Collectibles from the Outer Rim: Battle at Sarlacc’s Pit!

Presenting a little-known Return of the Jedi tabletop that slowly digests game pieces over a thousand years!

Perhaps the most egregious omission from Kenner’s vintage Star Wars collection was a Great Pit of Carkoon playset. As the crux of what was arguably the most action-packed scene in the entire original trilogy, I never understood why Kenner didn’t release some kind of plastic Sarlacc toy for kids to play with.

(Kenner wasn’t wholly oblivious to the problem, either. In one old Return of the Jedi action figure commercial, a pair of kids created a makeshift Sarlacc out of a sandcastle bucket!)

Still, for kids who dreamed of sending effigial Star Wars characters plunging to their doom, hope was not lost!

In 1983, Parker Brothers released Battle at Sarlacc’s Pit, a multiplayer board game — “board” in the broadest sense — that wasn’t so much “fun to play” as fun to play with.

The three-dimensional game had everything fans could want from a Carkoon playset. There was a sail barge, oodles of figures, and a cardboard Sarlacc!

Battle at Sarlacc’s Pit came with 16 miniature figures, molded in lightweight plastic. Leading the villains is Jabba the Hutt, looking a bit less robust than usual. He’s supported by Nikto, Boba Fett, and 10 Gamorrean Guards. (Yes, Boba Fett is here! There were already a dozen reasons to track down Battle at Sarlacc’s Pit, but a one-inch Boba Fett figure puts everything over the top.)

The heroes — which up to four players could assume the identities of — included Luke, Han, Chewie, and Leia. (You’ll note that Leia is in her Endor outfit. A minor continuity hiccup.)

The object is to knock enemies into the Sarlacc’s hungry mouth, all while collecting “Jedi points” by way of an included card deck. After Jabba’s sent down the drain, the player who’d accumulated the most Jedi points wins.

Come on, how awesome is that? A functional Sarlacc, with enough “belly” to fit each and every figure that came with the game! (And of course, since this from 1983, it’s the Sarlacc as it was originally known — not the “Audrey II” version from the Special Editions.)

Official rules notwithstanding, Battle at Sarlacc’s Pit was best served as an out-and-out toy. I mean, if I’m six years old and someone gives me this, I’m gonna throw the cards aside and just do what I want. Maybe I’d have Boba Fett trade allegiances and start beating up Gamorreans.

If you remember the many Star Wars Micro Machines playsets that arrived in the late ‘90s, this was like the cruder — but still somehow uber — version of them.

The game was never wildly popular. In fact, I never even knew of its existence until adulthood. (Likely the sad byproduct of shelving such an amazing Star Wars “toy” so far away from the traditional action figures. If we only had time for one aisle at Toys “R” Us, it wasn’t gonna be the board game aisle.)

Perhaps because it’s so little-known, Battle at Sarlacc’s Pit has remained affordable on the collectors’ market. Some sellers insist on higher prices, but complete editions routinely sell for $30-35. Of course, with so many easily-broken pieces, the trick is finding one that’s truly complete and still “buildable.”

Worth the trouble? Heck yes. It’s a big cardboard THING that lets you flick green ogres into a monster sand hole! If you could ask for more, you’re dreaming too big.

Matt collects things that are hazardous to his health. See more of his collection on Dinosaur DraculaTwitter, and Facebook!