Best Star Wars Tabletop Board Games – Ranked & Reviewed (2019)
I still remember watching the original Star Wars movies for the first time. I was too young to see them in theaters, but my brother and I sat around our old clunker TV one Friday night after coming back from Blockbuster and were eating popcorn when we popped A New Hope into the VCR. The next weekend we came back with both Empire and Return of the Jedi. We were hooked, building lego starfighters and turning cardboard boxes into the Millenium Falcon ever since.
Luckily for all of us, there’s been a huge resurgence in the popularity of Star Wars and there is an impressive list of board games out there. And I have to say, they are some of the coolest I’ve ever played.
Imperial Assault puts you in the midst of the Galactic Civil War between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire after the destruction of the Death Star over Yavin 4 with two separate game experiences. The campaign game pits the limitless troops and resources of the Galactic Empire against a crack team of elite Rebel operatives as they strive to break the Empire’s hold on the galaxy, while the skirmish game invites you and a friend to muster strike teams and battle head-to-head over conflicting objectives.
The Death Star has fallen but the Rebellion is far from over. Imperial outposts and strongholds still control the galaxy. It’s up to you and your elite team to strike back and take the fight to the Empire.
How it Works
This game has one of the coolest thematic elements in one box. One player will control all of the Imperial forces. This could be an outpost of stormtroopers all the way up to Darth Vader himself with some ATSTs as backup.
The other players all choose a hero character, which will make up your strike team. The core game gives you the option of an exiled Jedi, a veteran soldier, grizzled commander, a plucky smuggler, a bounty hunter, and of course, a Wookie warrior.
The strike team has the advantage in abilities and movement, but are severely outnumbered. Even stormtroopers can hit you if there are enough of them. On top of that, they have access to the big guns like ATSTs and Vader, and they have different winning criteria than the rebel side. If the Empire injures all the player characters, then they still win. The strike team will have a series of objectives that can be different from game to game depending on the scenario they’re playing.
In the first scenario aftermath, the Rebels have just destroyed the Death Star, but the Empire is not gone. The Rebels have picked up a transmission from a hidden outpost, and send a strike team to eliminate the signal at all cost. The Rebel win condition is to destroy the four transmitters within 6 turns. If they take too long then the message is already sent and the Empire wins. The Empire’s job in this first scenario is to simply slow down the Rebel strike team.
The First Scenario
Without giving anything away, the first scenario had quite a few surprises to it. It’s completely doable, but the Empire players aren’t just extras standing around waiting to get mowed down by blasterfire and lightsabers. They have quite a few tricks up their sleeves.
The Rebel characters are also unique in their abilities and weapons. Each character has a different equipment loadout and specialty. The Wookie armed with a vibro-axe can dish out some serious damage and has a cleave ability which lets him get in a few more swings in one turn. The plucky smuggler is good and sneaking in and out and has an ability which allows her to move about the board quicker, and even has the ability to “shoot first” when attacked. Smugglers always shoot first.
As the players advance through the campaign, the objectives will get harder and more complex, and they are phenomenal. You’ll find some familiar faces in the core campaign like Han Solo or Vader, and you’ll have to utilize all of your skills to be able to complete them. The Empire player will very often have a numbers advantage or defensible position, and the Rebels have elite abilities and are much stronger than the others.
What’s in the Box?
There’s a lot in the box. The game is essentially two games in one–it has a massive campaign mode that’s packed to the brim with content and a competitive skirmish mode that pits players against each other in a tactical duel.
- Shut Up & Sit Down called it “Star Wars in a box,” which sounds about right to me. Also, it’s probably the highest praise a game can get with such an expansive universe as Star Wars has built over the decades.
- There are apps to track your progress, which makes everything easier. I prefer Campaign Tracker for Imperial Assault on Android. (You can also keep track of your collection on the app as well.)
- This game is addictive, thematically on-point, and feels like an RPG in many respects. It’s always fun to play and keeps you coming back for more.
