Star Wars: Imperial Assault
Descent: Journeys in the Dark, but in Star Wars. There are two main modes of play: Campaign and Skirmish. Campaign is the "story" mode where 4 powered-up Rebel Hero players take on an Imperial player's forces in various missions. There's a progression system for both sides and a loose narrative that unfolds based on which side wins each mission. Skirmish mode plays like a more traditional wargame where both players start on equal footing and compete to achieve an objective or wipe each other out. The latter is more likely, but the presence of an objective prevents turtling. It's pretty fun if you can look past the pain in the ass of setting up and the bizarre line-of-sight rules.
- Military Might: If you like Stormtroopers, this is the class for you. Everything buffs Troopers in some way, but Endless Ranks is the priority pick, as it discounts all Trooper deployments by 1 point. If you manage to score the 501st Training reward card from the Vader's Fist Agenda, you'll be riding pretty.
- Subversive Tactics: ST is built around strain, which is as infuriating for the Rebel players as it sounds. It's outstanding for denying them opportunities to use their abilities, but if the Rebel players are new and don't know exactly what they're getting into, they might be pushed away from playing.
- Technological Superiority: The Tarkin/Krennic class. You can pass Attachments around and grant crazy, unexpected traits to your dudes. You can slap jetpacks onto any trooper, allowing Heavy Stormtroopers to bypass rough terrain, Failsafe can keep your DISTRACTION CARNIFEX alive just a little bit longer, and Arc Blasters can stun Heroes lacking the Strength attribute. Superior Augments buffs any unit with an Attachment, so you'll want Agendas like Imperial Industry to get the most mileage out of it.
- Inspiring Leadership: Built around Leader units, obviously. The starting Field Officer ability is immediately useful on villains like Somos, Sorin, and Palpatine, who can reposition friendly units to capitalize on their own abilities. Lead By Example combined with Field General can stack up some nasty hits when used with Darth Vader, Royal Guard Champion, or General Weiss.
- Armored Onslaught: For players who like really big guns. This class goes great with Heavy Stormtroopers, Sentry Droids, and of course, vehicles.
- Precision Training: Only Stormtroopers are so precise. Anything with a gun will perform better under this class. Sharpshooters and Find the Weakness are must-haves as they are all-encompassing. No need to attach or exhaust, they apply to every single attack you perform. Pinpoint Accuracy is good to have when going against multiple white-defense Heroes.
- Imperial Black Ops: An Imperial Class built around the new Hidden condition. Most upgrades make Imperial units harder to hit one way or another. Combine Stealth and Shadow Armor to make melee Heroes rage.
- Hutt Mercenaries: If you prefer the Scum faction over the Empire, this class is exactly for you. Cheap Shot is the shit.
- Nemeses: Start the game with one Imperial Villain and one Scum Villain. No more relying on side quest roulette!
- Power of the Dark Side: A class that's thematically cool, but mechanically not very good.
- Reactive Defenses: A class revolving around the 88-z companion unit. Depending on how you upgrade your floating ball, it can drop LOS-blocking shields to protect VIPs, fuck with nearby hero accuracy, give passive AOE buffs to nearby friendlies, or use Infrared Scanners to build a steady supply of threat.
- Overwhelming Oppression: The most "Imperial" class of all Imperial classes. OO forces the Imperial Player to have their open groups be revealed at all times, but allows them to distribute power tokens to anybody warming the benches. This is in line with the Empire's martial philosophy of grandly displaying an overwhelming force to spread fear among insurgents. The Personal Flagship upgrade is a must-have as it unlocks 1 villain of your choice.
- Diala Passil: A twi'lek jedi. Her starting abilities allow her to reroll her defense or straight up negate an opponent's defense die. Great for enemies with multiple defense dice like AT-ST and Darth Vader. Her reward is a lightsaber. You might not ever get to see her Red mission come up, but the Obi-Wan Kenobi Ally Pack introduces the Ancient Lightsaber Tier III purchasable. So there's that.
- Fenn Signis: CALL OF DUTY.
FinnFenn is a pure run and gunner. Havoc Shot is his bread and butter: It gives any ranged attack splash damage which deters Stormtroopers from clustering and can force Imperial units into disfavorable positions.
- Gaarkhan: A wookiee berserker with big fucking vibro-ax. Gaarkhan can charge and SMASH. Shooting him is a bad idea, because taking 3 or more damage on one attack gets him focused. The Ferocity upgrade turns the bonus green die into a red. If you get the chance, do his side mission because the Life Debt reward makes him focused if a nearby ally gets hit for 3 or more, ensuring an almost-constant supply of delicious red dice and Imperial gibs.
- Gideon Argus: Rebel SpecForce Commander. Almost pure support. Leading from the front, he can pass around moves/attacks, give Surge results, recover strain, and give Focus. His Fearless Leader reward makes Rebel Troopers cheaper to deploy, so I hope you got the side-mission to unlock them as well.
ErsoOdan: Smuggler and troll. She can attack and (sometimes) move out-of-turn, which can really fuck with an enemy's activation.
- Mak Eshka'rey: A Bothan sniper. Has the ability to not be targeted from 4 or more spaces, which is great when the Empire rolls out AT-STs or HK Assassin Droids.
- Biv Bodhrik: A big guy with a cannon and a hate-boner for Stormtroopers. With a repeating blaster, you might think you would be laying down the suppressing fire with him, but you're actually PUNCH'N'SHOOT like you're playing Doom 2016. Shake It Off combined with Survival Gear is very useful for mitigating the strain he racks up from punching everything. Do his red mission if possible, because Hunt Them Down lets you demolish Stormtroopers.
