Dave Romero

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Hello, this is the first time that I took the time to write here.

I need your help so I can decide whether or not I buy Star Wars: Imperial Assault.

These are the games that I have and regularly play with my group of friends: catan, 7 wonders, pandemic, carcassonne, small world, Risk Star Wars Edition.

For some time ago we wanted to play something with a bit more complexity, with more depth to say something but at the same time entertained.

A few days ago I came across Star Wars: Imperial Assaul, this game caught my attention, first because I'm a fan of star wars saga and second, I find the concept interesting.

The point is that I have certain doubts that I would like to clarify before taking a decision on whether to buy it or not.

That is why I need your help clarifying some of them.

1. What level of complexity does this board game have? Low, medium, high?

2. What is the main mechanics of the game?

3. I have seen a few videos of the gameplay, and it seemed to me that it was just a matter of deciding where to move the figures and then throwing the dice. Is this really so?

I will also thank you for any suggestions on another board game that you may consider.

Thank you very much for your comments.
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1. Medium Complexity
2. It's a 1vs many skirmish game. Using the campaign, you get to level up your heroes/faction.
3. For the most part, yes. There are deeper decisions with what equipment to use, when, knowing when to push your characters, etc.

The game is nothing like what else you listed. This is a skirmish game where one player will be the empire and works against everyone else. Everyone else are the Rebels, each taking one character. Each game session is a scenario, with further scenarios linked depending on whether you won or lost. There is a larger story being told. This is more like a Dungeon Crawl than a Euro game.
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Dylan Posa
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It's funny you should post this, OP: I have been struggling with this decision, as well.
I have a limited budget for boardgames, so something that goes for $50-60+ is usually completely unthinkable for me.
However, my 7-year-old and I went to a FLGS and played through the intro and the first skirmish. We were there for 3 hours, and he was involved the whole time. The low complexity combined with the theme and mechanics seemed to be a huge hit for him. However, we played a pretty simple version - he didn't pay attention to any of the special powers of the characters.
I'm not sure we'll get far in the campaign playing this way, but if anyone else has any thoughts on this, I'd like to hear them.

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mrdaveromero wrote:
1. What level of complexity does this board game have? Low, medium, high?

I would say medium to high. I say this keeping in mind the other games you mention as being played frequently. That's not to say that learning the game is hard, it's just that there are many factors that go into deciding what action to take or upgrade to buy.

mrdaveromero wrote:
2. What is the main mechanics of the game?

Tactical combat and goal achievement resolved with modified dice rolls. There is more to it, but I think that is nearly the shortest summary possible.

mrdaveromero wrote:
3. I have seen a few videos of the gameplay, and it seemed to me that it was just a matter of deciding where to move the figures and then throwing the dice. Is this really so?

That is indeed the core mechanism. However, varying and increasing character abilities widen those options. The key to success in this game is actually not winning combat; it is accomplishing the mission objectives. Directly fighting the enemy can contribute to the objectives, but objectives must remain the primary goal.
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CmdrCorsiken wrote:
mrdaveromero wrote:
1. What level of complexity does this board game have? Low, medium, high?

I would say medium to high. I say this keeping in mind the other games you mention as being played frequently. That's not to say that learning the game is hard, it's just that there are many factors that go into deciding what action to take or upgrade to buy.

Everyone has their own gauge on how they rate things, but I'd push back against the game being high complexity. Games like War of the Ring and Mage Knight are vastly more complicated to learn, and the complexity of decision making pales compared to, say, Power Grid or Twilight Struggle. I'd even argue that most Eurogames have more complex decisions, if only because there are often more options with unclear outcomes, whereas Imperial Assault boils down to "move towards goal or shoot a guy" 90% of the time.

The only time choices get more complicated are when you have geared out characters with a variety of special abilities, but the game trains you for this well by unlocking things slowly through the campaign. Given the list of games OP has experience with, I don't think there would be much trouble getting his group to understand Imperial Assault.
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Matthew Cordeiro
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mrdaveromero wrote:
These are the games that I have and regularly play with my group of friends: catan, 7 wonders, pandemic, carcassonne, small world, Risk Star Wars Edition.

