If There's A Bright Center To The Universe. . . - Twin Shadows Review

Daaaaaaaaa Daaaaaaaaa Daaa Da Da Da Daaaaaaaaaaa Daaa Da Da Da Daaaaaaaaaaa Daaa Da Da Da Daaaaaaaaaaa! A long time ago (well long for me as I have little patience for waiting) in a galaxy far, far away (well America so it certainly seems like that) a dungeon crawl game was released that took the world by storm. See this is why I never got the job of writing the pre-movie title scrolls. Taking what made Descent 2.0 a great game, tweaking it and sticking Star Wars on the box cover, we got Imperial Assault which is a really entertaining team vs overlord style game that sadly I haven't been able to review, but maybe I'll have some time eventually to tackle it. 

Descent 2.0 I had enjoyed a lot with a gaming friend of mine and still do, but Imperial Assault was the next level up. Using iconic characters from the lore, adding a 2 player skirmish mode and tweaking the turn order system for balance made this essentially "printing money" for Fantasy Flight Games. Lots of blister packs have been released with new miniatures and missions, but here's our first big box expansion adding in more cards and a new mini-campaign to the system. Well I suppose "big-box" is debatable given the colossal size of the original. Seriously FFG are not good for me when it comes to culling games to make room on the shelf. 

On face value it looks like one of those "more of the same" style expansions, which is never a bad thing when the original was so good. Not every game needs complex mechanisms shoved in with every expansion. This one focuses more on the planet of Tattooine and we already know another one is on the way focusing on Hoth, which for theme alone I'm probably more keen on, but being FFG we know this will be a regular thing (Endor's certainly going to be interesting with Ewok miniatures running around). So is it worth adding to the mix straight away or is it more for the devoted player?


Designer: Paul Winchester & Justin Kemppainen
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
# of Players: 2-5
Age: 12+
Time: n/a
Rating: 8.69
RRP: £26.99

.....You're On The Planet That It's Farthest From! Obviously the biggest aspect of this expansion is the new mini-campaign book. This can be played in one of two ways, either mixed in to the base campaign as additional side missions or as a full mini-campaign in its own right, roughly half the length of the original. The fact that it gives both sides some starting XP and cash is clear enough that these missions are a little harder in their own right. That's fine if you're starting fresh, however be wary when mixing these into the base game. My opponents tackled the Han Solo intro mission as their first side mission in our campaign and it was noticably harder, though consequently more exciting, than expected. They almost won it however so it's not like they're unbeatable at an early stage.
I say exciting, because it's clear that FFG have had a chance to collate feedback from the base game and reflect on it. The missions attempted so far in Twin Shadows have been highly thematic in nature, involving many different scenarios and surprises midgame to the extent that I wish they featured in the movies. If you're like me and have a wild imagination when it comes to action sequences, you can get some good stories out of these new missions.  
UTINNI!! 


The additional cards for the most part simply add a few additions to each deck that existed in the base game. It's nothing special, but it's more variety for those who haven't done the base campaign yet. However those who are just undertaking the mini-campaign probably won't notice they're even there aside from the two new player characters who ares decent enough in their own right to be viable without falling to the classic problem of power creep. Saska is playing in my current campaign I'm hosting and even though she's not overly fast or tough, I've learned the hard way not to underestimate those devices she keeps passing round. 

The biggest addition outside of the mini-campaign are the miniatures/tokens and corresponding deployment cards to go with them. Boba Fett and R2-D2 among others enter the scene as playable allies, although their miniatures come in subsequent booster packs, however you can now also use Heavy Stormtroopers and Tusken Raiders in your regular games as open group deployments. Obviously if you want to keep to the theme, you won't be using Tusken Raiders on a space station, but hey go nuts if you want to. Having these new squads gives the Imperial player more options in each mission to surprise the Rebels with, hopefully reducing the need to spam the same old units in each mission. 

I am gutted they didn't include Jawa's though. I suppose it's because they're not overly hostile creatures so the Imperial player wouldn't really be using them, but on the flip side, don't make reliable allies for the Rebels to use either. Such a shame though, I mean who wouldn't have wanted little Jawa's running around shooting up droids screaming "Utinni" on every turn. Ah well, it's a pipe dream! 


Verdict


Twin Shadows is effectively what you and I expected it to be. It's more of the good stuff to bolster your game if you haven't played a proper campaign yet. However for those who have already played a full campaign, this is a nice way of getting the group back together again for another play through without having to grind for the fundamental basics ahead of time. Having these missions and miniatures incorporated into the base campaign allows the Imperial player some more options and variety when playing the game and the new missions in particular can be quite action packed compared to the originals from experience.

There aren't a huge amount of additions for each part of Imperial Assault in terms of cards, but they're nice to have and we always appreciate new characters in the mix which so far have not shown any signs of power creep. The miniatures and tiles as always look great and the price point isn't particularly expensive for what you get. It is by no means an essential expansion though. If you're played through Imperial Assault already and love it, then it's a must buy to continue the fun in a new setting. If you're just starting out, it's very easy to mix in and certainly will only add to the variety in your upcoming campaign. 

 
If you are interested in this game you can find a copy at your friendly local gaming store -

http://www.findyourgamestore.co.uk/


YOU WILL LIKE THIS GAME IF:


You've played through the original campaign and want a new adventure to run.

You want as much variety as possible in your first campaign - it mixes seamlessly.

You want additional units to choose from in your Skirmish games.



YOU WILL NOT LIKE THIS GAME IF:


You didn't like Imperial Assault to begin with - it's more of the same, barely anything new in mechanics.

You were expecting more than just a bolster to what's already there.  

You wanted Jawa miniatures. . . . . . . seriously FFG, no Jawas? 

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