- "To control a world – To command a galaxy"
- ―Tagline for Star Wars: Rebellion
Although a real-time strategy game in the wider sense of the term, it belonged to the 4X genre (a sub-genre of games often containing galactic conquest like Master of Orion), though the action of Rebellion was more abstract.
The game interface consisted of a map of the galaxy and an advisor droid (which in the case of the Rebellion, was C-3PO and in the case of the Empire, IMP-22). The map comprised sectors of 10 systems (the number of sectors was customizable for either 10, 15 or 20), all known from the Star Wars universe. Some of them belonged to 'unknown' regions, and needed to be explored. The sectors on the game map did not correspond to the canon information otherwise available, so it was assumed that the location of various systems was arbitrary for gameplay. The player assumed the role of an officer of either the Rebellion or the Empire. He was called to manage command and maintenance, like colonization, diplomacy, creation of buildings and units, supervising of mines and resources, building and assigning of fleets, conversion of systems to one's own side, recruiting of characters, (60 in the game, both from the movies and the Expanded Universe) and dispatching characters or units to systems (up to 200 available) or fleets.
The game started right after the Battle of Yavin and the destruction of the Death Star. The Galactic Empire was ready to strike back against the Rebel base of Yavin 4, while the Rebel Alliance was readying to move to another system.
Apart from the given time of the beginning, the game was not story driven and the scenario expanded freely. Events of the later movies are mentioned and can happen randomly (like the capture of Han Solo by bounty hunters or the Jedi training of Luke Skywalker).
Some characters were Force sensitive and could be trained by Jedi characters (like Skywalker or Vader) to augment their abilities. This would lead to a powerful team that could turn many missions successful, improve the morale of planets and fleets they were in, etc.
The standard objective of each game was to take the headquarters of the enemy (Coruscant or the mobile Rebel base) and capture the two leaders of the opposite side: The Alliance had to capture Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine, and the Empire's objectives were to capture Luke Skywalker and Mon Mothma.
Another mode was also available where you only had to find and destroy the enemy's headquarters.
The game is non-linear and open-ended (the player is able to do anything in any order, according to their own preference and skill); therefore, the player could change or avert some events of the canonical timeline, like not migrating to Hoth after Yavin, creating more than one Death Star, killing off important characters like Chewbacca or Lando Calrissian and even leading the Empire to victory.
There were, however, some inconsistencies to the canon, like having to "discover" planets and "recruit" characters who, according to the timeline, were already known. Gameplay values are also radically changed; many spacecraft have shield values different from their canonical values. The Interdictor cruiser, for example, has twice the shield power of the Imperial-class and the Super Star Destroyer is "merely" four times as strong as the Imperial-class.
The game contains a large number of misspelled location and character names (such as Farrfin sector spelled as "Farfin"). Some bloopers also are present, such as the identity of Bob Hudsol (switched with Vanden Willard) and inaccurate encyclopedia entries, such as the one on the Dark troopers (suggesting they are Force-sensitive stormtroopers). Also, more noticeably, some planets are shown in the wrong sectors. As such, cartographic placements are treated as canon in this article unless they contradict already established locations, in which case the original placement supersedes the Rebellion placement.
An additional aspect is the random way that Force-sensitivity is determined. Characters that have no known Force abilities outside of this game, such as Chewbacca or Piett, can randomly be generated as Force-sensitive at the start of a new game and trained up to Jedi Master level.
Side strengths and weaknesses
Both the Rebels and the Empire have their own strengths and weaknesses, which affect how a player should use them.
The primary strength for the Rebels is that, like in the movies, the Empire has to look for their headquarters, and the Rebels can move it to another location. The Rebels start with a larger number of diplomatic, recruiting, and combat characters than the Empire does, so they can start off with missions to move planets to their side or recruiting characters more quickly and at a higher rate than the Empire. The Rebels' main weakness is that, like in the movies, they are outgunned. It isn't until later in the game that they can get ships that can match what the Empire can build, but they compensate somewhat by having much better fighters than Empire for most of the game. Also, the Rebels are unable to do Assassination Missions, since the Rebels belong to the "Good side".