- Saska Teft: An engineer who supports allies and excels at helping clear objectives. Her devices can guarantee one success on any skill check, which is usually all you need. In Skirmish, she's good for allowing a Rebel player to field Mercenary units and nothing else.
- Loku Kanoloa: A recon/support sniper feared by Imperials and dyslexics alike. His abilities are built around Recon Tokens, which he primarily places on enemy units to make priority targets easier to kill. He's a godsend to have when facing Villains or walkers.
- MHD-19: A 2-1B medical droid like the one that kept patching up Luke in Empire. His healing abilities will quickly make you everybody's best friend, but there's very little he can do for his own damage, so keep him protected. The few offensive abilities he can get are geared more towards giving himself breathing room than anything else. Combat Override allows him to start pulling grenades out of his bag.
- Verena Talos: A Hero whose fighting style is clearly modeled after that of Big Boss. When an adjacent enemy is defeated, she can perform an attack with that figure's weapon, even walkers. When conditions are right, Combat Momentum can allow her to daisy-chain multiple close-range kills together for as long as her strain holds out. Putting her in a campaign with Loku with Spectrum Scanner will yield similar results to running a lawnmower over your gaming table.
- Davith Elso: Another Jedi Hero. This one can earn a lightsaber by spending 3xp instead of side-mission slot machine. Most of his abilities revolve around the new Hidden condition. Covert Operative is his best early-game ability to invest in. Force Illusion is good for pissing off the Imperial player.
- Murne Rin: An Ithorian lady who manages to be even more support-focused than Gideon Argus. Her main draw is tricking enemy units whose cost is less than or equal to the current threat level into shooting each other, but has a few ways to mitigate team stress.
- Onar Koma: A beefy, aqualish wrecking ball. Has no defense roll, but has a fuckload of health and is immune to Harmful conditions while healthy. He can shove people, hit harder at the cost of his health, and even has some bodyguard capabilities. Special mention goes to the Brute Strength ability which lets you use Onar's god-tier strength attribute on insight and mechanical rolls.
- Shyla Varad: A lady mandalorian with a sword and whip. In one action, she can pull a small enemy figure 3 spaces over and whack them with her sword. Decent for meleeing, awesome for fucking up enemy positions. Give her Responsiveness and Deadly Grace and she'll be ice-skating around the map. You'll obviously get Mandalorian Helmet from Tyrants of Lothal.
- Vinto Hreeda: Vinto is good for tossing little bits of damage in every direction like you're speccing Gunslinger in Devil May Cry. Vinto is one of those rare heroes where every ability is pretty good in any situation. DDC Defender is a great weapon to bring if you want to stand in one spot tossing lasers every which way, especially if you stick an Under-Barrel HH-4 on it.
- Drokkatta: Move aside, Rebel Saboteurs, we have a Wookiee with a grenade launcher. Drokkatta obviously excels at inflicting splash damage, but can also use Demolish to create difficult terrain. Bank Shot is certainly a worthy investment to ensure your 'nades always go where you need them to go.
- Jarrod Kelvin: A Mechromancer. J4X-7, his companion, is mostly there to annoy the enemy player with his tiny AoE, but Slicer's Upgrade can enable it to actually carry out mission objectives.
- Ko-Tun Feralo: A hero that can fight AND support. She mainly distributes power tokens, but gains and grants additional bonuses depending on how you use them. Good choice if you want to support your allies and still kick some ass.
- CT-1701: An unretired Clone Trooper who sprays dakka and occasionally hits targets. His main barrage ability will build up strain pretty quickly, so the Reload ability will make the most out of the many rest actions you'll be taking. The target of the second shot from Barrage also gains a white defense die, so Weakness Identified is worth picking up to cancel some of those out.
- Tress Hacnua: Tress is a martial artist milf who gets style tokens from punching things. From the start, style tokens can be spent on dealing more damage, but her upgrades allow them to be spent to weaken, cleave, counter, and even cancel full dodges. Gundark Throw allows you to open doors by throwing people at them.
- Rebel Saboteur: A pair of grenade-lobbing Duros. They are one of the only Allies to have two green missions to unlock, meaning you might actually see their Elite variant in a campaign. Their Overload ability is the main draw, allowing them to use the same surge ability twice in one attack. Elites can ignore other figures when drawing line of sight.
- Rebel Trooper: A trio of the guys that get their shit kicked in at the beginning of A New Hope. Their Brace for Impact mission needs to be in your side missions deck if you have Gideon Argus for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Aim grants its benefit if you haven't moved during this activation. This means that Gideon can reposition a guy without fucking up his shot. Secondly, Gideon's red mission can unlock them a second time, and the reward makes these guys cheaper to deploy, which is all kinds of awesome. Elites can spend two actions to move and focus, great for setting up a defensive position for the next round. Or to have Gideon give the order to fire with Aim bonus.
- Luke Skywalker (Core): Luke is pricey, but pretty awesome. He has an auto-block to go with his white defense die, which makes bringing him down a bit of a chore, and that's before factoring in his surge recovery. His lightsaber is finicky, but you can't go wrong with auto-Pierce 3. Lastly, he grants one attack die reroll to any other friendly within 3 spaces. The one real issue is that his unlock mission is pretty bullshit, so you're unlikely to see him in a Campaign.