Those of us who did not have conflicts with real life events got together this past Friday and played one of the best new miniatures game out there: Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars X Wing. One of my work colleagues is an avid miniatures gamer. He loves RPGs and such too, but he really enjoys painting and playing miniatures games. So, he showed up at work one day with two of the basic boxes of this game. As he unpacked it, he explained the rules. The simple system for movement in which you use a cardboard ruler of known length tied with a very simple system for order of battle makes this game the ultimate beer & pretzels game.
The basic set consists of one X-wing fighter and two Empire TIE fighter miniatures. They are prepainted and ready to put on their little stands. There are 4 "pilot" cards to choose from for each miniature. The cars show graphically the firing arc, the pilot ability score, the amount of armor and the attack ability of the miniature. At the start of each round, each player chooses a movement by turning a little wheel. One chosen, the wheel is placed face down by the pilot card in front of the player. The card just helps keep track of additional special abilities (if present) as well as damage. Movement starts with the lowest pilot number. He turns over his wheel, showing his choice of movement. The common choices are 1 unit ahead, 2 units ahead, 2 units ahead with a soft right turn, or a soft left turn, or a hard right or left turn....all the way up to 5 units ahead. Each player takes turns moving their ships until all ships have moved.
Attacking uses special dice made by FFG with special symbols to reflect hits or dodges. If the attack is at close range (based upon a given range stick), the attacker gets an extra attack die. If the attack is long range, the defender gets an extra defense die. After a certain number of hits, a ship is destroyed and removed from the field. The attack order is from highest pilot number to lowest.
The game also comes with scenarios in which you can add asteroids, or protect a Senator's vessel, or avoid mines. There are advanced rules to increase the challenges. And FFG is also putting out more models to increase your choice of fleet. Each additional ship runs about $15 but comes with 4 pilots, a movement wheel, additional damage and specials cards as well as the miniature itself. Right now, you can add Y-wings for the Rebels or TIE Advanced for the Empire. They have plans to add B-wings, the Millenium Falcon, Slave 1, and TIE bombers.
We were able to play 2 games in just over 2 hours on Friday. When I was shown the game, I was hooked and had to have a copy after the first round of combat. The same was true with the guys on Friday. This is a game that can be played with anyone, whether they are a gamer or not, as long as they understand a bit about the original Star Wars movies. I'm looking forward to playing this with my dad at Thanksgiving as well as killing time when waiting for everyone to arrive for the games on Friday.