For some time ago we wanted to play something with a bit more complexity, with more depth to say something but at the same time entertained.

Imperial Assault is more complex than the games you listed. (I've played most of them.) It's also very different than the games you've listed.

mrdaveromero wrote:
1. What level of complexity does this board game have? Low, medium, high?

I'd say medium. It's also worth noting that a campaign mission, including setup/takedown time, will take you probably 1.5 to 2.5 hours. A skirmish mission, assuming both sides already have their teams and command decks built, is more like 45-75 minutes.

mrdaveromero wrote:
2. What is the main mechanics of the game?

Tactical combat. Campaigns and skirmishes both feature mission objectives (moreso in campaign) and eliminating enemy units (moreso in skirmish). Campaign features character building (acquiring new skills and equipment), while skirmish features squad building (choosing units and maybe some upgrades) and deck building (the command deck). Both feature dice rolling (with various ways to modify the dice results).

mrdaveromero wrote:
3. I have seen a few videos of the gameplay, and it seemed to me that it was just a matter of deciding where to move the figures and then throwing the dice. Is this really so?

That's like saying Catan is a matter of rolling dice and building settlements. To be more precise, you have 2 actions per figure per round, and you have to determine the best way to spend those actions. How far does this character need to move this turn? Do I attack enemy units or focus on the mission objective? Is this character going to be my heavy hitter, my attribute tester, or a support character? How much can I push this character before I have to rest? In other words, there are lots of tactical decisions. You have to find the best way to efficiently use a limited number of actions, and teamwork/cooperation is essential.
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Pasi Ojala
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Get the Imperial Assault Campaign module for Vassal from http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Star_Wars:_Imperial_Assault
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mrdaveromero wrote:
1. What level of complexity does this board game have? Low, medium, high?

Depend on what level you want to play. The basic rules are fairly simple to learn (medium-low), but the further into the campaign (or skirmish) you go, the more there is to learn - from details of rules, strategy and tactics.

mrdaveromero wrote:
2. What is the main mechanics of the game?

Action point allowance, dice rolling, variable player powers, character progression, asymmetric play, co-op against a game master.

mrdaveromero wrote:
3. I have seen a few videos of the gameplay, and it seemed to me that it was just a matter of deciding where to move the figures and then throwing the dice. Is this really so?

Were they skirmish or campaign videos?

It's a bit more than deciding where to move, because in the campaign the heroes can spend both their actions for attacks. The move action gives movement points, so a figure can move a bit, then Attack with another action, and then move again. There are also Interact action and special actions.

In the campaign each mission has a mission objective, so that is the goal, while each round and each activation will try to further that goal. Sometimes it's fighting, sometimes it's choosing the correct time to start running.

Also, a big part of the campaign is to upgrade the rebel heroes by purchasing new skills (class cards) and new weapons or other equipment. The imperial player can also do the same but a little differently.

One of my favorite games which everyone in my group isn't that keen on.

See Aftermath from some of my PBF campaigns to get another idea how the campaign is played. A1bert's Imperial Assault Play By Forum Campaigns

The skirmish mode gives a two-army combat game with the majority of rules shared with the campaign. Skirmish missions usually also have objectives for victory points, but you also gain VP by defeating enemy figures.
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Willem Verheij
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It's my newest and most complex game at the moment, I must say it took some time to get used to the rules but it helps to have internet with you since any question you have, someone else will have asked already about this game if you are not sure.

I've played through a whole campaign myself on my own to get to know the rules, I tend to play any new game by myself before I put it on the table with friends and so far that always resulted in a smooth experience.

An entire campaign might not be needed, but a few missions won't hurt. That way you can get a good feel of how all the book keeping in between works and how you proceed after each mission. It's not that much but its just to get familiar with it.

I still need to try out the skirmish, friends are getting exited to play this game with me but I don't know yet what mode they'd prefer.
Beware the rabbit hole though, there's a lot of expansions for this game.
I already bought a small box expansion and three unit packs since getting the game in March for my birthday.

