Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Product Review: Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game by Fantasy Flight Games

'Shrrreeee! Pweww! Pweww, Pweww!!' ...Hey man, you gotta make the noise...
I was a boy when Start Wars was released in 1977 and I, like many young lads around the world, was absolutely crazy about the movie. For several years I lived and breathed for anything that even obliquely mentioned Han, Vader, Stormtroopers, light sabers, etc. My poor mother, bless her soul, had to struggle through heaps of Star Wars paraphernalia to hazard entering my room. Like some hapless adventurer, she navigated through a geologic nerd strata composed of layers of collectible cards, magazines, models, action figures and comic books.

Anyway, with this in mind you can imagine how stoked I was to try out the new 'X-Wing Miniatures Game' which was released this past summer.  So a few weeks ago, Stacy and I picked up a copy of the game, along with a few extra models and, and with Peter serving as an R2 Unit, gave it a whirl.

The game has a passing similarity with 'Wings of War' but I found that I liked the overall mechanics much more. All of the spaceships utilize the same manoeuvre templates, so there is no model-specific decks of movement cards that you have to keep organized, which keeps the game clean and fairly simple to administrate. The movement phase for each spacecraft is pre-plotted using a selector dial, and firing is conducted at the end of the turn through competitive die rolls, which keeps everyone engaged in the action. 

The discs are the the movement orders which are flipped over simultaneously to display everyone's flight plots.
The game is true to the movies in that you typically need more Imperial TIE fighters to face-off with the X-Wings, but each class of ship has its strengths and weaknesses. The Y-Wing (my favourite) is a bit of a pig, but can both soak-up damage and dish it out. If you wish, you can have heroes of the movies serving as your pilots. Luke is definitely powerful, but Vader is particularly brutal, especially if he's matched up with his iconic Advanced TIE fighter. All good fun.

Maneuver dials revealed (along with chits for 'Lock On' and 'Focus')
Gameplay rattles along at a good pace. We managed to get in two good-sized games in about 3 hours with lots of snacking and kibitzing.

A ewok-sized furball.
The models themselves are quite nice. They are single piece, hard plastic and come pre-painted. The paint jobs are actually fairly decent, but if you have the time and inclination I think they'd benefit from a bit of highlighting. I'll probably replace the pegs with magnetic gimbal mounts so the fighters can be positioned to indicate banking, climbing and diving (as if these things really matter in space, but it looks cool).

Its a bit of a hog in the game, but I really have a soft spot for the old Y-Wing.
So there you have it. If this is a game you and a friend may be interested in I'd strongly suggest picking up two of the core boxed sets as they will give you better value than buying the fighters separately. I understand that there is a host of new spacecraft due over the coming months including the Millennium Falcon ('It's the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs [!?]), an A-Wing and Bobba Fett's 'Slave I'.

But, really, the nagging question I have is this: 

Will they come out with a pilot card for Porkins?

'Stay on target.' (nom, nom, nom...)