Review: Star Wars Battle of Hoth takes place in LEGO bricks
Frozen ice floes rubbed against each other with an outrageous raspy sound. Luke hid with his rebel forces behind one of the cliffs towering above the plain. It was only hour, since he got an alarming message – Darth Vader sent his troops to the planet Hoth to destroy them.
But how did they found them here? Do they have a traitor amongst them, who revealed their position? Or is it just a coincidence? He looked down at the plain full of deadly units of the Empire. No, it can not be a coincidence. Let’s come together a little bit lower, wait for a moment and when the enemy is in the weakest spot on the bed of ice, they will start an attack. But something’s wrong. Snow is too white today and everything is too.. edgy.
After Egypt, the Hogwarts and world of HEROICA, this time we will look together into one of the most popular fictitious worlds, which exist in human civilization. Created by the early eighties visionary George Lucas and stretching not only over six movies, but you will find characters and this world also in the books or computer games. From the world of Star Wars, there would also be a Living Card Game soon from Fantasy Flight Games company.
But we are here together today to return to the events of the fifth Star Wars movie, subtitled Empire Strikes Back. It is in its first part, when you will watch battle for the planet Hoth, where the rebels had their secret base, on your screens. And this theme is chosen for next game of Cephas Howard and Bastiaan Bréderode. Star Wars Battle of Hoth is one of the LEGO games coming as news for year 2012.
The box with the traditional LEGO animated picture represents the battle of the planet Hoth. Under the lid, you will find several bags with a lot of LEGO bricks in them. And what will become of them with passing time? It will be white plain on planet Hoth, which is not created as an ordinary plate, but consists of paths, as in any HEROICA game, for example Heroica Castle Fortaan (review available only in Czech).
In addition to these pathways, you get also a LEGO dice, which will you fill with white and red squares. You will decide partial about the results on the battlefield, but the LEGO dice will has the final say. Neither side will be able to take the battle to the opponents dark gray starting field, without the support of their forces.
The basic Stormtrooper (actually Snowtroopers) miniatures are white with a real Darth Vader in their midst. The rebel soldier miniatures are of course golden and they are lead by none other, than Luke Skywalker himself.
But the infantry units, have a weak chance compared to battle specials, and so there is easily found some machine on each side. For the rebels, there are fighting living and saddled Tauntauns and flying snow scooters called Snowspeeders. On the Empire side, you can not miss the famous an AT-STs and AT-ATs, which at first glance look almost as impressive as in the original films. But you have to first form these units out of the LEGO bricks. This is also the only major assembling, which is waiting for you in Star Wars Battle of Hoth.
At the beginning of the game, players must choose a side. This LEGO game is specially created for battle of two opponents. Although you can play with four (create teams of two) and divide unit in half, but the games are by far the best and funniest in two players. One of the opponents, therefore, must take the white evil Imperial units, while the other will lead the rebels. The battle begins and let the best win.
There are no significant changes in gameplay compared to other LEGO games at first But as you play the game, you will see, that rolling the dice is only the second decision made in the game. You are finally able to decide freely, what would you like to do. Players have two action points to do any of two available actions. Through them they can either move their troops in any direction, or attack the opponent.
Movement is very simple. The game board contains blue and gray crossroads connected to white roads. The units have to always stop at these squares, which represent junctions and constitute one step for a unit. As for speed, all units have in the basic version of the rules the same mobility. It’s up to you, if you use both action points to move or not. In any case, you should never move twice the same unit in one turn.
In addition to moving, you may decide to attack the enemy. Most units consist of several characters – the foot soldiers are grouped by three to four, riding unit consists of one crew of one man and sometimes the machine needs two to be controlled. A number of men also determines units lifetime. For each hit by an enemy infantry, unit loses one man. The vehicle can continue fight even after downing the last man, but only until one hit.
Players can attack opponents in his two actions. As with movement, even here the two actions can be used to attack enemy units, but also may not and you may move instead. It depends only on the player decisions. Likewise, a player must never attack with one unit twice within the same round.