The Imperial Fleet outguns the Rebellion for most of the game. Part of this is because the Empire starts with the ability to construct Star Destroyers, which the Rebels starships can't compete against for most of the game. The Empire also starts off with a larger number of skilled generals and admirals (who receive an additional 50% bonus to their Leadership Skill if the Emperor resides on Coruscant), giving it an edge in battles, and they can research better ships, and troop types more quickly. The Empire's weakness is that, unlike the Rebels, they can't move their headquarters. It's always located on Coruscant and will be the constant target for the Rebels from the game's start. The Empire also doesn't start off with as many recruiting or diplomatic characters as the Rebels do. Also, although the Empire's starships are better for most of the game, their starting fighters are extremely weak.
Every element of the game had its own encyclopedia-like 'card' with a short description and abilities sheet. This amounted to a total of several hundred encyclopedia cards.
There were several kinds of buildable units. Each kind could be constructed by one of three construction facilities.
- Installations were buildings on a planet's surface or in orbit. They could be construction facilities or defense installations.
- Mines produced raw material from planets, while refineries refined them into processed materials that could be used for construction, and both increased maintenance and thus allowed for larger military forces.
- Construction Yards built other installations.
- Troop Training Facilities created troops and special forces.
- Shipyards constructed starships and fighter squadrons.
- Planetary cannons attacked assaulting starships and troop transports, and the Ion Cannon is also used to defend units escaping a blockade.
- Shield generators defended everything on the planet from orbital bombardment.
- Troops were used to conquer and defend planets, and to claim uninhabited systems.
- Starships could blockade systems, unleash orbital bombardments, and be the platforms for planetary assault. They could also carry troops and starfighters up to their respective limits and an unlimited number of characters and special forces.
- Starfighters could be stationed on planets or capital starships, and were built in squadrons. They could fight in fleet battles, and add to bombardment and detection ratings.
- Special forces included spies, saboteurs, and long-range reconnaissance teams.
As research progressed, new units and facilities became available for construction. Research could be sped up significantly by ordering characters with the corresponding ability to conduct design missions. Characters could also have the ability to research facilities, starships or troop designs.
Sometime during the game a planet could be hit with a Natural Disaster that would destroy resources and energy on the planet, making it worthless. At the same time, new resources can pop up on a planet.
There were two kinds of characters in the game: major and minor ones. Major characters were always available at the beginning of the game, while most minor ones had to be recruited. Only major characters could embark on recruitment missions and could not be killed in the line of duty but could be injured, removing them from play for a while.
Minor characters could sometimes be generated Force-sensitive and could be trained by Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader, to augment their abilities. The main characters with Force control could also enhance their abilities by conducting missions. Characters with higher Force ratings had better abilities in diplomacy, espionage, and combat, and could therefore perform missions with a higher chance of success. Force sensitivity could be a two-edged sword however, as Force-sensitive characters stationed in a system could detect the presence of enemy Force-sensitives trying to perform a mission there, and foil the mission automatically. Princess Leia could become Force-sensitive, but only if Luke Skywalker learns of his heritage (i.e. if he meets Darth Vader in combat and is not captured) and the two meet on a planet or ship somewhere in the galaxy where he reveals that she is his twin sister.
Some characters could be given military ranks by the player to put them in specific roles.
- An admiral increased a fleet's performance by enhancing firepower, shields and speed.
- A general increased the performance of troops and reduced the likelihood of successful enemy missions on a friendly planet.
- A commander increased the combat efficiency and speed of starfighter squadrons. Ship-based squadrons also launch faster with a commander present.
