The other week I managed to try out Star Wars; Rebellion, the latest in the series of box-filling boardgames from Fantasy Flight Games. Whereas Imperial Assault focuses on skirmish hero based actions, Rebellion is a big scale galaxy-wide saga, in which players send heroes off on missions to planetary systems.
As with all the FFG games the components are really nice with a range of mini Destroyers, TIE fighters and X Wings as well as AT-ATs and AT-STs and Imperial and Rebel troopers, all of which can be deployed to conquer/liberate systems and gather resources. The Imperials also get to start with a fully-functioning Death Star and even have the option to build a second one (because one is never enough!). These are deployed across the SW galaxies with the Imperials attempting to find the location of the system which contains the hidden Rebel Base. The Rebels have the option to move this if the Stormtroopers are getting too close and it's quite nerve-wracking watching them close in on your base, even if they're doing it unwittingly. The rebels, meanwhile, have a different set of victory conditions which involve winning support from systems and gaining influence.
Each turn players deploy a growing number of familiar (and not so familiar) heroes and villains from the films and send them on a range of missions taken from a card deck. This actually gives quite a fun, cinematic effect as you tell your opponent that you are sending Mon Mothma off to gather support in the Hoth system. Not so fun when he then despatches Boba Fett who then captures her and subjects her to hideous interrogation (my opponent seemed to take a bit too much pleasure in this...).
The Imperials can either concentrate on trying to build up information on which systems don't contain the Base )and therefore deduce where it might be) or simply ruthlessly trample all opposition until the Rebels are backed into a corner...funnily enough that's the option my opponent went for and to be fair it did seem to be working. We played the game on a typical club night so we had about 3 hours from set up (which took us a while) to finish which wasn't enough time. The box suggests 3-4 hours which I would reckon is about right once you are familiar enough to set up quickly.
One reservation I have with some of the FFG Star Wars games (especially Armada) is the sheer weight of components and the number of cards and tokens that you have to keep an eye on. I'm pleased to say this isn't such an issue with Rebellion. It can be confusing remembering which card deck is which and when to draw from them but this isn't too bad. The game doesn't have the wealth of upgrades and bonuses that you find in X Wing or Armada so my little brain could cope. I also like games where each side has victory conditions that aren't a mirror image of each other and the Empires ruthless, crushing expansion versus the Rebels winning hearts and minds works well.