The assault force is different for each unit. Walking unit only has range to neighboring box in any of four straight directions. Equestrian units Tauntaun and AT-ST with one man on board can shoot the two fields, but in the diagonal direction. The strongest are Snowspeeders and AT-ATs, which carry two men on their backs and shot in all orthogonal directions at a maximum distance of three fields. Therefore, they are deadly instuments for the player, who is able to control them well.
The moment you decide to attack, you must first choose unit, which is under attack. Now you have to determine, if you attack is a success and your missile hit the target. To know this, you must make the dice throw. The red box (in the basic game, 4 of 6 sides of dice) represents the hit, while the two remaining white sides mean, that your unit missed. If hit, the opponent of the injured lose one miniature from the unit. In there are not any left, the player loses this unit and puts it out of the game.
In addition, if you attack with a unit, in which Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader are present, you can even use the Force and destroy the entire target unit! But to accomplish this, you must not only roll red color on the dice, but it has to be a pair of symbols, that authorizes the usage of force. There are only two sides of dice for this option.
The game may end up just two different ways – either you conquer your opponent’s base units (= arrive in the furthest row of the board from your point of view) or you destroy all enemy troops in the fight man against man. Commander of surviving units is the winner.
If you should decide to play Battle of Hoth in four, then the players in team must always work together – everyone gets one infantry and one motorized unit. Together they win and lose. But there will always be an imbalance in power, because the units are not equally spread and one player will have a stronger command of fighters, then the other.
Star Wars: The Battle of Hoth is a pleasant strategic game. Yes, despite this being the game, where you throw the dice to find out result of your fire. Even so, your strategy can affect your winning or losing. You must be a reconciliation, but even so you must keep in mind the fact, that bad luck can burn pond and spoil all the plans in a few well-aimed shots.
Tactic has finally a place here, precisely because each unit shoots in a different direction and at other distances. You must constantly adjust their position according to the plans of the enemy and move them very deliberately. The whole game is really exciting like that, kinda like Chess in Star Wars world.
Additionally, all ends very quickly, because to succeed and win, you do not have to chase the last remaining unit of the enemy. You simply arrive at the undefended opponent base, the gray bar from which the players started their duel. This game ends immediately with the defeat of the seized opponent and you can be sure, that this happens very soon.
Like any LEGO game, Battle of Hoth contains a number of recommendations in the rules, how you could enrich game. Now we will look at some of them. Above all, film fans can enjoy the presence of Han Solo, Chewbacca, Boba Fett and General Veers. All this units can be part of your team and you can command them, and even use the Force with them. You can also find and assemble the machine-gun nests in the game, which have special rules to use – with them you can shoot twice per round, but you can only move one square at once.
If you do not like the original assembly of the game board, there are more alternative proposals to the battlefield in the rules. Or you can unleash your imagination and try to create a just and pure theater of your imagination. For players who like the building of LEGO bricks, this is a pleasant challenge. The game can also take advantage of additional support units, if your power drops below four fighters.
Star Wars: The Battle of Hoth is the closest LEGO game to grown-up concept. It can be still played by children, you should be certain of this. But we can also picture father playing against son, just like with chess. The fighting outcome is still about chance, but this time it is fully within your power to keep your units from the fatal siege. The final decision depends very much on your relationship to the Star Wars phenomenon. If you like it, then you will surely fall in love with all those tiny pieces very quickly. And if not? Then it’s up to you, if weakness for LEGO will be enough to give this game a chance.
Review: Star Wars Battle of Hoth takes place in LEGO bricks
Star Wars are a phenomenon, which is quite inavoidable. And it has reached also the world of board games. Now its time for you to look on planet Hoth, thanks to LEGO bricks and reexperience again the battle, which had to be fought by the rebel army. Its nicely compiled into a box with this tactical game, which can be sorted between the better LEGO games published so far. Game is great for two players, its balanced and offers lots of options and ways to victory. And there are also many options, how to extend the game with new variants. Beginners might have trouble, when putting the game together and all will be disappointed by the team game for four. Otherwise is Star Wars: Battle of Hoth nice chess battle on a frozen planet.