I didn't play the original videogame, but I've been told this is exactly that very game, taken to the board.
Predictable thing, one player will be the Empire, crushing planets under an relentless boot, the other will be the Rebellion, acting in the shadows and waiting for the chance to strike.
|Galaxy not shown at scale|
I'll play the Rebels and my pal will be the Empire (again!). The Empire deploys its forces in a number of planets. The rebels have a few planets openly against the Empire, where they can deploy some forces, but their main HQ will be kept hidden. So I had some people at Mon Calamari, Bothawui and Ryloth, and I kept my hidden base at Dagobah (shhhh). At the end of each turn, the Imperial player will pick cards from a deck, showing different planets. From that, he will have to infere which planet is missing from the deck and guess where the Rebel Base is. Well, that or militarily conquer every place in the galaxy, in the hope that he'll find the base that way.
|Unsettling number of Imperial troops pretty close to Dagobah, shit...|
The rebels will have to accomplish some missions in order to gain support througout the galaxy, so the more planets join the Rebellion, the better, of course. The mission cards also include controlling whole regions of space, winning strikes on Imperial facilities and so. The Empire... well, the Empire just hsa to crush the Rebellion, what did you expect.
Both sides have a number of charming leaders. Each turn you may allocate one or more of them to a specific task (taking advantage of their respective skills in diplomacy, war, etc) or keep them to counteract an enemy action conducted by a leader. Besides, you can use them to move your forces from a star system to another.
|Don't worry, I'll translate!|
Saleucami is under military occupation, but is not completely loyal to the Empire. The rebels try to Forge an Alliance
. That's a diplomatic mission, so Mon Mothma will undertake it. If the Rebels succeed, Saleucami will give one loyalty point to that side (hopefully expelling the invaders!). But evil Emperor Palpatine himself opposes. Each leader has three diplomacy points, so each one will roll three dice.
|Don't worry, I'll translate the dice too.|
For this roll the colour of the dice is irrelevant. Each 'hit' (the tiny explosion in the visor) means a success, as well as the critical hit (the big explosion on the red die). The crossed lightsabers (on the Imperial die) just allows the player to use special event cards to reinforce the action (not used here).
So the player who runs the action needs to get more 'hits' than the opponent. This means that the Rebel attempt fails.
|Vader tries to Hunt some rebels at Bothawui, but daddy's little girl successfuly opposes|
This is more or less the regular course of the game. If no enemy leader opposes, the action automatically succeeds:
|Imperial production at Mandalore is sabotaged. No units will be produces here until further order|
Some planets have different production points. They allow the player who controls them to send different kind of units to the production queue. Small units are easier (quicker) to get.
|Both sides are getting reenforcements|
OK, let's get some combat. The Empire attacks Bothawui, Soontir Fel heading the incursion. Admiral Ackbar opposes and prevents the Empire from using tactics cards in the first combat round.
|Right, you guessed it... It's a trap!|
Combats are easy going. Each ship rolls attack/defence dice as told in the reference card. The more hits, the better, once again. The same when defending, each 'hit' avoids one damage point. The crossed lightsabers allow the use of those tactic cards for special effects.
|General Dodonna leads the offensive on Mandalore|
|But general Tagge does his best to counteract|
So well, this is it. A game of interplanetary strategy:
|Back and forth, the tide of war|
|Rebels fail their attack on Rodia|
|While the Empire begins the invasion of Bothawui...|
|...and Toydaria, which can only oppose diplomats!|
|The Rebels sabotage Imperial occupied Sullust|
Then the Empire gave it all and...
|...seducted Admiral Ackbar to the Dark Side!!! It's certainly a trap!!|
|Nal Hutta resists, but it's just a matter of time...|
|The Rebels sabotage Mustafar. Dagobah is quiet for the moment...|
|The Empire gets to play a special card... and a Super Star Destroyer is deployed!!|
The Empire moves its troops onto Dagobah, not knowing that the secret Rebel base lies in its surface, but then it is discovered!
|The land forces are immediately crushed|
|Resistance is futi... Ehrm. Wrong saga, sorry.|
|Death Star in action. Dagobah is destroyed. The empire; better safe than sorry|
Ooook. The Rebellion is mercilessly crushed, annihilated and sent to oblivion. The empire rules!
The game is enormously fun, very strategic. You have to balance your options every turn and think what your opponent's gonna do. The two gaming styles are pretty different and that's cool, as shows the ways each one has to deal with the situation. For my absolute defeat I can find a number of reasons. First of all, the most obvious, not knowing how to play and learning on the go. I made some shitty decisions (e.g., placing the rebel base so close to Imperial controlled systems! And not moving it fearing to disclose its position!). Besides, I believe I was not that lucky with the mission cards. The ones I got were really hard to accomplish with the disposition of forces I had deployed. Finally, the decisive point, I played way too conservative, as in a regular conflict. The rebel player needs to be more daring, constantly on the move, striking and falling back. That was my fault, I was playing the way the Empire can afford, but not the Rebellion.
Anyway, a game that needs to be revisited! The failures of the past are the learnings of the future! In the meantime, I strongly recommend the game!