Playing Star Wars Shatterpoint without 3D terrain would be “like not using high octane fuel in a high performance engine”, according to lead designer Will Shick. Shick adds that “You just aren’t going to get the full experience out of [Shatterpoint] using a more traditional, flat battlefield layout with scatter terrain for cover”.
The Star Wars Shatterpoint starter set is up for pre-order, at the not-inconsiderable price of $164.99 (£164.99). In Wargamer’s recent DnD Onslaught Starter Set review we criticised the otherwise rather excellent skirmish wargame for its badly priced entry point. When we spoke to Shick we asked him to justify the inclusion of expensive 3D terrain in the Shatterpoint core set.
According to Shick, the game’s core systems and mechanics were designed with “the expectation and desire to see a lot of 3D verticality in the game”. He adds that as a result “much of what characters can do and how the game plays is built and balanced with this in mind”. He says it stems from a desire to recreate the dynamic, multi-level duels of the Star Wars franchise.
Hence the inclusion of 3D terrain in the core set: “players can get started on the right foot and expand out, or combine their set with their opponent’s set to make for a more full experience”, Shick says.
If you already have some of the cosmic terrain sets from Marvel Crisis Protocol – another skirmish game designed by Shick, and one of the best miniature wargames currently out there – or an appropriate terrain set from Star Wars Legion – Shatterpoint’s big sister, with a place on our list of the best Star Wars board games – then you could consider getting into Shatterpoint without buying the starter set. We asked Shick how feasible that would be.
“It will be a bit more difficult”, Shick says. He explains: “Players need two squads to create their Strike Team. So two Squad Expansion packs will fill that out. Players will also need a set of the measuring tools and dice”. That will run you to $130 (£130).
Shatterpoint’s rules are already available as a free download, so the last thing players will need is a Mission Pack. Shick says: “the first [Mission Pack] will only be available in the Core Set”, though he adds: “There will be new Mission Packs offered separately from the Core Set later on”.
For casual play, you and and an opponent can share a single Mission Pack. Shick says that anyone who wants to join the tournament scene should consider buying the Core Set: “if you are planning on attending official events you will likely be expected to provide your own Mission Pack”.
You can read our earlier interview articles with Shick to find out more about Shatterpoint’s gameplay, which demands quick wits from players to respond to its speedy, acrobatic units.