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Star Wars: The Queen's Gambit
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Star Wars: The Queen's Gambit

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Product Awards:  
International Gamers Awards
Best 2-Player Game Nominee, 2001

Ages Play Time Players
12+ 120 minutes 2-4

Designer(s): Craig Van Ness

Manufacturer(s): Avalon Hill, Hasbro

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  • Please note that due to manufacturer restrictions, we are unable to ship HASBRO products outside the United States.

Product Description

This game recreates the ending of the Phantom Menace with four different battles taking place on four different boards. Planning, resource management and tactical positioning are key. Concentrate on the battlefield? The Jedi? Anakin? The Palace? This over-the-top production comes with two large game boards, one three-dimensional three-level cardboard and plastic Palace and over 130 plastic figures. Sure, its an incredible toy box, but the game mechanism rocks, too.

Product Awards

International Gamers Awards
Best 2-Player Game Nominee, 2001

Product Information


  • 155 Star Wars figures
  • 1 Go First marker
  • 1 3-dimensional Theed Palace
  • 2 Gameboards
  • 4 Reference charts
  • 90 Battlefield cards
  • 90 Palace cards
  • 8 Starfighter cards
  • 16 Dice
  • 18 Life markers
  • Instructions

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.5 in 11 reviews

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Like Being in the Movie
February 19, 2004

I have no experience with comparable games to compare this to. I bought it because it's 'Star Wars'. I wasn't disappointed. Not only is it faithful to the movie--and playing it is like being in the movie--it's a fun game.

The instructions and the sheer scope of the game were daunting, but once I and my sons (one of whom can't even read, yet) sat down with it, we were able to figure it out. The first time we played, set-up and playing took about 3 hours total. Now, we can set it up and play a full game in under an hour.

All of the games have been close, but so far we have not been able to make the bad guys win. This has become a challenge and when we play now there's almost an argument over who gets to be the bad guys, because that's where the challenge seems to be.

I hated the film, but what a game!
December 03, 2002

I am not a big Star Wars fan. Never was. I think the first trilogy is ok, I hated Episode I and thought Episode II was a little better...but not much. I bought this game because I am a game addict and I buy every game Avalon Hill puts out. The componants looked so nice that I just had to try the game. I played one game with one of my friends and the rest is history, as they say.

We had so much fun you wouldn't believe it. We played in a store (my friend is the owner) and soon after we had begun, a lot of onlookers gathered and were amazed at the looks of the game. You have to see this one set up to appreciate what I am saying here. Anyways, we just had a blast. Yes it is luck driven and strategy is limited but that is not the point. This is a FUN, and TENSE game. Period. I can't get enough of it.

And guess what? It promted me to rent Episode I and watch it again. Now I did pass over most of the first 2/3 of the movie but was amazed at how the game closely lets you relive the end of the movie.

Get this under the Christmas tree for yourself or someone else. You will not regret it.

Have A Blast!
May 22, 2002

This is a great game for all the reasons mentioned in the previous reviews. My wife ( who normally does not enjoy shoot 'em up games) and I played this morning and we had a ball. The tension is constant from the beginning, involving you in every single move.

I know some people have problems with the Anakin game mechanic but I think it fits perfectly with the theme. In the movie, Anakin is pulled along by a tractor beam and it's only by sheer luck that he makes it to the space station at all. Accordingly, luck plays a fairly large role in Anakin's mission but there are deterrents. Starfighter cards really slow Anakin down and make it frustrating to waste a card trying to move Anakin when you could have played a card to wipe out droids with your catapult, thus scoring more bonus cards (essential in winning).

There have been suggestions throughout the web on how to fix the Anakin 'problem', but I really don't see it as such. Perhaps, after a few more games, I'll view things differently, but right now I'm having too much of a BLAST!

A close game every time!
January 10, 2002

I bought this game after seeing descriptions and reviews in various publications, Star Wars and otherwise. I have played it numerous times and have not been dissapointed.

