May The Fourth Be With You

Review Corner Writers

Posted by Review Corner Writers on Apr 28, 2016

In case you didn’t get the memo (or droid-projected hologram) May 4th is Star Wars Day- may the fourth be with you!

That slogan all started with, strangely, Margaret Thatcher. She won the 1979 election for British Prime Minister on May 4th and it was celebrated (?) in papers with the headline “may the fourth be with you”. That same pun on “may the Force be with you” may or may not have been the headline of the Coruscant Daily News when Chancellor Palpatine took over the Republic.

But now, “May the Fourth Be with You” has been reclaimed from the politicians and it has become a rallying cry for Star Wars fans around the globe to celebrate this most beloved of pop culture institutions. My writers here at the Review Corner are more excited than ever about gaming in the Star Wars Universe after the smash success of The Force Awakens and a slew of recent tabletop games. So I asked them to call out some of their favorite recent Star Wars products.

Interestingly, none of us picked the new Star Wars: Rebellion. I loved the game and gave it a 4 ½ star rating here at the Review Corner, so consider it grandfathered in with these selections.

So fire up the Lightsabers, put on the buckets and get ready to do some nerf-herding as The Review Corner presents our Star Wars Day picks- and stick around, there’s a bonus feature for you at the end!


I think that Star Wars: Armada is probably the best space battle game I’ve ever played – and not just because it’s Star Wars. It’s brilliantly designed with custom engineered pieces and sophisticated systems that put you at the helm of some truly awesome ships. But there is likely no ship more awesome than the Imperial Star Destroyer, the very ship that chases down that C90 Corvette in the opening of A New Hope. The ISD in Armada is an incredible, highly detailed miniature that just looks beautiful on the table, an intimidating presence sure to send even the hardiest Rebel admiral looking for a way to get out of its devastating fire arcs. There’s no doubt that Armada is an expensive, “Cadillac” class game – but the ISD is as Cadillac as it gets among your fleet choices commanding the Imperial Navy.


The game is utterly fantastic, and even with just the core set, I played it to death before realizing that I must own everything ever made, in triplicate, because the game is just that mind-blowingly good. If you don't own the core set, you need to, if you're even remotely interested in miniatures games. It packs all the punch of a bigger and more complex game, has all the chrome you could want, and it comes in at a really reasonable price. This isn't just a game for some people, it's a game for almost everyone. For the price, and the value it retains in case you decide to offload it later, very few games come close.


Whether you're new to X-Wing or someone who was involved since day 1, there's something to be said about loving a ship that is tried and true.. Like the original TIE Fighter, this ship offers fantastic points economy, but also now offers an additional action option (target lock) as well. It's also more maneuverable and more resilient (with 1 more shield) and can be used effectively in a swarm to tie up your opponent's ships while picking them apart from the outside. With a few extra pilot options and upgrade that aren't included in the core set, this expansion is effective, economical and versatile.


As a refinement of FFG's Descent system (itself a refinement of the Doom boardgame), Imperial Assault sands away a lot of the rules clutter that burdened its ancestors, and is a far more fast-paced affair. As Rebel operatives, up to four players will run and gun their way through a series of missions against another player who controls the Imperial forces. The campaign features a lot of content, and is structured in a brilliant branching format that lets players choose some missions while forcing them to do others from time to time. And if that wasn't enough, there's a two-player skirmish game for those who would rather focus on the tactical gameplay and squad-building.


There are few more iconic vehicles in film than this bucket of bolts and FFG wisely included it in the first wave of expansions for X-Wing. Boasting Han, Chewie, Lando, and even Nien Nunb, this expansion has got it where it counts when it comes to bringing the movies to life on your table. I play X-Wing because it's the closest I'll ever get to performing a real trench run or setting legendary records on the Kessel Run. Fielding this iconic ship, with its 360 degree firing arc, commanding table presence, and collection of familiar faces, has never failed to bring a smile to my face.

