Half support vessel, half big guns, Phoenix Home has arrived in Star Wars: Armada. Another vessel first featured in Star Wars: Rebels, the Phoenix Home can be played one of two ways, both of which are equally valid, depending on your battle plans, and your personal playing style. 


The miniature itself isn’t too bad, but doesn’t look quite dirty enough for the “lived in” feel of the Star Wars universe. In Star Wars things are grubby, or worn, rather than hoovered and shiny like Star Trek. Perhaps it’s a symptom of being based on a cartoon ship, but Phoenix Home looks a little too much like a child’s toy, and not enough like a wargaming miniature…


…yes, I know that, but this just looks a little too much on the toy end of things. 

The two base load outs for the Pelta-class ship (that’s what the Phoenix Home is) are surprisingly diverse. For the main part ships in Star Wars: Armada either come as “the ship you want to use” or “the slightly shitter version of the ship you want to use, but, hey, it’s ten points cheaper”. Here, however, with only a four point difference, what you actually get are different styles of ship. The Assault Ship load out is…well, not exact an über heavy hitter, but it packs a reasonable amount of punch. 

The Command Ship load out, by contrast, forgoes firepower in favour of an increased Squadron statistic. So, with this in the thick of it, a good chunk of your Squadrons will become much more powerful. I love that Star Wars: Armada is focusing more on injecting some theme and narrative into a tabletop war game. It’s what the game was lacking at the start, and it’s much better for its inclusion. 

And, of course, there’s all the juicy upgrades that are so fun to tinker with. Fans of Rebels and The Clone Wars will be pleased to see Ahsoka Tano make her Armada debut. Her ability – to essentially switch one Command Token for another – isn’t particularly impressive, but at two points, it’s fun to add her to your force. “Shields to Maximum!” is a useful ploy to give your ships some shields back. The main drive, though, is on Fighter combat, with “All fighters, follow me!”, “Rapid Launch Bays” and “Fighter Coordination Team” offering some serious buffs to Squadrons. 

This is a great support vehicle for Rebel players, but looking forward, the buffs that it offers to narrative play and squadron heavy players is a welcome progression. Recommended. 

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Brad Harmer-Barnes is a games journalist and comedy writer from Kent, England, and has written for (among others) Miniature Wargames magazine, Fortress: Ameritrash, Emotionally14.com and Suppressing-Fire.Com, which he also edits. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @realbradhb


When comes to Star Wars: Armada, the massive dreadnoughts may be both the eye candy and the focus of play, but – much like the battles in the movies themselves, it’s the smaller, single-man fighters that can make the difference between victory and defeat. We’ve had all the usual suspects released in previous waves, so are these two new packs capable of offering something more, or is it time to get the barrel scrapers out?

The Rebel Fighter pack is led by the star of Star Wars: Rebels…the Ghost. Hera is the named pilot you get included, and she packs some pretty heavy guns, as well as a couple of extremely versatile abilities. Firstly, she has Rogue which allows the Ghost to move and attack during the squadron phase; but the Grit ability also allows the Ghost to move if it’s only engaged by a single squadron. The Ghost is built for big, heroic plays, which is exactly what you want to be ding with it. The cheaper version – the VCX-100 Freighter lacks the decent firepower of the Ghost, but it does have some nice…if more strategic and less combative abilities. 


Another vessel featured in Star Wars: Rebels is Ketsu Onyo in the Shadow Caster. Lacking the firepower of the Ghost, but featuring a few extra abilities, including the aforementioned Grit and Rogue, as well a being a Bomber. The cheaper version – the Lancer-Class Pursuit Craft is nice enough, but is just a Tesco Value Shadow Caster

The last ships included are the Z-95 Headhunters. Some people love Z-95s, but to me they’re just a cheaper, shoddier version of the X-Wing, and their debut in Star Wars: Armada has done little to change that opinion. At 7 points a squadron, you could use them to burn up some leftover points during squad building, but that’s about it. The only point of interest is that they possess the Swarm ability, which was previously only used by TIE Fighters and their ilk. How useful this ability will be to you depends on your playing style, but it could come in handy. 


