The legendary Outer Rim is one of the largest major regions in George Lucas' sci-fantasy world and one of the least explored at the same time. That is about to change, at least when it comes to Fantasy Flight Game: the US game publisher based in Minnesota recently announced the Star Wars board game “Outer Rim”, which lets players follow in the footsteps of smugglers, mercenaries and bounty hunters.
The publication of the English language version is planned for the second quarter of 2019.

Switching collapse from sheer excitement

Some reports come as a surprise. This also applies to the announcement of the new Star Wars board game “Outer Rim” by Fantasy Flight Games. The title is an independent product line and therefore neither additional content nor an extension for previously published Star Wars board games such as Star Wars Imperial Assault or Star Wars Rebellion (for Board game review of Star Wars Rebellion). Nevertheless, the strategic board game seems to be based closely on Star Wars Rebellion in terms of material design and basic mechanics.

The most striking new feature is the ability to tackle “Outer Rim” as a solo game in order to become the most notorious villain of the Outer Rim. Star Wars Outer Rim is aimed at 1 to 4 players who slip into the roles of underworld dwellers in order to set out to change the fate of the galaxy - or at least to strive for fame and fortune.

The "Outer Rim" is a far cry from the "shadows of the Coruscant skyscrapers". Image FFG
The “Outer Rim” is a far cry from the “shadows of the Coruscant skyscrapers”: a collection of scraps and squalor. Image FFG

Slipping in the footsteps of a villain is not entirely new in the universe of Star Wars board games, after all something similar has already happened with the miniature game X-Wing or the expansions of the tactical board game Imperial Assault. However, none of the titles has been so consistently geared towards the faction of the outlaws.

The most important utensil for players will be their personal spaceship, which will take the form of a player board on the table. Being able to equip the spaceship is one of the indispensable - and exciting - mechanics in “Outer Rim”. At the same time, this system gives the authors Corey Konieczka and Toby Fanchi the freedom to design smaller and larger extensions in the future.

The personal player board is the linchpin of the adventure. Image: FFG
The personal player board is the linchpin of the adventure. Image: FFG

The player board provides information about the fame that has accumulated over the course of the game, offers space for well-known characters from the Star Wars universe and, with the available equipment slots, provides plenty of potential for optimization.

Players should increase their rum in different ways: by completing orders, by fulfilling individual character goals, by transporting illegal cargo, but also by purchasing luxury items and collecting bounties. If the mechanics work and interlock sensibly, the next big strategy title from Fantasy Flight Games or Asmodee could be available to players with “Star Wars Outer Rim”.

Of course, Han Solo takes a seat in the pilot's seat of the "Frenzied Falcon". Image: FFG
Of course, Han Solo takes a seat in the pilot's seat of the “Frenzied Falcon”. Image: FFG

Gradually, players will explore the planets of the Outer Edge over several rounds, find their way through dangerous hyperspace routes and avoid encounters with deadly enemies - such as other criminals or space patrols - as far as possible.

“Star Wars Outer Rim” offers players a whole new perspective on the board game universe. Instead of fighting on the side of the empire, the rebel alliance or the criminal syndicates as before, players travel as “outlaws” through the galaxy on their own: the factions mentioned are just as hostile to players as the spatial anomalies themselves, for example in the form of dangerous maelstrom. Sometimes a battle against patrolling opponents can still be worthwhile, but defeating strong fine men can also fill the fame account. “Outer Rim” seems to be full of tactical decisions - and because the game can also be played completely alone, evening entertainment should also be guaranteed for solo players.

In addition to equippable spaceships, iconic characters are available as pilots. Bid: FFG
In addition to equippable spaceships, players have iconic characters from Star Wars available as pilots. Bid: FFG

Flying through the Outer Rim in cool spaceships is good, but it would be even better to be able to use all those figures as pilots that fans have come to know and love over the past decades: of course, that will also be the case with “Star Wars Outer Rim” to be possible. In addition to classic characters such as Han Solo, Lando Calrissian and Boba Fett, modern characters such as Jy Erso or Doctor Aphra will also be available. And the same applies here: there is plenty of potential for expansion.

The highlight: Each of the characters will bring along individual objectives corresponding to the character, which the players will fulfill in the course of the game. Lando Calrissian is said to amass a fortune by transporting contraband, while Jyn Erso will have to sabotage an imperial institution. If a goal is met, not only does the fame account increase, but the character unlocks a powerful special ability, such as re-rolling a die or a higher range. This also opens up space for tactical finesse: Do I quickly unlock a skill or do I first devote myself to other tasks that get me points faster?

The material is reminiscent of previously published Star Wars board games, but also that "Outer Rim" will be well illustrated. Image: FFG
The material is reminiscent of previously published Star Wars board games, but also that “Outer Rim” will be well illustrated. Image: FFG

Additional strategies then come into play through other crew members who in turn have special skills. Because the co-pilots could also be exposed to bounties that other players would then want to reap, it is important to defend your crew. At this point, exciting interactions are “forced” - also because a “negotiation” about how to deal with the crew can be worthwhile ...

Each location in the “Outer Rim” offers different conditions, which can be found in the game through the use of encounter cards. Here, too, players are asked to make decisions. It goes without saying that all the “encounters” are based on events in the Star Wars universe. Successfully mastering encounters brings valuable fame points, a failure on the other hand has a negative effect on the condition of the spaceship or ruins the player's reputation.

It all starts in the second quarter of 2019, when the English-language version from Fantasy Flight Games will appear. The German version of “Star Wars Outer Rim” will appear on Asmodee as usual, maybe in the third or fourth quarter of 2019.

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