Part 1: Day 0.
A Long Time Ago in a Babbages Far Far Away,
Star Wars: Rebellion is a very polarizing game, and I fall into the minority "love it" camp. Its horrifying learning curve, ugly/non-existent graphics, and UI forged in the very depths of Hell by Lucifer himself performed admirably in disappointing all but the most hardcore RTS/Star Wars fanatics. For those of us who appreciated it for what it is(an inferior Star Wars mod of Master of Orion 2), its little wrinkles and asymmetrical gameplay drew us in. There was a certain magic in sending Luke and Chewie on a mission to sabotage a KDY V-150 Ion Cannon on Sullest with a complement of commandos as decoys just before sending in your fleet to assault the planet, knowing you'll later utilize Leia's diplomatic skills to win the planet's favor.
This game tried to meld a lot of styles together. It has RTS space battles (that largely suck). It has a turn-based strategic interface that operates in real-time (yeah, figure that one out). It has two sides that each operate fundamentally different based on game objectives and unit strengths and weaknesses. It incorporates a surprisingly large number of official and EU characters/ships/locations, complete with an in-game encyclopedia entry for each. I sometimes refer to it as Star Wars 3.1, because it often feels like the majority of the game is spent navigating through a Windows 3.1 interface.
The ultimate goal of the game is completing three objectives for either the Empire or Rebels: Capture the opposing Headquarters and two of the other side's major characters (Luke/Mon Montha or Palpatine/Darth Vader). The Empire is given a strong military edge, but their headquarters is always stationary at Coruscant. If the Rebels take Coruscant, the game is all but over. The Rebels have almost no military to start with, but can move their Headquarters to the ass end of space, hide, and build up armies in secrecy.
But enough of that. The more in-depth strategies and tactics of this game are far too long and boring to get into here. For those of you've played, awesome, I'll take input as to what the next move should be. If you've never played before, it's cool, I'll try to detail what's going on, what's available, and why I'd want to do something. And if you're looking for a copy of this, good luck. It's relatively obscure nowadays. Lucasarts is usually a bitch about copyright infringement, so you won't find it on underdogs, but they don't have it on their own site either. Amazon or Ebay would be your best choices. Unless you have a friend who has it, I wouldn't go crazy trying to acquire it. Just sit back, strap yourself in, and enjoy my first LP.
My name's Marshall "Meteor" Sully. I guess you could say I'm not from around here, wherever here is. I'd done a variety of mercenary work over the past fifteen years, including five years as the CO of a mid-sized unit primed for insurrection work in Southcom. I wish I could tell you I was one of the good guys, fighting against the power-hungry tyrants of the world, but we live in a world where money can buy you a new conscience. If you can think of a crime, I've committed it. If you can think of a vice, I've done it (twice, if I liked it enough the first time). I'd been adequately respected by my men, which was mostly symptomatic of bringing home paychecks on a regular basis. The most recent mission had been an exclamation point on that matter, as a mid-scale revolution and assassination netted us eight figures. Life was good.
For once, I felt like I'd never need to hire my services out again. Being the strategist, tactician, and on-the-field op all-in-one commanded a heavy price, but came with a short lifespan. I wanted out. Get in, get your money, get out. Fifteen years of work to supply a lifetime of ease and respect. As always happens, however, as soon as I had formed assumptions about how the world works, my bearings were flipped on their head. I went to bed in my house one day, and awoke someplace else. Someplace VERY else.
I came to in the interior of what looked like the cockpit of an airliner, only more avant garde. It had buttons and panels and levers, sure, but they had a style and construction beyond what I'd been introduced to in the past. Little instruction manuals made it clear what they did, however. What chilled my blood the most was how the vast vacuum of space seemed to be kept at bay by panes of glass.
I wasn't sure what I should be doing. I tried slamming on various levers. The one labelled "Difficulty" seemed to stick in the middle, as did the "Galaxy Size" display. I was about to hit the green button on the left, but was startled as some spacecraft flew by with a deafening *WHIRRRR* of engine blast. The sheer volume (and mere presence) of such space noise indicated I was definitely in some alternate dimension, futuristic time period, or crazy-as-hell lucid dream. Upon hearing a stilted voice in my head, I came upon another, much more likely possibility: I was stark-raving mad.
: Here have you been brought with great destiny. Much is at stake, for choose a path you must. See into the display, and then decide for whom you fight. Unlearn what you have learned, read from the archives, and feel the force guide your path!
I looked around, but couldn't find any speaker systems in the cockpit. Besides that, it sounded like the voice came from inside my HEAD. I was going crazy. I found a button that looked like a play button on a VCR or DVD, so I hit it. I was treated to a scrolling text visual.
My schizophrenia had a remarkably good sense of internal consistency to go along with its vivid semblance of reality. The story helped make sense of my surrounding. I was in a shuttle, with the freedom to use my tactical leadership skills, to choose to help command the Empire or the Rebellion, represented by the big green and red buttons. I left the scope of the galaxy I wanted to pay attention to at medium, 150 worlds. 100 seemed like I'd miss out on important sectors, and 200 meant I would have wasted too much time babysitting these feral bear midgety-things on dirt-farming outer worlds. I left the difficulty of the foe I'd be pitted against on medium too, somewhere between Ozzel and Thrawn, whatever that means. I haven't gotten that far into the archives, which have been telling me what to expect from this galaxy.
I can choose which side I want to command, the Empire or the Rebellion. I've decided to write a little pro and con memo to myself quick.
Pro: Best capital ships. Best tactical and combat leaders. Economic edge. Can build Death Stars. Storm Troopers surprisingly competent.
Con: Weak starfighters. Few diplomatic leaders. Hard to find the Rebels. I'm stuck on Coruscant. Lord Vader doesn't believe in retirement.
Pro: Great diplomats. Can pack up and move quickly if the Empire finds us. Well-rounded leaders to start with.
Con: Probably going to lose. Cowering in a bunker. With a laser the size of a small moon breaking me into ionic gases.
I didn't hear mention of pay, but I'll be damned if I give up my retirement for free. No goodness-of-my-bleeding-heart bullshit. I can pick what I want, where I want to go, who I want to fight for, no regrets so long as I survive. This still feels like a dream, but I better be goddamned well-paid at the end of this if it ain't.
End of Day 0