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11 Star Wars Shatterpoint Rules Beginner’s Get Wrong

The Star Wars Shatterpoint rules are great, but the rulebook is not exactly laid out in a manner that is easy to read. Atomic Mass Games have decided to get with this sort of formal logic language. So all context is stripped to make things crystal clear. But understanding something without context can be hard, so reading through the rulebook and getting to learn the rules that way is not the best experience.

Couple that with the way the rulebook is structured (or not structured) and you get some rules that are misinterpreted or forgotten pretty quickly. So I put together a list of Shatterpoint rules that beginners get wrong (and that I also got wrong at some point).

You can find all of the rules in the Shatterpoint Core rules.

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1. Measuring Movement in Shatterpoint

Moving your miniatures will be one of the first actions you perform in Shatterpoit. If you come from other miniature games, the movement tools behave slightly differently than you might be used to.

In other games you might be used to moving the front of the base forward x inches.

When you move in Shatterpoint you either use the Advance tool (long one) or the Dash (short one) movement tool. You put down one of the movement tools around your base and twist the tool the way you like it. The miniature can the end move anywhere along the movement tool. The max you can move is putting your miniature with the base in contact with the end of the tool. You can find the rules on p 16 in the core rules.

So the distance the miniature moves is actually the movement tool + the base it is on. So the movement of models with a 50mm base is longer than miniatures on a 40mm base.

And while we are on the topic: distance from between things are measured with the 1-5 measure tools. For something to be in range, the measure tool just needs to touch both objects (the base touches the objective point, or the two bases touch the range tool). Also slightly different than say Warhammer.

I think the rulebook for Shatterpoint is structured in a way where it is not great for looking up rules when you play. If you are in doubt of something, I have found that the quickest way to look up it up is via the amazing Shatterpoint Quick Guide.

2. Measuring objectives and setup of mission in Shatterpoint Rules

While everything else is measured with the measurement tools and just needs to touch it, it is a bit different with the objectives. The distance you see on the card is actually the distance between the center of the objectives. And yeah, if you measure the distance by just touching the objectives it gets all wrong. I printed out this tool to make it easier to place the mission in the core set.

Oh, and did you know you can start the standard mission and be in range of all 3 backline objectives before you move everything? If everything is measured correctly, you can.

3. Building a Strike Team in Shatterpoint

Even though I read the rules quite meticulously, I got this wrong in my head the first time. The reason is likely that while reading the rules I assumed I knew what they said, instead of reading what was on the page (this is likely the most common way that Shatterpoint rules get confounded. By thinking that it likely works like this other game you have played).

Anyway, this is what is included in a normal Strike Team (page 17):

  1. One mission set (the standard mission set is Shifting Priorities from the Core Set)
  2. Two Squads

Each Squad is made like this:

  • Pick a Primary Unit
  • Pick a Secondary and Support unit with the same Era symbol as the Primary. The total cost (number on the upper left of the card) of the two units must not exceed the allowance of the Primary card (number on upper left of the primary card)

So making the squad is super simple. But people assume that the Strike Squad as a whole must contain the same Era symbol, but that is not the case. Only the squad (so 3 units) must have the same Era symbol. So you can have a squad from the Clone Wars Era and you can have a Squad from the Galactic Civil War.

Also, while it might be counterintuitive, besides the Era and cost restriction, nothing is really limiting what units you select (besides synergy). So while you might see people play separatist only or Galactic Repulbic only lists, this is purely a question of synergi or theme. You can make a squad with Sith and Jedi mixed, no problem.

