Star Wars Extended Game Universe

Fantasy Flight Games has created an ever expanding array of licensed Star Wars board games.  Here’s a quick guide to explain the various board games and how they all fit together.

Star Wars: the Card GameStar Wars: The Card Game (2 players original)

The Star Wars: Card Game (SWCG) is initially a 2 player living card game which expands to multi-player games with the Balance of the Force expansion.  In Star Wars: the Card Game each player takes control of either the Empire or the Rebellion, attacking and defending various objectives that they’ve chosen to place in their deck.  As a living card game, each chapter pack introduces new objectives, new events, locations, characters and equipment allowing for a wide amount of replay ability.

Star Wars RebellionStar Wars: Rebellion (2- 4 players)

Star Wars: Rebellion has players take control of the forces on a galactic level.  Players control the forces of the Empire or the Rebellion using cards and leaders to take actions, with the abilities of the leaders affecting the results of each card.  Star Wars: Rebellion is an asymmetric board game that is best played with only 2 players and is best played by dedicated players who can explore the various strategies of the game over a series of games.

 

sw-armadaStar Wars: Armada (2 players)

Taking a step down from the galactic level, Armada has you controlling fleets of spaceships and squadrons of fighters in a miniature battle on a 6′ x 3′ area.  Players command capital ships and squadrons using command stacks which indicate what actions they can take while the  maneuver tool is made of a hinged ruler, with each segment indicating the turning circle for a capital ship.  The Star Wars: Armada Core Set gives you enough ships to begin playing immediately, but really to develop and experience the game fully, players will need to either purchase individual ships or a second pair of the Core Sets.

sw-x-wingStar Wars: X-Wing (2 players)

While Armada lets you command capital ships, X-Wing puts you in the seat of your ship, dog-fighting other planes in a smaller 3′ x 3′ area. Players choose their ships using a point system which includes both the ships and the pilots while movement and shooting arcs are chosen using pre-made rulers, simplifying the entire fighting system compared to traditional miniature games.  Like Armada, the initial core set gives you a taste of the battles you can have, but you will quickly need to expand your fleet significantly.

Star Wars: Imperial AssaultStar Wars: Imperial Assault (2 – 5 players)

Star Wars: Imperial Assault has one player as the Empire and the other players as the Rebel troops.  Each game of Imperial Assault has the rebel troopers attempting to complete specific objectives to win while the Empire attempts to stop them.  SWIA is a campaign game that runs over a course of missions with both the Imperial player and the Rebel heroes gaining new experience and skills, allowing characters to evolve as the story unfolds.  Using FFG’s Descent system for adventure games, SWIA comes with various map tiles that allow players to create unique adventures each game.

 

Star Wars: Empire vs RebellionStar Wars: Empire vs Rebellion (2 players)

Star Wars: Empire vs Rebellion is a fast-paced card game for two players which re-implements the Cold War: CIA vs KGB card game. In the game, you and your opponent match wits and resources over key events.  Whether you seek to triumph through military might, or use diplomacy to achieve your ends, the fate of the galaxy rests in your hands.

swd01-03_boxesStar Wars: Destiny

Recently announced, the Star Wars: Destiny is a collectible card and dice game where each hero has it’s own dice whose roll indicates you may be able to spend to enhance your side or deal damage.  You also have a thirty-card deck of cards that you’ll draw throughout the game. 

 

Agricola : All Creatures Big & Small Review

Agricola : All Creatures Big & Small is the two person stand-alone board game version of the award winning Agricola.  Surprisingly, the game manages to keep both the theme and essence of Agricola while shortening the game length and number of players.  Overall, I’m a fan and have added it to my (limited) number of 2-player games.

Appearance: Those familiar with the Agricola artwork will find no surprises here.  Keeping to the same artist, Agricola : All Creatures Big & Small has a clean, clear design that is easy to follow.  In addition, the main board and tiles are of a good card stock, though the player boards are rather thin.  The design is clear and simple to understand, with players able to grasp the main mechanics using just the symbols on the board.   In addition, animal meeples are provided in the game which make differentiating between each animal type and the resources quite simple, speeding up gameplay and adding a touch of cute.

Rules / Ease of Learning: In All Creatures Big & Small, players start with 8 fences, a farm board and 3 family members that they will place on the main game board each turn.  As a worker placement game, players place the family members on the main game board to take the allocated resources or actions immediately.  Actions that are available include:

  • taking resources (wood, stone and wheat)
  • building a stall
  • upgrading stalls to stables
  • building one of the 4 special buildings
  • building fences
  • taking new fences & a farm land expansion
  • taking animals (4 actions with different animals in each section)
  • adding a feeding trough(s) to their farm land

Players can only keep animals if the animals are either kept in a building or in a fenced off location (exception, 1 animal can be kept next to a free-standing feeding trough).  In addition, animals may not be mixed together and are limited by the building / space on how many animals that can be kept at the location.  However, feeding troughs do double this number and one feeding trough can be placed per spot on the farm land map.  In addition, at the end of each round any animal type that a player has a pair or more of will breed a single additional animal that must be properly housed.

The player with the highest victory points at the end of the game wins, with scoring based on the number of animals a player has as well as building victory points and the amount of additional land completely used by a player.  Each of the animal types begin scoring points after a certain number, with all animals costing 3 victory points if players do not have a minimum of 4 of those animals.

Gameplay: Dry rules aside, how does the game play? Pretty well.  It’s a fast two player game that runs between 30 to 45 minutes each game.  It carries much of the same flavor / feel of the original Agricola so players familiar with that game will find picking up All Creatures Big & Small much easier.  Action choices in All Creatures though do not feel as ‘tight’ and the lack of a feeding phase for your workers reduces the tension in the overall game compared to Agricola.

For all that, All Creatures Big & Small is quite fun.  It’s a compact 2 player worker placement game that plays fast so it can be brought to most locations including cafes and can still provide a lot of enjoyment.  The choices can still be quite tough and after a dozen play I’m still looking at different strategies for winning as I adapt to my opponents moves.  With so few spaces, some level of ‘blocking’ can certainly be added to the game, though in the games we’ve played so far it’s not as prevalent.  I certainly can see some instances (and have had some occur) where blocking tactics have been brought to play but they often seem to be incidental to your own strategic needs.  Admittedly, it could just be the way we have played the games.

The only real concern is that the game could get stale after more plays.  With so few actions and special buildings, there are only a finite number of strategies available.  Sooner or later, especially with more experienced players, all the options would have been ‘played’.  Certainly, the expansion (More Buildings Big & Small) seems to be something you’ll want to add soon enough to keep variety in the gameplay.

Conclusion: Agricola : All Creatures Big & Small is a fun two player game that plays fast and is compact enough to carry around.  It’s fun; but there are concerns of how much replay value there might be in this game.  On the other hand, it’s also a great introduction game to worker placement.