Monday, 29 August 2016

Star Wars: Imperial Assault Campaign

Monday, August 29, 2016

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The Imperial Forces of Star Wars Imperial Assault

Helloooo! Long time, no see and all that! Well... let's get into it, shall we?

About a month ago I got the urge to try the Star Wars: Imperial Assault skirmish game. I've had the core box of SWIA for more than a year but had only got to play it with my nieces which was fun, but didn't really provide the full experience. I don't exactly remember why the inclination to try the skirmish popped into my head (had I watched Episode VII again perhaps?) but there it was so I took the big box and trotted over to Anders.

Vader is advancing
In this game we learned that Vader is just as much of a badass as you think he should be!
We played twice. First the scenario from the core box with the recommended forces and then with the scenario from the IG-88 expansion (cause IG-88 is awesome!). In the first scenario I played as the rebels, four heroes and Luke, against Vader and some of his cronies. In the next I took IG-88 and some bounty hunter scum versus Luke and a more balanced rebel list, including some troopers and saboteurs.

IG-88 and his hired hitmen
What IG-88 brought with him to deal with those pesky rebels.
I had been a bit sceptical about the skirmish game, wondering if the old Descent mechanics would really translate well to a full on competetive game like this, but I'm happy to report that we had a blast! Not only do the mechanics flow naturally after a turn or two, it actually feel really Star Warsy (well, as long as you field reasonably thematic forces I suppose). I would actually say that the Descent mechanics work better when you have mostly ranged combat like this - which is of course entirely natural as they were originally designed for the original Doom boardgame.

So, lots of fun! Both of us were all fired up to play more - both skirmish and campaign. I was excited enough to immediately go home and start painting and Anders was excited enough to run out and buy some Rebel Troopers and last week even investing in the Bespin expansion where he will be the Imperial player in the mini campaign. Awesome!

Jyn, Gideon, Diala and Fenn.
Jyn, Gideon, Diala and Fenn.
We rounded up another couple of players and started the campaign a few days later. For the first session (covering the intro scenario and one side mission) they played with one hero each but for the second onward we decided to add Gideon to the heroes to make it a full party of four as that extra activation can have some weird effects on game balance. Anders chose Fenn the soldier while Claes took Jyn the smuggler and Anna Diala the former jedi padawan.

If you are worried about Imperial Assault spoilers you might want to skip down a bit as I'll be talking a little about the first four missions we played. Not in detail, but still.

Even though I put up stiff resistance and swarmed the terminals with Stormtroopers they still managed to win Aftermath. It was a close fight though and I managed to wound two of them and they only destroyed the last terminal on the final turn. A good sign!

Stormtroopers storming the Troopers!
Yeah, that's right! I painted the real heroes before the rebel scum!
For the next mission they chose Brace for Impact as their side mission as that would allow them to field Trooper allies in future missions. Quite a fun scenario where a number of rebel troopers are being beseiged by Imperial forces and the heroes have to a) protect them and b) interact with a terminal. I had a jolly good time mowing down those troopers with my elite stormtroopers and it looked like the Empire would win. But in the last round Claes made a clever move with Jyn and Diala (who was far away from the exit) could use the double activation to move the 20 spaces needed. Again, a great, very Star Warsy experience that came down to the wire!

That was our first session and for the second I kept painting and we were able to play with all painted miniatures but for two exceptions: General Weiss and Vader.

Probe Droids everywhere!
Fenn ran off while the others kicked probe droid ass!
The next mission was A New Threat, the first proper Story mission, and a fairly big one at that. The heroes needed to split up and interact with three different terminals, all the while being hounded by Imperial forces and having nasty surprises sprung at them when doors opened. Fenn quickly took care of his terminal while Diala and Jyn (with Gideon) stayed around to kill some probe droids before moving on. In the end it came down to a dice roll by Jyn to see if she could slice the terminal she was at, but failed just barely giving the Empire its first victory. Oh, and general Weiss turned up at the last minute with his tricked out walker but he didn't really do anything except shouting for a bit.

General Weiss turns up
A Nexu ended up biting Jynn's face off, while General Weiss tried to stomp on Gideon.
Next up was Diala's attempt at getting her lightsaber! The mission was called Temptation and it has some cool mechanics for handling the dark and light side of the force. Diala can use the force to either get extra attacks (but loose willpower/time) or heal her friends and allow the enemy to attack (but gain willpower/time). The heroes are fighting of force ghosts in the form of past enemies and it culminates with a ghostly version of Vader, very much like in The Empire Strikes Back. While not at full strenght Vader is still a formidable enemy with great defence and strong attacks. The heroes managed to bring him down to one health but at that time he force choked Diala and defeated her, ending the mission with another Imperial victory.

Firing squad!
Even with ther Trooper allies the heroes couldn't prevail agains the Empire.
With two victories for each side we're all looking forward to the next session. Fly Solo is up as the coming Story mission and after that there will be two side missions back to back. Perhaps they can recruit Han Solo as an ally, or get a reward or two to help them out in coming missions.

End spoilers!

As I mentioned I've been a very (unusually!) disciplined while painting, usually putting in a couple of hours every evening at least. Right now there are only three minis left in the first wave to finish - Weiss, Chewbacca and the Royal Guard Champion. Then I have the new Heavy Stormtroopers and Tuskens from Twin Shadows to paint as well as a couple of Hired Guns that will fit right into the current campaign. I also have Boba Fett, R2 and 3PO and Leia, but as they won't be appearing in this campaign they're further down the line.

AT-ST saying hi!
I wanted to weather it a fair bit, but still not too much. It's more or less clean above the chin.
AT-ST back
I used some extra weathering powders for the back machine panel. Just felt right to have it gunky.
I just finished the regular AT-ST the other day and it was great fun to paint. One of the reasons I've been able to paint every day like this is because I've, roughly, been following the excellent painting videos made by Sorastro. While they don't really cover anything new for me, it's really nice to have everything figured out for you. For me most of the hard work of painting is composition and all the tiny decisions about what colour to use and how can be tiring. Now I could just follow his step by step, modifying as I went when I had a better/quicker approach, and it was all very nice and meditative. Also, Sorastro uses washes much more than I do, so I've actually learnt a bit there, as well as how to paint fur more effectively. Good stuff all around, highly recommended!

Anyway, here are the rest of the miniatures painted so far. Oh, and about the bases - right now they're all a beige grey and I haven't quite decided what to do with them. At first I wanted to try acrylic bases, but that might get tricky when you want to tell different units apart. I'm now leaning to regular scenic bases with sand and grass.

Han and Luke
You can see that I don't really bother with mold lines or filling in gaps. This is a board game after all.

Vader was easy and fun to paint. And just adding those small dabs of red here and there really sell the light saber!

Hoping for a proper rematch for these two!

That's it for now! I'll put up another report after our next session.

2 kommentarer :

  1. This is looking awesome! Can't wait to see how your campaign turns out!

    The AT-ST weathering so superb, I haven't used weathering powders myself.

    1. Thanks! Yeah, we're really having fun and are already planning for the next campaign. I'm all excited about Jabba's Realm of course (rancoooooor!!!).

      Weathering powders are fun to work with and super easy. You can either brush them on dry, to get a more dusty effect (which needs sealing afterwards), or mix them with acohole and brush it on in which case it kind of seals itself. Of course a topcoat is always recommended in either case. :)


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