Some characters can betray your side to the enemy if the winning conditions favor the other side. Traitors can only be detected by Force-sensitive characters, and the only ways to remove a traitor are to either improve your winning conditions or retire the character, where retiring means the character is out of the game entirely.
List of characters
- Adar Tallon
- Gial Ackbar
- Bren Derlin
- Borsk Fey'lya
- Carlist Rieekan
- Crix Madine
- Garm Bel Iblis
- Han Solo
- Hiram Drayson
- Huoba Neva
- Jan Dodonna
- Judder Page
- Kaiya Adrimetrum
- Lando Calrissian
- Leia Organa
- Luke Skywalker
- Mazer Rackus
- Mon Mothma
- Arhul Narra
- Roget Jiriss
- Sarin Virgilio
- Syub Snunb
- Talon Karrde
- Tura Raftican
- Vanden Willard (confused with Bob Hudsol)
- Wedge Antilles
- Amise Griff
- Bane Nothos
- Bevel Lemelisk
- Bin Essada
- Darth Vader
- Firmus Piett
- Freja Covell
- Gilad Pellaeon
- Tiaan Jerjerrod
- Kendal Ozzel
- Lorth Needa
- Maximilian Veers
- Natasi Daala
- Niles Ferrier
- Noval Garaint
- Pter Thanas
- Terrinald Screed
- Shenir Rix
- Titus Klev
The list shows the entire fleet of ships and starfighters for both sides. Most are not available at the start of the game, and must be researched through Starship Development Research Missions.
- Assault transport (First appearance)
- Carrack light cruiser
- Death Star
- Galleon (First appearance)
- Imperial Dreadnaught
- Imperial escort carrier
- Imperial Star Destroyer
- Imperial II Star Destroyer
- Interdictor cruiser
- Lancer frigate
- Star Galleon
- Strike cruiser
- Super Star Destroyer
- TIE Bomber
- TIE Defender
- TIE Fighter
- TIE Interceptor
- Victory Star Destroyer
- Victory II Star Destroyer
- Alliance Dreadnaught
- Alliance escort carrier
- Assault frigate
- Bulk cruiser
- Bulk transport
- Bulwark Battlecruiser (First appearance)
- B-wing starfighter
- CC-7700 frigate (First appearance)
- CC-9600 frigate (First appearance)
- Corellian corvette
- Corellian gunship
- Dauntless cruiser (First appearance)
- Liberator Cruiser (First appearance)
- Medium transport
- Mon Calamari cruiser
- Nebulon-B frigate
- BTL Y-wing starfighter
All of the Rebel starfighters have shields and hyperdrive, while the TIE Defender is the only starfighter the Empire has that has shields and hyperdrive, and does not start inside a capital ship.
Ground Forces are used to defend your planets from assaults, missions, and stop uprisings, where the latter is often a risky, and not a favored choice among veteran players to control planets. They are also used to assault enemy planets.
- Dark Trooper Regiment
- Imperial Army Regiment
- Imperial Fleet Regiment
- Stormtrooper Regiment
- War Droid Regiment
- Alliance Army Regiment
- Alliance Fleet Regiment
- Mon Calamari Regiment
- Sullustan regiment
- Wookiee regiment
These units are used to conduct various missions in lieu of characters, except Diplomacy, Recruitment, and Jedi Training. These units are most often used as opposed to characters to conduct missions in dangerous areas if failure is high.
These structures are avaliable to players as long as they have access to at least one Construction Yard. Each structure needs at least one unit of energy (blue), with mines needing one unit of raw materials (red).
