The Outer Rim box art

Star Wars The Outer Rim Yes, Buy 2, and make a circle!

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Star Wars The Outer Rim was designed by Tony Fanchi and a certain Mr Corey Konieczka, the designer of one of our family favourites The Initiative and boy does it show.

Corey is one designer I have begun to follow, his games are often different in a good way, something I like and find interesting.

When I first saw Outer Rim, I was immediately excited and jumped in the car, spinning a lie about a family day out to Bath, the home of Thirsty Meeples, without reading a single review. Star Wars + Scoundrel + Rim, I was sold on the marketing blurb alone.

The Outer Rim

What is Star Wars The Outer Rim?

Obviously set in the Star Wars universe you take on the role of a Han Solo-type scoundrel, actually, you can take on the role of an actual Han Solo or Lando Calrissian, and you can even fly the Millennium Falcon. The Outer Rim is all the things you wanted a Star Wars game to be.

The focus that seems to be prevalent on bit parts in other games is gone and you get to play as the iconic characters from the Star Wars universe.

I had a misconception about Outer Rim before playing in that I thought this was some sort of space courier game with deliveries and pickups with the odd fight and whilst that is partially true there are far more scoundrelly things you can do or be while playing and there is far more to The Outer Rim than managing cargo.

The goal of the game is to gain 10 fame, and the first person to make it is the winner. How you actually achieve this is up to you, sure you can ferry goods but you could also be a bounty hunter, you could do odd jobs, smuggle illicit items, fight with any of the four factions and more.

You do these things to gather money. Money will get you a better ship so that you can carry more cargo, move faster or fight harder.

The board design is very different to most games with it being a narrow corridor there are not multiple routes to your destination, this does mean that you will have to pass through many systems to reach your final stop but there is usually still more than one way to make it to a planet.

This is fine initially but as the patrols move around the board and your rating lowers with some you will find yourself willing to sacrifice speed for the safety of staying on a planet.

I have charged ahead of myself however as before any of this can be done you need to set The Outer Rim up.


Set up is time-consuming and is broken down into three separate sections.

Board Setup

After building the semi-circular map whose sections can be randomised the next thing you will do is set up the patrol tokens for the various factions.

Each patrol has a white dot on the back denoting its level, starting with level one as the first patrol you arrange the other tokens from level two to level four which means that as patrols are defeated they get progressively tougher.

Next, take the contact tokens, these are planetary contacts, people from the Star Wars universe that The Outer Rim uses to great effect to man your starship or be the bounty you are searching for, mix them up and place them face down on the locations that match their respective colour and number of pips.

Make your token pools. These are credits, damage and goal tokens and place them near the board in reach of everyone.

Then you choose your characters. You do this by rolling the six dice and whoever rolls the most hits and crits gets to go first.

Each player in turn will take, a Character card which they place the goal side up and the matching standee. A player board and a plastic marker which is placed in the 0 fame marker to denote how well-known you are.

Place the four reputation tokens into their corresponding faction icon. They are placed in the centre to denote your neutral reputation with each faction. You then choose either the G9 Rigger or the G-1A Starfighter.

They are broadly similar starter ships. Credit tokens depend on the start order. The first player takes 4,000 the next 6,000 then 8,000 and finally 10,000.

You will also need a reference sheet for your first few plays but if everyone is familiar with The Outer Rim you can skip this step.

Character Setup

Next, each player sets up their character at the same time. You take the data bank card specified on their character card. If it’s a cargo run, place it above your player board and if it’s a job or even a bounty if it gets placed below the card.

Put your standee on the map on the planet listed on the databank card you just drew and then if you have to add or subtract reputation from any faction you do this now.

Star Wars The Outer Rim Character Sheet

Set Up Decks and Sheets

Separate the market cards into the six different backed decks, shuffle them and flip the top card over placing it back on top of its deck. The market should be located under the board.

Next, take the encounter cards and separate them according to their backs which denote the planets in the game. Place these near the corresponding board piece.

Place the databank deck so that everyone can reach it and keep it in numerical order so it’s easy to find the cards you need.

Place all the unused ship sheets together to make a ship store where players can purchase ships when they need them.

After only 15 – 20 minutes you are ready to go!

The Outer Rim Layout

Playing The Outer Rim

There are three steps during each player’s turn. Starting with the first player and moving clockwise a player’s turn is broken into three steps.

Step one is Planning. Here you can either move your ship any number of spaces up to your ship’s hyperdrive value, you can repair all damage or gain 2,000 credits.

Step two is the action step. There is no limit to the number of actions you can take. This usually means you deliver cargo, complete a job or turn in a bounty and then visit the market to buy items.

Step three is the Encounter Step. On a planet, you draw a card from the encounter deck and read the section matching your location, once you have resolved the encounter your turn is over and the next player begins their turn.

There are only a few caveats to the phases above and that makes the rules fairly simple. First is that some cards or abilities will say “During Planning” this means that you complete these actions during the planning step instead of the action step.

Movement is also completely stopped for two reasons, the first being that you encounter a patrol and the second is when passing through a part of the board known as the Maelstrom. Movement follows paths and there are mostly two routes to pass areas however if you pass through the Maelstrom you are forced to stop.

The Outer Rim The Whole Board


I want to stop talking about the physical reality of playing The Outer Rim, and the mechanics of the game and instead I want to talk about it as an experience because I truly believe that The Outer Rim is so much more than the sum of its parts for a multitude of reasons.

Firstly, the visual impact of The Outer Rim. A dark thin board interspersed with multi-coloured planets. The games are set up with the market cards beneath, the player boards and ship cards. Everything is designed to pull you into the Star Wars universe.

The content of the game, I mean the physical content, using the well-known names from the films we love instead of bit parts or new characters.

