Today I managed to play a couple of quick games of Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars: X-Wing. I realise that getting too involved in discussing Star Wars is likely to tarnish my reputation as being quite geeky, but a quick glance over the last few posts here on the Castle, where I discuss painting miniature anthropomorphic warriors, should demonstrate that I am currently on an upward trend (geekiness wise).
Star Wars: X-Wing is a miniatures game of sorts, it is a game for two players (more with more sets) where each will take the roles of the Rebel and Imperial forces from the later (or earlier) Star Wars movies (later or earlier depending on whether you rather the chronologically by release date or setting). Of course movies IV, V and VI are the ‘real’ Star Wars as far as I am concerned, episodes I, II and III are all toy commercials that I will hurl invectives at till I weary of the joy of it (not anytime soon).
But back to the game - it is really all rather simple, players run through phases of planning, movement, combat and end of turn clean up. Unlike many FFG games this one is clean and simple. There are no teetering piles of hundreds of cards nor mountains of special tokens. Planning is simultaneous, with each player selecting the move they want to make on a special dial. This is neat and simple, allowing different ships access to different moves, and also keeps all the players doing things rather than waiting for others to finish.
|All the ships from the core-set - very nice miniatures|
Movement is also simple - each move is represented by a different length card board token, place this in front of the ship, pick up the ship and move it to the end of the token, and movement is done. Of course, the fun of trying to visualise where exactly any given movement piece will land you, especially when the play area is congested with asteroids and other ships, can be a challenge for the visual-thinking impaired among us, but it is a lot of fun.
|Set-up and ready to play, you can see the movement tokens on the right.|
Combat doesn’t add any significant complexity to the game, if a ship is in range you may shoot it, with both players rolling dice to see what will happen.
Of course there are also a bunch of additional rules that can be added as the players learn the game or desire more complexity. With everything mixed in together this remains a straightforward and highly enjoyable game. The focus of the game is obviously on maneuvering your ship into a position where it can shoot without being shot. It’s a game that doesn’t take long, is enjoyable, and also light enough to break out and play without having to pour over the rules book in order to remind yourself of the minutia involved with playing.
|The dog-fight is on!|
There are two negatives as far as I can see them, firstly the box is one of the worst ever created for the purpose of housing a game - like a net bag for carrying spaghetti. And second, it is quite possible that if you fancy collecting all the bits and pieces released and to-be-released by FFG, this will become a very expensive game. Oh - and I suppose another negative is that there should be a special rule whereby any TIE Fighter that contacts an asteroid immediately explodes in a fireball of carnage.
|One TIE Fighter is about to go BOOM...|
|Wings of War - a similar and earlier game.|
There are obvious comparisons to be made between this game and Wings of War (published now by Ares Games). They are indeed similar, and X-Wing could easily be seen as an evolution of Wings of War. Personally I find the games different enough to enjoy both, they are indeed as different as say Fairy Tale and 7 Wonders - both games where playing drafted cards is a core mechanism. I also think the movement system in X-Wing is better, if by the simple physicality of the pieces (Wings of War uses cards rather than thicker cardboard tokens, the latter allow, in my opinion, for a little more flexibility as well as being actually easier to use). My favourite of the two games is clearly X-Wing, not only does it have a theme I enjoy more, but the game has both a simpler mode of play (great for my classroom) and a more thematic and complex version (great for home) than does Wings of War.
All in all I think Star Wars X-Wing is a neat game - I’m not sure if I’ll be rushing out to buy extra ships and more core sets, but it’s certainly a game I’ll relish getting to the table again. A solid and fun game.
The last note is a simple word of advice: It would be best if you avoid playing with people who like to make the sound of TIE Fighters as they move their ships - this can start to wear at ones sanity after about turn 1.
|Despite my best TIE impersonations - MWWWWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMM - this was the final moment for my last TIE Fighter this evening. My wife flew back to base a heroine, and the rebels counted another victory (Rebel Scum!)|