In general, I don’t play many games that take more than 90 minutes. They may be great games, but they’re not for me.
But when a friend invited me to play Star Wars Rebellion, I said sure. I’d heard great things about it, and it’s good for me to play outside of my usual habits. (I’m only thinking of you all…)
It was well worth the time. Because there were only two of us, I was so wrapped up in the game that it did not feel that long.
Players take on the part of either the Empire or the Rebellion. Each faction has a different win condition: the Empire is trying to track down and destroy the Rebel base, and the Rebels are trying to stay alive long enough to build up support for their cause.
Each side starts with 4 action cards that are permanently available each turn. For instance, the Empire can try and capture a Rebel leader, and the Rebellion can try and sabotage Imperial production (a very useful card, to my dismay). There are other missions that can be drawn and attempted. Each mission can be assigned to one or two of your leaders, and those leaders cannot be re-assigned that turn. Different leaders have different strengths (Boba Fett is not known for diplomacy) and are best suited to different missions.
There are other missions, projects, and objectives that come up throughout the game. At the end of each round (the refresh phase), different combinations of actions take place, including deployment, recruiting new leaders, and launching probes.
And, of course, there is combat. The one flaw with Star Wars Rebellion is the convoluted battle rules. Luckily, I was playing with someone who is really good at holding complex rules in his head, so it was okay that it took me a while to grasp how combat worked. Definitely set aside extra time to review the rules as you play.
I really enjoyed Star Wars Rebellion. It didn’t feel like either of us was crushing the other; it wasn’t until the endgame that one of us clearly pulled ahead of the other. And, like most of the games I recommend, the luck vs. strategy balance works pretty well. (Okay, maybe I’m bitter that I had terrible luck rolling combat dice, but really, I was the Empire and so I deserved it.)