The Gamer's Codex

The Gamer's Codex

Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game

Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game
From: Fantasy Flight Games
Reviewedby: Ron McClung

Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game is a new Miniature Game from Fantasy Flight Games

I have stated this before when reviewing other Star Wars products – I have a long history with Star Wars games.  I ran the d6 RPG as well as the d20 RPG for years.  I have played various board games as well as miniature games off and on.  But my Star Wars fandom waivered after the release of the prequels.  I was so disappointed, I sold a vast majority of my collection.

Star Wars: X-Wing Miniature Game is the first Star Wars game I have truly invested a lot of time and money in since I gave up on Star Wars so many years ago. However, this game is so complete, so easy to learn and so satisfying from a gamer-point of view, I would play it if it was Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, or any other property (although I keep telling people FFG should consider BSG for this too).

From the page # 26:
“X-Wing has been a labor of love for the design and production teams here at Fantasy Flight Games.”

The first thing you have to get past before even learning the game is the price.  Even if I did not have an aversion to Star Wars games, the price kept me away for a while.  It wasn’t until I played it at a con that convinced me that the game is well worth the money.  The Base game comes with 2 TIE fighters and one X-wing and all the basic supplies you need to play the game.  That costs $40.  You couple that with the $15 single-ship expansions, and you are spending some considerable money, at least for my budget.  Most people I know that play it end up buying two basic sets to get two sets of dice, two sets of templates, and enough stuff to have a good battle.  So you have to really budget yourself before diving into this.

Getting past the price, the game itself is very easy to learn and play.  The basic mechanic came from FFG’s Wings of War series of games, which I love.  It uses a simple template system to measure out your movement and specialized dice to determine combat and damage.  A game round is made up of three major phases and the End Phase where you clean things up.

To start out, a player goes into the Planning Phase, where he secretly plots out the movement of each of his ships.  Each ship comes with its own unique (to each ship type) maneuver dial.  Each dial has a number of various maneuvers (straight, bank, turn, or Koiogran/180 turn), and associated to these maneuvers are speed and difficulty.   Speed is the length of the maneuver template. Difficulty can be simple, standard and difficult.   Difficult maneuvers apply stress to the pilot while simple ease stress.  Having Stress Tokens restricts future actions and movement.

The challenge in the phase is predicting what your opponent is going to do. The key in this phase is that you cannot pre-measure before committing the maneuver.  It is always a challenge trying to get your opponent in range, within your firing arch (for most ships), while avoiding obstacles (in some scenarios) and other ships.  To plan this out ahead of time, in secret and without pre-measuring, makes it even more a challenge.  When I played, the feel of a real dog fight started there.  It took me back to the time I used to play the X-Wing vs. TIE fighter video game.  The tension and the excitement in the game really begins to build up right away.

The Activation Phase is when the maneuver dials are revealed and executed and actions are taken.  Actions are key game effects that can help you or hinder your opponent.  Each ship can only take one.  Some examples are Focus, Evade, Barrel Roll and Acquire Target.  Specific ships can do only a specific set of actions.  Taking an action can easily be one of those things you forget to do, but forgetting can have devastating effects.  Always remember to at least do one of your available actions even if it’s just a Focus.  You do have the option to Pass but only do that if you have no other option.

From the page # 26:
“The X-Wing development team had a simple but ambitious goal: to produce a compelling miniatures game that faithfully replicated the tense starfighter battles of the Star Wars films.”

Not only does the game come with very nicely sculpted and painted minis, it also comes with a variety of cards (what FFG game doesn’t?).  Ship cards represent your ship in the game and might have abilities that require actions.  Upgrade cards add features to your ship and some of these features may require an action.  These all give you a variety of options for that one single all-important action each round.

The Combat phase is quite obviously the reward to all your planning and plotting.  There are attack (red 8-sided) dice and defense (green 8-sided) dice, and each side rolls a number of them based on stats of their ships.  Using a range template, you find your targets and roll your dice.  Previously executed Actions can affect these dice, as well as Abilities, Upgrade Cards and other combat factors.  Each side rolls dice.  Attack dice have special symbols that represent hit, critical hit, miss and focus.  Defense dice have symbols that represent evade, focus or blank (meaning unsuccessful evasion).  As an example of an Action’s importance, the Focus actions can change the focus symbols to something else (depending on if attacking or defending), if that action was taken and the player chooses to spend it.

