Star Wars: Imperial Assault Review

Star Wars: Imperial Assault Review

Star Wars: Imperial Assault Review

Welcome to our next review of another good game from Fantasy Flight GamesStar Wars: Imperial Assault. We know this game came out ages ago, in 2014 to be exact, but this is a “new to us” game and we wanted to try it out! If you’ve been reading our articles for a while now, you’ll know we love games with a story element. We also love the exploratory and interactive nature of these story-driven games. A great example is Mansions of Madness, whose Clue-type mystery mashed up with Lovecraftian Horror makes it one of a kind! We also love the whole Star Wars Universe. We had a great time on Star Wars Day this year and love all things about this fantastic universe. What if all these elements were present in a single game. Well, that game, my friends, is Star Wars: Imperial Assault. Let’s check it out!

Game Overview – Star Wars: Imperial Assault

In Star Wars: Imperial Assault, there are three game modes. Campaign, Skirmish, and Cooperative. 

For this review, we’ll be discussing the Campaign mode. The other two modes offer variations on how to play. The Cooperative mode is closest to Mansions of Madness, with an app running the Imperial side of the game.

One Player plays the Imperial army in the Campaign mode, while the other players all play the heroes. The instructions say that the Imperial Player should be the one with the most experienced, and we’d tend to agree. That Player is basically to steal a term from D&D, the dungeon master. Their role is to keep the story going, as detailed in the Campaign book, and control the Imperial army. 

The game happens over rounds, with each Player taking a turn alternating between the heroes and the Imperial Player until all figures have activated. 

After all players and all Imperial players’ units have activated, the game then moves to the Status Phase.

During the Status Phase, the Imperial Player increases the Threat dial and ready their deployment cards (rebel heroes don’t ready their cards at this time). Then if the campaign book or cards have abilities or mission roles for that round, they get triggered at this time. Finally, the round dial is advanced by 1, and a new Activation Phase begins.

Game Components

Star Wars: Imperial Assault is a Fantasy Flight Games produced game, and the components are pretty high quality. The game comes with modular boards that get set up for each mission. It includes miniatures for the rebels and imperials, including a Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker miniatures in the core box. The most impressive figure has to be the AT-ST (Two-legged Walker). It wouldn’t be a Fantasy Flight game without a ton of cards with multiple decks and many tokens and custom dice. Everything is highly designed and right on theme with Star Wars down to the Rebel and Imperial player tokens.

Game Setup

Depending on which mode you play, the game setup does change. For our review, we’ll talk about Campaign Mode. The setup in this mode will fall to the Imperial Player for the most part. Much of the game is hidden from the Rebels, with Imperial Player only revealing the story at specific points in the game. The imperial Player will assemble the map and prepare their deployment cards and all dice cards and tokens needed for this particular mission. The map contains modular tiles, and their layout is unique for each scenario. We did find that this setup was a bit tedious the first time we played, but once we organized each tile by its number, it made things much better.

Unlike the tedious nature of setup placed on the Imperial Player, the rebel heroes don’t have a ton to do. They each take the hero sheet, miniature, and Class deck for their hero. Then they locate their weapon in the Class deck. Finally, they take an activation token for their hero character. 

Once all players have done this, you are ready to play. Some missions are more complex than others to set up, but overall, they are not too bad. The biggest issue we had was the burden of setup does fall to the Imperial Player. We recommend that someone with experience playing these games take on that role. Also, once you start a campaign, the Player in that role should continue in the role. This continuity of Imperial Player is really due to the hidden and revealed nature of the campaign. The Imperial Player acts as the Game Master.


The overall gameplay of this game is fun and engaging! Both the Imperial Player and the Heroes have their own goals. Although in campaign mode, the story mainly advances with the heroes’ success. The imperial Player should treat their role as more of a guide and put up a strong defense while understanding they will often lose. 

The actual gameplay happens over rounds, each with two phases. The activation phase is when each Player takes a turn with the heroes alternating with the different enemies controlled by the Imperial Player. For example, Hero 1 goes first, Stormtroopers 2nd, and Hero 2 goes 3rd, followed by the Officer. 

For instance, all members of a “deployment group” – three stormtroopers, take their turns together.

Players, in their turn, can perform two actions and repeat actions with a few exceptions. A player can take actions, including Moving, Interacting, Resting, or using a unique player action.

The players can also perform an Attack Action. What would a Star Wars game be without being able to attack your opponent? We won’t detail how attacking works here. It does get a bit complicated. Each Player’s character has dice they can roll as denoted on their character card. Depending on their weapon type, they attack adjacent to their enemy or from a distance. The opposing Player also rolls dice to defend, and those results get deducted from the amount of damage done. There are also ways to miss or evade an attack. Remember Stormtroopers and their infamous accuracy? Well, they’ve found a way to capture that here too. 

During the Status Phase, the Imperial Player increases the Threat dial by the scenario’s threat amount. They then ready their cards (rebel heroes don’t equip their cards at this time). The imperial Player can then spend the Threat to deploy figures to the board optionally. Then if the campaign book or cards have abilities or mission roles for that round, they get triggered at this time. Finally, the round dial is advanced by one, and a new Activation Phase begins.

Overall that is how a round plays out. Players also have special abilities listed on their Hero sheets and class cards. These require players to take Strain, use Threat, or surge from the dice roll. 

We like how the attack and defense occur in the game. There are different dice colors, and each serves slightly other purposes. 

Finally, similar to other Fantasy Flight Games, once a hero is defeated, they are not out of the game entirely. They flip their hero sheet and are wounded. The stats and abilities are slightly different, but the hero can continue to play. Should they reach their new damage amount, the hero must withdraw from the game.

Overall Impressions

We did enjoy this Star Wars: Imperial Assault, and it is a fun addition to the Star Wars games from Fantasy Flight Games. We love that it feels a bit like Mansions of Madness, one of our favorite games. We haven’t played cooperatively, but we think it will be similar to Mansions. 

Overall the quality of the game is high, and the sheer number of campaign missions (there’s a whole book) ensures this game has a high replay value. 

We’d recommend this to those players who love Star Wars and want to take a variety of heroes through an in-depth campaign.

If you like this review and want to get a copy of it for yourself, we have it available in our store!