The Imperial set similarly brings three new types of vehicle to Star Wars: Armada. The TIE Phantom originally appeared in the video game Star Wars: Rebel Assault II (nope, me neither) but has since develed a following among players of Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars: X-Wing. These possess the Cloak ability, which allows them to get in a bonus move at the end of the squadron phase, even if engaged. They also carry a decent amount of firepower; both anti-ship and anti-squadron. 

Another X-Wing favourite, the Lambda shuttle, is also now available. While far from a combative vessel, its use as an ECM plane role – which never really works in the scale X-Wing operates at, is considerably better handled here, allowing orders from ships to squadrons to be sent further and more efficiently than previously. 

Last but not least, and another X-Wing bad boy, the VT-49 Decimator has arrived, and it brings a serious shotgun blast of close range damage to the table. With the a heavy weapons at its disposal and the Rogue ability, this has the potential to be a serious Squadron destroyer – especially if they’re full of cheap and nasty Z-95s. 

While both of these sets are not as strong as the squadron releases we’ve seen in previous waves, they’re still definitely worth picking up. The Ghost and the Decimator are great fighters for more aggressive players, and the others definitely add flavour, if nothing else. Armada just keeps getting better and better. 

The Rebel Flighter Squardons II and Imperial Fighter Squadrons II packs are available now. A base set of Star Wars: Armada is required to use the contents. 

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Brad Harmer-Barnes is a games journalist and comedy writer from Kent, England, and has written for (among others) Miniature Wargames magazine, Fortress: Ameritrash, Emotionally14.com and Suppressing-Fire.Com, which he also edits. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @realbradhb

Don’t worry, no spoilers follow. 

Mansions of Madness was easily the best game release of 2016, but until now, new releases have been limited to the upgrade kits (which added in the gubbins for those who didn’t own the first edition) and one DLC scenario. Thankfully, there is now a small…well, medium, sized…boxed expansion.  

So, what do you get in this box of mystery?

Well, two brand new playable characters, for starters. Wilson Richards, the handyman, and Akachi Onyele, the shaman, are characters that are familiar to players of other games in the Arkham Horror Files series. Their special powers are pretty useful, with Richards becoming Focused every time he takes a Horror Check, and Onyele is able to instructions to discard Clue tokens. 

You also get some extra items, and a couple of new spells for your characters to discover in their “adventures”, as well as more than a few extra room tiles and monsters that are designed for use in the two new scenarios included, and they’ll no doubt also get mixed into the previously released adventures.

The new monsters are limited to just one type, the Thrall, and they’re a pretty nice looking design, calling to mind the later scenes of John Carpenter’s version of The Thing, with distorted faces and mutated limbs being the order of the day. They’re a cool design, and hopefully they’ll make an appearance in future (and past) releases, too.

The two new scenarios are what we’re most interested in, of course…so how are they? Well, actually, they’re really bloody good. The stories are, at first at least, less the killer monster on the loose sort, and actually start out as more the 1950s creepy house in the mist or murder mystery sort. For me, this is a great win, as much as I love all the Arkham Horror Files series, sometimes they are a little less The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and a little more Fright Night! A return to a more Call of Cthulhu RPG style of play is most welcome here!

The two scenarios included are superb, but the rest of the box set feels a little lacking. Two extra characters and just one new monster type in a boxed expansion feels a little thin. Hopefully a larger expansion is on the horizon that will give us a little more satisfaction on this front. 

Definitely worth picking up for the extra scenarios…but there is a feeling that the rest of the box is not what it could have been.

Mansions of Madness: Beyond the Threshold is available now priced £29.99. A copy of the second edition core set of Mansions of Madness is required to use the contents. 

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Brad Harmer-Barnes is a games journalist and comedy writer from Kent, England, and has written for (among others) Miniature Wargames magazine, Fortress: Ameritrash, Emotionally14.com and Suppressing-Fire.Com, which he also edits. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @realbradhb.


