STAR WARS: OUTER RIM

Reviewed by Chris Kovac

STAR WARS: OUTER RIM (Fantasy Flight Games, 1 to 4 players, ages 14 and up, 2 to 3 hours; $64.95)

 

In this game, designed by Corey Konieczka and Tony Fanach, players are bounty hunters or smugglers operating on planets with strong Star Wars theme elements. Their goals are to earn the most fame though completing jobs, fulfilling bounties and delivering illicit cargo as they travel throughout the far reaches of space in Star Wars: Outer Rim.

Set up in Star Wars: Outer Rim involves assembling the U-shaped board in a certain order showing all the planets on the outer rim.  You cap the ends with patrol bases from which the various factions (Hutt, Syndicate, Imperial and Rebel) patrols will start their movement.  Put the appropriate patrols starting with the level ones one space in from each base.  Next, shuffle each planet encounter deck (one deck per pair of planets on a board piece) and place it next to that planet piece.  There is also a separate encounter deck for waypoints (think of them as open space encounters) Then shuffle the contacts tokens face down and put them on the appropriate contact spaces next to a planet matching the color and number of dots on the contact token.  Each planet will have two contact tokens beside it.  Set aside the databank card deck making sure all the cards are in numeric order.  These cards help provide various story lines and special events during the game.  Separate the six market decks, shuffle each separately, and turn over the top card of each deck.  The market decks are the bounty deck, cargo deck, gear/mod deck, job deck, luxury deck and ship deck.  The name of the deck indicates what the majority of cards in that deck are.  Next, create a general supply of damage tokens, credit chips and goal tokens.

Each player gets a player board, a starting ship (can be one of two types) which you place to the left of your player board, a plastic marker to keep track of fame (set on zero to start), four reputation tokens set on the neutral setting of your reputation tracks to keep track of your reputation with the various factions in the game.  Choose a character and receive its character card and standee marker, placing the character card in the character space on your player board.  At the bottom of the character card is a number of the databank card which you receive (if more than one databank card of that number chooses a card at random) and instructions (if any) on initial adjustments to your reputation markers. The starting player gets 4,000 credits, second player 6,000 credits, third player 8,000 credits and finally the fourth player 10,000 credits.  You are now ready to start the game.

Starting with the start player and going clock wise each player will perform the following three steps for his turn:

  1.  Planning Step – In this step a player may move his character along way points equal to his movement rating, recover all damage (both character and ship) or gain 2,000 credits.
  2. Action step – During this step you due the following four action steps but you can do any number of actions per step.  The steps are:

                          Trade – Exchange cards and money with any other player in your space.

                          Market – If you are on a planet you can first discard a card on top of a market deck to the bottom of that deck then you can buy a card from one of the market decks.    Gear or jobs/bounties are added to your character while cargo, crew and mods are added to your ship.  Ships and player boards only have a limited number of slots for various goods you purchase on the market which you can increase by buying new ships, mods or gear.  If you buy a new ship transfer any crew, mods or gear you have to your new ship and replace your old ship.  When you take a card from the market you turn over the next card in the deck and if it shows a patrol ship of a particular faction move that patrol the number of spaces shown on the card closer to you.

                          Deliver any bounties (contact tokens) or cargo to specific planets to collect cash and/or get fame.  You can also attempt to perform a job.  In order to succeed at a job or during some events you usually have to pass a series of skill tests.  In order to perform a skill test, you roll two dice and as long as you get a success you pass the test.  Normally you have to roll an open star icon to pass the test but if you have a character or crew with the same skill listed on the job or event card, you pass with an open or closed star and if you have characters/crew  with two of the same skill cards you pass a skill test with anything but a blank roll.

                          Resolve any action on a card you have (only once per action per turn)

    3.  Resolve an Encounter.  You can encounter one of the following:

                           Encounter a planet – Turn over the top card of the appropriate planet encounter deck (waypoint deck if on a waypoint) and resolve the encounter.

                         Encounter a contact – If a contact marker is still on a contact space next to the planet you are on you can turn it over and then go to the appropriate databank card to resolve the encounter.  If you require the contact marker to fulfill a bounty you must fight the character.  The character rolls a number of dice equal to its attack number and you due the same.  For every solid star you get one hit, for every open star you get two hits.  If you ever get hits equal to your health your character is reset and you start again though you get to keep your equipment (but not any secrets).

                          Resolve a card with the word encounter on it

                          Encounter a patrol.  If you are in the same space as a patrol you must encounter it.  If you have positive reputation with that faction you can move past the patrol or not encounter it.  If you have negative reputation you must fight the patrol. Fighting between ships is similar to ground combat in that you roll dice equal to your attack value with your opponent rolling its attack dice against you.  Any closed starts rolled equal one hit with any open stars equaling two hits.  If the number of hits exceeds your defense rating your ship is defeated and your character reset.  Winning gives you rewards listed on the patrol counters (usually money though later, stronger patrols also give you fame points) and the next level of patrol for that faction will start moving

You win by accumulating enough fame points from various bounties, illegal cargo deliveries, combat encounters, etc. to get to ten points (eight if playing the short game).

For the best chance to win Star Wars: Outer Rim, you need to build up your cash to upgrade your ship and get crew, cargo and a few bounties so you can complete jobs and bigger bounties which give you fame as well as cash.  Delivering goods and completing bounties between a series of linked worlds helps you considerably in accumulating the cash and firepower to take on the bigger jobs with more fame and in turn help you win the game.

The game has good components with excellent artwork, a good well illustrated rule book and a detailed supplementary rules reference guide is very helpful to playing the game.  The rules are fairly easy to learn and game play is fairly smooth The only downsides to the game are the downtime between individual player turns and that the game can go on a little long for what it is especially with four players (really plays well with two players).  On the other hand, if you like Star Wars, this game has a lot of theme and has some good built-in story lines.

I enjoyed playing the game, trying out various combinations of characters and ships and would recommend Star Wars: Outer Rim to fans of Stars Wars and players who like pick up and deliver games.  A solid 7.5 out of ten for me. – – – – – – – Chris Kovac


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