The game itself a faithful translation of the climactic end of Episode I: The Phantom Menance. Four battles occur at once, the most important ones being the plains battle and the palace battle. In most games, the game will follow the movie. Qui-Gon will die, the Gungans are outmatched, the Queen's warriors are resiilient, and little Anakin can't be stopped.

After owning this for close to six months, with close to fifty playings I must say that the strength of the game is its design. Often games are not decided until the endgame. It is very hard to win or lose everywhere. The shortest game I have played lasted 45 minutes and featured some incredibly favorable die rolls.

Strengths of the game include:

Rules- These are the best instructions I have ever seen. A standard for the industry.

Ease of Play- I play with some younger cousins who are interested when they see the cover- they understand the goals of the game and figure out how to best acheive them.

Design- exciting finishes almost every time.

Weaknesses of Game

Replay Fatigue- If you play often enough with the same people, best strategies emerge. This is the case in almost all games, but warrants consideration.

Time- This game usually takes 1.5-2 hours to play. If both players know what is going on, games can last around 1-1.5 hours.

Bottom line- This is a fun game that will keep you entertained for many years.

by David O
Thrilling game for the Star Wars Fan (or not)!
December 02, 2001

My brother and I have been playing board and table-top minature games for many years. We are big Star Wars fans, so this looked like a good combination. I was a little skeptical at first: 'probably just another quick Star Wars cash-in'. The Avalon Hill label turned out to be a great sign, as we really enjoyed the game! Its thematic nature was wonderfully woven together with the dozens of plastic minature 'Star Wars guys' and an interesting card and dice formula.

We played with our gamer cousin and his two daughters. I took the role of referee and the two sides slugged it out. After 2 hours, we realized we had a thrilling game on our hands. I wasn't needed much, as the rules are very clear, and I jumped on the Naboo team when our youngest member had to go to bed! It went back and forth, the Naboo plains player getting demolished (and the droids getting tons and tons of extra cards), and there was a fierce battle for control of the palace. The Naboo player was down to his last few characters and about to lose, when Anakin came through to win the game for the good guys.

In our replays we discovered several strategies:

  • Duke it out with Darth Maul (by playing as many cards as possible on the sabre battle) in the hopes of slaying him and getting BOTH Jedi inside the palace to annihilate the droids as they enter from the Naboo plains.
  • Speed thru space with Anakin, try to finish the game as quickly as possible, hope for good die rolls on the last few squares, deactivate the droids and win. (This assumes Darth Maul doesn't kill your Jedi and everyone else inside the palace!)
  • Go for bonus cards, pushing hard on the plains of Naboo, hoping to feed further victories with the extra actions.
  • Play an attrition game, try to get the 'slow down' cards on Anakin's space battle, so that you can wear down the Naboo player on the plains, and make your way inside the palace with the deadly destroyer droids.

Discussion and discovery of these strategies was a lot of fun, although sometimes a really good series of dice rolls could eliminate a well-thought out plan (this isn't chess, after all). We played the 4-player game twice and the 2-player game three times. The 4-player games were the best, as involvement and discussion over how to coordinate strategies between teams were quite fun and there were a lot of 'high-fives' and drama over the die rolls of each side.

The game is simple enough that younger players can enjoy it (perhaps taking the simple groups, like the Jedi battle and space battle), but has some great 'moments of truth' for the strategy gamer looking for how to change the movie's storyline.

Caveats: It takes up a lot of space on your table (and 15 minutes to set it up). It also requires the good part of an evening (at 100-150 minutes easy), and is a little expensive.

by Ed
I could feel the force!
June 03, 2001

Although not a Star Wars fanatic, I have purchased most of the earlier board and CCGs based on these movies, and must say that they have been hopeless--either meant for kids below 5 years or purely a merchandizing scam! (Note: I have not tried Clash of the Lightsabers.)

Until... this one came along. My advice: BUY IT NOW! The reasons:

1) I could feel the helplessness of the Gungans facing a never ending stream of battle droids, as the droids slowly but surely eliminate the totally outnumbered and outpowered Gungan army. (sob!)

2) I could feel the resilience, skill and strength of Darth Maul as both Jedi try to eliminate him. Suddenly, I worry if it is he who will eliminate the Jedi instead!

