Star Wars and board games have had a rich partnership since the appearance of the collectible card game by Decipher back in 1995. These days if you can imagine it, there’s probably a board or card game that exists. Miniatures seem to be the flavour of the moment and, frankly, they do add much needed dimension to the tabletop movement. Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) rules the roost for Star Wars games with the company churning out hit after hit based on the universe. If you have a Star War universe itch to scratch that you’d like to play with friends in real life, you’ve come to the right place.
Number of players: 2-4
Playing time: 4hrs and up
The latest release from Fantasy Flight Games, and the trending Star Wars tabletop game of the moment.
This is their most epic Star Wars game yet, as it attempts to simulate the entire conflict of the Rebellion’s struggle against the Empire across the known galaxy as depicted in the original trilogy.
Compared to the components of Hasbro’s Star Wars Risk, this is like the Super Star Destroyer to a Star Destroyer – it swallows Star Wars Risk in its shadow and then some.
With massive amounts of components come massive scope and detail. This is possibly the most involved Star Wars game for 2-4 players ever produced, lasting 4 hours or more, excluding setup time of course.
The game captures the asymmetry of the conflict. The Rebels are doing their best to stay one step ahead of the Empire while gathering support for their cause. The Empire has the superior military position and resources but trying to find that hidden Rebel base is not as easy as it first seems.
Overlaying this are the various missions that add even more Star Wars flavour. The game is simply dripping in theme.
This huge board game may not be for everyone but if you are a fan of the OT, it is worth a look.
Number of players: 2-5
Playing time: 1-2hrs
After the strategic scale of moving massive fleets and conquering star systems, time to go down to man to man tactical combat!
In Imperial Assault, players play a part of a small band of Rebellion heroes set during the time of the Original Trilogy. Maneuvering them individually on a gridded modular board depicting the different environments of the Star Wars universe, they must defeat stormtroopers and other scum and villainy to achieve their objectives and a scenario win.
In narrative campaign play, one player plays the role of the Empire, pitting the forces of the Empire (including Darth Vader himself!) against our intrepid heroes in a series of connected scenarios. In skirmish mode, 2 players gather a small team and go head to head.
One game, two ways to play.
With brilliant miniatures depicting well-known characters from the Star Wars universe, the game attracts your attention and sucks you in with a easy to learn skirmish system.
If the 30+ miniatures that comes with the base set is not enough, fear not for FFG has produced a number of expansions, giving you more boards, cards and of course miniatures to play with.
With the plentiful miniatures and tons of modular terrain, you are going to feel like a kid in Star Wars candy store. With some imagination and work, this game will give you many hours of fun in your favourite universe.
Number of players: 2
Playing time: 60mins
For those into deck-building card games with strategic depth look to Star Wars, Living Card Game by FFG for 2 players. Now into its 5th year, it features ever new strategies and ways to play with new cards being released every season.
Each player has a deck of objective cards representing various missions, events, enhancements and fates. Game play consists of deploying cards, attacking your opponent’s objectives, defending your own, and committing cards to what is known as the Force Struggle.
The beautifully illustrated cards means Star Wars collectors might be interested in this game a well.
The downside is keeping up with the meta with each new expansion release. The game is limited to 2-players, although there is an expansion, Balance of the Force that allows multi-player games. While it does not have the larger player base of X-Wing Miniatures Game, it has a small but dedicated following in Singapore. Check out your FLGS for more information if you wish to get in touch with the community.
Number of players: 2-4
Playing time: 60mins
Not your run of the mill Risk game, Star Wars Risk depicts the climactic battles from The Return of the Jedi, with three separate but related conflicts for 2-4 players to fight over.
On the Death Star, Luke Skywalker battles against Darth Vader and the Emperor. On the moon of Endor Rebels are trying to take down the shield generator protecting the Death Star, while in space the Rebel fleet are trying desperately to bring down the Death Star while being hammered by the Imperial fleet.
