Which Faction Should You Play?

Since you can only play one faction (and Fringe pieces) in any particular game, many SWMinis players focus their collection on one faction more than any other. Deciding which of the many different factions to play is more about personal playstyle and favorite characters than anything else. Do you like to play a swarm of soldiers or just a few skilled Force-wielders? Do you like to attack from range or get right in the middle of things?

This is where my boyfriend's extensive rules knowledge of the game comes into play, literally. He has written a wonderful guide, displayed below, which tells you briefly what each faction is about, playstyle-wise, as well as some of the characters that are part of each faction.


This is the faction representing the Rebel Alliance from Episodes IV, V, and VI, starring Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia Organa, Han Solo, and the rest. If you want your big-name Star Wars characters, this is the faction for you. The color at the top of the faction's cards is a brighter red than that of the Republic.

This, like the Republic, is a reasonably balanced faction, which is its primary strength: there are lots of pieces with a variety of powers and abilities. However, in playing the Rebels, the player almost has to choose: run the big-name characters like Luke and Han, or run only one or two of them with lots of different kinds of Rebel Troopers on backup? In playing with just the big-names, players get generally efficient pieces; some of them being quite brutal for their points, like Luke, Hero of Yavin and Han Solo, Scoundrel. However, a player just using the big-name Rebel pieces loses out on many of the Alliance's Commander Effects--like those belonging to the various Princess Leia pieces, which do the best when they affect large groups of little characters.

The faction's primary weakness is that there are nearly no "heavyweight" figures. Perhaps the most expensive is Luke Skywalker & Yoda together on one figure, at 70. Running the Rebel Alliance means you're generally OK with running squad-based tactics.

Old Republic

This is the faction representing the oldest of the Jedi Knights, as represented primarily in the Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) series on various console gaming systems. The color at the top of the faction's cards is something of a dull gold. (If you're trying to collect this faction, the Knights of the Old Republic set, released in 2008, has only Old Republic pieces in it!)

This faction's primary strengths include a powerful up-close game, thanks to Jedi pieces like Bastila Shan and Nomi Sunrider, and, through those Jedi pieces, a number of strong Commander Effects and Force Powers. The faction's primary weakness is singular: its ranged pieces are mainly generic soldiers and troopers. Thus, it's possible to build a good Old Republic team from a few reasonably priced up-close powerhouses, but the player will have typically only a little ranged support.


This is the faction representing the Republic at the time of Episodes I, II, III, the recent Clone Wars cartoon, and the Clone Wars animated film. It represents a duality between two groups: the Jedi, and the Clone Troopers engineered to turn under then-Chancellor Palpatine's control due to Order 66. Under most cases, the pieces between the two groups can be played together with no penalties. However, those labelled Order 66 occasionally can be affected by various individual pieces, most notably the Imperial piece Emperor Palpatine, Sith Lord. The color at the top of the faction's cards is burgundy.

Due to its broad coverage of two separate groups, this faction is a particularly potent one in terms of both up-close and ranged playstyles--if the two halves are put together. For the purists out there who would rather not mix in Clone Troopers with their Jedi, then there are some distinct differences between this faction and the others. Concerning the Jedi of the Republic, these include Obi-Wan Kenobi as a younger man, Qui-Gon Jinn, Anakin Skywalker, and the other Jedi of their day. These Jedi have many of the same defensive abilities as the Old Republic, although they are typically cheaper to play with slightly lower statistics. On the other side, those falling under Order 66 are primarily ranged pieces, being Clone Troopers in all their variations, from the basic Clone Trooper to ARC Troopers to Clone Troopers on various tanklike vehicles and AT-RTs. Without the Jedi support for close combat, those under Order 66 are almost exclusively very inexpensive (single and low double-digit costs) ranged pieces. If you want to use swarm tactics, go with Order 66, and learn about Combined Fire to up your attack bonuses.

New Republic

This is the faction representing the New Jedi Order as instituted by Luke Skywalker after Return of the Jedi, as made popular through the Star Wars Legacy comics, the Dark Forces/Jedi Knight video games, and a great many novels put out from the 1990s to the present. The color at the top of the faction's cards is dark green.

In terms of playstyle, the New Republic plays closely, and holds the same strengths and weaknesses as the Rebel Alliance. The only difference, mainly, is the choice of characters: Luke Skywalker, or his companion and effectively right-hand-man Kyle Katarn? Younger Han Solo or older Han Solo? The faction has another strength, though: a few of the pieces allow one to play Rebel figures on New Republic teams. The faction's primary weakness is that it, like the Mandalorians, is generally dealing with a limited figure base to pick between.


