I’ve Played Star Wars: Shatterpoint – Here is What I think!
One of the downsides of buying a tabletop war game like Star Wars: Shatterpoint is that you never can play it the same day you get it. Atomic Mass Games and Asmodee Canada were nice enough to send over Star Wars: Shatterpoint Core Box about 10 days ago, and after some hard work, we finally got all the miniatures and terrain painted and where ready to go.
It was great that the day we began playing Shatterpoint was the day more Star Wars content arrived for review, so expect even more articles about Count Dooku, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and more!
How to it Works
There is a lot going on in Star Wars: Shatterpoint when you first open the rules. In fact, the rules, well descriptive, are a bit overwhelming. This happens from time-to-time and I’m not sure there is an easy fix, outside of offering an official how-to-play video players can watch.
In Star Wars: Shatterpoint, each team of units will work to control objectives on the map (a 36” x 36” play field) and move a struggle token back and forth. The game runs over 3 rounds, where each round reveals different objectives on the map. The first team to win 2 of 3 rounds, or completely kill their opponent, is the winner.
Atomic Mass Games has always done great miniatures, and this is once again the case here. As we noted in our preparing and painting the content post (LINK POST), there is a bit of work required to remove mould lines and get the items painted, but not necessarily more than any other miniatures game.
The additional content in the box includes cards for each character on the board, tokens for damage, wounds, and more, as well as measuring tools for finding out your characters maximum move distance, maximum shooting distance, etc.
Everything is really great. I love that the included attack and defense dice are etched as opposed to printed, which means they will hold up well. As they are being thrown and used more often than almost anything else in the box, having a good quality dice set is fairly important.
The downside here is that the game only comes with one set of dice and one set of range and movement tools. While these can be shared between both players, swapping dice and measurement tools all the time becomes a bit tiresome, especially when you are on opposite sides of a large table. Additional dice packs and measurement tools packs are available for purchase, and I can see why these were not included to keep the Core Box cost down. They would have just been nice!
After you are set up and ready to play (all 8 of your figures deployed on the battlefield in two groups) it’s time to get strategic. The map isn’t so big that you won’t be in conflict quickly, but there are a few turns where you can get your troops into good positions. Certain troops work better with other troops – for example, Mandalorians want to be near other Mandalorians, and when they are, they can perform special abilities that give them the upper hand.
Sometimes these abilities let you do more attacks, move or dash, or even jump. Each character gets two actions per turn, on top of special actions they might get to take by spending force points. These actions can never be the same actions in the same turn, so you cannot move twice.
While moving twice would be helpful in some situations, I do think limiting that keeps the game from becoming a, “I got there first so I control the objective” slugfest. Instead, additional actions after movement can be used to hunker down (give you additional defense dice), attack an enemy unit, and more.
The strategy, though, is more than I could have hoped for. There are a number of things you want to keep organized in front of you to maximize the benefits you might get. For example, in my first game I let my Mandalorians get too far apart, and without being able to take advantage of their abilities for being near each other, I ultimately lost.
Built for 2 Players, Best with 4
Ultimately, the box and Atomic Mass Games will tell you that Star Wars: Shatterpoint is a two player experience, and it most definitely is. However, after playing through twice so far, I found that the experience with 4 players (2 versus 2, each controlling a squad) is much better and faster.
Instead of trying to remember 8 units and 6 cards, including all their special abilities, we found it much better to just control a single squad, and know how that squad works. It also makes the game faster as there is less time spent trying to strategize characters you aren’t fully familiar with.
Still, the game does work as a two player experience, and the more you play, the better understanding you will have of the various characters. As more characters get added to the experience – Count Dooku and Obi-Wan Kenobi are in the office now! – you might find learning all the squads is more work than you might be prepared to invest.
While I’ve waxed poetic here for almost 1000 words, this isn’t a review, yet. I’ve only been able to play Star Wars: Shatterpoint for a little while, not nearly long enough to know if all the systems work as intended. Still, I have really enjoyed my experience so far, and cannot wait to play more!
Star Wars: Shatterpoint will be available on June 2, 2023