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Star Wars Unlimited can use any part of canon, says lead dev

In our interview with Star Wars Unlimited lead designer Danny Schaefer, he explains exactly how this official Star Wars TCG lives up to its name.

Star Wars Unlimited - Luke Skywalker holding a lightsaber

Star Wars Unlimited, the upcoming Star Wars TCG from Fantasy Flight Games, aims to touch upon all parts of the Star Wars universe, from every era, allowing players to deckbuild with anything and everything from the galaxy far, far away.

We’ve spoken to Danny Schaefer, lead game designer on Star Wars Unlimited. He says that the desire to be all-encompassing is why this trading card game has ‘Unlimited’ in its title.

“We really wanted to capture the idea that everything is on the table for this game,” he explains. “This has stuff from the movies, but also from TV shows, from video games, from Star Wars comics, from novels, from all eras, all sorts of Star Wars.”

Star Wars Unlimited - A bunch of cards

We asked (of course) if that included Expanded Universe content, all that extra juicy material that’s now regarded as ‘Legends’. Schaefer didn’t rule it out, saying “I can’t speak specifically for Legends yet. What we’re saying right now is nothing is off the table. Everything is theoretically possible.”

The first Star Wars Unlimited set, Spark of Rebellion is due to release on March 8, 2024. This showcases one of the most iconic parts of Star Wars canon, the Galactic Civil War between rebels and imperials. While the set is primarily based on the original trilogy, characters like Anakin and Mace Windu will also show up, Schaefer says. “We sprinkle a little bit throughout of things from other eras, to show off, again, that this game is unlimited, that you could have content from anywhere.”

The desire to include absolutely everything is part of the reason Star Wars Unlimited was designed to be a TCG (as well as the current moment being a great one for trading card games, with newcomers like One Piece and Lorcana making such a splash).

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Schaefer says, “As we’re thinking about what we wanted to do next with Star Wars, that ‘unlimited’ idea was kind of at the heart of it, where there’s so much content in Star Wars, there’s so many cool things, and so many different parts of Star Wars that people love. A TCG really felt like the format where you can just make so many cards, explore so many different things, it was the kind of game that could cover all that content.”

Of course, trying to adapt the entirety of Star Wars into a fast-paced, tight trading card game is no small challenge, and Schaefer’s team spent a lot of time discussing how to put all the complexities and nuances of the Star Wars universe into a game that could be accessible, and played in 15-20 minute matches.

“A lot of Star Wars games have gone down the path of really trying to simulate them in great detail and capture every little nuance,” the lead designer says. “But then those games become also very complicated. Maybe they take, you know, a couple hours to play. So obviously, we had to do some abstraction and simplify things a bit.”

Star Wars Unlimited - Spaceships

“Really, the challenge is to figure out what was the most important. And what we really wanted to capture, I think, was the feeling of playing as your favorite Star Wars character and making the characters really feel like themselves. And then having a lot of things, a lot of individual cards or interactions between cards to capture the big moments of Star Wars.

“So, when you play a game, it’s not going to feel like you’re playing every single moment from a big battle, but you’re gonna feel like you hit the highlights. It’s these really dramatic moments where something swings in a very thematic way: where Vader says “I am your father” and Luke screams, “no”, and then tries to stop him. So yeah, it’s the big moments of Star Wars that we’ve tried to hit.”

Star Wars Unlimited - Cards for Darth Vader and Luke

It’s not just the content that makes Star Wars Unlimited a fitting name for the game, Schaefer says. It’s “also that it’s a trading card game, and the possibilities as you’re building your deck are unlimited.” He explains: “You can mix and match anything you want. The sky’s the limit, as far as what you put into your deck and what you do with your game”

He adds that while villainous characters have been designed to work well together mechanically (as have the goodies) there’s plenty of room to mess things around and create silly situations. “I’ve had a lot of games where Vader says ‘I am your father’ to Luke or to Leia, and it’s great, but also a lot where he’s said it to someone like Dooku, or Maul, or R2D2.”

Schaefer hopes that this broad brush approach to taking on Star Wars will also give Star Wars Unlimited a wide target audience. “This really is the game that from the start we want to say, ‘if you’re a Star Wars fan, and you’re interested in gaming on any level, you should be able to pick it up, learn, and have a good time with it.’”

Stay tuned for more exciting Star Wars Unlimited news here on Wargamer, including exclusive news and new card reveals. And while you’re waiting, check out our picks for the best Star Wars board games and the best Star Wars Lego sets.