- The cost of this game (plus numerous expansions) is definitely a drawback. Fantasy Flight Games aren’t cheap, nor should they be due to their consistently high quality, but it becomes quite an investment if you want to move on past the Core box.
- This game is a time commitment! Good luck getting through a full campaign in one sitting.
- At times it can seem a bit unbalanced (in story mode). You never want to feel like you have to hold back in a game to keep it fun…
Imperial Assault wins for pure value in the Core box. There is enough to keep any Star Wars fan satisfied for quite some time. There are a ton of expansions that add tougher challenges, scenarios, and new player characters. This has, however, been slightly frustrating for those of us with a completionist-personality… you can never get all of the expansions! I’ve heard the criticism that this feels a bit like microtransactions in tabletop gaming. I’ll let you be the judge.
Star Wars: Armada
Massive Star Destroyers fly to battle against Rebel corvettes and frigates. Banks of turbolasers unleash torrential volleys of fire against squadrons of X-wings and TIEs. Engineering teams race to route additional power to failing shields. Laser blasts and explosions flare across the battlefield. Even a single ship can change the tide of battle.
In Star Wars: Armada, you assume the role of fleet admiral, serving with either the Imperial Navy or Rebel Alliance. It’s your job to issue the tactical commands that will decide the course of battle and, perhaps, the fate of the galaxy.
Armada reminds me of playing the Mage Knight miniatures game when I was younger. It will quickly eat up all of your tablespace as you convert your dining room table into an interstellar battlefield.
As with most of the games on this list each player picks a faction and will build their fleets with iconic Star Wars ships.
- Tie Fighters Vs X-Wings
- Star Destroyers Vs. Mon Calamari Cruisers
- Death Star Vs. Ventilation Ducts
Well, maybe not that last one but you get the idea. Each player will control individual miniatures, each representing a different ship or squad of fighters. They will maneuver along the playing field (there’s no board) and attack the other fleet. It’s not as simple as that though.
Each ship or squad has their own specific stats that make them better at engaging with certain ships. Bombers are really slow, but pack a heavy punch especially against your larger capital ships. Tie Fighters are basically made of glass, but fast. The rebel blockade runner isn’t very strong but can blast through a blockade and get behind the larger star destroyers to take pot shots at engines.
The game is highly tactical and is probably the closest you’ll get to playing an RTS (Real Time Strategy) game in board game form.
Ship-to-ship combat is handled by determining the strength of your weapons according to ship type and rolling color-coded dice. So there’s still a chance to have some epic moments when a small ship swoops in for the kill. If you’re cursed by the dice gods (like most of us are) then you also have captain powers that can alter some of the dice rolls to eliminate a bit of the randomness.
Shipboard movement is determined by each ship’s speed using movement indicators, which are basically bendable rulers to determine how far a ship can move and how quickly they can turn. The system works very well and seems completely realistic. Large capital ships take time to maneuver and move, but squadrons and fast assault ships can maneuver and speed through enemy lines.
Another cool bit of realism to the game is the quadrants on the base of the models. Depending upon which direction your model is facing, it could be heavily armored or completely exposed. Hitting the engines of a ship is much more damaging than trying to pour all your fire straight on. The quadrants also show where your guns are located. If your ship is out of position and is facing the enemy head-on, all of your guns may be located on the port and starboard side limiting how much damage you can do. On the other hand, if you’re trying to fly by a Star Destroyer you open yourself up to a devastating broadside.
Armada puts you in control of epic space battles.
Star Wars: Armada versus X-Wing Miniatures Game
Armada is a miniatures game where players move around capital ships that are engaged in epic battle against each other. Unlike X-Wing, which focuses on quick zippy dogfights, Armada‘s battles are deep, prolonged, and highly strategic affairs.
Because Armada and X-Wing are so similar there is a lot of debate over them.
- Which one should I get?
- Should I get both?
- Is one better than the other?
If you’ve never played either game then on first glance, it can seem like they’re the same game. It’s very easy to confuse the two if you’ve never looked into either of them. They’re both made by the same company, both are set in the Star Wars universe, and both focus on ship-to-ship combat. So what’s the difference?