Regarding the price of the base game though, you do get two games for this so that does balance out with it costing as much as two games.
I mainly get most of my board games for birthdays and christmas though, its a great gift for that.

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The complexity isn't especially high, but there are so many options that it seems like it is at times.
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Dave Romero

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DylanP wrote:
It's funny you should post this, OP: I have been struggling with this decision, as well.
I have a limited budget for boardgames, so something that goes for $50-60+ is usually completely unthinkable for me.
However, my 7-year-old and I went to a FLGS and played through the intro and the first skirmish. We were there for 3 hours, and he was involved the whole time. The low complexity combined with the theme and mechanics seemed to be a huge hit for him. However, we played a pretty simple version - he didn't pay attention to any of the special powers of the characters.
I'm not sure we'll get far in the campaign playing this way, but if anyone else has any thoughts on this, I'd like to hear them.



Thanks for sharing your experience. I still do not have childrens but I hope I can enjoy board games with him or her just like you do. I hope this post will work for you too then.
 
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Dave Romero

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Jorune wrote:
1. Medium Complexity
2. It's a 1vs many skirmish game. Using the campaign, you get to level up your heroes/faction.
3. For the most part, yes. There are deeper decisions with what equipment to use, when, knowing when to push your characters, etc.

The game is nothing like what else you listed. This is a skirmish game where one player will be the empire and works against everyone else. Everyone else are the Rebels, each taking one character. Each game session is a scenario, with further scenarios linked depending on whether you won or lost. There is a larger story being told. This is more like a Dungeon Crawl than a Euro game.


Thanks for your comments, certainly this helps me to have a better view of the game
 
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Dave Romero

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Thanks to all for your comments, certainly this helps me to have a better view of the game
 
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Dave Romero

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I have another question, what about replayability, is it something like Risk Legacy? I mean that after a certain number of plays the game ends? At least the campaign mode, I assume that skirmish mode can be played any number of times.
 
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Get the Imperial Assault Campaign module for Vassal from http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Star_Wars:_Imperial_Assault
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mrdaveromero wrote:
I have another question, what about replayability, is it something like Risk Legacy? I mean that after a certain number of plays the game ends? At least the campaign mode, I assume that skirmish mode can be played any number of times.

There are 30 missions in the core box. In a campaign you will play 11 to 14 missions, usually 11 or 12. The campaign structure consists of story missions (two alternatives) and side missions. You could get through a second play of the campaign without playing any mission again (except the intro - Aftermath).

You have 6 heroes to choose your 4 from, and 3 different imperial class decks. In addition heroes will get different item draws to purchase from.

Even if you end up playing a mission a second time, it will still play differently due to different heroes, different imperial class deck, different skills, different items, different strategies, different experience of the players, and different dice rolls.

(So, the core box has at least 2-3 plays of the core campaign in it without needing to add expansions.)
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Also a lot of content of the expansions can be used in the main campaign and also in each of the expansion campaigns.

New items to purchase, new allies and villains to obtain for either side, new heroes to use, new class decks for the imperial player, lots of new enemies for the imperial player to use against the heroes, new agenda cards, etc.

So there really is replay value. Sure the rebels would know about some surprises the second time, but the imperial player would know this too and could use it against them.

I doubt many people would remember everything though, and as it is there are 5 campaigns available through all expansions, soon to be 6.
So there is quite some choice there, you would not need to play the same one constantly in a row if you want to keep playing the game all the time.
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I would agree with most of what people have to say here.
Judging the complexity is a bit tricky. I would say that compared to the games you listed this is more complex, but it depends on if you are the evil empire (Dungeon Master) or the Rebel Heroes.
I've been playing this with my kids for a while (they were 7 & 9 when we did our first campaign), they needed a bit of help but they picked it up pretty quickly and were whipping my butt pretty quickly, so it can be quite straight forward for the rebels, if you go easy on them.
I would say that it is a very involved game for the Empire player, it's not just a case of grabbing it off the shelf and having a quick game. You need a group who will commit to a campaign of around a dozen games.
I’ll finish by saying, that if you are willing to put in the time and your group will commit, this game will pay back in spades! Do you want to feel like you are making your own star wars movie? Do you want gripping stories that go down to that one last dice roll (this has happened to us countless times)? One word of warning …… those plastic minis are VERY addictive.
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Very addictive yes, pretty much any time I go to the city I seem to pick up a figure pack while there. Good thing I don't go to the city that often.
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I would not have recommended Imperial Assault to someone on the basis of the gaming history you've provided.

