I've mentioned before that Star Realms is one of my favorite games to play with my boyfriend. I also very much enjoy its solo scenarios. The game packs a lot of deckbuilding fun into a small box, and it is my go-to coffee shop entertainment.
Enter Hero Realms: A game that is essentially a reskin of Star Realms with a fantasy theme. The fantasy world recreated by the game is indeed generic, down to some slightly derivative card art. If you already know how to play Star Realms, then Hero Realms will come pretty naturally to you: There are color-based factions that have powers that work well together, you get champions instead of bases, and you get bonuses for playing multiple cards from the same faction on your turn.
So, is Hero Realms worth it? I'm going to say yes. Definitely.
First of all, for me, a generic fantasy theme is preferable to a generic sci-fi theme. The only thing I don't love about Star Realms is that I typically don't love sci-fi/space. (Have you seen Gravity? I went without knowing what it was, and that movie stressed me out so bad that I refuse to ever watch it again.) This does not prevent me from loving Alien Encounters or lusting after one of those soon-to-arrive new copies of Terraforming Mars, but if I get my choice, I'd rather be incinerated by a dragon than slowly suffocated in my space suit after I run out of oxygen.
Second, Hero Realms has some very interesting expansions, with more on the way. I love that while the game is playable right out of the box, there are separate character starting decks that enable you to begin the game as a thief, warrior, ranger, wizard, or cleric. You get different starting cards from your opponent's, with some interesting special abilities and even your own unique life total. I love this tweak to the deckbuilding genre. Additionally, there are some RPG-like elements coming our way, including the ability to play campaign style. I also can't wait to get my hands on a boss deck so I can play this game solo.
Star Realms is a great game that I will still play a lot, especially because it is my boyfriend's favorite. But I'd say that Hero Realms is an improvement because I prefer the theme and because Hero Realms is going to surpass its predecessor in terms of interesting new expansions and modes to play in.