The easiest way to explain the differences is a matter of scale. Armada is like a fleet admiral looking at the whole battle. Armada is much grander and battle sizes can encompass whole squadrons of fighters and various support and attack ships.
In X-Wing, the scale is much more focused. Your battles will be smaller and can focus in on individual pilots and ships. One is not better than the other in this regard they just focus on different levels.
- Gorgeous aesthetic, heavy on strategic, and easy to pick up and play.
- True to theme, deep, and full of compelling storytelling.
- Quality components that are both functional and attractive (a bit fragile, however).
- Rather expensive for what it is. The base game wears thin quickly, so in order to keep the game fresh, you’ll have to spend more money on expansions, which really add up.
- It might be good to invest in some more dice, as the core game doesn’t provide enough to roll without re-rolling some.
The game has some flaws, but overall it’s a beautiful example of tactical wargaming that has brought gamers back into the fold.
Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game (Second Edition)
Control the most advanced starfighters and outstanding pilots in the galaxy! In X-Wing Miniatures Game, you take the role of squad leader and command a group of merciless Imperial or daring Rebel pilots in furious ship-to-ship space combat.
Featuring stunningly detailed and painted miniatures, X-Wing recreates exciting Star Wars space battles from small engagements of only a couple of craft to large conflicts where multiple squadrons clash. Select and equip your ships, pick your crew, plan your attack, and complete your mission.
X-Wing brings space dogfighting to life in an incredibly clean way. The game allows each side to build up their squads and adds several customizable options by using their card system.
For example, if you’re flying a ship that has a slot for an extra crewmember or copilot you can add a specialist that gives you a special ability or stats over the base ship. If you’re in a Tie Fighter or X-Wing you can add various shipboard systems to make them more deadly or maneuverable. The system adds a ton of versatility to the game, and the same ship with different loadouts changes how each game plays out.
How it Works
In X-Wing, each ship will have a pilot score which determines when in the turn order it will get to move and attack. The lower numbers will be able to move quicker, but the higher numbers will be able to shoot first. This adds a bit of balance to the game allowing the weaker, but quicker ships to be able to maneuver and not just get blasted out of the sky.
For movement, each player will plan their moves for their ships first, and then everyone will reveal and determines firing order. When in combat the attacking players will roll Red Dice that determines the number of hits. The defending player rolls green dice to attempt to evade and negate damage.
- Its short rulebook makes for an easy game to pick up and play.
- All movement is managed by the “Nav Computer” and the move templates, so you don’t have to keep a bunch of stats in your head.
- Awesome miniatures of the iconic Star Wars ships, well made in excellent detail.
- Quick and easy combat that only slows down the game minimally (unlike many games of this kind).
- Low replayability due to limited components in Core Set.
- Buying expansions becomes very necessary after a few games and can get quite expensive. The Core Set is woefully insufficient for any decent games (two ties fighters versus one x-wing).
The X-Wing Miniatures game pushes the definition of “miniature” to the limit. The expansion Rebel Transport brings a massive rebel ship to the table along with several new scenarios and ways to play with your new transport ship as the star.
What I really like about this game is how important everything seems to feel. I like the individual customizations of ships and sending out certain pilots. It’s got a much more personal and tactical feel, and yet there are so many expansions and content that you can have a massive space battle feel as well.
Star Wars: Empire vs. Rebellion
Claim victory in the Galactic Civil War in Star Wars™: Empire vs. Rebellion, a fast-paced card game for two players. In every game, you and your opponent match wits and resources over key events. If you can thwart your opponent, you claim the event, bringing you closer to victory. Whether you seek to triumph through military might or use diplomacy to achieve your ends, the fate of the galaxy rests in your hands.
Empire Vs. Rebellion is a two-player card game where… you face off as either the Empire or Rebellion!
Seriously though it plays like an advanced version of Blackjack (or Pazaak for you nerds) with some upgraded mechanics. The game is played in several rounds and the player who reaches 7 victory points first wins the game.