To celebrate the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, FFG released two new ships for X-Wing: The TIE Striker for the Imperial Faction, and for the Rebellion, the U-Wing. Being a predominantly Rebel player, let’s dive into the U-Wing!

As usual, the first thing I do is look at the physical model, and I’m glad to say that it meets the usual X-Wing standard. Like only a few releases before it, it has moving parts. The wings go from the forward “landing” position to the rear “attack” position in a very satisfying way, physically representing an in-game mechanic, as well as just looking really cool. The detail is as crisp as always, and the paintwork is nice, featuring the standard Rebel “used future” wear and tear. My only quibble is that it is a large-base ship, no longer than the K-Wing on its small base, and so looks a little diminutive on the table, but that’s really more of a game mechanic problem than a modelling one.

I’ve yet to see the ship itself make a massive mark on the game, but there’s plenty of promise in it. The expansion features four pilots, three of them unique, as well as fourteen upgrade cards, nine of them new as of this release. It boasts 3 Attack Dice, 1 Agility, 4 Hull and 4 Shields, and can take both the Focus and Target Lock actions. The dial is fair, with a nice range of motion. It cannot flip and turn around, but it can do a “0” manoeuvre, essentially not going anywhere for a round.
The highest skilled pilot is Cassian Andor, the only U-Wing pilot capable of taking Elite Pilot Talent upgrades, a 27 point, Pilot Skill 6 unique character. His special ability allows him to remove a stress token from any friendly ship, other than himself, at Range 1, at the start of the activation phase, making him a useful support in the current meta of ships handing out stress tokens.

Two other names pilots, Bodhi Rook and Heff Tobber are also included. Bodhi basically frees up the range that your squad can take target locks, by allowing them to use each other to lock on, meaning that you are not limited by only locking on to a ship close to you.

Heff is a blocking pilot, with his low pilot skill, he wants enemy ships to bump into him, and after stopping them taking an action, he gets a free action himself, allowing him to get multiple actions per turn if you put him in the right place. Give him something like Engine Upgrade, and when a ship bumps into him, he can then boost away from them, waiting for the next ship to touch him. That will cause chaos against swarm players.

More of the cast of Rogue One show up in the form of Crew Upgrade cards. I won’t do a detailed break down of each one, but as a quick list:

Jyn Erso can collate multiple Focus tokens if multiple enemies are bearing down on her.

Cassian Andor can take a sneaky look at your opponent’s dial, and change plan accordingly.

Baze Malbus allows you to shoot at another target, if you miss your first.

Bistan lets you turn hits into critical hits.

Bodhi Rook has the same ability as his pilot card, allowing you to target lock all over the place.

Another upgrade of note is “Pivot Wing”, a free dual title card for the U-Wing that represents its mobile S-Foils. In “Landing” mode you can, after performing a 0 “stop” move, rotate the ship 180 degrees, essentially creating the tightest turn in the game. On the other hand, in “Attack” mode, you increase your agility by one, bringing its attack and defence level with something like an X-Wing. After moving, you may flip this card, so planning for the next round is essential. 

And then there’s “Expertise”. Expertise is a 4 point Elite Pilot Talent upgrade, and it has made a huge impact on the game, both in its effectiveness, and in the fact that people are planning whole ships and lists to counter it. It’s beauty is in its simplicity: As long as you are not stressed, when attacking, you may change all of your eyeball results to hits. That’s it, and in the right hands it’s brutal. If you read my review of Heroes of the Resistance you’ll have seen my list for Rey flying the Falcon. That list was getting me to between 10th and 8th in tournaments. I dropped Expertise on Rey, and instantly came 4th. The only lists that beat me were ones specifically built to counter how my list works. And you get two of these cards in the box!

Expertise aside, the U-Wing is a great little expansion, even if not a complete “must have”, even for Rebel players. It doesn’t capture the ship or the characters quite as lovingly as the aforementioned Heroes of the Resistance, but isn’t exactly inaccurate either. If you liked Rogue One, particularly the awesome space battle at the end, you’ll love moving this ship’s wings and doing K-2SO quotes.

