The Curse of Star Wars: Imperial Assault

GhostAndy 2

IMG_5389Howdy peeps! It’s Andy Larson, your resident GotS Nerf Herder, ready to talk shop on one of my favorite topics in all nerdom, Star Wars. Yep, I’m a huge fan of them there times a long long ago in a galaxy far far away, as you might have guessed by the tons of articles on Star Wars related stuff I’ve written here at the website over the past.

And it’s once again getting to that magical point where Star Wars fans have been denied big screen shenanigans for just long enough that we are clamoring for all things lightsabery and wookie filled. Luckily for us, this is a golden age of Star Wars related stuff, so we as fans know we just have to wait patiently and Disney will give us our next fix.

We’ve got our Christmas present to unwrap with the final chapter in the original Skywalker Saga with “The Rise of Skywalker” scheduled to hit our movie screens in just 3 short months. Whether you liked or hated “Last Jedi”, I’ve been overall impressed with the trailers for Rise thus far and feel it will be a proper ending to the post trilogy…ummm…urrr…trilogy.

And if that wasn’t enough, we’ve also got the Disney Plus show “The Mandalorian” ready to debut on the small screen on November 12th. It was one of the major reasons I bit the bullet and signed up for the 3 year deal of Disney Plus that they were offering right after the D23 expo. I mean, have to seen the trailer for this show?!? What do you mean you haven’t?!?

 

 

 

There I just educated you fools. Seriously, executive producer Jon “Happy Hogan” Favreau has really out did himself in making this series be everything that we remember from the Star Wars films of old. It’s all old westerns and samurai movies, with that sci-fantasy sheen! And with Game of Thrones alum, Pedro Pascal, playing the lead role, I’m sure we are going to get some smoldering intensity from our main anti hero.

Now do I think that the Mandalorian in question is going to end up being Boba Fett? It’s hard to say. They are certainly trying to make people think it’s Boba Fett what with all the IG-88 and carbonite imagery in that trailer. Plus the mention of bounty hunting is somewhat of a dead giveaway. But everyone involved with the project has said that the Mandalorian is not Boba Fett, given Boba was a “bad guy” and this new helmet wearing bad ass is strictly an “anti-hero”.

Image result for boba fett

Other websites are also quick to point out that Boba wasn’t a true Mandalorian, neither was his Dad, Jango Fett. Something about Jango grew up on a Mandalorian colony, but stole the armor or something. I dunno…that kind of hardcore nerdom on Star Wars mythology is where I draw my line in the sand. To me if it looks like a Mandalorian, fights like a Mandalorian, then Boba is a Mandalorian. Punch me with your troll comments interwebs, I dare ya!

I’m also leaning towards this being a secret Boba Fett vehicle because there was a “Star Wars Story” being pitched about Boba which got pretty far into the planning phase before “Solo” unfairly tanked, which scrapped all future plans for that movie series. So I feel like they possibly just took ideas from that and mixed them around a bit. I mean if you are a smart company like Disney, are you gonna just up and scrap all that quality R&D work? Nope, just repackage it and get it out as a series on your new network to bring in all the money spending geeks like me.

Now I know some are saying this is supposed to happen 7 or so years after ROTJ and Boba should be Saralac grub by now, but George has gone on record saying Boba did escape from the weird teethed vagina looking monster in the desert, it’s just that it hasn’t been put on film yet.

Well hey, maybe Boba did escape and in the process his original armor was terribly wrecked, so he had to track down a new shiny set. Also maybe in a universe run by the Rebels instead of the Empire, the name “Boba Fett” carries too big of a target. So he ditches the name too, and tries to start fresh. It’s not that too far fetched! Crazier stuff has definitely happened in Star Wars stories (says everyone named Jar Jar Binks).

Image result for boba fett cartoon

C’mon he’s even got that forked gun thing that Boba used in his first appearance on the cartoon short during the Star Wars Holiday Special. In fact, he looks exactly like his first appearance in that cartoon in that trailer. Beat up Clint Eastwood cape and all. It’s gotta be him!!

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Anyways, today’s article is not about the new Star Wars related movies or TV shows. That was honestly just to reestablish my Star Wars cred and get all you peeps invested in finishing this article. What the real topic of today’s diatribe is a Star Wars related licensed property, or more appropriately a Star Wars related board game. Now before all you super geeks out there get too excited and start chatting about the classic “Escape from the Death Star” board game that they remade recently….

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I mean…who didn’t want a Grand Moff Tarkin action figure!?! Retreat! In our hour of triumph! We will deal with your Rebel friends soon enough. Solid Jackson!

…Grrr…I’m getting off track again.

