The Force is strong with him. The son of Skywalker must not become a Jedi. -Emperor
Star Wars Rebellion
Designer: Corey Konieczka
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games, ADC Blackfire Entertainment, Asterion Press, Delta Vision Publishing, Edge Entertainment, Galakta, Heidelberger Spieleverlag
Number of Players: 2 – 4
Playing Time: 180 – 240 mins
Age Limit: 14+
I had built my whole game strategy up to that moment, and sadly it’s not a guarantee win. The Empire had beat me at every turn, even capturing Luke Skywalker (my best leader) with Boba Fett on the turn before. My saving grace is I had been amassing a pretty big space fleet on my secret rebel base. Seeing my opponents Super Star Destroyer about to annihilate me on his next turn, my only choice was to go for the win. The only shot at victory was to blow up the Death Star all the way on the other side of the galaxy. I take a moment to quickly plan out the odds of my success and then with everything I had I launched my assault right into his Death Star with Admiral Akbar leading the way! Normally I would have lost this battle, forcing my fleet to retreat but I had the Death Star plans! A round of space fights ensue and in typical rebel fashion I got crushed, but I only need one of my fighters to survive. Luckily some x-wings manage to survive and I see my moment to go for the win, I declare I’m playing the Death Stars plans while getting to roll 3 dices looking for a direct hit (which there is only 1 on each 6-sided dice). I’m no mathematician, but I had spent most of the game in a nervous twitch while rolling this combo of dice with no such luck. I watch my dice roll onto the table and there…. staring up at me is a direct hit! My opponent sits there with his mouth wide open, in shock that his Death Star is no more! The rebels have won the game!
This was just my latest game recap of Star Wars Rebellion! Every game feels close and that one player never has the upper hand for long.
I knew I was going to be in for treat the first time I opened the box to Star Wars Rebellion. Packed inside this box contains epic stories and great Star Wars moments, but told your way. Star Wars Rebellion is a 2 player (can do 4 players, but not really meant for that) game where one player takes on the role of the Imperial Empire while attempting to expand throughout the galaxy while finding and destroying the rebels secret base. Whereas the rebel player objective is to keep their rebel base alive until the game is over after 14 turns. This game turns into a cat and mouse type of experience where one player has pretty much all the power and the other just needs to survive and outsmart their opponent. This is in Board Game Geeks’ top ten board games for a reason. As soon as a game ends you and your friends will explode with was going through each other’s heads during the game. Even when I lost a game there was so many amazing moments I couldn’t wait to jump right back in! I could just gush over this game, never getting to the review. As much fun as that may be for me it wouldn’t be helpful for anyone looking to buy this game. I’ll go over what I kind of feel to be basics for a game of this size which include theme, gameplay and components.
Just like in previous reviews, theme will be the smallest part of this review. Fact is if you like Star Wars and board games you will probably love it. The game does a great job of interjecting parts of the movies but usually it’s with different characters and different places. What I mean is, in my last game it should have been Luke Skywalker to blow up the Death Star but instead it was Admiral Akbar. What if it had been Chewbacca that had been frozen carbonite and Obi-wan went to rescue him? The game lets you decide who and what happens while facing your opponent. This is super fun and interesting as side characters get to play front row in your army if you so choose. I personally when recruiting leaders, never miss a chance to recruit Boba Fett and even though his stats are not geared towards moving imperial fleets, he shines when it comes to combat missions (I’ll get into that later…).
Now onto gameplay! Once players have decided who will be playing which side (Imperial or Rebels) they then go thru the set-up rules, which I won’t go into much but it involves setting up the game board with starting ships/ troops and planets. Rebel players then make the most important decision of the game and secretly select a planet from the remaining probe deck (planet cards) to hide their rebel base on. After that the players take turns sending leaders on mission or having those leaders move fleets around the map. Sounds simple, but it’s the missions that players achieve their own goals and/or mess with the other player’s objectives. Missions are determined before anybody has the chance to move models, so you are pretty much determining how your whole turn will go before even knowing what the opponent might have planned for you. Rebel player always takes his/hers turn first and their missions usually always revolve around hit and run tactics. A Rebel player may choose to slow the empire down such as with “Sabotage” which can prevent the Imperial player from building/deploying units on that planet or “Hit and Run” which lets you surprise the back line of the imperial defenses on smaller planets. While the Imperial player will focus more on moving fleets, they have some nasty missions themselves such as catching leader with “Capture Rebel Operative” or gathering Intel for the possible rebel base locations with “Gather Intel” (OK those last two seemed very straight forward). Missions can try to be stopped if you have any leaders in your pool to send against the opposing player. What’s that? Darth Vader is attempting to capture Han Solo? Yeah, I’ll be sending in Chewbacca to try to stop that from happening! After players have taken turn activating leaders or passed, the round closes with the refresh phase. Players draw additional cards, build new ships, and recruit new leaders into their ever-growing pool.
