Imperial Assault – A New Star Wars board game from Fantasy Flight Games with shades of Descent
This post was almost about how I wasn’t excited about Star Wars: Imperial Assault from Fantasy Flight Games. It is the first of two big Star Wars board game releases over the past few weeks (the other, Star Wars: Armada – a capitol ship game that at least looks very similar to their own X-Wing Miniatures Game – I am less sure about for the moment). It looks an awful lot like Fantasy Flight’s own dungeon crawler Descent (at least at first glance, there aren’t any rules available yet) at first glance. It even has similar double-sided, interlocking map pieces. Really, I didn’t need another dungeon crawler. I have a first edition of Descent and I’ve never felt the need to upgrade it. It serves its purpose fine: It’s a solid enough RPG-lite board game with tons of chrome. Generally, I can more easily get Mice & Mystics to table anyway. In any case, what struck me about Star Wars: Imperial Assault is that it isn’t just a dungeon crawl (although it may well be that, too, since the game pits “you and up to four other friends play a series of thrilling missions woven together in a narrative campaign”) but it can also be played as a tactical skirmish game. Star Wars RPG-lite board game? Not very interested. But lord-help-me I loved the Star Wars Miniatures game and the promise of expansions without having to pull random boosters would certainly tempt me if the skirmish gameplay is any good. And it looks like the plans for expansion are already well in place: According to Fantasy Flight’s web page “[a]dditional Ally Packs and Villain Packs will be the first expansions released for Imperial Assault, bringing added life to the iconic heroes and villains you fight alongside. Each of these packs includes a sculpted plastic figure, alongside a new campaign side mission, two new skirmish missions, and Command cards to enhance your skirmish missions.” It looks like somewhat-similar Lieutenant Packs for Descent retail for around $14.95, although who knows if that will hold true for this game. For the time being, we will have to wait: Star Wars: Imperial Assault is due out in early 2015.