Game Night: Fantasy Flight Games does Star Wars right!
You may take a stroll down the board game isle in your local Walmart, Target, Toys R US, or (insert your local department store here), and see a huge assortment of Hasbro licensed Star Wars board games. You’ll find Star Wars themed Sorry, Battleship, Chess, Operation, Life, Trouble, Clue, Guess Who, and of course, Monopoly. You may even see a strange one from Hasbro called Loopin’ Chewie (which is a ton of fun by the way). But if a quality Star Wars game looking for you are, a different company logo you need to see. (C’mon I had to do it once!) And yes, you will probably even find a few this companies games in that very same store.
In 2012, Fantasy Flight Games entered a comprehensive licensing partnership with Lucas film Ltd. for the worldwide rights to publish board and card, roleplaying, and miniatures games set in the popular Star Wars™ universe, and they haven’t slowed down yet! At that time, CEO of Fantasy Flight Games, Christian T. Petersan said, “”Being able to publish gaming products in the Star Wars universe is quite simply a hobby-game company’s dream come true. I’m confident that both Star Wars fans, as well as FFG’s regular customers, will be blown away by the game experiences we have planned for this legendary IP.” His confidence paid off and the company has since released close to 10 games set in the Star Wars Universe with some of them having dozens of expansions.
Many of these games have FFG tournament support at Friendly Local Game Stores (FLGS) and conventions plus an incredibly loyal fan and player base. FFG has done a fantastic job of hitting every facet of tabletop gaming from card games, to dice games, to miniature games, and yes, role playing. If you’re looking for player vs. player direct conflict, they have you covered in many of their games. If you’re looking for a little co-operation, they have that too! So whether you’re just looking to roll some dice and blow things up, scout the galaxy hunting down rebels in order to find their hidden base, or play out a bounty mission as a Rodian assassin, Fantasy Flight Games is the company to turn to.
The first game to be released by FFG was Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game. In this 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. The game features stunningly detailed and painted miniatures, and 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. Each type of ship in X-Wing has a unique piloting dial. Players select a speed and maneuver each turn, concealing their choices from other players. Beginning with the lowest skilled pilot, each player reveals what they secretly set on the dial to the other players and executes the maneuver. Official play involves one of the provided scenarios, a range of customization options, varied maneuvers, and possible combat outcomes. Some aspects of play are determined through random generation, with a roll of dice and by drawing cards from a shuffled deck. X-wing Miniatures may have been the first release but it is still going strong. There are currently 14 waves of expansions, each consisting of 3 to 6 new ships, as well as many other ship packs including some larger ships such as the Rebel Transport ship and Tantive IV.
As a follow up to X-Wing Miniatures, FFG released Star Wars: Armada, which borrows heavily from the former’s rule set but puts you more in the role of fleet admiral, controlling larger groups of ships for a more “epic” space battle feel. Armada just released its sixth wave of ships.
Star Wars: Imperial Assault is an asymmetrical campaign-based and head-to-head skirmish board game. The game 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 in its two separate game experiences. The campaign game can be played by two-to-five players and features one player as the Imperial force, while up to four other players control unique Rebel heroes as they strive to break the Empire’s hold on the galaxy while competing on missions, while the skirmish game invites you and a friend to muster strike teams and battle head-to-head over conflicting objectives. Both sides will progress over the course of many missions. This style of play is similar to many role-playing games, where one player takes on the role of a Game Master (the Empire). It is also refereed to 1 vs. all. Skirmish mode is playable for two players, typically with one playing as the Imperial forces and one as the Rebel forces, but same-team match ups are possible. Not to be outdone, SW:IA has release 5 large expansion that contain many new maps, missions, cards, figures, and more including Jabbas Realm and Return to Hoth. Also, for those who want more figures and maps for skirmish mode, or to just replace some of the games tokens, there are over 40 Ally packs. These packs are smaller and usually contain a troop of figures (3 figures) or a single character. These packs contain most of the main Star Wars characters such as Luke, Vader, Han, Leia, Boba Fett, Ashoka, and many more.
