I wanted to review more Star Wars, but I want to do a current game. Fantasy Flight (FF) brought the Star Wars license after WOTC and in 2012 they released the first wave of their X-wing Minis game. This starter set has one Rebel X-wing and two Imperial TIE fighters, a selection of pilots for each ship, maneuver templates, and game tokens.
X-wing is a space battle/ dog fight simulator set in the Star Wars Universe. It’s a squad building game with point costs, which I’ll explain in another article. It’s direct buy as opposed to randomized packs, so that’s a plus.
The game sounds complex in the abstract, but when you’re playing and see the pieces it makes sense. FF’s website has both the instructions and a Youtube video to help. For now I want to talk less about the rules and more about the experience. The thrill of planning and hoping you figured out the angles (both physical and metaphorical) correctly. The agony of making the perfect decision but having the dice fail you. The joy of rolling just what you need.
The game is fun. You have to have a good eye for spacing and tactical planning. Combat is resolved by dice, so luck has a role. Each ship handles differently and requires its own strategies. Each fighter has several stats, but the main point is how hard they hit, how good they can avoid hits and maneuver, and how many hits they can take. The X-wing is overall the better ship with more upgrade options but the TIE is faster, more agile, and cheaper. Upgrades are things like torpedoes, droids (R2-D2), etc.
I’m a big fan of Star Wars, especially the X-wing series from LucasArts so I’m bias. It’s limited by being bound by gravity, but I can’t blame it for that and it does the best it can. This is hard to review because the starter set alone isn’t great, but you need it for the full game. There are scenarios and tiles for more playability, and the stuff you get is pretty cool. It’s your “first step into a larger world.”
Should you pay the $39.95? Not right off the bat. Instead try to people who already play and see if they’ll show you the game. If you enjoy X-wing and want to have your own collection you need a starter set. But if the rumors* of a new Episode VII-themed starter set are true then you don’t need this set. And if you’re in Wausau, look me up for a game. Coming up next, mostly X-wing Expansion Packs and some other game reviews for variety.
*PS Thanks to a friend for giving me the heads up on this, BTW. You know who you are. Let me know if you want credit here.