The force packs: The Hoth Cycle
Now that we have talked about the core set of the Star Wars LCG, let’s begin our coverage of the expansions. First up in this long list is the ‘Desolation of Hoth’ Force Pack. This Force Pack as you may have guessed is based around the ice world of Hoth, where the rebels founded their secret base. Each Force pack is apart of what is called a cycle. So, this is the beginning of the Hoth Cycle.
This set comes with 60 new cards in the form of objective sets 37-42. There are several duplicates of these objectives in the pack. I like the addition of multiples in these sets, it means you really can cater your deck to certain styles and makes those awesome new cards much more likely to crop up during play.
Let’s start with the Light Side then, first up, the Jedi.
‘A Message from Beyond’, this set in typical Jedi fashion has a large focus on the superhero units your deck will contain. (Luke, Yoda, etc.) It makes anything that is buffed with enhancements even more frightening with cards such as ‘Weapon Mastery’ that grant a unit a singular ‘Unit Damage’ icon per enhancement it holds until the end of the phase.
Considering this set comes with 2 enhancements in the form of ‘Old Ben’s Spirit’ you will surely never be short of them. This card essentially acts as a second life and is discarded when the unit it is attached to would die. This in combination with other cards in the deck can grant you some truly formidable defenders, consider the free to play ‘Calm’ card that allows you to remove all focus tokens from a friendly unit during an opponent’s turn if it has 2 or more enhancements on it.
All in all, a decent boost to the Jedi roster. I like the defense heavy theme and with more ways to protect those expensive all-important characters, this set is sure to come in handy.
The addition of these ‘Hoth’ objectives lead to some nice synergies and obviously allow for an awesome themed deck, especially with the addition of Snowspeeders and Wedge Antilles. The Objective itself grants Edge to each of your Speeder units if you control more Hoth objectives than your opponent.
This minor assistance becomes quite formidable when you couple an already good ‘Rogue Three’ with ‘Wedge Antilles’. Rogue not only becomes naturally better with an enhancement (Obtains +1 Unit Damage and Objective Damage) but Wedge also grants the ability to focus himself as the enhancement to remove a focus point from the enhanced unit.
I like the addition of the themes; any fan will really enjoy being able to re-create their favorite scenes from the movies, books, comics, etc. using these sets. The good thing is it doesn’t lack the punch either, having the free to play enhancements that grant +1 damage capacity to a unit per Hoth objectives you control just urge you to succumb to making a themed deck.
‘Echo Base Defense is a neutral set adds in a lot of the cool core components from the famous battle scene, the Rebel Wilderness Fighters for example with edge dependent double Objective Damage Icons, they also gain +1 Unit Damage per Hoth objective you control.
You also gain the iconic Subzero Defenses that destroy the first enemy unit to strike against a friendly Hoth objective each turn after the enemy strike resolves. Again, this is a nice set for theme and aesthetic purposes, it helps that the objective card is pretty good, it prevents all unopposed damage to your objectives if you hold more Hoth objectives than your opponent.
Now we move on to the Dark Side of the Force Pack…
‘The Killing Cold’, this set has an interesting focus on denial. With cards such as the ‘Icetromper’ that can be sacrificed in order to remove a non-vehicle unit from an engagement and immediately deal 1 damage to it, you can see how this set is all about the manipulation side of things as opposed to crippling brute force.
The ‘Fear’ card is also a nice addition here, it allows you to enhance an enemy Character unit, you then subsequently remove them from the Force Struggle if able and they can no longer be committed to the Force.
A nice final addition to the underhanded tricks the Sith employ, ‘The Desolation of Hoth’ card itself. You have the capability to remove damage from your own Hoth Objectives and place it on a target enemy unit or Hoth objective with this card, a very nice ability almost certain to ruin the opponent’s day.
‘Lord Vader’s Command’, this set is a very nice mixed bag of horrific abilities to cripple your opponent, and I’d expect no less from the Empire.
The objective card itself actually makes the cost of each event card the opponent plays increase by 1 while this objective is undamaged. A nice little spanner in the works there for those pesky rebels.
Card 2 in this set unsurprisingly is Lord Vader himself, now this is especially excellent as the original was of the Sith Affiliation. Now Empire players can bask in the glory of having their very own Lord Vader.
He is still the elite we know and love and costs the same as well as has the same amount of force icons. He has however 1 less objective damage icon (Non Edge) and a very different ability. Instead of being focused on events and Sith manipulation, he is focused on mass attacks. He grants each of your attacking units an additional Objective Damage while he is also attacking. Cringe worthy considering the scale in which empire typically attack.
Next in the set we get an expensive but highly useful resource in the form of the ‘Communications Officer’ he grants us 2 additional resources to play with. All the better to get that Horde going.
We also get 2 Probe Droids which fit brilliantly into the Hoth theme of course, they are very weak with only a single edge dependent unit damage icon, however when that unit leaves play you get to deal 1 damage to a target enemy objective.
Last but certainly not least, a very nice free to play event ‘Imperial Suppression’, this allows you to cancel the effects of an event card and have it placed back on the top of the owners deck. A nice minor speed bump, it could be the difference between a win and a loss of course.
‘Shadows on the Ice’, this Dark Side Neutral affiliated set adds in some more cool iconic Hoth pieces. The Objective card itself is a simply 2 resource cards with no dedicated ability, this is followed by 2 Wampa cards, they cost 3, have 2 basic Unit damage icons and the cost is reduced by 2 for each Hoth objective in play. A pretty good ability considering the likelihood that you will be utilizing Hoth objectives…
Next are 2 very suitable cards, they are free to play events that go by the name ‘Succumb to the Cold!’. These can only be played if you control at least 1 Hoth objective and they are Reactions to focus tokens being removed from an enemy unit. Once this criterion is met, you immediately place one Focus token on said unit.
You also get a very nice Hoth specific Fate card named ‘Battle of Hoth’ which allows you to deal 1 damage to or remove 1 damage from target Hoth Objective.
All in all, I loved this first set that came to expand the game, it adds a lot of the fluffy aspects I love, and the abilities seem interesting and effective. From an actual tournament point of view though I can’t add much input. I love this as a casual player and a massive Star Wars fan is pretty much the long and short of it.