X-wing miniatures base set
“All wings report in.” – Red Leader.
Okay, as my friends know I'm a huge Star Wars geek. I've been reading the extended universe books for years, the West End Games RPG was my first gaming purchase, I was the Young Jedi state champion for Maine in 2000, and ranked number one in Maine for Sealed Deck for the Decipher CCG. So when I find a Star Wars game it's hard to pass it up.
Back in October at Crossroad Games, during the Maine State Magic the Gathering Champs, I was drawn to the Star Wars miniature rack. Understand, I had been putting off getting into this game for some time. I'd been burned in the past when Wizards of the Coast had the Star Wars gaming rights. Their card game was watered-down trash compared to the complex Decipher system I loved. The D20 and the Saga editions of the RPG both failed to capture the spirit of the galaxy far, far away.
Don't get me wrong, WotC has done great things with D&D and Magic, but they just never had the talent to make a good Star Wars game. Even the Star Wars minis just felt like D&D minis with a different paint job. So I was dragging my feet about the X-wing game. After all space battles were the thing that I loved most about Star Wars, and the thing that most games kept messing up.
Okay, saber battles are cool too, but nothing give me more of a rush than when the fighters lock s-foils into attack position and the dog fights begin. As luck would have it, the week before I went down to States I found the web series Table Top and their X-wing episode. So when I got to Standish I cracked and picked up the base-set along with a few expansions. I'll be talking about those expansions in weeks to come, but for now I just want to look at the basic game.
Right out of the gates I'm in love with the maneuver dial and turn of play system. Every ship has it's own maneuver dial showing the kinds of maneuvers the ship can do and the level of stress they put on it. With both players taking turns at the same time they lock in there maneuvers by setting the dials during the planning stage of each turn. This simulates that not knowing how you opponent is going to move during a dog-fight.
Once players have locked in their maneuvers they reveal them and then move and take actions starting with the lest skilled and ending with the most skilled pilot. This allows more advanced pilots to take actions based off those of the least skilled pilots by going later in the turn. Once the players move into the attack phase the more advanced pilots to fire first continues their tactical advantage by shooting first.
The dice are also a cool feature of the game. Unlike normal d8's these dice have sides that are either blank, focus icons, dodge icons, hits, or critical hits. When a pilot is focused he can spend his focus to change focus icons into either hits or dodge icons. The rules make it so that a pilot has to spend his dodge icons on normal hits first before canceling critical hits. Each critical also has a random effect on the damage card this creates a dynamic and fresh combat system.
It's not just the combat and movement rules that help fully capture the dog-fight battles. The pilot and upgrade cards give the feeling of being a mission commander when building your squadron. Unlike other miniature games, the minis themselves don't have a point value, instead the pilots and upgrade cards set the cost of your ships. Rookie and unnamed pilots have lower values and less upgrades open to them, well unique pilots have special abilities and a number of different upgrade slots.
Upgrades come in different types such as torpedoes, missiles, bombs, droids, co-pilots, computer systems, and tactics. Each ship has access to these based on the type of ship it is and this skill of the pilot. Being able to switch out upgrades allows players to plan different tactics with ships or to play out different scenario based games.
Overall I have to say that the rules and game play of X-wing are a home run. The only downside I've noticed and that is that the Rebel ships easily overpower Imperial forces one-on-one in raw points. The TIE Fighter doesn't have many usable upgrades and has zero shields. The X-wing has both a range of upgrades and shields that allow it to be a threat for both TIE fighters at the same time. This carries over to the other miniatures as well. When you start buying more ships remember to buy two Imperials for every Rebel if you want to keep your forces balanced. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you pick up three of these base sets you will have a good size force for playing advanced games while saving money compared to buying the miniatures one at a time. Still get one of each the expansion X-wing and TIE Fighter packs for the upgrades not found in the base-set.
If you don't buy more than one base-set I would advise picking up an extra dice packet. Some times you will need to roll four or more of one die and the base-set only comes with three of each.
With this all said I'm happy to say this is a 5-star game. The flavor of the game is 100% spot-on. Because of how the game works it allows upgrading and customization of your forces as simple as picking and choosing which fighters you want. The game play is natural and simple to learn, just pick your maneuvers, actions, fire weapons, and repeat until you win. Also you can build and design your own scenarios. I personally want to build and play out the Death Star trench run in the near future. So what are you waiting for... Man your ships, and my the force be with you.
This has been...
Jeffrey Carmichael II
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