Ever since the lights came up on those first screenings of Star Wars back in 1977, it became clear that George Lucas had tapped into something. Imaginations the world over were gripped. By the story, its characters, and the vast world so unlike our own, and yet, so relatable. Children and adults alike were enthralled by the possibilities; what might it be like to wield a lightsaber as a Jedi? Or to commandeer an X-wing, charged with a perilous mission?
The years since the last Star Wars movie have been plentiful. There's been a lot of time to fantasise about the goings-on in the galaxy. Tie-in novels, comic books, animated series and the like have kept Force withdrawals at bay for most. For others? There's another world, one that offers the chance to become a player in the universe: board games. There's no doubt about it, table-top gaming is making a comeback, and with a ton of Star Wars games designed to suit players of all ages, there's no reason why you shouldn't be rolling the dice. To get you started, here's our top ten Star Wars board game recommendations.
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10. Clash of the Lightsabers
The board game: Forgotten in all the merchandising hoopla surrounding The Phantom Menace, this swift game is easy to set up as two players are dealt a series of cards to use in a battle between Qui-Gon Jin and Darth Maul. There's three rounds to their tussle in total. If you want to beat your opponent, keep an eye on your highest scoring attack cards and use a dollop of cunning to play 'em right.
Why it's loads of fun: It's a fast game that packs in a lot of thrills considering its quick pace. The option for a complete 180 is possible even when it feels like you've done your 'saber a disservice.
Best detail: The miniature pewter figurines of the Sith Lord and Jedi Master bring an added touch of cool to the game.
9. Star Wars: Edge of the Empire
The board game: The extended Star Wars world awaits exploration in this story-motivated role-playing game. Set between the events of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, you control a bunch of unsung heroes on the outskirts of the universe. Overthrow the Empire or dilly-dally about the shadier parts of the Outer Rim? It's all up to you, kid.
Why it's loads of fun: There's no hard and fast rules to agonise over. This incorporates a flexible design and a slew of sourcebooks, which allows you to conjure up your own strategies depending on what you wish to achieve. With the Jedi less of a presence in this scenario you basically get to step into the shoes of lesser known figures in the Star Wars universe. Like cocksure pilots such as Han Solo.
Best detail: Look at those dice! This is how each move is determined. There's no need to have to school up your co-players on pre-existing RPG protocol.
8. Star Wars Stratego
The board game: Originally released in 2002, there's a couple of Star Wars variants of this popular two-player strategy game. Forget the Saga Edition with Hayden Christensen's broody mug on the box, this angle is heaps better. As is the case in Stratego, slabs representing your 40 galaxy are placed on the board, and it's your job to thwart your opponent by nabbing their placards. Play as the Dark Side or as The Force.
Why it's loads of fun: If you're playing with young 'uns, who might not want to venture into the advanced options, the regular gameplay is a hoot. If you're all about the add-ons, go all-out with the enhanced version to activate your characters' special powers.
Best detail: The way the board is divided in two, with each side kitted out with its own imagery to reflect your alliances. Really makes you feel like you're in the movies.
7. Assault on Hoth: The Empire Strikes Back
The board game: An oldie but a goodie. This places you into the icy environ of Hoth, where any Star Wars fan will recall the ultimate battle between the Rebels and the Empire went down. One of the only games to truly capture the excitement of that legendary fight - and all with one throw of the dice. The onslaught of Imperial troops threaten to overthrow the Rebel forces, in an attempt to destroy the Shield generator. Will Luke's Snowspeeder prevail?
Why it's loads of fun: Due to the way the hex-board is designed, you get to relive one of the greatest moments in Empire as you see fit. It's perfectly engineered to receive custom upgrades depending on your own Star Wars collectibles; place a bunch of AT-AT miniatures into proceedings, or even some Lego minifigs.
Best detail: Play as Luke and bring his Force abilities with you to completely slay the opposition.
