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Subject: Can Star Wars even be bad? rss

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James K
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Welcome to the review of my all time favourite game. From about 2009-2011 I dropped an unthinkable amount of time and money into this game. I guess it wouldn't have mattered that much, except there was nowhere to actually play it apart from on the occasional visit with my brother, or on Vassal. There was no one actually playing it around me, and it is quite a difficult game to get into.

The base rules are pretty simple: you have a map with a grid on it. You can move figures a certain number of squares and shoot. On the map there are coloured lines that represent different things: red blocks line of sight, yellow is difficult terrain, green are obstacles that give cover, but are difficult to traverse. Using these lines and your characters, you fight it out with a team of Star Wars characters. You roll a D20 against the opposing figures' defense values (adjusted for cover, abilities and commander effects). The team with the most points worth of characters left over at the end of the game wins.

The difficulty, and steep learning curve, arise in the form of special abilities, commander effects and force powers. Learning how they interact with each other, what this then means for your squad, and what you might need to prepare for is all part of the game, but it is undoubtedly the most complex part. When your figures are actually on the map, keeping track of stats is also important. If someone is shooting at my character, I need to know his defense score, then +4 for cover, +4 for a commander effect, and maybe even another addition for some kind of synergy with another character. Thinking about it, I would want to be keeping track of that if it was my opponent too! I am not going to waste an attack at someone who's defense is higher than I can possibly hope to hit!

There is so much strategy and planning in this game, I love it. But for a game to not last hours, you need to control squad size, and possibly play by the competitive tournament rules: games last 1 hour and there is a gambit score. Gambit means you get 5 points each round you have a character in a small section in the centre of the map. This forces players to engage one another, because there were viable winning strategies that involved picking off a weak unit and then locking your own team in a room and waiting for the end.


Pros

1. It is Star Wars.

2. the rules are simple at heart but give lots of things to think about.

3. It is Star Wars.

4. A lot of care has gone into designing many characters, and while some are useless due to power creep, efforts have been made to bring those characters some love with sets released by the best players in the world after the game was cancelled by WOTC.


Cons

1. The interactions between commander effects, special abilities, force powers and such can be difficult to keep track of. It is entirely possible to bring a squad to a game and be faced by a squad that has a power/strategy that completely destroys yours.

2. There aren't many people left playing this game, and the figures are OOP. I am sure there are some centres of activity with the most die-hard fans, but they are not found in the UK. I want to introduce people to it, but they aren't happy about it being an OOP collectible miniatures game. Why get into a dead game?


That all being said, this game was a huge part of my life for a couple of years. It introduced me to the concept of competitive games. I discovered websites online where I could read reviews of miniatures, learn strategies, create squads, and generally be involved in an excellent community.

For me that is what does it for me: it is Star Wars, it is a miniatures game, and the community was awesome. I even travelled to the USA to compete in the Gencon tournament in 2012. Loved it.
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Neil J.
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Thanks for your review, James. I too loved this game ever since it was released shortly before Gencon 2004 (if my memory serves me right). Granted it had it nuances, but overall it was a fun, fast paced game with no-hassle painted miniatures and no set up time. I remember spending many evenings on the WotC and Blue Milk forums. For me I don't think any game since has given me such long sustained enjoyment that SWM did back in its day. I can never forsee getting rid of my collection, but at the same time I can't remember the last time I played it. Perhaps the new Star Wars movies will breathe new life back into this game for me.

On a somewhat related note, what are SWM fans' collective feelings on the new SW:IA game? I want to get excited about it, but I already own Descent 2nd edition, and of course lots of SWM. Why should I bother?
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Phil Triest
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Imperial Assault is gonna dwarf most games sales in the next few years.
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Chris Funk
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Can anything Star Wars be bad?

Episodes 1-3. I rest my case, your honor.
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Read the rulebook, plan for all contingencies, and…read the rulebook again.
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philtrees wrote:
Imperial Assault is gonna dwarf most games sales in the next few years.


True, but James is ahead of us in having pre-painted figures at the ready for anything the game throws at him!
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Jo Bartok
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FunkyBlue wrote:
Can anything Star Wars be bad?

Episodes 1-3. I rest my case, your honor.


