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Stef Rag
Italy
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A two-players game published by TSR in 1980, part of TSR Minigames series.

The background
The Empire of the Firstborn developed a new powerful starship: the Novaship. Novaship’s weapons are able to destroy an entire planet. Imperial forces, ruled by the evil Vaj Korsen drive to Arcturus Prime, base of the rebel forces. The objective is to destroy the planet.
Arcturans high command spies stole Novaship’s plans and individuated its weakness: a hull over the Novaship’s surface. The decision is taken: a suicide mission starts to destroy the Imperial starship....


This beginning remember of course the story of Star Wars, in fact Novaship can be compared to the Black Death and Vaj Korsen to Darth Vader. I will not go through this point in this simple review.


Units

Arcturan player force is composed by 28 starfighters divided into 4 squads(2 falcon squads and 2 eagles squads). In each turn the rebel player chooses one of these squad and move it.

Imperial forces are divided into 20 cobra starfighters, 1 Vaj Korsen starfighter and 14 ground batteries. At his turn, the imperial player can deploy up to 4 starfighters in the map(over the launcher hexes) and move them. Moreover he can move over the tunnels (or attack) with his ground batteries.


Characteristics

Each component of the game is characterized by 4 values: attack range, speed (zero for batteries), attack class and defense class.

ARCTURAN FORCES (range, speed, attack class, defend class)
FALCON FIGHTER---4 6 A A
EAGLE FIGHTER----4 5 A B

IMPERIAL FORCES (range, speed, attack class, defend class)
VAJ KORSEN-------4 7 C E
COBRA FIGHTERS---3 6 A A
LASER BATT.------3 0 A C
BLASETER BATT.---4 0 C E
PEMPEM BATT. 3 0 B D


Combat dynamics

Attacks can be done if the target unit is within the range of the attacking unit. Compare the attack and the defend class of the two units. The attacker must launch 2 dice and totalize a number equal or less than the number indicated in the following casualty table. If the attack is successful, the target unit must be removed from the game.

CASUALTY TABLE
--------ATT
DEF\--A B C
A----8 9 10
B----7 8 9
C----6 7 8
D----5 6 7
E----4 5 6


The Arcturan player must destroy the ‘right hull’ that he chooses at the beginning of the game. In order to do that he has to be with a starfighter on the target hull and totalize 4 or less with 2 dice. Note that the imperial player doesn’t know which is the right hull.


Conclusions

This game is very simple but at the same time very nice to play. The playing time is maximum 1 hour. The two sides are not well balanced because imperial forces are too strong for the rebels and can happen that the game ends in 4 or 5 turns. On the other hand, if the rebel player is lucky and clever, he can reach the final victory.


Credits

This review has been written by Stefano Ragno. If interested in further information feel free to contact me at the following email address: stefano.ragno83@gmail.com
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A. Gondring
United States
Dover
Delaware
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Ceffi wrote:

The two sides are not well balanced because imperial forces are too strong for the rebels and can happen that the game ends in 4 or 5 turns. On the other hand, if the rebel player is lucky and clever, he can reach the final victory.


Interesting. The other posted review agrees that it's not well balanced--but states that the Arcturian rebels have the upper hand! laugh
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Ronald Fajarit
United States
La Jolla
California
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The Arcturan has the advantage. I gave the game away several years ago, but as The Actuaran fighters firing range is 4 vs most of the Imperials forces 3 range, tips the balance. The Arcturan can fire at a distance outside of the range of the Imperial forces. Since the batteries cannot move, they get picked off over time.
 
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Ralph Shelton
United States
Renton
Washington
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ronf wrote:
The Arcturan has the advantage. I gave the game away several years ago, but as The Actuaran fighters firing range is 4 vs most of the Imperials forces 3 range, tips the balance. The Arcturan can fire at a distance outside of the range of the Imperial forces. Since the batteries cannot move, they get picked off over time.
The batteries can move and the Cobra fighters can zoom out, shoot down a rebel fighter, and then zoom back within range of their batteries.

I think it most of the game comes down to when the Imperial super fighter (Darth Vader or whatever his name is) comes out. If you get him early and use him well, you can slice up enough rebels to win. If he enters late, then too many Imperial pieces will have been destroyed to put up a big enough fight for victory.
 
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