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Subject: To buy or not to buy? Or Whitehall Mystery? rss

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A Brave New Geek
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Guys,

I have read a few reviews on this game (including the expansion) and it looks really fun though I am not quite convinced yet as there have been some well structured and considered negstive reviews. I am not a massive fan of Star Wars though enjoyed the movies.

- Is it too long for what it is? My prefernces for longer games would usually be more strategy focussed/hesvier though this seems quite light for a longer game.....
- Is there good replayability or will games unfold in a similar manner (alebit with a different ordering)?
- Is the combat really that bad?
- Does the expansion fix/improve any of the above?

I have also taken a look at Whitehall Mystery which seems to have the cat and mouse stuff without the cinematic elements (which look really fun).

Appreciate any input! Cheers.
 
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Derry Salewski
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If you're just looking for a game and don't care much about star wars, give it a pass.

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Dan P
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I also enjoyed the movies but am otherwise not a massive Star Wars fan. I still absolutely love this game. You do have to be somewhat of a fan to get into it, I think - the theme really makes it enjoyable for the first few plays when you don’t really know what you’re doing. But now I care less about the Star Wars aspect and more about the depth of strategy this game offers.

It is on the long side. The 3-4 hours it says on the box has been pretty accurate in my experience, and it might actually be a little longer while you’re learning it. But I wouldn’t call it light at all. I find it quite intense from beginning to end, and extremely strategic once you know what all the cards can do.

Every time I play this (probably ~25 times now), my friend and I both say at least once that this is not going the way any of our other plays have. There’s a lot of variability with the cards. And it may not look like much variance, but randomizing the starting systems with the advanced setup actually creates some very unique strategic decisions right from the start.

The combat is not bad at all, but I think the expansion is an improvement nonetheless. The expansion also adds more variability from game to game in the leaders and objectives you get, aside from giving you a whole different set of missions to choose from. I highly recommend it, though you might want to just start with the base game, which was already great.
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Gregg Saruwatari
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I was very skeptical of this game at first because it had the Star Wars name slapped on it, and it seems the more recent popular games have lacked the staying power of the popular games from years ago. After a friend asked me to play it for his birthday, I had to admit I was wrong and go buy it.

The Star Wars theme is well integrated much like CK's Battlestar Galactica. In this case there is a ton of pressure on the rebel player to avoid big engagements and the Empire always seems to be a space away from destroying you. Likewise, the Empire is always pulling their hair out because they can't believe the rebel base is not where they thought it was and now they are running out of time. If you want to feel like that for a few hours and have 1-2 friends that also want to feel that way, get this game.

As for combat, we just don't play with the cards and it is fine. Saves a ton of time without affecting the outcome at all. Just if you would get a card, you get a reroll. Simple fix. Don't use lightsabers to prevent damage either, waste of time and un-thematic. Actually, fixing the combat in this way probably shortens the game by almost an hour.

Obviously, if you can play it before you buy it, that is the best option. But if you have 1-2 people that want to play it with you, I don't think you can go wrong getting it. If you don't know who you would play with, you should pass because of the length and theme like you mentioned.
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Yan Bertrand
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I agree with the previous posters: this is a good strategic game regardless of its theme. It has huge pressure on the Rebel player, which makes every small achievemnt feel good, and the Imperial player will feel the same way for the second half of the game or so. (Before that,the Empire will probably think it is all mighty.)
Replayability is definitely there, as this is more a game you learn to "master" over the course of a few plays. And the setups bring significant variety, yes.
It is a long game. I don't think I'll see a 4h only game for a few times, still, and I'm on my 3rd game. I'm more clocking towards 6h. So you need the friends who'll stick along for that long (potentially in several sessions - that works for me).
The combat is a bit random because of the dice. I think the expansion changes this well because the tactics card you play are a good source of the damage dealt to units. (Many combats in Rebellion are between small numbers of units; that's when 1-2 damage is significant, and that's what the cards can deal / negate.) Combat in the original game was more random with random tactics cards and dice, but like wargamers say, it can "average out" over the course of a game.

While I've read some people enjoy the game with 4 players, for me this is a 2-player game. So keep that in mind when choosing which game to go for. ;)
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Dmitry Vensko
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The only thing here to consider is are you willing to play a game ~4 hours long.

