In 1977*an entire generation was captivated, and changed, by a film made by a director obsessed by fast cars, fast food and Flash Gordon. There wasn’t a single male under the age of fifteen who didn’t want to be Han Solo when they emerged into the sunlight after being transported to that galaxy far, far away by the magic of dingy cinematic projection, ground breaking special effects and a story that ensnared the hearts and minds of fans worldwide. While it may have been the foolish dream of juveniles everywhere, there were countless companies and individuals who saw the potential of trying to make those idle fantasies of space bound adventure come true and for the last five decades have attempted to do just that. To allow every kid who ever thought about sitting at the controls of the Millennium Falcon to be able to live out that scenario in the real world, or as close to it as possible. Some have been more successful than others, some have failed miserably and some have manged to come as close as humanly possible (ahem, Galaxies Edge, ahem) to delivering everything that they set out to and more.
The latest entry into that illustrious competition is Star Wars Outer Rim, from Fantasy Flight Games, a board game that allows you to fully live out your Star Wars fantasies in the comfort of your own home in the company of those who understand what those dreams mean; your fellow gamers and Warheads. Over the last forty or so years I’ve lost count of the number of different ways I’ve attempted to get a little closer to losing myself among the smuggling dens, criminal fraternities, heroes, villains, monsters and hopeless causes that populate the Lucasfilm Universe, but nothing has been as successful at allowing me to do just that as Outer Rim. Completely immersive and indulgent, Outer Rim thrusts you into space and gives you the chance to become something that thousands whiled away hours dreaming of becoming; legendary. With only your luck, wits and a whole lot of board-game, Outer Rim offers it players the chance to join the pantheon of Star Wars mythology by interacting with the established canon and the desire to keep playing far into the small hours of many a morning.
And that, in nutshell, is the problem with Outer Rim. It’s so involving, so all-encompassing that you have to keep playing and if you finish one game, you’ll want to play again; and again and again. Like all Fantasy Flight Games the rules are, truth be told, a little difficult to master at first and it takes a couple of sessions to actually get used to the system, but once you do, it becomes almost second nature and doesn’t hinder or slow down game play. If anything, the rules enhance the experience, which thanks to the myriad of mind-blowing, gorgeous components and cards used in the game is about as close to nirvana as it’s possible to get for any Star Wars fan. Truth be told, Outer Rim is the only, bar the old West End Games RPG system and the Destiny Starter Sets, Star Wars game that I’ve played so I may be a little overwhelmed by the whole thing and as I have nothing to compare it too, I won’t even try. No, that’s not true, I will. It’s like being six years old again and seeing, and getting, your first Star Wars figures, it’s like Boba Fett finally arriving in the mail after you spent ages saving the backing cards and cutting the names out to send off to Palitoy to get him and it’s like taking your seat at the midnight premiere of The Force Awakens. It’s like all of those things and more and right now, it’s the next best Star Wars thing in my life to the original trilogy. That said, I haven’t been to Galaxies Edge yet, so who knows? Maybe Disney will knock Outer Rim into tertiary position. But until they do, I’m just going to carry on playing Outer Rim. The Force is strong with this one… Tim Cundle
*1978 if, like me, you saw it in the UK.