Stand Up Against The Empire In Star Wars: Imperial Assault

December 18, 2015 by stvitusdancern

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So we have covered X-Wing and Armada so it is now time to get down to the planet's surface and face off in some humanoid battles. To do this we have Fantasy Flight Games' Imperial Assault. The best and easiest way to describe Imperial Assault is this, a dungeon crawler set in the Star Wars universe.

In the game in which up to five players can participate in this semi-cooperative game. One person takes on the role of the Empire controlling all of characters including Stormtroopers and even Darth Vadar himself! The other players take on roles of rebel fighters and work cooperatively in efforts to thwart the Empire.

This game has two modes: Campaign and Skirmish, In Campaign mode you can take your chosen character through many adventures and let them grow in strength and experience until the culmination of the final adventure where you will face the mightiest foes and see who wins the greatest struggle in the galaxy, the dark or the light side. In Skirmish mode you can go head to head against another player and battle to a victor based on a skirmish mission card.

What's In The Box?

Let me start by saying this box is chocked full of stuff! It is one heavy box and when you open it, you will find:

  • Four Rule Booklets (Learn to Play, Rules Reference Guide, Skirmish Guide and Campaign Guide)
  • 34 miniatures for the Empire and the Rebels to include Luke Skywalker and Darth Vadar
  • 6 Hero Sheets for the playable heroes
  • Over 150 cards
  • 59 double-sided game tiles
  • Many different kinds of counters and tokens

For those that think Armada is on the expensive side, then you will probably think this is a bargain. As with all of Fantasy Flight Games, the printed materials are top notch, and the miniatures are crisp and clean with some really nice details.

Yes, you may have a few with bendy parts, but with a little hot water they will be ready to go in no time.

You can paint them as well if you so desire and we have posted painting tutorials previously. The guides and rules are easy to follow and are laid out nicely, yest there does seem quite a bit to read through, but it is in a logical order and if you start with the Learn to Play guide you and your friends and family will be playing in no time.

How Does It Play?

I have been told that this game is based on the rules and game play for Descent, since I have never played Descent I can't tell you that one way or another. What I can tell you is that it has similarities to other dungeon delving games out on the market such as two activations per miniature.

Based on the scenario that you play will dictate how many miniatures and characters will be involved and what the objectives are. In the tutorial setup, it will walk you through how to get the basics of the game down so you will be ready to move onto the scenarios in the Campaign Guide.

All the important information about movement, combat skills and any other special rules and abilities is laid out on each miniatures card. Of course like all of the other Star Wars games from Fantasy Flight Games, they have special dice to use.

It even tells you on the card what colour dice to use based on attacks or defence. There is interactions with objects in the game such as crates and doors, which either gets you more equipment or lets you pass into the next area. There are ways to get additional moves, but at the cost of adding strain tokens to your character, which hampers your character or could even receive damage to them.

Speaking of damage, when any miniatures other than players heroes are damaged to their health points they are removed from game play.

When a hero receives damage up to their health points for the first time, all tokens are removed and the hero card is flipped over and then play continues and you will notice that the hero is less capable then before. If they receive the maximum amount of damage again then they are out of the game.

Movement and shooting are pretty straight forward and use LOS (line of sight). This is a basic run down of the beginning rules, the guides do expand upon them to enhance game play for those ready for a more in-depth game. In the full on campaign mode only the Empire player is supposed to read the guide and provides the instructions for set up of the next scenario.

This keeps the Rebel players in the dark about certain aspect of the game, to give it a feel of exploration in an unknown area. As the Rebel players continue on throughout the turns they build up threat and in turn the Empire player uses those threat points and spends it on adding of groups to the game.

This is another reason why heroes don't die easily, they would do it quickly in some cases depending on how many Empire miniatures got deployed. You can get very deep into campaigns and level up just as you do in a RPG, this helps them be able to deal with the ever increasing difficulty levels of the scenarios as you reach the finale.

Skirmish battles still use the command and deployment cards as in the campaign mode, but the players can choose any combination of miniatures up to a maximum of forty points. These are then placed on the game tiles by the player with initiative, which is determined by what players spent less points. Gameplay then goes on based on the scenario card and those objects listed.

It is a fun option, but I find this style a little too constrained for my taste. I would like to see them open up them rules and make it into a true skirmish game, I am toying around with the stat cards and seeing how well we can translate it into a proper skirmish game. If we succeed, we will post the rules for members.

Ok, That's Neat - But Is It Any Fun?

Yes, it is fun to put it simply and with it being Star Wars it makes it just that much more. After getting through the tutorial and getting a few practice rounds, we found it easy to follow and really enjoyed ourselves. I think anyone drawn to Star Wars or dungeon crawlers (or both) will find something to love about this game. Can it be intimidating when first opening the box?

I suppose so, but if you understand that if you follow through the tutorials and Learn to Play Guide, you will be playing in no time. It is a great game to plan regular sessions for to go through the scenarios as you reach the finale. With new expansions coming out there is quite a bit to keep you coming back for some more. With the release of The Force Awakens, you will see even more expansions I'm sure.

Recommended As A Christmas Present?

Very much so, this is a terrific game to give anyone who as I said previously is a Star Wars fan or like dungeon crawlers. The miniatures are really nice and for those painters among us they offer some nice subject material to lay brushes to.

With the expanding range there will always be more to play, so you do not have to worry about replay-ability. It is a great family game, and you do feel a connection to the Star Wars universe. May the Force be with you.

Have I convinced you to try this game?

"Yes, it is fun to put it simply and with it being Star Wars it makes it just that much more..."

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"I think anyone drawn to Star Wars or dungeon crawlers (or both) will find something to love about this game..."

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