Stephen Schaefer
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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The first several times we have played this game, the Naboo have prevailed. As someone who has favored playing the Trade Federation, this has become a bit frustrating, especially the last couple games, where Anakin rolled through the star field with ridiculous ease. However, this night, at last, the TF revealed itself to the Jedi. At last, they had their revenge.

First, an explanation. My friend Damage and I have had a blast playing this as a two-player game, and at our small church gaming group, we did a four-player game with some success. However, we wanted a way to introduce our Star Wars geek friend to this game. But how to do this with three people in a two-player game? Simple: I played the Trade Federation solo, and they teamed up on the Naboo side, splitting Battlefield and Theed Palace duties. They each played two cards of their six, like in a four-player game, and I played four cards from my ten, like in a two-player game. Since I did not have a partner, we stayed with the two-player mechanic of one card per side per round.

The Trade Federation began its play by moving droids to seal off the top floor from Window Ledge Movement. Naboo had a strong Jedi opening, moving Qui-Gon around to Darth Maul's flank for a 1-point attack, and then unleashing Obi-Wan's Fury. However, Darth Maul pulled a Rage on his first turn as well, focusing on taking out Qui-Gon early in the hopes of killing him quickly enough to make his Fury useless later.

The Naboo drew many Anakin cards in the early turns, but struck out on their first roll, giving the TF the chance they needed to drop a Starfighter card on that space. In all, four Starfighter cards would be dropped on that first space alone. This was the beginning of a very long night for Anakin.

Meanwhile, the battlefield was a little slower to develop, with so much focus on moving/stalling Anakin. The catapaults took some early shots at the droids, crippling two squadrons before they were able to fully deploy. This put the TF behind early in the battlefield, needing to move more troops forward to get within attack range.

In the palace, the Red Queen and some guards made their way to the second floor, only to find the stairwells blocked by Destroyer Droids. So they bunkered down on the second floor and started picking off droids. One of the DDs moved down to render assistance, and some droids were brought in from the battlefield, both to give support and to clear space in front of the tanks for later turns.

The Jedi battle was not going well. Qui-Gon was having his health stripped away bit by bit, and the Jedi attacks were generating very few hits. Just before Qui-Gon expired, he knocked Maul down to 7 damage, but Maul simply recovered 2 and was ready to square off against Obi-Wan.

The tide was also turning on the battlefield. The battle droids managed to knock out a Fambaa, and the Destroyer Droids moved in to start attacking the catapaults. One tank maneuvered into a position to attack the center catapault, allowing one of the side catapaults to move into range and knock it down to its last hit point. But the snowball was already starting to roll downhill.

Through the entire first half of the game, Anakin never advanced past the first space in the star field. He would repeatedly stall, even against cards that had very few fighters on it. And he would take out one card only to be stopped by the next, and then another card would be placed on top of the stack. For once the droid starfighters were doing their job.

In the palace, a couple guards had snuck through and managed to open a hole on the third floor, and Panaka moved up there. But the DDs on the second floor were taking their toll on the Naboo. Finally, the red queen went down, and was revealed to be... the real Amidala! Now, on top of all their other frustrations, their guard movement was cut in half!

The Jedi battle was raging fiercely as the TF approached the bottom of their Theed Palace draw pile. Obi-Wan took some good shots at Maul, who took a total of 13 damage before finally striking down the young Jedi! At long last, Maul had managed to survive the onslaught of both Jedi! He took a position just far enough in side the core door to remain out of the way of the guards, and waited to draw his next recovery card. But even as Obi-Wan fell, the Naboo players looked at Anakin, on only the second space on the board, and could sense their impending doom.

The last of the catapaults finally went down, and the battlefield started bleeding bonus cards onto the TF side of the table. They managed to take out two tanks, but combined with the DDs, the firepower was just too much for them to handle. More droids were mobilized to move to the palace.

Captain Panaka fell to the DD's that had moved upstairs to confront him, and the guard count was quickly dwindling, even as the battle droids took aim at the purple queen. The battlefield was almost completely cleared of Gungan forces. Anakin was now stuck on the third point on the board, with three starfighter cards stacked on the final square, taunting him from down the line. It was now only a matter of a couple turns before the demise of the Naboo. Was it time for the game to be conceded? No. The TF would enjoy its one day in the sun.

With that decision, DDs and tanks were taken into range of the last Fambaa. The purple queen fell. Darth Maul watched as more guards fell in the main hallway, until finally he drew his recover card. Now with only 11 damage, he emerged and started cutting down guards. Even having only two guards left was not victory enough. The Fambaa must go down. The Fambaa did go down. And Maul did not stop until every single guard was dead. Zero Naboo forces remained on the board. At long last, victory belonged to the Trade Federation.
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Rodney Loyd
United States
Sand Springs
OK
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My son and I played a 3-player version with koldfoot last year at BGG.con, set-up the same way you described. We played the Trade Federation and got our butts kicked twice. We're going to try to stop Anakin again this year!
 
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