Well Episode 1 .... yes.
Some Imperial Assaults can also be bad:
http://www.amazon.de/Star-Wars-Imperial-Assault-Figuren/dp/B...
Others can be great
http://www.amazon.de/Star-Wars-Imperial-Assault-Board/dp/161...
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Adam Gordon
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ionas wrote:


That is for Star wars command, which if I understand correctly is not actually Imperial assault, more like the little green army men but set in star wars therefor buy buy buy!

Not imperial Assault, imperial insult!

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Jo Bartok
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personally I think Ep 1 is such a children movie because lucas arts tried to gather a new fanbase. If you went into the movie being like 10 or so you have probably found it pretty cool... and then a few years later you could watch the much more cruel followups. So they tried to grow some fans
 
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ionas wrote:
personally I think Ep 1 is such a children movie because lucas arts tried to gather a new fanbase. If you went into the movie being like 10 or so you have probably found it pretty cool... and then a few years later you could watch the much more cruel followups. So they tried to grow some fans


I hate sand.
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Nice review James. A friend and I do still play the game.
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klkitchens wrote:
ionas wrote:
personally I think Ep 1 is such a children movie because lucas arts tried to gather a new fanbase. If you went into the movie being like 10 or so you have probably found it pretty cool... and then a few years later you could watch the much more cruel followups. So they tried to grow some fans


I hate sand.


Me too. It's so coarse and rough and irritating, and it gets everywhere. Not like in Natalie Portman's room. In there everything is soft and smooth.
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James K
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Ugavine wrote:
Nice review James. A friend and I do still play the game.


Yeah I recognise the name Ugavine from the forums from back in the day. I go by a different name there, not that I have logged in in a long time.
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James K
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Gaius wrote:
Thanks for your review, James. I too loved this game ever since it was released shortly before Gencon 2004 (if my memory serves me right). Granted it had it nuances, but overall it was a fun, fast paced game with no-hassle painted miniatures and no set up time. I remember spending many evenings on the WotC and Blue Milk forums. For me I don't think any game since has given me such long sustained enjoyment that SWM did back in its day. I can never forsee getting rid of my collection, but at the same time I can't remember the last time I played it. Perhaps the new Star Wars movies will breathe new life back into this game for me.

On a somewhat related note, what are SWM fans' collective feelings on the new SW:IA game? I want to get excited about it, but I already own Descent 2nd edition, and of course lots of SWM. Why should I bother?


I have a few giant boxes full of miniatures hidden in my parents' attic. I don't have room for them. I can't part with them as they really do hold such an emotional connection with me. I probably haven't played since 2012, but always feel like I will get back into it again. Of course, I have probably missed the latest V-Sets.
 
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klkitchens wrote:
ionas wrote:
personally I think Ep 1 is such a children movie because lucas arts tried to gather a new fanbase. If you went into the movie being like 10 or so you have probably found it pretty cool... and then a few years later you could watch the much more cruel followups. So they tried to grow some fans


I hate sand.


Then you must loath the Sandpeople...whistle
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Phil Triest
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ionas wrote:
personally I think Ep 1 is such a children movie because lucas arts tried to gather a new fanbase. If you went into the movie being like 10 or so you have probably found it pretty cool... and then a few years later you could watch the much more cruel followups. So they tried to grow some fans


Judging by the short trailer to Episode 7 Abrams has catered to the original fan base which is quite exciting. I think this new trilogy may well eclipse the original in terms of story line, visual effects and overall entertainment. I am glad Lucas got the boot from his own franchise. He butchered Star Wars. Hopefully the prequels are completely redone and rewritten in the future.
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philtrees wrote:
ionas wrote:
personally I think Ep 1 is such a children movie because lucas arts tried to gather a new fanbase. If you went into the movie being like 10 or so you have probably found it pretty cool... and then a few years later you could watch the much more cruel followups. So they tried to grow some fans


Judging by the short trailer to Episode 7 Abrams has catered to the original fan base which is quite exciting. I think this new trilogy may well eclipse the original in terms of story line, visual effects and overall entertainment. I am glad Lucas got the boot from his own franchise. He butchered Star Wars. Hopefully the prequels are completely redone and rewritten in the future.


There is a stupid tendency to blame Lucas for everything people dislike about Star Wars and give credit to anyone else for everything they like about Star Wars.