4. Starting the game, the Struggle Tracker, Mission Cards and winning Star Wars Shatterpoint

So this mainly confused me because the rules are scattered about in different sections of the rules. So here I am just trying to collect it all, to make it easier to read for new people:

  1. When you have picked the person who is the First Player (by rolling 5 Attack dice and comparing crits), the First Player picks a table edge.
  2. Each Strike Team has brought one Mission Deck and the First Player picks which one to use. As more mission sets come out, being the First Player will become better and better.
  3. You setup the objective according to the Mission Deck card (all are inactive for now) and then you take 3 cards from the deck. You will need a card with the back “1, 2 and 3”. You do not get to see any of those 3 cards yet.
  4. Now you setup the terrain. It is slightly weird that the First Player selects table edge before terrain is put on the table and for a lot of games (including tournaments) you might have to do this differently. If you put any terrain where the objectives are, which is highly recommended, you should move the objective to the highest point (but remember not to move the position of the objective).
  5. Now you shuffle your order deck and make a pool of the force you have available
  6. The First Player puts down one of his squads. First the Primary Character goes down within range 2 of the edge. Then the rest of the squad must be placed within 1 of that Primary Character.
  7. Then the Second Player places one of his Squad in the same way, alternating until all the squads are on the table.
  8. Starting with the First Player, you must pick an active stance for units that have more than one stance available.
  9. Now the First Player flip the mission card with the 1 on the back over. This indicates which objectives are active for the first struggle.

Great, that is starting the game. But how to win the game?

The games scoring is a tug-of-war indicated by the Struggle Tracker. Each player starts with 1 momentum token (the black tokens) at the number 8 on their side of the tracker. The white token starts in the middle. You win the struggle by getting the white token to move onto one of your black momentum tokens. This is how you move the white token and gain black tokens:

  1. The white token is not moved in the First Players first turn
  2. At the end of your turn, you get to move the white token towards your end of the tracker. You move it a number of spaces equal to the number of objectives you have control over.
  3. If you move the white token, but it does not go into your half of the tracker, you get a momentum token. If the white token lands in the middle, both players get a momentum token.
  4. When you Wound a unit, you get a momentum token.

The first player to win 2 struggles wins the game.

5. How wounded and injured work in Shatterpoint Rules

If you have played other Skirmish or miniature games, the rules for wounds can be extremely hard to remember in Shatterpoint. Not because they are that complicated, but because they go contra to a lot of things you might have learned. It is easier for me to remember this if I do not think of this as being wounded or injured. Think of Wounded as a semi stun effect and Injured as just another condition. You can find the rules on page 34, but lets look at this in detail:


  • Once a Unit gets enough damage equal to its stamina, it stops taking damage and gets a wound token. The player that made the wound get a momentum token.
  • The wounded unit does not contest objectives, it cannot gain more damage and you cannot remove damage from it.
  • If the wound happens during the units Activaion, the activation ends (ouch)
  • A unit with a wound token must pay 1 extra force pr. Wound token to use an active or reactive ability. This is also the case when the ability would normally not require any force to be spent.
  • The rules for Engagement (page 29) states that a unit that is Wounded, does not count as Engaged.

Okay, great. What I assumed was that the Wounded unit could not do anything before the Wound token was removed, but the rules do not state that. The Wounded unit can still use reactive abilities, be moved by other units via abilities and so on (do note that some abilities states that the unit cannot be wounded when using it).

Also, you can still attack a wounded Unit. You might do that to push it (and pull yourself), to give it more conditions or trigger something else on your attack tree.

Okay, cool so what happens when it is the wounded units turn to act?

It becomes injured and loses the wounded condition (p. 34):

  • At the start of the Wounded units activation it flips the wounded token to the injured token (so it is now injured and no longer wounded). It now removes all damage tokens and 1 condition.
  • When you have an injured token you must spend 1 more force for “reactive” and “active abilities”. This is also the case when that ability would normally not cost any force.

Okay, so that is it. So the abilities that talk about Wounded units do not apply to Injured units. You do not lose a turn standing there looking stupid, what you lose is not contesting or engaging in the time between getting the wound and activating the unit again.

Becoming defeated:

  • When you gain injured tokens equal to your durability you get removed at the end of your activation.