3) I could feel the urgency of the two queens and the palace guards in trying to take out the droids and trying to reach the throne room to capture the viceroys. And then, once that is done, the long wait trying to defend the position.

4) Finally, I could feel the tension and odds against me as Anakin tries to weave his way through the Federation's defenses to attempt to destroy the central computer. My inability to do this more quickly sees my Gungan troops being slaughtered, the queen's palace guards bracing for droid reinforcements, or worse, the appearance of Darth Maul in the event that he defeats the Jedi!

I never felt greater victory than when Anakin burst through the last of the Federation's defenses in this game.

If only all movie-based games were made like this! The only other I have seen do justice is [page scan/se=0524/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Dune (the original Avalon Hill version).

Forget the Movie, Skip Straight to the Game.
March 11, 2004

I'm always looking for good two player games. Games that interest both my wife and I are particularly hard to find. Most are too abstract for our taste or simply too lame. Enter 'The Queen's Gambit'. As a disclaimer, I hesitate to buy any game that is based on a movie or TV show, or aimed at the mass market.

'Star Wars:Episode One' was a huge disappointment for me, I went to see it at the theater once and haven't seen it since. So? You ask. The point is, I am not a person who is enamored with all things related to Star Wars. 'Star Wars:The Queens Gambit' is nicely themed, and fun to play. With four different conflicts occurring simultaneously, all intertwined to some degree, and almost 140 units on the board, one might be inclined to think there is too much to keep track of to truly enjoy the game. Not so. Play is smooth, fast, and the different aspects of the game are easy to follow.

Game pieces are of the finest quality plastic I have encountered in a game, they are basically unbreakable. Extras are included if any are lost. The rule book is to the point and very well written.

Game play is adequately described in other reviews on this site, let me only reiterate that there is lots of dice rolling. I have found the game to be balanced despite lots of dice. If lots (and lots) of dice rolling turns you off, approach with caution. Strategy can be limited by the cards you hold, but each card has two possible actions, so you still have lots of options. Even with lots of options this is not a brain-burner by any stretch of the imagination, play is more fun than it is challenging.

'Star Wars:Queen's Gambit' is good, despite the blatant attempt to appeal to the American mass market. It has quality bits, a well written rule book, a strong theme, is lots of fun, is tense, has lots of action, and is well balanced. On the downside: not a lot of thought is required (a person tossing out random cards will do O.K.), in fact many 'bonus cards' that come into the game are random. Lots of dice rolling is used to determine the outcome, and strategy is limited by the cards you are holding.

Bottom line:Play before buying if you are a game snob (such as myself). It is much better than I expected, but its strength is in fun and tension caused by the dice rolls, not strategy, nor the satisfaction of a well laid plan coming together.

Great game if it starts out right.
June 25, 2001

My gaming group was a little hesitant to pick this one up because of its theme, but the promise of a Battle Cry-variant rule system egged us on to try it out. What we have found is an extremely fun and well themed game, IF things do not go awry at the beginning of the session. With 4 battles going on simultaneously, it can be tempting to split your forces around all 4 to try and get an even spread. This doesn't really work, however, and it is often important to centre your attention on one or two battles in a turn. As a result, the 4 player version of the game doesn't quite work, as players' egos have to stand aside for proper team work. Queen's Gambit definitely comes into its own with two players though, and as long as the Space Battle board doesn't get too many lucky dice rolls and the Jedi Battle doesn't end in the first 5 minutes, the game is rather well balanced. Fans of the [page scan/se=0099/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Star Wars universe have an extra reason to enjoy the game, as it mirrors the end of the Phantom Menace film extremely well. I can recommend this for two players, but you might want to stay away if you are thinking of using it as a 4 player game.

Fun, exciting... you can hear the lightsabres hum
January 25, 2001

As somthing of a Star Wars nut, this was a must-have game for me. Like the other big-time fantasy/sf licenses, though (Star Trek, Babylon 5, Middle Earth), good games on the subject are rather few and far between.