Rebellions are built on Expertise/10

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Ömer Ibrahim is a regular contributor to Suppressing Fire and you can check out his modelling work at Can’t Sleep, Must Paint.


When the Scum and Villainy faction was announced for X-Wing, it announced the first time that ships crossed into different factions. The Rebel Y-Wing, Z-95 Headhunter and HWK-290 and the Imperial Firespray-31could now be played in the new faction as well as their original factions. Since then, no ships have crossed over…until now. With the release of Sabine’s TIE Fighter, an Imperial ship is available to the Rebel Alliance. 

Slight spoiler warning for those not up to speed with the Star Wars: Rebels series, some of the cards in here reveal some characters that turn up, so tread carefully from here on in.

The model is, as far as I can tell, the same TIE Fighter that was released way back in the first Core Set and Wave 1, but with Sabine’s cool yellow paint scheme.

Stats-wise it is, again, a standard TIE Fighter, with 2 attack, 3 defence, 3 hull and no shields. It is able to take Focus, Barrel Roll and Evade actions, just like the Imperial version.


Four pilots are included in the expansion, all of them Unique, meaning that the Rebels can field not more than 4 TIE Fighters.

The highest costed pilot is the one-time apprentice of Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano. Costing 17 points and having a pilot skill of 7, her interesting ability allows her, or a friendly ship at range one, to take an action at the start of the combat phase, at the cost of a Focus Token.

At 15 points, Sabine herself pilots a 15 point fighter with the same pilot skill and ability as her previous release, PS5 and able to take a Boost or Barrel Roll before taking a manoeuvre. 

The clone Captain Rex pops up for 14 points at PS4, and is the first Rebel to use the new “Condition” abilities. Basically speaking, after Captain Rex attacks someone, if that pilot attacks someone that isn’t Rex, they lose one attack dice. As long as Rex keeps attacking, this can stick around, so it could be a tricky card to use, but nasty if you get the hang of it.


Lastly, “Zeb” Orrelios has the cheapest TIE at 13 points, at PS3 and using the same ability to cancel Critical Hits before Hits as he had in the Ghost expansion. 

Five upgrades are included, four of them new, and each of those are Unique.


“Sabine’s Masterpiece” is a Rebel only title card that allows the ship to take Illicit and Crew upgrades, vastly changing how TIE Fighters behave.

Captain Rex also appears as a Crew card, and with him equipped, if you miss your target you can assign yourself a Focus Token.

“Captured TIE” is another Rebel only card, a Modification that means that until you make an attack, pilots with a lower skill than you cannot target you.

Finally, EMP Device is an Illicit Upgrade that can be used to support the Captured TIE Mod. Instead of performing an attack, you can instead choose to discard the card to deal 2 Ion Tokens to every ship at Range 1. This isn’t an attack, so enemy ships still can’t target you, but you’re going to receive Ion Tokens too, being at Range 1 of yourself.

Cynics may see this as a cheap re-paint of an already released expansion, but I think there’s enough in here to have some real fun with. It’s too soon to see if it’ll have any great effect on the game as a whole, but I expect to see a lot of this ship playing support to bigger ships. I myself cannot wait to fly this with my Ghost and Phantom.

Grand Theft Autoblaster/10

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Ömer Ibrahim is a regular contributor to Suppressing Fire and you can check out his modelling work at Can’t Sleep, Must Paint.

Doom

Posted: January 31, 2017 in Fantasy & Sci-Fi, Gaming
Tags: , , ,

I’ve always been a massive fan of the Doom franchise (barring the questionable movie tie-in) and I’ve enjoyed all of the games including FFG’s original Doom board game, which was based on Doom 3. So it is with great joy I see that hot on the heels of the 2016 Doom reboot (that is arguably one of the best videogames released last year), FFG have released a new board game to tie in with it.

