While owners of the English version have been in the Outer Rim since June, players in this country had to wait longer for the localized edition, board game Star Wars: Outer Rim from Asmodee. A delayed sea container was responsible for the extended waiting time. The strategic board game is now also available in German stores and Star Wars fans can follow in the footsteps of famous and infamous smugglers, villains and bounty hunters to fight for fame, influence and credits in the “Outer Rim”. We looked at the new title from Asmodee and in the following review we reveal whether the wait for Star Wars: Outer Rim was worth it.


The fact that the English-language originals and the localized versions of games by Fantasy Flight Games appear at the same time was a great bonus for fans of licensed games. Due to delivery problems, at least Star Wars: Outer Rim didn't work out of it. Board players had to be patient for more than two months, then finally the longed-for Star Wars board game was also on the shelves in this country.

Instead of earning their time as a hero or villain in the galaxy, players in Star Wars: Outer Rim slip into roles that lie somewhere in between. They are the dregs of the galaxy: smugglers, criminals, bounty hunters - even if some of them have become heroes in the course of their history. For a change, Star Wars: Outer Rim is not about saving a world or even the universe, but about enriching oneself personally. Fame, honor and credits are the things the new Star Wars board game is about - or as the instructions say: Whoever collects ten prestige points first, wins!

Star Wars: Outer Rim is "bring and buy", but with a lot of flair

The game idea behind Star Wars: Outer Rim is not new, that was clear long before the board game was released. Players buy assignments they hope to complete in order to earn rewards. That sounds playfully simple and it is. Still: Star Wars: Outer Rim works right from the start, almost as soon as the box is opened. The material, the instructions, the structure of the outer edge, the sighting of the first playing cards: every detail feels - at least for Star Wars fans - like a trip to childhood. Jumping into your own spaceship was one of the big dreams you had as a child after seeing Star Wars flicker over the mat for the first time.

There were video games like X-Wing vs. Tie-Fighter or Wing Commander, in which players could pass the time as pilots, but they never required deep strategic decisions. Star Wars: Outer Rim does it differently - and a lot more. Instead of shining heroes, the focus of the game is on the scraps of the galaxy. The title already reveals where 1 to 4 players are going. In the outer edge of the galaxy. To where hardly anyone else wants to be if they don't have to. Star Wars: Outer Rim doesn't tell a hero story, but rather a dirty struggle for survival in inhospitable worlds - against relentless opponents.

Before starting, each player chooses a character, rather “his” character - because nurturing and caring for him is an essential part of the game. Classic figures such as Lando Calrissian, Boba Fett or Han Solo are included as well as modern figures, including Jyn Erso (Rogue One) or Ketsu Onyo (Rebels), but also exotic figures such as the Trandoshan bounty hunter Bossk or Doctor Aphra. Instead of clumsily relying on the most popular characters, the authors Corey Konieczka and Tony Fanchi have put together an intergalactic hodgepodge of characters to create a connection between the various parallel storylines.

This can also be seen in the details: You can see Harrison Ford's well-known face on the display of Han Solo, but he wears the brown jacket that Alden Ehrenreich wore in the movie Solo: A Star Wars Story. Just a little thing, but an atmospheric one. Star Wars: Outer Rim can create atmosphere anyway: The material literally pulls players into the Outer Rim.

Each of the eight characters to choose from has individual action abilities as well as personal goals, the fulfillment of which unlocks another powerful character bonus - including credit bonuses or the ability to re-roll the dice. Even regular duels against other players are then possible, as this is only intended as a regular action in exceptional cases - namely when a card determines it. Based on the personal goals, the basic tactics of the characters can be read, which you can stick to, but not have to. The different characters actually play each other differently. Star Wars: Outer Rim gives players the freedom to experiment.

Gain prestige, win the game

The winning rule behind Star Wars: Outer Rim is simple: the first player to collect ten prestige wins. Nothing more, nothing less. How the players get to their destination, however, is up to them to decide in the course of the game: transporting illegal cargo, fighting, collecting bounty orders - everything is possible. However, not everything leads to the desired result at all times. It is necessary to rethink and adjust your strategies. A player doesn't have to step into the Millennium Falcon just because they play Han Solo. It is also possible to buy a Firespray-31 on the market, convert it into Boba Fett's slave 1 (again there are “personal ship objectives”) and focus on fighting.