Damage is determined, if any, and dealt to the target through cards.  You can take normal damage or critical hits, which affect the functionality of your ship.  Shields deflect either type of it, and if the ship has no shields the damage cards are consulted.  Another aspect I like a lot is the damage system.  You use the same cards for both regular damage and critical hits.  The one side of the card, displaying  generic explosion, represents regular damage and takes away from hull points.  On the other side are critical hits and you use those only in the case that critical hits have to be resolved.

The first time I played this, I was hooked.  I resisted it as hard as I could but the game is so simple and elegant that it is hard to hate this game.  Someone said to me when playing that the system “just felt right,” and that’s true.  It just feels natural for any good dog fight scenario.

The rulebook also supplies special rules for overlapping ships, obstacle collisions, squad building, and missions.  In FFG fashion, the rulebook is complete and covers just about everything you would want to know about playing the game.

In conclusion, it is a brilliant game.  It has pulled me back into the Star Wars universe when I thought I would never get back into it.  However, like I said, I would play this if it was Star Wars or anything else.  It’s just fun and easy to play.  It is also very satisfying as a game and, of course, has incredible replay potential.  It is well worth the cost.  It is not only easy to learn, it is also very fast.  A game might be 2 hours max, but more than likely will be less, depending on the number of ships.  I highly recommend this game.

For more details on Fantasy Flight Games and their new Miniature GameStar Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game” check them out at their website, and at all of your local game stores.

Codex Rating: 19

Product Summary

Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game
From: Fantasy Flight Games
TypeofGame: Miniature Game
Executive Game Designer: Corey Konieczka
Game Design: Jay Little
Game Development: Adam Sadler, Brady Sadler, and Corey Konieczka
Producer: Steven Kimball
Editing and Proofreading: Julian Smith, David Hansen, and Adam Baker
Cover Art: Matt Allsop
Interior Art: Matt Allsop, Cristi Balenescu, Jon Bosco, Matt Bradbury, Sacha Diener, Blake Henriksen, Lukasz Jaskolski, Jason Juta, Henning Ludvigsen, Jorge Maese, Scott Murphy, David Augen Nash Matthew Starbuck, Nicholas Stohlman, Angela Sung
Graphic Design: Dallas Mehlhoff, with Chris Beck, Shaun Boyke, Brian Schomburg,  Michael Silsby, and Evan Simonet
3D Ship Modeling: Benjamin Maillet with Jason Beaudoin
Managing Art Director: Andrew Navaro
Art Direction: Zoë Robinson
Publisher: Christian T. Petersen
Number of Pages: 28 page rulebook
Game Components Included: Base set includes  3 Painted Plastic minis (two TIE fighter minis, 1 X-Wing mini), rules, Quick-Start Rules Booklet, 3 Transparent Plastic Bases, 6 Transparent Plastic Pegs, 8 Ship Tokens (double-sided), 11 Maneuver Templates (3 Turns, 3 Banks, 5 Straights), 3 Maneuver Dials (each consisting of a faceplate, a dial, and a pair of plastic connectors), 19 Action Tokens (4 Evade Tokens,  3 Focus Tokens, 6 Red Target Lock Tokens (double-sided)), 6 Blue Target Lock Tokens (double-sided), 13 Mission Tokens (8 Tracking Tokens, 1 Shuttle Token, 4 Satellite Tokens),  6 Asteroid Obstacle Tokens,  2 Shield Tokens,  3 Stress Tokens,  3 Critical Hit Tokens,  27 ID Tokens (double-sided),  13 Ship Cards,  33 Damage Cards,  5 Upgrade Cards,  3 Red Attack Dice,  3 Green Defense Dice,  1 Range Ruler
Game Components Not Included: There is enough to play in the base set, but there are expansion sets available that allow you to add to your battles.  This reviewer recommends buying at least two base sets.
Retail Price: $39.99 for base, $14.99 for expansion ships (US)
Number of Players: 2 in the base, more with expansion
Player Ages: 14+
Play Time: 20+ minutes

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

About the author

Ron McClung (Ron McClung)

Gaming Coordinator for all MACE events. Former writer for and Scrye Magazine.

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