As a lifelong Warhammer Fantasy and 40k player, I’ve always had an eye out for other miniature games. I had dabbled in Flames of War and Warmachine, neither with the same gusto I’d given to Warhammer. However, given Games Workshop’s more recent treatment of Fantasy, and my increasingly distressing lack of time, I haven’t been able to go through the high prices, required modeling, and painting required to keep up.
Enter the solution to a lot of these problems: the X-Wing Miniatures Game made by Fantasy Flight Games. It’s a “dog fight” simulation using miniature ships and rolling dice (with a healthy dose of tokens).
The basic premise is each player builds a list which consists of (normally) 2-5 ships. Each ship is crewed by a pilot, indicated on a pilot card. Lastly, each ship is then outfitted with a variety of upgrade cards. The ships, pilots, and upgrades all cost points, which is normally capped at 100 for a standard game.
Battles are conducted on a 3’x3′ board, with each player deploying their ships on opposite ends from one another.
Movement is controlled by small dials, which allow each player to secretly choose each ships movements simultaneously. Movement is restricted to a set of movement templates, which come in speeds of 1, 2, and 3, along with different flight paths (straight, bank, hard turn).
After each player reveals their dials and moves each of their ships, the ships take different actions which include focusing (modifies your attack rolls), evade (add to defense), or movement options like barrel rolling or boosting forward.
Ships then start firing lasers, missiles, and bombs at one another, trying to break through shields to get to the valuable hull points to bring down a ship. Once one side has lost all of their ships (or time is called) one side wins.
The game originally stuck out to me was the streamlined approach FFG has taken to a miniatures game. Borrowing from its other board games, FFG has created a compact, yet strategically deep game that tightens up many of my qualms with Warhammer above.
The models are much cheaper than their other wargaming counterparts. Basic ships are roughly $15 each, and come with a slew of pilot cards and upgrades. Larger sets are $30-$40 and include multiple ships and even more upgrades. The core pack comes with all the templates you’ll need (along with 3 ships), and adding a ship or two will get you a decently sized fighting force right away.
The models also come prepainted. This could be a negative for some, but FFG has done good work in having high quality paint jobs on each of the models. Further, the models themselves can be repainted for those with an artistic fancy to do so.
Assembly is simply opening the package and putting together the flight base. You put the pilot base cardboard into the plastic base, attach the flight stem to base and ship and you are good to go. Saves a lot of time vs dealing with the maze of sprue for a box of Space Marines.
On top of all these easier collecting aspects is the streamlined gameplay and rules. The rulebook is roughly 15 pages, and the game an be learned in about 15 minutes, with FFG putting out a very helpful YouTube tutorial.
Compared to the stack of rulebooks for similar games, the straight forward rule set was highly appealing, and leads to less haggling over the interpretation of the rules or measurements. Furthermore, the games last between 45-60 minutes on average, allowing for much quicker (and thus more) games.
I had purchased the Force Awakens Core Set, along with a Heroes of the Resistance pack to get started. I had a friend that had also purchased the Core Set, but went with Imperial Veterans as to set up Imperial v Rebel matches (there is no requirement that the factions be different – rebels can fight rebels, imperial v imperial etc).
So we finally got to battling at one of the new local gaming stores. We had done some practicing beforehand, but not on the official mats with full 100 point lists.
The battle went well, with both of us still trying to figure out the optimal movements of our ships. I was having some trouble trying to maneuver the Millennium Falcon through the asteroid without taking damage. With a bigger base, you have to be aware of small spaces.
The battle was fairly even, and went back and forth with the more agile TIE fighters using their shiftiness to get behind my ships and unleash surprisingly powerful salvos. I had definitely underestimated the TIE’s ability to get into tight spaces and make it hard to return fire.
Ultimately, the Falcon’s turret weapon, which allows it to shoot 360 degrees, combined with some of its upgrades, gave the Rebels the upperhand and eliminate all the pesky TIEs. Afterwards, my buddy bought a TIE Interceptor (which look sweet) and I got a Scurrg Bomber for some bombing action that my other ships don’t have.
I hope to get some more battles in and learn more about the game. In my area, there seems to be a decently strong weekly play night scene, so I will try to see what I can find. Currently, I am scouring Amazon and other places for the more elusive models that have caught my eye such as Darth Vader’s TIE Advanced and the K-Wing bomber.
All in all, X-Wing does a great job of cutting some of the fat off traditional tabletop wargames, allowing for quick collection, streamlined battles, all with strategic depth. The game itself appears to be doing quite well sales-wise, outpacing its Games Workshop rivals. Further, I’m sure it will see continued success with the release of the next Star Wars film this year. While Warhammer will forever be my #1, X-Wing has a found a place to be a quick and easy go-to for the same tabletop experience.
Have you played X-Wing? What were your thoughts? How do you like it compared to Warhammer or other games? Comment below!