X-Wing: The Miniatures Game aims to recreate small scale dogfights between the ships of the Star Wars universe (ignoring the prequels). You’ll get to fly everything from the nimble Tie Interceptor to the iconic Millennium Falcon. You build a squadron of ships, adhering to a specific point limit, typically 100pts. Not only do you choose which ships to bring, but also the pilots that will fly them. Will you put Luke in the cockpit of an X-wing or save on points by bringing a rookie pilot instead?
The core mechanics of the game involve manoeuvring your ships via a template system and shooting at the enemy by rolling handfuls of custom dice. Every ship has a set of manoeuvres it can perform and at the start of the round you secretly choose one, via a manoeuvre dial. You and your opponent then resolve each ship’s manoeuvre in an order determined by pilot skill.
The game is simple to pick up as it’s easy to scale games to suit the player level. The core of the game is incredibly simple and relies on your spacial awareness to judge your own manoeuvres and your ability to predict and react to the manoeuvres of your opponent. X-wing has a random element thanks to its dice system but its impact can always be negated by your positioning and your choice of upgrades. Your defence rolls can’t fail you if your opponent can’t shoot you.
X-wing manages to bring to life the thrill of the space combat you see in star wars. Games often rest on a knife edge. Every judgement, every move, and every roll of the dice is important. Games last around an hour when playing at the standard 100pts.
The best games will go from exciting opening clashes through to the end game of two pilots vying to get the other in their sights. There are gut twisting decisions as you gamble on an unorthodox manoeuvre that will either pay off in elation or disappointment. There will be clutch moments where your opponent has you in their sights and you luck out on a perfect defence roll. While random chance isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, there is nothing like rolling all hits and blowing a Tie Fighter away in a hail of laser fire.
My biggest criticism of the game is that the core set doesn’t really provide a full experience. The core sets, of which there are two, provide nothing more than a delicious appetiser. If you were hoping to pick to only buy a core set and treat it as a stand alone board game or gift it to someone, then you’ll only get a brief taste of what X-wing has to offer and not the full banquet. X-wing is a miniatures game and expects you to invest in it like any other. That said, it’s cheaper and far more accessible than it’s competitors. Though when it comes to miniatures games, ‘cheaper’ is a relative term.
X-wing is pushing four years old and over that time, FFG have released a lot of ships. Luckily it’s easy to pick one of the 3 factions (Rebel, Imperial, Scum and Villainy) and purely collect that to keep things cheap. Thanks online guides, community forums and Facebook groups deciding what to start your collection with is fairly easy.
All the miniatures come pre-assembled and pre-painted. You don’t need to worry about your skill at painting or assembly, the miniatures are ready to hit the table. If you’re a seasoned modeller the miniatures are easy enough to customise with your own paint schemes and mods. The models make great display pieces and plenty of people choose to keep them out on display rather than storing them away.
While X-wing is an excellent game in of its self, it would be nothing without other people to play with. My experience with this game’s community has been incredible. I have played X-wing across the UK from the far flung reaches of Norfolk to the southern wastes of Sussex. It has always been easy to find a local group of players via Facebook or forums. Every group has been incredibly friendly and ready to welcome new faces. Online there are loads of blogs, podcasts and guides that will help new players figure out what they want to get and provide useful advice. The FFG Forums and r/XWingTMG are lively communities and a great resource for new and old players alike.
FFG release regular expansions in waves, usually releasing two to three waves a year. FFG Organised play support tournaments and events across the world, creating tournament packs filled with prizes for everything from low-key casual store events, to regional, national and global level events.
X-wing the Miniatures game has a lot going for it. It combines a tight mechanics with a with one of the most popular franchises in the world. If you like Star Wars or have been looking to get into a miniatures game, this is an excellent choice. While the number of ships, upgrades and choice can be overwhelming, the core of the game is simple. You don’t need to buy multiple rule books or consult large tables of numbers to learn the game. Be warned, this is a miniatures game. It’s a hobby that you will need to invest time and money into it to benefit fully.