Starting the Game
Each player will choose a deck (Empire or Rebellion). Both decks are basically the same. The only differences are the hero cards, which add a bit of variety to each deck. When starting, each player chooses 4 heroes and shuffles them into their deck, and then you’re basically ready to go.
How to Play
Each card in your deck will have 2 numbers printed on it; 1 on top and 1 on the side. On your turn, you will draw a number of cards until you ‘pass’. Very similar to Blackjack. The object is to get the closest to the number printed on the Event card without going over.
So far the game plays exactly like Blackjack, but here’s where the differences come into play.
Next, you’ll shuffle the event deck and draw the first event card. Like blackjack you are going t If you look at each card in your deck the number on top of the card is counted towards your total, but there’s also card text and each card has different abilities.
Some of the abilities you’ll see:
- Force a character to discard a card in play.
- Look at the top cards and possibly discard some from either player’s deck.
- Force a character to exhaust a card.
If you decide to use the card’s ability then you will exhaust the card and follow the text on the card and then rotate the card to show the 2nd number on the side. The 2nd number on the side of the card now counts towards your total.
Card Abilities Practice Round
- You draw Yoda and he goes into play.
- The 1st number at the top of the card is a 6.
- Your total for this round is six.
- You decide to use his ability. “Gain 1 influence token.”
- You’ll then rotate the card with the 2nd number (1) facing up.
- Total for that round is 1.
- You may now pass or keep drawing cards.
So we have a bit of the basics down, but what number are we trying to reach? It’s not 21. To find that out, we’ll look at the Event cards.
Each round will have 1 event card. They will be different events from the Star Wars Universe. On the bottom left of the card, you will see a number and a number of black pips. The number is the target you are trying to reach without going over, and the pips are the number of cards that you can use that turn.
The top right of the card has 2 numbers. The larger number shows the number of victory points the round is worth. The smaller red number is how many influence tokens the player will receive for winning the round.
Influence Token Practice Round
- The battle of Hoth event is being played.
- It is worth 3 victory points and 0 influence tokens.
- The target number is 17 and players will be able to have 5 cards in play.
- The player that gets closest to 17 without going over will win the round.
The last thing we need to talk about is the influence tokens. Influence tokens are used to ‘unexhaust’ a card in front of you. So for our previous example you used Yoda’s ability and exhausted the card and it is now worth 1 instead of 6. An influence card will then flip Yoda right side up and the card worth is back up to 6. Influence is very powerful in this game so don’t forget to use it to your strategic advantage.
That’s basically all there is to it. It sounds very simple, but the character abilities and influence tokens can make it a very strategic game, and it has a surprising amount of strategy involved for a 2 player dueling game.
- Relatively quick and easy to learn. The similarities to Blackjack help new players get a handle on the rules.
- Some bluffing elements make it a bit more interesting than just a standard duel.
- The game is pretty inexpensive for a Star Wars game.
- The game has very little to do with Star Wars. It’s basically Blackjack with some special abilities thrown in. Hardcore Star Wars fans will be disappointed by the lack of theme followthrough.
- Random card draw gives the feeling of luck playing a bigger role than skill.
- The box is really small and doesn’t allow for the use of card sleeves.
Although not a deep, strategic, two-player card game, and certainly not thematic in its gameplay, this is an entertaining (and quick) card game for two people that has great artwork and won’t break the bank.
Star Wars: Rebellion
The actions of a handful of men and women shape the course of the Galactic Civil War in Star Wars™: Rebellion, a board game of epic conflict between the Galactic Empire and Rebel Alliance for two to four players.
In Star Wars™: Rebellion, you control the entire Galactic Empire or the fledgling Rebel Alliance. You must command starships, account for troop movements, and rally systems to your cause. Featuring more than 150 plastic miniatures and two game boards that account for thirty-two of the Star Wars™ galaxy’s most notable star systems, Star Wars™: Rebellion aspires to be as large and sweeping as the Star Wars™ universe itself.
This reminds me of the Galactic Conquest mode on Star Wars Battlegrounds.
