Article

Asymmetric Warfare, Issue #4 – Revisiting the Star Wars LCG’s Balance of the Force Deluxe Box

written by Bill Yankosky (aka Yodaman)

Introduction

Work and life has kept me extremely busy for the past few months, and I am just finally got the chance to get back to writing articles for I Rebel. Thanks to JediGeekGirl for her patience while I’ve been tied up with other things. I am glad to be finally have time to write and contribute again.

As seems to be common with FFG games, there was actually a big delay between releases in the early days of the Star Wars LCG. So, in some ways, the delay in me being able to write this installment of the revisiting the Star Wars series is both thematic and appropriate.

The Hoth Cycle completed and it was about 4 months before the next release for the game. That release, Balance of the Force, introduced multiplayer modes for the game as well as two challenge decks. I have to admit 2 vs. 2 play and the challenge decks, were something I only tried once each. So unfortunately, I can’t offer much insight or reflection about them other than to say that neither multiplayer mode seemed to see a lot of play. FFG did hold an official world championship for 2 vs.2 play, but the games tended to be much longer and didn’t really catch on.

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The Balance of the Force box set only included 1 new objective set per affiliation, so not much was added to the card pool. On top of that, each was a Limit 1 objective. Each of those 6 new objective sets was designed to work in both the regular 1 vs. 1 and newly established multiplayer formats, but some of the objectives were essentially blank in 1 vs.1. However, one set on each side is worth highlighting here.

Dark Side

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This Navy objective came with a powerful ability as the objective itself has lets the Dark Side player remove a damage from any objective they control when their turn begins. The main in the set, Thunderflare, contributes to the theme. In addition to having 4 combat icons, its elite and when you focus it to strike, you can move 1 damage from a Dark Side objective to a Light Side objective and essentially both heal an objective and do damage at the same time.

The Light Sid needs to blow up Dark Side objectives to win the game and this set gave Dark Side some tools to help keep objectives around and slow down the Light Side progress. It was a great include for Sith Control decks, which wanted to splash in Navy.

Light Side

ffg_watchers-in-the-wasteland-balance-of-the-force-91-1

This new Jedi set introduced some great cards to the pool. The main, is a 2nd version of Obi-Wan, who lets you return the top card from your discard pile to your hand after you win a Force Struggle. This allowed players to set up combos allow a card to be played in an edge battle or even sacrificed/destroyed, but know there was a way to immediately get it back. But, even more influential than Obi-Wan was the inclusion of two copies of the non-unique Shistavanen Wolfman. With Edge [1] and two black combat icons, the Wolfmen were solid units, but what made them really powerful was their reaction which allows a player to put them into play for free the discard pile if they win a Force Struggle by 3 or more.

It’s also worth mentioning the enhancement that appeared in this objective set, Force Cleansing. Force Cleansing can be played on any friendly character and allows you to remove a focus token and damage from the enhanced unit whenever the Death Star Dial increases. This means you could potentially attack with a unit, and then both free it up to defend and heal it when the Dark Side player’s turn starts. It was clearly a powerful enhancement if played correctly, but more importantly, in retrospect, it was a foreshadowing of what was to come. Unbeknownst to the general public, a variation of this mechanic was about to be introduced on an objective in the next cycle and forever change the game.

Conclusion

As mentioned in the my previous articles, there is a player led committee, the Star Wars LCG Council, that has worked to keep the game alive for its small, but loyal community. There is a fall online tourney taking place right now, that just started. If you’re interested in learning more about the game and what’s going on with it, you can check out these resources.

  • Previous Enties into this series
  • Star Wars LCG Council Facebook page – the official page of the Star Wars LCG Council.
  • Star Wars (LCG) Facebook page – this community-led Facebook page has been around since the start.
  • Cardgamedb SW LCG General Discussion Forum – This is where the community really started and the Star Wars LCG boards are still active, especially when things such as the online tourney are going on
  • Yoda’s Hut Youtube Channel – As mentioned before, you can find literally hundreds of Star Wars LCG gameplay videos with recorded commentary on my Youtube Channel.
  • Frozen In Carbonite – Another member of the Star Wars LCG Council, Darthbs, has had his Youtube channel around in various forms throughout the years.
  • CoDameron, a long-time Star Wars LCG player, has been recording his matches in the top cut of the current online tourney and posting those games on his Youtube Channel.
  • Former 2015 Star Wars LCG World Champion Tom Melucci aka Ozrix, also has recorded some of the top cut matches from the current online tourney. Those are on his Twitch Channel and include commentary from him and other members of the community.
  • Many years ago Team Covenant did an introductory gameplay video and they have many older recorded games with commentary on their Youtube channel as well. They also recently revisited the game on one of their daily streams during the pandemic isolation period and it was great to see that.

Thanks for reading and thanks to I Rebel for allowing me the opportunity to write about this game that I have loved for many years.

May the Force Be With You.

If you enjoy this article and would like to support this writer, please check out our “Support a Writer” tier over on our Patreon page and select Yodaman.
Also please consider joining our Discord channel, to discuss this article and more.

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