6. Star Wars: Epic Duels
The board game: This is an intense miniatures game, which brings many of the series' most iconic battles to life. Select one major and two minor characters to do your bidding, as you fight against your opponents in the galaxy's variety of locations. Every one of your characters comes with their own card deck, listing their specific abilities.
Why it's loads of fun: You can pit your figures against the other players in a variety of game styles to stave off repetition; elimination rounds and straight-up duels are both options.
Best detail: Decorated figures are cool, but they're not a patch on one specific moment on offer: ever wanted to see Yoda fight Jar Jar Binks? That is now a possibility.
5. Star Wars: The Card Game
The board game: Not strictly a board game per se, the defining Star Wars card game is so good it exceeds the confines of its genre. Pick a side (Light or Dark) and receive a wedge of cards to wage war against your opponent, in a battle of objectives. Whichever side you choose, your goal is to accrue points for successful accomplishments, while simultaneously preventing the opposition from doing the same.
Why it's loads of fun: The endless combination of events is enough that you won't grow tired of playing out the same scenarios over and over. If you're eager to include more players then there's a load of expansion packs available too.
Best detail: Each card is illustrated with a mad amount of precision. Beautifully-designed pictures of the events taking place on that move will make you forget that there's no board.
4. Star Wars: Risk
The board game: Fans of the discontinued Queen's Gambit game will love this. The same gameplay - QG was pretty much Risk, anyway - is reworked into this updated design, with the climactic final battles of Return of the Jedi yours for the playing. Events unfold depending on the strength of each players cards, with an event showdown occurring between the Rebel forces and Imperial fleets.
Why it's loads of fun: In order to maintain a solid lead, you've got to keep your wits about you; there are three battles going on simultaneously. Rebel players get the chance to strategise about their various forms of arsenal, while the Imperial attackers get to man the Death Star.
Best detail: Each of the three divided sections of the board come together to form Darth Vader's TIE fighter.
3. Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures
The board game: If you've ever wanted to pilot an X-Wing, this tactical miniatures game is for you. Taking inspiration from the most action-packed sequences in the entire series, you either assume the role of squad commander - leading a group of Rebel starfighters - or head up the Imperial fleet.
Why it's loads of fun: Forget the cards and dice rolling, this game puts all the emphasis on its piloting dial. Plot your moves in advance depending on what you want your pilot to do, then sit back and see how your opponent fares.
Best detail: The sheer creativity that's afforded to you. Play as it comes and you'll experience a galactic dogfight like no other. Want to go big? Let your imagination run wild and stretch the playing area across your entire living room.
2. Star Wars: Armada
The board game: One of the newer Star Wars games released that's already earning a solid reputation. Take control of either an Imperial Navy commander or a Rebel Alliance leader, and plan a course of action to take them down. There's a nifty little stick to usher your ships across the board, which might take a bit of pre-planning due to their heft unless you opt for the less powerful but more versatile X-Wings.
Why it's loads of fun: The epic scale of the battles is unmatched, before you know it two or three hours will have flown by, while you've been busy plotting where to next undermine the enemy's powerbase. Each game still only lasts six rounds, keeping the pace from veering into snoozeville.
Best detail: The range of TIE fighter and X-Wing minis bolstering your defenses are grand, but they pale in comparison to the impressive Star Destroyer, Corellian Corvette and the Imperial Navy frigate.
1. Star Wars: Imperial Assault
The board game: The fall of the Death Star and the Empire's subsequent retaliation kickstarts proceedings. Take on the role of Rebel Forces, uniting to topple the Imperial regime from exacting its plan. The whole game plays out on a map that's designed to ensure no two scenarios repeat themselves, which takes away the advantage of using previous game knowledge to win. This is all about rolling the dice, moving your troops across the battleground, and succeeding in your mission.
Why it's loads of fun: This tactical miniature game tops this list for the range of gameplay options available. Stick to campaign mode and embark on a number of map objective missions, or round up the troops for adventure mode where one player assumes the role of the Empire.
Best detail: Should your missions be successful you're able to upgrade your squad line-up to include series favorites like Han and Darth, two of the coolest minifigs included in the extensive set.