We are now less than a week away from the new Jedi Guardians expansion, so, just like before the Battle of Yavin expansion was released, I present another Great Battle in Star Wars History. The desperate attack upon the Death Star by the rag-tag rebels at the end of A New Hope was our first look at an intense, exciting and high-speed space battle on the silver screen. The decks below attempt to capture some of that excitement so you can refight the Battle of Yavin and see if you can achieve similar results… or put those rebels in their place.
While the battle took place only in Space, various Ground and Character units contributed. Yes, these Ground and Character units will be rolling dice against each other, but the attack dice can also be considered as a measure of which side can outplan, outthink, and outmaneuver the opposition. While Tarkin and General Dodonna didn't meet face to face, they did command the units in Space and their influence guided much of the action, so even thought they didn't know it, they were in direct (though remote) conflict with each other. Similarly, a Rebel Control Post never actually fired a shot at a Death Star Cannon Tower, but through careful planning they were able to negate the Ion Cannon's effectiveness, essentially "destroying" it. After all, no X-wings were seen being hit by the Cannons (though some must've been), so the rebel controllers must have done their job.
Here are the decks…
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Since most of the rebels we saw during the big battle were pilots, they are very well represented. While they can fight in Character, most of them have special abilities that will warrant sending them directly into Space. The pilot versions of Han and Chewie are included as well, just in case you want to recreate the Falcon's surprise return to save the day. Leia (E) can fetch Luke (E) from the deck if necessary.
In Ground, the Rebel Control Post is where the attack upon the Death Star was directed from, while the Yavin 4 Hangar Base prepped and readied all the starfighters for the attack. While we didn't see any troopers during the battle, there were some in the Hangar at the time. Planetary Defense Turrets saw the starfighters on their way out of the hidden rebel base.
The Space arena is where the fireworks are really going to happen. Only a few versions of the Red Squadron X-wings were printed as there would have been at least nine of them if all that were mentioned were printed. That's why some of them are doubled up. Note that there is only one verison of the Falcon in the deck, as you wouldn't want it to come into play any earlier than the most crucial moment in the game.
The Battle and Mission cards are all there so you can mirror the action of the movie. Blow This Thing, Death Star Plans, and Starfighter's End will work well against the Death Star. Astromech Assistance, Obi-Wan's Guidance, Stabilize Deflectors, Synchronized Assault, and Deflectors Activated will work well against the TIE Fighters that will harrass you all the way. Finally, Second Wave can be utilized if things end up going south and you want to take a second crack at the Death Star before it destroys the planet.
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Only one Vader pilot is included as he shouldn't come out too soon. He didn't head out in his TIE Fighter until he thought things were getting a bit dicey. The Turbolaser Gunners will help the Ion Cannons pick off a few X-wings, while the TIE Fighter pilots will help the small starfighters get in a few good shots as well. Grand Moff Tarkin (B) is well represented as he is necessary for the Death Star to stand a chance. A couple of Death Star Troopers are also present to guard him.
The surface of the Death Star was covered with Ion Cannons, so they are well represented in Ground. Imperial Control Stations directed the TIE Fighters that shot down many X and Y-wings. The Death Star Hangar Bay is a great way to keep the high Critical Hit units in check. Finally, Death Star Guard Squads were no doubt present at the Control Station and Hangar after the earlier rescue of Princess Leia.
In Space, it's all about the Death Star. The best verison is the A version with it's Bombard 8, but if you really want to simulate the movie, you'll want to at least bluff that you're going to blow up the entire Ground arena with the C version. If the Rebel Control Post gets going, you'll need the B version to keep the TIE's coming. You'll especially want to grab some Intercepting TIEs to protect the Death Star. Finally, the TIE Fighter DS-55-6s are a great place to put the TIE pilots as their Critical Hit will be necessary to take down some of the great rebel pilots.
Most of the Battle cards are for the Death Star's benefit. If you lose it, you'll lose Space for certain. Blast It!, Blaster Barrage, Countermeasures, and Han's Evasion are all for the Death Star. Heavy Fire Zone, Vader's Fury, Vader's Leadership, and Pilot's Dodge are for the TIE Fighters. Retreat Underground will work well to protect the Death Star if it gets too much damage on it or to keep Tarkin alive. The special ability of Grand Moff Tarkin (B) only works if he's in the arena at the start of the Character battle step. Once he's removed five damage from the Death Star, play the Retreat to keep him out of harm's way.
The only Mission card in the deck is Take the Initiative. You'll need it if the Rebel Control Post has removed your Space units from the deck or if you lose too many TIEs.
Prepare For Battle!
There are two ways to go about doing this. First, and most radical, is to start the game with a fixed set of units already deployed. The second way is to perform the setup rituals as usual and let things happen as they may. Here's the fixed setup:
This setup reflects the rebels on their approach to the Death Star, before any shots were fired. The superior Luke's X-wing (B) isn't in the setup as Luke didn't make a trench run until after a few others had failed. The (A) version is much better for taking on TIE Fighters. Luke (E) is also not included in the setup as he shouldn't have his Critical Hit 4 and Evade abilities until after he trusts his feelings and lets the Force guide him.
Fixed Setup - Dark Side
Character: Grand Moff Tarkin (B)
Ground: Imperial Control Station & Death Star Cannon Tower
Space: Death Star (B) with (C) understacked, TIE Fighter DS-73-3, & TIE Fighter DS-61-9
With the Death Star (B) version on top, you can easily go get some additional Space units if your hand doesn't have any. Vader and his custom TIE Fighter aren't in the initial setup as he didn't take off until the rebel attack plan had been examined and the danger was discovered.
Once you've placed these units in their respective arenas, shuffle your deck and draw 7 cards. Feel free to discard any Battle or Mission cards and then continue the game by entering the Command Phase as usual.
I've playtested these decks a lot and they often mirror the final battle of A New Hope rather well. Stay tuned for future installments of Great Battles in Star Wars History. Next week, a deck utilizing cards from the Jedi Guardians set!