Review: Star Wars – Outer Rim
Boba Fett arrives on Tatooine with a Rebel patrol hot on his tail. With his reputation with the Rebels at an all-time low, there is no time to waste. His cargo hold is full of stolen weapons that needs delivering to potential buyers. No problem. It’s Tatooine. Plenty of interested parties. Oh yes, it’s Tatooine. There are a group of crooks waiting for him. A battle ensues. With no crew to help him, Boba Fett just manages to defeat them and deliver the weapons for a cool 7,000 credits and some all-important fame. He hits the market and spends some of that well-earned money on a snazzy modification for his ship. He checks his database and sees he has a job to do on Ryloth. He pulls away from the surface of Tatooine and the Rebel patrol makes its move…
Welcome to Star Wars Outer Rim.
What’s it about?
Take to the stars and become a living legend in Star Wars: Outer Rim, a game of bounty hunters, mercenaries, and smugglers for 1-4 players!
In Outer Rim, you take on the role of an underworld denizen, setting out to make your mark on the galaxy. You’ll travel the outer rim in your personal ship, hire legendary Star Wars characters to join your crew, and try to become the most famous (or infamous) outlaw in the galaxy!
But it won’t be easy since the warring factions of the galaxy roam the outer rim, hunting down the scum that have proven to be a thorn in their side, and other scoundrels looking to make their mark see you as the perfect target to bring down to bolster their own reputation. Do you have what it takes to survive in the outer rim and become a living legend?
What’s in the box?
- 12 Ship Sheets
- 4 Player Boards
- 4 Fame Markers
- 16 Reputation Tokens
- 22 Contact Tokens
- 16 Patrol Tokens
- 8 Character Standees
- 40 Damage Tokens
- 60 Credit Tokens
- 70 Encounter Cards
- 70 Market Cards
- 53 Databank Cards
- 8 Character Cards
- 4 Reference Cards
- 10 AI Cards
- 12 Goal Tokens
- 6 Map Tiles
- 2 Map Endcaps
- 1 Rulebook
- 1 Learn to Play Book
How Does It Play?
The aim of Outer Rim is to be the best bounty hunter/smuggler in the galaxy. It’s that simple. To do that you must gain Fame. The first player to hit 10 Fame wins. How do you get Fame? Well, there are many ways. From completing personal goals, tracking down bounties, taking on jobs, delivering illegal cargo, fighting it out with patrols and dealing in the markets can all give you fame. The galaxy is wide open. Will you make a name for yourself by hunting bounties for the Hutts, stealing for the crime syndicates, or smuggling goods past Imperial patrols? Or will it be a mixture of everything? It’s up to you.
The game is broken down into 3 steps. The Planning Step, the Action Step and the Encounter Step. Let’s take a look at each one.
The Planning Step
In this step, a player chooses one of the following three actions.
- Move your ship based on the ships movement value
- Gain 2,000 credits
- Recover all damage
When taking the move action, there are a couple of instances that will stop you in your tracks. Patrols and the Maelstrom space. If you move into a space that has a patrol token you must check your Reputation with the patrol faction. More on that later. If you move into a Maelstrom space, you immediately stop and move to the Action step.
The Action Step
Here a player can perform any or all of the actions listed once.
- Deliver a cargo or bounty
- Discard the top card of a market (only when on a planet)
- Buy a card from a market (only when on a planet)
- Trade cards with a player in your space
- Take the action ability on any of your cards
When trading with other players you can trade anything but your ship. Trades do not need to be equal as long as both players agree. At any point in the game (you don’t need to be in the same space), players can trade credits for future promises. If a player cannot afford something, he could ask another player for 1,000 credits and then pay him back 3,000 credits in the future or go halves on a bounty. It’s up to you what you negotiate. However, these deals are not binding. So be careful…
When a player buys a card from the market, the next card is revealed. Players will check and see if the card has a patrol movement icon. Each icon is made up of a faction and a distance. The current player will move the patrol X number of spaces nearer to them. Players can buy new ships, ship mods, weapons and armour from the market. They can also collect bounties, jobs and smuggling contracts.
The Encounter Step
In the final step, again the player chooses one of the following three actions.
- Fight a patrol (required if you have a negative reputation with that faction)
- Resolve an encounter card
- Resolve a contact token
Encounter cards are small story elements that can happen to you at the location you are at. The back of the card indicates roughly what type of encounter you will have. On each planet, there are two facedown contact tokens also. These can be encountered to reveal who they are. To continue the encounter, you draw the card listed on the token from the databank deck. There is a chance they can be recruited to your crew… or not.
Contact tokens can also be bounty targets. When you get a bounty you need to search for them. Other players will also be turning over these tokens as the game progresses. If you encounter a facedown token and you are lucky enough its the bounty you are looking for, then you skip the card encounter part and initiate combat. If you win, you can eliminate or capture. Both have different rewards. However, another player may have recruited your bounty target and is a member of their crew. If this does happen, you can track them down to the same space and initiate combat. The other player may try to protect the crew member. If they do, you fight a combat against that player. If they decide it’s not worth it, you fight a combat against the bounty.