Your ability to choose what you do and how you do it. The jobs you take and complete not only give you a feeling of freedom but also make you feel like a real Scoundrel from Star Wars.

Carrying illegal cargo or even searching for a bounty whilst you avoid patrols is not only fun but it’s also really exciting.

The goal in The Outer Rim is to increase your fame as the only goal in mind means that whilst you need money to improve your ship and buy items etc it isn’t the primary goal.

The first few games you play will feel a little overwhelming as there is a lot to consider but the more you play the easier remembering what you can do becomes.

The changing map adds an element of change to each play. Not enough to make you change a winning strategy but it’s nice to change things up.

The Outer Rim Ship Sheets

It’s not perfect

The Outer Rim is far from perfect. It’s not a bad game in any way but it will spend more time on the shelf than other games because of its ties to Star Wars.

If the ships were wagons or boats and the setting was perhaps 1960’s Italy where you play as Mafioso I am sure the game would have a wider appeal but being able to play in the Star Wars universe means, that with the right group, the niche it sits in could get it to the table more often.

But that’s not how we buy games, is it? We don’t buy them to play them, we buy them to have them, don’t we?

Set-up can be frustrating too, there are a lot of different decks to shuffle and place. The tokens need to be placed on the board in a specific way and take a long time to sort.

The game takes up an awful lot of table space considering that the board is a thin track with room for the cards to fit.

I don’t like standees. This is a personal thing but I would have preferred to spend a little more and use miniatures for the ships. Using a standee with Han Solo doesn’t do it for me. Luckily, I have some ships from Star Wars Armada, a game I have yet to play that I could use. I don’t because that would be more crap on the table but I could.

The Outer Rim, one game too many?

You see, like many of you I have too many games and worse still I am also randomly sent games. This means I have games that I purchased intent on playing soon that are on the shelf after two years and have never been punched.

Writing reviews of games means I can lie to myself about when I will play games, buy them and never play them but still buy games every month even if I have games that have not been played taking up shelf space. I am happy to lie to myself and the bonus is my wife has to believe it too.

This is how, when I was at Thirsty Meeples in Bath I was able to convince myself that I would play The Outer Rim that very evening.

It only took a month to make it to the game table and I played solo initially. This was the best decision I ever made. It meant I understood the game and mechanics when it came to the first proper play-through with friends and I was able to teach the game rather than work through it together.

Since then The Outer Rim has been a staple of game nights appearing regularly throughout the year which means I can confidently recommend The Outer Rim. Better still, two of our group said they had never seen Star Wars and still really enjoy the game.

Obviously, they were swiftly removed from the group but in their defence, The Phantom Menace was the only film they had tried to watch.

I think the reason The Outer Rim works is that it really delivers on the vibe of Star Wars, the lawless, scoundrel-chasing money vibe, not the incestual kissing your brother to make an older man jealous vibe which is incredible for fans of the franchise but it also works as a focussed asymmetrical space game that gives you an enormous sense of freedom.

Your character selection will mean you play differently from your opponents and the ship, chosen upgrades, crew and character combined together mean that no play-through is the same.

Some characters are better for bounty hunting but if you use that same character with a ship designed to smuggle then there are no real penalties for choosing this route.

Corey Konieczka’s signature is all over The Outer Rim, this is obvious from the quirky design to the incredible balance when playing. Most strategies you will come up with are viable and there is no single way to victory.

As an example of this, I wanted to buy the Millenium Falcon (Obvs) and I had the most money so was expecting to get it when my wife chose to turn in one of her crew members and claim a bounty giving her enough money to buy it before my turn. I would like to point out that she bought it because she liked the look of it and called it the “Millennial Falcon” several times before I had a tantrum and shouted “Millenium” three times at her, as I stormed out of the room I called back “The Outer Rim is just called the Rim.

She is one of those people who has never watched Star Wars but wins almost every game, despite having no right to play The Outer Rim because she didn’t even know you should try not, do or do not, there is no try.

Bitterness aside I have won plenty of our games of The Outer Rim. This is not something I can say often but I feel that the game is so open, your choices so vast that you can pull a win from any position. The thing is, so can everyone who is playing and that is exciting.

With so much going on it sounds like a challenging game to get your head around however, there is exactly the right amount of game in The Outer Rim. There are the correct numbers of tokens, and the exact amount of cards needed, there are a lot of rules but it’s the correct amount, no more, no less.

Each game flows brilliantly and with four players who all know how to play the two-hour game will pass by in a flash. Actually, the first few games we played were more around the three-hour mark.

Two-player games are a quicker affair but all player counts follow a pattern. Start with easy jobs, deliveries, and easy fights, and gradually build your ship and character until you can handle the harder roles that give you more fame.

This means the first half of a game is about building and flying under the radar but when you have the power and experience you can begin to build your fame.

As you near 10 fame you can be assured that there will be at least one other player closing in on the same and because you are never sure what other players are up to you can never be sure where you stand.

The Outer Rim Character Sheets

In Summary

The Outer Rim is an incredible game that will stay in my collection forever. I have tried to stop having a game collection and instead I want a curated list of games that get table time. The Outer Rim fits the bill.

The Outer Rim is the fusion of Star Wars and board gaming that so few games get right. It isn’t one aspect of Star Wars, it isn’t a space battle or a ground invasion or mission to grab some plans but instead, it’s the very essence of why Han Solo is the best character and why the planets are dangerous, lawless places filled with scum and villainy.  

The Outer Rim is my second favourite Star Wars game and I think the reason I love Imperial Assault is more to do with what it means to me as a product than what it’s like to play as a game, The Outer Rim, probably has the upper hand there, I just can’t bring myself to say it.