I'm considering the following variant for Star Wars Rebellion (inspired by Twilight Imperium):

Resolve space combat entirely and reconcile transport capacity before resolving a ground combat in a system. Note that this rule does not apply to ground units that are moved to the system by abilities that ignore transport restrictions (such as "Lead the Strike Team").

The effect of this is that the attacker must win the space battle and not lose their transports in order to attack a system. So, for example, the Empire can't destroy the rebel base by running in with a single Assault Carrier loaded with two AT-AT's (I have seen at least one game won this way), but instead must actually beat all of their forces (space and then ground) in the system. It also makes destroying capital ships more valuable in space combat as this gives the extra opportunity to destroy troops before they land.

What in the game breaks with this variant?

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Here are the major consequences:

  • As noted in the question, the Empire must now defeat all Rebel forces on the Rebel Base (as opposed to just all Rebel ground forces) to win the game.

  • The "Bombardment" tactics card becomes useless for one side in ground combat.

  • The "Crippling Blow" and "Liberation" objective cards become harder for the Rebels to accomplish, although these are often achieved through "Incite Revolt", "Public Uprising", or "Lead the Strike Team", which are unaffected.

  • A system with a Death Star is now unassailable on the ground until you get the "Death Star Plans" objective (although making such an attack would be an odd move as the rebels).

  • In the "Rise of an Empire" expansion, an Imperial system with a Death Star and Shield Bunker becomes completely unassailable to direct attack, and can only be taken via a mission card (such as "Lead the Strike Team").

  • A Rebel system with ion cannons is harder for the empire to take

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