This is the faction representing the Empire from Episodes IV, V, and VI, starring Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, and more Stormtroopers and TIE pilots than you can shake a stick at. The color at the top of the faction's cards is dark blue.

This faction is, in some ways, similar in playstyle to the Republic, oddly enough. One can run Vader, Vader's Apprentice, the Emperor, Mara Jade, or a few Imperial Knights for up-close action and for use of the Force, or one can run, for example, a Darth Vader and a lot of Stormtrooper variants for a range-heavy approach. Like the Rebel Alliance, there are few "big-name" figures outside of the most notable entries, Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine, Sith Lord.


This is the faction representing the ancient enemies of the Jedi Knights, the Sith, and their far-future equivalents reestablished by Darth Caedus, one of Han Solo and Leia's twins. The color at the top of the faction's cards is a bright orange.

This faction's primary strengths include, like the Old Republic, an extremely potent up-close game, thanks to Sith pieces like Darth Caedus and Exar Kun. Like the Old Republic, the Sith have strong Force powers; however, whereas the powers of the Old Republic are primarily defensive in nature, the powers of the Sith are highly offensive. The faction's weaknesses are two-fold: its big-name power pieces are very expensive to field, in the range of 60 to 80 points or more, and it has only minimal cheap support, especially ranged support. You run the Sith if you want to rip into someone up-close.


This is the faction representing the Separatists, loyal primarily to Chancellor Palpatine in the same films as the Republic faction; it also includes the bug-like Geonosians. The color at the top of the faction's cards is a pale blue.

While the Separatists have a precious few powerful up-close pieces in the form of Darth Sidious, General Grievous, and Darth Maul, most of the Separatist pieces are variants on some form of Battle Droids. Thus, while it is possible to build an up-close Separatist team, most of the time, Separatists will involve a very heavy ranged component with lots and lots of Droids.

This is actually the faction's primary strength: Droids are cheap, easy to use, and disposable. There are a handful of Separatist pieces--Wat Tambor, Nute Gunray, and San Hill--who can bring in Separatist Reinforcements and Separatist Reserves, allowing the player to field, ultimately, another fifty or seventy-five or more points of Droids over the game limit, depending on duration of the game and initiative rolls. However, this faction's primary strength is also its primary weakness. Apart from the few Separatist "beatsticks," most of the faction is light on Hit Points and light on Attack ratings.

Yuuzhan Vong

This is the faction representing the Yuuzhan Vong, a crablike race devoted to destroying the New Jedi Order. The color at the top of this faction's cards is purple.

The Yuuzhan Vong are basically the equivalent of the Sith for the New Jedi Order, at least in terms of playstyle if not powers. While the Sith have access to the more destructive Force Powers, the Yuuzhan Vong are Force Immune, ignoring Force Powers used on them in combat. Like the Sith, the Yuuzhan Vong are extremely close-combat oriented, with very little support for range at all. The faction's primary strength is that it is extremely powerful when played against any Force-using characters. That is also its primary weakness, by being too specialized.


This is perhaps the newest faction at the time of this writing, and it represents the third leg of a triangle between the Old Republic, the Sith, and itself. This faction represents a militaristic culture of warriors, best known for being the ones after whom Jango Fett and Boba Fett patterned their battlesuits. The color at the top of the faction's cards is silver, and the design within it strongly resembles the symbol for the Fringe faction.

The faction's primary strengths are two-fold: the pieces are reasonably inexpensive to field, and they all seem to have strong ranged talents. The faction's weaknesses are, like the Sith's, two-fold, although one of these will be remedied shortly: due to the emphasis on range, this faction suffers some in the area of close combat, and due to only having been in two sets--Bounty Hunters and Legacy of the Force--at the time of this writing, these pieces are a little harder to acquire at present.


This is a catch-all faction, representing the bounty hunters, lowlifes, criminal scum, and those not associated with any particular faction throughout the movies, comic books, or video games. The Fringe extends across time periods, as well, ranging from Jabba the Hutt to Lando Calrissian to Cade Skywalker, Bounty Hunter. The color at the top of this faction's cards is a pale yellow, nearing tan.

The members of this faction can be played alongside those of any other, or they can be used on their own to some success (especially with a Bounty Hunter team). The faction's primary strength is that its pieces are generally extremely cheap to field and are able to fill various roles that might be missing among particular factions, such as a lack of range among the Stih and Yuuzhan Vong or a need for cheaper pieces among various factions. The faction's primary weakness is that most of its pieces are generic "cannon fodder" meant to do a little damage here or there with some cover fire as needed. Thus, it is meant to be played as backup to another faction, typically.

Images of faction symbols retrieved from BoardGameGeek.com.

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