This one is not going to be the definititive Star Wars game, but it is quite good fun. The game is easy and clean to play. The tension and feel of the climactic battles in the Phantom Menace come through quite well. The players are presented with plenty of choices and options, which is good. The presentation is outstanding. Compared to Axis & Allies: Europe, anyway, the game seems pretty well-balanced. Overall, highly reccomended.

It's actually somewhat similar in feel to Battle Cry, with cards that control the action, although it (fortunately) doesn't have Battle Cry's huge variance in card power--plus each player draws from their own decks, which helps mitigate the luck element considerably. There is also a lot more variety in the units, from the awesome power of the Jedi all the way down to the Gungan/Palace Guard/Battle Droid flunkies.

This is designed by the same guy who did Clash of the Lightsabers (another highly recommended--if lighter--game), and it shows. My only complaint about the game is that the card decks (which control the action a la Battle Cry) are awfully generic, much like that previous game. Instead of the Light and Dark having different powers, you instead get the same powers with Light and Dark sounding titles. This is no big deal, really, but an opportunity missed I think.

One piece of advice for play: it's very important to keep your eyes on the victory conditions, especially for the Trade Federation player. It's easy to get wrapped up in wiping out the Gungans, which is entertaining, but that doesn't get you directly to victory. Thus the whole 'Gambit' thing.

Wipe Them Out, All of them
December 25, 2000

What do you get when you take the marketing power of the Star Wars License and blend it with the gaming power of Hasbro/Avalon Hill? A darn good game of course. This is a large game (took up most of the kitchen table) with well-designed gameboard and bits. It covers the 4 battles taking place during the last half hour of the phantom menace, the plains of Naboo, Anakin in his starfighter, Quigon, Obiwan and Darth Maul, and the palace raid. All the main characters are represented except... NO JAR JAR. He makes a slight appearance on an initiative marker but he's of no consquence. That's a reason to buy right there. With four battles to be monitored and limited resources to manage them, strategy is a must. After just 2 plays my friend and I started to see the grand scheme and the numerous ways of going about accomplishing our goals. You can be the dark side or the light side. The game is listed for 4 people but really that just makes the game 2 on 2, so really this game is better played by 2. The rules are relatively simple and after a slower beginning while getting a feel for the mechanics of the game we moved right along. First game taking 1:45 but the second taking only 50 mins, (due to some short-sighted palace protection on my part). Both games came down to the wire and due to a mechanic that essentially allows each person 2 turns in a row there were some MASSIVE momentum switches (which I find gutwrenchingly fun). The turn before my friend won, he was bemoaning how badly hes was being beaten; then 5 minutes later, he was doing the victory dance around the table (a little obnoxious tradition we have). Certainly a fun couple of hours that I would certainly recommend to friends. In particular if you have a smaller gaming group or a husband and wife team. The Star Wars element certainly added to the enjoyment (we are both big fans) but was not SO integral to the game as to be just a cheap way of exploiting the license. My only complaint would have to be that due to the fact that there are so many tiny pieces that in the process of moving them you were constantly knocking the boards and other pieces. A fault that is partially due to my ham hands. So if you like a nice hour of dipping into the Star Wars universe definitely take the time to buy this one.

3 star force
September 28, 2001

I'm sorry, perhaps I'm a bit old for this malarkey, but this game did NOT do it for me. Game play is OK. I bought this game because I was under the impression that the game used the same mechanics as the very successful Avalon Hill game Battle Cry, which to some extent I would agree it does. But play seems to move along soooo much faster in Battle Cry, with half hour games the norm. As for Star Wars, admittedly, I've had to teach people with each game I've played, but they have ALL exceeded 3 hours! The game soon becomes a dice-fest with card play which does not even have a variation of card play between the light and dark sides.

If you want a good 2-player game, go for Battle Cry. It's faster and more fun. Unless theme is all important to you and you love playing with plastic toys!

I don't mean to be a stick in the mud. I am a HUGE Avalon Hill fan. But, to be honest, this is not their best effort. It's good, but not that good.

Hey, someone's gotta be a harsh critic! The only force I felt was my foot going to sleep.

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