Star Wars Rivals Series 1 review – Build your dream squad and unleash the Force

Star Wars Rivals Premium Set and Character Booster PacksStar Wars Rivals Premium Set and Character Booster Packs
Star Wars Rivals Premium Set and Character Booster Packs

The Force awakens with Star Wars Rivals, the collectible strategy dueling game where the light and dark sides of the Force battle to dominate the galaxy. Choose a side of the Force and mix and match your favorite characters to build your ultimate squad. Fight to control iconic locations and use your unique abilities to tip the balance of the playing field. The gameplay combines cards & dice and features awesome Star Wars Pop! Vinyl mini-figures, Funko’s unique signature.

Funko, the renowned manufacturer of collectibles inspired by popular culture, strives to excel in the realm of expandable lightweight strategy games. Their impressive lineup includes Funkoverse, Marvel Battleworld, Disney Kingdomania, Something Wild, and now Star Wars Rivals.

Star Wars Rivals is a dueling game for two players suitable for ages seven and above. Games are quick and can last from a dozen to twenty minutes, depending on your familiarity with the game.

An overview of Star Wars Rivals’ game setup and gameplay

Star Wars Rivals Gameplay

Star Wars Rivals Gameplay

Players start off by choosing characters and which side of the Force to be on. Next, they shuffle through Action and Location cards to create their Action and Location decks. Three locations are then revealed, using a Location Marker for each one, and three cards are dealt to each player. Then a player is chosen to take the High Ground, which has to match the player’s chosen side of the Force.

Gameplay couldn’t be more straightforward. Star Wars Rivals is played over several rounds until all location cards have been scored. The end goal is to achieve the most points from locations and missions. Follow these four steps at each round:

  1. Starting with the player at High Ground, take turns deploying characters to locations. You can deploy a character to the Bacta Tank to regenerate and remove all its loss tokens.
  2. Roll the dice to reveal the locations to score.
  3. Choose one card and place it face down. The high-ground player reveals and resolves card effects, followed by the other player.
  4. Score locations rolled in step 2 by comparing each side’s total influence. In the case of a tie, the High Ground player will score the location. Collect your scored locations in a score pile.

Cards can have missions and points. You can add the card to your discard pile anytime the mission condition is met, or you can use its action as any other card.

At the end of the round, replace the scored locations, remove loss tokens from characters at the Bacta Tank, take back all your characters, place played actions in the discard pile, and draw new cards to fill your hand with three cards or four for holograms. And flip the High Ground token to change the round’s first player.

When you run out of location cards, score all remaining locations and compute your total sum of points, including those from your discard pile.

May the force be with the greatest player

May the force be with you

May the force be with you

Star Wars Rivals Premier Set Series 1 includes Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Clone Commander Cody, and Asajj Ventress. It also includes twelve location cards and a stunning prism dice. Character Booster Packs allow you to expand the game with 26 mystery characters and 52 locations, including rare holographic figures. In contrast to modern deck-building games, you don’t know what you’ll get when you buy a Booster Pack. If you keep buying repeat characters, it can be expensive and frustrating, which may discourage you from expanding your game collection. All you need to play this game, though, are two Character Booster Packs, one from the light side and one from the dark side; Character Booster Packs come with generic tokens that can be used as characters. Still, I strongly recommend starting with a Premier Set and two Character Booster Packs for an authentic Star Wars Rivals experience.

Star Wars Rivals is an action-packed game where you can mix and match your characters to build your dream team! Star Wars Rivals – Series 1 introduces a line of stylized vinyl figures featuring iconic characters, including Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, General Obi-Wan Kenobi, Chewbacca, Yoda, C-3PO, and many more. This first wave mainly features characters from The Clone Wars series and the Star Wars sequel trilogy. We can expect new waves of characters to be released and give continuity to the game series. The game has high replayability with collectible packs and unlimited possible combinations during team creation.

Mix and match to create your rooster

Mix and match to create your rooster

Star Wars Rivals combines lightweight deck construction with turn-based area control mechanics. Creating a deck is as effortless as choosing and combining three characters. Each character has a set of cards that can be matched to create synergies and opportunities for advanced tactics. Turn-based area control mechanics are based on clever character deployment and choosing one card to play each round. Hand management is very straightforward; you usually have only three cards in your hand.

Star Wars Rivals reminds us a lot of Marvel Snap. Both games’ objective and core mechanism is to battle and conquer three locations on the board using characters of various strengths and abilities. Marvel Snap’s complexity level is way above Star Wars Rivals, where gameplay is simplified to the essentials to deliver an approachable, engaging, and addictive gameplay.

Roll the dice to score locations

Roll the dice to score locations

The game’s uncertainty is light with dice rolls and randomly chosen cards, but it is well-thought and balanced. The game is designed to minimize frustration due to uncertainty and contributes to high player agency. Ultimately, gameplay relies heavily on performance contingency. In simple terms, forget the beginner’s luck nonsense; the most skilled player wins in this game!

Star Wars Pop! Vinyl mini-figures

Star Wars Pop! Vinyl mini-figures

As with most Funko games, the components are outstanding, and material involvement excels, especially if you are a fan and love Funko vinyl figures. The artwork is stunning and has a cartoony vibe that perfectly suits the game. Indeed, components, artwork, and gameplay mechanics contribute significantly to the fictional setting, making it an awe-inspiring feat. Beware that the fantastic game design may ignite the geek collector in you!

The gameplay is simple, the setup and teardown are quick, and downtime is minimal. In the crowded deck-building or deck-construction space, “easy to learn but difficult to master” games such as Star Wars Rivals are welcome additions. Quick and fast-paced, Star Wars Rivals is indeed a fantastic filler game and a captivating gateway game for introducing newcomers to the tabletop hobby. And with deep tactics and a solid challenge, it appeals to experienced gamers as well.

Star Wars Rivals does to deck-construction games like the Pokemon TCG what Marvel United did to deck-building games like Marvel Champions. Both are games with stripped-down gameplay and outstanding material design paired with a popular and strong franchise. After all, Star Wars Rivals is a modern and casual take on Collective Card Games. This new wave of casual games that reimagine traditionally deep and complex mechanics is gaining ground and disrupting the established market by catering to a broader target audience.



Star Wars Rivals

Review Guidelines

A new hope for deck-construction games, Star Wars Rivals stands out as an engaging casual game in the overcrowded CCG, TCG, and deck-building scene. Choose between the light or dark side of the Force, assemble your Star Wars crew, deploy your characters strategically, and roll the dice to reveal where the action will take place. Play your cards wisely to improve your chances of winning. Star Wars Rivals is competitive and challenging, allowing players to engage and interact with enthusiasm. The battle between light and dark is in your hands! What will it take for you to dominate the galaxy?

Mindful Phill

Unless otherwise stated, the product in this article was provided for review purposes.

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