Introduction to Star Wars: Destiny

Star Wars: Destiny is a collectible card and dice game made by Fantasy Flight Games and designed formerly by Lukas Litzsinger and currently by Jeremy Zwirn currently. The game is based in the Star Wars universe and allows players to use iconic characters, weapons, and vehicles from it.

Destiny is played in a series of rounds, which are colloquially referred to as turns. Turns are broken down into two phases: the action phase and the upkeep phase. During the action phase, each player alternates turns. On you turn, you may perform one of the 6 possible actions in the game. 1. Activate a character or support. To do this, rotate the character or support 90 degrees to show that its exhausted. Then, roll all of its dice and its upgrade dice into the pool. 2. Resolve dice. Remember, you can can only resolve one symbol, but any number of dice showing that symbol. You cannot resolve zero dice. 3. Play a card. Pay that cards cost and do what it tells you if it’s an event, attach it to a card if it’s an upgrade, and just put in on the table if it’s a support. 4. Discard to re-roll. Discard one card from your hand to re-roll any number of your dice. You can re-roll zero dice. 5. Use a card action or power action. The only difference between the two is that power actions cannot be used more than once per round. 6. Claim the battlefield. We already went over how to so this. Remember that after you claim, you cannot take any more actions for the rest of the round. The player with control of the battlefield takes the first action every round. You can choose to not take action, which is referred to as passing.

The action phase ends after both players pass consecutively. During upkeep phase, all exhausted cards are readied, both players gain two resources, all unresolved dice go back to their cards, and discard any number of cards and draw back up to five. You do not have to discard down to five if you have more than five.


In Destiny, there are 6 types of cards, three of which are made into a deck of 30 cards, and three of which are brought to the game independently from the deck. The first type of card is a character. Characters are the most important cards in the game, because you lose the game if all your characters are defeated you lose the game. Characters are also the most complex part of the game, because they have a lot of stats on them. First up is the character’s name. This character is named Luke Skywalker. The diamond next to the name indicates that the character is unique, meaning each character team can only bring one Luke Skywalker to the game. The subtitle under that is a way to differentiate it from other versions of the character. Right next to the name is the character’s health. Once a character has damage on them equal to or greater than their health, the character is defeated.


On the bottom left side of the character card, there are six symbols, indicating the different sides of the character’s die. We’ll go over symbols later. Next to the symbols is a text box. At the top of this box, there is the word character printed, along with any subtypes the character might have. This version of Luke Skywalker doesn’t have any. Underneath that is the game text. This can come in the form of a passive ability that’s always active, or, in Luke’s case, an action or power action. Underneath that text is flavor text, which is just for fun and doesn’t affect the game.


At the very bottom of the character is a row of different text boxes. Starting from the left, there is point cost. This is how much it costs to field the character, with the first number being the cost to bring one die, and the second for two dice. A character with two dice is considered to be elite. Non-unique characters only have 1 number there because you cannot play an elite non-unique character. Both players get 30 points for characters and plots. To the right of that is the faction. All cards in Destiny are either hero, villain, or neutral. A deck cannot have cards from both heroes and villains, you must choose one faction. Neutral cards can be in any deck. Also, if you choose to bring only neutral characters to the game, you cannot bring hero or villain cards in your deck. To the right of the faction is the color. Most people will be able to see the background of a character as a certain color, but for those who can’t, it’s printed on the card. There are 4 colors in Destiny: blue, which represents The Force, red, which represents command, yellow, which represents rogue, and gray, which is general. You can only bring cards to the game that matches your character’s colors. For example, if I bring a blue character and a yellow character to the game, I can only play blue and yellow cards, but not red. Gray is the exception to this because gray cards can go in any deck. Next to that is the copyright information and the name of the artist that drew the card art. Finally, there is an icon which shows the rarity and ID number of the card. This is printed on the die as well so that players can identify which die belongs to which card.


In game, characters can either be ready or exhausted. Ready characters are placed on the table upright, and exhausted characters are rotated 90 degrees. One action you can take during the game is to activate a character. This can only be done if the character is ready. To do this, roll all of it’s character and upgrade dice into the dice pool, and then exhaust the character.


Plots aren’t as complicated as characters.They take team building points to play, and that, along with the color, faction, artist, and ID information is in the same spot it’s in on a character card. Plots are also either ready or exhausted, but there is no native way to exhaust them. You can only play plots with colors matching your characters, with the exception of gray plots. No plots in the game have dice. Most decks don’t play plots, because it’s often more beneficial to bring extra character dice, but some character teams have points left over or really want to bring a certain plot.


Battlefields are also pretty simple. Each player brings one to the game, but only one will be used. We’ll go over how that’s chosen later. Whoever has control of the battlefield gets to take the first action of every round. Most battlefields have a claim ability which a player can use when they claim it. To claim the battlefield, you take control of the battlefield and then you can use the claim ability. When you take control of the battlefield, move the card to your side of the table so both players know who controls it. After you have claimed the battlefield, you must pass all your actions until the end of the round. Only one player can claim the battlefield each round.


Upgrades represent abilities and weapons that a character possesses. When they are played, they are attached to a character. The color of the upgrade does not have to match the color of the character. Some upgrades, like Force Choke, have play restrictions such as “blue character only.” When you activate a character, you roll all of its upgrade dice into the pool along with the character dice. A character can only have 3 upgrades. When you play an upgrade, you pay the cost, which is shown in the top left corner, in resources. If you have another upgrade on the character, you can choose to “overwrite” that upgrade, reducing the upgrades cost by that of the one already in play and discarding it.


