Recommend
37 
 Thumb up
 Hide
4 Posts

Assault on Hoth: The Empire Strikes Back» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Still fun at age 27 rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Michael Kucirek
Denmark
flag msg tools
A couple of weekends ago I got together with a friend of mine and had a game of AoH in a fit of nostalgia. We hadn’t played this game since we were 13 or 14 years old (my friend is 28 and I can claim to be 27 for two more days *sulk*). Back then I thought this was the coolest game ever, the layout was great, the gameplay, and it was true to the movie. This game had everything. Sitting there with my friend I just expected that we would have a few laughs, some beers and more enjoy the game for old times’ sake, but I was totally blown away again, I was completely absorbed. And since I now have the terminology and the gaming experience of many years of gaming I must admit that this is still – at the age of 27 – a very entertaining game. I can’t remember ever jumping up and down in a rush of excitement awaiting the decisions of the dice.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a Star Wars fan so I guess I don’t have to say what the game is about. One player is the Rebels while the other represents the Imperial forces commanded by general Veers. The goal for the Imperial player is to wipe out the Shield Generator before the fifth Rebel transport makes its getaway. The Rebel player must try to make a desperate rearguard attempt to allow the transports to evacuate in time. I ended up as the Rebels while my friend took on the role of the Empire.
The Rebel player sets up his forces behind a “Rebel Forward Line” and must mind protecting both the Shield Generator and the “Power Grid”, which lends power to the Shield Generator. The Imperial player must make up his mind whether to dispatch AT-AT’s to destroy the Power Grid or concentrate solely on marching on the Shield Generator.

The rules are so simple that they don’t need any explaining. Combat is resolved by rolling the fire value of the attacking unit and comparing hits (Lightsaber-symbols for the Rebels, Vader-symbols for the Imperials) to the armor value of the defender.

Turn order is determined by drawing Action Cards from an Action Deck. These are for instance Snowspeeders move or Towers fire or Walkers move or fire etc. The action is carried out and a new card is drawn. When all Action Cards have been discarded, the deck is shuffled again and a new round of Action Card drawing begins.
While this system makes planning obsolete (besides opening strategy (should I send one or two Walkers against the Power Grid?) and a little tactics (keeping Rebel Heavy Troopers in reserve to ambush Walkers, having AT-ST’s or Snowtroopers protecting your AT-AT’s, staying out of Walkers’ fire arc and so on) there’s no room for master planning as this system makes the game a “reaction-game”), it does make for a very fast paced and action-filled game with absolutely no downtime. This makes AoH a very, very light game. No strategy, just action. Fast action. And then of course there’s the Snowspeeders move, fire or harpoon, which has always been the cause of much adrenalin rushing and a lot of fun as it gives the Rebel player the chance to take out the otherwise near-impervious Walkers in one go.
Another thing which makes for a lot (!) of excitement is the damage capacity of Snowspeeders and Walkers. Walkers can naturally soak an awful amount of damage, but a lucky shot can render it near useless. A shot in the leg can near cripple a Walker, especially if early in the game as it will take it forever to reach the Shield Generator. A shot to a Walker’s blasters makes it laughable and unlikely to cause damage to anything but Rebel troopers. Every time the dice to determine hit location are rolled, players are holding their breath as did me and my friend.
The Action Card deck holds two Event Cards. These represent special occurrences like marksmen, reinforcements and the much longed for (or detested) Transport away!
Oh, and there’s Luke as well, who can use Force for enhancing his shots and other feats that are unavailable to the standard Rebel.

My friend and I had a great time. We found ourselves making laser-noises while rolling the dice and explosions whenever a Walker fell and throwing quotes like “Attack pattern Delta.” and “Good shot, Janson!”
Our game sure had the movie feel. It had Rebel Towers firing wildly in a futile gesture at the approaching Walkers as they penetrated the Rebel Forward Line, it had some very effective AT-ST’s go tower-hunting, it had the hapless Walker no. 4 being hit in the legs only halfway to the Shield Generator, it had desperate ambushes by Rebel troopers (to see a few of them get trodden down) and Snowspeeders swarming the Walkers (with a pretty high casualty rating). The climax was as dramatic as only a movie can be: Walker no. 1 made it to the Shield Generator (with only one remaining point of body damage, which meant that another hit would destroy it), which was protected by the last remaining Rebel Tower. The cards then drawn were the following: a Draw Event, which revealed The Force is with You! (which allows for one automatic hit), then a Towers fire that used The Force is with You! to blow the walker apart. As the smoking hull of the Walker fell to the ground, the Imperial player drew Walker’s fire as if Fate was mocking him. This little sequence of cards had us both out of our chairs chanting strange things, gesturing wildly and trying to work all sorts of magic and counter-magic on the dice.
In the end the fifth Rebel transport made its jump to lightspeed heading for the rendevouz point of the Rebel fleet.

Looks and layout has a lot to say if I’m going to like a game. This game is ugly. The board is paper, mostly white with some simplistic bluish rough ground and cliffs and the counters aren’t too pretty. There’s not much thought to a game. You just send your men in the general direction of your enemy and roll some dice. But the fact that this game had me doing acrobatics at the age of 27 is proof that the gameplay of this great game does not diminish with time. This means that for young Star Wars fans this game is a must.

Use your wallet, Luke. You must go to the Dagobar system. There you will seek this game.
23 
 Thumb up
2.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bryce K. Nielsen
United States
Elk Ridge
Utah
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I *love* this game, had it back in the early 90's and now cannot find it for the life of me. Been trying to find it on eBay with little luck.

I think the greatest thing about this game was the Action Deck. It was such a different way to play that it made the game feel fresh. We figured out the statistics of how often the speeders moved, walkers attacked, etc. That added a lot to how we played the game strategically. Knowing that the speeders moved 3 times but only fired twice and had only one harpoon told us how to behave when the card came up. For example, if the Harpoon came up early in the deck, then the Speeders tended to not linger near a walker and focused on the AT-STs.

I agree, had a very good movie feel, and I very much want to play this again...

-shnar
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Clay Berry
United States
Raleigh
North Carolina
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
It is on BGG auction now
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/155443/game-purge-2013
Happy bidding
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kevin Buchanan
China
Shenyang
Liaoning
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Yep, came back to the game yesterday after a 15 year hiatus and still loved the way it played.

Whilst the paper map and counters made it feel liek a very "grown-up" game at the time, I admit that after the game I was back on bgg looking at some of the modded versions and pricing up 3d printers.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.