With a deep hum the control unit confirmed its service. Bright red light flooded the room. Individual cracks were visible in the carbon. Exhausted Leia, awakened from her deep sleep, fell straight into Han’s arms. Han and Lando put her on the prepared hovering unit. The time window they had gotten from the surprise attack by the Renegade Squadron was almost used up. Now they had to get into the hangar quickly. Here stood the Imperial Shuttle, with which their escape could begin.
So or something like that, one of the Star Wars parts could have run across the screen in the cinema. That he did not do this is common knowledge. But if you want to create your own sequence of films, you can’t avoid Star Wars Rebellion. Because this board game is about exactly that: Finally you can recreate the whole conflict about the galaxy between the Empire and the rebels.
Star Wars Rebellion – another Star Wars board game?
Of course, you first have to deal with the question whether the world still needs another Star Wars board game. Aren’t there already enough of them on the market?
Yes, it needs Star Wars Rebellion!
All previous games have only ever looked at one aspect of the universe. In Star Wars X-Wing, they only focused on the space battles, Star Wars Risk was all about destroying the Death Star, and Star Wars Monopoly has nothing to do with the Star Wars feeling. Star Wars Rebellion goes a different way. It’s not about the little conflicts, it’s zooming out one level. It’s about the whole conflict. If you like, the story starts before episode 4, the empire is at the height of its reign and the Death Star plans haven’t been stolen yet. Slowly, the systems are coming together to rise up against the Emperor.
Each player has a different winning strategy in Star Wars Rebellion. The Rebel player simply wants to survive, he must keep his base hidden. Along the way he will try to get individual systems on his side. The empire player on the other hand has to try to find the rebel base and destroy it. What sounds very simple at first turns out to be the search for a needle in a haystack the next moment.
The rebels have a total of 31 systems in which they can hide. As the empire, you can launch search Droids to gradually eliminate one system after the other. However, time plays against the Empire. Once you’ve found the planet, you’ll need to mobilize your troops. And if they have to go from one end of the galaxy to the other, it might be too late to win.
The game’s coming along pretty fast. At the beginning of each round the leaders of each faction are assigned to missions. The missions are key events from the Star Wars movies, such as using the Death Star to destroy a planet. But in contrast to the movies, the own movie starts here, because in the movie Tarkin gave the order, in Star Wars Rebellion it can be the emperor who is on the Death Star at that moment. And instead of Han, Leia is frozen in carbon and not on Bespin instead on Ryloth.
Now that you have planned your missions, they will be executed one after the other and alternating. But the opponent can also intervene again and again and try to prevent the mission. But he can only do this if he has one of his leaders in reserve. Besides completing missions, you can also use your leaders to move troops from one system to another. So it is important to find the right balance.
In the last phase of a round, it’s really just a matter of refreshing cards and recruiting new troops. The fights are also kept very simple and straightforward. Each unit has a certain pool of dice and depending on the result the enemy units are destroyed or not. But you also try to keep the reality. A normal X-Wing can’t destroy a Star Destroyer, unless you have a certain amount of luck or surrender to the Force and roll several critical hits.
A never-ending list of stuff
Star Wars Rebellion comes along with a mass of very good game material. Besides a really huge game board you get over 150 miniatures, over 70 cards, dice, tokens without end and then 25 leaders. This makes you almost forget the high price. Exactly this mass also makes it that you have to think carefully where you play. The table should not be too small. Besides the game plan, all the cards have to find their place. In addition, especially in the first game rounds, you need the well designed manual and the Fantasy Flight Games typical reference manual. In our game round, a table with 90 * 200 centimeters was occupied to 80 percent.
Although Star Wars Rebellion can be played with more than two players, it’s most fun to play it in a group of two. Here, the expansion with more than 2 players looks more like it was added later to make the price hurdle seem a bit lower. After all, this is a game of 2-4 players. You should also just start playing at the beginning. Especially in the first game rounds, this simply increases the fun of playing. Since neither the Imperial player nor the Rebel player knows what the opponent has in his hand, you can’t really adjust to it.
Then there is, for example, an attack in the last round, just before the victory of the Rebellion, which leads to the empire emerging as a glorious winner after all. And since the victory was already certain, the rebel didn’t make any preparations at all. In later games, the experience turns 180 degrees, because now you know what the other person is capable of and you’ll use a completely different strategy to keep your opponent in check.
Star Wars Rebellion does not seem fair. As a rebel player, you have doubts from the very first moment. You wonder how you can compete with the imperial war industry? Each round produces these vast quantities of units. As a rebel, you’re trying to win over a system. Then you hope to produce a great battleship in three rounds. One turn later, however, you can watch how it is under the control of the Empire and produces for it from now on. But you are not discouraged.
And here is also the key to the game. It’s not about who owns the largest fleet and then has the luck of the dice. The rebels must try to disrupt the Empire with small stitches. One sabotage here and the construction of the Super Stardestroyer is delayed. Or you provoke a rebellion on a core world and thus bind the Empire’s troops to distract them from the base.
As an empire, the gaming experience is completely different. You have endless resources, the units are more powerful, and you can capture and control systems faster. But you’re under time pressure. At the beginning you need 14 rounds to find the rebels, but this time is reduced by successful missions of the enemy. Once you have found the main base, you have to transfer your troops into this system. And you can only travel from one system to the next per round.
Feeling like an empire, you have to take more care of your leaders. If you send all your leaders with your fleet through the galaxy to find the rebels, you don’t have any more for missions. If you send the leaders on missions and use them for the movement of the units, you won’t have any at hand for the intervention of the rebels. Finding the right balance is one of the central points when playing the Empire.
Final thoughts about Star Wars Rebellion
Star Wars Rebellion is a great game. But there are a few things you should keep in mind. First of all you should like Star Wars, but also the other player should not be averse to Star Wars. Star Wars Rebellion is a good game for two people and you should only play it with two people.
If you want to play with more than two players, it really depends on the composition of the group. The last point to consider is the length of a game session. If you want to play a game, the minimum is to invest three hours, so nothing fast for in between.
If you have created these conditions, you will be rewarded with your own Star Wars movies. In these movies it can already happen that a small command unit, under Admiral Ackbar, tries to destroy the Death Star and at the same time the rebel saboteurs are ready to blow up the second Death Star, which is under construction. Everything depends on one lousy roll of the dice. Once you’ve rolled the critical hit symbol, you’ll feel like Luke in his X-Wing after he’s shot the torpedo. And if you destroy the 2nd Death Star afterwards and the Imperial player just looks baffled and desperate, you’re no longer in your living room, but in a galaxy far far away.