Second go at Rebellion, this time as
the forces of order and the rule of law the Empire. Really, really interesting to play this a second time, especially against a more aggressive opponent. My buddy Robert Chilton pushed harder toward victory as the Rebels than my wife did as the Empire.
A few things jumped out at me, now having played both sides once:
* I think there’s more replayability than Shut Up & Sit Down led me to believe. Granted it’s just my second play, but the narrative was pretty distinctively different than the first time. Favorite moment: Han Solo went in to save Princess Leia from dad, then dad used his action card and imprisoned Han! And then the Emperor turned him to the dark side. Setting up the whole trap sequence and ending up with Darth Solo was extremely satisfying.
The place where the narratives diverge, I think, is in the highly variable setup as well as the highly variable approach the Empire can take. The Rebel side is probably kind of same-y, maybe more or less military depending on the objectives they draw early on. If you pull hearts-and-minds type political objectives, you’ll probably lay low. if you pull overthrow-your-oppressors type military objectives, then you probably go after a different subset of worlds and engage in fights in a different way.
But on the Empire side, man, you’ve got choices. The main split is running down the probe deck versus covering the map. I did my level best to cover the map this time, so that felt quite different than drilling down the probe deck. And since the Rebels weren’t pushing military, I wasn’t pushing Projects (i.e. build another Death Star, build a Super Star Destroyer, etc.). So there are probably a few buckets into which play might fall: low rebel military vs imperial probes, high rebel military vs imperial probes, and so on.
* The Rebels had totally run the clock on the Empire except for one terrible misreading of a vital card. Turns out the Rebels have to wait until the end of the Command Phase before they can set up a new base. Meanwhile, I had spent a couple turns steadily marching my military machine toward the discovered base and he was trying to finesse the timing. Ugh! Three hours of really intense cat-and-mouse, and the Rebels felt pretty screwed. Learning game! I didn’t know, either, because I had no time or need to move my base as the Rebels.
* Other interesting thing I learned: the “destroy a planet” cards are Projects! So if I ever see the Empire digging deep into the Projects deck, they’re probably lining up a system kill.
* Two plays in and, per the classic FFG experience, I’m still stumbling into dumb tiny rules with huge implications. The big one: you don’t get to use the production symbols on systems where an enemy has a unit. I mean it makes perfect sense, yeah? If you don’t control both ground and space, duh, that won’t be a useful world. That’s a big deal for the Rebels, I think, who want to strangle overwhelming Imperial production. Such a small little rule, but so important. That bugs me.
Anyway, I continue to be super-stoked to play this game. I feel like you could really dial in expertise and play Rebellion at a high level.