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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Davidson

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Rebellion

Updated: Sep 7, 2021

How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Rebellion Star Wars: Rebellion

This is a story about a rebellion.

I grew up watching Star Wars. As a male child, I possessed a natural proclivity to drool over anything that combined action and science fiction (sorry Trekkies, too much diplomacy and dialogue to appeal to my intrepid nine year old brain). I watched Star Wars a lot. I remember arranging basement furniture—the couch, chairs, ottoman, etc.—into a design replicating the Sarlacc pit scene in Return of the Jedi. I used to take a cheaply made plastic bat—my lightsaber—and jump around the room, furniture to furniture, striking down enemies just like my hero, Luke Skywalker. In ancient times we used technological objects to store audio and visuals entitled Video Home System (VHS) tapes. One summer, while on leave from school, I watched my families’ copy of Return of the Jedi so frequently that I wore out the tape. The VHS was ruined, destined for the trash. Reluctantly, my parents purchased a new copy under the stipulation that I only watch it one a week—instead of multiple times a day, every day. Upon receiving a brand spanking new copy of Return of the Jedi, I watched the film in secret twice as much as before. I watched the initial three movies (episodes 4, 5, and 6) over and over. I couldn’t get enough of the Star Wars franchise, especially Return of the Jedi, which, hands down, remains my favorite Star Wars movie even to this day. In the end, I rebelled against my parents.

This is a story about a rebellion.

A long time ago, in a FLGS far, far away…I was mulling about, taking a gander at the games when I was asked by a stranger to engage in a game of Star Wars: Rebellion. I was familiar with the game, but never could scrap together enough bones or clams to purchase such an expensive item.

My new game partner and I found a secluded corner in the gaming area. We pushed a few dirty tables and chairs together and sat down across from each other. He then performed a performance of Sweeny Todd in teaching the rules—he butchered them! Giving my new game partner the benefit of the doubt, it takes no less than fifteen minutes (and I’m being gracious in my estimation) to teach every aspect of every rule to Star Wars: Rebellion.

My gracious instructor summed up the overall concept for me in about fifteen seconds.

I felt helpless.

I had absolutely no clue what to do.

There is no worse feeling in the world—other gamers can attest to this—that when it’s your turn, the entire table is staring at you, and you have absolutely no freaking clue what to do - you freeze. Our epic and legendary game ended around the thirty minute mark—looking back, I know for a fact that many rules were either forgotten or not followed correctly. To paraphrase T.S. Eliot: Our game ended not with a bang but with a whimper.

Honestly, I couldn’t have been happier our game was over—I lost, of course, but I considered it a win since I was tagged and released back into the wild of my FLGS. I don’t want to mix words here: I absolutely hated the experience. I hated Star Wars: Rebellion. I hated how confusing and clunky it was. In fact, my initial experience was so terrible that I promised never to buy or play the game ever again. Scouts honor. I wanted nothing to do with such an dreadful abomination. In the end, I rebelled against Star Wars: Rebellion.

This is a story about a rebellion!

Jump to three years later when I have a decent amount of money burning a hole in my digital wallet. Star Wars: Rebellion shows up in the “Recommended Products for You” section on my Amazon shopping account. I ignore it; however, in the back of my mind, I toy with the notion of purchasing the epic intergalactic game I have rebelled against playing ever again. Why did I entertained the idea? I don’t know. It’s like trying to get back together with some terrible significant other who you have not seen in three years. Maybe you’ve changed. Maybe they’ve changed. Maybe, just maybe, things will work out this time. After a few days, I decide to pull the trigger. Within a week, Star Wars: Rebellion was sitting on my table, staring at me.

Akin to Stephen Crowder’s viral “Change my Mind” YouTube video clips and memes, nobody changed my mind regarding Star Wars: Rebellion. Instead, the guilty culprit was the game itself. I know I’m getting ahead of myself, but Star Wars: Rebellion is a great game! Unlike many combat games, Rebellion does not froth at the mouth with mindless combat, forming its foundation on building up troops and smashing them against your opponent. This style of gameplay is ubiquitous, dated, and quite primitive among modern war games.

It’s not a war of attrition. Instead, Rebellion is about intrigue and deception. It’s about knowing when to make your move. It’s about how—and when—you enact your leaders. It’s about out-thinking your opponent. Yeah, sure, the smashing of troops is in Rebellion, too; however, to be successful in your game, there exist a myriad of strategies one must factor into the equation. Opportunity and timing are everything.

There is a lot to love about Star Wars: Rebellion. And with its expansion, Rise of the Empire, the gameplay steps-up in theme and strategy. I highly recommend picking up the expansion at the same time, if possible. It adds “more stuff” to the game, but fixes some wonky issues regarding combat.

For me, there are only two negative aspects to Star Wars: Rebellion:

  1. There is an incredibly steep learning curve. I highly recommend not only reading the rulebook (which you would do anyway) but supplementing it with “how to play” videos found on YouTube.

  2. Games are EPIC. Star Wars: Rebellion is a game you must plan for and set aside plenty of time. Unless a player makes multiple strategic errors or doesn’t give two craps about the game, expect your game to last at least three hours.

Despite the two aforementioned “negatives” to the game. The positives outweigh the negatives in spades. If you love Star Wars; if you love board games; if you love combat, intrigue, and out-playing your opponent, then this game, my friends, is a must purchase.

It’s time to start your own rebellion!

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