In 2011, Roseville-based Fantasy Flight Games announced that they had acquired the rights to create Star Wars tabletop gaming experiences. In the years since, we’ve seen tremendous offerings for just about any type of gamer, from the tactical skirmishes of the X-Wing Miniatures Game, to the story-building nature of FFG’s Narrative Dice System utilized in their line of Star Wars role-playing games. Now, with more successful Star Wars tabletop properties in their library than you can shake a gaffi stick at, one could reasonably ask: what more can FFG do to further expand on the license? And yet, the central focus of the saga is the timeless battle of good against evil, which has pushed game designs toward head-to-head gameplay, whether player-versus-player or team-versus-team, with the light side and the dark side duking it out. As a result, the galaxy far, far away has yet to see any type of free-for-all game, pitting all players against each other. Enter Star Wars: Outer Rim.
Taking place in the period between Episodes III and IV, Outer Rim is a board game that puts 1-4 players in control of some of the most questionable scum in the galaxy, from the ruthless Boba Fett to the disaffected Jyn Erso. Prior to the legends surrounding them, these figures were nobodies in a vast galaxy, working to survive however they could. Even Boba’s father Jango described himself as “just a simple man, trying to make my way in the universe.” By taking risky jobs, chasing bounties, and evading the patrols of the various factions vying for control of the galaxy’s Outer Rim, it’s up to you to champion your character’s rise to greatness. Gather up ten points of fame, and you win.
Outer Rim shares a number of visual and thematic similarities with the popular Firefly: The Game by Gale Force Nine, while weaving in an element of adventure gaming in the form of encounter cards. Drawn at the end of each turn, these cards offer twists and turns apart from the main thrust of your antihero’s journey, and may even grant you new crew or cargo for your ship! Ships themselves can be upgraded or traded in for better ones; Boba Fett loses his father’s Slave I to Hondo Ohnaka during the Clone Wars and it takes him years to get it back. By the same token, Han Solo isn’t really the Han Solo we know and love until he flies the Millennium Falcon alongside first mate Chewbacca.
Far from the overarching theme of galactic warfare that gives Star Wars its name, Outer Rim tells the less grandiose tale of smugglers, gamblers, and bounty hunters making their living at the edge of the Empire’s grip. And with eight playable characters, each with long stretches of time still undocumented by canon sources, this game gives fans the chance to explore their favorite lawless characters’ adventures, or rewrite them as they choose: what if Lando never lost the Falcon to Han? What if Doctor Aphra had had the good sense to never get involved in Darth Vader’s schemes? Slated for release in the second quarter of 2019, I can’t wait to discover these stories for myself.