Next to the iconic light saber battles, nothing excites a Star Wars fan more than the epic space battles. The original Star Wars trilogy had some of the most unique and beautifully designed space ships in all of science fiction. For its time, the X-Wing was a truly iconic piece of special effects. With the introduction of Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures game from Fantasy Flight Games, players can now have their own space battles with these memorable ships. Does Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures have what it takes to score a victory on you table top or should it be encased in carbonite? Read on to find out!
Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures is a miniatures game of space combat for 2 players. The game players in about 30-60 minutes and can be expanded to accommodate more players.
Note, this review is mainly for the base game, and does not go into the Wave 1 and Wave 2 expansions.
Star Wars: X-wing Miniatures (X-wing Minis from here on out) is a game of dog fighting and tactical space combat. Before the game, you assemble a squadron of either rebel or imperial forces and fight it out with the opposing faction. Your ships can be customized with different pilots, weapons and upgrades before the battle.
Movement is handled through the use of a preset group of templates which makes moving your ships a breeze. Each ship also has a firing arc printed on its base that will help figure out what it can shoot. The combat is resolved by rolling dice between the attacker and defender and comparing symbols. Once a ship has taken enough damage, it is destroyed. Destroy all the opposing ships and you will be the winner. For a miniatures game, the rules were surprisingly easy to learn.
If there is one thing Fantasy Flight did right with this game, it was the components. All I can say is damn are they sexy. They did such a good job recreating these ships, I could see someone collecting them to put on display. Yeah, they’re that good.
The core set of the game comes with 1 X-wing fighter and 2 TIE fighters. Both are incredibly high quality and quite detailed. They come pre-painted and I didn’t see any flaws or markings from the production molds. In some games, the components are good. In X-Wing Minis, they are AMAZING. It will be hard for any Star Wars fan to not fall in love with these ships.
The game also comes with a large number of tokens that will be used for various parts of the game. In addition to that, you get a set of custom 8-sided dice used for combat resolution. As mentioned earlier, the game comes with a set of movement templates to be used to maneuver your ships. There are 3 sets: Straight, bank and turn, each with a different length. These make figuring out movement so much easier than many other miniatures games. No more messing around with string or rulers.
Finally the game comes with a large number of cards. Ship upgrades, pilot cards and damage cards. All are well designed, both functionally and artistically.
I must say, of the hundreds of games I own, XWing Minis probably has some of the best components. If you are on the fence about getting this game, don’t be. Go now and buy it, the ships alone are worth it.
How to Play:
Fantasy Flight did a great job of making X-Wing Minis very easy to learn. I’ve played a lot of different miniatures games, all with varying degrees of rule complexity. X-Wing minis checks in on the lighter side of the spectrum, which I think it s a good thing. The game flows really well and downtime is almost non-existent. Turns are played as follows:
1. Select a maneuver
3. Choose an action
1. Select a maneuver: Each player has a maneuver dial they use to secretly select the movement for each of their ships. They rotate the dial to the selected choice and place it face down. Each choice will match up with one of the templates that comes with the game.
2. Movement: In ascending pilot skill order, each player reveals his ships movement choice and moves his ship. This is easily done by taking the template chosen and placing it at the front of his miniature’s base. He then moves the mini to the end of the template. That’s it. No rulers, no string, no “eyeballing”. Everything is laid out for you and really easy to use.
3. Choose an Action: Each ship can also get one non-combat action a turn. This usually involves choosing an available action based on your ship’s capabilities. Options might be to focus (lets you convert dice symbols to hits or misses) or target locking (used to launch ship missiles or reroll misses). Some ships, such as the TIE fighter have their own special actions, like the barrel roll.
4. Fight: Each ship, in descending pilot order fires at any 1 ship in their firing arc (the front cone on their ship base). To attack, you roll a number of attack dice equal to your ship’s attack value. The defender does the same with their defense value. If your hit icons exceed the defenders evade icons you score a hit for each one. And that’s all there is too it. Once a ship has enough damage cards, it’s removed from the game.
Players repeat those steps until one faction is eliminated, the surviving player is the winner.
