In the Starter Set, there are three different ways to play the Star Wars Trading Card Game: the beginner rules that tell you which cards to put in play, and the intermediate rules that let you choose which cards you want to play. The complete rules add reinforcements and Battle and Mission cards to the game.
The beginner rules are printed right on the play mat, making it easy for you open your Starter Set and jump right in. Setting up the beginner game will always be the same. After one or two beginner games, you'll be ready to move on to the intermediate game.
The intermediate rules give you the freedom to decide what units you're going to play with before battling your opponent. Both players remove all the Battle and Mission cards from their decks, shuffle the rest of their cards, and each draws a hand of seven cards from his or her deck. The Dark Side player choose a unit from his or her hand, plays it face up in the appropriate arena, and draws a card from his or her deck. Then, the Light Side player does the same. The Light Side player keeps playing a unit and drawing a card until the total build cost of all of the Light Side player's units is greater than the the total build cost of all of the Dark Side player's units.
For example, the Dark Side player puts Darth Tyranus in play and draws a card. Darth Tyranus has a build cost of 5. Now the Light Side player must put cards with a total of 6 build cost or more into play, one at a time. The Light Side player puts Jedi Starfighter 3R3 into play, and it has a build cost of 3. The Light Side player draws a card and plays Anakin Skywalker. Anakin has a build cost of 4, so the Light Side now has units with a total build cost of 7 in play.
When the total build points of the Light Side player's units exceeds the total build points of the Dark Side player's units, it's the Dark Side player's turn to play a unit again. The Dark Side player puts a unit in play and draws a card. The Dark Side player continues to do this until the total build cost of his or her units is greater than the Light Side's total.
Continuing the example above, it's the Dark Side player's turn to put a unit in play. The Dark Side player puts a Destroyer Droid Squad into play and draws a card. Destroyer Droid Squad's build cost is 5, and the Dark Side's new build cost total is 10. Now it's the Light Side's turn to play units, and so on.
Players continue to alternate beating each other's build cost total until one reaches a total of 30. The other player then puts units into play to bring his or her total up to 30 also. Then the players move on to the battle step just as in the beginner game. Setting up a complete game works the same way, with a few added features:
Before putting any units into play, the Dark Side player can choose to discard any Battle or Mission cards from his or her hand once and draw the same number of cards. Then the Light Side player can do the same. When stacking (playing different versions of the same unique Character, Ground or Space unit) you place the unit either on top of the stack or underneath the top card and recalculate your total build cost. For the unique unit, use the top card's build cost and add 1 for each other card in the stack. If you don't have enough points to put another unit into play, you can start the game with that unit partially constructed. Reveal the unit to your opponent, then place it face down in your build area. Put a number of build counters on the unit to bring your build cost total to 30. During future build steps, you can add build counters to this unit.