I'm back! I'd said that my time off (the "sabbatical") was only temporary, and that I planned to return to the microphone to continue Boardgames To Go. And that's just what happened. During the year that I've been away from this podcast, I've still been playing plenty of games, which you can read about. I've been doing more wargaming, which you can hear about. And perhaps you've seen or heard me at BGGcon or on other podcasts & videocasts. Which means I was never really gone. Nonetheless, those things are different from producing my own boardgame podcast, and I'm happy to be doing that again.
To kick off my return, I'm featuring a roundtable discussion with a bunch of friends after we played a full day of Star Wars-themed boardgames. You may recall that I once grumbled about boardgame themes that were for kids (including kids that never grew up), not grown-ups. I have to admit I still feel that way about most games involving goblins, zombies, or spaceships. BUT...you're all welcome to call me a hypocrite when it comes to Star Wars. Here is where I cave. I was in 5th grade when A New Hope was released, and it may not be an exaggeration to say it changed my life. I'd decided to be a "spacecraft architect" the year before, and that's sort of what really happened in my life, but Star Wars probably sealed the deal. I remember talking with a college classmate who had a similar experience, and she grew up in Singapore. What an influence!
Back in 1977 I was everything Star Wars. My brother & I saw the film many times in the theater. I had the LED watch, the belt buckle (this was the 70s), the t-shirt, the action figures, the X-wing, the LP records... When the prequels came around my kids were the perfect age to enjoy them with me. Now that the new movies are upon us, I'm loving the fact that they're December releases, so even though they're away to college (& beyond), we can still enjoy them as a family over the holidays. Star Wars has always been an important part of my life.
What about Star Wars games? Well, yes, kind of. It took a long while for some really good games about these favorite movies to arrive on the table. I had the vintage Escape from the Death Star game, but it's not good. We played some Star Wars RPG when it came out in the 1980s, and a couple of the associated wargames. (Star Warriors was tedious, but Assault on Hoth was good.) Though I'm only a casual computer and videogamer, in the 2000s I definitely had wonderful times playing Rebel Assault, Rogue Squadron, Battlefrontand others with my son. Anything we could play co-op was our favorite.
More recent years have produced quite a few family strategy games with a Star Wars subject. Oddly enough, the prequels have some of the best games, probably because that's just when Craig Van Ness and Rob Daviau at Hasbro were doing incredible things with the production capability of that mainstream publisher. Other publishers, too, however. Now we're seeing a resurgence in Star Wars boardgames, like an awakening in the Force...
I invited some friends over to play several of these titles for a Star Wars-themed game day, and then flipped on the recorder to have a roundtable discussion of them. Enjoy!
P.S. AFTER the Star Wars game day we learned about the Black Series (aka deluxe) edition of the Risk game. It addresses most of our grumbling about the production shortcuts in the mass market edition we played...but not all of them. I'm not sure if it's worth the extra money. And I've already bought a couple MicroMachines to get figs for the Falcon and Executor in my game.