Cardboard Cinema: Fantasy Flight Games Reveals New 'Star Wars' Board Games

I haven't been shy about my love for Fantasy Flight Games' line of Star Wars board games, which take one of the world's most popular movie franchises and brings them to the table in unique, compelling, and generally beautiful ways. I have heartily recommended the X-Wing Miniatures Game, Star Wars: Armada, and Star Wars: Imperial Assault in the past. More recently, I reviewed Star Wars: Rebellion, which is easily the greatest Star Wars board game ever designed.

Straight from Gen Con (North America's largest tabletop gaming convention), FFG has announced the latest additions to their Star Wars game library and your wallet may very well start to cry.

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Star Wars: Destiny

Let's start with Star Wars: Destiny, a collectible dice game that was technically announced before GenCon got started but is included here for completeness' sake. This looks very similar to Marvel Dice Masters, the WizKids-produced game of superhero conflict where your line-up of characters determined the dice you rolled in combat against other players. Destiny finds you building teams of Star Wars characters from across the saga's history (continuity be damned!) and using dice and unique abilities to outwit your opponent. Here's a more in-depth description from FFG:

 Count Dooku and Kylo Ren against Leia Organa and Han Solo. Luke Skywalker and Qui-Gon Jinn against Jango Fett and Jabba the Hutt. The entire Star Wars saga is open for you to explore and experience in the fast-paced, epic battles of Star Wars: Destiny. Now, you can choose a team of unique, famous characters from across the Star Wars universe and battle your opponent with large, full-color, premium dice, a deck of cards, and your characters' unique, defining abilities. The last player with characters left standing wins the game!

With an array of characters that spans the saga from The Phantom Menace to The Force AwakensStar Wars: Destiny gives you freedom to play out any battle you can imagine. Innovative gameplay blends dice and cards as you strategize exactly how to defeat your opponent's characters. Finally, the game's collectible model invites you to enter the game at whatever pace you choose, tweaking your decks with the addition of new cards and dice from booster packs.

Star Wars: Destiny looks cool, but the presence of booster packs is a red flag for me. I tend to prefer FFG's "living card game" system, where nothing you buy is ever a mystery. Still, this looks slickly produced and fun, even though I'll probably stick to the pile of other Star Wars games I'm already playing.

X-Wing Miniatures Game

Just when you think the massively popular X-Wing Miniatures Game is running out ships, a new wave is announced, and you get to go "Oh, I forgot about that one!" The latest batch of ships at your disposal reaches across the Star Wars timeline, offering Sabine's personalized TIE Fighter from Star Wars Rebels, Kylo Ren's Upsilon-class shuttle from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and the Quadjumper (AKA, the ship Finn and Rey almost steal during their big escape from Jakku before settling on the Millennium Falcon). While he Quadjumper looks like a versatile ship for "Scum and Villainy" players, the other two are admittedly more exciting. How cool is it that Rebel players will be able to field a TIE Fighter? And how cool is it that the Upsilon can use the dark side of the Force to influence other ships as long as Kylo Ren is at the helm? For all of the details, follow this link.

Star Wars: Armada

Much like the new wave of ships introduced for X-Wing, Star Wars: Armada (my personal favorite of FFG's expandable Star Wars games) is reaching across the entire saga to fill out your fleet. First up is the Pelta-class frigate, which will be instantly recognizable to Star Wars Rebels fans as Jun Sato's Phoenix Home. It doesn't hit as hard as the competition, but its support abilities will buff your fleet and give you more options. However, it will have competition from the Imperial Light Cruiser (also introduced in Star Wars Rebels), a small ship that is as fast as it is deadly. Two new squadron packs are on the way as well, offering players the chance to field more fighters than ever before (including Hera's Ghost and a Lambda-class shuttle). You can find more details right over here.

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Star Wars: Imperial Assault

As impressive as X-Wing and Armada are, they don't draw gasps quite like Star Wars: Imperial Assault, the sprawling dungeon crawl campaign/sandbox skirmisher that keeps on adding more and more gorgeous plastic miniatures to its line-up. As expected, FFG announced a new small box expansion, titled Jabba's Realm, which adds characters and locations from the opening act of Return of the Jedi to the fray. Like previous expansions, this box will include new heroes, new villains, and a fresh campaign storyline that will force you to rub elbows with the Hutt family. And yes, there is a Rancor in that box. Here's more straight from FFG:

Your games of Imperial Assault gain an entirely new, full-length campaign with the addition of Jabba's Realm, challenging a brave team of Rebel heroes to survive after they're shot down on Tatooine. These heroes will soon learn that Jabba the Hutt may be willing to protect you from Imperial forces, but his protection comes at a price. You and your fellow heroes will need to decide just how far you're willing to go in the service of an underhanded crime lord. 

Three new heroes join the Rebellion in this expansion, each ready to fight the Empire in their own unique way. Shyla Varad is a Mandalorian warrior, renowned for her skill with blade and whip, and eager to practice her warrior traditions against the Empire. Vinto Hreeda, on the other hand, is a reckless vigilante and gunslinger—an expert sharpshooter who has plenty of grudges to bear against the Empire. Finally, the Rebels gain the allegiance of Onar Koma, a hulking Aqualish bodyguard with an almost unmatched strength in battle. The Imperial player will need to work his hardest to take out three heroes as well-equipped as these.

As usual, this expansion will be accompanied by a slew of new Hero Packs, adding Rebel Alliance Rangers, Stormtrooper commander Captan Terro, a Jedi version of Luke Skywalker, and Jabba the Hutt himself to the game.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Roleplaying Game

And finally, we arrive at the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens Roleplaying Game, which will allow gamers to journey throughout the galaxy and follow in the footsteps of Rey and Finn. FFG has been emphasizing the Beginner Game box, which is designed to ease newcomers to the RPG realm into the game and its systems. Here's how they describe the introductory game, Discovery on Jakku, which will teach players the game as they play:

Discovery on Jakku is contained within an Adventure Book that's part adventure and part rulebook. But you won't have flip back and forth from one to the other. Instead, the adventure is written and organized so that you can find the rules sitting along the first instances to which they become pertinent. More than this, it's written so that you'll start at a relatively simple level of complexity and work your way more deeply into the rules and the different possibilities they introduce.

By the time that the heroes are ready to start looking beyond their immediate safety and toward exploring more far-reaching plans, you'll have come across enough of the rules and story, as GM, to be able to incorporate your friends' designs. And, as with all the best roleplaying games, the possibilities are staggering.

First, after Discovery on Jakku begins with a narrowly focused sequence of action, it turns and widens, becoming a suddenly more expansive and open-ended adventure with real potential for the heroes' decisions to make an impact on the fate of the galaxy.
Second, The Force Awakens Beginner Game allows you to carry your adventures even beyond the scope of Discovery on Jakku. A slim rulebook of forty-eight pages summarizes enough of the core Star Wars roleplaying rules to allow you and your friends to take your characters into new adventures of your own design. You'll also find a beautiful starmap to help you do just that.