Michael (again!)

This little under $10 game is quite a surprise- it’s a two player contest that uses mechanics derived from Blackjack of all things to create a pretty decent sense of the core factional struggle at the heart of the Star Wars story. It’s easy to pick up and play and the bluff/counterbluff gameplay is sure to be appealing even to non-gamers. This is a redesign of an earlier FFG title called CIA vs. KGB (which I also liked back in its day) but putting it into the Star Wars setting only made this tiny little package even better. Size matters not, indeed.


The Tantive IV arrived alongside the Rebel Transport to bring gifts of tiding and epic joy. If you've played X-Wing but never experienced epic play then you're cheating yourself out of one of gaming's most fantastic offerings. The Tantive was the first expansion to feature an epic ship with combat capabilities, and the first time you see that enormous five distance range ruler come out you will need to change your undergarments. Turbolasers, multiple crew, and a plethora of tricks; the CR90 leaves a lasting impression that will keep you coming back for more.


When hearing the words Galactic Empire one of the first things you envision is the Death Star. . While considerably more diminutive in Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars: The Card Game, the Death Star dial nonetheless creates tension in players akin to that felt by rebel officers monitoring their screens as that first moon-sized terror rounded Yavin. This dial is such a great little mechanism because it’s particularly apropos considering the living card game designation. Essentially a clock, it gives the game a palpable pulse-beating life ticking relentlessly from 1 to 12 every turn – maybe more. When it hits 12, the Dark side wins. The Light side feels that pressure acutely as they race to destroy three imperial objectives before all their efforts go the way of Alderaan.


“What's Star Wars, Daddy?”

A question a child might ask, but not a childish question, and what better way to answer it than with a pint-sized replica of Episode VII's villain, Kylo Ren. He's easy to play with and doesn't look threatening, says your child? Pop in the DVD and show your progeny how closely the doll mirrors the movie, revealing the cinematic magic of the Star Wars universe. After a few hours, if your wee one longs to add rules, dozens of bits and three different sizes of playing cards to the experience, point them toward one of FFG's spectacular Star Wars board games.

The Kylo Ren Funko Pop figure: the first step into a larger universe.


Star Wars has many iconic moments, and some of the best occur in the midst of dogfights between rebel pilots and imperial star fighters. X-Wing is a fabulous game system, and the Force Awakens Core Set brings you the ships you love from the most recent cinema. When I play X-Wing, I tend to highly favor those ships with actual screen time. It's much more fun to "pew pew" with a TIE Interceptor than a ... K-Wing? New cinema means new awesome ships that we've actually seen in flight. Sure, the game also comes with an improved damage deck and new asteroids. But the ships have crazy new maneuvers and bring the movies home in a way not seen since the original core set and first wave.

Michael (One more time!)

I played X-Wing for years on a piece of $3 black felt I bought at a craft store. I never went in for one of the third party playmats. But when I got into Armada, I felt like it was time to just go all-in and get the classy, branded playmats offered by FFG. These are super nice “mouse pad” material mats with iconic Star Wars imagery and logos – not to mention cool-looking storage boxes with X-wing livery. I especially like the two latest mats that show Bespin and Endor and they make for a nice pair with FFG’s plain starfield mat. They are expensive, but so is the game and I like the “luxury” feel of these excellent mats.

BONUS- Craig’s Epic Imperial Assault/Armada Battle of Endor Game

I wanted to include one more thing to help us all celebrate Star Wars Day. Our very own Craig Cillessen recently appeared on Miniature Market’s Ding and Dent Podcast to talk about an amazing event he hosted (on the eve of The Force Awakens opening, no less) wherein he used both Imperial Assault and Armada to recreate the Battle of Endor. Playing concurrently, one team played Imperial Assault to plant explosive and destroy the shield generator while the second team fought the space battle to destroy the Death Star. This is awesome stuff, check out Episode 9 for the details- and try it yourself. May the fourth be with you!