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Shadowy Insights: Jeremy Zwirn

As we count down the days to the release of Shadows of the Galaxy—the second set of Star Wars™: Unlimited—we wanted to share some insights from the designers. Today, we’ve got some Q&A with Jeremy Zwirn, one of the original designers of the game and of this second set. Let’s see what he has to share!


Can you share some insights about how the game’s second set, Shadows of the Galaxy, came to be? For example, what led to the set’s theme being largely focused on smugglers, bounty hunters, and the Outer Rim?

The main theme of Spark of Rebellion is an era—the Galactic Civil War—and we wanted the main theme of Shadows of the Galaxy to be something besides another era. Star Wars has a plethora of interesting bounty hunters and smugglers who often operate in the Outer Rim, and since we knew players would enjoy that theme, it became the focus of the set. The Mandalorian is a fantastic show and it seemed natural to include content from it in Shadows of the Galaxy, as well as to design the Two-Player Starter around. 

The three major mechanics of Shadows of the Galaxy, Smuggle, Bounty, and capture, came about very early in the design process. One of the first mechanics I designed for the game, which turned into Smuggle, felt like a perfect fit for this set, both mechanically and thematically. As a flavorful way to encourage players to go after enemy units, we created the Bounty mechanic. We designed capture to give players an additional thematic tool to hunt down their opponent’s units.

How was designing Shadows of the Galaxy different from designing Spark of Rebellion? What unique challenges did the second set bring to the table?

Spark of Rebellion laid down a great foundation for future sets, which made it easier to design Shadows of the Galaxy. One of the biggest challenges was determining how far to push innovation for the second set. We wanted to introduce new mechanics to the game while still making Shadows of the Galaxy feel like Star Wars: Unlimited. Three new mechanics felt like the right amount if we didn’t add too much complexity elsewhere. This is one reason why the set doesn’t have any new tokens or rare bases. We also avoided any extreme mechanics, such as adding a new card type to the game.

What are you most looking forward to about Shadows of the Galaxy? What do you think will be most exciting for players?

I love the Smuggle keyword and am sure many players will enjoy it as well. Smuggling a card is a good way to get card advantage since you put the top card of your deck into play as a resource, and if that resource has Smuggle, you can keep the card advantage engine going. Choosing which card to resource each round can be a very difficult decision, and Smuggle makes it easy. I also like how smuggling cards can surprise opponents, especially when you have no cards in hand! 

What’s your favorite card from Shadows of the Galaxy, and why?

One of my many favorite cards is the highly versatile A New Adventure (Shadows of the Galaxy, 207). Upon first glance, this double-Cunning event may seem underwhelming, but this Gambit is full of tricks. Not only can you use it on your units, but also on enemy units. A New Adventure will effectively exhaust the unit and defeat each upgrade on it, including all Experience and Shield tokens. If an opponent took control of one of your units with Traitorous or the Emperor Palpatine leader, this event will take your unit back since you own it.

A New Adventure can be especially powerful when it’s used on your units. This event can be used to heal all damage from a unit since all counters are removed from it when it leaves play. If any enemy upgrades are on your unit, such as Entrenched or a Bounty, A New Adventure will remove them. In addition, any When Played abilities can be used again after the unit enters play, such as returning a non-leader unit to its owner’s hand with Cantina Bouncer or readying Fett’s Firespray. Some strong keywords, such as Shielded and Ambush, may also be used when the unit enters play. There are many other combos with A New Adventure, and I look forward to players discovering them!

After seeing the metagame for Spark of Rebellion develop over the past couple of months, what prominent cards from the first set do you think will be affected by the release of Shadows of the Galaxy? What underutilized cards do you think will get a boost from the new set?

Aggro decks, such as those that use the Sabine Wren leader, will have to deal with strong healing cards like Top Target (Shadows of the Galaxy, 71) and Sundari Peacekeeper (Shadows of the Galaxy, 98), as well as efficient Sentinel units like Concord Dawn Interceptors (Shadows of the Galaxy, 42) and Pyke Sentinel (Shadows of the Galaxy, 29).

Grand Inquisitor is a very fun leader to play, and he’ll get more cards in Shadows of the Galaxy that fit his playstyle. Since this set basically doubles the size of the card pool, many double-aspect cards (Command, Vigilance, etc.) and cards that reward you for focusing on a single aspect (Lieutenant Childsen) should become more viable.

Are there any additional thoughts about Shadows of the Galaxy that you would like to share?

I had a blast helping design and develop this set and can’t wait for players to delve into it!

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