WARNING - THIS DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR THE SCENARIO....
Always a sucker for a good Star Wars game I'd acquired a copy of Imperial Assault some time ago, but apart from slightly confused game where I hadn't really worked out what was happening I haven't really played it much.
I really like the Fantasy Flight Games range (although I'm unconvinced by Armada no matter how much I try to like it!) but I often find that they take a few play-throughs before the mechanics lodge in my brain....this was no exception. As always with FFG products there seem to be a huge range of cards and tokens which take ages to sort out and cause me no end of confusion. This is what put me off Armada: I'd inevitably forget about the various skills and bonuses I'd given ships till it was too late...that and the confusing movement and fire turn sequence.
I was a bit daunted by the amount of stuff that comes out of the box for Imperial Assault but actually it wasn't too bad: although there are lots of items they seem to be used gradually throughout the campaign rather than all at once. The game reminds me a bit of Heroquest with one player taking on the baddies while everyone else plays the Heroes: the Imperial player then in effect becomes the DM...unveiling plot points as the scenario progresses.
Andrew and I had decided to give the game another go and starting with game #1 from the campaign seemed like a good idea. This is set just after the destruction of the Death Star and the rebels have to destroy a signal coming from an Imperial base. As there were only 2 of us Andrew played the rebels and since there were only 2 of them he was able to upgrade them...rather annoyingly he was able to give them both large health bonuses which made my job a lot tougher!
Interestingly he'd chosen 2 characters only armed with melee weapons...Gaarkhan ( a Wookie with a large axe) and Diala, a Twi'lek Jedi. As his main objective was to smash 3 terminals in the bunker this seemed like a good option. My objective was to wound both characters (once a Hero loses it's HP it flips over to become a Wounded character...it can continue fighting but with reduced stats): as there were only 2 of them I was fairly hopeful but of course he'd beefed up their health!
The game opens with the Heroes outside the bunker facing some Stormtroopers, a droid and an Officer. Andrew made pretty short work of these wiping them all out in a couple of turns and destroying my droid rather annoyingly before I could self-destruct it!. He then spent a while trying to smash the terminal which proved a lot tougher than the Stormtroopers!
|The set up at the start of turn 1|
|The heroes charge home...|
Diala then opened the door and charged in, running straight into an E-Web (effectively a HMG) and some more Stormtroopers and another officer. As the game unfolds I get to read out what happens next (eg revealing who is inside the bunker) and there are options that occur at key points. In this case I had the choice of either making the 2 remaining terminals tougher to destroy, which would probably have been the tactically better choice, or locking and sealing the bunker door. As the Wookie was still outside, and I knew it would really annoy Andrew, I decided to lock him out....
|The Wookie is locked out...how we laughed...|
Diala was being heavily shot up by the E Web inside the bunker but managed to skip away round the corner to the relatively safer option of the Stormtroopers and the Officer. Andrew also realised at this point that killing all the bunker occupants wasn't actually helping...his objective was to destroy the terminals, not the people. He turned his attention to this and Diala began poking the terminal she was next to with her pointy stick till it blew up, but did become wounded by the Stormtroopers in the process.
|A very frustrated Wookie...|
The Wookie meanwhile was becoming very frustrated by a seemingly indestructible door (thanks to some unlucky dice rolls) but he eventually bashed his way inside and, despite a hail of gunfire and being almost wounded, smashed the remaining terminal with one turn to go...booo!!!
|The positions at the end of the game...some Stormtrooper |
reinforcements had turned up but too late...
What was enjoyable about the game was the very cinematic feel to the scenario... the rebels charged in against heavy odds while the time limit ticked down and only just won at the last gasp...very Star Wars! There's now a very confusing (to me anyway) post-game sequence which determines what advantages we both gain for the next game, and which scenario will be played out. I've read this bit several times and I'm still confused but I'm sure I'll get there in the end!
Verdict - Great fun and worth checking out if your a SW fan. Now I've spotted Star Wars Rebellion is looming on the horizon...a strategic game with even more counters...noooooooo!!!!!!!!