In Star Wars: Rebellion each player will choose to be either the Empire or Rebellion (shocking, I know). The Empire has access to massive shipyards and infrastructure and they basically start the game with the galaxy halfway conquered. Oh, and did I mention they get access to the Death Star, which has the ability to destroy entire planets?
How to Play
This game is played over multiple rounds, with each round consisting of the following phases:
- Assignment Phase
- Command Phase
- Combat Phase
- Refresh Phase
The Imperial side wins if they find and conquer the Rebel base’s system. The Rebel side wins if the Reputation marker and the Time marker are in the same space on the time track.
It seems a tad unfair, but the game is called Rebellion. As such, the Rebellion is definitely in hiding. The Rebels aren’t completely defenseless. They wage a guerilla war against the Empire that’s incredibly effective. At the beginning of the game, while the Empire is spreading across the galaxy like the bureaucratic nightmare that it is, the Rebels will choose one single planet. That planet is the Rebel stronghold and their last bastion. If at any point the Empire takes control of the Rebel stronghold then the Empire wins. The Rebels simply need to outlast ’em.
Sounds pretty simple for both sides, but nothing ever is. The Rebel stronghold can be literally any planet. It could be in the heart of the Empire hiding in plain sight, in a completely isolated world with no resources like Hoth (who would do that?) or it could be on Naboo. You’ll need to be careful, though, because the Empire still has access to the Death Star, which is fully operational and can destroy entire planets. The choice is entirely up to you. Make sure to wear your poker face because there is an element of bluffing here.
“Nobody would simply follow the movies and put it on Yavin or Hoth…. Unless they thought I wouldn’t search there, but if they put it on a random planet there’s just as much chance it’s in the middle of the Empire, but they know that it’ll be extremely vulnerable there…”
You could run around that logic for hours. There’s no way of knowing where it is, other than through some good old-fashioned galactic conquest.
The Empire will be scouring the galaxy looking for the Rebel base, but to actually win, they need to land on the planet and wipe out all resistance. This adds quite a bit of bluffing and analysis of your opponents’ moves as well. Are they building up forces in anticipation of an assault on the hidden base, or is it a bluff to draw attention away from an unused planet? It becomes an interesting dance between bluffing and pushing forward with objectives, and at the end of the game, I can guarantee you’ll be sitting around for a bit talking about what you read into each other’s movements.
The Rebel goal is to survive, but that doesn’t mean they simply turtle up and wait for the game to end. They have a very active role if they want to win. On the turn tracker, two tokens are placed on each end. The turn tracker token starts at 1 and counts up to indicate what turn the game is on. The Rebel Objective token starts at the other end of the track on 16. For every objective, they complete the token goes down a number. When both tokens meet the game is over and the Rebels win. You can completely ignore objectives, but remember the Empire is stronger than the Rebels. They can put out more ships and have much more firepower. The quicker the Rebels can complete objectives, the quicker the game will end, and the better odds they have of keeping their Rebel base hidden.
More Like Cat-and-Mouse…
Star Wars Rebellion is an excellent wargame in its own right, but FFGs did an incredible job with the theme as well. The events the come up are all from the movies and are very fun to try and complete. It’s always a brutal blow to destroy the Death Star. Neither side felt overpowered either. The Empire had a larger production of ships, but that just added to the overall theme. Playing as the Rebels made me feel like an actual freedom fighter. The abilities and movement of the Rebels help fuel the immersion as well. I could send out a diplomat and convert a planet while leading the Empire on a wild goose chase around the galaxy. The Empire on the other hand, sick of playing cat and mouse, opted to simply blow up the planet… see? Balance.
- Incredibly thematic, not just in artwork and miniature-design, but also in the gameplay and objectives.
- Strategic and thoughtful gameplay. Despite a bit of luck with combat dice rolls, this game is full of strategic thinking and trying to outmaneuver your opponent(s).
- Both combat and mission successes are substantially based on lucky rolls. If you have a dysfunctional relationship with dice (like I do) this may cause some problems.
- Although the game isn’t difficult, the minutiae in the rules make for a lot of rulebook checking.
