Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game (minatures game review).

January 31, 2014 | By | Reply More

‘Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game’, published by the prodigious Fantasy Flight Games, is essentially a space dogfight simulation game that is played out on any tabletop/convenient flat surface. The aim is simple: blast your opponent into space dust, through the moving of your ships into firing arcs and rolling special dice to see if you hit or evade. This isn’t a board game, it is a miniatures game and, as such, a player has to collect the models provided by the manufacturers. The starter box provides what appears to be, at first look, a sparse collection of craft. Just two Tie-Fighters and one X-Wing with accompanying rules and paraphernalia. Hardly the stuff of epic space battles. Yet, when you start playing the game, you swiftly realise that it doesn’t need to be, this is combat up close and personal and it’s awesome.

SWXWingMinaturesGame

The game is quite quick to learn. Like anything, the best way is just to set it up and start playing and the mechanics soon become clear. Firstly, you can decide about selecting a specific mission or just choosing the points value each side is allowed to spend on their ships. This is the same mechanic used by many other tabletop games to assist in balance. This decides how many there are, what they are, their configuration and just who is flying them. So you could end up with a rookie pilot with an astromech droid in an X-Wing against a veteran imperial pilot flying an underpowered Tie-Fighter.

Once each side is configured, then you set up (which doesn’t take long) and away you go. Since you are in space, there isn’t much blocking terrain needed although you can populate your surface with asteroids and the like so they do become a hazard. Players take turns in moving/firing their ships depending on their manoeuvre rating and skill of the pilots. But before that, they secretly select what these moves can be. Each ship has different options in terms of how far it can move, turn or indeed do a loop the loop. The designers have made a cool adjustable counter which holds the options for each ship. Once selected, the players reveal their decisions and then the ships are moved in order.

After the initial charge, as both sides come together all guns blazing, players have to work out what their opponents will choose to do and what they can do to counter that. A ship’s individual characteristics have to be considered and you have to plan to get into a firing position in a couple of turns, especially if you have someone on your tail. This makes for compelling stuff as ships start a deadly dance around each other, looking for the optimal kill shot. Ranges and weapon types have an impact on the amount of dice you roll as do the choice to ‘lock on’ to enemy craft or choosing to conduct crazy acrobatics. It may be that you think you have a bead on someone ‘I have you now’ and you roll successful hits, only for your opponent to roll their defence dice that cause them to weave out of the way of your beams. You also have shields that will absorb damage and the own structural integrity of your craft that can take major systems damage yet continue to fight, even if it’s only with a pesky ion cannon.

Due to these factors, the chances are slim (although not impossible) that a ship can be destroyed in the opening moments. This means the game itself can last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. It all depends on how many ships you have. There are expansion packs which provide the rules and models for A-Wings, B-Wings, Tie Bombers and Interceptors, Lambda class shuttles and of course, the Millennium Falcon. So actually, if you have a mind, and know other players who also own models, you can create a fantastic space battle.

To give you a sense of it, we played a couple of 2vs2 player games which had four Rebel ships against six Imperials. It took us about two hours of action to finish them, the Imps won the first and the Rebels the second. You tend to find that the Rebels have better firepower and the Imperials are more manoeuvrable, so understanding the capabilities of the individual ships is very important.

I have heard some folk complain that as far as simulations go, not having a mechanism for height or, indeed, applying actual rules of physics, detracts from the game. I disagree wholeheartedly. This is a ‘Star Wars’ game! I don’t need a real life simulation I want to be flying an X-wing against the Empire! In that sense, this is a great game. The models are lovely, the rules work well and the extra fluff on your ship descriptions helps to immerse you in the universe. Just stick on the ‘Star Wars’ soundtrack, open your S-foils, switch your deflectors to double front and accelerate to attack speed.

I’m choking up just think about it!

Alex Janaway

January 2014

(pub: Fantasy Flight Games SWX01. Price: £24.28 (UK). Age: 14+. ASIN: 1616613769)

check out website: www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_minisite.asp?eidm=174

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Category: Games, Star Wars

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