A not-so-long review about a galaxy far, far away.
I’m a huge Star Wars fan. Well, a fan of the original trilogy anyway. So you can understand how excited I was to play a tabletop miniatures game revolving around the iconic space-battles of the original three movies. To be honest, it’s about damn time we gamers got to hop back into the cockpits of our favorite starfighters. The last X-Wing title for PC, X-Wing Alliance is approaching its 15th birthday. 2003’s Rogue Squadron and 2006’s Empire at War did little but whet our appetites for a fully fledged X-Wing adventure.
So that brings us back to the present day and Fantasy Flight’s epically awesome X-Wing Miniatures Game. To attribute the game’s success exclusively to fan fervor would belittle the fantastic job that Fantasy Flight have done here. At once accessible, but with the potential for incredible strategic depth, X-Wing has something to offer to new and old Star Wars fans alike. I also expect that the title will introduce a lot of new people to the joys of tabletop war gaming. It’s quicker, easier and more seductive than ever before.
So what’s so great about X-Wing specifically? Well for one thing you’re not going to have to pawn your organs on the international black market just to afford a starting force *cough, Games Workshop, cough.* Nor are you going to have to spend countless hours assembling and painting the miniatures. Everything that comes in the starter set (which I picked up for about $60AUD from a local game-store [buy local, people]) is ready to be used within minutes. You’ll get one X-Wing model, two Tie Fighter models, a rule book and all the assorted dice, bits and pieces that you’ll need. Fantasy Flight have also put a comprehensive video tutorial on Youtube for all of you audio/visual learners out there.
So how does the game play? Extremely well! After choosing your allegiance (handy hint, always be yourself, unless you can be Imperial, then always play Imperial) your ships, pilots and loadouts it’s time to deploy your forces and get straight into the action. A typical game of X-Wing is composed of a number of turns broken up into two distinct phases; the movement and action phase followed by the shooting or combat phase. Among other statistics, each pilot has an initiative value which represents a pilot’s skill and reflexes. At the start of the turn, players secretly choose what movements their pilots will perform by selecting an option from ship specific dials included in the box. In ascending pilot skill order, the dials are uncovered one-by-one and the ships perform the designated moves.
In the subsequent shooting phase, pilots fire in descending initiative order; an eloquent system representing a skilled pilot’s ability to react to their opponent’s movements while firing first. Damage is resolved by rolling a number of attack or defense dice equal to the attack or defense value displayed on the pilot’s profile. If the number of ‘hit’ results outnumbers the amount of ‘evade’ results, the ship suffers damage. There are a number of other factors that come into play too like shields, critical hits, focus actions, evades, boosts, barrel rolls and special weapons (photon torpedoes, anyone?) but you’ll just have to play the game yourself to learn more!
The models themselves are excellent, the paint-jobs are immaculate and the detail on most of the models is incredible. The Fantasy Flight team were given unrestricted access to the original models produced by Lucasfilm for the movies. And it shows. The game feels authentically Star Wars; much more so than the newest trilogy of films. It’s a delight to realize my childhood dream of crushing Rebel scum with Lord Vader, flanked by a couple of Tie Fighters (which are better ships than any Rebel fighters; flame on, see my reasoning in this review’s sister article.) By no means is X-Wing limited to Ties and X-Wings; the full roster of Rebel and Imperial ships are here (X, Y, A, B wings, Tie Fighters, Tie Advanced and Tie Interceptors) as well as a host of special ships and characters (Bobba Fett’s Slave I and Solo’s Millennium Falcon being the notable inclusions.) These additional releases are aptly billed as ‘expansion packs’ and include multiple pilots (do you prefer Han and Chewie or Lando and Nien Nunb?) as well as general upgrade cards that are compatible with the rest of your fleet.
If you call yourself a Star Wars fan or enjoy the thrill of tabletop games you owe it to yourself to check out X-Wing.
The short version; Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game gets a score of five dysfunctional father-son relationships out of five. The force is strong with this one.