In his introduction to The Hoth Cycle, Senior LCG Designer Nate French said that one of the goals the LCG team had for Star Wars™: The Card Game’s first cycle of Force Packs was to establish a sense of location.
“We wanted to invoke a powerful sense of location, and create a sense that the players are fighting over a specific place – in this case, Hoth. We want the light side player to feel besieged. He should feel as if he has to draw a line and hold off an assault. Conceptually speaking, in this cycle, the light side player is asked to establish and defend Echo Base.”
Nate continued by explaining that The Hoth Cycle would develop this sense of location and siege by encouraging players to battle for control of the most Hoth objectives.
In the movies, Hoth was the location of the Rebel Alliance’s hidden base, and the game reflects the idea that Hoth is their “home turf.” While the light side player controls more Hoth objectives than the dark side, each of his objectives grants some sort of benefit. For example, Hoth Operations (The Desolation of Hoth, 182) grants each Speeder unit “Edge (1).” The strength this objective grants the Rebel Alliance during the game’s edge battles multiplies with each Speeder the Rebels control, and it can easily made a decisive impact on the overall outcome of the conflict.
Holding Off the Assault
The Desolation of Hoth witnesses the first shots in the Battle of Hoth as it introduces four objectives with the Hoth trait, two for each side. Hoth’s punishing cold and fearsome predators seem to favor the dark side of the Force as dark side players get both The Killing Cold (The Desolation of Hoth, 190) and Shadows on the Ice (The Desolation of Hoth, 199). The light side, however, gets an early jump establishing defenses on Hoth with Hoth Operations and Echo Base Defense (The Desolation of Hoth, 187).
Once The Desolation of Hoth arrives at retailers in early 2013, both sides will have the option to build decks around as many as three Hoth objective sets. Dark side players will be able to field two copies of The Killing Cold and one of Shadows on the Ice. Light side players can use two copies of Hoth Operations and one copy of Echo Base Defense. If you include all three Hoth objectives in an objective deck of ten cards, your chances of drawing at least one during your set-up are better than eighty percent. Additionally, your chances of drawing two Hoth objectives are better than fifty percent. Of course, the odds decrease significantly if you don’t include all three available Hoth objectives, meaning that the Battle for Hoth starts with a commitment to the battlefield.
The light side has the early advantage here. While the dark side’s Hoth objective sets are tactically rich, they don’t offer the same immediate impact as the light side’s. Hoth Operations introduces Wedge Antilles and a number of Speeders while the other objective set, Echo Base Defense, features a number of utility cards that grow stronger the more your deck focuses on securing the ice planet for the Rebel Alliance and its allies.
- As an objective, Echo Base Defense prevents all unopposed damage to your Hoth objectives, so long as you control more Hoth objectives than your opponent. This opens some interesting strategies for the light side, especially as The Hoth Cycle continues and players can choose to build decks made completely from Hoth objectives. The ability to turn off all unopposed damage to your Hoth objectives forces the dark side to launch units with actual icons against them, potentially prompting the dark side player to move away from his favored balance of combat icons and his intended strategy.
- Wilderness Fighters (The Desolation of Hoth, 188) are highly versatile in cold-weather combat. They offer two edge-dependent icons and one icon per Hoth objective you control. Their prowess may be situational, but in the right situation, these Wilderness Fighters rank easily among the game’s best units.
- Subzero Defenses (The Desolation of Hoth, 189) form a natural combination with Echo Base Defense. For that matter, they combine well with any Hoth objective, and you’ll find two copies of this enhancement in the objective set. If you can get them both into play early, the dark side will have a truly difficult time making any headway against your Hoth objectives.
The Battle for the Ice Planet Is Heating Up!
Star Wars: The Card Game is now available at retailers everywhere, and its universe will soon expand, beginning with a focus on the Battle of Hoth. It begins with The Desolation of Hoth and develops throughout The Hoth Cycle as more Hoth objectives enter the game.
Imperial Star Destroyers are currently searching the galaxy for more information about the Rebel’s defenses, so keep your eyes open for additional news about The Desolation of Hoth and the dark side’s plans to crush the Rebels as we draw nearer to the Battle’s first shots!