By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Game review: Imperial Assault is Star Wars in a box
3fd184d30893957a3f3a98a68103e555b8d01979db9713154b0538ba8da3b10e
Star Wars: Imperial Assault, a Star Wars-themed dungeon crawl from Fantasy Flight Games, features a two-player skirmish mode and a five-player campaign mode. - photo by Cody K. Carlson
When Fantasy Flight Games announced Star Wars: Imperial Assault at Gen Con, America's largest board game trade show in August, it quickly became the most anticipated game of the year. With Fantasy Flight Games' Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures the company's top-selling line, and withStar Wars, Episode VII: The Force Awakens soon in theaters, a new big box Star Wars campaign game seemed like a sure-fire hit that didn't require a targeting computer.

Star Wars: Imperial Assault offers two play modes. First, it offers an epic campaign mode in which up to four players take on the roles of heroes of the Rebel Alliance as they attempt to infiltrate imperial strongholds and accomplish missions. One player takes on the role of the Empire, who attempts to thwart the rebels' plans.

The rebel heroes are generic characters designed for this game, though they may be joined by allies like Luke Skywalker, Han Solo or Chewbacca. Players can choose heroes like Jyn Odan, a female smuggler in the Han Solo vein; Fenn Signis, a skilled veteran; Gideon Argus, a grizzled commander; and more. Each character comes with a card that details that hero's strengths, abilities and hit points. Also, each character has its own plastic miniature.

The board is modular, and constructed for each scenario. The action may take place in a spaceport, a communications bunker or on a starship. The imperial player has a number of cards representing his forces, such as a squad of stormtroopers, probe droids, officers and even the dreaded Darth Vader. As the rebels attempt to accomplish their victory conditions based upon each scenario, the imperial play gets a certain amount of threat each turn which he can spend to bring more units onto the board and cause other nasty surprises for the rebels.

Combat is simple and exciting. Dice of various colors contain damage points, accuracy ratings, surge icons, block icons and more. Each players' card indicates which dice that character rolls to attack, and which it rolls in defense. Defense dice can block damage, and attackers' surge icons can be spent on special abilities that add fun depth and surprises to combat.

Set just after the events in Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope, the campaign is played out in a series of missions in which a story develops. Additionally, there are side missions and other adventures that allow for variety and unique situations to develop over the course of the campaign. When one side loses a scenario, it affects the development of the campaign and the story, and immerses players into the Star Wars universe.

If you don't have the time or the inclination for a drawn-out campaign, Star Wars: Imperial Assault also offers a two-player skirmish mode in which both the rebel and imperial player build armies out of the various rebel heroes and imperial forces. A head-to-head match, the skirmish mode also offers command cards unique to the two-player game which offer their own thrills and special abilities.

The game also features four separate rules manuals, to ease players into the game and only introduce new concepts as needed.

Fans of the Star Wars universe will have a field day with Star Wars: Imperial Assault. It is a story-driven, highly thematic game that brings a lot to the table. The combat system is a lot of fun and allows players to choose how to use icons from the dice in fun and unique ways. The various cards and abilities, as well as the evolving storyline, give players lots of options and decisions to make over the course of the campaign. Dozens of highly detailed plastic miniatures, including a beautifully sculpted AT-ST Walker, (seen in "Star Wars, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back"), come with the game as well.

A solid production from start to finish, in Star Wars: Imperial Assault, Fantasy Flight Games has succeeded in capturing all of the adventure, fun and wonder of the Star Wars universe.

Star Wars: Imperial Assault is recommended for ages 12 and up and each scenario takes one to two hours to play.