Tyrants of Lothal: Imperial Assault Swan Song
Tyrants of Lothal is the last in its line. The order has reached its end with this, the final Imperial Assault expansion. Tyrants, thankfully, doesn’t add any major rules or components to the increasingly fiddly campaign and game mechanics. The two minor additions – new hero Tress Hacnua’s style tokens and some fiddly tinkering with the allies rules – don’t change core game play. So, is it worth buying and playing through Tyrants of Lothal? An emphatic yes, and here’s why.
The mini-campaign is the tightest and most action packed in the entire series. Everybody starts off with 2 XP to spend and the rebels go shopping prior to their first mission. This was something I had added to our previous big-box campaigns to get the toys on the table quickly.
Unerringly, the missions gets right to the good stuff in medias res. In a narrative campaign that explores the battle between Admiral Thrawn and the Spectre resistance group the heroes routinely get dropped into the decisive moment. Speed and cunning rather than raw killing power are required of the heroes. As ever, the Empire is able to outgun the heroes but it can’t outrun them. Each of the missions provides logical rewards and punishments with a plot line that follows the heroes’ success, or lack thereof.
The plot strings together the most creative missions yet. Within the confines of existing terrain tiles, figures, and rules, the expansion developers poured all their remaining tricks and novelty items into this campaign. Heroes fight it out on an AT-AT walker, at an Imperial droid factory, on Admiral Thrawn’s own Star Destroyer, and in a jetbike race with Death Troopers. Given that there are now dozens of missions across six expansions it’s no small achievement to have such novelty in the missions. You can tell the developers had fun with their final Imperial Assault campaign.
The Tyrants of Lothal Imperial class deck is Overwhelming Oppression. The 1 XP Personal Flagship card alone is worth the price of admission. I got to take a villian of my choice each mission and, often, the opening setup gave me enough initial threat to put it into play – Boba Fett, IG-88, The Grand Inquisitor and Captain Terro all made it into the campaign. Fun! Even if I couldn’t afford the threat to field the villain, the 4 XP Limitless Arsenal card made the villain’s attack pool available to other Imperial figures. An Elite Imperial Officer or Death Trooper with Boba Fett’s blue, green, and yellow dice is truly formidable. And, again, because this ability wasn’t tied to a designated figure on the board the resistance heroes couldn’t target a specific figure to get rid of it.
Tress Hacnua and CT-1701 were two welcome additions to the resistance and rebel ranks. CT-1701‘s 2 XP Pin Them Down card is probably the best upgrade card, regardless of XP cost, in the entire game. Shooting (you don’t even need to cause damage) automatically stuns and weakens two figures of your choice within two spaces of your target. I have to say, it really siphoned a lot of the sting and joy out of my Imperial endeavors. In the capable hands of veteran IA player Duncan, I either had to keep my figures well-spaced out or try to figure out how to get stunned melee attack figures close enough to targets to do damage. Even Imperial Officers couldn’t order figures into range because a stunned figure can’t move until it sheds the stun during its own activation. The rest of CT-1701’s upgrades weren’t to shabby either. Check out Strafing Run and Squad Tactics. This resistance hero really moves!
Tress Hacnua in the hands of an experienced player lives up to her martial arts theme. She bounces around dishing extra damage all the while moving Imperial figures about. Martial arts with her Cybernetic Arm and Style Tokens were fun to watch! She’s a great counter when the Imperial strategy is to camp out in front of a key objective to deny the Rebels access. She can also do cool things with her 4 XP cards like negate a total block on a white defense die or gain a free move, rest, or interact without spending an action. Not an overwhelmingly powerful hero but she was a lot of fun in the later campaign for Mark who ran her like a pro. The various Spectre operatives who were mandatory in many missions were a lot of fun for the players as well. They packed enough punch that it wasn’t a disadvantage to field them. They easily earned their keep, often killing Imperials on mass, and earned back many times their own deployment cost.
I would have loved an expansion covering the Imperial Assault style action in Rogue One, or the shenanigans on the forest moon of Endor, or a mini-campaign on Dagobah where Yoda puts the aspiring Jedi through training, but Imperial Assault is now done and dusted. I’m OK with that. I have to be. It’s been a great series to play all the way through – it’s kept the Thursday Night Gaming Group busy for years now. I also have enough Star Wars minis for any and every single skirmish, set piece battle, 7TV episode, or RPG set in the Star Wars universe. And who knows, maybe I’ll get to be a hero player in a future campaign, not so far, far away.
For reference, here are all the Imperial Assault posts on this website: