The First Time is a series where our writers share about their first time trying a new product or experience.
As a Star Wars superfan, I would never pass up the opportunity to fly the Slave I as Boba Fett or the Millennium Falcon as Lando Calrissian. But since I can’t really do that in real life, I have to settle for board games.
Star Wars Outer Rim is a board game that lets you redefine those beloved characters by placing you in the outermost reaches of the Star Wars galaxy and giving you the opportunity to choose your pathway to intergalactic fame. Will you be an infamous bounty hunter, a suave smuggler, a ruthless mercenary, or crime lord combining all three?
Outer Rim takes place over a series of turns where you get to explore planets, track down bounties, upgrade your ship, and accept dangerous missions. This is made all the more difficult by a loyalty system where the warring factions of the Rebel Alliance, Imperials, Hutt, and Syndicate all compete for control.
The goal of the game is to get ten fame points and become the most famous character in the Outer Rim. The best part? How you get those ten fame points is completely up to you. They can be gained by completing personal goals, delivering cargo (the legal or illegal kind), taking down patrols from any of the factions seeking control of the Outer Rim, and purchasing luxury items from the marketplace.
Some jobs, like bounty hunting or smuggling, are completed by moving between planets and dice rolls/skill checks. Jobs present complicated, often multi-stage storylines that unfold as you draw cards from a quest story card deck.
Outer Rim combines lore, characters, and storylines from much of the Star Wars canon, including the original and prequel films, Rogue One, and Star Wars Rebels. It’s exciting to get to play as legendary characters like Lando Calrissian, Han Solo, or Boba Fett and chart your own way.
The game allows for one to four players. Playing with more players is ideal because it allows for more exciting skirmishes and tighter competition for jobs and bounties. There is also a single player variant that incorporates special rules and AI characters whose moves are determined by a special deck of cards. The single player mode is fun, but the game truly shines when you play with actual players.
The gameplay and mechanics are incredibly simple — after you master the thick play-through guide, the game can become addicting. The number of rules and caveats can seem overwhelming when first starting out. My advice to not get overburdened by the front-loaded nature of the rule books is to read the set-up and basic game mechanics before starting to play, and then reading specific sections as you encounter new mechanics.
Outer Rim feels like a sandbox video game as you search planets for contacts or your bounty hunting targets. When you share a space with another player you are allowed to trade and sometimes fight directly against each other. It makes for interesting events that are reminiscent of scenes from the Star Wars universe where characters bargain in cantinas.
The only downside of Outer Rim is that after three to four play-throughs, the story deck can get a little repetitive. There are only a limited number of events (just over 100), and some of them can be encountered every game. So although you can decide to play or respond to the events differently, there are some events that you can bank on experiencing. Unfortunately, there are no expansions to date, but the game could easily incorporate them.
Star Wars Outer Rim is designed incredibly well and boasts beautiful artwork. The gameplay is riveting and addicting, and while you can run into some repetitive events, the game itself is fun enough to deserve future expansion.