My household loves Star Wars. It’s one of our favorite franchises, so whenever a new Star Wars game drops, I’m paying attention. We’re also big fans of Funko Games in our house because I feel like their tie-in games do an amazing job of not just slapping a licensed skin on a recognizable game and trying to call it something new. Instead, Funko Games is really good at designing games and game scenarios that represent and act as a tribute to the franchises they choose. When I found out about Star Wars Rivals, I was intrigued, especially as it felt like it took influence from both Funkoverse and Marvel Battleworld, which are also Funko Games-designed game lines that we enjoy. The reps from Funko Games were kind enough to send me one of their cool promotion boxes for writing this review.
What Is Star Wars Rivals?
Star Wars Rivals is described as an expandable game where one player acts as the Light Side and the other acts as the Dark Side to battle each other for victory. Teams are assembled with collectible figures of highly-familiar-to-fans characters and battles take place across locations well known to the franchise. There’s a little bit of Marvel Battleworld influence, a little bit of Funkoverse, and a touch of Smash Up as well. The game is designed for 2 players ages 7+ and takes about 20 minutes to play. The Premier Set has an MSRP of $19.99 and the Booster Packs have an MSRP of $4.99.
Star Wars Rivals Contents
Since I received several game-related items in the promo box, I’ll describe what the Premier Set has versus a Booster Pack. Overall, I will note that while the components are all similar in type and quality, the Premier Set mostly just has more as well as a few exclusives.
Star Wars Rivals Premier Set Series 1 (MSRP 19.99)
The Star Wars Rivals Premier Set Series 1 contains the following:
- 4 Character Movers
- 4 Character Cards
- 2 Character Tokens
- 14 Action Cards
- 12 Location Cards
- 1 Prism Die
- 12 Influence Loss Tokens
- 3 Location Markers
- 1 High Ground Marker
- 1 Instruction Sheet
Star Wars Rivals Booster Set Series 1 (MSRP $4.99)
The Star Wars Rivals Booster Set Series 1 contains the following:
- 1 Character Mover
- 1 Character Card
- 2 Character Tokens
- 5 Action Cards
- 2 Location Cards
- 1 Die
- 6 Influence Loss Tokens
- 3 Location Markers
- 1 High Ground Marker
- 1 Instruction Sheet
I have always liked the components that Funko Games makes and this game is certainly not an exception. The Character Movers are fun plastic figures based on characters that Star Wars fans will be quick to recognize from both the live-action and animated series. The Premier Set does include exclusive characters including Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Clone Commander Cody, and Asajj Ventress. As for the Booster Packs, there is an additional 26 characters to be collected including some Hologram variations. Familiar faces include Boba-Fett, Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku, Captain Phasma, Supreme Leader Snoke, Ahsoka Tano, Rey, Yoda, Han Solo, and Princess Leia. What should be noted is that the Light Side characters come in different Booster Packs than the Dark Side characters so if you only want one type, it’s easier to find those characters. The different dice are clearly marked with the Premier Set having a Prism Die and the Booster Packs containing a d6-based die. The Tokens are thick cardboard, easy to read, and colors and shakes are used to differentiate the different token types. The cards are your typical playing card thickness but the design has the corners cut off which looks cool but may be harder to shuffle if you’re used to using methods that preserve card integrity. One nice thing I noted was that the locations included match the characters you receive. As always, the Instruction Booklet makes great use of diagrams and organizes things in a way that’s really quick and easy to learn. There’s a good variety of pieces but not overwhelmingly so which is important for games aimed at players as young as 7 years old.
How to Play Star Wars Rivals
I really felt like this game sets up without too much fuss and is pretty quick to learn, which again, are features I look for when a game is set for 7-year-olds to be able to play on their own. The only feature that might be confusing is that you must have a Light Side and Dark Side player which means you either get the Premier Set or one player has a Light Side Booster Box while the other has a Dark Side Booster Box. For those that like to learn via video example, Funko Games has also provided one.
The goal of Star Wars Rivals is to score the most points by influencing Locations and completing Missions.
Set your game up by following these steps:
- Pick who is Light Side and who is Dark Side, then each Player picks 3 characters matching that side. If you don’t have enough Character Movers, use the Character Tokens instead (similar to Funkoverse).
- Shuffle all of your characters’ Action Cards together to create a face-down deck.
- Shuffle the Location Cards to create a face-down deck and place it between the Players. If your collection has more than 12 Location cards, each player selects 6 to shuffle in.
- Reveal 3 cards from the Location Deck and place a Location Marker next to each one.
- Place the Influence Loss tokens where both players can reach them.
- Each Player draws a hand of 3 cards from their Action Deck (do not reveal them yet).