It’s kind of like a galactic-scale version of Risk on steroids in just about every way. Unlike many of the other Star Wars games, this is a traditional board game that you can set up, play, pack down, and fully conclude in one session, no add-ons necessary.
Star Wars RPG System
One of the first Star Wars games I ever played was actually the Star Wars RPG. I played the revised edition right after the prequels came out. Of course, my brother decided that he was going to play a Gungan character that threatened to stab everyone we came across. Typical.
The system has since been revised and updated. from what I remembered, and if you haven’t taken a look in awhile it’s definitely worth the revisit.
After the Beginner Game in the new systems, you’ll be able to pick from three different themes to play:
- Star Wars: Force and Destiny
- Star Wars: Edge of the Empire
- Star Wars: Age of Rebellion
Although each one is portrayed as its own separate game the rule systems are almost identical. There’s a massive core rulebook for each system, and they basically cover the same things. The only difference is the slight theme change between each series.
The Force Awakens: Beginner Game
If you’re familiar with the core stats of Dungeons & Dragons then this is all going to be very familiar. The character abilities (stats) will ring lots of bells for those with experience playing RPGs.
Each core attribute demonstrates how well your character will do at certain tasks. A Wookie will have a very high Brawn attribute and be incredibly strong. A wizened old Jedi would have a high intellect and willpower.
Star Wars: Force and Destiny
This series is all about the Force.
That great thing about pen and paper RPG’s is that you don’t have to shoehorn yourself into one of those character archetypes. You could create a Wookie with an incredibly high intellect and willpower but very weak in brawn and agility. You could be roleplaying as an elder Wookie whose fighting days are long past, but is filled with the knowledge and experiences of a long life.
Star Wars: Edge of the Empire
This series focuses on the fringes of the galaxy; smugglers, bounty hunters, and the scum of the galaxy. All of the character classes will be focused on being the shadiest.
How the heck do I play?
The Star Wars RPG plays like any other Pen and Paper RPG. Players will use the core rulebooks to create a character and class, and then a Gamemaster (or Dungeonmaster) will control the game. They will create the story and act as NPCs for the hero characters and overall run the game. The most important role is the GM. Without them, there is no story.
It can be fully created on the fly and 100% original or you can model it off of your favorite Star Wars events. The RPG basically builds a system and a set of rules. What you do with it is entirely up to you.
The best way to play is by finding a friend who already knows what they’re doing and have them run a game with you. Unless you have a lot of nerdy friends, this may not be an option. (Although, it never hurts to ask.) You never know who’s secretly been hiding their nerdy tendencies from the world. You might be surprised.
If nobody turns up, there are usually meetup groups or local comic shops that open their doors to RPG nights. Both are great ways to meet a group of players and make some new friends.
Star Wars: Age of Rebellion
This series is all about large scale battles and military conflicts.
There are also a lot of good RPG web shows that stream their own games, and they are an excellent resource. Watching someone else play can give you a feel for the game and give you an idea of how it’s going to go.
The best way to learn the game (and how I learned) is through horrible trial and error. When I first started playing my buddies and I would all take turns doing one-shot campaigns (Kendra calls them “one night stands”). Rotating like that when you first start allows everyone to get a feel for the rules and develops a healthy sympathy for the GM. Nobody likes a “that guy” in their game, and if everybody GMs it tends to weed out some bad player habits.
Why are there 3 core rulebooks?
The rules don’t really change, and the only difference is class features and storyline starter changes. Other than that the majority of the information is the same between the 3. Each one is cool, but it screams “cash grab” to me.
The same issues with traditional RPGs come up here. It always ends up being difficult getting everyone together for regular sessions (stupid life always gets in the way of fantasy). It’s usually difficult to find a player willing to DM the game. They have to be creative and know the rules well, or be able to make it up on the fly.
If it’s your first time as DM, there are some excellent groups on Reddit that help new players, and you could always try running a prebuilt scenario to get some experience under your belt. There are actually three, all released by Fantasy Flight Games: Edge of Empire, Force and Destiny, and Age of Rebellion are three different tabletop RPGs, in the same vein as Dungeons and Dragons or Pathfinder.
