The HoloFiles

REVIEW: Star Wars Rivals – Funko’s Expandable Game System

By George Bate & Josh Bate

As fans of Star Wars and strategic games, we had to check out the Star Wars Rivals Card Game from Funko Games. This new expandable card game allows players to choose a squadron of iconic characters to battle for control of locations in a galaxy far, far away. The Premier Set, which goes on sale on May 4th after a limited run at Star Wars Celebration Europe, provides everything you need to get started while Character Booster Packs allow you to add to your team of Light Side and Dark Side members. Read below for our thoughts about Star Wars Rivals.

Essential to any card game are the rules and setup, both of which are presented succinctly and comprehensively in Star Wars Rivals. A two-sided guide provides detailed information necessary to setup the game, which makes a potentially overwhelming set of cards, markers, and movers extremely approachable.

Star Wars Rivals
The Premier Set

The other side of the guide offers a step-by-step walkthrough of how to play the game. Essentially, it goes as follows… The key objective of the game is to score points – the person/team with the most points wins. How does one score points? Points are earned by completing missions and influencing locations. Missions are character-specific and appear on Action Cards. Meanwhile, players can choose to locate their character to specific locations. Every character has an Influence value and these values are used to score locations. If this description is somewhat vague or confusing, don’t worry. As with all card games, especially those with a strategic element like Star Wars Rivals, a few playthroughs are necessary to really get comfortable with the rules. And, for those who wish to learn more vicariously or for more visual learners, the provided guide also features a QR code that links to a video explanation of the set-up and rules for the game.

While the Premier Set is more than sufficient to play Star Wars Rivals, the Character Booster Packs are nice additions akin to DLCs for video games. You can purchase a Light Side or Dark Side Character Booster Pack, both of which include a new mysterious character that is not revealed until you open the box. These Character Booster Packs are more than just aesthetic additions, however, as they include additional locations, new character-specific action cards with new missions, and various character movers. In this sense, the Character Booster Packs are really nice additions that will keep Star Wars Rivals interesting for many playthroughs.

A Dark Side Character Booster Pack

For instance, we started by only playing with the materials contained in the Premier Set and this was more than sufficient to have a fun board game night. The Premier Set includes four character cards and movers exclusive to this starter kit – Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Asajj Ventress, and Commander Cody. So, when we eventually opened the Light Side and Dark Side Character Booster Packs (we got Captain Phasma and Clone Commander Cody (Hologram), an already engaging and strategic game changed in a manner that made us eager to keep playing and see how these additions change the game.

As is a hallmark of any Funko product at this point, Star Wars Rivals is meticulously designed. The materials are polished and refined, and feature some really neat artwork of iconic Star Wars locations and characters. It’s also evident that the developers of Star Wars Rivals have a true passion for Star Wars. There are a number of intricate details interwoven into the game and references for eagle-eyed fans sprinkled throughout (the High Ground!). Also refreshing is the game’s attention to various eras of Star Wars storytelling and its inclusion of major and more obscure characters. The original, prequel, and sequel trilogy are all represented here in equal proportions, whereas animated favorites liked Ahsoka Tano and Asajj Ventress are also included.

Star Wars Rivals Premier Set is available for a limited pre-release sale starting May 4 on Walmart.com, making it the perfect way to celebrate Star Wars Day this year. Both the Premier Set and Character Booster Packs will be fully available online and in Walmart stores in early June 2023. Check out a video walkthrough of Star Wars Rivals below!

The HoloFiles

The HoloFiles is a website and series of social media accounts, including Star Wars Holocron, Marvel Tesseract, DC Motherbox, Film Codex, and Horror Necronomicon. We love cinema and television, and aim to spread positivity across different fandoms. Come to us for news, reviews, interviews, trivia facts, quotes, behind the scenes photos, analytic features, and more!