That said, if it's caught your interest already then go for it. It's a well-designed game with a lot of depth.

Please note that the experience of a *lot* of groups with the first campaign is to get outraged at it being "unbalanced". But trust me, every mission is winnable for either side assuming all players playing well, and the campaign is well-balanced *as a campaign* even if not every mission returns a 50/50 win split.

You should also explicitly talk to your players in advance about what kind of game they expect - do they want it to be played in a perfectly competitive style (as designed), in which case they should expect that maybe after all their work the Imperial will still destroy them in the campaign and sometimes completely shut them out of a mission altogether, or do they want more of a roleplaying experience, where the Imperial aims to keep them challenged but the Rebels can expect to win in the end? Mismatched expectations can lead to hurt feelings after a few sessions.
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As i understand your group will play mainly campaign mode, but skirmish is an excellent game mode, so i'll focus my answer specifically on this game mode.

First of all if you already know how to play campaign, you already know 95% of the mechanics of skirmish. But there are important nuances and obvious differences.

If you start from zero, it's a game where everybody can start play easily, but the player who knows how to use more efficiently his army will win most of the times. In this sense, it's not that different from Carcassone.

Mechanically, it's a game with a low/maybe medium complexity. It's relatively easy to get games going.

Strategically, it's not always evident what path you should take. Amass figures in a flank? Sneaping? Frontal Assault? Defensive stance? Hit and run? A mix of those? You can decide quickly, but if you stop and think at it, there are multiple options. This is the idea.

Army/deck construction is in fact a whole subgame. As simple or complex as you choose to make it. If you happen to invest in the multiple expansions / figure packs, there are more and more options in terms of combos, sinergies, tactics or strategies.

Tactically there are many decisions that may seem simple at first sight, but in fact are a bit more complex if you think about them. The order in which you take actions is very important, decisions like who to attack or what exact position to put your figures is not trivial at all. A bit like chess if you like. Of course dice can destroy the best decision or give to a poor decision a good result, but dice results tend to balance themselves.

Finally, skirmish has a massive replayability as long as you expand the core game with expansions or figure packs, both in terms of diversity of missions and strategies and tactics you could use. Each game feels and plays differently.
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Dave Romero

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I thank all of you for taking your time and helping me with my questions.

Each of you gives me different aspects that help me to better understand the mechanics and elements of how the game goes.

Now I have another question, if I start the campaign with my usual group of friends with whom I play, I can play the following games with other people, for example my brothers and cousins? I mean is it necessary that those who start playing the campaign continue until it ends?
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Get the Imperial Assault Campaign module for Vassal from http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Star_Wars:_Imperial_Assault
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mrdaveromero wrote:
if I start the campaign with my usual group of friends with whom I play, I can play the following games with other people

It's not necessary, but preferred, so that the players get to know and keep up with their heroes and their abilities. Having the same imperial player is more important due to you having set up the agenda deck, but at the same time it might be a little easier to switch imperial players because there are less interactions in the abilities.

Nothing requires to play a campaign to the end either, and if you go through the trouble of extra book-keeping you could play multiple campaigns at the same time with one copy.
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mrdaveromero wrote:
Now I have another question, if I start the campaign with my usual group of friends with whom I play, I can play the following games with other people, for example my brothers and cousins? I mean is it necessary that those who start playing the campaign continue until it ends?


The fun in campaign is at least partly from developing up your characters, so your friends might get frustrated at being stuck with the decisions of other players or not getting to see the results of their own decisions. I wouldn't really recommend playing a single campaign with different sets of players each mission.

