I got to play my game against my buddy last night.
On paper, I thought I was going to be in trouble. He had taken Imperials, and to see more of the game at once, I took Rebels. He's a really clever player, and I reallt felt like I was going to have be pretty clever myself to at least give him a bloody nose before I was shot down.
So I read. I read up on the GenCon tournament, on what players were bringing. The game is still new, and the meta is just now being born, so the amount of "gospel" data is really limited. I did find (to my increasing dread,) that most players at GenCon agreed with me and took Imperials. Then I saw a Rebel had won. I read his list, and another's. I sat down and ran through what he wanted to do with a configuration. I felt confident that at least I'd know why I'd lose going to the shop last night.
Then the fight happened.
My careful plan of blasting Ion Cannons to turn nimble TIE fighters into delicious targets turned to ash in my hands. I understood the initative system, but until I saw it in action, I didn't realize what a colossal mess we would make for ourselves. I was taking shot where I could, locking targets and shooting whne I thought I could get away with it. After some rawn out dogfights due to rolls, I managed to wipe out the Imperials, and only poor Dutch had to suffer a (temporary) death.
Some afterthoughts: R2D2 may be the first auto-include in this game. Repairing shields on any ship in the Rebellion is a huge deal. Combining with Biggs' "fire magnet" ability was crazy. I think the Imperials shot about 6 points of shields off of him during the game.
This game is going to get synergy and combo crazy as more ships and pilots release. Dutch can toss out Target Locks like he's handing Skittles to his best buds. We've already talked about how Biggs will tkae a hit like a champ. The Imperials seem to have powerful individuals, but the Rebels love to work as a team.
FFG has done a great job of balancing things, all told. As I said before, the Imps on paper seem to have the advantage: they can toss out more dice, barrel roll for better positioning, and Vader is a striaght-up mofo. However, the Imps don't really support each other with abilties, and sometimes rely on positioning and throwing more dice to solve problems. I want to play at least 1 more game as a Rebel, and a few and Imperial before I really solidify my thoughts on that.
If you're on the fence, buy it. Yeah, it's very Wings of War, but (and if this makes me a fanboy, so be it) Star Wars makes it better. I can't wait for more players to get this and start running events.