Star Wars is awesome! That galaxy far, far away has held fans captivated for years. No matter how many times you watch the movies, they just don’t get old. I remember spending one summer as a child watching an episode every day. But in addition to all the space-fantasy action of the movies, Star Wars has developed a deep lore through games, books, comics, and other media. One of the first Star Wars books I read was Tales of the Bounty Hunters. It was thrilling to learn so much back story to these
characters we see for less than five minutes in The Empire Strikes Back. Though the same can be said for dozens of other characters from the original trilogy, my early exposure to the bounty hunter stories has endeared them to me for all these years. If there is one affiliation I’m excited to see fleshed out in the new Star Wars: The Card Game, it has to be the Scum and Villainy.
Unfortunately, Scum and Villainy only contains one objective set in the core: The Bespin Exchange. But if the flavor of this set is any reflection of what we’ll see in the rest of this faction, I doubt I’ll be disappointed. Though I never played SW:CCG competitively, I’ve heard that bounty hunter decks were one of the most popular and enjoyable decks for people to play with. How can you not get excited about bringing in the mighty Chewbacca, or personally handing Luke Skywalker over to the Emperor? I’m excited that this game captures that same thrill, packaged in its own affiliation.
So, just what can you expect from this objective set? BOUNTIES!
This is what being a bounty hunter is all about! While capturing enemy units isn’t unique to the Scum and Villainy affiliation (the Imperial Navy can do this as well), bounty hunters are in it for the credits. Bounty Collection allows you to remove focus tokens from non-unit cards after you capture an enemy unit. Currently, the only non-unit cards we expect to see focus tokens on are those that generate resources. Thematically, this card pays you credits as a reward for capturing a bounty. The requirement that the captured unit must be in play when you capture it further adds to the feel that you are really out there trying to capture bounties and earn some credits.
But this card goes much further than being a fun, thematic card. It really opens up possibilities. First of all, it’s free. Well, as a card whose purpose is to accelerate your resource generation, it makes sense to not need to spend money to gain money. But more importantly, you don’t need a resource match to play cards with a cost of zero. So feel free to splash your Imperial Navy deck with some bounty hunter scum and watch the credits come rolling in! But how does this card really play into your strategy? Some resource-generating cards allow you to produce more than one resource in a turn, but at a cost — you must place one focus token on a resource-generating card for each resource you use and you only remove one focus token from your objective each turn. If you spend 2 resources in one turn, you are spending the same number of resources per turn as if you spent 1 resource per turn for two turns. Still, the extra resource boost is an effective way to get more expensive cards into play, even if it means you have fewer resources for the next round. But Bounty Collection accelerates your resource (re)generation. Imagine having three cards in play that generate two resources. With Bounty Collection, you can spend all six in one turn and still have resources on your next turn because Bounty Collection will remove one from each card, and you will remove the other during your next refresh phase. Now that’s money — literally!
But as mama always used to say, money doesn’t grow on trees! You’ve gotta work for those credits, namely by capturing your enemies. How do you do that? . . .
. . . Hire a bounty hunter, of course! Boba Fett is the best of the best in the bounty hunting game, and it shows. As a reaction, you immediately capture an enemy character unit that you damage. All it takes is one damage! That’s almost like a one-hit-KO! And with a black unit-damage-icon, he’s guaranteed to deal a damage when he strikes, so as long as there is a character unit to capture, Boba Fett will be taking somebody for a ride in the Slave I.
But while his capturing ability is Boba Fett’s most impressive aspect, he has plenty of other good characters. First of all, he has three Force icons. If you need to, he can fight your edge battles for you and make sure things line up for your other forces. Also, he’s not a bad choice to commit to the Force. Adding three Force icons to the Force Struggle is a definite boon, and with the Elite trait, he will be removing two focus tokens each refresh phase which takes care of the two tokens he’ll receive for striking when committed to the Force.
Finally, though not inherent in the card, I must reference Mandalorian Armor. This enhancement is included in the same objective set and increases Fett’s damage capacity (or hit points) as any good armor should, but it also gives Fett a special bonus: Targeted Strike. With this trait, Boba Fett can focus to strike any enemy in play, meaning if your opponent is trying to keep Ackbar or Kenobi safe on the sidelines, Fett will still hunt them down and take them prisoner. Pure awesomeness!
So you’re probably thinking, “Where did that come from?! Aren’t you a bounty hunter fan?” Well, yes, but there aren’t very many bounty hunters yet. Also, I recently read the Han Solo Trilogy and in doing so, I really came to like this soft-hearted scoundrel. So what does Han bring to the table (other than sabacc cards, of course)? His blaster! Han immediately struck me as a great offensive character from the moment I laid eyes on his three black combat icons. He can fire off rapid shots with his two unit-damage-icons and can outwit and outmaneuver his enemies with his tactical icon. “We’re fine. We’re all fine here now..thank you. How are you?” Okay, so maybe he’s not always the most convincing, but he definitely knows a few maneuvers. His Targeted Strike ability makes him deadly to any Imperial resource-generating commanders that are too afraid to get their hands dirty in combat. But this card turned to gold when I finally read his reaction. As soon as Han Solo joins a combat, whether as the attacker or the defender, he deals one damage to a target enemy unit. We’ve known it all along: Han shot first!