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After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Thursday 13 August 2015

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game

Game Title: Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game

Designer: Jay Little

Manufacturer: Fantasy Flight

Year: 2012


I am not a Star Wars fan. I never watched a whole Star Wars movie. My knowledge of Star Wars is entirely based on LEGO sets. BUT, I love X-Wing Miniatures. If you’re not a Star Wars fan then you’ll probably appreciate my lay-mans terms review. If you are a Star Wars fan, then I’m sorry for dumbing down a game that I know is probably an awesome reflection upon the Star Wars universe.

X-Wing is a 2-player tactical combat game, in which each player either takes the side of the Rebels or the Imperials. Each player builds a small squadron of ships, chooses appropriate pilots and can purchase ship upgrades. The game is balanced by each element having a cost. Better pilots for a particular ship have higher cost, better ships have inherently higher pilot costs across the board and more powerful upgrades also cost more. With the base game only each player can spend up to 35 points on their squadron, however once you’ve expanded the standard total for a tournament-style game is 100.

On each turn, each player will set the movement of each ship on a ship-specific movement dial. Each ship has different available movements to choose from eg. slow ships have no length 5 moves and fast ships have no length 1 moves. Different ships can also perform banked turns and sharp corners with different levels of each, indicated by green, white and red manoeuvres on the dial. The ship with the lowest pilot skill is then first to reveal their move, take the appropriate movement template and move their ship. Then the player can choose an action to perform. The available actions vary across ships, but typically include Evade, Focus, Barrel Roll, Target Lock and Boost.

The movement phase can get very congested. Turn order becomes very important when trying to avoid your opponent's ship. Spatial awareness is key when trying to avoid asteroids too!
Once all ships have moved in order the attack phase then begins. The player with highest pilot skill attacks first. The ship selects a target and rolls the appropriate number of red attack dice, based on their proximity to the target. The target ship then rolls the appropriate number of defence dice and both can use any action tokens to boost their roll. If any hits remain after the target has evaded, then that ship takes hits either to its shields (if any remain) or its hull. If any ship is destroyed in this phase it is removed from the game. The last person with ships remaining is the winner.
An Imperial win! My Tie Fighter always treats me well when my better ships let me down!
 The base game is a complete game. Out of the box there is one X-Wing and two Tie Fighters, a selection of upgrades, the game templates, dice and tokens for asteroids and missions. I could’ve been happy playing with the base game for quite a long time as it normally provides a <30 minute game, which certainly helps when there is a lot of luck in the game during the attack phase. However, being engaged to a Star Wars fan, we obviously expanded quickly!

We have expanded the game and so the ships we use are, for the Rebels...

X-Wings – Jack of all trades, nice droid upgrades, impressive pilots.
A-Wing – Very agile and sneaky, but if you’re in someone’s sights you could well be a goner from one good roll.
B-Wing – Bullet Sucking Defence Machines
Y-Wing – More bullet sucking defence machines, but with a great upgrade weapon in the Ion Cannon Turret. You can shoot 360° and limit the movement of an opponent ship so you will know its location next turn.

And for the Imperials...

Tie Fighters – Cheap cannon fodder, great in a swarm. Often my last man standing.
Tie Interceptors – Offensive weapons that can be upgraded with multiple guns. Also very manoeuvrable.
Tie Advance – An excuse to bring Darth Vader onto the field. He has some awesome abilities and his ship is pretty defensive.
Tie Bomber – Bringing lots of missiles to the Imperial side. Suited to a player with good forward thinking, to plant bombs for maximum impact.

Our collection of ships
As I stated at the start, it was a surprise to me that I enjoy this game. I think I enjoy it because I’m actually pretty good at it and win fairly often. (I believe this is because my regular opponent’s forward thinking and spatial awareness sometimes lets her down.) I wouldn’t appreciate the one-on-one combat and high luck element if there wasn’t a good chance of me winning, but as it is, what can be quite a long game (1-1.5 hours when the dice just won’t let the game end) flies by pretty quickly. 

Given the low price point of the base game at £20-25, I would recommend that anyone with a spouse or friend who is willing to give X-Wing a try does try it out, even if they are not big Star Wars fans. This game is very different to anything else in our collection, but it looks amazing, has really gripping game play and is one of my favourites. It gets a 9/10.

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