She Played: Star Wars Destiny

October 23, 2019

Let me begin by saying that I am not a Star Wars Destiny expert. I have nowhere near a complete collection of cards – the sheer volume of cards intimidates me. I have never entered a Destiny tournament (although if there were free chips and salsa I would consider entering). I am aware that I have not dedicated the amount of time and money toward this game to have an amazing deck. There are people out there who could give much better Star Wars Destiny play advice than me (maybe share some of your knowledge if this is you). When it comes to the Star Wars theme, I can appreciate the art and I know the names of most of the characters in the films but overall I am Star Wars neutral. My feelings about Star Wars Destiny could best be described under the Facebook relationship status of “it’s complicated”. Perhaps I should explain…

A Long Time Ago…you know the rest

Like any complicated relationship, Star Wars Destiny and I have a history. I started playing Star Wars Destiny when it first came out back in 2016. I usually enjoy learning and playing new games, and this one was no exception. I remember feeling familiar with the play experience because it involved both cards and dice. It reminded me a lot of Dice Masters, which Christian and I played quite a bit a few years earlier. I appreciated how accessible the game was to play: minimal rule learning, minimal set-up (assuming you play the provided deck in the starter set as I initially did), and short play time. Christian and I played a handful of times, and three things became very apparent:

1. Playing heavy-hitters and dealing damage didn’t interest me as a way to win,

2. There is quite a bit of luck involved,

3. This is very competitive and I’m going to have to deal with that (or not).

“There’s Always a Bigger Fish”

Ok, I feel like I have a lot of explaining to do on this point, because why wouldn’t I just want to pile damage upon damage on my opponent’s characters? And, I guess the answer is: I do enjoy that once or twice, but not all the time; it holds no intrigue for me. And, I would add that if a game is not intriguing, then I’m not going to want to continue investing time and money into it.  That being said, I didn’t want to just give up on Star Wars Destiny, so I did a few internet searches and found a potential solution: I created my first mill deck. Success with milling (i.e. depleting the opponent’s deck to end the game) came quickly at first because Christian wasn’t prepared for it and his deck couldn’t stand against it.

Winning by milling was so much more fun for me!

It gave me a spark that I didn’t feel with heavy-hitters, even when I won. I can’t quite put my finger on why I like milling, but I think it has to do with being subversive, inconspicuous, and unique. Now, of course, Christian got better at playing Destiny, his deck improved with the purchase of new cards, and he became aware of my new strategy, so milling with my original deck became less successful for me. However, I found that I had the desire to search for new cards to support the mill strategy, and I continued to build and rebuild my deck. Just recently, Christian and I have jumped back into playing Destiny, and I am finding success and fun in playing a control/mill deck. Below are the characters (and a select few cards) I have tried and loved while playing mill/control. Comment with suggestions for characters, cards, or even a whole deck I should try. 

Characters:Padme/Leia, Padme/2 Rebel Troopers, Padme/Rey, Jabba/Dooku, Jabba/Unkar 

Cards: Patience (Hero, Blue), Return of the Jedi (Hero, Blue), Crime Lord (Villain, Yellow), Cunning (Neutral, Yellow), Scout (Hero, Red)

“Never Tell Me the Odds!”

Overall, the more strategy a game has, the more I like it. I can appreciate when luck is incorporated into a game, but if it dips too heavily into luck I get discouraged. I want to feel like I have control over the outcome of my game play. Star Wars Destiny often leaves me discouraged because of the amount of luck involved. Here’s what I have control over: my characters and my 30-card deck. Here’s what is left to luck: the battlefield that is chosen, the order the cards appear in my deck, the dice rolls throughout the game that truly determine how well my characters execute their abilities, my opponent’s deck and card order, and my opponent’s dice rolls. There is just too much left to chance. 

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

It is not fun to lose any game, but it is truly difficult for me to lose Star Wars Destiny. The competitive nature of this game is very confrontational. My opponent is directly damaging my characters, disrupting my resources, depleting my deck, thwarting my cards, and manipulating my dice rolls. Therefore, when I lose this game – even to Christian who I know loves me – it feels very personal. This is why I often go “in streaks” with playing Star Wars Destiny. The feelings that accompany losing are so bad that I usually need big breaks to recover and feel in the mood to play again. And, I wonder, is there a purpose for me in playing a game that doesn’t allow Christian and I to have fun together?

A New Hope

Currently, Star Wars Destiny and I are in the “on again” stage of our on-again-off-again relationship. With all the negative points I have discussed above, the fact remains that on some level this game can still be fun. Christian and I are purchasing new cards and enjoying trying to build better decks to suit our styles of play. And, I’m trying not to lose (haha!) so as to avoid all the negative feelings. Getting the chance to write about a game that has driven me crazy over the past few years has helped me process all these complicated feelings. It is my hope that some people out there can help me by commenting with new cards I should try or even a new mindset I could view this game from so that Star Wars Destiny and I can have a more stable relationship.

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