Lead Your Forces
Preview the Skirmish Game in Imperial Assault
“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”
–Han Solo, Star Wars: A New Hope
You can venture into a world of Star Wars adventure and tactical combat in Imperial Assault, a miniatures game for two to five players! Imperial Assault offers two complete game experiences for every player: a campaign game and a skirmish game. In the campaign, you and up to four of your friends create a thrilling narrative, playing out the actions of brave Rebel heroes and commanding the massed forces of the Empire. The Imperial Assault skirmish game invites you to muster a finely-honed fighting force and lead it into battle against your opponent’s army in a test of tactical intelligence.
In past previews, we’ve focused exclusively on the campaign game. Now, that all changes as we turn our attention fully to the Imperial Assault skirmish game. Today, we’ll explore how you build your armies for a skirmish game and the types of missions that you undertake.
A Handpicked Squad
Before you take your first steps onto the field of your skirmish mission, you must muster your fighting force. Not every skirmish will pit the Imperials against the Rebels. In the Imperial Assault skirmish game, there are three distinct factions – Rebels, Imperials, and Mercenaries. All of these factions can battle against each other and against other armies of the same faction.
You begin building an army by spending points on Deployment cards for your army. Each player has forty points to spend, and each figure or group of figures has a cost equal to its deployment cost, shown in the upper left-hand corner of the card. A squad of Stormtroopers costs six points, but bringing Darth Vader himself into your army costs eighteen points – nearly half of your available points. The Imperial and Mercenary Deployment cards used in the campaign and introduced in two of our past previews are also used in the skirmish game, but rather than using hero sheets for characters like Fenn Signis or Jyn Odan, there are Rebel Deployment cards for each hero. Heroes in a skirmish mission follow the same rules as all other figures – they cannot rest, and only one attack can be made per activation.
Under normal circumstances, all of the figures in your fighting force must belong to the same faction, but certain Deployment cards can change this rule. While most Deployment cards provide figures for your army, you can also spend points on skirmish upgrades. These Deployment cards offer no new figures for your army, instead offering special abilities for your forces in the game. Temporary Alliance, for example, allows you to bring units from another faction into your army, while other skirmish upgrade cards give you the chance to manipulate deployment zones and initiative.
You can customize more than your army when you play a skirmish mission of Imperial Assault. You supplement your figures on the field of battle with a deck of fifteen Command cards; these Command cards consist of combat tricks, clever tactics, and special training that you can bring to bear against your opponent. Each Command card has a point cost in the lower right-hand corner, and you have fifteen points to spend when constructing your deck. By carefully building a Command deck that works in tandem with your forces, you can bring your tactical exploits to new heights.
For example, an army composed mainly of melee units could use Pummel to perform two attacks by spending two actions, doubling the amount of attacks you can perform on a given activation. An army with more ranged units, on the other hand, may benefit more from Marksman, which allows you to trace line of sight through figures for a single attack. Armies with predominantly Troopers can lay down Covering Fire to Stun enemies, while an army with a variety of Heavy Weapons can concentrate Maximum Firepower to quickly increase the amount of damage you deal with a single attack. No matter what figures make up your army, you can craft an Command deck to support them and enhance their powers.
At the beginning of a skirmish mission, both players draw a hand of three Command cards, and they draw a single new card at the end of each round. Canny commanders can quickly increase the number of Command cards in hand, however. Seeded across the battlefield of every skirmish mission are a number of terminals. If you control a terminal by being the only player with figures adjacent to it, the extra information you gather allows you to draw an additional Command card at the end of the round, increasing your options in the heat of a firefight.
Battle for the Streets
Before a skirmish mission begins, the player with initiative chooses the blue or red setup zone and places his figures in it, leaving the unchosen zone for his opponent. The player with initiative now starts the game by activating any one of his figures or groups of figures corresponding to a single Deployment card. The other player then responds by activating one of his own groups, and play alternates back and forth until all figures have been activated. Then, initiative passes to the other player, and the next round begins.
To achieve victory in a skirmish mission, you must be the first player to claim forty victory points. Destroying your opponent’s forces is one path to victory: whenever you destroy the last figure corresponding to a Deployment card, you gain points equal to the card’s deployment cost. So, if you can destroy an AT-ST, you immediately gain fourteen victory points.
The other path to gaining victory points is to complete the specific goals given by the mission. Two missions corresponding to every skirmish mission map in Imperial Assault, each with very different objectives. For example, on the Mos Eisley Outskirts map, there are two possible missions: Get to the Ship and Smuggled Goods.
In the Get to the Ship mission, both players’ forces must race through the torturous alleys of Mos Eisley to reach the center of the map, where a valuable T-16 Skyhopper awaits. By controlling the ship, you gain extra victory points at the end of each round, and you can grab more victory points by interacting with the launch panels and prepping the ship for takeoff. Of course, your opponent is trying to achieve the same thing, and conflict around the ship is inevitable.
The Smuggled Goods skirmish mission pits two teams against each other as they battle to retrieve crates of contraband for the Hutts. You must battle to defeat your opponent’s figures and keep them away from the crates, even as you return the contraband to your own deployment zone. With three crates worth fifteen victory points each, the team that retrieves the most contraband gains a distinct advantage in the fight for victory.
The Battle Begins
No matter which Imperial Assault skirmish mission you play, you’re sure to find a test of tactical skill amidst the hum of vibroweapons and the hiss of blaster bolts. Join us next time as we turn to the developers of Imperial Assault for an exploration of the strategy that goes into building any army for a skirmish mission.
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