Star Wars: The Card Game
The Imperial fleet sifts through the galaxy for signs of the Rebel Alliance’s hidden base, hoping to obliterate it with one powerful blast from their newly constructed Death Star. As the Empire’s imposing Star Destroyers draw near, the Rebels realize there is no time to spare, so they mobilize for a desperate attack. Squadrons of starfighters launch into space. Their pilots know that many of them may soon make the ultimate sacrifice for galactic freedom…
Star Wars: The Card Game is one of the more interesting games on our list for it’s “living” system. In this living card game, there will be continual updates working in tandem with the Star Wars universe. As new lore comes out on the big screen new cards and expansions will become available to players.
Starting the Game
The game is similar to a deck-building game, however, instead of card-drafting, players will create the entirety of their decks beforehand. To create your deck each side will choose 10 objectives. Each objective will have 5 cards associated with it and will become your deck of 50 cards.
Each player sets up as either light side or dark side. Each side has 3 similar factions.
- Rebel Alliance
- Smugglers & Spies
- Imperial Navy
- Scum & Villainy
Each player will start with 3 objectives in play. Objectives can have special abilities that allow you to manipulate your deck, and they give you resources. The number on the bottom left also indicates how much health or damage they can take.
The Light Side’s objective in the game is to destroy 3 of the Dark Side objectives. The Dark Side has a different win condition: they simply need to survive for 12 turns (marked by a Death Star counter).
The objectives are very different and force the opposing factions to adopt very different strategies.
Each card will have a play cost located at the top left of each card, and some will have a specific faction cost as well. Resources come from your objective cards and other abilities from cards played.
How to Play
Once players get set up and play cards, one player will decide to attack and declares which cards he’s sending on his attack. The second player will then declare which cards he’s going to defend with.
Before the fight, there will be an initial battle where players will drop cards for an “Edge” battle. It plays a little bit like a blind hand of War. Each player will play cards in a separate stack into a stack. Once done every player will count up the white force points on the left-hand side of the card. The player with the most points wins the “Edge” battle and gains the edge in the upcoming battle.
Players will then use their abilities on the cards to do damage and special abilities, and the player who wins the “Edge” battle they can also use the white colored abilities in addition to the regular abilities. The player who lost the edge battle can only use the black abilities.
Once the round is over the players can use the Force to try and influence the game. If the Dark Side controls the force then they will gain a special ability such as moving the Death Star counter twice in one turn instead of once.
Living Card Game
One of the more interesting aspects of this game is that it’s a living card game. Just as the Star Wars universe is a living universe and is constantly being added to (or destroyed, sorry Mara Jade) the card game is constantly getting updated to account for the new Star Wars canon. For those of you who really like expansions then there is always going to be new expansions and areas of the Star Wars world you can get into.
- Very strong Star Wars theme: excellent artwork, characters, and locations make it immersive in the Star Wars universe.
- Fan-created solo options allow for fun deck-building opportunities without the aggressive competitive element.
- High-quality components.
- Initial reports hinted that the Star Wars LCG would be similar to the Lord of the Rings LCG, particularly the cooperative aspect. This turned out to be false and has been a disappointment to many players. This game is very much not cooperative.
The deck-building aspect of this game is very easy. You can get very tactical by carefully analyzing your objectives, or you can choose thematically where you can pick based on what you think would be a cool mashup.
Risk: Star Wars Edition
This Risk: Star Wars Edition game lets players re-create the dramatic final moments of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Featuring gameplay for 2 or 4 players across a TIE fighter-shaped gameboard, players can determine the fate of the Star Wars universe through 3 concurrent (yet distinct) battles. Choose to play as either the Rebel Alliance or the Galactic Empire, and use the classic Risk dice to control characters and ships. The object of the game is to defend or destroy the Death Star. Which side will win: the Galactic Empire or the Rebel Alliance?
