It hasn’t been that long since we reviewed Star Wars: Outer Rim, but we’ve recently been able to build on our experience with the game using a brand new expansion. Here’s a look at Star Wars: Outer Rim – Unfinished Business, which is out now from Fantasy Flight Games and Asmodee.
Even though it came out back in June of 2019, we highlighted Star Wars: Outer Rim as part of our May the 4th feature this year. Both visually and in terms of a gameplay mechanics it’s a beautifully designed board game, and it strikes just the right balance between catering to those who are heavily into Star Wars’ lore and those who are only casually interested in it and just want to play for the sake of the mechanics.
It’s no wonder that many were eagerly anticipating the release of the Unfinished Business expansion, and we were among those. We were curious to see in which direction they’re be taking the game with this new boxed expansion, and if it was going to be more of the same or if it would change what we felt was already a finely crafted game. It turns out that they decided to tweak the experience quite a bit, and for Outer Rim veterans it will make things feel entirely fresh again. It’ll be hard for them to go back to ‘vanilla Outer Rim’ after playing this, which is both a testament to how good this expansion is and a warning, as newcomers to the franchise will be perfectly happy starting without Unfinished Business, as they should. That might split the player base, depending on who you play with, but we also realize it probably won’t affect those playing with a set group at all.
Of course this is an expansion and not a complete rework, so you’re still playing with characters looking to build up their reputation by traveling across the galaxy, completing missions and claiming bounties. There are some major tweaks to how this plays out though, and the biggest one comes from the Core Worlds that you add to the existing game board by connecting them to the existing edges of the rim. In addition to making the board slightly larger (but not by much), this also adds an option to engage in hyperdrive travel – whisking you from one side of the board to the other. This not only fits in really well with the Star Wars background, it also changes the gameplay quite a bit. Depending on your destination, you now no longer have to traverse the entire length of the board. This makes certain jobs and bounties far more feasible than before, so you’ll immediately notice players making choices they wouldn’t otherwise make.
Hyperdrive travel isn’t without risk though, so players will carefully weigh the benefits before they use it. All sorts of stuff can go wrong, as a dedicated deck of “encounter” cards will show. You can lose money, or ruin your reputation, so it’s not a choice you’ll make lightly – which makes it all the more exciting. It also results in players spending more time on running operations than on traveling from one side of the board to the other, so that’s also a plus.
Unfinished business doesn’t just include Core World and the hyperdrive option though – it’s a full sized box with its own rules and over 200 cards, almost half of which are encounter cards, with the other half mainly consisting of market and databank cards. There are also new AI cards, reference cards and eight cards for new characters, alongside all the corresponding sheets and tokens. It seems relatively expensive compared to the base game, but aside from a full game board you get a ton of stuff here.
The expansion also brings another new twist in the shape of jobs that are meant for multiple bounty hunters, which is a fun new element in a game world where interaction between players was limited and people were rarely (if ever) teaming up. What’s extra exciting is that you can do this with a few entirely new characters, though the bulk of them aren’t household names like Han Solo was in the base game. The star attraction this time? Chewbecca, without a doubt.
You’ll also have more character engagement through the new Contact tokens, which are orange and get placed by planets on the board. Hitting these gives you a chance to add familiar faces to your crew (at a price), which again changes up the dynamics of the game as you progress through a session.
As an “expansion within the expansion”, Unfinished Business also lets you expand the experience further with optional rules that tie into Favors and Ambitions. The former is especially interesting for experienced players, as you get to haggle for favors that can give you a short term edge – but will also make you have to return the favor at a later time. It complicates gameplay a bit, but it’s a perfect next step for experienced bounty hunters. Ambitions have a far less immediate effect, as they factor into which conditions have to be met in order to win a game – something that can force players to employ new strategies and make different decisions.
Star Wars: Outer Rim – Unfinished Business is a great expansion for longtime players looking to enhance the experience for them. It does so in several meaningful ways, and even offers long term opportunities to have the game grow with you. As with many expansions it’ll make it a bit more daunting for newcomers you’re looking to invite, but Outer Rim fans won’t want to go without this one – if you’ve added Unfinished Business, you’ll likely never look back.