Cracken’s Field Guide for Rebel Operatives 1: Action Economy

It’s a rough galaxy out there. If you want to take on the Empire, I suggest you have a plan and follow a few operational guidelines.

Action Economy is Key

Each figure gets two actions per activation – except sometimes they get more or less. Today I want to talk about getting more for you. Next time I’ll talk about hurting Imperial action economy.

More for You

Getting more actions out of your activations is the key to success. They let you move further, hit harder, and have more opportunities to pass interaction tests.

Gaarkhan starts with excellent action economy because he has Charge which allows him to move up to his speed and make a melee attack. This is a good thing! Gaarkhan is the only character to start with a red attack die, so you want to get him up front killing Imperials as soon as possible. But it also means that he can strike from up to ten spaces away right without a ranged weapon. Or he can move 5 spaces and attack twice. But Gaarkhan gets better. His starting vibro-ax has the Cleave ability, which lets him do damage to another unit that can’t be defended against. While not a full action, it is an efficient use of a surge and maximizes an attack. For 4 XP Gaarkhan gains the ability to make up to three attacks a round with Brutal Cleave, which reads “1[strain]: Exhaust this card after you resolve an attack with a melee weapon. Perform an additional attack targeting a different figure or object adjacent to the target of the first attack.” Between Charge and Brutal Cleave, Gaarkhan has some serious action economy.

Jyn Odan has the ability to attack up to three times in a single activation right from the get-go. Her Quick Draw special ability allows her to interrupt an enemy to shoot it at the start of its activation. This can be crippling for the Imperials because if Jyn kills the target, it doesn’t get to activate. More than that, Jyn can move around the battlefield by attacking. Her Opportunist ability is active at the start of the campaign but her mobility can be upgraded. Quick As A Whip lets her move after being attacked, and Sidewinder allows her to move an additional two spaces after attacking. This means that late-campaign Jyn can attack three times in a round and move up to nine spaces. Not bad, at all.

Mak Eshka’rey doesn’t start with any extra action economy (though his abilities do work to limit the action economy of the enemy; more on that later) but half his class deck is devoted to action economy. For 1XP Mak gets Disengage, an ability that lets him interrupt and move up to 3 spaces out of turn once per round. Expertise costs 2XP and lets Mak perform an additional action this round after he interacts. This can be crucial if the Rebels are testing at terminals; Mak could potentially have up to three attempts at a terminal in a single round and his dice pool isn’t bad for any of them. Both 4XP abilities give him a boost on action economy. Decoy lets Mak reposition himself up to three spaces when an attack on him is declared (remember, enemies more four or more spaces away do not have line of sight to Mak), become Focused, and make an attack. THIS IS HUGE! Granted, it’s once per mission but it’s HUGE. 1) Deny an enemy attack. 2) Reposition. 3) Focus. 4) Attack. The attack doesn’t even have to be on the figure that targeted you. It’s so bonkers. No Escape reads “2[strain]: Exhaust this card after your esolve an attack. If the target figure was not defeated, you become Focused. Then, perform 1 additional attack targeting the same figure.” This is a great ability for a sniper and lets Mak really focus fire to clear the way to an objective.

Diala Passil isn’t very strong with action economy but some of her upgrades help out. First is Force Throw for 1XP. This allows her to test insight to move another figure three spaces. If it’s a hostile figure, it suffers 1[damage]. The best part is that it doesn’t take an action. It effectively gives Diala a third action on her turn as long as one of the choices is Force Throw (my group actually won Imperial Hospitality because Diala Force Pushed the Rebel captive onto the exit point). Next is Snap Kick for 3XP, which lets her roll 1 green die and deal its damage to an adjacent hostile figure after performing an attack. It’s not quite a second attack but the damage can’t be blocked and the green die has a minimum of 1 damage. Art of Movement doesn’t improve Diala’s action economy much, it just makes her move actions more effective. It costs 4XP but it can be worth the expenditure if she’s the designated runner for objectives. Her other 4XP ability is Way of the Sarlacc and it is a doozy! “[Action]2[strain]: For each hostile figure adjacent to you, perform 1 attack with a [melee] weapon targeting that figure.” Whoa! If Diala’s surrounded, she could potentially make up to 8 attacks in a round! (I don’t expect that to ever happen but, hey, stranger things.) Mostly what this does is lets Diala move into position to make 2-3 attacks in a single round.

Fenn Signis is the weakest character when it comes to action economy. Other than his Havoc Shot ability that does 1 point of blast damage (unblockable damage on secondary targets is always nice) his only real benefit here is 1XP for Tactical Movement which Fenn can exhaust at the start of his activation to either gain 2 movement points or give two movement points to a friendly within 3 spaces. Superior Positioning costs 4XP and lets him move and become Focused for a single strain. It’s certainly better than just moving but compared to Jyn, Mak, or Gaarkhan there’s a lot to be desired.

Gideon Argus is last because he’s the king of action economy. He begins the game with Command, which reads, “[action]2[strain]: Choose another friendly figure within 3 spaces. That figure may interrupt to either perform 1 move or 1 attack.” This lets Gaarkhan Charge a second time in a round, as he is limited to using it once per activation and this is Gideon’s activation. It also lets any of the other heroes reposition or put down some damage where needed. For 2Xp Gideon can pick up Mobile Tactician, which gives him 2 movement points after using Command. Free movement is always good. Air of Command, another 2XP ability, lets Gideon use Command on any ally within line of sight rather than just three spaces. This means Gideon can Command from further away and possibly won’t have to move to Command, freeing up an action for an attack or interaction. 3XP gets him Rallying Shout that reads, “Exhaust this card during your activation to choose another hero in your line of sight. That hero recovers 2[strain].” Another solid ability. It doesn’t take an action and frees up strain on another hero, allowing them to do more on their turn. Hammer and Anvil for 4XP is a complicated ability. “[action]2[strain]: Choose another friendly figure. You and that figure may each perform an attack targeting the same figure. The target figure chooses the order in which these attacks resolve. During the second attack, remove all dice from the target’s defense pool.” Whoa. Not only does this add an attack to the round (over Gideon shooting), one of those attacks is going to be against no defense. Lastly we have Masterstroke which reads, “Exhaust this card after you resolve “Command.” You may perform an additional “Command” without using an action or suffering the [strain] cost.” So for four strain in a turn, Gideon can Command two attacks (within line of sight, if he has Air of Command), then use Hammer and Anvil to make two more attacks? Sign me up!

Working Together

You begin to see some interesting synergies between the characters when you look at them all together. Gideon can Command Fenn to make two attacks, both of which could use Havoc Shot and deal indefensible damage to surrounding enemies. Diala can Force Push an enemy to be in Charge distance from Gaarkhan or far enough from Mak to trigger Covert – or even both. And those out-of-round attacks can trigger special abilities like Gaarkhan’s Brutal Cleave or Mak’s No Escape.

Once you wrap your head around the synergies at the table, the Rebel forces can be a terrifyingly effective team.

May the Force be with you all.