My initial worries when first unboxing the game that this was just going to be rehash of the original Doom board game were quickly assuaged when I saw that the game mechanics had been altered, with more emphasis on action and speed than the original’s slow paced, scraping desperately for ammo feel. If the original game was made to feel like Doom 3, then the new game feels like the Doom reboot. It is also worth saying that as usual FFG have put some decent production values into the map tiles, tokens and especially the minis. The monsters all look brilliant and match their iconic looks from the most recent game, they are also correctly scaled so a Baron of Hell looms menacingly over a marine and the Cyber Demon looks truly terrifying to behold.


The game plays similarly to the likes of Imperial Assault but with some slight differences. Initiative and turn order in the game is drawn randomly from a deck so you don’t quite know who will action first, which adds a bit of chaos to the proceedings, as it can lead to you having to react on the fly when your initial strategy goes up in smoke. Actions and defence are also played out by the Marine action deck or Invader event deck, rather than having set moves and skills that you can play every turn. I liked this as it still provided strategy – as you had a selection of different moves that you could play to certain situation – but also adds a risk/reward feel to the game. You could have a bad hand that could make you take a gamble, which could then backfire as the Invader player draws a dodge card that would negate any damage you did.

Added features such as staggering and glory killing demons also add a risk and reward element to the proceedings; a Marine needs to place him or herself next to a demon to kill it outright when it is in low health which could place the Marine in a risky area, but is rewarded with bonus health and a random power through glory kill cards. Chuck in two campaigns with six missions each and custom variants for more experienced players and you have a game that gives good value for money and allows people to come up with their own scenarios if they wish.


Sadly, my playtime with the game did still feel like the Marines were the stronger team and therefore gameplay felt biased towards them, which is a shame as the game feels more competitive than typical dungeon crawl style games where the GM style player is normally weaker than the stronger hero characters. However, there are more abilities and strategies available to the Invader player that – once you get to grips with the role – can come up with some good kills and swarm the marine players.

This mild grumble aside, this game nails the feel of the videogame with fast and furious run and gun style action. Highly recommended if you are a fan of the franchise like myself, but still an enjoyable 4v1 action boardgame if you are not.

Blake Harmer is a regular contributor to The Crazy Train at The Gamescast at emotionally14.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @fucksakeblake, but there’s no real point in doing so.

The bitch is back.


We’re all big fans of the Legendary line here at SuppFire, and the Alien game released back in 2014 is no exception – providing plenty of adventures, suspense and fun in the time since its release. The Predator game released in 2015 acted as a sort of expansion – although it offered more variations on ways to play, than totally new stuff.  This was understandable, of course. It was a stand-alone game with the option to be intergrated with Alien, not a true expansion. But now there is an expansion, and if you’re a fan of the original, it is 100% worth adding to your set.

Firstly – and possibly the biggest advantage to me – is the addition of extra characters to each of the four movies. The line-up was fine, but adding in Gorman, Kane and “85” to the playable character roster greatly increases the replayability of the game, as well as just giving some extra variation each time you play. The new characters synch in really well with the old cards, and those of you who like to explore ways of chaining characters and ability will have an absolute blast with the new combinations this opens up. 


Another nice feature is the chance for one player to play as the antagonist (much like the playable Mastermind introduced to Marvel in the Secret Wars set), taking on the role of the Alien Queen, with her own deck of cards to level up, and her own version of the Barracks and HQ to level up from. Be warned, though; this play mode is hard as nails for the Human players, and it’s not like the game was an especially easy one to begin with. It’s fun…but it is gruelling, too. 

Another really nice bonus is the addition of two brand new stories! That’s right, you get two movie length scenarios to play thorough, featuring all new challenges and monsters brand new to the Alien canon. This was such a boon for me, as I love seeing original stories unfold during a game, and the new “movies” really nail the feel of the 1990s Dark Horse comics that I read – nay, consumed – in my younger days. The only mild disappointment is that while there are new “avatars” to use with them, there were not new “characters”, meaning you have to battle through these new stories using pre-existing cards from the other movies. It’s an understandable compromise, as the game would have been conisiderably longer in production, more expensive, and physically larger to fill out these needs; but as a theme driven gamer, it does grate a little.


