18 January 2016 | Star Wars: Rebellion

Powerful Allies

A Look at the Heroes of Star Wars™: Rebellion

"The son of Skywalker must not become a Jedi."
     –Emperor Palpatine

Welcome to Rebellion Week!

Over the course of the next several days, we plan to guide you through a full round of Star Wars™: Rebellion, along with a few detours for the occasional moment of heroism or epic combat. Today, we begin with a look at how you use the game's heroes and villains.

After all, even though Star Wars: Rebellion is nearly as vast and fantastic as the Star Wars universe itself, everything you do in the game ends up tracking back to the actions of a handful of key characters. Just like in the movies.

Destined to Lead

"If he could be turned, he would become a powerful ally."
     –Darth Vader

Despite all of the different strategies you can pursue in Star Wars: Rebellion and all of the different scenes that the game can bring to life, its rules are relatively simple, and nearly everything you do ties directly back to the choices you make about how to use your leaders.

Both the Imperial and Rebel players begin the game with four leaders available to them:

The Galactic Empire starts with Emperor Palpatine, General Tagge, Grand Moff Tarkin, and Darth Vader.

The Rebel Alliance starts with Mon Mothma, Jan Dodonna, General Rieekan, and Princess Leia.

Each of these leaders is represented in your game by a token that you slot into a plastic stand and move around the game board according to your strategy. Moreover, each leader boasts a unique array of skill icons and tactical strengths.

Your leaders are critical to your designs in each phase of the game, and their individual talents matter… as do their unique identities. Your leaders' skill icons allow them to complete missions and help them interfere with your opponent's missions. Their tactical values yield tactics cards in combat, allowing you access to card effects that can change the course of a space battle or a skirmish between ground forces.

Furthermore, every leader is uniquely associated with one of the game's missions and gains a bonus at it. For example, Princess Leia gains extra successes when she is assigned to the Stolen Plans mission.

In this way, your leaders are even more than their collections of icons and numbers; they all have their own individual destinies.

Perhaps most importantly, your leaders are the fulcrum of your whole strategy. You need leaders to attempt missions and move fleets. Your leaders offer you your only means of resisting your opponent's efforts at missions or of adding tactics cards to bolster your forces in combat. Accordingly, the number of leaders you have in your leader pool defines the number of different tactics you can employ each round, and even though you can recruit additional leaders over the first several rounds, you will always need to think carefully about how best to use your leaders each round. In the Galactic Civil War, your most powerful heroes are also your most valuable assets.

The Assignment Phase

Each round of Star Wars: Rebellion plays through three phases, the first of which is the Assignment Phase. It is in this phase that you will have to decide how you want to use your leaders.

Generally, your leaders are each capable of undertaking three different tasks. They can attempt missions, they can coordinate the movement of your military forces, or they can oppose your opponent's efforts at missions or in battle. Of course, each of them can only do one of these things each round, and you have no guarantee they will always succeed. That is why in Star Wars: Rebellion, the foundations of success are built upon determining how best to use your leaders.

At the beginning of the game, each side can call upon the services of four different leaders. They begin in your leader pool.

Assigning Leaders to Missions

In the Assignment Phase, the Rebel player can assign any number of leaders to missions. Then the Imperial player has the chance to assign any number of leaders to missions. Any leaders assigned in this way are no longer available to activate systems or oppose enemy activities.

Whether you play as the Galactic Empire or Rebel Alliance, your missions can help you advance your cause. Missions allow you to do everything from draw additional cards and gain influence among the populous planets to destroy enemy units and interfere with enemy leaders. Notably, although the sets of Imperial and Rebel missions are roughly equivalent, the missions for the different sides feature distinctly different flavors. For example, only the Imperials can attempt missions to capture enemy leaders. The Rebels, on the other hand, have missions they can attempt to rescue their leaders and gain valuable intelligence.

Most of your missions are discarded after you attempt them, but you have four basic missions that return to your hand at the end of each round.

The Rebel Alliance's basic missions are Build Alliance, Infiltration, Sabotage, and Rapid Mobilization.

The Galactic Empire's basic missions are Rule by Fear, Gather Intel, Capture Rebel Operative, and Research and Development.

To assign one of your leaders to a mission, you play that mission from your hand, placing it facedown in front of you, and you place a leader token atop the facedown mission. Of course, you will want to be sure that your leader has a chance of completing the mission. Each mission features a skill icon in its upper left corner, next to a number that indicates the number of matching icons you need to commit to the mission in order to reveal and complete it.

Sample Assignment

In her first game of Star Wars: Rebellion, Elaine is playing as the Rebel Alliance and has six missions in her hand, the four basic missions plus Stolen Plans and Hit and Run. She decides that she wants to gain the loyalty of Mon Calamari and its citizens, so she places the Build Alliance mission facedown before her and places Mon Mothma atop it, hoping that Mon Mothma's three diplomacy icons will prove sufficient at the mission even if she is opposed.

She then decides she wants to limit the Empire's production of ground troops on Bespin and plays Sabotage facedown before assigning General Rieekan to the mission. Although his single Spec Ops icon is technically enough to complete the mission, Elaine realizes General Rieekan's efforts will be relatively easy to oppose—should her opponent attempt to oppose him—but if she can hinder the production of an AT-AT Walker, she is willing to take that risk!

Now, Elaine has assigned two of her leaders to missions and has only two remaining—Jan Dodonna and Princess Leia. She knows she wants to use Jan Dodonna to coordinate the movement of her fleet, so that leaves only Princess Leia available to attempt a third mission or oppose the Empire's designs. Uncertain what her opponent might attempt, she decides to hold Princess Leia in reserve to oppose the Empire's activities. She passes on her assignments, and the Imperial player now has the opportunity to assign any of his leaders to missions.

Difficult Choices

"Decide you must how to serve them best. If you leave now, help them you could. But you would destroy all for which they have fought and suffered."

Your missions have tremendous tactical and strategic importance, but they are not the only tasks to which you can assign your leaders. You can also use your leaders to activate systems or oppose your enemy's efforts. However, you can only use your leaders to perform these tasks during the game's second phase, the Command Phase, and that means deciding not to assign them to missions in the Assignment Phase.

After assigning Mon Mothma and General Rieekan to missions, Elaine has only Princess Leia and Jan Dodonna available to move her fleets or oppose her enemy's designs. Will their efforts be enough? Will either of these leaders miss their chance to make a difference in the round? Getting the most from your leaders is the key to success.

Each round, then, you have to make difficult decisions. Given how much you can benefit from your missions, each time you do not assign one of your leaders to a mission, you are gambling that you can get more use from that leader by activating a system or opposing your enemy's actions. Moreover, the stakes rise if you ever pass on a chance to oppose one of your enemy's missions during the Command Phase, in the hopes that you can interfere at another or add your leader's tactical strengths to an eventual battle.

We will explore this gamble more closely tomorrow when we take a look at the Command Phase and the alternating actions you and your opponent can take as you battle for the fate of the galaxy!

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