Published on July 22nd, 2013 | by Gregg Miller
In A Galaxy Far, Far Away…
Gregg Explains: X-Wing miniatures game
After negotiating pre-registration for Nerdtacular 2013, and finally getting a tasty burger, Matt “The Favorite” and I sat down to play the X-Wing Miniatures Game. This is a rather well done skirmish or even large scale battle game set in the Star Wars universe, that uses some play mechanics I had experienced earlier with Crimson Skies, through WizKids.
First, the players will generally select sides: Empire or Rebellion. At face value, Empire uses the TIE fighter, which is a swift, agile, and mass produced space ship. The Rebellion uses X-wings, which are sturdier ships that actually have some shields, to take a hit or two. The rough strategy of each side is that the Empire fields lots of cheap ships to swarm their enemies, focusing fire on one or perhaps two enemy targets. The Rebellion has each of their ships lock on to about one ship at a time, and tries to blast them down as quickly as possible.
Once sides are selected, each player needs to build a fleet. As mentioned earlier, the Empire has many cheap units, with the truly adventurous having the option to field a fleet of just academy novices for that true Brannigan maneuver feel to things. The Rebellion enjoys ships that can take a hit or two more with shields and more accurate and devastating weapons. However, their lower maneuverability makes it harder to not get hit in the first place. There are generic and famous pilots who can fly each ship. The Empire can call on veterans who can swoop in for the kill, or even have Darth Vader himself bring on the pain. The Rebellion can bring in Luke Skywalker, or Vicks to take out those TIE fighters.
With fleets built, the scenario decided upon and setup, and ships deployed, the game starts to flow into a steady cycle. First, players will decide which maneuvers they’ll do. Moving forward, banking left and right, hard turns, and even the nerve wracking U-turn is selected on each ships maneuver dial, and placed face down, denoting that you’re ready to go. Next, starting with the pilot with the lowest piloting skill value, each figure then executes their selected maneuvers. Collisions with debris or even fellow and enemy ships can cause damage, or hindrances to other actions later in the cycle of play. Once each ship completes their maneuver, that ship then takes an action, as denoted on their card, or quick reference stand base. Focus tends to be a safe, odds increasing method to either land hits, or dodge out of the way. Evasion is a bankable defense that lets you avoid a minimum of one hit, in addition to what else is rolled. Barrel Roll, as far as I’ve seen, is a move only TIE fighters do, that can be used defensively to get out of firing arcs of enemies, or get your enemies dead in your sights. Lock seems to be an ability tied to the Rebellion, allowing a single re-roll of all dice that don’t have a hit on their facing, as long as you’re attacking the target the ship has a lock on.
With actions taken, it’s time for combat! Starting with the pilot with the highest piloting skill value, you now work down the line resolving attack rolls. Essentially, the best pilots can take their time getting into position, but react faster to attacking once someone is in their firing arc. Using the measuring stick that comes in the box, you determine if someone is within range. If the target is in the third range segment, the target of the attack gets to roll an additional defense die against the attacker’s roll. If the target is in the first range segment, the attacker instead gets to roll an additional attack die. No bonuses or penalties if the distance is in the second range segment. The attacker rolls their dice first, resolving any effects from actions they took previously. Once that’s resolved, the defender now gets to roll their defense dice, and then apply any additional bonuses from their action to the dice rolled. For each hit, the defender takes one point of damage. For every evasion, the defender gets to negate one hit. If a critical hit is rolled, two things happen. First, critical hits are negated by Evasion results last. Second, when a hit is applied, the ship has a drawn damage card placed face-down by their ship’s card. When a critical hit lands, the damage card is instead placed face-up, and the effects are applied. If a ship has shields, it’s a way to take damage, without having damage cards applied to the ship.
Depending on the scenario, victory is determined by whatever objective is being accomplished. Wiping out the enemy fleet, eliminating a specific target, or whatever is outlined in the match.
This game already has a few ship expansions. The Millennium Falcon, Slave One, and other ships can be bought and used, depending on any rules agreed upon before play starts. I think Fantasy Flight has put together an amazing flight skirmish game with X-wing, and hope they apply it to other settings: maybe their own dog-fight game, or even further mechanics and scenarios to expand on the X-wing line.