The physical components are all of the standard we’ve come to expect from Upper Deck. The card art is great, but their card quality is still so-so; you’ll need to sleeve all of them, or they’ll wear very quickly. The playmat and its artwork is nice, and the rules are clear, easy to understand and easy to reference.

If you own the base Alien Legendary Encounters game, and play it more than, say, once a year, then this is a 100% necessary purchase. Seriously. Buy it with your hands.

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Brad Harmer-Barnes is a games journalist and comedy writer from Kent, England, and has written for (among others) Miniature Wargames magazine, Fortress: Ameritrash, Emotionally14.com and Suppressing-Fire.Com, which he also edits. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @realbradhb.

I’m no stranger to Lovecraftian gaming. I started playing Call of Cthulhu almost as soon as I’d started reading any of his stuff. I play Arkham Horror, Eldritch Horror, Elder Sign and Mansions of Madness pretty regularly. Similarly, I’m a pretty big fan of the Lord of the Rings LCG from FFG. So, the promise of a game that could give me a mash up of the experiences that those two things give me? I’m on board for that. Could this be he game that finally fills the hole that Mythos left in my life all those years ago?  

Mythos is a game that sticks in my mind as it was pretty unique among CCGs at the time; being focused less on building up decks with which to crush your enemies with, and more one that was geared towards providing that narrative gaming experience that all of us at Suppressing Fire love so much. 

Arkham Horror: The Card Game is a gaming experience that doesn’t quite gel with anything else that I’ve played before. While it’s ostensibly a card game at its core engine, it also brings in elements of role-playing, board gaming and even a choose-your-own-adventure game book. The game starts with you building your deck – which is incredibly easy at first, with the necessary fractions and quotas clearly broken down for each character. There are also Starter Decks for each investigator, so you don’t need to worry about getting bogged down into deck building if that’s not your thing – you can just dive straight in and start your adventure. 

Each scenario starts with a quick narrative description of what’s happening, and then you’re let loose. Much like last year’s second edition of Mansions of Madness, immersion is truly key here, and it actually feels as though you’re cast in a Lovecraftian mystery story, rather than just playing a card game. There are monsters to fight, mysteries to solve and houses and other locations to explore. It feels less like a solitaire card game and more like a really good “point and click” mystery game. Remember those? Good, because I loved them. 


The physical components of the game are pretty good…but they could have been better. I’m concerned that that the chits you’ll be regularly pulling out of a bag to manage your skill modifiers are going to wear pretty badly. Plastic or resin would have driven up the retail price, of course, but I think it would have been a better long term investment. The cards are pretty good quality – although not as good as FFG’s used to be. If you’re not a careful shuffler, then you’re going to want to invest in some decent cardsleeves. 

These minor quibbles about the components aside, there are HOURS of gameplay in just this core set. There’s several playable characters, and three scenarios, all of which can be linked into a full blown campaign system. In terms of playability and lifespan, the value for money is very high indeed; especially if you’re a Lovecraft nut like I am. Perfect for solo play, but the co-op provides a truly fun experience, too. 

Highly recommended. 

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Brad Harmer-Barnes is a games journalist and comedy writer from Kent, England, and has written for (among others) Miniature Wargames magazine, Fortress: Ameritrash, Emotionally14.com and Suppressing-Fire.Com, which he also edits. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @realbradhb.

The latest release for the Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game comes in the form of the Heroes of the Resistance expansion pack. Focused on re-releasing both the T-70 X-Wing and the YT-1300 (better known as the Millennium Falcon) as they are represented in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is this pack a cynical cash grab, or something useful for the game that players both want and will use?

 

Physically, the pack comprises of two models, twenty-eight cards, and all the stands, tokens, dials and assorted gubbins that you will need to add these to your game. 

