YOU... I KNOW.

Aesthetically, I was really unsure when I heard Star Wars Unlimited was illustrated rather than using stills - anyone remember the abomination that was Young Jedi? But there's a couple of reasons why it's such a good choice for this. Firstly, the cards are damn pretty - especially the Hyperspace (full art) variants, of which one is randomly in most packs, as are foils. But it also enables each era - classic trilogy, clone wars, rebels, rogue one - to feel part of the same unified whole. A very clever and successful choice.

EVACUATE? IN OUR MOMENT OF TRIUMPH?

This feels like an ideal moment to discuss rarities and distribution. Firstly, because you're limited to 3 copies of a card, the hunt for key cards in the aftermarket is going to be a bit less brutal. A major bonus. Also, boosters are BIG at 16 cards. Now, you're always guaranteed a base in that, which could feel redundant after a while, but the reverse of every base is a status token, so they are infinitely useful. You're also getting 12 Commons, 3 Uncommon and 1 Rare or Legendary (1 in 8)... plus foils and alt arts.

Rare Leaders are generally very powerful, but you’ll only ever need a single copy, which kind of mitigates this. So there's going to be a bit of craziness in the collector's market... but then there's the Showcase cards. These are chase, foil, alt art versions of each of the leaders... and are 1 in 12 booster boxes! Mind. Blown. It's the only fly in the ointment of the collecting side, really, to my mind. And you thought Enchanteds were hard to get... Still, you do get fantastic playmats in the starter boxes. Give and take. Also, the packaging is recyclable! Very good eco credentials.

YOU WERE THE CHOSEN ONE!

On balance, this feels like a really superb game. It remains to be seen how the meta shakes down and if there are some monstrous combos to be unleashed, but my gut is that this is a very well designed game that has learned a lot of best lessons. Deckbuilding is intuitive, the product quality is superb, and as long as the game is supported and developed properly, this may well be your new favourite game.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Highly thematic of the Star Wars Universe
  • Familiar mechanics and intuitive deckbuilding
  • Beautifully presented with massive flexibility

Might not like

  • Chase rarities are pretty crazy
  • Does feel a little derivative in places
  • Art style will not be for everyone
  • Like all TCGs, depends on rarer cards.

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