Star Wars? And it is set after the Death Star Destruction at Yavin IV, so the original Trilogy, you have my interest .
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So what is Star Wars: Imperial Assault?
Imperial Assault is a strategy game, it has elements of co-operative play, that is if you play the Campaign (2-5 players) or direct head to head action during skirmishes (2 players). This particular Star Wars game is set after the destruction of the Death Star at Yavin IV, so after the movie “A New Hope”, so you have your favourite characters including Darth Vader, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and them Storm Troopers.
This is a board game with miniatures, no space combat, if you are looking for Star Wars space combat, look at the X-Wing game. Your goal as the Rebel’s would be in generally to sabotage specific elements of the Imperial Player, you can team up with other players who control other Rebel Groups and work together to defeat the Imperials. The Imperial Player has a goal they need to accomplish, and hopefully kill some Rebels on the way.
The Components of Imperial Assault are of a high quality, the miniature pieces are not painted, which is good and bad thing. It is great if you enjoy painting your own miniatures or it can be quite a negative if you like it done for you. They are however very sturdy pieces so fear of breaking them is not too high. The Board Game is nicely designed and modular in style allowing you to customise to your needs and play, and the cards are detailed and sturdy.
The AT-ST (the big two legged machine) has to be assembled, we found the lower gun to be quite tricky to put together, so be cautious with that piece. We did feel that the skirmish games lacked enough pieces, but you can get addon packs to rectify this, otherwise you will be using tokens in their place.
How does it play?
The game has two modes, campaign and skirmish, note the campaign can be played with 2-5 players where as the skirmish is one on one. There are 30 campaign missions and the story is fun and engaging. If you have played Descent then you have an idea of the kind of play you can expect. The rules were long and it felt like they assumed you already know how to play, so it took a few tries to get a grip of the general structure. Our campaign games were a mixed bag of success as the Rebels, if you do not play together it becomes quite a struggle, so if you have a few friends who like to play solo/rogue, then you are going to have a hard game.
We particularly liked the bonus missions you can get for key characters notably Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker also the story mission cards added extra flavour to the game. The Imperial Player in the campaigns acts more of a dungeon master so having an experienced player in that role was quite important. As you play the campaign you get experience points which was fun to customise the main characters for future missions.
The skirmishes sees you and your rebel squad squared off against the Imperial player’s squad. There are new skirmish missions which allows you to be able to play different games to your campaign especially if not all your friends are around. We did feel that we needed to have more miniatures for this mode, and that it lacked the fun of customising your main characters as you gain experience.
Generally Turn play was fast and action packed, so no idle sitting around, which is a big plus. The balance of the game was fair and we felt no one was uber strong and needed nerfs (well not yet). The combat is exciting, it is all dice based so it will affect how your troops perform, which makes for a experience. As the dice include elements like accuracy of shooting and rolling for damage hits and targets.
Will my Friends/Family enjoy it?
This is an adult board game, unless your family is experienced in this type of game we would not recommend it for kids under 12. As for your friends, this is a Star Wars themed board game which may influence how people feel about it. If you and your group enjoy Star Wars games, knowing that it is set within the original trilogy can be a big pro. Our not so keen on Star Wars friends enjoyed the game play and the structure but generally were quite indifferent about the theme and the story. They did however enjoy the game and wanted to play more of it.
Game missions play out over roughly an hour and a half, so expect long game sessions. The campaign itself is made up of lots of missions to getting through it will take a lot of time and we recommend having a consistent group for the campaign as we found it more enjoyable. The rules can take time to get into, so reading up about them before starting the game is important as some specifics can get in the way of the fun. Although if you just want to play skirmishes then you are limited to 2 players as the campaigns are the cooperative games with 2-5 players.
Star Wars: Imperial Assault is a solid game, tons of replay value with skirmishes, and the campaign keeps you wanting to progress. The miniatures are wonderful in design and quality, although unpainted, it allows for you to customise to your desire. The game play flows turn to turn, with little down time, but setup can be lengthy as the rules can get in the way. Cards are sturdy and well designed but we do recommend getting card sleeves for them, check here for great card sleeves.
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There are a few addon packs (expansions), check here for a list of available ones
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