The models are of previously released ships, but they differ in some substantial ways. The T-70 X-Wing is completely repainted to represent Poe Dameron’s “Black One” fighter, as well as having a re-modelled astromech droid that supposedly looks more like BB-8. Whilst the paintwork is really great (even if droves of people had done their own re-paints, making us all feel a bit redundant) I’m not sure that that little plastic lump does look any more like BB-8. The Millennium Falcon, on the other hand, is a masterpiece. More than just a re-release of the earlier model with a new satellite dish, this has been completely re-sculpted, using 3D references straight from Lucasfilm, rather than just screen grabs from the movie and creative licence. This probably makes this model the most accurate in the entirety of X-Wing. It’s also the first model to feature engine glow as standard, and whilst it’s not perfect, it’s a lovely touch.

So, they look like much… but do they have it where it counts, kid?
In short, yes. Of the twenty-eight cards included in the pack, twenty-four of them are new and exclusive to this release, and some of them are priceless. I won’t break down every single card here, but I’ll offer up some highlights: 


Poe Dameron

A new version of an already released pilot, this card bumps Poe in his T-70 X-Wing up from Pilot Skill 8 to 9 (where he should always have been) at a cost of two additional points. Everything else, including his powerful pilot ability are the same, he just seems a bit better now. At 33 points, he isn’t cheap, 4 points more than his contemporary, Wedge Antilles, but he seems to be well worth it.


Nien Nunb

Formerly a Crew upgrade card, now a fully-fledged T-70 pilot, the PS7 Sullustan is an expert at flipping himself around the battlefield without receiving stress, with his pilot ability: “When you receive a stress token, if there is an enemy ship inside your firing arc at Range 1, you may discard that stress token.” Initially not the most powerful skill, people have been using him for all sorts of shenanigans since the pack was released.

Han Solo

Returning to fly his beloved YT-1300, the new Han pilot card represents his ability to slip past Starkiller Base’s defence shields. Costing the same points and having the same pilot skill as the original version, his new ability basically allows him to start the game almost anywhere on the battlefield, making him a dangerous wildcard if played correctly.


Chewbacca

Much like Han Solo, Chewie is back with the same pilot skill and point cost as before, but with a new ability that, again, represents his role in The Force Awakens, though this time with heart breaking accuracy: “When another friendly ship at Range 1-3 is destroyed (but has not fled the battlefield), you may perform an attack.” Oh, god, Uncle Chewie! Who equipped the “Crying like a child” upgrade card into my eyes!

Rey

The undisputed MVP of this expansion is Rey, flying the Falcon. If the PS 8 heroine has someone in her front arc, she can re-roll up to two blank results, when either attacking or defending. This combo’s up beautifully with:
Finn (Crew).


If you equip Finn in one of the Falcon’s two crew slots, he adds one blank result to the roll, if you are attacking, or defending from, an opponent within your firing arc. Pair this with Rey’s ability to re-roll those blanks, and you’ve got a hart-hitting beast of a ship that still manages to accurately portray the action from the movie.

Honourable Mentions:

Rey (Crew): She basically lets you save up Focus tokens and get them back later. Really useful crew that I keep coming back to. Feels like cheating.


Millennium Falcon (Title): New title allows you to basically use a “sloop” manoeuvre; recreating Rey’s flying in TFA, and making the Rey/Finn combo even more lethal.

Smuggling Compartment: For use on both the YT-1300 and the YT-2400 (my favourite ship), this upgrade allows you to utilise an Illicit upgrade, formerly exclusive to the Scum and Villainy faction.
So, is Heroes of the Resistance worth getting? Absolutely. The models are wonderful, the variety of upgrades and opportunities is almost in-exhaustive, and the fun to be had with the contents is boundless. Although this pack has given a very well needed boost to those, like me, playing with the Rebel/Resistance faction, there’s plenty of stuff in here to be utilised by every faction, unlike releases like the “Imperial Veterans”. 

My absolute favourite thing about this set is the love that has gone into it. Whilst it would be very easy to just make powerful cards that constantly win games, each character in this pack seems to represent the character that is portrayed on screen in The Force Awakens, and for me, playing “in universe” is very important. It’s why we all make laser noises when we play.

It’s True, All of It/10

As a bonus, here’s a 100 point squad I’ve been using, comprising mostly of the contents of this pack. It’s really fun, and it hits HARD.


