For Star Wars fans there is nothing like the feeling of playing your favorite Star Wars game or watching your favorite Star Wars movies, but did you know there are some epic Star Wars board games out there? If not, here is a list of tabletop Star Wars games that you should check out, you can thank us later.
Armada might seem a bit overwhelming (and a bit too geeky) at first. You use a plastic stick with a series of joints to plot the course of your ships. There are shields to consider on each side of your big ships, with dials to turn as you take damage. Do you want to use an action to transfer shields from starboard to the bow? Is it time to brace and minimize damage from a frontal attack? Should you use your special action token to improve your yaw for one turn? It’s a lot to take in, but it will start to feel natural (and cool) in no time.
Star Wars: X-Wing is the precursor to the Armada, it’s the true original when it comes to tight spaceship fights and flights. This game has a similar play style to Armada but with different rules for single fighters and two-person fighters.
Before there was Armada, there was Star Wars: X-Wing. Similar in many ways, X-Wing focuses on the tighter dogfights that amazed us as kids. Tie Fighters and X-Wings clash, as do just about every other ship in the Star Wars universe.
Unlike Armada, which is meant to show large-scale battles, X-Wing is about the fight in the galactic trenches. It plays similarly to Armada, but with rules more suited for single- and two-man fighters, not enormous, heavily shielded ships with loads of firepower.
The Death Star has been destroyed and the Empire has been dealt a major blow, but the war is far from over. In retaliation the Empire has enacted a plot. One that may just bring the Rebellion to its knees. You and three friends must play a series of missions with the hope of stopping the Empire. But one additional player is involved, and she plays for the Empire, doing whatever she can to stop the Rebels and ensure victory for Vader and the Emperor.
Imperial Assault is based off the very popular dungeon crawler Descent 2nd Edition. What’s a dungeon crawler in tabletop terms? Each mission is set on a map made of modular pieces (sort of like puzzle pieces), meaning that no two scenarios will have the same layout. You move miniatures on the map, roll dice to fight the Imperials standing in your way, and attempt to accomplish the goal of the mission. It might be to kill an important Imperial or to stop a beacon signal or keeping critical intel out of the hands of the Empire.
Whether you succeed or fail, the campaign continues. If the Imperials win a mission, though, the next scenario will likely play in their favor. The tide of this war will shift over the course of more than a half-dozen missions. Each time you finish a mission, you earn experience points to buy upgrades for your character, improving his abilities. But the Imperial player does the same. As you complete side missions, you’ll have the chance to recruit famous Star Wars allies, including Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. Of course, the Imperial player can recruit Darth Vader, bounty hunter IG-88 and others. Oh, and deploy AT-STs into missions, which can really turn a battle in her favor. And is just awesome. Like, seriously. You’re stomping Rebels with an AT-ST. That is cool.
The pull of the Dark Side and the struggle to restore balance to the Force is a key theme to Star Wars. And Star Wars: The Card Game puts that center stage. This asymmetrical two-player game has one player on the Light Side, the other Dark Side as they battle to see which side of the Force will win out in the end. Sadly, it’s often not the Light Side that comes out victorious.
Each round, players place cards representing ships or Rebel heroes and then attack one of three opposing objectives. The Light Side player must destroy three objectives to win. The Dark Side just has to bide time for the Death Star (a fun little counter token shaped like the not-a-moon space station) to ready itself. If it does, well, say goodbye to all those warm and fuzzy childhood memories. Luke never finds out the truth about his father, Leah dies thinking she’s found her soulmate not her brother, and Chewbacca fails to get the last roar.
Fortune favors the Dark Side here. At the end of the Dark Side player’s turn, the Death Star counter always moves forward. And if the balance of the Force is in the Dark Side’s favor, the counter ticks up a second time each turn. As long as the Dark Side can protect its objectives, the Light Side will have a hard time finding victory. No one said the struggle to defeat the Empire would be an easy one.
If you favor miniatures gaming that focuses on combat or you think that card battles are boring, you will want to pay attention here. Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Role-Playing Game is as awesome as it sounds.
If combat-focused miniatures gaming or card battles just aren’t enough for you, there’s still hope. Star Wars: Edge of the Empire is a pen and paper RPG, like Dungeons & Dragons, set between Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back. But this is not a game about being Luke Skywalker or destroying the Empire.
You get to explore the larger Star Wars universe and create your own adventures in a system that is fairly rules light. Edge of the Empire and its sequel, Age of Rebellion, use a narrative-driven system that’s less about direct results and more about creatively deciding what a “bad result” actually means in a given situation.
There are numerous sourcebooks providing rich details on the galaxy we’ve all dreamed about exploring. And as with the movies, the existence of Jedi is limited to, well, this one guy who blew up the Death Star, his absentee father, and his wrinkly old “uncle.” As you start buying more and more sourcebooks Force sensitive characters begin to emerge. But this is a game far more about the Han Solos of the galaxy navigating through the underworld of scum and villainy. With, of course, the influence of the Empire encroaching on everyone’s activities.
If you want to be more involved in the Rebellion, you can jump straight to Star Wars: Age of Rebellion, the second core rulebook in the series. While compatible with Edge of the Empire, it also works as a standalone book focused on the Rebel’s fight against the Empire.