Tuesday, September 1, 2015

First Play- Star Wars: Imperial Assault

    A friend of mine bought this game, and the guy at the game store told him, "It's basically Star Wars Descent."  That was the best way to describe this.
    Well, that's not a big surprise since it is by the same guys who made Descent, Fantasy Flight Games.  Like Descent, you click together puzzle-like map tiles, get 1 - 4 players (though optimized for 4) who are the Rebels, while one player is the Empire (and sort of GM).  Each rebel has a hero card, and a small hero deck of skills to buy with xp during the campaign (which it is also optimized for).
    There are a whole lot of cards and counters and dice and terrain tiles and dice in the box - have lots of plastic bags to sort stuff in after you break it all apart.

What I liked about this...
  • I liked Descent, so I liked the structure of the game.  The unique rebel heroes and generic imperial bad guys felt right with the setting
  • The missions are cooler than Descent, usually there will be some starting forces but then as the rebels do stuff events will trigger to complicate things, which keeps everybody on their toes
  • The campaign setting is cool, with its branching paths depending on if the heroes win or lose a mission, and the increasing rewards and threat all seem pretty cool - we only had time to play the starter encounter and 2 missions though
  • Each side has a pretty distinct feel, the rebels are powerful heroes while the imperial forces are weaker individually and need to rely on good tactics and teamwork
What I didn't like...
  • The rulebooks are not always that clear, and could really use some better examples of play - it can be hard to make sense of all the steps and they are not intuitive
  • The terrain: while the terrain puzzle is cool, it is also a lot of bits to keep track of and takes a good while to assemble the map, something I also didn't like so much about Descent
  • Mini-cards, these also appeared in the 2nd edition of Descent, and the super-small cards for abilities are a pain to read when you're my age, and a pain to move around the table at times;  one-half of a normal playing card size would be nicer than one-quarter
  • Square tiles mean a lot of annoying mapping to tell if you have line of sight to shoot at someone - which is a given pain with the grid layout
    Overall I liked it a lot.  It is a nice board game with some role-playing seasoning, and while the setup time and campaign structure means you really need to invest some time to play, still it is fun.  I look forward to trying another game.

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