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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Star Wars X-wing Miniatures Game

Now where did I place my droid....
Unless you have been stuck in a Cantina, the latest craze to hit the boardgame scene is Fantasy Flight Game's Star Wars X-wing Miniatures game and boy has the craze hit hard. Everyday there is at least 5-10 people chatting about it in BGG and there are loads of pictures being posted. Given my experience with Wings of War II, I initially did not buy into the hype at GENCON 2012 (much to my detriment) and when I finally manage to see a game being played, I knew I had to get at least the base set to play. The other problem I had was getting anyone back in Singapore to play. Well, all those fears have been put to rest because the game is simple enough to pick up, not prone to analysis paralysis and has all these cool miniatures to look at and play with. Btw, I have since purchased a base set + 1 of each expansion (X-wing, Tie-fighter, Tie-advanced and Y-wing). Coming to me is another Tie-advanced, Tie-fighter and Y-wing.

As you can see from the pictures, the game comes with gorgeous miniatures. Similar to Wings of War quality and better than Leviathans, Battleship Galaxies and Star Trek Fleet Captains (all of which I either have or have seen up close).
Gameplay wise its very straight forward.3 Phases. First you take your little disc that has all the movements and you choose one. After that is the movement + choose action phase where players, in ascending pilot order, reveal their disc and make the movement using the various templates provided. Then, if the pilot is not stressed (due to difficult maneuvers), they can choose an action that is available on their pilot card. Once all pilots have moved, comes the last phase which is combat. This is done is descending pilot order. Hits are determined by rolling dice (defenders get to roll too) and if neither side has a clear victory, the game continues again.

The Good
1) Gameplay is fast. You choose your action from the disc and then you are ready to fly. I have yet to try with more than 4 planes a side but I doubt it will take up too much time.
2) Miniatures are awesome. They look so good and though they aren't super sturdy (don't test the aerodynamics of the xwing!) they should be able to last for quite a good time. Remember to keep all those clear plastic boxes they came in for storage!
3) Customization. There is a lot of room for customization because there are additional cards which you can attach to your ships for example droids like R2-D2 and even torpedoes. That will allow for a lot of replayability and creation of missions.
4) They are small enough to be played on most standard sized tables. The game is also very portable and should make for a good travel companion.

The Bad
1) Potential for a draggy game. While a game turn is quite fast, it is possible for the game to drag down through bad flying (pilots keep missing each other) or bad rolls of the dice (dang that xwing's shields just won't go away!). There may even be several turns where there is no combat at all which can be a whee bit boring.
2) Watch those hands and arms! Sometimes in our eagerness to place the template and move our ships, we may forget just how small and light these miniatures are which can be disastrous if arms were to swipe a Y-wing off the table!
3) There are a LOT of tokens. If they are not sorted out before the game, it can get tedious.
4) Not enough dice. That is why they have a dice expansion and a dice application too! Sneaky FFG, so sneaky....

1) Put a round limit on the game. For example, after 15 rounds, if the Imperials cannot win, then the Rebels win. This will force players to engage each other more often and prevent the game from becoming too draggy.
2) Place the tokens on your pilot card instead of on the playing area. This will prevent too much clutter on the playing area.
3) Have a dice tray available for rolling the dice. Do not roll them into your miniatures!
4) Use compartment boxes (or plano boxes) to store your tokens. This will allow for easy access during the game.
5) Take out a few targeting token pairs at the beginning of the game. This will make the game flow much more smoother.

So all in all, this is a MUST BUY especially if you are a star wars fan. I am so glad I have it and I have even ordered a space-themed felt mat to play on! What is more exciting is that FFG has announced the 2nd batch of expansions for the game which will consists of A-wing, Tie-Interceptor, Slave 1 and my favourite, the Falcon! I cannot wait for the end of 2012 when these babies are available for purchasing. *DROOL*

Have i mentioned that the miniatures are SO COOL ?!?!?! They are so cool in fact I managed to use a free iOS application called MANGA-CAMERA and took a few pictures to stitch together a manga-inspired dog fight scene! Check this out :D
Mayday Mayday, this is Gold 5 requesting assistance!
Gold 5 this is Red 1 stay cool, the Calvary has arrived!

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