19 January 2016 | Star Wars: Rebellion

Assume Command

Explore the Action in the Command Phase of Star Wars™: Rebellion

"Once the shield is down, our cruisers will create a perimeter, while the fighters fly into the superstructure and attempt to knock out the main reactor. General Calrissian has volunteered to lead the fighter attack."
     –Admiral Ackbar

Yesterday, we jumped into the gameplay of Star Wars™: Rebellion with a look at its leaders, their abilities, your missions, and the choices you need to make during your Assignment Phase. Of course, we also mentioned that several of the different actions your leaders can take do not really come into play until the game's second phase, the Command Phase.

Today, then, we continue our previews with a look at the Command Phase and the ways that you can use your heroes to activate systems or oppose your rival at missions or in battles.

The Command Phase

After both the Rebel Alliance and Galactic Empire have finished assigning their leaders to missions, the game proceeds to the Command Phase. In the Command Phase, players take turns resolving missions or using the leaders they have remaining in their leader pools to coordinate the movement of their units, possibly initiating combat.

As in the Assignment Phase, the Rebel player acts first in the Command Phase and can either reveal a mission or activate a system.

Reveal a Mission

When you decide to have one of your leaders attempt the mission to which he or she was assigned, you reveal that mission, flipping it faceup, and read it aloud.

Most mission cards require you to attempt them in a system and often dictate qualifiers for the systems in which the mission can legally be attempted. For example, Stolen Plans can only be attempted "in any system that contains an Imperial unit" while Gather Intel can only be attempted "in any Rebel system." After you reveal your mission, then, you must declare where your leader is going to attempt it, and you place your leader on the matching system on the game board.

In the Assignment Phase, Elaine had assigned Mon Mothma to Build Alliance and General Rieekan to Sabotage . At the beginning of the Command Phase, she decides to reveal Build Alliance, hoping to sway the citizens of Mon Calamari to the Rebel cause. She states that she plans to attempt the mission on Mon Calamari and places Mon Mothma atop the Mon Calamari system on the game board.

Here it is important to note that missions function differently if they use the term "resolve" than if they use the term "attempt." If you have a leader with a the appropriate skill icons assigned to a mission, such as Research and Development , that uses the term "resolve," your opponent cannot oppose that mission, and it automatically succeeds. On the other hand, if your mission uses the term "attempt," then after you place your leader on the system where you intend to attempt the mission, your opponent has the opportunity to oppose your effort.

Oppose a Mission

After you declare where you are attempting a mission, your opponent can send any one leader from his leader pool to oppose that mission.

  • If your opponent chooses not to oppose you, then you automatically succeed, as you need to be able to meet the mission's skill requirements in order to reveal it in the first place.
  • If your opponent chooses to oppose you, he places his leader in the system where your hero hopes to complete your mission. Then, you and your opponent roll dice to determine the mission's outcome. Each matching skill icon adds one of the game's custom dice to your pool.

You score one success for each  and result, and each  result counts as two successes. If you score more successes than your opponent at your mission, you succeed at that mission.

For example, after Elaine declares her intent to establish diplomatic relations between the Rebel Alliance and the citizens of Mon Calamari, Karl decides that Emperor Palpatine should intervene. He moves Emperor Palpatine from the leader pool to Mon Calamari. Accordingly, Elaine must now test Mon Mothma's diplomatic influence against that of the Emperor.

Having long foreseen the Rebels' interest in Mon Calamari's aid, Emperor Palpatine rolls  and  for a total of three successes. Mon Mothma also rolls well, scoring , , and  for a total of three successes, but because she did not roll more successes than her opponent, Elaine fails at the mission.

It is also worth noting that every leader at a system contributes their matching skill icons to any mission attempt at that system, which means you may be able to increase your chances of succeeding at a critical mission by attempting it in a system where you have already committed a leader to attempt an earlier mission. Conversely, it becomes much harder to to complete a mission if you send your leader to a system where your opponent has already placed a leader, meaning that your attempt may potentially be opposed by multiple enemy leaders.

Finally, as we saw yesterday, a number of missions feature the image of a specific leader. If that leader is ever opposed at the mission, you automatically add two successes to your total.

While she is assigned to the mission Stolen Plans, Princess Leia is guaranteed two bonus successes in case the Empire opposes her efforts.

Activate a System

Also during the Command Phase, you have the opportunity to move your fleets. You do this by using your leaders to activate systems.

To activate a system, you remove one of your leaders from the leader pool and place it in a system on the game board. You are then able to move any of your ships from adjacent systems into the system your leader has activated. The exeception, however, arises whenever two otherwise adjacent systems are separated by red areas that indicate there is no navigable hyperspace lanes between them.

When Grand Moff Tarkin activates Corellia, he allows the Empire to strike at Corellia with any of the units from adjacent systems, including the Star Destroyer, the TIE fighters, and the ground units on Sullust. However, because there is no servicable hyperspace lane between Corellia and Bespin, Bespin is not considered adjacent, and its units cannot move to Corellia.

You can also move ground units when you activate a system, provided the ships that you move have sufficient capacity to carry them through hyperspace. The carrying capacity for each of your ships is indicated in the lower left corner of the ship's icon on your faction sheet. Imperial players should also note that because TIE fighters do not have hyperdrives of their own, they also require other ships to transport them, just like ground units.

The difference between space units and ground units is reinforced by their deployment on the board. The ground units that you transport from one system to another are placed above the planet art on the game board, while the starships remain in the space around the planet.

If the Galactic Empire relocates ground units to an unoccupied neutral planet or one affiliated with the Rebels, that planet is subjugated, it is unable to supply resources to the Rebel Alliance, and it will direct a share of its resources to the Galactic Empire.

If Darth Vader and the troops under his command are able to gain military control of Corellia, it becomes subjugated, and the subjugation token is placed on the planet's loyalty hex.

This distinction between the space and planetary sections of a system informs more than the subjugation of planets. Opposing forces can reside in the same system side-by-side if one has only space units and the other has only ground units. However, if you ever move a starship into a system with enemy starships or transport a ground unit to a planet with enemy ground units, you move immediately to combat, which we will review in tomorrow's preview!

A Board Game of Epic Confrontation

"Your friends up there on the Sanctuary Moon are walking into a trap. As is your Rebel fleet! It was I who allowed the Alliance to know the location of the shield generator."
     –Emperor Palpatine

Throughout the Command Phase, you and your opponent take turns sending your leaders across the galaxy to undertake secret missions and coordinating the movement of your starships, vehicles, and troops. You can build alliances with the citizens of distant planets, launch daring raids, subjugate planets, and engage your enemy in combat.

Most importantly, though, you will begin to see a larger narrative emerge, and the mechanics of the game begin to melt away, leaving in place only the epic nature of the Star Wars galaxy and the urgent call for tactical adjustments that ensure your strategy remains intact, even in the face of military losses and cruel twists of fate.

Join us tomorrow for a look at the game's combats and an exploration of how your leaders' heroic intervention can change the course of battle!

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