In my previous post I went through an overview on Imperial Assault and reviewed the campaign mode. Here I will discuss my impressions of the Skirmish game included with Imperial Assault.
The Skirmish game is a two player game in which each player chooses one of the three available factions (Imperial, Rebels, and Scum and Villainy). Once a player has chosen a faction they then will choose deployment cards for that faction, ensuring their point total does not exceed 40. Many of the rules in skirmish are the same as the rules for the Imperial player in the campaign. Again players will take turns activating one “group” at a time, this begins with the player with initiative(lowest points or randomly chosen if tied). A group is all figures associated with a deployment card(i.e. Darth Vader or 3 storm troopers in a squad). Each figure when activated gets two actions which can be spent in the same way they can be spent in the campaign with the one exception being no rest action. Unless otherwise stated on the card no figure can perform more than one attack action, this includes special actions that say the words “perform an attack”. Also no figure can use the same special action more than once on their activation. Each skirmish has a randomly selected map and mission associated. The game is played to 40 victory points or until one team has no remaining figures. Victory points are gained by either completing mission objectives or by destroying all figures associated with a group, which grants the points the deployment card is worth. In the skirmish each player also has a command deck of 15 cards that will help them to both complete objectives as well as crush their opponent.
Unlike the campaign mode which can take a significant amount of time, especially if the Rebels take a long time to deliberate the skirmish is fast. Very fast. Once you get a few games under your belt and you know what you are doing the skirmish takes less than a half hour easy. My one friend and I who have played the most in my group will play an entire mission in 15-20 minutes. A game hardly lasts more than half a dozen rounds, and if it does not much more.
+ Gateway Game
This game unlike many others is simple and interesting enough that non gamers enjoy it. It doesn’t hurt that it is Star Wars themed however I have introduced this game to several people who not only don’t play miniatures games but have barely played a board game outside of classic games like Monopoly or big time games like Settlers. Everyone I have played this game with has loved it.
I really enjoy the X-Wing miniatures game from Fantasy Flight Games as well and when I first heard that the skirmish wasn’t just a fight to the death I wasn’t sure I how I felt about it. However now that I have played each mission several times I realize how well it works for this system. There are units who are so awesome at killing people (i.e. Darth Vader) and then there are units who are really good for objectives (i.e.Rebel Saboteurs). The great thing this does for the game is that now they can make characters like Vader such a monster yet that doesn’t mean you can’t win against him. You can play never attacking Vader a single time and yet still win. This means that they don’t have to nerf the epic characters in order to make it a fair death match, yet you can still take those cheap characters be sneaky with them and win based on objectives mostly.
Just like in the campaign expansions such as Han Solo, Chewbacca, and IG-88 will be usable in the skirmish, and this is even a bigger deal for skirmish I believe. Not only will we expand the options which currently are decently limiting for Rebels and Scum. These expansion will provide new maps and missions for skirmish and most importantly new command cards.
+ Command Cards
Another mechanic I didn’t understand the genius of until I experienced it was the command deck. Originally I thought that a command deck would be helpful but by no means game changing yet as I’ve played more and more I have realized exactly how important the command deck is, or can be. It isn’t hard to make a purely aggressive list where you care about maybe a handful of command cards but wouldn’t rely on any, yet a truly amazing part of this game is that there will definitely be lists that rely on command cards, and many of the command cards(even the 0 pt ones) have some amazing abilities that can totally tip the scales of a match. For example Take the Initiative is card that if played the right time could totally destroy your opponent having initiative two turns in a row might position you exactly how you need to be. Or Sit Tight which allows you to not activate until you have more ready deployment cards than your opponent might allow you to gain the advantage on a opponent forcing them to come to you.
I really enjoy the campaign a lot and from my review you can see that I really think it is an amazing game. However it isn’t conducive to a tournament format. I am a very competitive person and I really enjoy competition and although the campaign is more competitive than any RPG it still lacks something in the competitive nature that the head to head skirmish really makes up for.
Again just like the campaign the skirmish takes time to set up. Now unlike the campaign you do reuse maps and the more you have set-up a given map the faster it gets however it is a little impractical at times. A skirmish game might take me twenty minutes and the set-up almost ten.
There are few units in the game such as; storm troopers, royal guards, imperial officers, trandosian hunters, etc, that are non unique. In the skirmish a player may choose to bring multiple of these units along, however often I find myself wishing I had more of them. FFG has not stated if they will be releasing small expansions to pick up some extra of these guys, however I for one hope they do because I don’t want to buy multiple cores just so I can keep a small portion of what’s in the box.
The balance of the game is excellent however the balance that is out of whack is the available deployment cards for each faction. I am well aware this will be rectified with expansions but it is a little sad how many options you have when playing as the Empire, and how hard it is to make a squad for the Rebels, and especially the Scum and Villainy.
I believe this game is a must buy. The negatives of the game are so minor and are honestly only inconveniences more than anything else. Both games included are phenomenal and I would recommend this game to anyone, and especially if you are a Star Wars fan. I would say this game is worth it even if you are only interested in one of the two game types, though if you are only interested in one it might be a little pricey. However if you are interested in both it is well worth the money. If you are only interested in the campaign I think only one person in your group needs the game, however if you are interested in skirmish everyone needs their own copy. I highly recommend this game to everyone! Overall I would say that this game would get a 9.75/10.