Star Wars Rebellion gets a board game!

Many of ye olde tyme gamers can recall the great and terrible, the fun and frustrating video game called Star Wars Rebellion, or Star Wars Supremacy if you’re from the UK.

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Even for it’s time in 1998, the game had some bad graphics and a clunky interface. Micro managing everything on the map took hours by the end of a match. Indeed, the game was more about management than battles, and it ground down to a slow crawl the more systems you controlled.

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I still played it though. Like a pathetic Star Wars junkie, I spent hours wasting time chasing the dream of a game that might have been so much more. It was a frustrating game in it showed glimpses of what a great Star Wars epic game could be.  Yet for all it’s bad parts, it’s horrible, unforgivable, lazy programming, it had some fun thematic moments too.

You could assemble teams of heroes for secret missions, like sabotaging a Star Destroyer. Or send them to spy on Imperial planets, or on diplomatic missions to convert entire systems to your cause.

It was also largely character driven. Luke starts as a Jedi novice and then becomes a student (there were no padawans back then). If he goes on a mission where Vader is near, they would confront each other and Luke could get injured, captured or barely escape! It was always a risk meeting Vader, but when he did, he would learn about his heritage and grow in the force.

Luke vs VaderFrom that moment on, if Leia was on the same planet or fleet he would tell her of their past and she could from that moment on start using the force like her brother. Around turn 300 Luke would go to train with Yoda, after which he’d become a Jedi Knight.

yodaIf he grew to be a powerful Jedi, Luke would be able to confront both Vader and the Emperor and capture them, which would be half of the Rebellion’s win conditions (the other half being the capture of Coruscant).

Jedi LukeWork on Luke long enough, and he’d become a Jedi Master, almost unstoppable in what he could do.

BeforeP 4That was just one element of the game. You could build Death Stars and blow up planets, or make Super Star Destroyers with massive fleets to hunt for the Rebel Base.

The Empire had to capture both Luke and Mon Mothma and destroy the hidden Rebel base to win. They could kill characters and Vader was excellent at doing this. He was the most powerful starting character and a complete bad ass. This was a time before Lucas made him into a whiny, pouty “where is Padme” leatherman.

The best part of the game was the unofficial editor that let you edit the stats of all units in the game, and even replace heroes with custom ones. Star Wars Rebellion was a video game with great potential, and it was from an era of hit and miss games when it came to the Star Wars franchise.

I recently took it out for a spin, and was very disappointed, the game has not aged well. The action moments are few and far between the constant annoying micro management. That management is needed all the time, like every single freaking moment of the game.

The factions are fairly balanced once the game gets going, and so it boils down to a real war of attrition – it’s very much a grind. The A.I. is terrible, never building much of a threat with the endgame dragging on way too long.  In my play as the Rebellion, I literally had to chase the Emperor down in some corner of the galaxy because he escaped  custody.  The game was over long before then, but the win condition made me grind out a boring search when there was no opposition to my fleets at that point.

Rebellion could have used a ton of streamlining and cut away a lot of fat. Still, the cutscenes were fun, and the voice acting was surprisingly good.

Now fast forward to 2016, and ever since FFG acquired the rights to make Star Wars table top games, they have been turning out nothing but hits.

They got me going to my first ever miniature tournaments because of X-Wing back in 2012. I played an Imperial Assault campaign last winter and it was some of the best gamer fun I’ve had. Lately, Armada has been my go to game and I can never play as much as I’d like.

Star Wars Rebellion looks like another game that will take my time and money. I’ve been waiting to play a galactic conquest game like this for twenty years! From what I can tell, FFG took the best parts of the old Rebellion PC game and ran with it.

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Unlike the PC game, this one will be asymmetric. The Imperials will dominate militarily while the Rebels will be using guerrilla warfare and diplomatic missions to fight for freedom.

To win, the Empire must find and destroy the Rebel Base. The Rebels on the other hand, must survive until turn 14 and then they win automatically when the galaxy rises up in revolt. The Rebel Alliance can reduce the turn clock by completing thematic objectives.

objective-major-victory If they don’t reduce that turn clock, the Empire will steam roll them with all the military they’ll be able to amass.

Rebellion is a “worker placement” meets a card driven space opera kind of game. All the cards are dripping with theme from the original trilogy. One great example is Luke going to train with Yoda. Just like the PC game, he gets upgraded to a powerful Jedi and can ruin the Empire’s day.

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From what I’ve seen of the game so far, it will require a learning curve but will have lots of replay ability since much of the game is about bluffing and double bluffing your opponent and the cards you draw.

I’m sure most of you out there have heard of Rebellion, but after watching Tom Vasel’s video review and a playthrough (although with some strategic mistakes and with a grumpy opponent) it has sold me on this game. If you’re a Star Wars fan or someone who played the old PC game, it’s worth checking out. Hopefully this game will be out by March.

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Star Wars Rebellion gets a board game!”

  1. RE: Rebellion the PC game;

    It was so great how they worked in all the dramatic arc moments from the movies into that game. Playing as the Empire, you would get sporadic intel from “the bounty hunters” on where Han was. If Han was at the Rebel base, then you know where to mobilize your fleet to.

    He could also be captured and taken to Jabba on one of those events, which would pull Luke, Leia, Chewie and probably Lando off whatever they were doing and they’d have to go rescue him. It was a great time to get some sabotage and assassination wetwork in while all the “aces” of the Rebellion were otherwise preoccupied.

    The micromanaging was fine enough for me, unless you were actually playing it with another person, then it grinds to a tedious halt. Ultimately the game had a lot of great ideas what were the basis for “Empire at War”, which turned space battles from a terrible unplayable mess to behold to a great game in itself, but then added in ground battles which then became the terrible unplayable mess of that game.

    Ah well, I’ll take this game for sure. I look forward to a multi-hour head to head romp. I’ve heard it compared to War of the Ring (favourably) by those that have played and reviewed it, which sounds encouraging.

    But, let’s manage our expectations here, friends. If we get a 3-hour game you can play with a friend that gives you that “original trilogy in a box” feel, then it’ll be a good title to bust out a couple of times a year and dig in.

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