Acoustic Gaming: X-Wing Miniatures Game – Review
X-Wing by Fantasy Flight Games is a collectable miniatures game set in the Star Wars Universe, in which players put together a squad of star-fighter pilots and face off against each other in epic space dogfights. The starter pack comes with everything you need to get you started, including an X-Wing and two TIE Fighters, as well as their pilot cards, movement templates, various tokens, upgrades, and dice. This is great to get you started, however, in order to play a standard 100 point game, you’ll have to purchase additional expansion packs and add more ships to your fleet.
In the standard game mode, each player has 100 points to put together a squad of fighters. This can include famous pilots such as Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader, or for a smaller number of points you can field generic unnamed pilots. The named pilots each have their own unique ability for you to use in battle, and will usually have a high Pilot Skill rating, while the cheaper, generic pilots won’t have an ability and usually have lower Pilot Skill ratings. The importance of Pilot Skill is that it determines the order in which ships move and shoot. You can further customise your ships by adding upgrades such as missiles, torpedoes, and even astromech droids. Each upgrade will usually have a point value against it and each type of ship is only able to use certain types of upgrades; as such you have to make tough decisions on what to bring to the fight.
The game is played on a 3’ x 3’ playing area, and has four main elements: the Planning Phase, the Activation Phase, the Combat Phase, and the End Phase. In the Planning Phase, each player will choose (in secret) a movement for each of their ships. Different ships are capable of different things and each will have its own Manoeuver Dial. Players will select a manoeuver on the dial and place it next to the corresponding ship.
Once all dials have been placed the Activation Phase begins. In this phase players move their ships in ascending Pilot Skill order and carry out the manoeuver stated on the dial. The manoeuvers come in three categories: Green (easy), White (normal), or Red (Stressful). Green and White manoeuvers can be carried out without penalty, however Red manoeuvers will cause your pilot to become stressed, which can only be cleared by doing a Green manoeuver. The ship is moved by placing a template which corresponds to your chosen manoeuver in guides on the base of your ship – it’s very simple and effective. It can be tricky at first to judge where your ship is going to end up, but you’ll soon get the hang of it. Following your move, and assuming you aren’t stressed, your ship can then take an action. These actions are usually determined by the type of ship and include things like Barrel Roll, Target Lock, Evade and Focus. Players can also add further actions by adding certain upgrade cards.
After everyone has activated, the Combat Phase begins. This is relatively self-explanatory and each ship gets the opportunity to attack an enemy ship once. This can either be with a ship’s primary weapon or with an added secondary weapon such as a missile or torpedo. In this phase the pilots with the highest Pilot Skill shoot first and, depending where your ships are in this order, it might mean that one of your ships is destroyed before getting a chance to shoot. The combat itself is quite simple: the attacker will throw red attack dice equal to his weapon’s attack value and the defender will throw green defence dice equal to his agility value. Results are then compared and damage is dealt accordingly. It is also possible to modify dice depending on your pilot abilities and also what actions you took in the Activation Phase. For example, if a player took the Evade action, he may add one free evade result to his roll, whereas if a player took Focus he can convert Focus results on the attack dice to hits, or evades if he is defending.
Finally, after everyone has had the opportunity to fire, the End Phase begins. This is basically a clean-up phase where unused tokens etc from the previous round are collected off the board and a new round can begin again. The winner of the game is the first to destroy all of the enemy’s ships.
I really like this game. It’s very easy to play and the squad-building element is brilliant fun. I absolutely love tinkering with different squad builds to try and get the perfect match for my chosen play style. The miniatures themselves are beautifully crafted to scale and come fully painted. Currently there are three Factions to choose from: Rebels/Resistance, Empire/First Order, and Scum & Villainy, so there are plenty of options available to players. This variety is a double edged sword though, as certain upgrades and the like only come within specific expansion packs. This is quite frustrating as you’re almost forced to buy ships you might not want/need just to get hold of a few cards. It’s not like the expansion packs are cheap either. The smaller ships RRP at £12.99, while the larger ships RRP at around £24.99, and let’s not even get into the massive ships required for “Epic” level play. Of course, cheaper deals can be found, but even then you are looking at a significant investment if you want to keep up with your friends or the current state of the meta-game.
- Excellent squad building element giving lots of options
- Easy to learn gameplay that is hard to master
- Brilliant miniatures and components
- Very expensive
- Multiple expansion packs required to get a good squad
If you like Star Wars then you will love this game. The squad-building element alone will keep you occupied for hours as you tinker with your squads and try to come up with the perfect list. The gameplay itself is also fantastic. Unfortunately it’s a very expensive game to play and I would only recommend it if you have a decent amount of disposable income, as once you start down the rabbit hole of buying new expansion packs it’s difficult to stop.
With the game currently on its 8th wave of expansions, with more on the way, that’s a hell of a lot of expansion packs to buy. Of course, you don’t have to buy them all, but if you’re looking to be competitive and keep up with the meta, you are going to need at least one of everything.
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