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I have some questions regarding the way that expansions and ally packs integrate into the core campaign (not skirmish play).
Suppose that someone has all the components for the game, including all available expansions and ally/villain packs, and you and your friends are about to begin a new campaign game.
Are all of the rebel heroes available to select from? Or are certain heroes only available when you do specific expansions?
Do you play through the entire core campaign first, before going onto an expansion campaign? Or can an expansion campaign be inserted within the core campaign?
If you are doing all campaigns, is there a specific order to complete them in?
When playing a campaign, how do side missions from ally packs come up? What is the game mechanic that introduces them?
Get the Imperial Assault Campaign module for Vassal from http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Star_Wars:_Imperial_Assault
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Yes, any hero can be selected.
Campaigns are separate and start the same way. You can play any of them in any order.
Campaign setup contains a side mission deck creation step. Side missions from the expansions are available to be selected by the rebels when building the side mission deck.
1. Any Rebel Hero can be used in any campaign. Note here that "hero" refers to the non-canonical protagonists, not the characters like Luke and Han or the groups like Rebel Troopers who are categorized as "allies" (though most people generally don't place restrictions on them in being included in all campaigns, either).
2. Right now, with Jabba's Realm included, there are three "big box" campaigns and two "small box" ones. Story missions from the big boxes are completely exclusive to their respective campaigns. Story missions from the small box ones become side missions in a big box campaign.
Also, campaign order does matter, as each campaign is its own experience. I'd suggest starting with the core campaign. After that, I personally feel as if Twin Shadows (and later, The Bespin Gambit) can be skipped since it becomes side missions in other campaigns.
3. Again, each campaign is its own experience. Chronologically, if you're just doing big box campaigns, I assume you'd do Core- Return to Hoth- Jabba's Realm. But honestly, it isn't that big of a deal.
4. At the beginning of a campaign, the Rebels pick one side mission that corresponds to each hero. They then pick 4 random grey side missions (various rewards) and specifically pick 4 green side missions (allies). Every time the campaign log specifies to select a side mission, the Rebels will have two of the mission's that they've set up to choose from. Then, when one is playerd, add another for next time to choose from.
The Empire can buy Agenda cards with Influence they've earned. Some of these cards are missions that can be added to the Rebels' side mission options, allowing them one turn to possibly block them Empire's schemes. Others are forced missions that take place outside the normal structure of the game.
If the group has never played the game before, I am a fan of only introducing the Core game components and playing through the base game first. After that I like introducing everything. It can be a little overwhelming to pick deployment groups from all of the boxed expansions and additional content if you've never played before.
That's my 2c, certainly you are allowed to play with everything included as others have indicated.
I think the idea of playing the Core Game first with only Core game components, except using all heroes as options, appeals to me.
In fact, I'm wondering if it makes sense to introduce other game components as we play through a particular expansion? As opposed to adding all components right after completing the Core campaign.