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144 out of 155 gamers thought this was helpful

Having played Descent, journeys in the dark (2nd ed.) a lot, my LGS recommended Imperial Assault to me. A true bulls eye if you like playing D&D/adventure type games. Of course, enjoying the Star Wars saga itself adds to the experience of playing this game.

Just as is the case with Descent, the thick and heavy game box promises to contain a lot of neat game parts. A promise that is well met. Double sided map tiles (they fit together in a puzzle piece style) decorated with detailed environment art, high quality miniatures (including a huge AT-ST!) of both rebel and imperial forces, two ally/villain packs (Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader), lots of tokens and playing cards, a nicely illustrated rulebook as well as a campaign and a skirmish guide.

There are two ways of playing Imperial Assault: campaign mode or skirmish. Campaign mode lets you play with up to five players. One player controls the forces of the Galactic Empire, the other players take on the roles of rebel heroes. Each hero has its own herosheet stating its abilities/perks and a deck of equipment and skill cards which you can unlock by spending experience points. A well explained tutorial helps you set up a map and teaches you the basics of gameplay. After that, the more advanced rules of play are explained. This way, learning the game is easy and well dosed.

At the start of the game, the imperial player gets to read the entire scenario, which is only revealed in part to the rebel players (on a need to know basis). After setup (time needed to do so varies depending on how well organised your game box is), the game progresses in rounds, each consisting of an activation phase and a status phase. Each activation phase, rebel and imperial forces take turns in performing actions. First, the rebels get to choose and activate one hero (performing actions like move, attack, rest, interact), then the imperial player gets to activate one of his/her (groups of) figures, and so on, until all (groups of) figures have acted. Then, in the status phase, troops are readied again and end of round actions are performed (e.g. reinforcement of imperial troops). During a game, players can perform actions (e.g. opening a certain door) which trigger the revealing of another part of the scenario. Upon performing such an action, the imperial player reads out what happens. Each scenario has well defined objectives for both imperial and rebel players.

In skirmish mode, two players can build their own armies and confront each other on the battlegrounds. I haven’t played skirmish mode yet, so it’s hard to say if this type of play will prove to be a nice addition to the game.

All in all, I really like playing Star Wars: Imperial Assault. It has some significant changes to the way Descent plays, one of the most important ones being the alternation between activation of rebel and imperial figures (as compared to all rebels first, followed by all imperial figures (or vise versa)). It really forces you to think twice about the actions you want your figure to perform. Making the wrong decision can lead to an untimely death of one of your heroes or even to losing the scenario. Other changes include rules pertaining line of sight, the way the imperial player can reinforce his troops, resurrection of a defeated rebel hero (they can really die this time), and the attack/defense mechanism (e.g. instead of an attacker missing, the defender can now evade an attack). Having played this game only a few times so far, it’s too early for me to tell if either side is overpowered.

– Great artwork on all map tiles, cards and tokens
– High quality miniatures
– Detailed and clear rulebook
– Cool scenarios

I haven’t run across any real cons so far. Having played only a few times so far, it’s too early for me to tell if either faction is overpowered. Another thing I can imagine is that only being able to play skirmish mode with two players can really narrow down the occasions on which you can play it, but this will depend a lot on the size of group you usually play games with.

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