I recently received Starlight Stage A Pop Idol Card Game from RightStuf. RightStuf is one of the oldest and largest distributors of Otaku merchandise in the US. Check out their website at www.RightStuf.com for everything from anime, manga, action figures, Japanese candy, games, and more.
I decided to purchase Starlight Stage because I’m a fan of mobile idol games and idol anime such as Love Live, Utapri, Bang Dream, Ensemble Stars, and yes, Idol M@ster.
I do not know for sure if this board game is based on Idol M@ster but I suspect it is, since one of the early and most popular Idol M@ster mobile games is titled Idol M@ster Starlight Stage. For whatever reason though, if it is in fact at all related, they stripped it of the Idol M@ster title and just dubbed it Starlight Stage. Either way, related or not, if you love the mobile games or anime idol games, you’ll love Starlight Stage Card Game by Japanime Games.
The game is a little difficult to learn at first, and we had a lot of confusion trying to figure it out in the beginning, but once you get into the rhythm of the turn cycle it’s actually really simple. And it comes with these handy rule cards for each player to reference.
Starlight Stage is for 3-4 players with an average play time of 30-60 minutes. It is a great family game rated for ages 10+.
Designed by Hironatsu Yamada, Starlight Stage is a fast paced card drafting game with adorable idols. It’s your job to recruit idols with different talents and help them grow to become the top talent agency.
At the start of the game you get some low cost starter idols, but you’re going to want to save up some tokens for better idols as you play. The cost is always in the top left of the card.
One of the things that frustrated my friends is understanding the costs and talents of the cards. I found it pretty straight forward but there was a lot of discussion and confusion on how to pay the costs. Also we forgot to shuffle the first time – or just assumed we didn’t need to since it was brand new sealed in box – but yes you have to shuffle lol. We kept drawing the same cards DOH! lol.
The correct way to pay the cost (top left) is to count the talent points (in the kinda grayish box at the bottom of the idol card) and if that’s still not enough you can use tokens but if you use talent tokens you must discard the tokens and move the card whose talent you used to the anteroom (discard pile). You also can’t use tokens just by themselves without using the talents of an idol also, even if you have enough tokens to do so. You also cannot use multiple idols to pay for a card except for use in acquiring event cards.
The object of the game is to have the most popularity points. (Top right) Some cards give additional conditional popularity points at the conclusion of the game so make sure to include this in the final count.
You earn popularity points by earning fame cards and enhancing your existing idols or recruiting new ones.
My only real complaint with the game is that the artwork is really disjointed. Some of the artwork is lovely and others very amateurish because so many different artists worked on this game.
Here I have five cards pulled completely at random out of my game box and five different artists. A total of 13 artists were used to create the art for the cards and they each have different styles and skill levels.
I still love the game so much that I plan to purchase the expansions also available on RightStuf. I love anime idol “culture” and this game is very cute and fun to play. I highly recommend it to anyone who like me, also plays similar mobile rhythm games like Love Live School Idol Festival or the newly released Love Live School Idol Festival All Stars, or Idol M@ster, or Utapri, or Ensemble Stars, or Bang Dream.
I can’t get enough idol games and I’m not alone. I frequently cosplay as love live characters. My favorite is Kotori. And Smartdoll and Dollfie Dream both regularly release limited edition dolls from Love Live or Idol M@ster, not to mention the anime, nendoroid, plushies, and other merchandise, many of which I bet you can also find on RightStuf.com