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Star Wars Shatterpoint is about quick wits, not perfect plans

Star Wars Shatterpoint will “put players constantly on the back foot… how quickly can you adapt?”, says lead game designer William Shick

Star Wars Shatterpoint - models by Atomic Mass Games of Count Dooku and allies

Upcoming character-focused miniature wargame Star Wars Shatterpoint will “directly challenge players’ ability [to adapt and react] to an ever evolving and changing battlefield”, according to lead game designer William Shick of Atomic Mass Games.

With the Star Wars Shatterpoint starter set now available for pre-order, Wargamer interviewed Shick about the design of Shatterpoint. We’ve already posted an article about the incredible speed and agility of units in Shatterpoint compared to other wargames: Shick says that’s not the only wargaming convention the game breaks.

Star Wars Shatterpoint - models by Atomic Mass Games of General Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker

The game requires players to be comfortable reacting and adapting, Shick says: “The question Shatterpoint asks isn’t, Can you create a plan and execute it in the face of the enemy? but How quickly can you adapt to and overcome an ever-changing situation in which you have very little perfect information?

“You don’t necessarily know what unit will activate next for either you or your opponent”, Shick says, since the order of unit activation is determined by a randomised stack of cards. Because enemy attacks can easily shove your units around the battlefield, “you can’t be sure that where you end your character’s movement will be the spot they are in by the time they activate next”.

Star Wars Shatterpoint - models by Atomic Mass Games of a droid supporting a fight between Jedi

He adds that “because of the high level of out-of-activation movement and abilities built into the game, you can’t even be sure that your opponent’s characters that have already activated will remain in their positions before they activate again”.

None of this is deterministic either, since many movement effects depend on the results of combat dice rolls and the choices players make when they turn successful dice rolls into moves along the character’s branching ‘Combat Tree’.

This isn’t to say that you can’t develop mastery in Shatterpoint. “Great Shatterpoint players will always be ones who understand the strengths and abilities of the Units that make up their Strike Teams”, Shick says, but “players who want to dive into… competitive play will be wired quite differently from your more traditional tournament player”.

He adds: “Shatterpoint demands a unique mindset and tactical acumen [different from] pretty much any other major miniatures game out there right now”.

Star Wars Shatterpoint - models by Atomic Mass Games of a clone trooper

We’ll have more from our interview with Shick on Monday. If you can’t wait for Shatterpoint’s full release this summer, its big sibling Star Wars Legion has a spot on our list of the best Star Wars board games, while its cousin Marvel Crisis Protocol has an equally well-deserved spot on our list of the best miniature wargames.