Christmas morning 1977. Every kid in my neighborhood was wanting something from Star Wars under the tree. As we all know Lucas and Kenner missed the starship on this one and really did not have much to offer the first years of the movie’s release.
I was 11 at the time and one of the very few things they were able to produce in time for Christmas morning was a board game.
The game was called “Escape From Death Star”. Seemed like the stores stocked up and there was a overrun on this game because every kid I knew had a copy. It was a simple game for the most part. You tried to escape the trash compactor and get to the millennium falcon. In the process you needed to shut off the tractor beam and get the Death Star Blueprints. (wasn’t that the job and mission for Rogue One?)
Came with cardboard figures of Han, Chewbacca, Luke & Leia which was a little disheartening as by the picture on the box you just figured Vader would be in there somewhere. Game came with force cards as well that could be good or bad for you in the game. And let’s not forget a very cool spinner to know how many moves to make in form of R2-D2.Flash forward 21 years and it is 1998 Christmas time. Kenner gives us an updated version of the game calling it “Escape The Death Star Action Figure Game”. In this version you still must reach the millennium Falcon to escape but the mission is two-fold one for younger people (Luke Skywalker, Han solo, Chewbacca, and Princess Leia capturing imperials) and one for advanced players (Darth Vader, Boba Fett, and Stormtroopers capturing rebel cards to win) instead of a spinner for this game you were required to use dice.
The really cool thing about this board game is it came with a Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker (Stormtrooper outfit) actual action figures to play with and use in the game. This board game was to interact with your other “Power of the Force II” action figures that you could unpackage and actually play with if you were so bold and did not care about keeping your figure mint on card.Flash forward again 21 years and it is 2019 and Christmas is just around the corner. The perfect gift has just been released in time for you to buy for your spouse, mom, dad, even yourself or whoever grew up in 1977 and had the “Escape from Death Star” board game under their tree. But as time went by pieces went lost and missing. Maybe your grandparents threw it out or sold it at a yard sale. Or maybe they had woken up and Santa did not have it hanging next to the stockings with care.
A retro reproduction of the original classic board game has been released by Kenner. The exact same version they or even you played with when you were just a kid. Same rules same style box. The newer version comes with a bonus as with the version that was released 21 years prior an action figure is included. None other than the first Grand Moff – Tarken himself. I could not help myself feeling a bit giddy when I saw this at the local department store and had to buy my own copy to go next to an original version I own.
In my opinion this is one of the best retro reproduction toys for the Star Wars Kenner line that I have ever seen released and won’t break your pocketbook to purchase.
The new retro reproduction I found curious on the box is for ages 8 and up where the original was for ages 7 and up? Why the 1-year difference in safety for the 42-year gap. Also, what Escape from / the Death Star game will we get 21 years from now in the year 2040? Maybe they can incorporate how “Rogue One” escaped with the blueprints and plans.
(editor’s note: the movie is not “A New Hope”).