Combat is very straightforward in Outer Rim. Roll D8 dice equal to the number of your ground combat value (when on a planet) or your ship’s value (when in space) and total up the total hits. The dice have 3 standard hit faces that do 1 damage, 1 critical face that does 2 damage, 2 blanks that do nothing and 2 focus faces that only do anything if you have an ability that allows it to be used. The target of your attack then rolls. Whoever rolled the highest number of hits wins the combat. Each player then suffers damage rolled by their opponent. Only players suffer damage. Patrols and bounties do not take damage. In order to defeat them, you must out roll them and not take too much damage.
Characters and Crew members in Outer Rim have a variety of skills such as Tech, Stealth, Piloting, Influence and Knowledge to name a few. Many cards ask you to test a skill in order to succeed. You can attempt a skill test even if you do not have the listed skill, it will just be very hard for you to pass the test. When you attempt a skill test, roll 2 D8 dice. The results depend on how skilled you are.
Unskilled – you don’t have any of the skill listed – roll a critical to succeed
Skilled – you have at least one of the skills listed – roll either a hit or a critical to succeed
Highly Skilled – you have more than one of the skills listed – roll either a hit, critical or focus to succeed
If a job card has a skill written in italics it usually means that you probably need that skill to pass the skill check.
We mentioned Reputation earlier and it plays a big part in Outer Rim.
The decisions that you make in the game will influence what the four factions (Hutt, Syndicate, Imperial and Rebel) of the galaxy will think of you. For example, if you hunt down a Rebel bounty, you might lose reputation with the Rebels and gain it with the Imperials. What does Reputation do?
Positive Reputation: Being friendly with a faction may reward you during card encounters with that faction. It will also allow you to move through that factions patrols without being stopped.
Neutral Reputation: Factions are neither friendly nor hostile. During card encounters, you will gain no benefits or penalties. You will need to stop your movement when you move into a patrol space with this faction. No combat will occur.
Negative Reputation: The faction sees you as an enemy and a threat. During card encounters, you may be punished for this. You will need to stop your movement when you move into a patrol space with this faction. Combat will occur during your Encounter step.
Many things in the game can make you gain or lose Reputation. It’s a tough life out there, so balance it well.
As with all Fantasy Flight titles, the components are of great quality. Player boards are nice and thick, the artwork is fantastic throughout. The game oozes theme. Not having miniatures is also a nice change of pace. The cardboard standees are just as good if not better. The only downside are the ship cards. These should have been the same thickness as the player boards. Instead, they are super thin cardboard. A small gripe.
Go ahead. Groan. “Another Fantasy Flight Star Wars game?” Our thoughts exactly. But hold on before you run away. Outer Rim is great! From the outset, you are given the freedom to do whatever you want. Do a bounty here and drop off some cargo there. Go ahead. Do a big job for the Hutts and cash in huge rewards and buy a new ship. Nothing stopping you. Fly around the galaxy taking out the patrols not caring what faction they are. Sure. Team up with another player to heist a casino. No problem.
The path to victory is not set in this game and it’s up to you on how you accomplish your victory. This is a fantastic part of the game. It offers scope and multiple ways to play. Another great thing is the player interaction is limited. But when you are allowed to attack other players it comes across as fair and not just a take-that mechanism. The negotiation element is also great. Borrow money to land a new contract and promise the lender half of the reward but then disappear to the other end of the galaxy. Good stuff.
Bounties and jobs are applied wonderfully in this game with each being very distinct. Bounties are a trek around the galaxy looking for your target which could end up being on another players ship. Jobs are mini stories with multiple encounters. Even delivering cargo can be a stressful thing if you have a low reputation and the encounter has the person accepting your delivery is a member of a faction that hates you.
Playtime on the box says 2 to 3 hours and that’s about right. So prepare an evening to play. The game doesn’t drag as you are constantly busy. During other player turns you are working out your plan. Watching how the markets change. Did any contacts get revealed? Where are other players going to? Are the patrols moving in a way that messes up your upcoming turn?
Out of the box, the game has replay value. Each deck for the market (6 categories) and planets (7 decks) are only about 14 cards each. Market cards recycle fast. Is this an issue? Yes and no. You probably won’t see the same card in your hand twice as it will have gone to another player. If you do, thematically its because you are doing the same thing. Maybe the card was to deliver weapons. Well here is the card again. They want more. Supply and demand.
But yes, eventually you might get to know the cards like the back of your hand. Will it get boring? We doubt it. You can set the Outer Rim map tiles randomly each time so that can change how you play even if you know the cards from 20 plays.
What will make this game go from great to amazing? Unfortunately, expansions.
Outer Rim is setup for expansions. If Fantasy Flight do small box expansions for this title then they are onto a winner. Each expansion, give say 5 cards to each deck. A new ship. A couple of new contacts and patrol tokens. Maybe a new character. Small box. Nice price. Maybe one each quarter of the year. Hopefully, this is their plan.
As is, Outer Rim is definitely worth your time now. Going forward, it can only get even better if the expansions are right.