We here at the Lounge love Star Wars. We’re also none too shy about how much we love tabletop gaming, as discussed in our last podcast. If you like either of those things, you might be aware of the fact that we are in a golden age of Star Wars tabletop games. Hobby gaming giant Fantasy Flight Games has had the license to a galaxy far, far away for a few years now and almost everything they’ve done with it has been nothing short of great.
While we really love the FFG Star Wars games like Rebellion and X-Wing, there’s something magical about mass market games. They’re often more accessible and faster playing but can still offer the Star Wars-y goodness you’re looking for. There’s been a number of really great Star Wars games to hit the shelves of your favorite “big box” store over the years, and here I’ll name a few of my favorites.
Star Wars: The Queen’s Gambit
The Queen’s Gambit has a reputation among hobby gamers for being one of the best, if not the best Star Wars game before the Fantasy Flight days. Arguably the best thing to come out of the storm of Phantom Menace merchandising, the game has two players reliving the battles seen at the end of the movie. You have the Gungans against the battle droid army, the fight for the control of the palace, the lightsaber clash between Darth Maul, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon Jinn, and all the while Anakin puts his Naboo Fighter into auto-pilot and discovers the true meaning of pod racing. That sounds like alot to manage, and it can be, but the rules themselves are simple. Unfortunately, the game fetches a pretty penny now, ranging between $300-$400 on average. This is the kind of game you always hope to find at a thrift store or garage sale before someone realizes what they have.
But damn, does it does look incredible on the table.
Star Wars Risk
Alright, so before I go into why this one is so awesome, go right over to Amazon and get this now. Seriously, do it while you still can. And if it’s still available and you don’t mind spending a bit extra, go for the Black Series edition. They’re both the same game, but the Black Series has a few upgraded components and feels more like a collector’s item. Neither are guaranteed to be around much longer, so get it while you can!
Alright, are you a bit poorer now? Wondering what the hell you just spent your money on? Okay, so you know how I said Queen’s Gambit is insanely expensive? This is a re-working of that game. Very slimmed down and faster playing (30-45 minutes, tops) but covers the end of Return of the Jedi instead. It may not have the cool 3D board, but with the better theme and tighter gameplay, I might say this is the better game. It certainly sees the table more often in my house.
It has nothing, I repeat nothing to do with Risk though. Why branding? No one knows for sure.
Risk: Star Wars Original Trilogy Edition
So what if you want something that does play like Risk? Original Trilogy Edition is what you’re looking for. This is best played with three players, each person playing one of three factions, the Rebellion, the Galactic Empire, or the Hutts. Unlike standard Risk, you don’t need to conquer the entire board to win. Each faction has their own victory condition and they all make sound thematic sense. The Empire wants to destroy all the Rebels, the Rebels want to find the Emperor and take him out, while the Hutts want to control specific resource-rich planets. What you end up seeing is pretty unique to Risk, with uneasy alliances forming when one side starts to get a little too close to their win condition. It’s sadly long out of print, but it’s worth tracking down, even if you might not usually like Risk. It’s certainly my favorite iteration of it.
I have a theory about Loopin’ Chewie, a re-skin of the 90s children’s game Loopin’ Louie, which turned into a cult classic by gamer nerds. Whatever mad genius that simply said the two words “Loopin'” and “Chewie” together, in that order, left no choice but for it to exist. Once you say it, hell, even think it, something like this had to exist. And boy am I glad it does. I love Loopin’ Louie (go watch some videos of it or something, it needs to be seen to be understood), and while it simply adds a Star Wars coat of paint, I’m still in awe and thankful that it happened. It only supports three players instead of Loopin’ Louie’s four, but these kind of sacrifices must be made in order to pay for the Star Wars name on the box. I hope whoever came up with this got a raise, or free lunch at the very least.
Star Wars Epic Duels
If you ever wanted to know who would win in a fight between Han Solo and Darth Maul, look no further than Epic Duels. This one came out amidst the sea of Attack of the Clones merch, and rumor is that it went fairly unnoticed while it was one the shelves. Much to the chagrin of everyone who ignored it, Epic Duels is 100% pure concentrated awesome. It’s the kind of game that plays so fast and is so fun, playing just once is next to impossible. A simple yet effective roll-and-move system is accompanied by terrific card play, with each character getting their own unique deck that nails their style and personality. It’s a bit unbalanced, but that’s part of the charm.
Unfortunately, this being one of the best Star Wars games that is out of print, it’ll cost you quite a bit more than it’s worth. There was Clone Wars version planned that sadly never saw the light of day, but there’s also a Transformers take on it. While Transformers may not be as iconic as Star Wars, it’s still great fun, can be found for significantly less money and is the best Transformers game, no two ways about it.
If anyone from Hasbro happens across this article, please…I beg you…make a new Star Wars Epic Duels that covers the new movies. It’s a great game that deserves another go.