Game Review: Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game
The new Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game by Fantasy Flight Games was one of the must-have games at Gen Con last week. I bought it along with the expansions and drooled copiously over the not yet available ships that were previewed. Read on to get all the details on this fantastic game.
Star Wars fans will be happy to know that the team at Fantasy Flight Games worked directly with Lucasfilm Licensing to make sure the ships were accurate. All ships that have been released, and the ones coming down the pipeline, conform to Star Wars canon and are made to scale.
There is a quick-start scenario that you can play first, but it leaves out a lot of the more interesting mechanics so it doesn’t give players a good feel for the depth of gameplay. Skip it altogether and go right for one of the three missions in the rulebook. It’s straight-forward enough that you’ll have the game down in no time.
You also get to choose exactly who pilots your craft. Luke costs a lot, as does Vader, but they get extra a abilities for that cost. There are also pilots who are fresh out of flight school and cost less or squadron leaders who fall somewhere in the middle. Your choice of pilots and ships makes each game unique and is a crucial factor in the success of your mission.
Actual movement is guided by maneuver templates that you line up with two little plastic bumps on the base of your ship. Once they’re lined up, just move your ship to the end of the template and you’re done. No need to take out tape measures or argue about angles, so the game doesn’t get bogged down.
Ships can move through each other, but if they end up touching at the end of their movement then they’re in trouble. Although they don’t take damage or get destroyed, the ship that moved will lose their action, as if the pilot is so shaken up he can’t think straight.
The base of each ship has a firing arc marked by red lines for Rebels or green lines for Imperials. You line up the range ruler within the arc to determine if you’re close enough to reach your target. The ruler has a red laser bolt on one side and a green bolt on the other which doesn’t really matter to gameplay, but is nicely in keeping with the Star Wars theme.
When two ships engage, one player rolls attack dice and the other rolls defense dice. They’ll each be able to apply those modifiers from the activation phase and may be able to improve their number of hits or dodge to avoid enemy fire. No matter how good the pilot, sooner or later you are going to take some damage.
There are damage cards to keep track of successful attacks. If any of them are critical hits, then the more complex consequences on the flip side of each card comes into play. You’ll have to deal with things like injured pilots and damaged cockpits that all affect how well your ship will fight. After every ship attacked, the round is over and you start a new round. The first side to achieve its mission objectives wins.
Miniatures game players will find the mechanics familiar and easy to grasp while those new to the genre will quickly be able to figure things out. It’s just complex enough to provide for interesting gameplay without becoming tediously complex.
Part of what makes this game so much fun, though, is the theme. Fantasy Flight Games has captured the Star Wars universe. It’s got beautifully painted ships that are all created to scale. It’s got characters that we know and love, or love to hate. It’s got X-Wings and TIEs and lasers and ion cannons and astromechs, and all the stuff that makes a space battle uniquely Star Wars.
The Star Wars X-Wings Miniatures Core Set at $39.95 will get you started. There are also expansion packs with TIE Fighters, TIE Advanced, X-Wings and Y-Wings for $14.95 each. They include a ship along with a selection of additional pilots for new options. You can preorder the game now and be pitting the Rebels against the Imperials mid-September when the game is released.
There was also a GenCon preview of the next group of expansions so you can look forward to TIE Interceptors, A-Wings, The Millennium Falcon and Slave I this winter.