Updated: Sep 16, 2019
With Star Wars back to stay the franchise is more alive now than it has ever been and if you haven’t seen Rian Johnson’s excellent 8th installment in the saga then I highly recommend it.
However, if what you’re craving is to revisit the original trilogy then you can, with #StarWarsRebellion. This was my big present and it is exactly that, a big box full of lots of toys. Me and my friend Dave who occasionally writes some articles for this blog broke out the game and after much punching out of tokens and reading of rules we sat down to conquer the galaxy for the next four hours.
This is not a ponderous slow moving war game, despite the myriad of tokens and plastic pieces festooned across the board. No this is an entirely different beast, one of resource management and action optimisation with some bluffing and command and control thrown in for good measure.
Each turn you can send out your leaders on missions, use them to move troops on the board or save them to counter missions played by your opponent. Understanding how best to deploy your leaders is key to winning the game. They are a limited resource. You start with four of them and by the end of the game you will have eight, meaning you will take at most 4 actions during turn 1 and 8 actions by turn 5.
However the scope of those actions is where the game becomes interesting. You can only move your ships by deploying leaders, but you can only accomplish missions by using leaders too. Missions might allow you to control more planets or steal them from your opponent. They might allow you to deploy troops, capture rebel leaders or even build the second Death Star.
The Imperial Player wins by discovering and destroying the rebel base. The Rebels simply need to count out the clock, lasting for 14 rounds without being discovered, however they can reduce that time by completing objectives.
In our game I had the rebel base narrowed down to three possible locations with only a single turn to go. Kashyyyk, Malastare and Endor. I moved the first of my Death Stars to Malastare, knowing I had the power to destroy the planet should the rebel base be there. By doing so I also cut off any hope of retreat from Kashyyyk where the majority of the rebel fleet was stationed.
I had Kashyyyk surrounded. I couldn’t move my Death Star again but my Super Star Destroyer, dozens of Tie Fighters and a whole fleet of other nasties would be more than a match should the rebel base turn out to be there.
I decided to move on Endor. I moved my second Death Star into position and Dave revealed the Rebel base. Now I just had to survive the combat phase and I could fire my superlaser and blow the Rebels (and their Ewok allies) to space dust. Dave needed but a single point to win. Our ships blew each other to smithereens but a single X-Wing survived. Dave revealed he was holding the Death Star Plans.
This card was worth 2 points and allowed him to roll three dice, needing just a single Direct Hit. I knew this meant he had a 42% chance of succeeding, destroying my Death Star and winning the game. It was basically all over, I watched, heart in my throat as the dice bounced across the plastic laden galaxy… A Miss, it was a miss!
My remaining Tie Fighters moped up the last of the X-Wings and then I was able to open fire with the galaxies ultimate weapon, obliterating the forest moon and the rebel scum hiding there. Victory was mine!