A Long Time Ago…
Victory! With the destruction of the Death Star, the Rebellion has given hope to a galaxy living in fear. Having lost their ultimate weapon, the Empire scrambles to recover in the face of this crushing defeat.
As the scattered fragments of the battle station rain down upon the Rebel base on Yavin 4, the Empire sets in motion a plan to seek retribution against Rebel forces stationed on the small moon.
Not long after, when an Imperial beacon begins to broadcast from an outpost some distance away from the Rebel base, a small team of elite operatives is dispatched; their mission: to silence the signal at all costs…
In Imperial Assault, 2-5 players join forces in an epic Star Wars adventure based on the Descent 2.0 system of combat and dungeon exploration. One player will control the Galactic Empire, pitting the Rebel Alliance against squadrons of Stormtroopers, deadly beasts, and even Darth Vader himself. The other players take control of Rebel Alliance Heroes, going on missions to continue their fight against the Empire. Can the Rebel Alliance work together to accomplish their missions, or will the Empire bring its forces to bear and squash the Rebellion? Find out in Imperial Assault!
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After reading over all of the recommendations from @Skurvy5 @lanista @R0land1199 @Courageous Bob @theDL @lievendv @nealkfrank @sdirrane @Marshwiggle92, I watched one video for each of the three games mentioned: #Star Wars: Outer Rim, #Star Wars Imperial Assault, and #Star Wars: Rebellion. Here are my first impressions/my first gut reactions:
I was actually a little surprised that this is the newest game amongst the three. Maybe it's because of all of the cardboard but it had a dated look to it. At first glance, the gameplay doesn't seem as gripping or fun as the other two games. And most of all, it's the least attractive in terms of theme because bounty hunters, mercenaries, and smugglers are so far removed in the latest sequel trilogy (which is what got my wife interested in Star Wars). I can't imagine my wife liking the theme and I also don't feel much connection to it either.
To me, this looks like the best game for a "surface level" Star Wars fan. The gameplay looks the most fun in a way that is more lighthearted and adventurous, and comes with great minis that evoke the theme. But it also comes with several concerns:
1. I'd only want to play this co-op and while there is an app for that, I'm not sure how compelling it will be going against a bot especially since this wasn't an original part of the game.
2. I'm not sure how fiddly this game could come off to us while handling all of the different units, tokens/modifiers, app, etc.
3. My wife and I typically play games at a slightly slower pace than average estimations. Add to this the fact that it's a longer setup game than most games in our collection, it might be a stretch on our preferred time limit (under 2 hours). But, at least at first glance, the experience seems worth it and that's how I feel about #Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated too.
Seems like a great game but three things stood out:
1. Too long (as many of you pointed out)
2. The way combat is resolved seems rather disappointing/anti-climatic (apparently this is addressed in an expansion)
3. I see that this game was marketed as telling your own Star Wars story. And it seems to accomplish this by having players make decisions that lead to events that are completely jumbling up the known Star Wars timeline. I really like this idea but it also made me think that it would be nice if there were a Star Wars themed #Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated. Clank! Legacy features a scenario book that players will constantly reference whenever an event is triggered, and the event presents players with a number of choices that will impact that game session which will then trickle down to influence all future sessions. It's lighthearted yet great at building up the world and I liked that a lot.
Imperial Assault seems to be the right call for us. I don't see this happening for at least a year, but there's potential and that's the furthest any mini game has ever gotten in my book haha
Two of the biggest, grandest board games ever made. Two of my all time favorite board games. Two games occupying a similar space in a collection- at least from afar. This article will attempt to compare and contrast these two behemoths, as well as hopefully demonstrate why they are both so beloved by the board gaming community (and by me!).
Darth Vader with a squad of elite Stormtroopers and an elite Deathtrooper chase down some Rebel operatives.
I’ll start by painting a broad picture of how the two games are similar, before diving into what makes the two games unique.
At their very most basic level, Imperial Assault and Gloomhaven are both party-based dungeon crawlers with an overarching story campaign and scenario-based gameplay. Both games feature player characters that earn experience and level up over the course of the game, earning new abilities and becoming more powerful. Both games have extensive amounts of items for players to acquire and equip, further enhancing and specializing their characters.
Scenario set up and management of special scenario rules are also very similar between the two games. In each case, one player is allowed to read the scenario book and is responsible for set-up and reading the rules to the other players. Most scenarios in both games have special events that take place after certain triggers are met (End of Round 1, this door opened, etc) furthering the story of the scenario and the overall campaign.
Our valiant mercenaries escorting a warrior on his quest for vengeance.
The two games even utilize similar modular map boards that fit together to form unique maps for each scenario. The map pieces are interesting and varied and combine to form a multitude of exciting places to adventure.
Unfortunately, both games also share a penchant for loads of tokens and components. Damage counters, item cards, skill cards, enemy tokens, traps, doors, etc. The amount of things to keep track of can definitely be overwhelming. Fortunately Gloomhaven has numerous third party apps to help manage the AI, health, experience, and money. And Imperial Assault has its own app-assisted campaign too.
So, we’ve examined the facets of the two games that are similar and now we are all convinced that these are the same games. Right? Wrong! Let’s dig into what separates the two games.
