When it comes to Star Wars games, whether they’re digital or analogue, you’re spoiled for choice. The franchise is one of the most popular gaming themes alongside Zombies. Vikings and Cthulhu.

In terms of publishers, licensee Fantasy Flight Games have it pretty much sewn up, and they have a huge stable of Star Wars games to choose from. So how do we go about choosing the best of the bunch to showcase to you on this, most auspicious of days?

Rather than presenting a graded Top Five, or trying to pick the best game available for each film in the saga (good luck with finding content for Episodes I-III by the way… no great loss really), we’re going to go from Macro to Micro, starting with epic, galaxy-wide conflict and then zooming in ever closer to the most up-close and personal example of blaster and light sabre action.

1. Rebellion

Star Wars games - Rebellion

Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
Price*: £92.99
No. of players: 2–4
Play time: 180–240+ mins
Age: 14+

If you’ve always dreamt of being the armchair general, indulging in grand sweeping strategic shenanigans, then this may be just the game for you.

Played over an enormous, galaxy-spanning two-part board featuring many of the most well-known planetary systems such as Hoth, Naboo, Bespin, Endor and even the ill-fated Alderaan, Star Wars: Rebellion lets players take the role of either Empire or Rebels in an asymmetrical strategy epic that encompasses fleet movements, ground-troop landings, secret missions and even the destruction of entire planets (if you’re those evil Empire gits at least) as you strive for dominance.

Star Wars games - Rebellion gameplay

Poor old Alderaan in some predictably deep trouble…

For the Rebel player you must keep the location of your rebel base a secret for a set amount of time, making yourself a thorn in the Empire’s side in the process, whereas of course the Empire’s task is simple: locate the Rebel base and reduce it (and perhaps the planet that accommodates it) to mere atoms. Lovely!

  • Piles of beautifully detailed models.
  • Incredible artwork.
  • Games fortunately don’t last quite as long as other galaxy-spanning strategic games (such as Twilight Imperium III).

2. Armada

Star Wars games - Armada

Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
Price*: £92.99
No. of players: 2
Play time: 120+ mins
Age: 12+

If large-scale fleet battles involving Imperial Star Destroyers, Home One and the biggest ships that the Star Wars universe can field, then this game of epic starship conflict should be your first port of call.

Your big capital ships, surrounded by swarms of fighter squadrons, duke it out for supremacy, but don’t worry if you think it will be all too impersonal, as your favourite characters make an appearance leading fleets, squadrons or even (in the case of Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon for instance) as solitary ships.

Star Wars games - Armada gameplay

You’ll probably be wanting a nice neoprene star field mat too…

You can play one-off battles or string them together to form a campaign. Publisher Fantasy Flight Games had even produced a small campaign boxed set: The Corellian Conflict.

  • Apart from squadrons every model is painted, and pretty decently too.
  • It’s the battles you wanted to play out as a kid after Return of the Jedi.
  • You’ll need up to 6’x3′ of table space, but it’s worth every foot.

3. X-Wing

Star Wars games - X-Wing
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
Price*: £36.99
No. of players: 2
Play time: 30–45+ mins
Age: 10+

If you like your starship battles, but Armada is just too sprawling, then take a look at X-Wing. It’s pretty much Armada but on a smaller scale, with larger, more detailed miniatures. The emphasis is on ship-to-ship combat rather than the grand tactical plays of fleet battles.

In essence, X-Wing is to Armada what Warhammer 40K is to 40K: Epic, or what Warhammer Fantasy Battle is to Warmaster.

Star Wars games - X-Wing ships

Image: Bell of Lost Souls

Due to the scale you won’t be seeing any Star Destroyers on your table any time soon, but there’s something very cool about manoeuvring a Millennium Falcon the size of your hand.

  • Every ship is pre-painted and they look awesome.
  • You can field foot-long Corellian cruisers. Which is pretty mental.
  • You can’t field much before you start running out of space to manoeuvre.

4. Imperial Assault

Star Wars games - Imperial Assault
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
Price*: £92.99
No. of players: 2–5
Play time: 60–120+ mins
Age: 12+

Some of us we were less interested in the duelling of Tie Fighters and X-Wings, and wanted to be part of the up-close-and-personal blaster fights between Imperial Stormtroopers and Rebel Scum. If the raid to shut down the shield generator on Endor from Return of the Jedi was your kind of thing, then look no further than Imperial Assault.

One player takes on the role of the evil Empire with the might of the Imperial ground forces at their disposal, not to mention bounty-hunters, assassins and other ne’er-do-wells in the pay of The Man. Up to four other players each pick a Rebel character, form a team of blaster. lightsabre and Force-welding heroes, and set out on missions to bring the Empire to its knees, often with assistance from various movie favourites along the way.

Star Wars games - Imperial Assault gameplay

Looks dangerous. Someone should tell those Stormtroopers to just let the Wookie win.

The missions are fast-paced and combat focussed, and string together to form sprawling campaigns that see characters gain in power and equipment and become the heroes they were born to be.

  • Incredible miniatures, including huge AT-STs and Bantha Riders.
  • Beautifully rendered interlocking floor plan tiles.
  • It’s basically Star Wars dungeon-crawling, which you’ll either love or hate.

5. Star Wars: The RPG

Star Wars games - the RPG
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
Price*: £24.99 (Beginners box) up to £42.99+ (Core rulebooks)
No. of players: 2/3+
Play time: 120+ mins
Age: 12+

We’ve gone from the wide-angled, macro scope of Rebellion to zoom all the way in to the skirmishes of Imperial Assault, and finally we’ll get as close and personal as you’re likely to get in a Star Wars game. If you want to really step into the shoes of a mercenary bounty-hunter, a growling wookie or a Force-adept Jedi, then there’s really no other place to go but the Star Wars Roleplaying Game (RPG).

There are three flavours to choose from depending on the aspect of the universe that the players wish to explore.

Edge of the Empire is for those that wish to live on the fringes of the galaxy (and law!): the world of the smuggler and bounty-hunter where Han Solo and Chewbacca would feel right at home.

Force and Destiny lets players experience life as a Force-sensitive outcast. Will they use the power for good and fight Imperial tyranny… or succumb to the raw power of the Dark side?

Age of Rebellion lets players join the Rebel Alliance and take the fight to the Empire. Solider or spy, a players action will be crucial to the success or failure of the Rebellion in its struggle.

Star Wars games - RPG Beginners Game

There’s even a Force Awakens beginner game if you want to start your RPG adventuring in the foot-steps of Rey and Finn.

  • Incredibly well-supported with sourcebooks and adventures.
  • Beginner versions of all of the above three types available for those new to RPGs. 
  • It’s a big investment in time over a long period, but there’s no better way to immerse yourself in the Star wars universe.

Star Wars games - May 4th Be With You

Image: TheStarWarsTrilogy.com

Whatever view you choose to take of this much-loved Galaxy far, far away, whether taking in the broad vistas of conflict or living in the shoes of some of the combatants, just remember to have fun, roll true… and May the 4th be with you!

*Quoted prices are recommended retail prices (RRP) only and do not represent the real world prices available in stores and online. Shop around for bargains!

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