A.D. Shrum
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So I have a four-year-old son and he loves star wars (which is admittedly redundant), but he lacks fine motor control and has a younger brother who grabs everything. A simplified version of X-Wing didn’t seem too far outside of his grasp of understanding, but the safety of Daddy’s toys was at stake. What to do?


Micro Machines are perfect. As you can see, the scale is comparable (new core set figs on left, new micro machine figs on right. My apologies for the Special Forces TIE being upside down). The new MM figs are cheap and made of bendy, rubbery plastic --- perfect for destructive little hands!

Micro Machines lack the little clear plastic base, so I had to modify the flight stands to accommodate the cylindrical hole under each MM fig. Being as how I have dozens of the little sticks and only use one per figure (except on the B-Wing and maybe some other weird figures), I had plenty to spare.


First, I cut off the little triangle-shaped pointer using a pair of wire cutters/strippers, then I mounted the stick into a hole on a piece of scrap wood. Next I (should have) filed the surface evenly to ensure a better drill contact. Not doing so meant the drill slipped more than it ought to have. The hole was made to accommodate stripped 14 gauge wire.


Next I placed the stripped end of the wire into the hole I drilled. I then cut off the excess wire, ensuring the protruding end of the wire remained insulated (to a diameter of about 2.6mm, which seems to fit the bottoms of the Micro Machines).


Side by Side of the new core set X-Wing and Poe’s Micro Machine X-Wing The lack of a triangle attachment on the flight stick means that the ships can point in any direction, but whatever. You can always twist them to face appropriately.


Now your little rebel pilot is ready to take his squadron of micro machine X-Wings into battle!


My toddler (4), loves X-Wing junior. My two year old likes it too (he calls it the “Dar Vadah game,” after a favored villain they often fight, but he basically just rolls dice and lets his older brother handle movement.

Now, the Simplified Rules

He picks what ships he wants to fly or what he wants to fly against, and I pick the opposite side accordingly. I make sure he doesn’t have more than three ships, because otherwise its hard for him concentrate on all his ships at the same time.

Next the turn order works like this:
Daddy moves his bad guy ships according to the movement chart cards I’ve made (They’re just scans from the charts included in the game, but cropped and set to some funky backgrounds. I’ve made one for each ship).


The cards work really well because the dials are so hard for little fingers to move. Plus we’re not doing anything hidden about the moves anyway, so it doesn’t matter for the purposes of secrecy. (I should make a note that my wife and I, among other friends, use these instead of dials as well because move capability is much easier to visualize. For secrecy, we slide them into card sleeves and use dry erase markers to indicate our moves. But we prefer playing with FFG’s minis as opposed to the MM toys!)

Just as in the real game, red gives a stress token, green gets rid of it, and stress tokens prevent you from making red moves. However, we don’t play with actions (focus, locks, etc.), although occasionally I’ll have a TIE throw a barrel roll in there for fun. We once tried playing without stress, but it ended up being a flip-fest.

Next, my son moves his guys using the corresponding charts for his ships.

Lastly, combat. My son always attacks first, then I attack. If he downs one of my ships first, it doesn’t get to shoot back. The goal of the game is for my son to win, but for him to feel challenged and close to losing (any Dungeon Masters out there might recognize a similar feel).

Range modifiers apply, but we don’t play with a distinction between crits and hits. All hits are hits, and instead of the face-down damage cards, we assign crit tokens (they’re a bit more durable if little brother finds them).

We also fly a bit more casual with movement than in a standard game. If my son is barely off the edge, we nudge him back inbounds. If the arc is close but the TIE fighter is just barely outside, whatever, I give the shot to him.

Thoughts? Do any of you do a similar thing for your kids?

~A.D. Shrum
(images pending approval as of 9/8/15 4:43 EST)
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John McD
Scotland
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Great post.

I play with my six year old, but not the four year old. Even then he tends to get A Wings to fight Tie's with, ie, nothing fragile. I'll check out these Micro Machine figures though, they might well do the job.
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R B
United States
Stevens Point
Wisconsin
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I play very similar to the way you play. I didn't think about having him use the movement charts instead of the dials. He does struggle with those. I'm even more lenient on movement for him. I let him do maneuvers he doesn't have so he can shoot, or he gets a turret on his tie (Ties are his favorite) . I let him use a tie fighter dial on the tie punisher the last time we played
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Michael Edwards
United Kingdom
Brighton
East Sussex
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Brilliant stuff - those less delicate minis look great. I've no kids (yet), but lots of little nephews and nieces - at the moment it appears I'm stuck in an endless loop of 'Guess Who', although we did play Batman Love Letter the other day and they were not bad opponents once we had played a few practice rounds. Looks like X-Wing is next up!
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A.D. Shrum
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Thanks for the feedback, guys. Let me know how the little models work out for your family. Board games are awesome, but they're at their best when they bring families together, IMHO.

~A.D. Shrum
 
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Cheesy Crouton
United States
Virginia
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Just a tip that I thought of. Instead of using dry-erase markers on a card sleeve, slip a magnet sheet into the sleeve behind the card (or tape/glue the magnet sheet to the back of a sleeve) and just use a small magnet chit (cut a piece off of the magnet sheet) to place on top of the maneuver. Just a thought.
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Wei Jen Seah
Singapore
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Great post! I was planning to introduce my son to X-wing, and your Simplified Rules are exactly what I was looking for!

I have no Micro Machines so he'll just have to be extra careful with Daddy's "expensive toys"!
 
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