Monday, May 25, 2015

From the Archives # 2 - "Risk: Star Wars Original Trilogy Edition"

I've been working a lot of Wednesdays so I haven't been able to get out to game night very often lately. As a result, I'm gonna hafta dip into the archives for this entry featuring Risk: Star Wars Original Trilogy Edition.

This particular match was played back on January 27'th, 2007 (!).

So, what's the deal with this particular iteration of Risk? Welp, here's the game's opening title crawl directly from Board Game Geek:

There are 3 factions in the game, each with its own victory conditions.

• The Rebellion must find and destroy the Emperor, who will be hiding at one of his Imperial Bases.
• The Empire must eliminate all Rebel forces.
• The Hutts must take control of 10 out of the 13 resource planets.

Players choose to play as the Rebels, Empire, or Hutts and battle for domination of the Galaxy. The Empire can use the Death Star to terrorize all and the Rebels can grow in the Force as the game goes on by attacking Imperial Bases. Heroes and villains like Luke, Han, Darth Vader, and Boba Fett come into play on the many faction cards that can be played throughout the game. Each faction can enhance their attack with ships.

The game includes 2 Death Stars and enough sculpted pieces representing the Rebels, Empire, and Hutt factions for 5 players. The Risk game play has been updated and enhanced with cards, ships, and The Force to represent the Star Wars Original Trilogy.

Looking to binge watch the entire saga? Then click on the following link to delve deep into the Empire's all-encompassing edicts! 


So, here's the game's session report, "fictionalized" at first and then broken down in less pretentious terms...

Star Wars - Episode 3.5

"Rise of the Warlords"

The galaxy is in turmoil.
Palpatine has declared martial
law throughout the galaxy. Many
worlds have fallen to the Emperor's
demands, especially as rumors grow about
the construction of an all-powerful battle
station designed to impose his will. Responding
to the threat, a rag-tag group of Rebels does what
it must to oppose the Imperials, including an uneasy 
alliance with the more unsavory denizens of the galaxy...

Rebel Commanders meet secretly in an undisclosed location in the Elrood Sector to discuss their best course of action in light of their limited resources. They're frustrated by their failure to gain a foothold on the Core Worlds, which they have unwisely have let slip to the Empire. They settle upon a "planet hopping" campaign to consolidate their holds in both Wild Space and the Isen Corridor, hoping that they can establish a springboard from Sollust and Bakura to assault those outlying planets subjugated by Imperial forces.

Meanwhile that race of intergalactic gangsters, the Hutts, are chafing under new restrictions imposed upon them by the Empire. A cargo hold filled with dirty credits is all it takes to amass a huge mercenary army, which they immediately spring on Imperial forces attempting to police the Mid Rim. The Emperor's forces are all but eliminated but stand fast on Toydaria, where the 501'st Legion successfully eliminates a contingent of low-rent bounty hunters who spend more time squabbling than co-operating.

When Governor Tarkin hears of this insurgency, he dispatches the Death Star to the Hutt stronghold of Falleen. Within minutes the planet is reduced to slag by the battle station's super laser. With troops generated from a slew of occupied planets and a consolidation of the Core worlds, Tarkin orders a two-front assault against the Rebels on Bakura and the gangster presence on Ord Mantell. Both forces are quickly routed as the Empire strikes back with a vengeance!

Unable to pass the Death Star off as galactic urban legend anymore, the Rebels become increasingly fearful. As distasteful as it is, a diplomatic envoy led by Mon Mothma and Princess Leia Organa secretly convenes with the council of Hutts led by the ruthless Jabba. Acutely aware that the gangsters have a tremendous amount of resources to harass the Imperials with, the Rebel leaders propose a temporary truce. Shaken by the drunken display of brute force displayed by the Empire on Faleen, the Hutts agree, knowing full well that this pact will never last.

Encouraged by this detente, the Rebels transport a garrison from Excarga to Bakura. Knowing that the Imperials will be able to wage an unlimited war on two fronts until their stranglehold on the Core Worlds is broken, the Rebels launch a daring strike on Byss, freeing the planet for the grateful inhabitants. Bolstered by a huge contingent of sympathizers to their cause, the Rebels also liberate Alderaan not long after.

At least initially the Hutts honor their treaty with the Rebel Alliance. The outnumbered Imperial resistance on Toydaria is finally crushed and the Hutts brazenly assault the shipyards on Kuat with bombers in tow! Eventually they succeed in occupying the planet. Their progress in the Outer Rim doesn't go quite as well as the Imperials stave off the invasion of Yavin.

When the Emperor learns of this coordinated attack against his authority, he flies into a rage. After recalling the Death Star to defend Corellia he tasks a small contingent of elite troops to recapture Byss. To ensure the operation is a success, Palpatine dispatches the Super-class Star Destroyer Executor and his Sith attack dog Darth Vader to the region. Needless to day, Vader leads his elite stormtroopers to decisive victory.

Not long after Vader is recalled to Coruscant and the Rebels see the Imperial holdings there as a house of cards. They strike hard and fast, recapturing Byss and eliminating the Imperial base on Mimban. Emboldened by all of the blood in the water, the Hutts continue their campaign in the Outer Rim. They secure Toprawa but are spread too thin to take Dathomir in quick succession.

