This technically should have gone up last night. But the events of the day made talking about little plastic people running around on cardboard seem just a tiny bit inconsequential. However, life goes on. Even if it’s life represented by hit points and damage tokens.
As you’ve no doubt gathered, I spend a lot of time gaming. Almost too much. Tuesdays are general board gaming. Thursdays are more board games, although Doomtown is starting to take over that night. Sundays are X-Wing and more Doomtown. The second Saturday of every month is an all-day game day. And we had been playing Descent every other Wednesday. Descent is a dungeon crawl game where one player is the evil overlord attempting to thwart the heroic characters played by the other players. There are set scenarios you run through, with you and the overlord each having different victory conditions that help determine which scenario you run next. Your characters can improve from session to session, and there have been quite a few expansions for it, offering a wide variety of settings and challenges. We were all enjoying it, and were looking forward to seeing what adventures it had in store for us.
Until Fantasy Flight went and put out a Star Wars version of it.
Imperial Assault — Yep, FFG may have inadvertently just killed Descent dead, at least as far as our gaming group is concerned. We’d been salivating over Imperial Assault ever since it was announced at GenCon last year, and the previews FFG kept releasing only heightened the anticipation. It hit shortly before Christmas and immediately lived up to our expectations. It takes all the best parts of Descent — the one vs. many, the tactical thinking, the linking stories — and improves on them in almost every way. The mechanics are smoother, the stories flow better, and defeat for the players feels less like a disappointment and more like a twist in the plot.
And did I mention it’s got Star Wars all over it? You’ve got stormtroopers and probe droids and Wookiees and Jedi and Luke and Darth, all represented by these fantastic miniatures that even look great in the monochromatic brown they come in. Painted by someone who knows what they’re doing? They look incredible. What’s more, the game feels like Star Wars, with the Empire suitably monolithic and overwhelming, but with the heroes having just enough pluck and guile to stand a chance.
What’s more, Imperial Assault offers something Descent completely lacks: a skirmish mode where you can assemble a squad of figures and play against someone head-to-head. This is what really grabbed my interest; I’d be fine not owning it and simply playing it if it were just an adventure game, but this competitive aspect has me chomping at the bit to get a copy. As much as I’ve enjoyed the squad building and play in X-Wing, being able to do so on the ground is something I can’t wait to try,
So although last night saw us defeated by the evil Empire one data download short of completing our mission, the next session will see us trying to escape from its clutches. This being Star Wars, I think we might have a chance.