- Advanced Contruction Yard - Builds facilities and planetary defenses at twice the speed of normal construction yards
- Advanced Shipyard - Builds starships and fighters at twice the speed of normal shipyards
- Advanced Training Facilities - Builds ground and special forces at twice the speed of normal training facilities
- Construction Yard - Allows construction of facilities and planetary defenses
- Death Star Shield (Empire Only) - Prevents the enemy to conduct an attack run on a Death Star in the event of a battle over the planet
- GenCore Level I Shield Generator - Shields a system from enemy bombardments. Two shield generators stops planetary assaults
- GenCore Level II - Shields a system from enemy bombardments at twice the strength as the Level I and uses less maintance points. Two shield generators stops planetary assaults
- KDY-150 Ion Cannon - Allows evacuation of systems under blockade without the threat of being intercepted by enemy ships or fighters
- LNR Series I Planetary Battery - Fires on bombarding ships in a blockade dealing damage to one target. If a general is on the planet, has a chance to significantly damage higher tiered ships and destroy lower tiered ships
- LNR Series II Planetary Battery - Fires on bombarding ships in a blockade dealing significant damage than the Series I and can destroy mid-tiered ships. If a general is on the planet, has a chance to destroy any ship, regardless of tier.
- Mine - Mines raw materials for use of refining. Adds 50 maintance points to the maintance pool if there's a vacant refinery.
- Orbital Shipyard - Allows construction of starships and starfighters
- Refinery - Refines raw materials into refined materials used in construction of facilities, troops, and ships. Adds 50 maintance points to the maintance pool if there is a vacant mine.
- Training Facilities - Allows training of ground and special forces
All characters and certain special forces can conduct any mission against the opponent, or assists in your hand. Success on the mission depends on the stats of the character in question. The mission list is as follows:
- Assassination Mission (Empire Only) - Injure or kill a targeted character
- Abduction - Captures a target character
- Espionage - Gathers information on a targeted system's defenses, personal, facilities, fleets in orbit, and ongoing missions, where a successful mission can lead to information from another system. (Rebel players who successfully conduct an espionage mission on Coruscant can obtain information on several enemy-controlled planets)
- Incite Uprising - Attempts to sway public opinion against your opponent which could lead to the planet going neutral or thrown into a full-blown uprising
- Sabotage - Destroys a targeted installation, planetary defense structure, regiment, planetary-based starfighters, or any starship in orbit over a planet.
- Death Star Sabotage (Rebel Only) - Destroys a Death Star over a planet
- Recruitment - Recruits other characters into your army
- Facility Design Research - Improves the capabilities of Construction Yards to research and develop new structures
- Troop Design Research - Improves the capabilities of Training Facilities to research and develop new troop regiments
- Starship Design Research - Improves the capabilities of Shipyards to research and develop new starships
- Diplomacy - Sways public opinion to your side in an attempt to either convince them to join your side, or max out public opinion
- Rescue - Rescues captured characters from your opponent
- Jedi Training - When present with at least a Jedi Knight or better, trains targeted Force-Sensitive characters to improve stats overall
- Subdue Uprising - Stops an uprising on a planet you control
Batteries and planetary shields protect your planet from opposing fleets. Two shield generators on a planet will prevent the opponent from landing troops where the batteries will open fire on a blockading fleet that is bombarding. The batteries can inflict serious damage on an enemy fleet where one with a General has a strong chance to destroy a capital ship after bombardment, including a Super Star Destroyer.
Sectors and planets
Many of the planets in the game are placed in the galaxy map in the wrong places. Those marked in bold are correct.