Risk: Star Wars Edition gets a lot of flack for calling itself Risk. It’s similar, but not necessarily a traditional Risk game. The game isn’t so much a traditional Risk game as it is Battle of Endor the board game.
How it Works
Instead of holding territory and expanding, you are fighting a fluid war on three different fronts. The major battlefield will be in the centerboard involving the Death Star, Executor Star Destroyer, and a swarm of Tie Fighters vs. The Millenium Falcon and the entire Rebellion fleet.
The rebel fleet will have several carrier ships off-board where you can spawn fighters to attack Tie Fighters and the Executor. The Death Star will be invulnerable until the ground troops on Endor can take the shield generator (sound familiar?).
The Role of the Executor
The Executor will be able to spawn Tie Fighters and is a powerful ship in its own right, giving it the most attack power on the board (second only to the Death Star). However, if the Rebels manage to take out the Executor, the Empire will be cut off from reinforcements. The Executor is the only way to spawn more Tie Fighters, so the second it’s destroyed you will have to make do with the ships already in play. There is no other way to spawn more Tie Fighters.
The Plight of the Rebellion
The Rebel supply line is always in danger as well. The Death Star can wipe out a whole Carrier and all ships within it, rapidly depleting reserve forces. Once all of the carriers are wiped out, the Death Star can then fire upon sections in the main board, wiping out all ships on that space.
While the battle rages on in the sky, your strike team moves in on Endor. The Rebellion will have to complete a series of increasingly harder rolls to move their forces down the track towards the shield generator. The empire meanwhile will be deploying forces making the dice rolls even harder and delaying the Rebels. The longer it takes to get the shield generator down the more time the Death Star has to wreak havoc on the battlefield.
The last fight happening simultaneously is the duel between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. The fight will be shown using a similar track to the shield generator showing the health of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. Whichever side wins will gain the advantage by receiving 3 bonus cards to use.
Risk, but not Risk
Risk: Star Wars Edition is a war game, but doesn’t necessarily feel like Risk. The central idea of Risk is to attack, hold territory, and press your luck advancing your troops into enemy territory. This is not the case here. Yes, there will be an advance towards the shield generator and ships will maneuver towards the Death Star, but the battle is much more fluid. There is no point trying to make a choke point with all your forces if the Death Star is going to just blast everything to bits, so a different type of strategy is needed.
There’s also the matter of a war on three fronts. Do you push everything you have towards the shield generators and hope the Death Star doesn’t wipe out too many of your ships? Do you risk ignoring the duel between Luke and Vader in favor of more direct military action? There’s a lot of options involved, and one strategy may work one game, but get you in a lot of hot water the next game.
Risk: Star Wars Edition is a fantastic game. The tension of three different fronts and the balance needed to be successful on all fronts make it very intriguing.
- A terrific game without the drawback of an overly powerful luck component.
- An entertaining and strategic 2-player duel, full of the thematic elements of Star Wars we all know and love.
- A fairly inexpensive Star Wars-themed game.
- The name is a bit misleading. The game doesn’t act like the traditional game of Risk but was probably titled as such to appeal to a broader audience. Mechanically, Star Wars Risk plays much more similarly to an Episode I game, Queen’s Gambit, which was released by Avalon Hill back in the days of Episode I.
- The components look nice but feel a bit cheaply made.
As a huge Risk fan, I find it’s similar only in genre, but the game is fantastic and is one of the few rare examples of a 2-player board game done right.
There are tons of Star Wars games, and with the resurgence of the genre’s popularity, there’s only going to be more. You can become part of an elite strike team raiding Imperial bases, an elite fighter pilot, or even a general puppeteering an entire armada.
There’s also a traditional Pen and Paper RPG where you can do anything your imagination can come up with. There’s usually a scarcity in Sci-Fi games and lore in the board gaming community, but Star Wars is able to fit the niche and scratch that itch quite well.
This list is by no means exhaustive. There are plenty more games, but these were the ones we were particularly interested in and enjoyed. Drop a comment below and let us know your favorites, what you liked, and what we missed. And as always, may the Force be with you.