Before that happens, however, a few game rounds will pass. They all start in a flying scrap mill, a standard freighter that can do everything a little, but not really well. The first jobs are easy, but not lucrative. Step by step, players then complete the first missions, improve their credit account and thus obtain valuable cargo, crew members - but above all equipment for ship and character.

How important the personal equipment and that of the spaceship are, becomes clear in the epic missions. Instead of just transporting a bit of Bacta from Tatooine to Naboo, the legendary tasks from the Quest Deck (these are numbered cards that are only used when other cards require it) are about completing comprehensive missions that then also tell their own story. The reward for the effort: a lot of credits and usually more prestige than with normal commercial jobs.

Incidentally, you improve your reputation with four factions: the Hutts, the Syndicate, as well as the Rebels and the Empire. Or you mess with the parties. No matter what you do as a player, the consequences are certain. Sometimes there are bonuses, sometimes you avoid fights. A “bad standing”, on the other hand, has negative consequences: missions become more difficult, individual orders less lucrative. A lot of things in Star Wars: Outer Rim are intertwined - and it's a pleasure to see the idea work.

And if the motivation suffers after a few games with the standard setup, the map pieces can also be put together individually. The result is a less balanced galaxy and sometimes a slightly higher level of difficulty. In addition, the prestige bar can also be used for up to 12 points in order to extend games.

Gambling and sabacc for credits are expressly permitted

In Star Wars: Outer Rim, players are repeatedly motivated to act outside of their own strategy. The board game is driven by recurring events that are unlocked via planet or navigation maps. The mechanics work: If players stop on a planet or pause on one of the navigation points in space, they end their turn by drawing an event card. Sometimes an event only affects the active player, sometimes others are encouraged to participate - for example when visiting a casino in the city of Canto Bight.

The active player then collects betting amounts, rolls the dice - and luck decides whether the other players win or lose. Such games in the game occur more often and loosen up the action significantly. Even more: all events become part of the story that the players tell for themselves and together.

No game is played exactly the same, there are always variations. What players do at what point in time is up to them to decide for themselves. Even teammates can deliberately get involved in fights if you want to take advantage of them. Star Wars: Outer Rim lets board gamers do their thing. And that works excellently over long stretches and at a tactically high level. If a strategy does not work, it is up to the player to consider suitable countermeasures. If you seem to be lost because of a simple trading strategy, you should quickly look for alternatives to top up your Prestige account.

There are also moments like these in “Outer Rim”

With all the praise for the variable gameplay: Star Wars: Outer Rim also has these moments that feel out of round. However, the game mechanics are not always to blame. As a freight pilot in particular, you run the risk of becoming too rigid on pure logistics. Players must not forget that the "market" is the linchpin of the action. How successful a chosen strategy is also depends on the card display. If lucrative freight orders do not appear, or only rarely, you quickly find yourself in a tight spot. Forward-looking strategies usually work better with Star Wars: Outer Rim, too. Above all, because opponents are also allowed to reject cards from the market and instead reveal new ones, the display is constantly changing.

If you hope to have collected enough credits in the next round to buy the Millennium Falcon, you don't have to be successful, because what was just on the market may have disappeared under the draw pile after the next opponent's move. Again and again there are these little moments of frustration that are not really, but still feel like pinpricks.

The theme is the star of the board game

Neither the basic game mechanics nor the strategic component is the star of the board game, but the theme. Star Wars: Outer Rim is simply pure Star Wars. Starting with your own characters, via the developable spaceships, the countless pieces of equipment: the gaming table is full of them. Other unique characters from George Lucas' sci-fantasy universe also find their way into every single game: Lobot, Chewbacca, Saw Gerrera, Greedo. All of them can be bounty targets or part of your own ship's crew.

It's incredibly cool to fly through the Outer Rim and onto a total of eleven planets with a fully equipped ship and a crew full of well-known characters - and with enormously useful skills. And if you are really brave, you don't fly around the maelstrom in front of Kessel, but go right into it.
Hardly any Star Wars board game tells as many stories as Star Wars: Outer Rim does. Last but not least, this is also due to the playing cards, on which quotations or small storylines are repeatedly depicted, which players should definitely read out loud.

That contributes enormously to the atmosphere. There are many situations in which you as a player are sucked into the galaxy - this results in many personal highlights that are playful sober, thematically but incredibly captivating. You collect credits over several rounds, you don't really know what to do with them - and then comes this one round of sabacc, in which you hit the jackpot and finally go shopping in the market without restraint, so many, actually Rounds believed to be wasted to make up for. A lot happens on the table in Star Wars: Outer Rim.

