OBJECTIVE OF STAR REALMS: The objective of Star Realms is to build a powerful deck in order to deplete your opponent’s influence before he depletes yours.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 (up to 6 with extensions)


  • 80 Trade cards
  • 16 Scout cards
  • 10 Prospector cards 
  • 4 Viper cards
  • 18 Influence cards: 12 of value 1 or 5 and 6 of value 10 or 20

TYPE OF GAME: Intergalactic deckbuilding

AUDIENCE: Teen, Adult


In Star Realms, each player plays as the ruler of an intergalactic empire, expanding their influence across the galaxy while negating the influence of opposing empires. This will be achieved by building a fleet and advanced bases, represented by the deck. Whoever can best combine the effects of the cards and build the best deck will control the galaxy!


To set up the game, each player forms his deck by taking 8 Scout cards and 2 Viper cards. Then, the 80 Trade cards are shuffled and placed on the table to form the main deck. Next to it, the 10 Prospector cards are placed. To start the game, draw 5 Trade cards from the deck, and place them face up in a line next to the Prospector cards. 

Each player takes 50 influence points, which represent the health points of his galactic empire.

Commander, enemy fleet spotted! Time to build your best deck faster than the enemy, to destroy him and conquer the galaxy. All hands on deck! 


The first player draws 3 cards from his starting deck. The second player starts with 5 cards. In turn, a player may play as many cards from their hand as they wish, in order to:

  • Attack his opponent with the Combat points (red target symbol)
  • Laying one or more bases to protect himself
  • Buy one or more cards with Trade points (yellow coin symbol)
  • Regain influence (green shield symbol)

No need to keep cards in hand, the player must discard his remaining cards at the end of the turn before drawing 5 new ones.

All cards purchased during a player’s turn are immediately placed in the player’s discard pile. Played cards are placed in front of the player, and are not discarded until the end of the player’s turn.

The Ships

The ships usually have two or three effects. The base effect will be played automatically as long as the card is put in play. When two cards of the same faction are played, this activates the “Ally” effect of these cards (indicated by the faction symbol), which can bring trade, influence or combat points depending on the faction. And finally the third effect is the Remove effect, indicated by a bin symbol, which can only be activated if the card is removed from the game permanently (it does not return to the discard pile). Ships will generate a lot of effects, and you have to manage your influence points well if you don’t want to be demolished! 

The Bases

Bases are permanent cards (not discarded at the end of the turn) that protect you or help you in your fight against your opponent. The Outpost bases prevent the opponent from attacking you before destroying them in one move. Indeed, at the end of a player’s turn, if he has attacked enemy outposts without being able to defeat them, they recover all their resistance points. The other bases do not block enemy attacks, but these bases usually give you influence or combat points each turn. In addition to bringing their own effects, bases can also help you trigger the Ally effect of a card from the same faction. It may therefore be wise to destroy all opposing bases to slow the opponent down.

The bottom player combined three Galactic Empire cards (yellow) to trigger their Ally effects for a 13 damage total!

The Factions

In Star Realms, there are 4 factions and each one has its particularities. The more you combine them, the more damage they will do or the more powerful bonuses they will bring:

  • Blob Fleet: devastating firepower
  • Trade Federation: Trade and Influence
  • Techno Cult Machine: deck cleaning and damage
  • Galactic Empire: draw more cards and make your opponent discard cards


The fights continue until one of the two players has no more influence points, his opponent then wins the game.

The bottom player finishes his opponent’s remaining 12 Influence points with a deadly attack of 13 damage.


Star Realms has many expansions, and offers rules suitable for more than 2 players if you have multiple base boxes or expansions.

Fight to the Death

Every man for himself! Same rules as for two players, but for 3 or more players. You can split your actions between different target players if you wish during your turn. The first player starts with 3 cards, the second with 4, the others with 5.


Same rules as Fight to the Death, but each player may only attack the player to his left, and attack the bases of his left and right neighbours.


Game in two teams of two or two teams of three. The influence is shared by the whole team (75 influences at 4 players, 100 at 6 players), but the decks, discards and cards in hand are specific to each player. The starting team draws 3 cards per player, the other team 5 cards per player. Then each team plays together: all the players of one team play at the same time, and then it’s the other team’s turn. The Combat, Influence and Trade points are pooled, but it is not possible to trigger the Ally effects of a card with another player’s card. Finally, Outposts are also pooled, so a team cannot be attacked as long as at least one of its players’ Outposts remains in play.

There are still other variants that give Star Realms even more replay-ability.

Nakoa Davis