[Editor’s note – the OG welcomes a new author to our group today in Eric Edens. This is his first piece, and I think that you will find that he adds a very Opinionated voice to the blog! Welcome, Eric!]
$30 vs. $300?
For many of you, Star Wars the Queen’s Gambit is a “Grail” game. Many people want it and very few have it. If you see it on Ebay for under $200 you will buy it immediately. It’s got a ton of miniatures and really rivals many good toys. Of course it is also based on a movie nearly all of society feels is horrible and needs to be stricken from the record of humanity. So why do people still want to buy it and why did it garner such a high price?
Well, I have played it finally. I played it and I see the appeal. It is unlike any game that came out at that time in the manner in which you can duel with another player. There are multiple arenas to fight over all inter-splicing and helping other areas. It has lots of exciting die rolls and outthinking your opponent on what arena to fight for control over. It is fun. I have to say, I like the game. I liked having lots of choices and I even liked the die rolling. But only for the first half of the game.
Queen’s Gambit is about an hour to an hour and a half game with multiple rounds sometimes being “wasted” with bad rolling. It also, because of how big the decision decks are, could be futile for one player if they never draw the card they need. This is particularly important for the Rebel player as it is nearly impossible to win if they don’t get Anakin to the end of his track to shut down the droids. Otherwise, they have to destroy all the droids off the board which would probably make the game last 2 and a half hours for this with all of the random dice rolling involved. But again, I still like the game. I just can’t handle the randomness and the inevitability of one player winning after the first half of the game. It becomes pretty obvious about half way through if you have a shot or not and mostly it comes down to if you have had good rolls or not. I know some people will say you can come back from a deficit but was I found in my game, I only drew enough Anakin Cards to get to the next to last spot even if I rolled perfectly. I then, when I was defeated, looked at the deck and I was over 10 cards until I would draw another one and of course with the rolling I could have still failed. To me, that means I had no chance to win but yes I know there is always a chance. Again I still had fun until that realization though.
So why am I writing this article? What is the point? The point is, I found a better game. I found a cheaper game. I found the same game with hardly any of the issues I have with Queen’s Gambit. And to top it off, it is based on a better movie! Star Wars Risk is $30 roughly and it is every bit as good as Queen’s Gambit and also only takes 30 minutes to play.
The rolling and the runaway winner is over before you get tired of it. The deck of cards is so much smaller you will always be able to draw the cards you need. There are still multiple arenas to fight over but this time the rebels must complete the equivalent “Anakin” track the shields in order to win. But of course that’s ok because there isn’t the nearly useless and meaningless Gungan War arena in this one. Return of the Jedi may be argued to be the worst of the original 3 films, but you cannot argue that it is worse than Phantom Menace. And if you can argue that, just don’t. No one likes you anyway.
So what am I telling you? I’m telling you, yes you, the person who loves Euros or huge thematic games or even heavy War Games but has learned to hate Monopoly to by a Risk game. And not even those fancy Legacy Risk games we keep hearing about but just a regular Risk game. And you know why? Because it isn’t a Risk game. It is Queen’s Gambit. Hasbro has put a great game into an unsuspecting Risk box. Hasbro has, itself, performed the Queen’s Gambit and I am telling you the secret. She is in Star Wars Risk. Go get her.
Additional: At the time of this posting, Star Wars Risk is actually on sale at Amazon, Walmart, and potentially other big box stores for a mere $15. Yes, $15. You have no excuse. Buy.
A lot of BGG comments indicate the game is heavily unbalanced, favoring the rebellion. Thoughts?
In both games I have found the Empire is easier to play as and win with. There are a couple rule clarifications for Star Wars Risk which make this happen but originally it was slightly balanced in favor of the Rebllion. I feel it is thematic that the Rebellion has a slightly harder time winning just due to the sheer joy you get when you beat the Empire and it is harder to do. But yes, check the rule clarifications on BGG to help with that issue.
If you want to spend more $$, there’s also a “deluxe” version of the game on Amazon for $50.