Ömer Ibrahim is a regular contributor to Suppressing Fire and you can check out his modelling work at Can’t Sleep, Must Paint.

Most people consider 2016 to have been a pretty crappy year.  Whether it’s global politics not heading in the direction you would like, the deaths of many beloved celebrities, or that thing with the gorilla, it’s not been the best year ever.

What is has been, though, is a really strong year for tabletop gaming.  So, with that in mind, here are the best games to have come out in 2016.

BEST PRODUCTION VALUES

Mansions of Madness

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There have been some really great miniatures released this year – Zombicide: Black Plague has some amazing figures, cards, and miscellaneous play aids.  There has been some truly stellar artwork on cards (the Lord of the Rings: LCG artwork is always incredible). Mansions of Madness takes it this year, however, due to not only having incredible artwork on its box, in its rulebooks and on its cards, but due to the AI app (about which plenty has been written elsewhere, so there is no need to repeat it here) it also has its own sound effects, narration and music.

Truly staggering, beautiful and horrific, and easily the most immersive game released this year.

BEST CO-OP/SOLO GAME

Mansions of Madness

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Co-op games are easily my favourite types of game, and account for the vast majority of my collection. Marvel Legendary saw three expansions released this year – Civil War, Deadpool and Captain America – and they were all super fun, with the Deadpool pack being head and shoulders above the others. Zombicide: Black Plague was a fun, hack and slash co-op. Hostage Negotiator is one of the greatest solo experiences ever made.  However, this year it has to go to Mansions of Madness.  The AI acts as a GM, regulating hidden information, moving the bad guys, and keeping you guessing in ways that it is simply impossible for a traditional tabletop AI to do so.  Mansions of Madness is not just the best co-op/solo game of the year, it represents a huge leap forward for solo and co-op gaming as a sub-genre.

BEST FANTASY RELEASE

Zombicide: Black Plague

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There are two types of game that have to be extra special to make me sit up and pay attention – purely because they’re both ridiculously oversaturated markets – and that’s zombie games, and dungeon crawls.  Previously, I was struggling to find a better zombie game than Zombie Plague, and struggling to find a better dungeon crawl than Castle Ravenloft.  What Zombicide: Black Plague has managed to do is to create an identity all of its own by merging elements of both subgenres into an Army of Darkness-esque action romp.  Highly recommended.

BEST SCIENCE-FICTION RELEASE

Star Wars: Rebellion

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Star Wars: Rebellion may look like one of those facelift Risk variants that Hasbro craps out every Christmas, but what it actually is is a wargame custom made and built to feel like Star Wars.  Sure there are Star Destroyers, and ground troops, and territories, but it is a game about the smaller people who make the stories happen.  By keeping all the strategy of the mechanics focused on correctly using your handful of characters, it keeps the whole game character focused.  At no point does it feel like “I’m amassing by Star Destroyers over Nal Hutta”; it feels like “Governor Tarkin is taking command of the blockade over Nal Hutta.”.  You make a story as you play, and that is something I love so much.  Fantasy Flight Games have done nothing but truly great things with the Star Wars licence, but this is their crowing achievement so far.

BEST HORROR RELEASE

Mansions of Madness

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I’ve long maintained that while a boardgame can do tense, it’s virtually impossible for it to be truly scary – that’s the realm of RPGs, LARPs and video games.  You can’t quiet buy into the story on the same level that you can with those other mediums.  Even Space Hulk – the pinnacle of tension on the tabletop – is never truly scary in the way the true classics of the genre are. Mansions of Madness has bucked that trend.  Now things are hidden.  Things are surprising and startling.  You fear darkness.  You fear the unknown.  Mansions of Madness is an essential purchase for the dedicated horror gamer.


Brad Harmer-Barnes is a games journalist and comedy writer from Kent, England, and has written for (among others) Miniature Wargames magazine, Fortress: Ameritrash, Emotionally14.com and Suppressing-Fire.Com, which he also edits.  You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @realbradhb