So you might assume that when you get your 2 injured tokenn and only have 2 endurance, you remove the unit. But not so: you get one last activation to do stuff and claim objectives before you remove the unit from the board.

6 How Cover and Hunker Tokens work in Star Wars Shatterpoint Rules

Cover was slightly weird for me in the start, but now it makes sense. My main issue was the wording of the rules and how they where laid out. Page 37 in the rulebook:

To get Cover from terrain, this is what needs to be in place:

  1. A hunker token (more on that below)
  2. You must be able draw a line between the attacking units base and the defending units base, where the line goes through terrain.
  3. The unit being attacked must be within 1 of that terrain part and the terrain part must be at the same or higher elevation than the unit that attacks.
  4. The attack is a ranged attack

Sounds simple? Well it is, sorta. Basicly, you can get cover most of the time. If you fulfill the above you get Cover [1]. This means you get 1 more defense die on the defense roll against the ranged attack.

Now a Hunker token in and of itself will give you Cover [1]. So if you gain cover from the terrain feature as above, you will actually have Cover [2] because you need that Hunker token. So, a unit with 2 Hunker Tokens and in cover will get Cover [3]. A unit with 1 Hunker Token and nothing else will have Cover [1].

Remember that you lose Hunker tokens in Melee, cover does not work on Melee attacks and you lose all your cover tokens at the start of your turn.

To gain a Hunker token you will most of the time need to do the Take Cover action (Push 1 and gain a Hunker token).

7 Line of Sight in Star Wars Shatterpoint

Shatterpoint does not work with your true line of sight stuff. Completely forget about that. Line of Sight in shatterpoint is a much more abstract thing. You have to imagine your characters as non stationary, always moving about.

To explain how it works, let us just untangle what the rules say (page 37). In this example we are trying to establish Line of Sight between two characters:

So to have line of sight you need to draw a line between the attacking character and the defending character.

That line can ignore:

  1. Characters
  2. Clear Terrain
  3. Blocked terrain that the attacking character overlap with
  4. Blocked terrain with the same or lower elevation than the attacking character
  5. Blocked terrain with the same or lower elevation as the defending character

So the only terrain part you cannot pass (see through) is Blocked terrain parts that are higher elevation than you.

To understand this, let us quickly go over Elevation, Clear Terrain and Blocked Terrain (page 35 and 36):

Elevation: a terrain part is considered higher elevation of an object if it is 2 or more vertically above it. You check from the surface the object (in this character) is standing on. This will make more sense if we look at the core set:

Clear Terrain parts like underneath a gantry

Blocked terrain parts are well, the blocking parts. A wall, a building and so on

Okay, let us try and put this together. It seems like you will almsot always have Line of Sight (and you will in many cases get Cover).

Let us check out an image some people made to try and visualize this line of sight thing there:

An image trying to teach the Shatterpoint Rules for Cover and line of sight

Now that just seems a bit confusing.

It is actually easier to try and reverse this: when do you not have line of sight? When there is a piece of terrain between the two characters and that terrain piece is:

  1. A Blocking Terrain piece
  2. You cannot draw a line between the two characters without hitting that blocking terrain piece
  3. None of the characters are overlapping/standing on the terrain part that is blocking
  4. The Blocking Terrain piece is higher elevation than both characters

Check out this video from The Jodo Cast to have it explained in a video format:

YouTube video

8 Reserve

In many ways Shatterpoint is a miniature card mixed with a card game. And as you might know, having control over what cards you are drawing when in a card game can be extremely valuable. This is also the case in Shatterpoint. Everyone has the ability to Reserve a unit when you draw it, and it might be one of the best abilities in the game.

When you draw a card, you can spend 1 force to put that card in reserve instead of activating the unit. You then draw another card.

At the start if your turn before you draw, you can choose to select the card you have in reserve and activate that unit. If your deck is empty, you must pick the card in reserve.

