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Welcome/welcome back to the Life and Times of an Imperial Officer! For the first time ever, I am finally writing one of these things shortly after the game. And as a spoiler, this is the absolute best game of IA we have played. Period. If you have been following along, you know we just played Means of Production as a make-believe Forced Mission. I didn’t want to force them to make a tough decision between their potential reward and mine. Why not let everyone have a shot? I lost Means of Production, and that was ok, because they outplayed me. Let’s see if I can return the favor.

In Sympathy for the Rebellion, Luke Skywaker is meeting you at a cantina on Tatooine. There are 12 recruit tokens. The heroes can retrieve one of them and run to one of two “exit” locations to rescue them. They need to do this to 5 of them before the Empire collects 8. The empire retrieves recruits the same way as heroes using storm troopers (and having them at the end of that round) or by defeating Luke or a hero (take one uncontrolled recruit). I thought the rebels would run away with this in like three rounds, so I actually was making plans for a second game afterwards. Was I in for a surprise!

I also warned them that, since this was the last side mission before the next story mission, that I was not going to take it easy on them at all. I needed to assess where they were. I’ll let Akbar set the stage:

“Alliance Operatives,

Excellent work on your assault on the facility! Destroying that data core has surely set the Empire back a few years at least. After the creation of the Death Star, it was apparent that their military research efforts were progressing at a dangerous level.

Support for the Alliance is at an all time high. News of the Death Star's existence has been circulating around the core systems. The populations of many worlds are torn as to what to believe. Of course, the Empire is branding it all as fake news.

While it is difficult to openly recruit new members, we must capitalize on this surge in popularity. Since the core systems are patrolled more heavily than the outer rim systems, we are focusing a campaign in the latter regions.

We have developed a plan to send heroes of the rebellion to their home world to tell tales of what they have been up against. Hopefully, we can stir enough interest to not only bolster our own numbers, but force the Empire to devote resources to controlling these regions, spreading their forces thin. With each hero, we are assigning a task force to not only share their stories, but aide in the coordination of these efforts.

Your team has been assigned to Tatooine, the home world of Commander Luke Skywalker. This planet is in Hutt space, so you should be able to keep attention to yourselves to a minimum. Commander Skywalker is already en route. You are to meet up with him and assist him in any way with recruiting efforts. Chewbacca might also join him, if he concludes his recruitment mission to Kashyyyk early.

I hope that you find this to be a peaceful and relaxing mission in the wake of your intense assault on the TIE Defender facility.

Gial Akbar,
Admiral, Home One”

Luke later told them where to meet him:

“Hey guys! I got a group together to recruit down at the Juicy Jawa, a bar I used to use my fake ID at when I was younger. They are set to meet us at 8 to hear what we have to say! It is on Sandy Way at Toshi Station, right next to Radio Shack! Chewbacca told me all about you guys, but I didn't really understand what he was saying. Since he didn't rip your arms off, I assume you must be cool kats!”

Ok, so maybe my Luke impression needs some work. Anyway, as they were preparing, they decided not to use Chewie. This was the first time they backed off him, and I was a little surprised. I had my open groups planned with that extra threat, so that was a bummer. Anyway, special deployment set up gave me some Trandoshans, with elite trandoshans and regular Imperial Guards (the first time they were used). I got to start with three sets of storm troopers on the board. They dice are cast, so here we go!

Round one is largely spent moving into position for the rebels. They spent some time fighting the Trandoshans. I took some time to drop damage on Mak and Jyn with the Trandoshans and storm troopers, respectively. My last turn, once I knew they couldn’t reach them, I put my last batch of stormies onto three recruits and retrieved them. Using Luke, they managed to kill one. The round ended, and I captured two recruits. 2/8, 0/5.

