You may have seen a board game review spring onto our site yesterday by Will. That’s because as he touched up on in his review, we’re now reviewing board games thanks to the guys at Esdeviumgames. Our second game to cover is Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures.
Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures was launched originally in 2012, but in the build up to the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015, a second edition of the core set was released with updated rules and featuring updated miniatures and pilots featuring in the new film.
- Players: 2
- Age: 14+
- Game Length: 45 to 90 Minutes
- Price: £25-£30 for Core set (Additional ships range from £5 to £20)
The premise of the game is for your miniature figure or figures to take out the oppositions figure or figures. This is done by trying to manoeuvre your ships by using angles to get behind your opposition and blasting them to pieces. But it’s all very dependent on luck of the dice and second guessing your oppositions move.
The Core box set contains 2 TIE fighters and 1 X-Wing. Seems a little unfair at first, but the X-Wing does have some advantages that the TIE fighters don’t to even the odds. For when you’ve played a few games and you’re not needing to address the rule book every move there are obstacles (asteroids) in the core set too, which make the games more tactical and fun.
But let’s start from the beginning. Once you’ve assembled the ships, popped out all the tokens and icons and set up the move dials, You and your friend need to argue about who plays as the Rebellion forces using the X-Wing and who’s the Empire with the 2 TIE Fighters. Once that difficult task is sorted you then pick pilot cards for your ship(s). These will determine which player gets to move first and attack first.
The planning phase of the game each player choose a move. You pick your movement discreetly using the move dial specifically for your ship. Forwards and veering left to right are standard moves, but you can complete stressful moves which can give you an advantage like a forward move then turn round to face your opponent (hopefully). Completing stressful moves however result in you needing to apply a stress token to your ship. If you choose to complete a stressful move you cannot partake in any further actions until the damage round begins. If you opted for a casual easy move then you can complete an action based on what is on your pilot card. The actions range from target locking, evading, focusing and depending on what ship you are you can either barrel roll if a TIE fighter which can help greatly in escaping enemies firing range or get an additional boost forward or sharp boost left or right if the X-Wing which gives it a great advantage to get in attack range.
Once you’ve got the moves out of the way and committed to them its the fun part. The attack round. This is all complete luck of the dice though. If you put a target lock on as an action before; you get an additional roll to add potentially more damage.
On the pilot card is a number for attack, defense, shield and health. If your attack is 2 it means you roll 2 dice for attack. The opponent may have a defense of 2 which means he or she gets to roll 2 defense dice. The attacker rolls first, and is aiming for as many hits or critical hits as he can get. There is always the possibility of rolling an empty side of the dice which results in a miss. Hence the luck of the dice to the game. When playing it on one round my opponent hit 3 attacks, I managed to hit 3 evades on my defense roll which resulted in no damage for me. It was a rather hilarious moment as throughout the majority of our 2 games played I went undamaged as my defense rolls either resulted in an evade or the attack rolls were all blank.
If you do take damage you now have to place damage cards onto your ship. If you suffered normal damage it’s just applying a damage card to the ship face down. If you were unfortunate to suffer from critical damage you apply the damage card face up which reveals the fate of how critical the damage was. Different scenarios come from critical hit cards such as engine fails or controls catching fire. It adds a touch of drama to the game and makes what is a simple dice rolling game very atmospheric and enjoyable.
Once the attack and defense phase is over for both players, it’s back to step one. Planning your movement, figuring out which action is best suited for you depending on how much of a pummeling you took the previous round. When you eventually get your opponents ship’s damage to full, That’s the game you win.
I played 2 rounds of this on my first go with a friend. Our first game was round about 45 minutes even despite referring to the rule book a lot. We didn’t add obstacles, just a simple game of you verses me. I had the TIE fighters. This round was won by myself and via legitimately dominating the attack and defense dice rolls.
Our 2nd game we played we thought we’d add some asteroids to the game to increase the drama. It created a lot of laughs as we hadn’t quite figured out our movements properly and there were numerous occasions of clipping an asteroid which resulted in rolling the damage dice to see if we’d be damaged from it. Fortunately again my luck remained and I took no damage on asteroid collisions. They also made attacking more fun as you couldn’t attack through an asteroid (which makes perfect sense).
The absolute best part of this game is how it ended. I was once again the TIE fighters. I’d made the movement with one fighter which resulted in my TIE fighter just leaving the game zone. When consulting the rule book we found out this meant that fighter had fled the battle so I was down to one TIE fighter. I laughed, my friend laughed, it was pretty funny. But it got better as my friend took his go and movement, he had followed my TIE fighter right off the grid effectively committing suicide. We both burst out laughing so loudly. Such an anticlimactic end to what was other wise a very tense and entertaining game.
The added asteroids to the play zone did cause the game to last a lot longer, we’re looking at over an hour of game play before the suicide dashes that ended the game.
When you first open the box and see all the pieces it can be intimidating. Popping out different tokens, seeing different cards. I admit at first I was thinking I was in for a long night but for all the wrong reasons. We found that reading the rule book and playing the game at the same time actually made the rules easier to sit with us. We also watched a “How to play” video along the same time as playing the game. After a few rounds though and figuring out the tokens, the actions and the dice roll aspect of the game it’s actually pretty simple to play the rounds out. We didn’t play any advanced game modes, just the standard starter match, followed by asteroid belt added to the standard match.
This is the first type of miniature game I’ve played, so I cannot compare it to anything else unfortunately. What I can say is that I thoroughly enjoyed playing this game for the first time which surely is a positive? For a beginner to the game the core set is perfect. I can imagine as time goes on though and the more you play and enjoy the game, the expansions are going to be must buys. I enjoyed my rounds using only 2 ships against one, but can already tell that the experience would be much more epic with a fleet against fleet.
If your a Star Wars fan that’s new to miniature games then this core set is a perfect and reasonably priced way to start. The worry is if you’re a massive star wars fan that enjoys the game, you could probably part with £100 easily on the expansions.
Overall a funny, enjoyable and atmospheric game that could eventually hurt your wallet!