Fantasy Flight Games
I didn’t think it was possible for a table top game to do such a wonderful job capturing the feel of a Star wars dog fight in space! Featuring detailed miniatures, the X-Wing Miniatures game does an amazing job of giving players a fast paced table top strategy game with straightforward, easy to learn mechanics while also providing depth and complexity to satisfy most die-hard strategy game enthousiasts.
Heroes’ Beacon ran its first X-Wing event not long ago and the turnout showed that more than a few gamers had already fallen in love with the game — a game whose popularity has been growing and understandably so. Each player chooses their faction — Rebel or Imperial — and then either play out one of the pre-constructed scenarios or build their own armies.
The basic gameplay is fairly simple. Players position their ships on opposite ends of a 3′ x 3′ play space and take a dial associated with their ship and turn it to the maneuver they want to make. They each reveal their dials and in ascending order of pilot skill they move their ships and take one pre-combat action that their pilot can perform. After that, it’s a matter of choosing a target and rolling dice. Range and movement are all done using templates provided in the base game. Hits and evades are all determined by 8-sided dice — included in the base game — that are marked with hit, critical, “focus” and miss (blank) for attacking dice and evade, “focus” and blank for the defending dice. It’s all fairly straightforward, and the intro scenario is quick to pick up and fun to play. That said, the game quickly becomes far more complex once you start digging into the various pilots and upgrades.
Each ship has a selection of pilots to choose from and each pilot has a different piloting skill, list of pre-combat actions, equipment options and extra abilities as well as a point cost used in building your army (most games use a 100 point army build). After that, you can select equipment — pilot medals, missiles, astromech droids, co-pilots, turrets — all based on what categories your pilot makes available and the amount of points you are able to spend. The variety can almost become daunting, and the pilot’s own abilities can add some considerable thought and strategy to the game.
The core game comes with 2 Tie-Fighters, and X-Wing, rulebook, maneuver dials, tokens, obstacles (asteroids) objective markers, movement guides, firing guides, pilot cards, upgrade cards and dice (6). The tokens, asteroids, objective markers, dials and guides are all made out of a sturdy cardboard. The rulebook itself is small yet does a good job explaning the rules and includes a number of scenarios you can play. The scenarios include information around what each opponent should have in terms of pilots and equipment as well as special rules for objectives. Players can later expand upon them if they wish by building their own forces towards a point total.
The miniatures themselves are beautifully painted with several paint applications and a wash that helps the details pop. At first glance, it’s difficult to tell if the miniatures are metal or plastic (they are plastic, but I thought for sure they were metal when I first saw one). The Millenium Falcon in particular is stunning.
Players are encouraged to grow and expand their forces by buying additonal ships — additional X-Wings and Tie Fighters or a variety of other ships from the Star Wars universe. The current selection of ships — while not massive — is extensive enough to provide plenty of variety. The new ships also tend to include new equipment cards that are compatible with your other ships. Larger ships like the Millenium Falcon are appealing as they tend to have more shields and can be geared with more equipment, but they also tend to carry a larger point cost and tend to be easier to hit. Smaller ships — the Empire’s Tie Fighters in particular — have a smaller point cost and tend to be more agile and frail. How you want to play will determine the makeup of your army and learning to maneuver your squadron well can be the difference between success and failure.
And failure can be glorious!
A miscalculated maneuver can leave you slamming into debris or another ship. Critical hits turn damage cards face up and can reveal impairments to your ship’s handling and maneuverability. A bad roll can change the face of the game. Even while on the loosing side, it’s hard to not get wrapped up in the fast paced, cinematic feel the game takes on. It’s dynamic, energetic, chaotic and FUN.
If you are looking for a game that does a great job capturing the excitement of space combat, then X-Wing is certainly the game to try. If Star Wars isn’t your cup of tea, Star Trek: Attack Wing by WizKids games uses the same mechanics and the upcoming Attack Wing: Dungeons & Dragons will trade X-Wings for Dragons!