Guest Reviewer Lauren T
Not long ago, in a galaxy not so far away, I found myself stuck at home, unable to go out and visit with friends. I was dealing with some debilitating medical issues and, as I’m sure many others have done in this community, I turned to Star Wars to help raise my spirits. Since I was stuck at home on my own all day every day, I wanted to find something that could provide hours of enjoyment. So when I found the Star Wars Outer Rim board game from Fantasy Flight, it felt meant to be. Cue the music…. Dun duuuuh dun dun dun duuuh duuuuh!
Set far away from Coruscant and the center of the galaxy, Outer Rim takes place on wild and untamed planets like Lothal, Tatooine, Ryloth, and Kessel. Players take on the roles of outlaws on the fringes of society and set out to make their mark. You can travel in your personal ship, hire legendary Star Wars characters to join your crew, and cement your place in Star Wars history! Sounds awesome right? It is. I could go on and on about this game, but instead I’ve decided to break it down into what I consider highlights and challenges for playing.
Highlight #1 – Resourceful Reference Cards: The player reference cards are exceptionally helpful and aid in speeding up game play. Instead of constantly having to reference the rule book, each player has an abbreviated version at their disposal. This concise outline reminds you of all the available options you can take on your turn and helps you plan for the next one.
Challenge #1 – A Plethora of Pieces: If you like managing a lot of moving parts, this is the game for you. There are dozens of tokens, dice, markers, cards, and more! While this does allow for an immensely detailed and intricate game, it can be tough to manage. Especially on the first or second play through when you are still trying to understand the flow of the game.
Highlight #2 – Dazzling and Delightful Artwork: As you can see from the picture below, the artwork is fantastic. From the board itself to the characters and ships, it is all stunning. This attention to detail makes it easy to get into character. You can actually imagine yourself flying around the galaxy in your very own ship or perhaps even the Millenium Falcon if the Force wills it.
Challenge #2 – Costs a Pretty Penny: One factor that could be a barrier to entry for many players is the price tag. Coming in at just over $60, this is by no means a gag gift or casual purchase. This could be a deterrent to the everyday gamer, but considering all of the collateral that comes with and the quality of the content, the high price can be explained.
Highlight #3 – Many Ways to Win: A feature that I found enjoyable is the variety of ways that you can win. The whole goal of the game is to become the most famous and celebrated outlaw. Much like in real life there are many ways to do this. You can battle any of the four factions (Hutts, Pikes, Rebels, and Empire), smuggle illegal cargo, and collect high profile bounties. There is also the opportunity to sabotage your counterparts or take them head on in battle. The path you take to victory is very much your own and the type of scoundrel you want to be is completely up to you!
Challenge #3 – Intimidating and Intense Rules: Upon first glance the rules and reference books can be intimidating to look at. There is a great deal of text and several involved steps which can be difficult to track. There is a quick reference guide on the back of the main rule book, but even that can get a bit wordy.
Highlight #4 – Ability to Play Solo: As I mentioned when I was first looking at Outer Rim, I was spending quite a bit of time on my own and as 2020 went on staying home became even more important. Luckily this game has a single player option where you actually can play against an AI character. You choose your opponent, but after that the decisions belong to the AI. There are also other virtual options out there, but either way if you’re looking for a Covid-19 friendly adventure, this is the game for you!
Challenge #4 – A Slow Starter: The last challenge I have is that it takes quite a bit to ramp up into actual game play. As already stated, there are several moving parts, multiple phases to each turn, and constantly changing priorities. It takes several rounds to pick up the flow, especially when trying to consider all that you can accomplish with each turn.
Highlight #5 – A Kaleidoscope of Characters: The last highlight, and by far my favorite, is the ability to play a variety of characters not just from the movies, but expanded materials as well! You can play Lando Calrissian, Boba Fett, Jyn Erso, Doctor Aphra, IG-88 and many more. Each character has their own skills, goals, and abilities that make every time you play a unique experience. I can’t wait to see if they come out with a Mandalorian expansion pack! Who wouldn’t love playing with Grogu as your sidekick?
I highly recommend this game to anyone who is considering buying it. It’s great for a medium level gamer who enjoys a game with strategy but doesn’t have the time or capacity to spend eight hours at the table. This is an adventure any Star Wars fan would enjoy and a perfect gift idea for the upcoming holidays. If you would like to learn more, check out Star Wars Outer Rim at https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/products/star-wars-outer-rim/. You can also check out all the other awesome Star Wars games Fantasy Flight has to offer.