One of the most visually obvious differences between the two games: hex-based maps in Gloomhaven versus grid-based maps in Imperial Assault. A simple difference, but a fundamentally important one, especially when it comes to gameplay.
Hex-based maps in Gloomhaven present interesting tactical combat possibilities.
For games that feature tactical combat, positioning and the shape of the map have a large impact on the game. I’m not here to argue about which system is better - frankly, they both work well - but it’s a significant difference with a dramatic impact on how the game plays.
One of the largest differences between the two games is how attacks are calculated. Imperial Assault uses a tried and true custom dice solution to determine accuracy, damage, and special abilities. Gloomhaven uses attack modifier decks to determine damage. Both systems are excellent.
The cool part of the Gloomhaven approach is that you can add or subtract cards from your attack modifier deck as your character grows more powerful in order to manipulate the odds in your favor.
The cool part of the Imperial Assault approach is that each weapon you acquire lets you roll different combinations of dice. Some weapons deal more straight damage while others are more likely to produce symbols that let you use special abilities. This approach gives characters a great chance to specialize and feel more powerful as the campaign progresses.
Beyond obvious physical differences are some significant differences in how the games actually play. Imperial Assault is a free-wheeling thematic game that encourages you to take risks and - for lack of a better way to put this - play out cool Star Wars stories using your characters.
Gloomhaven, on the other hand, rewards careful, thoughtful play of your cards each round. In Gloomhaven, each character starts with a hand of cards. This hand represents your abilities but it also represents your stamina. As you use abilities each round you either discard or lose these abilities. Discarded cards can be recovered by resting but even resting still forces you to lose one card. This puzzle creates many interesting and challenging decisions. Do you use that powerful loss ability to escape a tough scrape early in the scenario, knowing that it’ll be gone until the end? Or do you try and save it for an even worse situation? It’s this rewarding hand management aspect that sets Gloomhaven apart. This puzzle part is also something that leads many to declare that Gloomhaven is actually a Euro game hiding in a dungeon crawler’s clothes. I don’t necessarily agree with this sentiment.
Lastly, I would be remiss if I failed to talk about a few extra factors. Imperial Assault is a Star Wars product. Something about moving these minis around just calls to me and my inner child. Fantasy Flight really did an amazing job with this game. Just look at how cool it is:
If those awesome minis don’t get you excited... go watch Clone Wars Season 7 or The Mandalorian and get back to me.
Also, the legacy aspects of Gloomhaven are incredible. The thrill of opening one of those new character boxes is sublime. Progressing the story is a wonderful feeling of uncovering a mystery. Fighting against so many different enemies keeps the game fresh almost every time you play. Leveling up unlocks new cards to mix and match and makes you excited to dive back into your next scenario.
At the end of the day both of these games are incredible and I am so happy to have them as part of my collection. They are similar in many aspects but also totally different. And totally worth your time!
Thanks for reading!
What is a game you played recently that is new to you but not a new release?
For example, my game group recently started a campaign of Imperial Assault (using the app) and we are having so much fun. The app really transforms the game and makes co-op so interesting. The Star Wars theme just drips from the game.
I actually had so much fun playing this game with my group that I went out and purchased my own core set and am now starting to collect the expansions. My older daughters (2nd grade and Kindergarten) have been having a great time playing with me as well.
It is unfortunate that FFG have decided to replace Imperial Assault with Legion and that no more new content will come out for the game. Hopefully they continue to update the app to include the other big box expansions.
So - what is a game that is new to you that has captured your imagination and gameplay time?
For me Aesthetics is a huge part of gaming, and there is something that is so satifying when a game gets it just right. For me the following are my top games that really bring everything together.
5. #Star Wars Imperial Assault - One of the few games that I actually prefer minis for, the changing landscape and the character cards add a lot of Star Wars theme to the table. I love the ability and weapons cards as well. We also usually have a lot of fun playing Star Wars soundtracks while we play.
4. #Western Legends - I love the Wild West as a theme and on the table this game doesn't dissapoint. The board it great and the poker cards (which drive most of the game), are top notch qaulity. While the General Story is a bit flimsy you don't touch it too much so it does still look really cool with the theme. I also love seeing a lot of players and NPC's on the board.
3. #Viticulture: Essential Edition - I love the art and meeples (especially the rooster) in this game. It looks so great on the table and makes me feel like I've escaped to Italy for a couple of hours. It also caused my gaming group to have a wine night when playing (and I never drink wine.).
2. #Clans of Caledonia - Such a solid game on the table. The components feel and look so nice, and the simplistic map looks great (esepecially when it starts filling up with pieces). The market board with the glass tokens looks so nice, the export board looks so nice, the player board are awesome, the clan pieces are perfect, and the player aids are small, simple, and high quality. Really everything is the game is great.
1. #Root - Duh! I'm sure anyone here who has seen me post is not surprised to see this at 1. The art fits the theme so well. The cards feel so nice to hold and play with. The boards are awesome, especially when the fill up with those awesome screen printed minis. The player boards are top quality. I really feel like I'm diving into the Root Woodland when I play this game.
What about you?
[Star Wars: Outer Rim, Star Wars: Rebellion, Star Wars Imperial Assault]
[Gloomhaven, Star Wars Imperial Assault]