And that is about it really. So not complicated at all, but something you have to remember.

So each time you have a unit come up that might not be helping you win objectives, it is worth considering to reserve it instead. But be aware that as reactive and active abilities go up in force cost as the games goes on (by units getting wounded and injured), the cost of the reserve ability essentially “goes up”.

9 How Recover and Healing works.

Recover is an action you can find on page 22. It simply states that the unit Heal 1. The rules for healing are found on page 32. And those rules state that the unit can remove one condition or one damage from the unit. But what I overlooked for the longest time is that the unit can instead choose to use the heal on an ally within range 2, which can be insanely powerful (removing nasty conditions off a primary before they need to act and so on).

10 Multiple Character Units

This has by far been the thing where I have had to look the rules up again and again. Not because the rules are unclear, but because they work very contra to what I might be used to. So here are the rules for Multiple Characters in Shatterpoint as found on page 23:

Some units have more than one character. When you draw their order card you activate the whole unit. When you pick an action with a unit, all characters in the unit make that action. So if you shoot with your Clones, you pick one of the two clones and shoot with that. Then you shoot with the other. You can select to not shoot with one of them, but it still counts as having done that action.

But what is interesting is all the things these rules are not telling you, but that you have to infer from the way other rules are worded. So these things you just need to figure out by reading other rules:

  • The unit does not have to stay within a specific range of each other. After setup they can both move their separate direction.
  • They do not have to attack the same target (but they can).
  • The unit shares one health pool. In essence, if one of the characters gets attacked the whole unit is attacked. The unit becomes injured, wounded, gets condition and so on together – no matter how far they are from each other on the board (it can seem weird that a melee combat between one character in a unit and an enemy would have an effect on another clone character on the opposite side of the board, but that is how it works).
  • While the units share conditions, some of them are worded in a way where the first action of one of the characters can remove the condition before the other character acts. An example would be pinned. The pin gets removed when one character in the unit makes an advance, dash, or jump. Your clones take the move action. One clone tries to advance, but instead of doing that, it removes the pin. Now the other character in the unit is free to move as normal. The same is the case for Disarm, where the first attack removes the disarm.
  • Oh, and do you remember the wording of the Recover action? Because it says “each character in this unit may heal 1”, you actually get to do the action with each of the characters in the unit.

11. Movement, Ingress points and Engagement

So while movement is relatively simple, we again have the issue where some of the rules are not stated explicitly, but have to be inferred by how things are worded.

You can take a Move action on your turn (page 22). This grants the unit either an Advance (long tool), Dash (short tool) or a climb (short tool). The rules for those movements are found on page 24.

If you Advance, you put down the Advance tool and move the unit up to the end of the movement tool. You can end at a lower elevation (jump down) and you can move across gaps (jumping across). You cannot use the Advance action to go up. If you are engaged (within 2 of an enemy) at the start of this movement, you must instead use the Dash tool. Dash works the same way as an advance, it is only shorter.

Now the Climb action can be a bit weird. You use the Dash tool. You can end at any elevation you would like. You cannot use the Climb action if you are in combat (so essentially you cannot move out of combat with a Climb).

It helps to think about climbing using a 2D perspective. You look at the map and the terrain from above and move the character with the dash tool. The character can move through all obstacles and can end at any elevation (as long as they can fit the base there). So you can move through walls, climb 2 stories up and so on. Everything becomes 2D while that character is climbing.

Jump works exactly like the climb, but you can use the Jump in combat.

While we are talking about movement, let us quickly cover Ingress Points (the ladders) as they are tightly connected. Ingress points are covered on page 37:

If you end any of the movement actions within 1 of an ingress point, you can opt to use the ingress point. You can now put that character at the new elevation point within 1 of the ingress point (ladder). So ending an Advance, Dash, Climb or Jump within 1 of a ladder lets you climb that ladder for free. Notice that push, pulls and the movement from the Take Cover action does not trigger ingress points.