When I was in college, a friend of mine introduced me to a miniatures game called MechWarrior: Dark Age. As quickly as I learned the game by WizKids, it had had died just as fast. Since then my table top, miniatures gaming experience has been very limited, and I've always been finding a way back into it without being overwhelmed or intimidated by the vast amount of pieces and work needed to get into it. Then I found out about Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game by Fantasy Flight Games.
Set in the Star Wars universe, this miniatures game takes the ships we all wanted to fly when we were kids (actually, I still want to fly them now) and lets us take control of much, much smaller versions of them. Players choose to either be part of the Empire or the Rebel Alliance. For the sake of this review, we played with just the core set and the quick play rules. My opponent (who is also my brother) and I wanted to approach the game as players new to the miniatures concept. The core set component list is rather extensive and too long to list in this review. However, it can be easily accessible here along with the entire rulebook.
After going through the contents of the box, the first thing I did was read through the quick play guide. If there is one thing I always hate about learning a new game, it's really complex rulebooks. I was very happy to see that there was a nice and simple guide that would allow my brother and I to play right away. It's nice to get a feel for the game before diving into the complexity of the main rulebook.
Unlike other miniature games such as Warhammer 40K, the figures already come painted and don't have to be assembled. The only thing you need to do as a set up is to place them on the bases they sit on via little plastic pegs. For a new player, like myself, this is a great convenience to have.
Once we read through the quick play guide, we were up and running a game within minutes.
Our overall experience was very good. Here is a breakdown of the different parts of the game:
Visuals - The X-Wing and TIE Fighter figures look really great. The detail in the paintjob and molding were excellent. However, this being a miniatures game there is no board. The game can be played with other "obstacles" such as satellites and asteroids to add some realism. The game did come with asteroid tokens for one of the missions, but that is all. Unless you've got model space figures or decide to bring rocks from outside to act as asteroids, then all your left with at is your table and your imagination. 4 out of 5.
Difficulty - Quick play guide! I've said it numerous times already, but this thing made it really easy to learn the game. From there it was just making the transition to the main rulebook, which was not hard to understand at all. 5 out of 5.
Game Mechanics - Nothing stood out as being overpowered or underwhelming. In fact, I thought that the flight mechanics of the different ships were well balanced. The TIE Fighters, just like in the movies were very agile and could make tighter turns in comparison to the X-Wing. To make up for this lack in maneuverability, the X-Wings had shields and could last longer in a fight. 4 out of 5.
Replay Value - I have to admit, when we finished our very first game, I found myself asking, "That's it?" Although, I will leave it to the fact that there are only three ships in total to begin with and we were playing the quick play rules. However, fast games means more time to play again. 4 out of 5.
Final Thoughts - I was really happy with this game. For Star Wars fans, this is a must have. If you're a minis beginner or know someone that is, then I would definitely recommend this game for them. It is a great introduction. Overall score: 4.25 out of 5.
On a final, final note, currently, there are four expansions. Additionally, slated for a later release, there will be a Millennium Falcon figure that will surely be a hit for fans of the game and movie. The core figures and these expansions have different point values depending on the ship. This allows players to create sizable fleets with varying point values , i.e. 100 points to 1000 points. Thus making for large wars or tiny battles.
As usual, please don't forget to support your local gaming store. Games like this and others can always be found there. If you live in the South Shore area of Massachusetts, then check out Battleground Games & Hobbies for all your latest gaming needs.
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