The game turns go by really quickly in X-Wing Minis. The game really does have a the feel of a dogfight as you are constantly maneuvering your ships into firing position. I loved how there was almost no downtime in the game. It takes almost no time at all to move your ship and fire, so there is a nice ebb and flow to the battles.
So we know the game looks amazing. We know the game is easy to learn and plays smoothly. But is it any fun? Hell yeah it is. The game does a great job in sucking you in with its theme. From the beautifully designed minis to the ship customizations you can make, everything screams “Star Wars Space Combat”. Playing X-Wing Minis makes me long for my old PC copy of X-wing VS TIE Fighter. During the game, we would find ourselves quoting the movie as we played. “I have you now” would be shouted from the imperial player as the rebel player tells his team to “Stay on Target”. As a Star Wars fan, this is about as good as it gets in a tabletop experience.
And that’s the key. The greatest components in the world can’t make up for a crappy game with bad rules (I’m looking at you Super Dungeon Explore). But playing X-Wing Minis is just a blast. (pun intended). It beautifully recreates the feel of Star Wars space combat in a way that has never before happened in the tabletop realm. So kudos to Fantasy Flight for making a game that’s gorgeous, easy to learn and just down right fun to play.
That’s not to say X-Wing Minis isn’t without its flaws. For one, the price point. The base set clocks in at about $30. Which isn’t too bad considering all that comes in the box. It’s more what doesn’t come in the box. More ships, more ships and even more ships. You only get to start with 1 X-Wing and 2 TIE Fighters. While that’s fine for casual play, any fan is going to want more options. Lots of them. And Fantasy Flight is happy to help with that. With the first round of available Miniatures (Wave 1), you can buy another X-wing, TIE Fighter, TIE Advanced and Y-Wing. Each of these ships will come with the mini, pilot cards, upgrade cards and more tokens. However each one retails at about $15. Any fan of this game better be prepared to spend around $100 to get enough ships for a 100 point battle.
That’s another fun part of the game I didn’t mention. Squad building. You don’t have to start with the same ships every time. Before each mission, you get to customize and trick out your squadron. Players will agree on a point limit (100 points seems being the norm). Those points will them be used to “buy” ships, pilots and upgrades. The better the card, the more the cost. You may want to have Luke Skywalker and R2-D2 flying your X-Wing, but you better be prepared to spend almost a third of your available points for them. It’s a nice balancing act players must be aware of when creating their squads. Everyone will want the best upgrades, but those high cost ships will require sacrifices elsewhere. Fantastic job by Fantasy Flight to make sure the game stays balanced.
And balanced the game is. Almost all of our games have come down to the wire. Usually each player will have 1 or 2 ships left in various states of damage. Eventually one person is able to make that great combat roll and emerge victorious. That’s the other thing that might turn some players off. The dice. Some people hate luck in their games. And X-Wing Minis will have a decent amount of it. Roll bad enough and you won’t hit anything. But I didn’t find that to be a much of a problem. I felt that the game used a good mix of luck and skill to determine the winner. Unless you absolutely hate dice rolling for combat, I wouldn’t worry too much about the luck factor.
All-in-all X-wing minis is a great time and any Star Wars fan should absolutely love this game.
Yes, Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures is that good. As any video game fan knows, it would have been easy for Fantasy Flight to slap a Star Wars license the box and cash in on the fans excitement. But that clearly didn’t happen here. The put out a quality product from start to finish. While I think this could have been a really good game without the Star Wars license, having it really does make it more fun. The Star Wars universe has been capturing the minds and imaginations of people for over 3 decades now and I never pass up a chance to try out a game in it.
So if you are a Star Wars fan, give this game a try. I promise, you’ll love it. Great theme, excellent rules, fun, varied game play and stellar game components make this a must own game. Pick up your copy of Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures today. The Force is strong with this one.
Note: If you want to know more about the Wave 1 and Wave 2 miniatures, check back with us later as we will be posting reviews on them as well.
If you are interested in getting a copy for yourself, it’s about $30
Final Score: 5 Stars – Sexy looking game components combined with easy to learn game play make this a winner for any Star Wars fan.
• Be prepared to spend a lot of money if you really get into this game
• Somewhat luck based combat