Thanks to Fantasy Flight, if you prefer a certain kind of board game, there is probably a Star Wars version of it.
We’ve narrowed the list of our favourites down to these entries. Smuggle them into your home before they go out of print! Don’t actually though. If the real Han Solo were here, he would advise you to pay money in a fair and legal transaction.
He would also tell you that he needs a shower because the plumbing on the Millennium Falcon just isn’t what it used to be after Chewie started bathing in it.
You know? Okay, Star Wars games though. We promised. Here they are.
Star Wars LCG
Leaving no corner of the extended universe unexplored, the Star Wars lcg is a staple in galactic gaming.
There is an unthinkable range of strategies in this game, and the core set is just the beginning of that journey. There are so many small and large expansions to the Star Wars lcg that Han solo himself couldn’t smuggle all that shit ten feet without the Millennium Falcon exploding.
And because it’s Star Wars, you have to choose light or dark side.
On the light side, factions include Jedi, Rebel Alliance, and Smugglers and Spies. On the dark, you’ve got Sith, Imperial Navy, and Scum and Villainy. Guess which faction Boba Fett belongs to! My boy Boba was not scum though. He valued order.
Pursue objectives and commit cards to an ongoing force struggle between opponents. If the Death Star dial gets high enough, dark wins. Light has to blow up dark’s objectives. Tons of fun, endless strategy. Try not to get hooked.
Star Wars: X-Wing
X-Wing is a tactical miniatures game from Fantasy Flight, and you’ve probably heard about it. You may have walked into game stores and seen players moving little ships across a big black outer space mat. These players were probably charismatic supermodels with sensible social intuitions and clothes that fit.
Fantasy Flight isn’t quite as masterful as Blizzard when it comes to addictive gaming, but it’s up there. Open your first little expansion and realize with a hint of sorrow that once you pop, the fun don’t stop. There’s always just one more ship you need to complete your fighting force. One more Y-Wing. Oh, and the Falcon. And also Darth Vader’s TIE. On and on we go.
You pick your side (light or dark), pick your ships within a certain points value, and equip them ships with little cards that give them abilities and new weapons. Then ya have a good old-fashioned dogfight! The coolest rule is the little dial you use to plan your ships’ actions.
You will do this simultaneously with your opponent, revealing the moves you made in the coming round. This simulates real-time air/space combat, which lends X-Wing an exciting unpredictability.
Learning to play X-Wing doesn’t take long. Building the perfect squadron will. This game will bring tacticians hours of laborious joy crafting potential ship lists and micromanaging points costs. If you have no spare time on your hands, X-Wing may not be the Star Wars game for you.
Star Wars: Armada
Conceptually, this is very similar to X-Wing. But where X-Wing covers the little dogfights that happen throughout larger battles, Armada is about the big picture.
Which may be a little surprising, since the ships are generally smaller in Armada. Well, sort of. One of those big star destroyers from the films couldn’t be used in X-Wing due to being, like, adult human size if we’re keeping to scale.
In Armada, that same ship will be as big as a TIE fighter from X-Wing. So we’re looking at a totally different, more epic battle. Here is where the big boys will meet. As with X-Wing, you secretly assign orders to ships simultaneously with your opponent, so you have to predict what he or she is going to do.
There are some cool new mechanics in play that account for things like big-ship inertia in space. Every game centers around an objective selected by the players. These will create very different play experiences through the manipulation of victory conditions.
We try resisting the urge to call it “Big X-Wing,” but it’s Big X-Wing. You’ll have to buy expansion packs to keep up with the competitive crowd if that’s your deal. Frankly, even if it isn’t, you’ll probably just want new ships because of how neat they are. Plastic crack, courtesy of Fantasy Flight. Welcome to Star Wars games.
Star Wars: Rebellion
Finally, something where you don’t have to buy boosters/expansions!
You won’t need them because the number of components in Rebellion, if released into space, could turn the Milky Way into a junkyard. As far as we can tell, no other game has done such a grand job of immersing players in the Galactic Civil War. This is about as far as a board game can go in that department.
Rebellion is a grand-scale, asymmetrical game of rebels vs. Empire. That is, each side plays differently. Rebels, for instance, have to engender system loyalty. If you were technically a terrorist army, you’d probably need to do a little convincing to get folks on your side.
The Empire is less interested in convincing you and… Well, it prefers to fire enormous lasers at its opponents, so there’s a bit of difference in how each side approaches things. When the Empire “owns” a planet, it does not care whether the inhabitants are upset. Darth Vader is like a toddler with a one-syllable vocabulary.
And don’t forget, “No!”