With Palpatine's inability to drive the invaders from the Core World, his support begins to wane. Now with only four or five armies being mustered per cycle, the Imperials are forced into a defensive posture. Despite their failure to drive the Fringers back into the Outer Rim, the Emperor's evil machinations ensure that the Dark Side of the Force continues to cast a bleak pall over the galaxy.

This does little to hide the conspicuous cracks in the once-impenetrable Imperial armor. After disobeying a nigh-suicidal direct order from Palpatine to recapture Kuat, Admiral Kael deserts. He surfaces not long after as governor of a small planet in the Mid Rim, assisting Jabba in his campaign against the Imperials. Just months after the end of the war, Kael is killed under mysterious circumstances when a rabid gundark is set loose in his palace.

The Rebels continue to run riot in the Core Worlds. Another base on Duros falls, but Palpatine turns out to be safely ensconced elsewhere. The Rebels run into stiff resistance on Tatooine, where the local Imperial governor clings disparately to power. His victory is short lived, however, as the Hutts use local connections to make their attack even more lopsided. To no-one's surprise, the Emperor's body doesn't turn up in the ruins of the Imperial stronghold there.

In their desperate bid to bring Palpatine to justice, the Rebels completely turn a blind eye to the Hutts who are quickly snapping up production centers, occupying high-resource worlds, re-tooling shipyards and doing precious little to re-establish freedom for those they "liberate". By the time the protests begin, it's already two late. The Hutts, now generating units from a wealth of planetary captures and the consolidation of power in Wild Space and the Mid Rim, launch a three-pronged attack designed to seize control of the galaxy's nerve center.

Jabba's own task force on Yavin 4 overruns the tiny Imperial garrison on Balmorra. A massive invasion force appears almost overnight in Gamorr and makes short work of the poorly-defended Excarga and Elom. Via a hyperspace route near Mon Calamari, a fleet of Hutt ships swarm Bpfassh and then proceed to smash the Sluis Van Rebel shipyards into ruin.

With the truce between the Rebels and the Hutts shattered, Palpatine reveals his presence on Coruscant. He sues for peace with the Rebels, who only now realize that the unchecked Hutts have a stranglehold on the galaxy, a domination that rivals their former overlords.

After the Death Star is decommissioned, the Rebels ponder how best to proceed against this new threat, one of a entirely different stripe but no less oppressive...

Even though I really dig Eurogames, I’ll always have a soft spot for so-called "Ameritrash", if only because of the crazy stories they inspire...kinda like the one above.

Risk: Star Wars Original Trilogy Edition is, by far, my favorite permutation of the game. The write-up above was inspired by a three player game we ran yesterday between:




As soon as I randomly drew the Empire I started cursing under my breath. In my humble opinion, the Imperials start out the game with the following three strikes against them:
  1. They're spread out everywhere so they're a threat (and a target) to everyone.
  2. They have a freakin' Death Star, automatically making them Public Enemy Number One at a glance.
  3. Since they're depicted as the BIG BAD in the movies, the Rebel and the Hutt players will be gunning for them immediately, unconsciously perceiving them as the worst threat.
Having said that, I still managed to secure all of the Core Worlds while Dean and Andrew debated their own starting set up. Their distraction, plus a couple of quick captures, meant that I was collecting fifteen (!) armies every turn, a surplus which raised the collective eyebrows of my two rivals.

Since I already "had a bad feeling about this" I decided to come out swinging right away, repulsing both Rebel and Hutt attacks. Picking up a "Fire Death Star" card early in the game was kind of a mixed blessing to say the least. Needless to say I would have been crushed if I'd passed up a chance to fulfill my life-long dream of destroying a planet with a Death Star, but this flagrant display of brute force quickly resulted in a hastily-cobbled-together Rebel / Hutt alliance!

In order to survive this onslaught I really needed some decent die rolls but apart from a few cool card plays, I was quickly at their mercy. As soon as I lost the Core World army bonus, my end was inevitable. In retrospect I should have done more to spurn Rebel Dean into action against Andrew the Hutt's cakewalk victory, but then again, he was attacking my bases like an intergalactic Suge Knight in a desperate attempt to find and kill my Emperor for the win.


This game is a fun beer n' pretzels distraction. Since all three of us are die-hard OT (which stands for "Only Trilogy", BTW) Star Wars freaks, this was time well spent. And unlike regular Risk it didn't drag of for four to six hours. In fact, I'm pretty sure we were done in a coupla hours.

Some sage advise for the potential Imperial player:
  • Avoid the temptation to attack both factions to earn more cards. Maybe focus on the Rebels and try to make a pact with the Hutts A.S.A.P.
  • Use the Death Star defensively for the first half of the game. The phrase "walk softly and carry a battle station that is the ultimate power in the universe" comes to mind.
  • Trade in cards for ships as soon as possible.
I hope this session report inspires more people to check out this fun game. I know it's luck-heavy and probably not perfectly balanced, but damned if I didn't enjoy blowing up that planet!

Risk: Star Wars Original Trilogy Edition scores four pips out of six with a tilt down towards the bottom of the Death Star's reactor shaft.


Looking to annihilate a few hives of scum and villainy with a superlaser?  Welp, you might be outta luck since this sucka is out of print. Oh, you can still get a copy through Amazon, but for the same money why not buy your own personal X-Wing?  Just check this shite out: