“I’ve made an impulsive decision.”
That was it – the moment a few weeks back when my friend Alex messaged me to tell me that he’d done it: coughed up the not-insignificant chunk of cash for a copy of the latest Star Wars board gaming hotness, Imperial Assault. A flurry of texts followed, demanding photos, cooing over plastic AT-STs, bemoaning Byzantine rulebooks and quickly jamming a date in the diary to give it a spin. We’ve not shut up about it since.
Fantasy Flight Games have sent Star Wars tabletop games into hyperspeed since picking up the licence a few years back, letting you dogfight against your friends’ TIE Fighters in the X-Wing Miniatures Game, steer lumbering capital ships and fling around squadrons of fighters in Armada, or control the fate of the whole Rebellion or Empire by going toe-to-toe with another player in Star Wars: The Card Game. Imperial Assault goes the other way, zooming in hard to focus on a crack team of Rebel heroes taking on Empire troops on the ground. Check out these guys parked next to Alex’s fruit bowl. I’ve never seen him eat an orange.
These aren’t just one-off skirmishes though. Oh no. Imperial Assault calls on you to gather together four friends, let them choose from a clutch of different Rebel heroes, and take on a single Empire player across a massive campaign. And that’s exactly what we’ll be doing! Over the coming weeks we’ll be bringing you regular, mission-by-mission updates of how our heroes are faring in their quest against the dark side.
ALEX: Hullo! I am the aforementioned friend Alex, and I’ll be representing the mighty Galactic Empire. It’s a good fit for my love of dressing only in monochrome, of upsetting my fellow players, and of gigantic planet-destroying super weapons. But mostly my love of playing the resident troll at the table. So, fair warning: there’s a chance things will start to get overly personal and the start of this post will be edited to read “my ex-friend-now-nemesis Alex”.
MIKE: I got… overly personal with your mum? Oh god, this is already off on the wrong foot. This is what happens when you spend too long playing Netrunner with someone from the Dark Side. Why don’t you plough on and tell everyone about your plans for Team Evil?
ALEX: Being evil is great. Red lightsabers, nefarious plans, rattling your enemies’ bones with lightning that shoots out of your fingertips, room-filling evil laughs. Mwahahahahaha.
But, real talk: it can get lonely on the darker side of the force. Also, there’s a lot of paper to shuffle through, and dozens bags of cards and models to lay out. So, borrowing an idea from Shut Up & Sit Down’s Matt Lees, I lured another to my cause. Sharing the terrible burden of being monstrous with me as she does most of life’s burdens will be Imogen ‘Imi-perial’ Dale.
Imi is very much the Vader to my Palpatine. I’ve been at this much longer, my very skin corrupted by a lack of sunlight and over-exposure to cardboard. She’s the cool one, the one you’re actually scared of, the one kids want to dress up as at Hallowe’en.
MIKE: As if – I’ll tell you who the kids really want to dress up as. Bloody great wookiees, running around pulling each other’s arms off, the little scamps. We had little kids lining up desperate to be a wookiee in this campaign, but none of them managed to beat me in a perfectly fair fist fight, so I get the honour of controlling the mighty Gaarkhan.
Joining me on my team of star destroyers (oh yes) will be Beth as force-sensitive acrobat Diala, Gavin as camouflage-adept Bothan sniper Mak, and Dav as Jyn Odan, a notorious space scoundrel who always shoots first.
We’ll be knocking out game reports just as quickly as we can keep getting our gang together to play – there’ll be spoilers galore about all the missions, obviously, but if you’re planning on buying the game you’ll probably end up as the dungeon master-like Empire player anyway, so you’ll be in on all the secrets for each mission regardless when you set them up.
Sound good? It sounds good, doesn’t it. Click here to join us as we tackle the opening mission – Aftermath. Featuring a ruined birthday party, being saved by the X-Men and exploring the finer points of cowardice in wookiees.