Session Report: Stars Wars Outer Rim

My brother and I like a variety of games, and one type we look for is good sandbox-y adventure games. We have a few but have also passed on some. The genre is full of sloppy concepts. Though I really like Merchants & Marauders, it can be brutal. When Outer Rim was announced, I was definitely on board. But at a $70 MSRP price tag, it wasn’t something I could afford, so onto the wish-list it went, though I was able to play solo a few times on Tabletop Simulator. Recently, our friend in our game group came upon a great deal at a Barnes & Noble, grabbing a copy for very cheap. He intended to re-sell online, but I mentioned it was one we were after. The B&N didn’t have any copies left, so he sold his copy to us. Finally, I could play the real thing!

After having read through many rulebooks, learned about editing, and written multiple rulebooks (is it weird that I enjoy writing rulebooks?), I can say that FFG needs better rules. Even when they have all the information, there’s some clunky writing and poor organization. And this 2-rulebook nonsense needs to end. Well-written rules don’t need to be split up like this, and there are times when a rule is explained better in the Learn to Play guide. And stop saying “simply!”

Anyway, since I had already played multiple times, and really, it’s not a complicated game, we got to playing pretty quick. The setup is a bit fiddly though. Lots of decks to shuffle, lots of tokens to put out (after constructing the board).

Despite the look, there was no trouble finding components against the table cover.

My brother took Doctor Aphra and I took Boba Fett. I went with extra firepower in my starter ship while my brother went for speed. Starting with a bounty, I immediately went investigating contact tokens. I grabbed one as an early crew, which turns out was the companion of my bounty (you know, those guys who don’t seem to like anyone in Mos Eisley). Didn’t take too long to find my bounty, but I know there was a good amount of luck involved. I’ve tried bounties before and when playing solo or 2-player, the contacts aren’t revealed enough which makes finding bounties really time-consuming. In a game that is essentially a race, this makes bounty-hunting in low player counts very luck-dependent.

My brother focused more on jobs and delivering illegal goods. With Doctor Aphra, her ability is ridiculous on jobs. He made a lot of money early with some good luck (unfortunately for me, after my first bounty, I had a string of bad luck and fell very far behind), but he was being too picky about his ship. They’re all better than the starting ship, but he insisted on buying “the right one.” His intentional slowing down to find the right ship gave me time to catch up. Which took a long time.

Thanks to the maelstrom, my crewmate was sucked out of the ship after hitting an asteroid. I went and hired another crew member but definitely did not tell her about what happened to the last guy. She doesn’t need to know. I started with positive Hutt rep, but after stealing some cargo from a derelict ship then turning in Greedo for a fat reward, they decided they didn’t like me anymore. The rebels, however, decided they liked me after I freed a creature of some kind (I have no clue what I freed); they’re easy to please. Turning in Greedo also finished my personal goal. I doubled my Fame in one turn but was still behind. But another bounty turn in briefly gave me the lead.

After getting my Slave 1, I was in a good position to do combat in space or on ground. My maneuvering thrusters gave me +1 ship health and removed a die from the enemy because I had Tactics. Then I had two awesome weapons for ground combat, rolling all 6 dice and only taking 2 damage if I win. I eventually bought some guns for my ship too so I was rolling 6 in ship combat too. I had the perfect chance to get another fame for blowing up a Syndicate ship but rolled really poorly. As it turns out, had I won the battle, I would have won the game. We were 9 and 9 on Fame, but I was a couple turns from getting another Fame, and my brother chanced upon the perfect encounter card that gave him a free turn and let him win.

Even with the loss, it was satisfying being a monster in combat. I had blown up 2 ships and completed 4 (5?) bounties (I think that’s the most I had ever done, I got really lucky on a couple of them). I had an opportunity to buy my Mandalorian Armor too, but it was too late in the game to make use of it.

You can see my collection of bounties and defeated ships in the top left. Also a dead contact in there.

It’s a shame that for some reason, Fantasy Flight Games has decided not to release anything for the game? Or are just playing a really long waiting game? Outer Rim is fun, but it definitely feels like it needs more cards. The market in particular is a bit small other than the jobs deck. And there are obvious holes in the Databank where more cards are supposed to go, but where are they? What’s going on at FFG these days? At least we own Outer Rim before it goes out of print, I guess.

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