Gameday First Play – Star Wars: Rebellion

Posted on by Jesta

“Now Lord Vader will provide us with the location of the hidden Rebel fortress. We will then crush the Rebellion with one swift stroke.”

~ Grand Moff Tarkin

Experience the Galactic Civil War like never before. In 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. Given the differences between the Empire and Rebel Alliance, each side has different win conditions, and you’ll need to adjust your play style depending on who you represent.

As the blurb says one player takes on the role of the Rebels. They have secretly chosen one of the 40 odd planets on the fairly big board as their Rebel base. They will be moving units around the board protecting the base as well as leading the Imperial player away from it.

The Imperial player will be trying to find the base to destroy it. They will also be moving units around the board to look for it as well as launching probes to eliminate planets as possibilities.

The Imperial player has a limited time to do this as each turn a track ticks up towards the end of the game. The Rebel player can also bring the ‘End Game’ counter down by taking various actions to shorten the game and give the Rebel player less time to try and win.

Star Wars Rebellion Time Track

Despite this being from Fantasy Flight and having the piles of standard-cards, mini-cards, tokens and 100+ minis, custom dice and everything else you’d expect, the game is REALLY simple to play.

As I played the Imperials, the game description will be mostly about the Imperial player and what they can do.

You have a pool of leaders that you use to activate cards and move units…

Star Wars Rebellion Pool

You play cards from your hand and assign leaders to the cards. The leaders have symbols as do the cards and you need to match them up in both type and quantity.

You can assign up to 2 leaders per card and the more the better but you need to keep some back in your Pool for movement and other things. More on that in a bit…

Star Wars Rebellion Ready Actions

Then, starting with the Rebels, players take actions. You can move one of your Leaders assigned to a card into a relevant System on the map and activate the ability on the card. There are too many different ones to mention but as the Imperial player I could draw more cards, launch more probes, capture Leaders, build units and even fire the Death Star.

When you activate a card, your opponent has a chance to assign a Leader from their Leader pool to the same system to try and prevent the card effect from taking effect. If they do it’s a roll off.

Star Wars Rebellion Dice

You each take a number of dice equal to the matching symbol on the card on ALL Leaders in that system and roll. (Meaning you can set up a Leader to be there earlier in a turn to help out) Most successes wins with the defender preventing the card from activating on a tie…

You can place a Leader from your Pool onto a system and move in units from adjacent systems. Some units can’t move themselves, obviously its space and system to system is a long way, so you need to transport them.

Star Wars Rebellion Imperial System

Ground Units and small space units like these Tie Fighters  can’t move on their own. You need Assault Carriers, Star Destroyers and Death Stars to transport other items. Each of these has a capacity so fill them up and fly them away.

Also, you can’t move Units out of a System that contains a Leader so you can’t move units more than one system at a time in a turn.

If two Rebel and Imperial units are on the same System, you have a fight.

Each unit has it’s own health value and strength and you roll a pool of dice to deal damage based on your results. (technically this is done simultaneously)

You also draw tactic cards based on your Leader so you have some cool abilities to use. One of the dice symbols can be used to draw a card, or play a card you have. These can deal extra damage, prevent damage and other abilities.

Once all the actions have been taken you do a little tidy up phase and the Imperial player launches 2 Probes… This involves drawing 2 cards from a deck that contains each System so you can narrow down where the Rebel Base might be. The location of the Rebel base was of course removed from the game by the Rebel player before play.

Then basically you start again.

There is a phase where you add units to a Build track based on which Systems you control…

Star Wars Rebellion Build Track

This is your build queue. You put certain items in certain boxes and every other round you put those in box 1 on the board and move the other to boxes down. This is something you need to plan and your opponent can mess with this queue.

Leaders can gain abilities shown by these rings…

Star Wars Rebellion C3PO Ring

Princess Leia here has a C-3PO which does something special. They look great, are a great idea but are quite difficult to attach…

Anyway, either that track hits it’s target and the Rebels win or the Imperial forces find and destroy the base and they win.

It’s very good overall. The game told a story, mine was of defeat but it was still good…

The Rebel based was to the East of the Galaxy while the Imperial forces massed to the West. The Imperials marched across the Galaxy searching System by System searching for the Rebel base. The progress was slow as lack of transport prevented the Imperial forces from moving and the available transport and transport being built was destroyed/sabotaged by the Rebels.

Eventually the Imperials were able to catch Luke Skywalker and lure him over to the Dark Side and found out the location of the Rebel base, but by this time they were too late…

Star Wars Rebellion Luke Dark Side

The way you assign Leaders to cards but also need them to move but also need them to counter your opponents cards is a nice system. It means the more Leaders you recruit the more actions you have, but you can’t just play all the cards you have every turn either…

Movement is actually pretty good…

You play a Leader into a system and pull units into it assuming you have the transport which is another thing entirely, something I will do better next time 🙂

But as you can’t move units that have Leaders in them not only can you not double move but you also need to plan this out correctly. Maybe to activate a card in a System you need to have ground units there, but you also want to move them, you can’t do both in a turn.

If your opponent puts their Leader in a System with your Units you can’t play a Leader to try and counteract their card and move them after… It requires a lot of planning.

From the Imperial side this was a massive, elaborate game of Battleship… The Rebel Battleship just happened to be on Endor and I went around trying different system until I found it.

I’m not a ‘Dudes on a Map’ fan and I’m far from a fan of ‘Star Wars’ but I really enjoyed this game. It has that ‘Twilight Struggle‘ feel where the more you play and get to know the cards your strategy will change and you’ll get better.

Lot’s of good, simple yet tactical fun.

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