Sadly there are a lot of stupid people out there, who know very little about Star Wars, but just won't shut up!
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The Jakster wrote:
philtrees wrote:
ionas wrote:
personally I think Ep 1 is such a children movie because lucas arts tried to gather a new fanbase. If you went into the movie being like 10 or so you have probably found it pretty cool... and then a few years later you could watch the much more cruel followups. So they tried to grow some fans


Judging by the short trailer to Episode 7 Abrams has catered to the original fan base which is quite exciting. I think this new trilogy may well eclipse the original in terms of story line, visual effects and overall entertainment. I am glad Lucas got the boot from his own franchise. He butchered Star Wars. Hopefully the prequels are completely redone and rewritten in the future.


There is a stupid tendency to blame Lucas for everything people dislike about Star Wars and give credit to anyone else for everything they like about Star Wars.

Sadly there are a lot of stupid people out there, who know very little about Star Wars, but just won't shut up!


I know the original movies verbatim and I gave the prequels a shot. They were horrible and yes Lucas wrote the scripts and directed and produced them so don't pipe up and say it wasn't his fault. Jar Jar Binks was Star Wars funniest character according to Lucas. Yeah that worked out. The truth is Lucas started losing the plot when the Ewoks beat the Emperor's best legion. Empire Strikes Back is still the best movie in the franchise and who directed and often tweaked things for the better? Not Lucas, but Irvin Kershner. Lucas was also held to account by other producers there as well. I find your comments rather inflammatory given that I am probably a bigger fan of the franchise than you are.
 
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Gaius wrote:
On a somewhat related note, what are SWM fans' collective feelings on the new SW:IA game? I want to get excited about it, but I already own Descent 2nd edition, and of course lots of SWM. Why should I bother?


SWM still has a weekly podcast and they talked about SW:IA tonight:

http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web/talkCast.jsp?masterId=6...

For myself, no plans to buy it at this point. I'm still playing SWM a couple times per month.
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ionas wrote:
personally I think Ep 1 is such a children movie because lucas arts tried to gather a new fanbase.

Yeah, right, and Episode 6 never features those cutie teddy bears which were not for the children at all.
 
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yourmaster23 wrote:
ionas wrote:
personally I think Ep 1 is such a children movie because lucas arts tried to gather a new fanbase.

Yeah, right, and Episode 6 never features those cutie teddy bears which were not for the children at all.

My players know better than treating Ewoks as cute teddy bears in my RPG campaign. devil
 
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yourmaster23 wrote:
ionas wrote:
personally I think Ep 1 is such a children movie because lucas arts tried to gather a new fanbase.

Yeah, right, and Episode 6 never features those cutie teddy bears which were not for the children at all.


He did that in both VI and I. He lost his way a bit on the Moon of Endor, but was so successful toy wise with the Ewoks that he thought it would work again. The problem with episode I is the 'whole' movie is for children bar the lightsabre duel at the end. At least RotJ had some decent stuff in the end battle like the AT-STs and the mass star ship battle. ANyhow I could rant for weeks on this...
 
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Don't argue with aa bb, he is just here to spam me. Haters...
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philtrees wrote:
Imperial Assault is gonna dwarf most games sales in the next few years.


Not at $80 bucks with unpainted figures it won't.

And certainly not if someone sets up a game of Star Wars Minaitures next to it.
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cauldronofevil wrote:
philtrees wrote:
Imperial Assault is gonna dwarf most games sales in the next few years.


Not at $80 bucks with unpainted figures it won't.

And certainly not if someone sets up a game of Star Wars Minaitures next to it.

Considering a case of Star Wars Miniatures was well over $80 that's hardly an argument against Imperial Assault.

I can see Imperial Assault doing extremely well, in fact I'm pretty sure it already is.
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Ugavine wrote:
cauldronofevil wrote:
philtrees wrote:
Imperial Assault is gonna dwarf most games sales in the next few years.


Not at $80 bucks with unpainted figures it won't.

And certainly not if someone sets up a game of Star Wars Minaitures next to it.

Considering a case of Star Wars Miniatures was well over $80 that's hardly an argument against Imperial Assault.

I can see Imperial Assault doing extremely well, in fact I'm pretty sure it already is.


Considering that IA was Cool Stuff's third highest seller in 2014 and it was only released for 15 days tells me that Michael Taylor already has egg on his face...
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