Even during the opponent's moves, you always remain attentive, analyze the card display, and plan your own actions. The meanness is not neglected either. Anyone who knows that Boba Fett is on the hunt for Chewie, for example, can beat the bounty hunter and grab the Wookie himself - as crew members or Bantha food. 

That was something else: the solo game

Star Wars: Outer Rim can be played with up to three other players, but also alone. Solo mode then works with a card-driven AI. A special deck of cards then dictates the opposing actions. It works, in fact, extremely well. The feeling of sitting at the table with other human players, enjoying the story and sometimes annoying each other, is far better, however.

In the solo game, the interactive component is a bit lost. The playful concept is reduced to the essentials. Star Wars: Outer Rim then feels more mechanical, not boring, but quite uniform over many rounds. Last but not least, this is due to the fact that in a "big round" players compete against each other and duel again and again.

In solo mode, Star Wars: Outer Rim looks completely different, not necessarily bad, but emotionless - and somehow this board game in particular seems to thrive on emotions. As a bounty hunter or smuggler you want, no must (!), To be together - but there is much less joy against an imaginary opponent.

Still, Star Wars: Outer Rim works on its own, but it's a matter of taste whether you like the board game. The aim of this game should be to sit down at the table with a full four-player round if possible - then the title will unfold its full potential. Even with three or even two players, the games are similarly exciting, the main thing is that there is another human player at the table.

Images of Star Wars: Outer Rim

Infobox

Number of players: 1 to 4 
Age: from 14 years
Playing time: 120 to 180 minutes
Difficulty: medium
Long-term motivation: high

Published by Asmodee Germany
Author: Corey Konieczka, Tony Fanchi
Graphics: Marco Reinartz, Florian Eck (localization)
Year of publication: 2019
Language: German
Cost: 60 Euro

Summary

Star Wars: Outer Rim is a board game with rather simple mechanics, but with an enormously dense atmosphere. The latter is actually the star of the game. The material contributes directly and significantly to the flair of the Star Wars board game. The processing of cards, tokens, dice and game board parts is on a high level, typical for fantasy flight games. The plug-in connections of the individual parts of the outer edge represent a small shortcoming: the cardboard tends to be damaged at the sensitive corners. In purely playful terms, no part of the other is the same. Star Wars: Outer Rim delivers the full blast of Star Wars to players, cleverly using iconic characters and anecdotes from the popular sci-fantasy universe to create a kind of pull effect for players. You're literally waiting for your next move, watching your opponent's actions - maybe in order to hit him with a blaster shot in the back at the right moment. Star Wars: Outer Rim thrives on the countless events: events take place in every round. Some of them loosen up the gameplay significantly and provide some relaxation. The mechanics behind the board game work perfectly. There are rarely idle times. And if they do exist, then mostly unfavorable strategic decisions are responsible for them. The multitude of possibilities almost always intertwine, sometimes immediately, sometimes only with a time lag. Rarely, however, do actions feel pointless. What players do, how they act, is always part of a big plan. But what applies in almost every game situation: You should like luck-heavy mechanics. The golden dice are used regularly in Outer Rim. Now you can argue about whether simple cargo transport and more complex bounty hunts work together in a playful way: everything in Star Wars: Outer Rim certainly fits the "lore". Regardless of what players choose, they track their tactics, improve their character, and complete missions within a system that even feels like an RPG at parts. Star Wars: Outer Rim is a varied board game sandbox that gives players a lot of freedom. Star Wars: Outer Rim, on the other hand, is limited entertaining in the solo version. The game then seems mechanical, sometimes a bit artificial and repetitive. That's not necessarily a bad thing. If you like this kind of solo games, you will also enjoy it, but we recommend Outer Rim with human players, but then you get the full portion of Star Wars.

What Star Wars: Outer Rim can do well - even better than comparable board games - is to advance a story, create tension, stir expectations: the game always stays with its theme, follows a plot. Everything embedded in the big picture of the Star Wars universe. With one exception: You won't find Jedi in Star Wars: Outer Rim. The polished heroes just don't fit a board game that is about the dregs of the galaxy: criminals, smugglers, pirates. Star Wars: Outer Rim stands alone - the renunciation of the tried and tested makes this game special.

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