INTRO: this is a card game that has elements of pushing your luck, Blackjack style, coupled with tapping/exhausting cards for abilities, CCG style. Throw in some tokens and come cool pics from the movies, and that's the game really. It's a rethemed game based off an older version of the CIA vs. KGB. Not a bad 2-player game, though on the lighter and faster side. Still just enough strategy with all the luck involved to be fun and replayable, esp. if you're a Star Wars fan :)
SETUP: Split the Rebel and Empire cards apart, and pick your side. Other than the 8 character cards for each, everything is identical, just with different pictures. Choose five of your eight characters and shuffle them into your "resource deck" (made up of 20 other cards listed below). Give each player 3 tokens, used to "untap" your exhausted resources. Shuffle all the event cards into a pile. Flip the Rebel/Empire coin and place it in front of the winner of the toss (this determines winner of ties, and exchanges ownership once that player has more points). Make sure each player has their 5 strategy cards, and that's it - you're ready to begin.
GAMEPLAY: Turn over the first event card and place it in the middle of the playing area. This card will have a target number on it that both players are trying to reach, akin to Blackjack. Each player will then choose 1 of his 5 strategy cards. These can range from adding 2 to your final score that round to letting you win if you have the lower score. They kind of mess with the rules and break the system a bit. These are kept secret/facedown and not revealed until both players have passed for that round. Thus, unless it's the final strategy card left and you have a good memory, you never really know what you're opponent has up his/her sleeve.
Each players resource deck is comprised of cards that are numbered anywhere from 2-6, and there are 5 different categories of cards:
1) Character cards - worth 6 if unused (1 if tapped/exhausted), that have strong abilities; you can add any of your unchosen character cards via card abilities to your resource deck at times
2) Force cards - ranging from 2-5; these let you tap an opponents resource
3) Military cards - also range 2-5; let you destroy an opponents resource
4) Diplomacy cards - also range 2-5; lets you destroy one of your own resources; and finally
5) Recon cards - also (you guessed it) ranging 2-5; let you look at the top 2 of your resource deck and choose one to put back, one to your discard pile
You take turns playing these cards, trying (or not) to hit the numbered event score, all the while messing with your opponents cards/resources. Whoever wins the round wins that event. Each event has a VP value ranging 1-3, with a token value 0-2. If you win the event, you gain that many VP's (first to 7 wins...or you can modify to make game longer...rules suggest 10), and acquire that many tokens. Rinse, reshuffle, and repeat.
So essentially it's modified Blackjack, with turn taking and card manipulation thrown in, and your target number (21 in Blackjack) changing from round to round. The values on the event cards range from 5-20, and each event has a limit on the cards you can draw, ranging in number from 2-6. There are around 30 event cards, and each game will go no more than roughly 10 events, so each game will be somewhat different.
ART & QUALITY: The art here is really just pics from the original 3 movies, but the graphic design and layout is in typical FF fashion - top notch. The cards and component quality are the same as well. Doesn't get much better (if any). My only qualm, also in typical FF fashion, is that the box, although nice and small, doesn't hold the cards sleeved. FF needs to wake up already and start making boxes that have appropriate storage for all the merchandise - especially since they even make card sleeves and have a coding system for them!!! Come on now...
CONCLUSION: A fun little push your luck game, with a dash of strategy and bluffing to boot. Not a bad way to pass 20 minutes or so per game. There are better games out there, but if you're looking for a simple game, esp. Star Wars themed, than this might be a good fit for you.
Take command of the unlimited resources of the Galactic Empire or the heroic men and women of the Rebel Alliance in Star Wars: Empire vs. Rebellion, a tense and fast-paced card game for two players. In every round, you and your opponent match wits and resources as you struggle to emerge victorious from one of the key events of the Galactic Civil War. In the heat of battle, iconic characters like Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader can tip struggles in your favour, even as you carefully craft your overarching strategy to balance momentary losses against ultimate victory.