“All wings report in.”
For me, nothing evokes the excitement and sheer visual joy of a dogfight in space more than in Star Wars, particularly the original trilogy. On a table-top the same can be said for 2012’s X-Wing Miniatures Game by Fantasy Flight Games.
In X-Wing Miniatures players take control of ships and pilots from one of three factions: The Empire, The Rebellion and Scum and Villainy. The action takes place on a 3’x3’ play mat, or 3’x6’ for more epic encounters. Movement is open, there are no grids or spaces. Ships are manoeuvred in order to fire on, or evade, opponents. The aim is to blow all enemy ships into stardust, or destroy the most in points value by the end of a time limit. And that’s it – very simple, yet strategic and lots of fun!
As with all Fantasy Flight Games, the presentation is outstanding. The artwork on cards is very thematic, the tokens are clear to understand and …. oh, the miniatures! Representing all the well-known ships, including the Millennium Falcon and Slave I, they are 1/270 scale and amazingly detailed – no painting required. They invite you to pick one up and shout, “neeooooww…pew-pew!” However, they don’t stand up well to floor-shoe scenarios. There are plenty of specialist dice, so yes, there is an element of luck in gameplay. The rules are simple to follow and the FFG tutorials are excellent, so pilots will be hopping into cockpits very quickly.
Before the game starts, players agree on a points limit for each side, and then it’s time to go shopping! Ships, pilots, additional weapons and upgrades all cost points and there is a dazzling array to choose from. Named pilots include Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker and Boba Fett amongst others.
Gameplay is split into sections. Firstly, players select a manoeuvre from each ship’s specific dial (every type moves differently), which are then placed face down. Dials are revealed and ships are moved according to a corresponding template, lowest pilot skill first. After each move an action is taken – focus, evade, barrel roll, boost and target lock – each providing a positioning or combat bonus. Fly a ship too hard and the pilot gets ‘stressed’ and misses out on having an action.
Then comes the shooting. This time the pilots with highest skill levels go first and red attack dice are rolled, with bonuses and range effects applied. Hits, critical hits and misses are scored. The defending ship rolls green defence dice and tries to cancel out the hits. Shields are taken down first and then hull damage applied. The abilities of pilots, weapons and upgrades all have a bearing here.
And in a nutshell, that’s the game.
X-Wing Miniatures provides the perfect blend of simplicity, theme, fun and competitive strategy, and in my view an absolute must for Star Wars fans or anyone looking for a quick skirmish game. The gameplay is fast, emulating the intensity of a dogfight, while the sheer number of options in tooling up each ship provides a delicious complexity for the seasoned player.
Is there a downside, you ask? Well, expansions can get expensive and with each new wave can come a new all-powerful upgrade beating all before it. For some, this can be a little off-putting.
For the new and unfamiliar, my advice is to buy two core sets (both original trilogy and latest films are represented respectively). This gives you four TIE Fighters and two X-Wings, enough for a decent game, and is the best value for money.
“Play it. Own it. Believe the hype, it really is that good.”
- Competitive, Wargame
- Players: 2
- Age: 14+
- Playtime: 30+ minutes
- Setup Time: Quick
- Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
- Try this if you like: Star Wars in general, Warhammer, Mythic Battles Pantheon
X-Wing Miniatures Game
Value for Money7.0/10
- Excellently detailed miniatures
- Easy to learn
- Range of ship and upgrade options
- Fast and simple mechanics
- Highly expandable
- Expansions can be expensive
- Rock-paper-scissors element in upgrades
- Miniatures can be easily broken