Besides the board and playing cards, you get a fair bit of plastic bits sculpted in the various fighters and troops in the OT.
They aren’t up to FFG’s quality of components but they are perfectly decent. There is a Star Wars Risk Black Series edition with upgraded components, collectors will want to check that out.
Star Wars Risk is a worthwhile addition to any Star Wars gamers’ library. If you are looking for a casual board game for up to 4 players, plays in an hour and a relatively low price tag, this gets a recommendation from me.
Number of players: 2
Playing time: 30-60mins
If you prefer a lighter card game playable in 60 mins, SW Empire vs Rebellion might just be your cup of tea. Each round, 2 players attempt to outwit each other through hidden roles and a certain amount of bluff. A re-implementation of an old FFG classic, KGB vs CIA, it is less thematic than others on this list, but still feels like a Star Wars game.
Don’t be deceived by the low price and playing time, it has surprising depth which makes this a staple in my games library when I need a filler game for 2 players. Star Wars: Empire vs Rebellion gets my vote.
Number of players: 2
Playing time: 60-90mins
By some accounts, this is the best selling miniatures games in the world. First released in 2012 to critical acclaim, X-Wing Miniatures has grown from strength to strength and it excels as both a casual game to a highly competitive one with national and international tournaments. A big selling point are the brilliantly sculpted and expertly pre-painted miniatures, a cut above the competition and adored by collectors and players alike. The Star Wars IP, simple to learn rules and rich tactical depth makes this one of the fastest rising stars in the miniatures tabletop arena.
Apart the core set, which gets you an X-Wing and two TIE Fighters, there has been a number of expansions over the past years, and nearly all iconic ships in the SW saga (and a number of ships from the SW Legends universe) has been released, including fan favourites like the Millenium Falcon, Slave 1, B-Wing, TIE Interceptor and the Lambda Shuttle. This is as close as we curently get to a Star Wars starfighter simulator on the tabletop. We covered this game in more detail previously. It has a vibrant local community so you will hve no problem finding folks to play with.
If flying a small squadron of starfighters doesn’t cut it for you and you rather command an Imperial Star Destroyer or two, Look no further than Star Wars: Armada. In Armada you command a squadron of capital ships against an opposing admiral. The Rebels niftier ships like the Mon Calamari cruisers are pitted against ponderous Imperial Star Destroyers. Featuring well-known admirals like Motti, Piett and Ackbar, this is sure to rouse the blood of Star Wars gamers who have been looking for a tabletop experience of Star Wars capital ships battle! The beautifully detailed and pre-painted ships are an immediate draw to gamers and collectors alike.
On the downside, Armada games easily take twice as long and twice as much space as a typical X-Wing Miniatures Game. The game can appear less exciting as well, no fancy dogfights of X-Wing versus TIE Fighters. In Armada it is usually a slow dance as you move the lumbering capital ships to maximise their firepower. But if you misread your opponent two moves ago, you might just find yourself now in a poor position with too much inertia to change course.
Armada is the bigger and more potentially more expensive cousin of X-Wing the Miniatures Game. If you find X-Wing lacking something in terms of gameplay, take a look at Armada, it might just be the thing to fill that gap.
Bonus – Star Wars: Destiny
And if the above isn’t enough for you, keep a lookout for Star Wars: Destiny, a collectible dice card game expected out in November. With innovative mechanics combining full colour dice-driven combat with faction-specific card/deck management, Destiny will allow you to pit your favourite heroes against villains from across the entire Star Wars universe. The starter sets will feature Rey and Kylo Ren from The Force Awakens, with booster packs already announced. The collectible aspect may put some of you off, while be an attraction for the rest. Whichever game you choose, may the Force be with your dice, always.
Koi Hin runs Singapore Open Gaming and has been an avid gamer since
the first Atari 2600. He spent his formative years playing RPGs and
wargaming, and reading a lot of science fiction and fantasy.