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I went ahead and bought it. I was hoping to get the others in my group to (finally) buy something because they were all excited about it. But they didn’t. Or at least they didn’t until they found out I bought it. Then three of them bought it. Bastards.

I got it on release day for $75 US (for price references). Got a couple of partial plays in (it’s a long game) and a full game in last night (using the intro setup).

Quick Summary – Love it.

I’m an admitted Star Wars Junkie with varying levels of investment in X-Wing (high), Armada (low), Imperial Assault (medium), Star Wars Risk, the old WoTC minis game and probably other stuff. So it was expected I’d pick this up at some point.

It feels like Star Wars. At least it did to us. Asymmetrical game play where the Empire is looking for the rebel base, they have tons of resources, they send out probe droids to determine the base location, they focus on building super weapons, they can turn people to the dark side, freeze them in carbonite and their missions are slanted towards getting more resources, capturing rebel leaders, interrogating said leaders. They can subjugate planets or gain their loyalty. Either way they can collect resources from them. The Rebels need to gather support for their mission and hold out until the timer token meets the reputation token on the track. They can’t subjugate systems and have to gain planet loyalty through negotiation and influence missions. They are more resource constrained but do have missions where they can negotiate more units into the build queue. They get objectives which help them move the reputation tracker. They can get droids and the millennium falcon to help them in their quest.

Regarding combat – it works. We had no issues with it other than double checking how the cards work. I don’t think they did a good job explaining it in the rulebook but that might just be me. Now that I’ve figured it out I get how it’s handled in the rulebook but I found it awkward at first read.

Here are the basics – you have tactics cards based on theater (space, ground). You will/can have a leader involved in the combat that has tactics values for each theater. This allows you to draw tactics cards for their respective values.

The current player goes first and has a slight advantage. Each combat round will take place in each theater then you have the option to retreat. If you don’t/can’t retreat you continue combat in each theater. This is important because some tactics cards will play off units in theater. An example is bombardment (a ground tactic) which lets you do damage from a ship in the space theater.

So you figure out how many dice you roll based off your reference sheet. Two colors of dice (black, red). Small units (TIE fighters, troopers, X-Wings, etc) roll black and have black health values. Heavy units (Capital ships, Walkers, Y-Wings, etc) roll red and usually have red health values (although the smaller heavy units sometimes have black health values). So figure out how many dice you can have (max 5 of each color) and roll them. Pretty straightforward.

Dice have four possible results – hit, critical hit, lightsabers, blank. Hits are used to do damage to the related color health value. Critical hits can do one damage to either color. Lightsabers are used to play many of the tactics cards or can be discarded to draw tactics cards.

Then you go to the tactics cards phase. You can only play the ones specific to the theater you’re fighting in. Some do damage, some do rerolls, some are used to draw cards, some block damage and will be used on a later step, you get the idea.

Then you assign damage. Very straightforward.

Then, if the defender has tactics cards that allow it, you block damage. This is the slight advantage for the attacker because the defender only has his/her initial card draw to work with at this point.

Then figure out what’s destroyed. They aren’t returned to supply yet because the defender still gets to retaliate with them.

And then the defender goes.

It did feel awkward the first couple of combats but it became comfortable after a few run throughs. Although maybe my description confused people and they’d prefer the rulebook. Oh well, I’m typing this at work. 🙂

The same dice are also used to determine mission success – hits and crit hits count as one success; lightsabers count as two successes. The number of dice is determined by leaders at the mission location.

Mini quality is good board game quality but small. And you get multiple Death Stars. So it’s got that goin’ for it. Which is nice.

There were some areas besides combat that were confusing for us. Activating leaders is the only way to move units. Our initial impression was using a leader to attempt a mission also allowed you to move units. That’s not the case. We got it sorted out though.

But despite some of the confusing parts, we got the Star Wars vibe. The empire plays a deduction game of searching the rebel base, conquering planets and moving massive amounts of metal throughout the galaxy. The rebels are running around with minimal resources, using negotiation, sabotage, guerilla tactics and spies to undermine the empire. Once you get the groove of the game it flows smoothly and easily.

Really fun game that will be seeing a lot of table time in our group.