- Cathar (Quelii sector)
- Da Soocha (Hutt Space)
- Galpos II
- Tibrin (Hadar sector)
- Togoria (Taldot sector)
- Trammis (Centrality)
- Ithor (Ottega sector)
- Kessel (Kessel sector)
- Norval II
- Skor II (Airam sector)
- Allyuen (Anoat sector)
- Anoat (Anoat sector)
- Bespin (Anoat sector)
- Deyer (Anoat sector)
- Gentes (Anoat sector)
- Hoth (Anoat sector)
- New Cov
- Tokmia (Anoat sector)
- Ketaris (Oplovis sector)
- Omwat (Garis sector)
- Sarka (Sarka sector)
- Tangrene (Morshdine sector)
- Wor Tandell
- Ando (Lambda sector)
- Berchest (Anthos sector)
- Bimmisaari (Halla sector)
- Delaya (Alderaan sector)
- Ralltiir (Darpa sector)
- Byss (Ash Worlds)
- Kinyen (Bes Ber Bikade sector)
- Rishi (Abrion sector)
- Wistril (Fath sector)
- Crondre (Dufilvian sector)
- Douglas III (Centrality)
- Kiffex (Kiffu sector)
- Culroon III
- Davnar II
- Derra IV (Mikaster sector)
- Munto Codru (Pakuuni sector)
- Nal Hutta (Hutt Space)
- Spuma (Seswenna sector)
- Vodran (Hutt Space)
- Xa Fel
- Chalcedon (Tashtor sector)
- Clak'dor VII
- Cona (Inner Cluster)
- Dantooine (Raioballo sector)
- Urdur (Corporate Sector)
- Bakura (Bakura sector)
- Lafra (Wyl sector)
- Ryloth (Gaulus sector)
- Tatooine (Arkanis sector)
- Kirrek (Koros sector)
- Pil Diller
- Rafa V (Centrality)
- Thrakia (Hapes Cluster)
- Bortras (Brema sector)
- Chandrila (Bormea sector)
- Corsin (Greater Plooriod sector)
- Coruscant (Corusca sector)
- Ghorman (Sern sector)
- Svivren (Svivreni sector)
- Yaga Minor (Prefsbelt sector)
- Bothawui (Bothan sector)
- Dagobah (Mentioned only)
- Kothlis (Bothan sector)
- Mon Calamari (Calamari sector)
- Sluis Van
- Sullust (Brema sector)
- Umgul (Mulgard sector)
- Alk'Lellish III
- Geedon V
- Kashyyyk (Mytaranor sector)
- Linuri (Doldur sector)
- Qat Chrystac (Parnabe sector)
- Woostri (Woostri sector)
- Yavin 4 (Gordian Reach)
Fans and players had mixed reactions to the game. Some loathed it, reacting with heavy criticism, considering it one of the most low-quality products of LucasArts, a failed attempt to bring Star Wars into strategy. Others praised the value of game mechanics over graphics, and considered it a high-water mark before the proliferation of games connected to The Phantom Menace.
Its orientation towards broad strategy and relatively slow play turned off players who looked forward to greater control over battles. The only action of the game was focused on space battles above planets that were realized through poor graphics, difficult controls, and a lack of interesting options. Indeed, one of the factors most criticized was the complex interface, which discouraged players at first. Despite this, some players embraced the alternative gameplay for its challenges and enjoyed the contrast Rebellion offered against the deluge of real-time strategy games released around the same time.
One of the main problems of Rebellion, and surely one of the reasons for its lack of success, was its rather limited gameplay. This problem was solved when a player named Revolution released his Rebellion Editor (or RebEd). This program allowed the player to easily edit many aspects of the game, from ship power to in-game interface. These modifications could be saved as "cards," which could then be loaded by any other person who had the Editor. Thanks to this, a solid community has been growing, which offered over a thousand cards to download freely.
The last RebEd version to ever be released was 0.26. There had been speculation and suggestion about Revolution having written a 0.27 version; since this version was never found, this was believed to be untrue. The release of the Editor had also allowed the game to gain popularity.
- "Star News" – Star Wars Insider 32
- "Be the Jedi in Three New LucasArts Games" – Star Wars Insider 36
- "Game Room: Launching a New Rebellion" – Star Wars Galaxy Magazine 10
- "Game Room: Darth Vader's Plenty Game" – Star Wars Galaxy Magazine 11
- "Game Room: Game Knights" – Star Wars Galaxy Magazine 13
- Star Wars: Rebellion: Prima's Official Strategy Guide
- "The Rebel Bruiser" – Star Wars Insider 152
- Star Wars Year By Year: A Visual History, New Edition