Tuesday, May 21
Monday, May 20
RulesStar is a multiplayer format designed for five players. The five players sit in a circle, as per a usual Magic game. The object of the game is to eliminate the two players not sitting next to you. The players sitting next to you are your allies, and you may not attack them, although you can target them or their permanents as you wish. Allies are not opponents (so they are not affected by Breath of Malfegor or Unnerve, and cannot be targeted by Gifts Ungiven or Hunted Troll.)
There are two ways to take turn order in Star. The simplest method is to simply play as normal, with turn order passing to the left. One disadvatage to this system is that each player faces two successive enemy turns.
This has lead to the second turn system, which skips a player each time. For example, if five players are seated (going clockwise) as 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, then turn order will pass as follows: 1-3-5-2-4. While more complex, this does allow players to take their turns in between their opponent's turns.
If two enemies are the first to be eliminated, then one player is left in a two-on-one position. If they manage to eliminate both of their opponents, then victory is theirs. However, if they are eliminated with both of their opponents still in the game, the opponents share victory.
StrategyUnlike Free-for-all, Star moves at a much quicker pace, and the game length is much more similar to the length of a duel. Once a player has been eliminated from the game, that player's former allies (which are mutual enemies) do not wish to remove each other from the game, as it would hand the game to their other ally.
VariationsWhile Star can be played with any decks, many variants exist. The original Star was played with five monocoloured decks, with players seated according to the colour wheel (which can be seen on the back of any Magic card.
Other colour-based variants have emerged. The game can be played with allied-coloured decks (GW, WU, UB, BR, RG) with allies sharing a colour (i.e. GW is allied WU and RG, and enemies with BR and RG), or with enemy-coloured decks (WR, RU, UG, GB, BW) again with allies sharing colours.
The game can also be played with three-coloured decks, or four-colour decks. See 'Further Reading' below.
AdvantagesStar is an excellent opportunity for multiplayer groups to deal with the 'five-player problem,' since it is difficult to play team games, such as Two-Headed Giant or Emperor, with an uneven number of players.
The game is also much quicker than Free-For-All, as not all players must be eliminated in order for the game to end. Also, Star encourages players to attack opponents quickly, unlike Free-For-All, which encourages inaction.
Star also requires less threat analysis, since most of a player's attention can be focused on their opponents, although some attention should be paid to their allies.
DisadvantagesStar is restrictive in that it requires exactly five people to work. Theoretically, it can be played with seven players (each player has two allies, two neutrals, and two opponents,) but seven players is even less common that five for many multiplayer groups.
Further ReadingAnthony Alongi "Be A Star"
Kelly Digges "Star Power", "Three by Five", "Gold Star!"
Original Colored Star Rules Star
Tuesday, May 21
Monday, May 20