Community Building: Crafting the Cube

I’ve been meaning to write this article for quite some time, as the “Cube Draft” format has quickly become one of my favorite ways to play Star Wars: Destiny. This article will be the first in a “Community Building” series aimed at discussing strategies that you can use to try and build up your local Destiny scene. Truthfully, I’m writing this series as an exercise for myself as well, since our local community hasn’t seen much growth lately, and I’d like to start putting in some effort to change that.

I think one of the most effective ways to keep new players coming to your local play night is to focus more on casual formats/open play nights and less on tournaments. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should neglect your competitive-minded players, but the truth is that the majority of people who are interested in Destiny will be casual players who just want to throw some dice with their favorite Star Wars characters…and that’s fantastic! It’s totally possible to embrace the casual player base while still satisfying the competitive aspect of your local play group, and in this series I hope to provide you with some ideas to do just that.

It just so happens that, in my opinion, one of the easiest and most fun ways to support a mix of casual and competitive play that caters to all player types is by creating what’s known as a Cube!

What is a “Cube”?

If you are new to Destiny, or to CCGs in general, you may not even be familiar with the term “Cube”, so that seems like a good place to start. A Cube is a player-made set of cards that is used as a giant card pool for people to draft and play from. It usually includes cards that the owner has extras of, or perhaps cards that don’t necessarily see competitive play, but it can really consist of anything you want. Then, a group of players can draft cards from the Cube and play without needing to own anything else.

The beauty of the Cube is that it allows a group of players to have fun playing Star Wars: Destiny without requiring anyone (other than the Cube owner) to bring anything with them. This makes it a great way to help newer players who are still learning the game, while still giving veteran players a new, fresh way to play the game they already love.

Cubes in Destiny

Star Wars: Destiny presents a number of unique challenges compared to other CCGs for cube-building, given its unique deck building mechanics. As a result of this, I needed to approach building a Destiny Cube a little differently than in other games, and that required some experimentation. My local playgroup threw around ideas for a while, and we played a few rounds to get a general feel for it, and we eventually landed on what we believe is the perfect format for our Cube. Of course, there is no hard-set rule for how to run yours, but this is where we landed after a few test runs. Feel free to either copy it completely or adapt it to what you’d like to do for your own Cube.

Goals

I had a few specific goals in mind when creating our Cube. Yours may be slightly different, but this will give you an idea on what I was aiming for:

  • Support up to 8 players
  • Have everything needed so those players can show up completely empty handed and still be able to play
  • Use characters and cards that are fun, but no longer see much competitive play (Think Grievous1 or Kanan)
  • Keep it easy to transport

Rules / Composition

I’ll go into a breakdown of the rules in a minute, but first here is a quick summary of the contents of my Cube:

  • 48 Characters (colors/villain/hero evenly distributed)
  • 72 Dice Cards (also evenly distributed, includes both upgrades and supports)
  • 24 Battlefields/Plots
  • 240+ Non-Dice cards (Including events, non-die supports/upgrades, etc)
  • All relevant dice
  • A large pile of extra cardboard tokens

I use an Ultimate Guard Superhive to store my Cube. I was able to store the non-dice cards vertically and tilt them slightly in the place the playmat usually goes to fit the entire Cube into one, neat box. And as a bonus, it perfectly fits all those extra store championship boxes you have lying around to house all the dice!

Here’s how it works

  • Any drafted character can be used as elite OR as regular. In other words, if you draft Kanan, you can choose to use him with one die for 10 points or two dice for 13 points. This is different from standard drafting rules, but allows us to play from the Cube without requiring a Rivals draft kit for each player.
  • Draft deck-building rules apply (Color restrictions matter, but ignore hero/villain affiliations)
  • Cards are separated within the Cube by type. Characters, battlefields, and plots are in a different color sleeve from the rest of the cards, as they won’t be part of the main deck. This makes it a little more obvious when you draft a character, but it greatly increases the ease of keeping everything separated.

Drafting

To draft the Cube, each player creates their own “pack” by drawing from each pile of cards as follows:

  • 2 Characters
  • 3 Dice cards
  • 10 Non-dice cards
  • 1 battlefield/plot

This results in a well-rounded pack of 16 cards. Next, as you would in any standard draft, each player picks one card and passes the remainder of the pack to their left. This process repeats until all cards have been selected.

This entire process (create a “pack”, draft cards) is then repeated two more times. The second round packs are passed to the right, and the third round packs are once again passed to the left.

When all is said and done, each player has 48 cards from which to create their 30 card deck. This is right around the same number of available cards when participating in a standard Destiny draft (30 drafted cards + 20 Rivals cards = 50 cards), but the option to use characters as elite greatly adds to the consistency.

