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Star Realms is one of those cardboard-to-digital ports that everyone seems to love. Even if deck-building isn’t your favorite mechanism, Star Realms just does everything so right that you feel the need to keep it installed on your iPad. Games can be played quickly, the entire game is remarkably cheap without any boosters to constantly buy, and it just feels like it was made for digital from the get-go. That said, it’s about to feel a lot different. The Star Realms you know and love is getting a complete makeover, and it’s coming on Wednesday.
Star Realms is getting updated and the changes are fairly epic. Basically, the entire app is changing, from graphics to UI to online multiplayer. The graphics update speaks for itself, but the UI changes are a bit more subtle. Zooming on cards will now require a simple tap rather than a long-tap and opponent pending discards will not be shown on screen as a reminder.
With opponent discard effects still taking place when their turn starts, the previous version of Star Realms didn’t have a visual cue for the number of pending discards. Now it does! This quality-of-life change was a long time coming.
There’s also a change to real-time multiplayer incoming. From now on real-time game turns will be timed at 45 seconds, with excess time flowing into your next turn.
Every turn, you start with 45 seconds on your clock (displayed in the top left of your screen), plus half the time you had left from last turn (with a minimum of 15 seconds, and a maximum of 45). This means you always have between 60 and 90 seconds to take your turn, and you get rewarded a bit if you play faster.
On top of the starting clock, you also get a few seconds for every move you make, including discarding cards, activating bases, resolving events, etc. This way, if you need to make a lot of moves because you have a draw heavy deck, or a lot of events popped up, you won’t time out as long as you keep making moves.
The moves will also be displayed in real time to your opponent, so your replay won’t be using their clock time. This also makes the games feel much more “real”, and makes it way more fun to stay in the one game. The new realtime games also require you to finish your game, or concede. You cannot play multiple realtime games at the same time, but unlike with 3 minute games, you probably won’t want to either. 48 Hour games will also display moves as players make them, but without the pressure of a short timer.
Also coming on Wednesday is the Colony Wars expansion, which adds 53 new cards with new mechanisms to explore, including the ability to copy any base in play using the Stealth Tower. There are also two new chapters for the single-player campaign coming.
The Colony Wars expansion will be available via IAP for $5 and the update means that all ongoing games are getting purged when the update hits. If you have any games going on right now, wrap them up by tomorrow!