Heroes, ships, and soldiers will battle in the great void, rebels building a wide enough resistance suffering the destruction of their main base. Rebels should not directly engage the Empire in open combat if they can avoid it. Just as you would expect, they are a small handful of guerilla fighters and ideologists who must scheme to win.
They have to engage in surgical strikes against the bloated fist of the Empire, a lumbering behemoth of Sith power and fascistic rulership.
Really stellar design here, A+ for translation of theme to mechanics. This is a big box, and you’ll pay more than the average for a war board game when you purchase it. But you get what you pay for.
Star Wars: Imperial Assault
Aaaand we’re back to Star Wars games that strongly encourage indefinite expansion purchasing.
Not that that’s strictly a bad thing! Sometimes you want a game that grows and evolves, and this one inflates like the elastic groin of Darth Vader’s prototype armor suit when he was thinking about murdering Tusken raiders. The decidedly more solid Vadersuit 2.0 was a marvel of rapid development at Empire R&D.
Although it ought to be said, the core set by itself is enough to keep most gamers happy for a long time. Per Fantasy Flight’s typical style, this box comes with more components than you can shake a lightsaber at.
This is sort of a faux-tabletop wargame. Or maybe it’s best thought of as a board game/tabletop wargame hybrid. Either way, there are flat terrain pieces that you’ll be using as your stomping grounds. In the core set, this is basically either imperial base flooring or Endor turf.
Your minis, which are numerous, will hop from square to square as they conduct skirmish warfare. It’s a grid-based tactical miniatures game with one-off skirmish mode and full-on continuous campaign mode. Imperial Assault looks to be really complicated, but it isn’t.
We may be suffering from an experience bias, but we’re still pretty empathetic to the plight of the new player. However, in Imperial Assault, this plight is reduced to more of a minor inconvenience. You’re looking at about 15-25 minutes of rule teaching before delving in with new players.
Minis have stat cards with unique Star Wars illustrations, which cannot be exaggerated as a quality-enhancement feature. They look so cooooool! By contrast, the minis are… Okay. Maybe you’ll like them more than we did. It does depend on the paint job, so all you artists have a chance to show your stuff.
Star Wars: Legion
And now for Fantasy Flight’s other Star Wars miniatures game! Yes, they made two. One was good, right? So do the math.
But where Imperial Assault is more of a guided battle with predetermined terrain and specific missions, Legion is a more open-play experience. Legion is basically more like Warhammer.
You’ll be battling on the terrain of your choosing, and this will occur on a long battle table. Movement will be measured in inches. You’ll be commanding units and achieving objectives to win. Depending on the scenario, you might be looking at a take-and-hold or a slaughterfest.
Or anything in between. A lot of the strategy, aside from that found in positioning, rests in the interactions between unit keywords. Some units ignore critical hits, but they have other weaknesses that make them vulnerable to units with other kinds of attacks.
Awesome game, perfect hybrid of tabletop war games and Star Wars.
Star Wars: Destiny
There are two major card games in the world of Star Wars gaming. The lcg mentioned above is one of them, and this is the other.
Star Wars Destiny is a little old-fashioned in that it runs on the booster pack model. That is, you buy a boxed set of cards that work together in a deck, and then you supplement it with little packs of randomized cards.
This is the bane of many a young gamer’s existence as allowance money is basically gambled on mostly dud cards. Gee, do you want to buy this yet?
No, it’s actually good though. Where it uses an old booster method, it has innovated a new style of card gaming with dice. Characters, equipment, and other cards come with some number of dice, which you roll to determine what that card will do for the turn.
If the Star Wars lcg is the grander, more abstract duel, Destiny is the smaller, but excitingly fast and concrete one. Actions are very quick and players alternate between one another’s actions until one player’s heroes are dead.
This creates a thrilling tit-for-tat play experience that feels like jedi heroes and imperial fiends exchanging quick attacks. Highly recommended, and the booster model can actually be fun if you keep it casual and thematic.
Only competitive players will be emptying their wallets, which is not a foreign experience to them anyhow. You know who you are!
Star sores are what you get on your butt when you’ve been sitting all day playing Star Wars games.
Go outside for once, why don’tcha? You know, your cousin keeps inviting you to play tennis. Cousins can date, right? It’s all about the last names. Different last name? Ain’t no shame.
It’s a big galaxy out there, readers. Is the Force really going to punish you for playing tennis with your slightly attractive cousin? No way, Jose. And that’s a wrap. Play some Star Wars games, force choke your opponents and make them forget that you’re dating your cousin with a Jedi mind trick.
(Force-training manuals not included in above-mentioned Star Wars games.)