Some upgrades have the “modify” keyword, which means they don’t go on characters, but instead supports. Mods can be overwritten and the limit of three upgrades per card still applies.


Supports represent various vehicles, locations, and other things from the Star Wars universe. Supports are played by themselves and are either ready or exhausted, just like characters. Supports with dice can be activated just like characters, and when you do, you roll all of that support’s dice and its upgrade dice into the pool. When you play a support, pay its cost in resources, as shown in the top left corner.


Events provide a one use effect. After you use an event, it goes to the discard pile. To play an event, pay the cost shown in the top left corner.


Dice are a very important part of Destiny. Each die side will have a value, a symbol, and sometimes a modifier symbol or resource cost. There are 10 symbols in the game.

meleerangemelee damage and ranged damage both do the same thing. They deal damage to a character equal to the value showing on the die. The only difference between the two is the thematic meaning and the ability to combine with modifiers.


indIndirect damage does damage to your opponent as well, but they choose which character to put it on, you don’t.

shieldShield sides gives a character shields equal to the value showing on it. When a character is assigned damage, shields are removed first. Removing a shield blocks one damage.

triggeredResources give you resources equal to the value of the die. Resources are used to play cards and pay for certain dice. This is not the only way to get resources.

disruptDisrupt makes your opponent lose resources equal to the value of the die.

discardDiscard sides make you opponent discard random cards from their hand equal to the value of the die.

focusFocus turns your dice to sides of your choice. You get to do this to as many dice as the value showing on the die.

specialSpecial resolves the special ability printed on the card that matches its die.

mewhenirollBlank dice cannot be resolved.


Most die sides have a black background, but blanks have a red one. Dice that are modifiers have a blue background and a + symbol next to the value of the die. Before these dice are resolved, they modify a black side showing the same symbol. Modifiers cannot be resolved on their own. Dice that have a resource cost have a resource symbol on the bottom of the side. When you resolve the die, you must pay that many resources.

When dice are rolled, they go into what is called the dice pool. When it is your turn, one action you can take is to resolve dice. When doing this, you may resolve any number greater than zero of dice showing the same symbol. These dice are technically resolved one at a time, except in the case of modifiers. After a die is resolved, it is removed from the dice pool and placed back on the card it came from.


To start a game of Destiny, you must first set up your play area. Your deck goes in one place, your discard pile goes in another, and your characters are put in the middle of your play area. Plots are put next to characters, and the battlefield is placed at the top of the play area, but towards the left. Both players shuffle their decks, offer the final cut to their opponent, and then draw 5 cards. After that, both players get the option to “mulligan”, or shuffle back any number of cards and draw the same number of cards. Players are not punished for doing this. After both players are done, they roll all of their character dice and total up the values. Whoever rolled higher gets to pick the battlefield that the game will be played on. If it is a tie, roll again. Whoever’s battlefield is not chosen gets two shields on their characters, distributed as they wish. The player who’s battlefield was chosen gets control of the battlefield at the start of the first round. Then each player gains two resources.


In addition to those core rules, Destiny has many other mechanics that are important to gameplay. First of is keywords. There are four of them: guardian, ambush, redeploy, and modify. You already know what modify means. Guardian is only found and characters, and grants them the ability to, before they activate, remove a die showing damage and deal that damage to the character. Ambush lets you take an additional action after you play a card with it. Redeploy is only on upgrades, and allows you to move the upgrade to another character after the character it’s on is defeated.


Now that you know how to play Destiny, there are many products for beginners. There is a two player starter set if you want to get into the game with a friend, but it’s a pretty good value buy even if you’re going in alone. I’d recommend two copies of it because it doesn’t come with elite characters. Single player starters also exist, and are cheaper and very good value. Boba Fett and Luke Skywalker are the most current ones. Kylo Ren and Rey also exist, but are going to be rotated out soon which means you won’t be able to use them in standard. I have attached a graphic to show the legality of sets after set rotation. If you’re willing to wait, Obi-Wan Kenobi and General Grievous are coming out within a couple months. Each starter comes with the title character at elite and a secondary character at single die along with a 20 card deck. Standard decks are 30 cards, so you’ll need to pick up two of a starter set, but it costs about that much for a two player set so it’s good value. The final beginner product is the Rivals draft set. This comes with cards that can be used in standard, but the main purpose is to enable draft play. This is a format where everyone buys booster packs and makes a deck with them. Stores don’t run these tournaments often, but it’s a low investment if you want to try the game out and not be at a disadvantage because you don’t own cards.

Destiny is a game that can be played at home, but the primary way many people play is at a game store. I love game stores because the people there are cool and enjoy playing the game. Every store I’ve been to has been very friendly to new players. There are three places I know that run Destiny tournaments weekly. The Portland Game Store plays on Fridays at 7 PM, which goes to about 9:30 usually. I’m there most Fridays, so come on over. I don’t typically go to the next two, but I know people that do and they’re great. Gongaii Games in beaverton runs tournaments on Saturdays from 2-5 PM. Superplay, which is a bowling alley also in Beaverton runs Destiny from 7-10 PM on Mondays. If this game sounds interesting, come play.


Card images from Fantasy Flight Games

Set Rotation graphic from Artificery