- Is it too long for what it is?

Not. It's as long as it should be.

- Is there good replayability?

Yes. After 10 plays it's still there (for base game).

- Is the combat really that bad?

Nope. It's not that great, but not exactly bad. You can somehow compare it with combat in Eclipse if you like.

- Does the expansion fix/improve any of the above?

It should improve replayability (by adding more content) and changes combat considerably (it becomes more thinky in particular).
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Sebastian Bauer
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I don't know Whitehall Mystery, but I do know Letters from Whitechapel and although you are chasing down one player in both SW Rebellion and Whitechapel, they feel absolutely different. Rebellion has way more gameplaymechanisms and plays more slowly. At the same time Whitechapel is also pretty thinky, but it's more focused on the pursuit theme and organizing a group of investigators.
So it's hard to give advise for any of these two games, without knowing, what type of games you and your friends like to play the most.

If you want a very good two-player game, with big armies,a strong theme and rich tactical gameplay - Rebellion is one of them.

- Is it too long for what it is? My prefernces for longer games would usually be more strategy focussed/hesvier though this seems quite light for a longer game.....
I don't think, it is too long. I have played the game a lot and at first it took us 4-5 hours for one game, but after a few plays, the playtime dropped down to ~3 hours.

- Is there good replayability or will games unfold in a similar manner (alebit with a different ordering)?
Hm. So games will unfold differently every time you play. But you also play from one deck of cards for each side (with the expansion there are two decks). So a lot of events repeat itself on a different spot with different characters involved. But the overall course of the game is different every time and I think the expansion adds to that, because of the new objective cards for the rebel player.

- Is the combat really that bad?
No. It's not good either (in the base game), but it's definitely not bad. It can be annoying and fun at the same time. You just have to know, that sometimes bad dice rolls and bad card draws in one battle, can really destroy your plans for the next turn. So you have to learn, how to work around that.

- Does the expansion fix/improve any of the above?
There is no localized version of the expansion in germany available yet. So I haven't played it.
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David Medley
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Anyone who doesn't love this game is part of the Rebel Alliance and a traitor! Take them away!!
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David Umstattd
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GrimThunderbrew wrote:
I was very skeptical of this game at first because it had the Star Wars name slapped on it, and it seems the more recent popular games have lacked the staying power of the popular games from years ago. After a friend asked me to play it for his birthday, I had to admit I was wrong and go buy it.

The Star Wars theme is well integrated much like CK's Battlestar Galactica. In this case there is a ton of pressure on the rebel player to avoid big engagements and the Empire always seems to be a space away from destroying you. Likewise, the Empire is always pulling their hair out because they can't believe the rebel base is not where they thought it was and now they are running out of time. If you want to feel like that for a few hours and have 1-2 friends that also want to feel that way, get this game.

As for combat, we just don't play with the cards and it is fine. Saves a ton of time without affecting the outcome at all. Just if you would get a card, you get a reroll. Simple fix. Don't use lightsabers to prevent damage either, waste of time and un-thematic. Actually, fixing the combat in this way probably shortens the game by almost an hour.

Obviously, if you can play it before you buy it, that is the best option. But if you have 1-2 people that want to play it with you, I don't think you can go wrong getting it. If you don't know who you would play with, you should pass because of the length and theme like you mentioned.


Combat isn’t broken or bad, in fact the majority like it. I don’t know how the cards make anything take longer.

Though having the leaders grant rerolls and the light-sabers remove damage from the same color unit is inthe expansion rules. But that system was implemented with cards in mind
 
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A Brave New Geek
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David Umstattd wrote:
GrimThunderbrew wrote:
I was very skeptical of this game at first because it had the Star Wars name slapped on it, and it seems the more recent popular games have lacked the staying power of the popular games from years ago. After a friend asked me to play it for his birthday, I had to admit I was wrong and go buy it.

The Star Wars theme is well integrated much like CK's Battlestar Galactica. In this case there is a ton of pressure on the rebel player to avoid big engagements and the Empire always seems to be a space away from destroying you. Likewise, the Empire is always pulling their hair out because they can't believe the rebel base is not where they thought it was and now they are running out of time. If you want to feel like that for a few hours and have 1-2 friends that also want to feel that way, get this game.