However, there's no reason you can't take detailed notes of what players have bought etc so that you can have multiple campaigns running at once. It's not quite as neat and easy as just bagging the cards between sessions but it does let you have a couple of games on the go simultaneously.
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It's one of my favorite games and I don't have a lot to add about game play that hasn't already been said.

The one thing that struck me about this game that I absolutely love is the rule books. They are friggen amazing in how concise they are and how quickly you'll find what you're looking for. There are actually quite a few rules to this game, and there are plenty of unforeseen situations that will make you second guess yourself and consult your rule book, but I promise you it will never feel overwhelming or confusing because of the job they did.
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Chickenclaw wrote:
It's one of my favorite games and I don't have a lot to add about game play that hasn't already been said.

The one thing that struck me about this game that I absolutely love is the rule books. They are friggen amazing in how concise they are and how quickly you'll find what you're looking for. There are actually quite a few rules to this game, and there are plenty of unforeseen situations that will make you second guess yourself and consult your rule book, but I promise you it will never feel overwhelming or confusing because of the job they did.


No, seriously, that might have been true when it first came out and even then the structure led to the most boring and unintuitive rule book read ever. Don't get me wrong, the reference guide is not bad, but they should have done a more thorough explanation of practically everything in the l2p guide instead of expecting to read everything in the other book.
Also with every expansion the rules became messier and more complicated and worst of all, not really intuitive at times, that I think this game needs a major overhaul.
I also think that there are many games that offer a lot more depth while being considerably less complex.
Especially in the campaign are so many moving parts, especially with heroes from expansions, that can cause serious headaches.
So if you're worried about complexity, I suggest another game. If you don't care about that stuff, you most likely will have fun with it.
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Locu wrote:
Chickenclaw wrote:
It's one of my favorite games and I don't have a lot to add about game play that hasn't already been said.

The one thing that struck me about this game that I absolutely love is the rule books. They are friggen amazing in how concise they are and how quickly you'll find what you're looking for. There are actually quite a few rules to this game, and there are plenty of unforeseen situations that will make you second guess yourself and consult your rule book, but I promise you it will never feel overwhelming or confusing because of the job they did.


No, seriously, that might have been true when it first came out and even then the structure led to the most boring and unintuitive rule book read ever. Don't get me wrong, the reference guide is not bad, but they should have done a more thorough explanation of practically everything in the l2p guide instead of expecting to read everything in the other book.


This is true. However, the Rules Reference Guide is just that, a reference. It wasn't meant to be read through in order to play the game, it's meant to be used when you have a question about a certain situation. Of course the double edged sword is that the Learn to Play guide only covers the basics of how to play and if you don't read the RRG prior to playing your first game, you're going to be spending more time checking rules than playing. That does get better with every session that is played tho.

Locu wrote:
Also with every expansion the rules became messier and more complicated and worst of all, not really intuitive at times, that I think this game needs a major overhaul.
I also think that there are many games that offer a lot more depth while being considerably less complex.
Especially in the campaign are so many moving parts, especially with heroes from expansions, that can cause serious headaches.
So if you're worried about complexity, I suggest another game. If you don't care about that stuff, you most likely will have fun with it.


I have to respectfully disagree with your assertions here. While the expansions do add new rules, each one adds new bits and pieces. If you add everything from all the current expansions at once, you're still only adding about 10% new rules to the game. Plus, who has the money to do all that at once? A prudent person should buy the core, and maybe the wave 1 expansions that compliment the core. Play through that and if they like it, add more.

I also believe that the game doesn't need a major overhaul, however it does need some rule clarifications and errata. Fortunately, FFG has a living FAQ that is updated regularly with the changes that need to be made. This includes changes to old rules, new rules and characters that weren't properly costed when they were created. Click on the link, then click on FAQ under the Support section: https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/products/star-wars-imp...

I will agree that there are plenty of games with more depth and games with less complexity. But some of that is subjective and in the end it comes down to what sort of a game you are looking for at that time.

I'd recommend a new potential player go to their FLGS and check out some IA there. I know there are several near me that host weekly skirmish sessions and also do campaigns from time to time. You can probably find a group on the facebooks in your area as well.
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