Enjoy Star Wars Destiny (or any CCG) on a Budget

A not so long time ago, in a local game story nearby…

Jumping into a Customizable Card Game can be an expensive endeavor. This can be exacerbated if you want to stack up to other players. CCG’s often have a valid criticism that the games can be pay to win; someone shelling out the most cash can afford decks that dominate constructed play. In my experience, Star Wars Destiny helps alleviate some of these concerns. Whereas Magic: The Gathering relies only on cards that are expensive and powerful, Destiny adds a dimension of play by adding dice rolls to cards in play that helps level the playing field. In this article, I share some positive experiences I’ve had while playing Star Wars Destiny, through the lens of a competitive player with a budget in mind.

If you’re unfamiliar with Star Wars Destiny, it is a dice and card game that was released in 2016. From Fantasy Flight Games’ website: “Star Wars™: Destiny is a collectible dice and card game of epic battles across the Star Wars universe. In the game, two players must gather a team of heroes or villains from throughout the saga, pitting them in battle against your opponent. With a set of premium dice and a deck of cards to support your characters, you must build your forces, launch cunning tactics, and deal damage to your enemies. The last player with characters left standing wins the game.”

A friend and I first decided to jump into Destiny in April of 2017. My friend Sam had recently taught me how to play Magic. However I was overwhelmed with the amount of mechanics involved in the game. Instead, we decided to try out Star Wars Destiny, since it was a new game and a local player base was popping up in our area. One thing great about Destiny is that the community in our area has been excellent. The game brings together Star Wars fans, card game lovers, and board game lovers alike.

We started by purchasing a starter set each (approx. $15.00), and played a few games to grasp the basics. Afterward, we collectively bought three boxes, one each and splitting the third ($150). I decided on exclusively wanting to play hero themed decks, and Sam decided on playing (not exclusively) villain decks. After trading around some duplicates, we had assembled some pretty solid decks and began to be competitive in our area. I managed to take third place in a local store Championship in June and won a cool playmat (see image). In total, I spent a huge sum of around $900 into the game. That’s a ton of cash spent that I simply would not be okay with. But I didn’t spend this out of my own pocket. I used a number of strategies to think frugally, come out $250 ahead by the end of the year, and still enjoy a really fun game. Here are my tips and tricks, which may be applied to other card games as well:  

  1. Decide on what your spending limit. Set your budget.
  2. Decide on what you want to play. I exclusively play hero decks, simply because the characters appeal to me. This put any villain cards I pull right into a sell/trade pile.
  3. Decide on 1-2 decks to play. I wish I could put more time to it, but picking two decks to play has reduced how much time and money I put into the game. Who wins each week tends to rotate around. I at least have a good time with the people I’m with and win a fair amount of matches.
  4. If possible, sell and trade to reduce what you pay from your own pocket. I feel like this is an essential step. I understand that people may have different amounts of disposable income, and different ways of purchasing items for the game. I have a local game store that buys and sells video games, card games, and board games that accepts trades for store credit. This was a huge win for me. I had some old MtG cards, and traded some rares for $40 store credit. I found a large bunch of video games through a local moving sale and sold and traded those for far more than what I paid for them. In total, I spent nothing out of my own pockets during 2017 for anything gaming related, but amassed a good set of cards to play with. I don’t anticipate replicating this each year, but I do try and keep my budget for gaming as close to $0 as possible. It might require a little work on your end, but it has been rewarding knowing that I am enjoying gaming virtually for free.
  5. Be strategic and capitalize on release day of new card sets. Dovetailing with #4, people tend to want cards that you may pull from the newest packs. Trade for cards you want for decks you’re building. Sell any cards you don’t need when demand is at its highest.
  6. Enjoy the ride. Enjoy the games.

Interestingly enough, a draft format of Destiny is arriving on February 15, for which I’ve drafted an accompanying article. Since this article focused on constructed play, I think it may offer some additional insights on enjoying the game, one that doesn’t result in purchasing boatloads of packs. Check it out next week! Thanks for reading!

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