As for combat, we just don't play with the cards and it is fine. Saves a ton of time without affecting the outcome at all. Just if you would get a card, you get a reroll. Simple fix. Don't use lightsabers to prevent damage either, waste of time and un-thematic. Actually, fixing the combat in this way probably shortens the game by almost an hour.

Obviously, if you can play it before you buy it, that is the best option. But if you have 1-2 people that want to play it with you, I don't think you can go wrong getting it. If you don't know who you would play with, you should pass because of the length and theme like you mentioned.


Combat isn’t broken or bad, in fact the majority like it. I don’t know how the cards make anything take longer.

Though having the leaders grant refills and the lightsabers remove damage from the same color unit is the expansion rules. But that system was implamented with cards in mind


No idea what the late paragraph means here though thanks all for the input!
 
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Luke O'Hearn
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abravenewgeek wrote:

- Is it too long for what it is? My prefernces for longer games would usually be more strategy focussed/hesvier though this seems quite light for a longer game.....

The game is quite deep. The action economy is very tight, and everything you do has an opportunity cost.
abravenewgeek wrote:

- Is there good replayability or will games unfold in a similar manner (alebit with a different ordering)?

Excellent replay value. Random mission (and other) cards, semi-random set-up, and random leader recruitment make for a lot of variety - not to mention all the different strategic options on any given turn.

I say "random", but these things are only semi-random in that you have choices as well.

abravenewgeek wrote:

- Is the combat really that bad?

The combat is actually brilliant!

Think of a basic A&A type combat with each unit rolling for hits or misses:

- add in two classes of units (large and small)
- some results will only hit large units, some will only hit small units, some will hit any unit.
- add tactic cards, and a pip on the die that can either draw more tactic cards, or activate (certain) tactic cards that have an activation cost.

There are usually options for how to assign your hits, and often there is a dilemma here. Factor in that your opponent might have a card that blocks a damage, it is common to out an extra hit (or more) on the larger units to try to ensure they're demise.

Of course taking out the big ships isn't always the best call because each side is limited to five dice of each type - so sometimes you want to hit the least redundant units instead of the best units. If you expect to lose the combat, you might try to reduce their transport capacity to strand their forces.

All-in-all this is basic "beer and pretzels" war game combat, with a few (brilliant) twists that make for some very interesting decisions.

abravenewgeek wrote:

- Does the expansion fix/improve any of the above?

I won't buy the expansion (and I am a huge glutton for expansion).

I don't like the changes to combat (particularly they have eliminated the interaction between dice and cards). I like R-1 and its characters, but I like the original trilogy characters better. Adding new characters only reduces my odds of drawing any given classic character.

I do like the new units and green dice though. Perhaps if the base game ever becomes dull I might consider the expansion. If it goes out of print and starts to grow scarce I might grab a copy in case I decide I want one down the road.
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A Brave New Geek
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Thanks man - this all makes sense now. Looks like a game that is not just nonsense with a Star wars themet, not too heavy, cinematic and a great story game with decisions that impact the next chapter!
 
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Luke O'Hearn
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Cheers!

Just to add to the replayability:

The action and mission and objective decks include various ways that one side can sometimes pull the rug out from under the other sides feet. In order to actually get the most out of this game, you need to play enough to be familiar with the possible tricks that might be played against you so you can properly hedge your bets. Action cards are very powerful, and for each leader your opponent has there are 2 possible action cards they have to compliment that leader. So for each leader there is a 50/50 chance they have either card.

Regarding combat:

These complaints confuses me to no end.

In a strategy level game, our job is to chose our battles based on their likely outocmes. We want to fight battles that are in our favour, and (for the most part) avoid battles where we expect to lose. This is not a tactical minis game where we need concern ourselves with combat maneuvers etc.

Typically in this kind of game a battle is totally random (the only real choice being whether or not to retreat part way through). SW:R on the other hand actually does present us with interesting and hairy decisions in the way we assign our hits.

I think people who dislike the combat want Rebellion to be less like a strategy level war game and more like something else I guess.
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