“Only a fully trained Jedi Knight with the Force as his ally will conquer Vader and his Emperor.”
–Yoda, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Our recent previews of Star Wars™: The Card Game explored its unique and innovative approach to deck-building, its focus on cinematic moments, and the far-reaching consequences of winning its dramatic edge battles. Today, we take a look at the game’s Force struggles and their impact on the fate of the galaxy.
Force Struggles in Star Wars: The Card Game
Everyone even remotely familiar with the Star Wars universe understands the importance of the Force. Obi-Wan first explained the nature of the Force to Luke Skywalker in A New Hope:
“The Force is what gives the Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.”
As Yoda says in The Empire Strikes Back, the Force is a “powerful ally,” and in Star Wars: The Card Game, tilting the Force in your favor can be crucial to your success.
Accordingly, in the final phase of each turn, the players vie to tilt the Force in their favor. During these Force struggles, players can commit units to the Force. Each ready unit (units without focus tokens on them) committed adds its Force icons to the struggle, and the player with the highest Force total flips the Balance of the Force token so that his side of the Force faces up. In the event of a tie, the Balance of the Force token remains as it is.
The two sides of the Balance of the Force token
The Balance of the Force
While the Force struggle takes place at the end of each turn, the consequences of that struggle don’t always become apparent until the beginning of the next player’s turn.
The first phase of each turn is the “balance phase,” and it resolves differently depending on whose turn it is.
|When the dark side player is active, he advances the Death Star dial. Typically, he advances it just a single point, but if the dark side has tilted the balance of the Force in its favor, the Death Star dial advances an additional point…and the dark side takes another step toward snuffing out the fires of liberty throughout the galaxy.|
|However, if the light side player manages to tilt the balance of the Force in his favor, then when he is the active player, he may deal a single point of damage to any dark side objective of his choice. Again, this puts the light side an extra step on his path toward victory since his win condition is the destruction of three dark side objectives.|
It’s worth noting, too, that when the light side player tilts the Force in his favor, the dark side player does not advance the Death Star dial an extra point each turn. Similarly, when the dark side has control of the Force, the light side player does not deal a point of damage to any dark side objective. Winning the Force struggle may not immediately forward your own cause, but it always makes a lasting impact.
It Binds All Things
Of course, when you have any mechanic as central to a game as the Force struggle is to Star Wars: The Card Game, you’ll have cards that support it and cards that gain strength when you win the balance of the Force to your side.
These synergies play out on both sides of the Force. Dark side players can damage a light side objective when they commit a Nightsister to the Force and they can punish light side players by creating A Disturbance in the Force. Still, the light side isn’t so easily daunted. With a little Jedi Training, light side players may be able to empower a Jedi Mind Trick or two.
As a central aspect of Star Wars and a focal point for various synergies, the game’s Force struggles may also lead you down the path toward any number of different strategies. Star Wars: The Card Game is filled with dramatic decisions each player must make as he works to decide his own destiny.
To win Force struggles, you must commit ready units to count their Force icons. However, to keep your units ready for the Force struggle, you must withhold them from combat. Furthermore, if you were to keep these units in your hand, you could bid their Force icons during critical edge battles. Each turn, you have to decide how best to use the cards in your hand. Over the course of the game, these decisions shape your strategy – and your destiny!
Coming soon: In our next preview, Nate French guides us through the different Core Set factions!