As I discussed in my previous blog, I am a huge fan of Star Wars and will be dedicating most of my blogs this year to that subject. Last time, I discussed my ten favorite Star Wars video games, games I will cherish forever. Today I want to talk about games again but this time we will be stepping away from the monitors and television screens in favor of...a table. That's right; today we are going to talk about three of the most amazing Star Wars tabletop games to grace the altar of grub also known as the kitchen table.

I hesitate to use the phrase "board games" here because it evokes memories of sitting around the family table playing a game of Monopoly that just won't end. In addition, the games I plan on talking about today don't use boards as is traditional to older tabletop games like Clue and Monopoly. These games are deep, engaging and downright exciting. They cover fighter pilot combat with tight twists and turns, behemoth capital ship slug fests, and epic story campaigns that take players across the vast Star Wars galaxy. These are my three favorite Star Wars tabletop games.

X-Wing Miniatures by Fantasy Flight Games


Somewhere close to a year ago or more, I ran across a gem of a Youtube series called Tabletop. Hosted by Wil Wheaton of Star Trek and Stand by Me fame (as well as the champion of nerds everywhere), the show hosts well-known and lesser-known celebrities from television, movies, video games, and the internet as they sit down to play a wide variety of tabletop games. In this particular episode, Wheaton was playing a miniature game with some other celebrities including well-known Star Wars nerd and co-creator of Robot Chicken, Seth Green, Green's wife and another celebrity personality I cannot quite remember. This game was amazing and straight out of my childhood, and adulthood, dreams.

The X-Wing Miniatures Game puts you in control of a squadron, or squadrons, of fighters and smaller capital ships for the Rebellion, the Empire, or space pirates/gangs. While mostly designed for two players, I have played in some epic sized games with as many as ten people. In this game, players secretly determine how fast and in what ways they will move their ships across a defined space battlefield using movement templates and engage in combat using dice. It is a game of luck and strategy that would appeal to flight simulator and RTS fans alike.

The starter set includes an X-Wing and a couple of TIE Fighters as well as all the dice, instructions, and other items needed to play the game. From there, you can buy expansions with more X-Wings or TIE Fighters or even the Millennium Falcon or a number of other ships. Each ship is painted in fantastic detail. It is worth it to buy these just for the ships and not just the game, they are amazing. Just beware if you decide to buy in to this game, before you know it you will be playing in regional tournaments and neglecting everything else, it is that addictive.

Imperial Assault by Fantasy Flight Games


One part RPG, one part strategy, and ten parts fun. Imperial Assault is played in a couple of ways: as a campaign with players as heroes against a player as the evil Empire and as a player-vs-player skirmish with players duking it out to accomplish a defined objective. Tabletop games will recognize this as a Star Wars skinned version of the popular fantasy board game called Descent.

In campaign mode, the game is played as a giant story that adapts as the players succeed or fail at the various missions. Both sides gain levels, abilities and equipment as the story progresses, even special heroes like Han Solo and Luke Skywalker can be added to the team, so long as specific missions are won to achieve their loyalty. At the same time, the Empire can gain control of powerful villains like Darth Vader and IG-88. Missions progress with story, introducing new maps/locales, all due to the ingenious modular board pieces. As players progress through the missions they gain experience points and money for equipment to grant them special combat and defensive abilities, making each new mission all the more challenging for the players.

Skirmish mode pits player-designed squads against player designed squads with objective based or death match missions. Squads can be made of heroes or soldiers based on a point system. Each side fills out their army to the specified point level and the match begins.

My friends and I ran the story campaign from beginning to end, playing on the weekends. It took us well over a month to finish and with all the optional missions and potential story branches we only saw a small portion of what the game has to offer. While the figures in the set do not come pre-painted, the large price tag is worth the enjoyment you get from it. Besides, if you are like me, you will also find a lot of joy in painting the figures to your liking. So grab some friends and buckle up for an epic campaign ride.

Armada by Fantasy Flight Games


By now, you have probably noticed a trend with these games. Every last one has been made by Fantasy Flight Games. They make some amazing games and I cannot recommend their titles enough and this next one is no exception.

Armada is a space combat game similar to X-Wing but taken one depth level higher. Rather than focusing on individual fighter combat, Armada focuses itself on the larger capital ships and keeps fighter combat at a squadron level, allowing the player to use the fighters to assault the capital ships directly or act as screens for your own capital ships. The game further builds on X-Wing by introducing mechanics to more accurately depict space combat with large ships such as inertia, slow chains of command differing shield strength, and multiple hull combat.

I have o lynch had the game for a few weeks now as it just barely came out in stores but every game has been insanely fun. The game comes with three pre-painted capital ships (two rebel and one Imperial Star Destroyer), fighter squadrons for each side, and upgrade cards and tokens to play. More expansions are coming later this month to introduce more capital ships and fighter types as well as new upgrade cards.

This is another game I cannot speak highly enough about. The retail price stage is about $100, but I have seen it for much less on Amazon.  It even at the higher price point, I think this is one game well worth the money if you have it.

 

There are a lot more great Star Wars tabletop games out there, but these are my favorites. Tabletop games have evolved over the years and there are a ton of great ones out there, especially for gamers. If you want some recommendations or have some to give, let us know in the comments. Also, tell me what your favorite Star Wars tabletop games are, I always love trying new ones.

Until next time, thanks for reading, I will return with more Star Wars soon.