Review – Star Wars: Imperial Assault – Return to Hoth

Return to Hoth and defeat the Imperials once more…



Designer Samuel Bailey, Justin Kemppainen, Todd Michlitsch, Paul Winchester, Jonathan Ying

Artist Henning Ludvigsen

Publisher Fantasy Flight Games

Category Dungeon Crawl, Cooperative Campaign

Length 60-180min

Release Date 2015

Player Count 1-5

Star Wars: Imperial Assault – Return to Hoth is Fantasy Flight Games’ first expansion for their Star Wars: Imperial Assault game system. Is it worth braving the cold for? 

This review is based on a full campaign playthrough with 4 Rebel players and an Imperial player. 


The story here is fine, though ours often revolved around helping the locals out and the occasional planet-hopping. Not the most imaginative, but it was interesting enough to pay attention to, even if it had its fair shares of plotholes, often borrowing from Disney+’s Kenobi’s mantra: “Just because I can kill the main hero/villain doesn’t mean I should.” 

The 3 heroes included help diversify the lineup with a medical droid, a close-quarters fighter, and a recon/sniper. However, none possess a huge wow factor, unlike the Imperial upgrade decks. Specifically, armored onslaught is incredibly good and gives the Imperial player many options both round-to-round and mission-to-mission (mortar strikes, buffed droids, etc.). 

The figures themselves are great. The tank plays like a tank, the Wampas under Imperial control, while thematically questionable, are lots of fun and will destroy the Rebels if they’re not careful. Also new to Return to Hoth are the snowtroopers and the assassin droids. The snowtroopers are essentially beefed stormtroopers, but you can only deploy them if there’s snow. The HK Assassin Droids pack a huge punch, but are fragile. Rebels will want to smack those boys before they get smacked. While Dengar’s miniature is not included, his card is, and he shows up throughout the campaign, so for those interested in playing, the Dengar miniature may be worth the purchase (though the token does just fine representing him on the gameboard). 

LEGO figure not included (we supplemented because LEGO minifigures > tokens).

Perhaps we made the mistake of playing Jabba’s Realm first because Return to Hoth felt less imaginative. The finale was awesome, but many of the other missions were filled with mechanics and situations that I’d seen before Not that that’s a bad thing because Imperial Assault is a good game by itself, it just felt like Return to Hoth should have done a bit more innovating, like Jabba’s Realm did.

If you enjoy Imperial Assault, Return to Hoth is worth getting because it adds more content. For me, the biggest plus here are the snow-based terrain and figures, which help diversify the visuals and table presence. Jabba’s Realm is superior when it comes to the story, the missions, and the added game mechanics. I like the heroes from Jabba’s Realm better, but these heroes aren’t bad. In short, if you want more Imperial Assault, Return to Hoth has your back, but Jabba’s Realm is the better expansion. Stay tuned for my upcoming reviews of Heart of the Empire and Twin Shadows

For more Imperial Assault, check out my reviews of Imperial Assault and Jabba’s Realm.

The Bottom Line

Return to Hoth is inferior to Jabba's Realm, but its snow theme and Imperial Assault gameplay make it worth your time if you're looking for more Imperial Assault.



Author: Spencer Patterson

I'm a teacher, writer, and board game reviewer. I especially love board games that pull me in like a good book. My wife is my favorite gaming partner.