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Star Wars: Unlimited TCG feels quick and punchy, like a great Star Wars video game

A new hope for fans of collectible card games

A player holding a small hand of cards from Star Wars: Unlimited during a demo event at Gen Con 2023. Photo: Fantasy Flight Games/Asmodee
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Hot on the heels of the launch of Star Wars: The Deckbuilding Game comes Star Wars: Unlimited, one of Fantasy Flight Games’ biggest titles for 2024. Polygon had a chance to play the game ahead of its release at this year’s Gen Con, and what we found is a punchy little TCG with great potential. In fact, it reminds me a lot of modern Star Wars video games.

We’ve been spoiled of late for great Star Wars video games. From the impeccable spaceflight simulation of Star Wars: Squadrons to the robust multiplayer FPS action of Star Wars: Battlefront 2 to the action role-playing universe of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and Survivor, it’s been a pretty great decade for fans of the Force. All those games have one thing in common — they’re approachable for players who might be new to these games’ respective genres. They also all provide a good balance between challenging high-level gameplay and fan service. Seen in that light, Unlimited seems destined to fit right in.

Unlimited is a two-player dueling game that uses 50-card decks, as opposed to the 60-card decks more common in TCGs. Each player takes on the role of a classic character from the Star Wars universe. The starter set, for instance, will include Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. Those characters start each game already on the table, along with a separate card representing their base of operations. From there, it’s a race to inflict 30 damage on that base, and the first to do so wins the game. Again, that stands in stark contrast to games like Magic: The Gathering and Disney Lorcana, where players try to hit 20 damage (or “lore,” in Lorcana’s case) before their opponent.

Promotional cards like these were given to attendees at this year’s Gen Con who signed up to demo the game on the show floor.

Resources, which operate like mana in Magic: The Gathering or ink in Disney Lorcana, are your fuel to play other cards. Players start each game with two resources already on the table — in most every other TCG out there, you’d have none! Having two ready to roll at game start means there should be very little delay in getting into the action.

And that action moves surprisingly quickly. Space and ground units get played to their own areas of the table. The space lane can only be populated by starships, and the ground lane can only be populated by characters and other ground-based units. So you’ll never have to worry about your Super Star Destroyer getting dinged up by a band of roving rebels on speeder bikes. It also means you’ll need to have viable units in both lanes to avoid getting overwhelmed or taken by surprise.

The hero cards really sell the theme, however. Both Luke and Darth have an Epic Action — something amazing they can do once the player crosses a certain threshold. For these characters, it’s pretty straightforward — once you have enough resources on the table, you can bring them out of their base for free. When they’re unleashed, they have the potential to wreak havoc in that ground lane. It’s reminiscent of how killstreaks worked in Battlefront 2.

Expect to hear more about Star Wars: Unlimited in the leadup to its 2024 launch, and check out two new cards below.

An image of a card from the Star Wars: Unlimited TCG, showing The Relentless, Konstantine’s Folly. The Relentless is an Imperial vehicle, a capital starship, with 8/8. It costs a whopping 9 resources to bring it onto the table.
The Relentless is an Imperial Star Destroyer first featured in Star Wars: Rebels.
Image: Fantasy Flight Games/Asmodee
An image of a card from the Star Wars: Unlimited TCG, showing Distant Patroller, a fringe vehicle, a fighter, with 2/1. It costs 2 resources to play to the table.
Distant Patroller can give another unit a shield when it goes down in a fight.
Image: Fantasy Flight Games/Asmodee

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