Published on January 2nd, 2015 | by Duke Of Havoc0
Star Wars: Imperial Assault – Review
I would like to start this review off with a disclosure. I played Star Wars: Imperial Assault with some other members of the Need To Consume team just before Christmas, but we only managed the tutorial mission with the basic rules. I would have loved to review Star Wars: Imperial Assault in a more in-depth method but frankly there is so much to the game it could quite easily end up around three thousand words and perhaps not the most enthralling of reads for you. I am hoping that we can keep revisiting the game and even take a look at each of the thirty odd missions in game and perhaps form a narrative of the characters involved.
The box for Star Wars: Imperial Assault is a hefty one and once you open it, it is clear to see why. There is a plethora of items inside which help form the various missions and shape the various characters you can play as. A simple way to look at the game, according to some, is that this is pretty much Descent with some tweaks and a Star Wars skin There are two modes to play the game: Skirmish (for 2 players) or Campaign (2-5 players). We started with the tutorial for campaign mode and hence that is what the main focus of my review will be.
Star Wars: Imperial Assault is set moments after some moisture farmer from Tatooine shot two missiles down an exhaust port and blew up a moon sized space station. The Rebel Alliance is a bit full of itself and decides to up their offensive game against an Empire reeling from defeat (and no doubt a huge bill after the loss of their flagship weapon). One player acts as The Empire with an almost endless supply of Stormtroopers, Imperial officers, probe droids and even an AT-ST. The remaining players choose their hero from a pool of six. These include: a Wookie, a Sniper, a Jedi, a Smuggler, a rebel Commander, and a soldier. Each has their strengths and weaknesses e.g. weapon range, movement and health, but working together means you can have a solid unit to try and complete the mission at hand.
There are a vast range of tiles which when pieced together in various ways (using the huge Campaign guide book), form the terrain on which your band of rebels traverse to engage the Empire with the chance to pick up useful items (like grenades and medipacks), open doors or just pick off some Stormtroopers.
The three of us who played as the Rebels (Kia, Ruth and I) chose Mak Eshka’rey the sniper, Jyn Odan the smuggler and Gaarkhan the Wookie warrior. Our brave rebels were positioned inside a building, whilst outside and ready for war were an Imperial squad consisting of: three Stormtroopers, an Imperial officer, a probe droid and an E-Web Heavy Repeating Blaster (a bloody great big gun on a tripod). Our mission objectives: don’t let anyone on the team die, kill the Imperials, and don’t let them access one of the two terminals we were guarding.
It took us a long time to get going and I honestly believe that is due to our lack of experience regarding this type of game, rather than the game itself being at fault. The person in charge of the Imperial forces acts as a pseudo DM and luckily ours had played Descent before. It still took various read-throughs regarding various tasks to ensure we played the game correctly.
The basic rules only took us through the actions (move, attack, interact, rest, and special), how the turns work and combat (using the array of dice included in the game). The Rebels move one character, then the Imperials and so forth. The odds at this very early stage of play seem incredibly stacked against the Rebels but within the Star Wars reality, this was the case around the Battle of Yavin. As we hopefully explore the game in more depth in the coming weeks, it will become clear if this remains or if the game offers the Rebel Alliance a chance to get the upper hand. They did blow up two Death Stars after all.
The three of us waited inside the building, protecting the computer terminals and stocking up on items within a crate nearby. The sound of Imperial boots on the ground grew nearer as the three plucky heroes prepared themselves. My Wookie along with Kia’s sniper took on three Stormtroopers who came in through one door whilst Ruth attempted to singlehandedly take on the heavy gunner and the Imperial probe though the other door. We put up a brave fight, trying to attack with a combination of long range and hand to bloody-big-paw combat. Sadly, our mission came to an abrupt end as despite my valiant attempts to heal Ruth’s smuggler, she was killed after the probe droid activated it’s self-destruct sequence and the shrapnel sliced her to ribbons. She died in the arms of a Wookie. Just how a smuggler would want to go out.
There is much much more to this game but it is going to take a long time to get round to explaining all of it. I think the rules could have been laid out in a far more user-friendly way and perhaps were a little text heavy. Then again, I don’t think this sort of game (costing between £69-£80) is one that someone might buy on a whim. It is going to be played by those with a passion for the RPG-in-a-box or war gaming genres. Me personally, I am a huge Star Wars geek and I am trying to expand my board gaming knowledge as quickly as possible (so sorry if my review comes across as very basic) and I want to persevere with this game. When we got into the flow of the game (albeit with the basic rules), we really enjoyed it. The three of us discussed tactics on how best to take down the inevitable onslaught of the Empire whilst our DM sat there with a big smile on his face. I and others on Need To Consume are going to study this game intently and perhaps come back to it with additional notes in the coming months. If you love Star Wars and/or RPG-in-a-box games, then I think this might be for you.