Review: Star Wars – The Clone Wars boardgame

For a long time boardgames based on a popular franchise were quick cash-ins. A simple game with standard (or even bad) mechanics but with a Star Wars logo slapped on it to attract buyers.

Luckily times have changed and over the years several good or even great franchise themed games have become available. More than often those games were variations or reskins of popular titles that haven proven themselves over the years. Examples that come to mind are Star Trek Catan (a version of the successful Catan game) and Star Wars: Imperial Assault, which is a reskin of the popular dungeon crawler Descent.

Last month publishers Z-Man and Asmodee released Star Wars: Clone Wars, which is based on the critically acclaimed cooperative game Pandemic. Another hit, right? Let’s find out…

The box

The contents

The miniatures

This game has several nicely sculpted miniatures. 7 Jedi (Anakin, Kenobi, Mace Windu, Yoda, Ahsoka, Aayla Secura, Bariss Offee), 4 villains (Darth Maul, General Grievous, Count Dooku, Asajj Ventress), 36 Battle droids and 3 Blockades. The miniatures are smaller compared with the ones from Star Wars games Legion or Imperial Assault and luckily more flexible, which is a good thing since all except Yoda have a thin lightsaber that would normally break easily.

Other things included are over 130 cards, 4 villain sheets, a die, plastic tokens and of course the playing board with all the planets.

Design-wise this is a good looking game, but what about the game itself?

The game

You can play this game with 1-5 players (there are special rules for solo play). A game will take about an hour and the recommended age is 14+. I played it with my 11 year old son and we had no problems. They players take on the role of a Jedi and have to battle the separatists, just like the Clone Wars TV series.

Mind that I have never played the original Pandemic game, so I have no idea if certain rules or elements are different or if this is a carbon copy but with a Star Wars skin.

During the game the players can perform four actions and can choose to 1-fly (move), 2-attack, 3-reinforce, 4-attempt mission.

To win the game, the players have to defeat one of the four villains, who has their own villain deck and a unique style. During the game the “Pandemic’ comes in the form of…. “ROGER ROGER“: Battle droids, who invade the board like a real pandemic would. If enough of them occupy a planet than a Blockade ship appears. By rolling the large 12 sided die (where the sabers represent successes and the explosions are damage you take) you can defeat the enemy, but also take damage yourself. Every Jedi has Scout cards, which equals the amount of hits you can take. The scout cards depict several of the clones. With these cards you can also do damage to kill off the enemy quicker. Besides defeating the villain, every mission has to be completed as well before the threat marker (located on the game board) reaches the bottom, or otherwise the game is lost. Since there are 24 missions (many based on the animated series) several challenges can arise during a game, which means it won’t be boring after several games. Of course, the game is a bit more complicated than what I just described, but luckily there’s a rule book included.

Overall

My conclusion is that Star Wars: The Clone Wars is definitely worth checking out. Unlike many other games it doesn’t take advantage of the licensed but is worthy of the Star Wars logo. It’s certainly not as extensive as Star Wars games like Imperial Assault or Rebellion, but a game you can set up quick, with straightforward rules and it will no doubt appeal to a broader public.