Star Wars Empire vs Rebellion

Star Wars Empire vs Rebellion is a two-player card game where a player is in control of either the Rebels or the Empire fighting to gain control over certain events from Star Wars.

In the game you will find a tutorial that will explain the basics of the game but I will be explaining the normal game in this review.

The setup of this game is usually done in no time. You prepare the central Event deck by shuffling all the Event cards. The players select who will be playing which faction. Every player gets five Strategy cards which have the same abilities for both players. Each player gets to choose four characters from their faction. These are the well-known characters from Star Wars like Darth Vader, The Emperor, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo… When you have chosen your characters you just add them to your resource cards to form your Resource deck. Every player also starts with two influence tokens. The first player is determined by flicking the Balance token and see which faction it lands on.

The object of the game is to get seven or more victory points by winning the Events that occur during the game.

A round consists of the following three phases: Planning, Struggle and Dominance. In the planning phase you reveal the top Event to see for which Event you are battling this round. An Event states how many victory points it is worth, the amount of influence tokens the winner gets, the number of cards that each may have in their play area and the amount of influence they are trying to achieve without going over. There are also some Events that have a condition that may be in effect during the round or have an effect at the end of it. After the Event card has been revealed both players must choose a Strategy card to play face down. These come in effect during the Dominance phase.

During the Struggle phase the actual battle for the Event commences. In this phase both players alternate taking turns. You have one of four actions you can choose from on your turn: play a card, using a power, spend influence or pass. Playing a card simply comes down to taking the top card of your Resource deck and playing it face up in your play area. You may not play a card if this would bring you over the limit stated by the Event card. On the other hand when you don’t have any cards in your play area you must choose the action to play a card.

The next action you can do is using a power. There are four different types of standard resource cards which have their own power. Military cards let you discard cards from your opponent’s play area. Recon cards give you the ability to look at the top two cards of either resource deck and rearrange or discard any of them as you see fit. With Diplomacy cards you can discard cards in your own play area. You can use The Force cards to exhaust (tap) a card in play. The Characters all have different powers which usually are more powerful. All resources also have an influence value in the top left corner. This influence is used to win the battle at the end of the round. The character’s influence changes when you use its power.

A third action you can choose from is spending an Influence token. This gives you the ability to ready (untap) one of your resource cards in play. The last action you can do is Pass.

When both players consecutively pass, the Struggle phase is over and the Dominance phase begins. Now both players reveal their Strategy card unless your influence value is higher than allowed by the event card. If this is the case you simply discard your strategy card without executing it. When this is done it is time to determine victory. The player with the most influence without going over the influence allowed by the event card is the winner. If both players have the same amount of influence without going over then the faction depicted on the Balance token wins. The victor gets to take the Event card which states how many Victory points he has and how many Influence tokens he gets and maybe even an ability for the next round. Afterwards it’s time for some cleanup. Every player gathers their played resource cards and shuffles them back in their Resource deck. The balance token is changed to the Faction with the least amount of victory points. Each player discards his chosen strategy card face up. When a player has no unused strategy cards remaining he retrieves all of his previously chosen strategy cards by placing them face down.

This continues until one player has seven or more victory points and wins the game.

The game is really fun to play. The first thing I thought when reading the rules was that it might be too much luck based because you don’t know which card you are going to play but this is mitigated by the powers of the resource cards. The strategy cards can give a real twist to the game. Especially the strategy that states that the one with the least influence points is the winner of the event. You will be often wondering if your opponent might have chosen that strategy or the one that gives him two extra influence for winning the event. The struggles are usually a tug of war with a smidge of black jack if this makes any sense.  The abilities on the cards simply work great and when a Character pops up you definitely feel its presence in the game but some characters are better than others. The influence tokens are of great use and it’s important to know when to use them and when to save them because if you don’t have any left, your options are seriously diminished. The feel of playing another card that might put you over the influence on the Event card is always fun but can be a calculated risk because of the powers you might have left. The first time we played it, we played it again and again. Even if you don’t like Star Wars it is still a great 2-player game. This will hit our table regularly and I love it.

Play with Honor

Johnny