Star Wars: Rebellion Board Game Review

A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far Far Away a war was being waged, between the mighty Galactic Empire and the much smaller Rebel Alliance. “Star Wars: Rebellion” the board game puts 2-4 players in charge of both of these entities, one trying to use their leaders to undo the plans of the evil Empire and the other trying to sniff out where those pesky rebels are lurking.

Star Wars Rebellion board game review Gameapalooza Australian tabletop game news and reviewsStar Wars: Rebellion is one heck of a big game, a big, big game.

Setup & Gameplay
Setup of “Star Wars: Rebellion” is easy, if slightly time consuming. You’re looking at a huge double four part board (placed side-by-side on the playing surface), a whopping 153 plastic miniatures and a whole bunch of cards and tokens. You need to place some of the plastic miniatures on the board demarcating the start areas of the Imperials and Rebels. After you’ve played that first game, have baggies ready and put things away separately, this will speed up the setup of your next game.

Key to the setup of the game is where those rebels are hiding. The Rebel player secretly chooses which of the 32 systems the Rebel Alliance has its secret base. There are probe droid cards and the one chosen is removed from the probe deck (along with Imperial starting systems). To circumvent the obvious issue of rebel placement at the secret base, pieces are placed on the Rebel Alliance base location area on the side of the board, thus keeping the on board location a secret from the other players. There is something quite joyous about the instantly recognizable worlds and characters of the original trilogy. Now, to those probe droids…

The Imperial player draws two probe cards and now knows two of the 32 possible systems the rebel base is not located. Of course the rebel player doesn’t know what was on those cards. And so the galactic game of cat and mouse begins, with players using their leaders to move forces, take over systems, sway the people into loyalty or dominance.

Via a clever time track / reputation game mechanic “Star Wars: Rebellion” manages to place the Imperials in the unenviable position of having to find the rebels before their reputation becomes so great they sway the galaxy against them. The time-track method keeps things fairly tight, though you are still looking at 3-4+ hours per game. This is assuming you don’t get one of those irritating games where luck plays a huge part and everything unfolds all too quickly.

With gameplay occurring in phases (assign leaders, command missions / units, refresh / resolve), everything runs fairly swiftly as far as each players turn goes, meaning there’s not a whole lot of downtime between plays because you’re already thinking of what to do next as the other player(s) take their turn. It all knits together really well as a large scale war game that feels, well, tight.

Star Wars Rebellion Game Review Board game reviews and news Gameapalooza AustraliaStar Wars Rebellion: There’s so much in the box.

Star Wars: Rebellion pretty darn thematic
Be it a slow game or a fast game (well we say fast, probably still 90 minutes), “Star Wars: Rebellion” ingratiates itself to the players instantly because it plays off the idea of replaying or rewriting the original trilogy (no Jar Jar here folks!). As the conflict unfolds so does the inevitable space and ground battles and you are right there in the thematic thick of it. X-Wing fighters take on swarms of TIE fighters and ground troops / mobile infantry go head to head on the planets surface, the scale is immense.

Though not a storytelling game per se “Star Wars: Rebellion” does offer compelling storytelling moments thanks to the use of famous characters from the franchise and the special actions and missions they can enact. You can twist the trilogy on its head or try and stick – albeit loosely – to the actual story. Whatever the choices, they’re yours to make and that is a whole lot of fun for your average Star Wars fan.

Gameapalooza House Rules
None this time, just play it as it.

Players: 2-4
Ages: 14+
Setup Time: Ten minutes
Play Time: 180-240 minutes

Game Build Quality
Fantasy Flight Games are known for their amazing component quality and “Star Wars: Rebellion” is no different. The boards are great, even with the two separate board issue. Cards are nice stock, sweet dice and all those miniatures, tiny though they may be, really lovely detail. “Star Wars: Rebellion” isn’t a cheap game, but you certainly do get quite a bit of bang for your buck.

In a sea of Star Wars games “Star Wars: Rebellion” stands out from the crowd as being immersive, smart and dare we say it, a definitive Star Wars board game. It is a big, beautiful game, though not a perfect one. So here’s the problem, luck. We’ve played a lot of games and on a few occasions it has been luck that has won the game, which is kind of frustrating for those working their ass off with pure strategy. That’s not to say the random nature of some parts of the game destroy what is a whole heap of fun, but some people are going to find it table-flippingly annoying should that happen.

Overall however we loved Star Wars: Rebellion. The sheer size of the box, then all those glorious little miniatures, you can’t help but we wooed. It’s not perfect (thus not receiving the Gameapalooza Critical Hit Award), but if you like Star Wars, you’re probably going to love “Star Wars: Rebellion”, for all its elegance and thematic Star Wars drizzled wonder.

May the Force be with you!

[author] [authorimage timthumb=’off’]/content/images/2016/02/gameapalooza-micro-review-icon-sm.gif[/authorimage] [authorinfo]Micro Review – A must own game for any true Star Wars fan and a must try game for everyone else. Star Wars: Rebellion is a beautifully made game with some clever game mechanics, that are only slightly let down by randomness and luck. Well worth checking out.
info] [/author]

Special Thanks
To Damien at our local bricks and mortar store Good Games Gold Coast, for making this review possible.
Check them out at the Good Games Gold Coast Facebook Page and Good Games Gold Coast Instagram.