No, the board game we are talking about is Star Wars: Imperial Assault, which is published by Fantasy Flight Games. They also put out other Star Wars related games like Star Wars: Destiny, Star Wars: Outer Rim, Star Wars: Legion, Star Wars: X-Wing, and even a recreation of the classic table top Star Wars: RPG which was originally published by West End Games in 1987 and…

…Nope I’m doing it again. Stick to the topic, Andy.

During last week’s HeroQuest article, I mentioned that since that board game, I have found myself searching for other table top tactical RPG board games that I could play, and that’s what brought me first in the to Star Wars: Imperial Assault tent nearly 3 years ago. The promise of exciting mission based mini adventures featuring some of the great characters from the original trilogy and surrounding expanded universe. All those great Star Wars related miniatures to paint.

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Han Solo, Luke, Darth Vader, all my childhood friends. It was everything I could have wanted, and as I lovingly painted all of those absolutely terrific sculps, I dreamed of playing this game with some of my best chums well into the wee hours of the night, drinking beers and quoting from the movies.

That is until that fateful day that I tried to sit down and read the rule book. And all of those dreams quickly descended down that dark path into a nightmare.

I mean I consider myself a pretty savy game player. I’ve played all kinds of more complex table tops and RPGs from D&D to Champions to Knights of the Round Table to Catan, but nothing took the cake like Imperial Assault. Even after attempting to read the rule book twice and following along with the “Learn to Play” booklet they included, I was still lost. All the activation and deployments phases, it was just too much.

I eventually began to seek out YouTube videos as I often do when I have to understand how to take apart a kitchen faucet or change the carburetor on my lawn mower. I thought perhaps I just needed someone to visually show me how to play in order for it to sink in better.

 

 

Nope…it still didn’t make much sense.

I mean seriously what tutorial only explains how half of the players play?!? The “Imperial” guy will own the game so they will know how to play?!? What terrible logic is that!?! Especially when playing as the Imperials is the more Dungeon Master type role, which means its doubly important to know what the hell you are doing, in particular all the different cards you have to use.

It was at that moment that I said “Nope, there’s no chance I’m playing this game”.

This is mainly because knowing the types of friends I have, if there’s no chance that I can describe the game rules clearly and simply, even if they like Star Wars, they aren’t going to want to play. I even thought about sending out the Youtube video as like homework, as I’ve done that before with Pandemic “Reign of Cthulhu” (another complicated game with some sweet ass miniatures I hand painted).

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However, at the last minute, I said “no” because at least with Pandemic, I sort of already knew the rules so once I watched the “how to” video I knew at least what I was doing. Again, after the Imperial Assault video, I still didn’t know this game from a hole in the ground. I mean, the only person I could show this video too that might understand it is probably Rob Stewart from our show, as he’s a whiz at understanding board games and loves playing them. Only problem with that is Stew hates Star Wars!

Oh will this carnival of torture never end!!

So there I am with not only the original game collecting dust on my game room shelf, but I was actually dumb enough to also buy one of the expansions in “Return to Hoth” in hopes that someday I could play some of the sweet Princess Leia missions.

And I feel like that’s my last real chance to ever play this game. It’s basically waiting another 3 or 4 years for my son, Jakob, who is an avid gamer already to be old enough to actually help me understand the rules, and perhaps recruit some of his buddies to play. Yeah, sad really when that’s your last choice, to play the long game of banking on the fact that board games when taken care of, really do age well and retain their value at least when it comes to playability.

But that’s also taking a gamble that Star Wars will still be relevant to a pre-teen in another 3 to 4 years. However I feel that’s somewhat of a safe bet. Jakob really does like the original Star Wars movies and has since he was a really little kid thanks to his old Dad exposing him to the franchise so often. I feel like another 3 years, what with a couple more movies, maybe the new episodes of the Clone Wars cartoon show, and our upcoming trip to Disney World and the new Star Wars addition in 2021, will possibly make his interest even stronger by the time we are ready to play.

So yes, like the Rebellion, there is a spark of hope that still burns hot enough that when my wife asked me whether we could sell the game at a recent yard sale, I said “NO!”.

To which she answered: “But you are never going to play it! It’s been sitting there for years! You even said so yourself, the rules are crazy difficult!”

“But Jakob will help me. Like Luke helped Vader overcome his demons. I just have to wait for the right moment”, I said as I grabbed the box with both hands clutching it as one would clutch a newborn child about to be ripped from a mother’s grasp.

“Okay, Obi-Wan” she said sarcastically “But I don’t want you buying any more miniatures for it! At least not until you paint the ones you have. That Greedo figure has been sitting in your project pile for well over a year now!”

“I got a podcast to edit and articles to write…and…and…”

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