For almost forty years game companies like Kenner, Parker Brothers, Avalon Hill, Hasbro & Fantasy Flight have been producing games made for, in my opinion, the greatest space epic of all-time Star Wars. These games have ranged from board games, to table top miniature battles, to role playing. Most of these games that the aforementioned companies have been completely hit & miss.
At the turn of the century Hasbro had a hit with two games: Star Wars: Epic Duels & Star Wars: The Queen’s Gambit. Hasbro then gave us several versions of Risk, Monopoly, & several other re-themed games they have been producing for decades. But the gaming community has been wanting bigger & better games for Star Wars.
Then Fantasy Flight came along picking up the license for Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures which had been featured on the second season of the Youtube program Tabletop featuring Wil Wheaton, Clare Grant, Seth Green & Mike Lamond. Fantasy Flight has also produced Star Wars: The Card Game, which is a living card game. A re implement of Descent, Star Wars: Imperial Assault and the most recent, Star Wars: Armada.
I have played & have in my collection most of the Star Wars games made. I love to play some & the others I just keep packed away because the game play is pretty bad or just plain boring.
Fast-forward to just a few weeks ago when every big box retailer was celebrating “Force Friday.” Another gimmick sale day to release the new Star Wars merchandise for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Hasbro announces that they are selling a new version of Risk, Monopoly, & Loopin’ Louie. Everyone I know had scoffed at getting the new Risk & the new Monopoly just for the name alone and I couldn’t blame them.
I did the same thing until I saw the board for the new Risk: Star Wars. The board is in the shape of a TIE Fighter. Who could pass that up, right? The more I read about it the more I wanted it. This is not the Risk of old. No, this is a lighter version of The Queen’s Gambit. Now this is definitely the game I have been look for.
This is where it helps to work at a game store. We order some in & of course I bought one. I opened it & immediately started teaching people how to play. Just to summarize, this is not Risk.
In this “new” version of Risk the are three theaters of battle. One features Luke & Darth Vader in a light saber fight. Then there is the Battle for Endor, where the goal is the shut down the shield generator that is protecting the Death Star II. Finally, the main theater: the battle to destroy the Death Star II.
I consider the battle between Luke and Vader a side battle. This really has no bearing on the game itself other than to give the winner bonus cards to play during their turn. The most important part for the Rebel player is to shut down the shield generator. If you can’t and you lose all of your ships then you lose. But if you do, then you have a shot to destroy the Death Star II. The most important part to remember is that after you lower the shields, the Death Star becomes fully operational & can fire on your fleet.
Fear not! This game is card driven. Yes, you heard right, card driven. Each turn you and your opponent will decide on three command cards to play. One at a time you and your opponent will reveal your commands in order, activating one of the orders on the card. Some of these orders are to command your fighters to move and fight, placing new fighters on the board, running or blockading for the battle on Endor, dueling with Vader or Luke, even trying to redeem Darth Vader or witnessing the firepower of a fully armed and operational battle station.
So Risk: Star Wars can be played with 2 or 4 players. So it can be one-on-one or in teams, which I have not tried yet. It takes no more than five minutes to learn how to play and might only take thirty to forty minutes to play. Plus it is very cost effective at $30.
I give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars just because of the advantage the Rebels have over the Empire. The Rebels just need to roll a six on a die against the Death Star II once the shields are down. This to me is very thematic since that is all it seems to take in the movies. I am, however, working on a few variations to see if I can tweak the balance of the game.
Get it, play it, & savor all the glorious action of Return of the Jedi in this game of Risk: Star Wars & game on!