In fact, all of our concerns about not having enough cards to make a legal deck melted away when one of our local players was able to pivot AFTER completing his draft to play a mono-red Krennic / Rex deck, even though he had drafted the whole time planning to play two colors.

Card Considerations

When you’re building your own Cube, there are a number of different ways that you can go about deciding what cards to include. Here are some general guidelines I tried to follow:

  1. Try to keep the character/die card distributions relatively even between colors and factions. Of course villain/hero doesn’t matter in the Cube, but it helps give a wide array of interesting characters and upgrades to choose from.
  2. Pick interesting characters that don’t often see play. Just to give you an idea, some of my favorites are:
    • Kanan
    • Krennic (we allow the Deathtrooper die to be used)
    • IG-88
    • Chewbacca1
    • Luke2
  3. Avoid characters that are so bad no one will ever use them. Yes, Mon Mothma never sees play, and her ability is cool, but she’s just so bad that she’ll end up being a dead spot in your Cube.
  4. When in doubt, use your extras! There are a few cards included in my Cube that I only have 1 or 2 copies of, simply because I think they’d be put to better use there. However, if you use a card often, swapping it in and out of your Cube can get rather annoying. Use as many of your “extra” cards as possible, and don’t be afraid to ask your locals to donate…they’ll be enjoying it too!

So that’s it! That’s my Cube and how we chose to build ours in our local group. I encourage you to build one for yourself and try it with your friends, because it’s a blast!

Do you have a Cube built for Destiny that you’ve had a chance to play with? Do you handle the draft or deck-building differently than we do? Have any questions that I didn’t cover in the article? Let me know in the comments below!

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6 Comments

  1. Very cool idea. I’m new to card games of any kind and on top of that I live in an extremely small community. I have basically one fellow player so far. I have been trying to think of something to try and hook a few more people. We were fortunate to buy a few peoples collections so we have pretty substantial amounts of cards, mostly rotated out now. We should be able to build a decent cube without much difficulty. Just found your cast I look forward to listening more!!

    Thanks
    Pat

    1. That’s a good idea! I’d be willing to bet it’s easier to get people interested in trying it if you offer a free way to play 🙂

      Let me know how it goes!

  2. I’ve played Magic for a long time and I’ve loved building and maintaining a cube to play with friends. I recently started playing Star Wars Destiny and I am looking forward to building another cube for this game. After reading a few different articles, I really like the way you built yours. Being new to the game, it would be really helpful to actually see the list of cards you use to have a starting place for resource curve, archetype support, and what cards you consider interesting. Maybe I missed it on the page, but would you be willing to post the list of cards?

    1. Hey Brian, I’m glad you like it! I’d been holding off on posting the list as I was still tweaking it, but I’ve come to the realization that it will never be perfect haha…I’m going to post this publicly soon, but since you asked, here’s the list: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/15s-44die1UZhP0qiREgHw-1gHPoxo_B9yehlttyEv8U/edit?usp=sharing

      My most recent update was with the goal of including some of the older characters that have had their points adjusted, just because most of them never saw play and I figured it would be fun. But either way the main goal was to strike a balance between colors and varying point costs of characters to make it easy to build teams. Hope this helps!

      1. Thanks so much for posting the card list! I hope I’m not being rude but I have a few questions based on what you posted.

        1. Maybe I don’t understand how to read the spreadsheet, but it seems like all the cards (with the exception of the battlefields/plots) are all dice cards. Where are all the non-dice cards?

        2. I’m confused about the number of cards in general. In the article, you state that your goal is to have up to 8 players each drafting 48 cards (in order to make 30 card decks). That would mean that the card total should be at least 384 cards but your cube currently shows a total of 230 cards (all of which are dice/battlefield/plot cards). According to the article, the goal was the have 48 characters, 72 dice cards, and 24 battlefield/plots cards for a total of 144 dice/battlefield/plot cards. I’m assuming this problem is related to the first problem, but the solution isn’t as simple as adding the missing non-dice cards. There are way more dice/battlefield/plot cards currently that you intended according the article.

        Maybe the most obvious solution is that the cube still a work in progress but it sounded like you were just doing a bit of tweaking at this point rather than needing to figure out huge portions of cards. I’m hoping I’m just not understanding how to read the spreadsheet correctly but I’d love any feedback when you get a chance. Thanks!

        1. Not rude at all! I should have looked closer before I sent you the link haha…Yeah the sheet actually only tracks the dice cards at the moment because A) Those are the most important to balance in my opinion, and B) Tracking all the non-die cards is kind of a nightmare 🙂

          That said I took a closer look and you’re right, the numbers are a bit off on the sheet. I only have 46 characters showing on there, which means I must have missed a few when I was updating the sheet. Looks like I have some work to do!

          I’ll take a closer look and try to get it updated more clearly soon, although I’m traveling starting tomorrow so it might not be until early next week. Sorry about that!

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