Great Battles in Star Wars History: Hoth
Great Battles in Star Wars History continues the series begun with Attack of the Clones and the Battle of Yavin.
Much like an advancing line of Imperial walkers, SW:TCG Championships are closing upon us once more. I decided to take some time away from preparation to ponder some of the great battles in Star Wars history. Thinking about my cards got me wondering how hard it would be to recreate one of those battles—and so I chose to utilize the recent sets and recreate the Battle of Hoth.
What's so appealing about the Battle of Hoth? Perhaps the fact that it's the only major battle (at least onscreen) that the Empire actually won. Not only was it a prime example of the Empire’s dominance, but also of the Rebels' ingenuity and resilience.
A Brief History
The Imperial Fleet set a course for the Hoth system based on speculation (and Sith intuition) of the Rebel Base located there. Admiral Ozzel, however, dropped the Imperial Fleet out of hyperspace too close to the system. His failure—his last—brought about his death at the hands of Lord Vader, and gave the Rebels sufficient warning to raise their planetary shields against bombardment.
The only option left was for the Imperials to land a ground force and disable the shield generator.
The Rebel Defense Plan
General Rieekan deployed his infantry to buy time for the Rebel transports evacuating Echo Base. His troops were entrenched with turret-mounted lasers and blaster rifles, along with snowspeeder squadrons to provide them aerial cover. Rieekan made sure to put extra coverage near the power generators, anticipated to be the primary Imperial target.
The evacuation plans had each Rebel transport running headlong through the Imperial blockade; they would be escorted by two X-Wings apiece, along with additional coverage from a massive ion cannon. At a safe distance from the planet, the transports would attempt a hyperspace jump to the designated rendezvous point.
The Imperial ground assault consisted of AT-AT walkers, supported by AT-STs and a large group of snowtroopers. If the Rebels escaped, it seems likely that a bombardment would be rendered needless; therefore, it's possible that the Imperials planned to make their landing, capture any remaining Rebels, and plunder Echo Base for any valuable intelligence.
By this implied plan, General Veers’s goals were to: 1) destroy the shield generator, and 2) secure Echo Base once his troops made it inside.
The Battle of Hoth Commences
Echo Station 3T8 was the first to spot Imperial walkers coming over the horizon from the north. The Rebel troops quickly finished their mobilization and held their ground under a barrage of long-range AT-AT fire. The AT-ATs were still at a considerable distance, however, and the snowspeeders led by Commander Skywalker were the first to directly engage them. A brief charge at their cockpits showed that the walkers were virtually blaster-impervious.
The flight of snowspeeders would have to try another approach. Skywalker gave the famous order to fire the speeders' harpoons and tow cables, commonly used for towing cargo, to trip the AT-ATs. Although flak killed his gunner and Skywalker himself was shot down, Wedge Antilles completed this tactic and crippled one AT-AT.
The effort was too little, too late. More AT-ATs remained, and General Veers shortly came within firing range of the shield generator. He ordered maximum firepower, thus destroying the generator and sending the Rebels into full retreat.
As snowtroopers stormed Echo Base, Princess Leia gave the order to evacuate the remaining base staff. One last transport remained to bring them to the rendezvous, though Leia herself would be forced to take the slightly undependable Millennium Falcon—and into the teeth of another great battle, this one involving asteroids, space slugs, and bounty hunters.
The Battle of Hoth Gameplay
How to reflect this epic battle in the TCG?
First, skip the traditional setup and place units as suggested in the fixed setups (above). Each player then shuffles their deck, gains their Force, and draws 7 cards.
From here we need to establish some new rules:
1. All Damage is prevented in the Character and Space arenas until the Ground arena is won.
2. Dark Side wins the Ground arena if the Shield Generator is destroyed. The Shield Generator cannot retreat.
3. Light Side wins the Ground arena through traditional gameplay.
4. If Dark Side wins the Ground arena:
a. The Rebels evacuate, and the Imperials invade Echo Base. Move all pilots (Light and Dark Side) to the build zone.
b. Discard all Light Side Ground units.
c. Light Side searches their hand/deck for a starfighter card for each pilot in the build zone, and places them into the Space arena. (Luke's X-Wing (C) may only be placed in Space if Luke Skywalker (K) survives.)
d. Place the pilots (Light Side) on their starfighters. Each pilot adds +10 speed, +1 power, and +1 health to their starfighter.
e. Move all extra Light Side pilots, and all Dark Side pilots, to the Character arena.
f. Damage prevention (rule 1) is then lifted from the Character and Space arenas.
5. If Light Side wins the Ground arena, Light Side wins the game.
If you follow this setup, Dark Side is heavily favored to at least win the Ground arena. But, of course, that’s the way it happened—just ask any of the fleeing Rebel soldiers running by.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this continuation of the Great Battles in Star Wars History. If you have any questions or comments for Joe Brescol, feel free to email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, thanks for reading!
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