Second round. A murdered Trandoshan and storm trooper are brought back. The rebels start to flow west, in an attempt to escape out of a door that doesn’t have the presence of half a dozen storm troopers. They retrieve their recruits and move to a good position on the exit. Gaarkhan rescues one with the help of Gideon double commands. I move stormies to capture two more recruits, but they are holding three others themselves. End of the round, 4/8, 1/5. Out come some storm troopers and the Imperial guards.
Round three. Mak escapes with her recruit and Gaarkhan grabs another and escape using Gideon commands. Jyn tries to run to the door but I manage to wound her, so she drops her recruit. I capture two more. 6/8, 3/5. Jyn is standing on her recruit so I cannot get to it. (we were playing that you have to be on the space with the recruit, not sure if that is correct or not. I moved my trandoshans and IGs to clog up the middle. Gideon is like two or three spaces away from the exit.

Round four. Mak runs through the guards to position herself on top of their last needed recruit but cannot take it yet. They debated if it should be Mak or Gaarkhan, based on health. This opens the door for Gideon to escape with his recruit. 4/5. I then ask them to pause so I can resolve something. While we are playing, I have Star Wars music on in the background. I pull up Imperial March and play it. They giggle a little nervously. I cup my hands over my mouth and do my best Darth Vader respirator imitation and quote his dialogue from the manual. They start going nuts and screaming. Then, I slowly pull the DV miniature from behind the box and their response went up another decibel. It was the single most amazing moment in board gaming for me. It literally took 45 seconds for the screaming to die down, they were so excited. And things were tense. They needed one, I needed two. And DV enters the fray. Jyn continues to stand on the recruit to prevent me from taking it. So I have no choice but to kill her. My own girlfriend. For the Empire! She rolls a defense dice against elite Trandoshans…attempt 1…Dodge! They erupt again! Next attempt, second lizard man, she is ready to roll and the dice slips from her hand and rolls on the table and it’s a Dodge again! Except…except we play with a rule that all rolls are only official if they stay inside the dice tray. And this wasn’t…so she rolled again and died. She takes over Luke, and I get to take a recruit for free. I took the one she was standing on. Instead of the one that Mak had not picked up. I forgot she didn’t own it, I was so angry with myself later. Tables turned, I would have let them make the change, but they wouldn’t let me. I will remember this. So I was stuck with my bad decision and the round ends at 7/8, 4/5, Mak standing on the last recruit, and DV on the board. But, he is so far away that it will take a minute for him to get there.

Round 5. Mak picks up the recruit and makes a run for it. She has to stop in the middle of chaos, Trandoshans, IGs, stormies, all looking at her. I attack her with the Trandoshans. She freaking also rolls a Dodge. They went nuts. Again. The next attempt got her pretty good. Gideon had no line of sight on her so he couldn’t help with Command. So Luke tried to clear up some baddies. I had a crummy set of stormies with only two dudes left in it, the IGs, and some elite trands left. But I had a plan. If I could wound Mak, she would drop the recruit, I could then murder Luke, and claim the token. So Jim and Bill, the two storm troopers on duty, waltz up to try their luck. Jim fires but Mak blocks it all. A cheer. Bill, however, was much more lucky. He managed to wound Mak, so she drops the recruit. Gideon commands Gaarkhan to attack a Trandoshan to clear a path, then tries to use some fancy double commanding to move Mak off the recruit and get Gaarkhan on it, but she has to wait for her turn to pick it up. I decide to play a card that gives everyone three strain in a three space radius form my agenda hand. I place it so only Luke is affected. Then in come my elite trandoshans. They are close enough to do an auto strain, so one damage. He freaking avoids the rest. Then the second one came in, and finished it off. I killed Luke and claimed the last token out from under Gaarkhan.

We all just sort of fell back in our chairs, amazed at what we had just been through. I was so proud of them…I used every trip up my sleeve. And just beat them by the slimmest of margins. This is what Imperial Assault was meant to be. And we talked about it for days after. Randomly, my gf would just say “I still can’t get over Darth Vader!” His model is magnificent.

That concludes this episode. Because the rebels won Fly Solo, up next is Incoming. I cannot wait!
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