- Choose a Player to go first, they take the Die and High Ground Marker.
You are now ready to begin playing.
Gameplay is pretty quick to learn. The game is played over several rounds with a whole game taking about 20 minutes.
In a Round, Players do the following:
- Deploy Characters: Starting with the Player with the High Ground, Players take turns Deploying each of their 3 characters to any Location by placing the characters on the Location Card. You may have more than one of your characters in the same location. Players can also be set to the side to be placed in a Bacta Tank.
- Roll the Die: The Die roll will show which Locations are being Scored this Round. Rolling the triangular symbol means you Score the location(s) with the highest point value.
- Play an Action Card: Each Player selects an Action Card from their hand to play. You can play any card no matter where the character is located. Set the Action Card face-down in front of you. The player with the High Ground Marker flips their Action Card over and applies it first, then the other player does the same.
- Score Locations Rolled: To Score the Locations rolled for, compare how much Influence each side has. If a Player has multiple characters in that Location, they use the total Influence of all of their characters at that Location combined. The side with the highest Influence takes the Location Card and puts it in their Score Pile. If there is a tie, the Player with the High Ground Marker wins the Location Card. At least 1 Influence is needed to Score a Location.
- End the Round: Replace Scored Locations with new ones from the Location Deck, but if the Location Deck Runs out, do not add more locations. Remove the influence from characters in the Bacta Tank, both Players take back all of their characters, place played Action Cards in the Discard Deck. Refill your hand until you have 3 Action Cards (4 if you have a Hologram Character). If your Action Card Deck runs out, shuffle the Discard Pile and reform the Action Card Deck. The High Ground Marker switches players for the next Round.
Some characters have Action Cards with Missions on them. Anytime the Mission objective is met, you may add the card to your Score Pile.
Every character has an Influence Value on their Character Card. This Influence Value is used to Score Locations. Influence Loss Tokens are placed on characters via Actions or Effects and are placed on the Character Card. Each Influence Loss Token lowers the character’s Influence Value by 1 point. No character can have an Influence Value lower than 0, but it can be higher than the number on the Character Card. If a character has X Influence this round, it does not impact the Influence Loss Tokens on the Character Card. Actions or Effects that add Influence Loss Tokens happen immediately in the order that they occur.
Once a character is placed in a Bacta Tank they remain there for the rest of the Round, and at the end of the Round, all Influence is removed from them.
When the Location Deck runs out, Score all of the remaining Locations with at least 1 Influence each Round (do not roll for it anymore). The game ends after the last Location Card is Scored. Add up the points in your Score Pile and the Player with the highest number of points wins. If tied, the player who Scored more Location Cards wins.
Why You Should Play Star Wars Rivals
Do you like card games? Do you like Star Wars? I feel like if you answered yes to either of those questions, then Star Wars Rivals is for you. It’s a quick game to setup, learn to play, actually play, and clean up. The mechanics are easy enough for the intended age range to pick up and play but there’s also just enough strategy that older players won’t feel like the game is too easy for them. Selecting what characters to play based on what their Action Cards can do is a nice challenge for those who like to organize a power combo. My 12-year-old and I played (he is ridiculously good at strategy games) and our final scores were only one point apart. I almost had him on that game because of some ties on high-point bases I was able to claim due to having the High Ground. The game has the collectible blind box nature of Marvel Battleworld, the player versus player and Character Movers versus Character Token aspect of Funkoverse, but a base scoring feature that reminds me of Smash Up. I would say that if your kid is good with any of these games, they can probably handle Star Wars Rivals. I love how all of the bits from Bacta Tanks, to having the High Ground, to Locations matching characters line up with Star Wars lore.
The pieces are solid and line up well with the game price point. My only potential quibble is once the game is first broken out, it doesn’t pop back in quite as nicely and would benefit from a storage container where you can nicely organize things. Marvel Battleworld has a box for storing figures and cards that works beautifully for collection builders, and if something like that popped out for this, I would be thrilled. I’m certainly curious to see what characters will pop up in another series of gameplay as well.
Now what products should you grab? I honestly think grabbing the Premier Set is the best way to start so that you have a nice way to start off a two-player game no matter what you play with. If you want to build up your collection whether it be Light Side, Dark Side, or both, it’s easy enough to add in some Booster Boxes. If you want to just start with Booster Boxes, get one of each side of the Force so you don’t have to worry about finding a player with an opposite set. The Premier Set has a MSRP of $19.99 with the Booster Boxes at $4.99. They had a limited initial release but will have wider availability in early June. The Premier Set can be found at Wal-Mart. Funko Games will update store availability for the Booster Boxes.