If card games or dice are more your thing, these two games are where it’s at. Star Wars card game is a game within Fantasy Flights Living Card Game family. Think of a collectible card game but instead of random packs, FFG releses packs in “cycles” of fixed distribution. It is a two-player game that puts one player in command of the Rebels (light side, with the factions Jedi, Rebel Alliance, and Smugglers And Spies), and one player in command of the Empire (dark side, with the factions Sith, Imperial Navy, and Scum And Villainy). But you like the collectible, “blind” purchasing aspect? Well, why didn’t you say so? Star Wars: Destiny is a collectible dice game. The game centers around dice-driven combat with faction-driven hand management, and allows players to pit characters from all eras of Star Wars against each other. Destiny launched last year (2016) with two starter sets featuring Rey and Kylo Ren, along with Awakenings booster packs. Each starter set contains nine premium dice and twenty-four cards, and each booster contains five random cards and one random die.
The last board game I want to talk about here is Star Wars : Rebellion. Rebellion is a 2 player head-to-head skirmish board game. The game re-enacts the Galactic Civil War with one player acting as the Rebel Alliance and the other acting as the Galactic Empire, and includes over 150 miniatures. As the Imperial player, you can command legions of Storm troopers, swarms of TIEs, Star Destroyers, and even the Death Star. You rule the galaxy by fear, relying on the power of your massive military to enforce your will. To win the game, you need to snuff out the budding Rebel Alliance by finding its base and obliterating it. Along the way, you can subjugate worlds or even destroy them. As the Rebel player, you can command dozens of troopers, T-47 air speeders, Corellian corvettes, and fighter squadrons. However, these forces are no match for the Imperial military. In terms of raw strength, you’ll find yourself clearly over matched from the very outset, so you’ll need to rally the planets to join your cause and execute targeted military strikes to sabotage Imperial build yards and steal valuable intelligence. To win the Galactic Civil War, you’ll need to sway the galaxy’s citizens to your cause. If you survive long enough and strengthen your reputation, you inspire the galaxy to a full-scale revolt, and you win.
Of course, when you mix this license with Fantasy Flights top notch Role Playing design team, something has to be done right? Well they don’t just give you one RPG, but three! Star Wars Role Playing Game consists of three different standalone games, each one conceived to play a particular type of character and all three installments are set within the time period of the Star Wars original trilogy. Star Wars: Edge of the Empire is set shortly after the destruction of the first Death Star, and deals with characters on the fringes of galactic space. Age of Rebellion is set around the time of The Empire Strikes Back, and allows players to join the Rebellion. Force and Destiny is set shortly after the destruction of the first Death Star and the death of Obi-Wan Kenobi, when the force sensitive and Jedi slowly start to re-emerge in hopes of rebuilding the Order of the Jedi. Of course all three can be combined but only recommended for experienced players. If you’re interested in just getting a taste, each game has a beginner set that features a complete, learn-as-you-go adventure and contains everything three to five players need. Pre-generated character folios keep rules right at the your fingertips, while custom dice and an exciting narrative game play system make every roll into a story. Detailed rules provide for hours of entertainment in a galaxy far, far away!
Almost every game talked about above is readily available at most FLGS or online retailers (including FFG). You may have trouble tracking down some earlier wave in X-Wing and Armada and some earlier force packs in the Star Wars cards game but that shouldn’t keep you from playing and enjoying them. Entry into these games can range from $25 to $100 but easily have you shelling out $400 or $500 if you’re a completionist. Personally, other than Armada which I haven’t played, I have only most of the core games with a dozen or so extra ships packs for X-Wing and just a handful of Ally Packs for Imperial Assault, and that is enough where I could probably play a FFG Star Wars game every day for a year and have enough to keep me occupied! If there’s one said over and over from table top gamers, it’s, “Too many games, too little time!”. Did I mention they just announced an expansion for Star Wars : Rebellion? Oh, I can’t wait to get that!
References: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Fantasy_Flight_Games, https://boardgamegeek.com, https://www.fantasyflightgames.com