Imperial player will also draw 2 probe cards at the end of each round. Probe cards represent a card for every planet on the board and for each card the imperial player draws they get increasingly more info on where the rebel players base is not. It gets intense when the imperial player is trying to call the rebel players bluff on where the base may be. The Rebel player has their own card deck to draw from each round too, located in the objective deck. The rebel player gets increasingly more objectives as the game goes on and these represent secret missions the rebel player is trying to attempt. You see, each time the rebel player manages to pull one of these missions they get victory points allowing them to end the game one or two turns sooner per objective. Now before you think that’s unfair, hear me out, the Rebel player can only ever complete one objective a turn unless card states otherwise and those objectives are usually very hard or situational. i.e. like having rebel loyalty in a whole system or keeping 3 systems sabotaged. Usually the imperial player will catch on to what you are doing or not care because they figured out where your base is. Then begins a new round where new mission are played and more fleets are moved around the board. I’ve said this before, but the game does a great job creating that fun panic in both players, where they are both screaming internally as they play mind games with one another.
I’ll quickly talk about combat as it doesn’t make up for much of the game and definitely is the weakest element of the game. When a player’s ships or ground units do eventually come in contact with the opposing players units, space or ground combat will happen. It’s here that players will grab the corresponding dice listed next to the models involved and roll to see who does damage to who with the attacker rolling first. Players can assign a leader to combat if one is not in the system and this gives you access to tactic cards, which can be played amidst combat to damage ships or block damage or even re-roll dice. The reason this is its weakest element is that it slows the game down and is very convoluted. The expansion does help fix this and I do plan to have a review out of the soon for those of you who are interested in it. But I won’t go into more on combat as the rule book does explain nicely with pics on the stages and how to assign damage.
Lastly are the components, which are numerous….and nice. This box is packed with miniatures! The cardboard is nice cardboard and the cards are nice cards with seriously nice artwork. The miniatures are super fun. I mean just look how tiny the x-wings are! Or the cute mini Death Star! These models seem to be very nice plastic, this is coming from someone who has a weakness for collecting miniatures! Anyone who paints models will have fun with the level of detail in them, in fact if I had time I would be all over painting them. The board itself is huge, it takes two games boards together to make it. It is impressive when all laid out with tiny miniature ships all over. Also seems intimidating to the rebel player. Fantasy Flight is known for hitting it out of the park when it comes to game components. One thing I’ve seen a lot of people comment online or on YouTube about is its rule books. The game gives you a learn to play book for your first couple games with all the basics. They also include another rule book with all the rules and easy to reference what page they are on. All in all it gives this game a nice easy road on learning to play.
I’ll repeat myself again, this game is in the top 100 games (top 10 currently) on Board Game Geek and I can see why. It’s not just fun, but it lets those who like Star Wars really lose themselves in a fun battle of the Rebels versus the Empire! Theme, game play, and components are all top-notch and this is a perfect example of a board games I love. Despite the few cons this game comes with its still insanely fun. Star Wars Rebellion goes for about $80 on Amazon, which is a good investment for a mainly 2 player board game. Even though I personally feel that’s a good deal I would try to either borrow or see if you can try it out before buying, maybe even watch some play through videos on YouTube to get a sense of what you’d be investing in.
Happy Gaming Gamers!
- Control your own Star Wars Fleet/ leaders
- Miniatures are beautiful
- Cat & mouse style game play very fun
- So many epic moments!
- Really only a 2-player game
- Combat weighs down rest of game