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Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game is a space combat miniatures game for two players, designed by Jason Little and published by Fantasy Flight Games. It has a playing time of thirty minutes, though that time can go up drastically depending on the exact scenario chosen by the players.

In Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game, the two players represent the two sides at war in the Star Wars movies - the Rebels and the Empire. The game simulates a space battle between the two sides - think of the space battle outside the Death Star, for example.

Players place a variety of pieces on the board that represent various ships. Players essentially play simultaneously by marking how they want each ship to move with face-down tokens, reveal those tokens at the same time, and then resolve the movements and resultant combat in order of ship strength. Combat is resolved via die rolls.

Players have the ability to construct their own fleet of ships in advance of the game. Do you select a large number of low-strength ships or a small number of high-powered ships? Do you want any upgrades for your individual ships?

Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures game is a great deal of tactical fun.



Ten Things to Like About Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game
Here are ten things I particularly like about Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game.

1. The game is highly thematic and really draws you into a sense of Star Wars space combat.
This game does an incredible job of bringing the feel of the space combat elements of Star Wars to life. When you have Luke Skywalker out there in an X-Wing fighter (with R2-D2 in the back) battling against a handful of Academy piloted TIE fighters, it really feels like the space combat scenes in the movie.

The ships zip around on the table, bank and turn, fire at each other, loop around to get in better position, dodge obstacles... it really evokes those scenes of space combat from the films.

2. The miniatures are wonderful and look great on the table.
The miniatures in the game are simply gorgeous. They really look like miniature versions of the ships from the movie, rendered perfectly in three dimensions. If you put up an appropriate background on the table (like a piece of cloth that looks like the blackness of space), it will really look like the space scenes from the film.

The miniatures are made of plastic and are just a touch on the fragile side, but I keep mine in two boxes and have had only one "oops" moment in several plays of the game, and that "oops" moment was quickly fixed with a drop of super glue.

3. The gameplay is very fast-paced and action-packed.
Every single turn involves ships zipping past each other, shooting at each other, and making sneaky maneuvers. Even the first turn can involve serious action as ships are usually going to wind up in shooting range and that first turn position can be crucial.

The movement of individual ships is straightforward (just put down the appropriate template) and the decisions made for each ship only take a moment, which means that the gameplay moves back and forth fairly quickly. If you're playing with a decent-sized fleet (say, 100 point fleets), each player is going to have a lot of "turns" in this game (with a "turn" referring to a movement of a ship as well as a ship firing) and each "turn" is going to go pretty quickly.

4. The simultaneous movement selection mechanism makes for some wonderful second-guessing and prediction.
During the first part of a game round, players simultaneously mark their movement for each ship with a face-down disc for that ship. These movements are already set in stone before the first disc is revealed.

Not only does this simulate movement in space quite well, it also brings a wonderful flavor of second-guessing to the game. You're going to try to want to move into a position where you can hit enemy ships without getting hit yourself, but your opponent is going to try to do the same thing. Where is your opponent moving? Where does that mean you're going to move? Is your opponent going to guess what you're likely to do?

All of the second guessing makes for a very interesting sub-game.

5. The players have a great deal of control over the complexity and length of the game.
The point total of each player's fleet directly controls the length and complexity of the game. If both players have a 30 point fleet on a 2' by 2' space, you're going to be playing a twenty or thirty minute skirmish. If both players have a 100 point fleet on a 3' by 3' space, you're going to have a fairly complex 1.5 hour game. Play with 200 point fleets and a 4' by 4' tablespace, you're going to be in for a three to four hour war.

The larger your fleet size, the longer and more complex the game will be. The larger your table space, the longer and more complex the game will be. Players control these options before they even start.

6. The cards add a great deal of variety to the game.
In the core game, there are only two types of ships. Even with the first wave of expansions, there are only four different ship types. Ship types have identical movement dials, so they're going to move more or less the same way.

The variety in this game comes from the cards. Each ship type has a bunch of different cards associated with that type that defines different pilots for the ship which radically changes the stats and abilities of the ship.

Beyond that, pilots can also have attachment cards, which also come in tremendous varieties. These give your ships additional powerful abilities.

The cards turn the ship miniatures into more than just one ship. You can have four TIE fighters on the table but they can all feel very different from each other thanks to the cards associated with each figure.

7. The symbols on the cards are straightforward and will become second nature after just a few rounds.
There are really only a few symbols on the cards that have impact on the gameplay. At first, they can seem a bit daunting, but after three or four rounds, you're going to instinctively know what the small handful of symbols mean.

In other words, the symbology in this game is at a perfect level. Symbols are used to compress information, but there aren't so many symbols that you need a guide to interpret them.

8. The movement templates make complex spaceship movements incredibly straightforward, simple to understand, and standardized.
There are no pieces of string or eyeballing in this game. You put down a template, move your ship to the end of that template, and movement is over with.

There are quite a few different templates that you can potentially use for your movement, meaning you can make a wide variety of moves and can combine into very complex manuevers. Yet, these individual template movements are very easy to understand and execute. That speaks very well for this game system.

9. The addition of obstacles gives the game almost infinite variety.
Simply by throwing a few asteroids out there in the middle of the game field, you can completely transform an open battlefield into a scenario that requires a ton of careful planning.

Again, this is an example of how the game contains a great deal of variety with just a few component swaps. A 30 point fleet on a 2' by 2' arena with no obstacles versus a 100 point fleet on a 3' by 3' arena with a bunch of obstacles feels like two different games.

10. The game is highly transportable.
You can have all of the miniatures you need for two players to play along with the cards need to support them and all game tokens you need for a game and all of it will fit in a pretty tiny box. I've carried everything for a 100 point showdown in a box a quarter of the size of a full square box game.

Even better, you can pretty much play it on any tabletop. I've watched games of this on restaurant tables. I've seen it on round tables in libraries. I've seen it in squares taped off with masking tape on a large table.

This game is very, very portable and can be played in a lot of places.



Five Things to Disike About Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game
Here are five things that some players will see as a problem with Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game. Other players won't see these as a problem and may even see these as a positive.

1. Miniatures games are inherently expensive, and this is no different.
You can pick up the core set for $30, which will give you everything you need for a thirty point battle. However, if you want to go beyond that kind of quick skirmish, the costs add up quickly. Another core set gets you to 60 point battles, but that's another $30. Individual expansion ships from the first wave cost $10 to $15.

If you want to play a big 100 point battle, in other words, you're going to be spending close to $100. That will get you enough ships to have a 100 point fleet for each side. If you ever want to change up that fleet, you're going to be spending even more.

This game is a big money sink if you allow it to be.

2. Combat is resolved solely by dice roll (and damage assigned by random card draw), making the game have a hefty dose of luck.
While there's a ton of great gameplay in the positioning and action choices, the actual combat is pure dice rolling and damage is assigned by random card draw. While that's pretty standard for miniatures games, it does mean that you're going to have to deal with some games ending not because of the strategy, but because of the dice rolls.

You can do everything right and outroll your opponent ten dice to one, but if all of your rolls are misses and his one roll is a hit, you're going to be the one that's taking damage.

3. It sacrifices detail and "realism" at the altar of fast play and approachability.
For one, you're only moving ships in two dimensions. You can move in the compass directions, but you can't move your ships up and down. The actual damage your ships take is pretty abstracted, too.

This is good in the sense that it makes the gameplay smoother and more clear, but it does reduce the realism and depth of the game. Is that a good tradeoff? I think it is, but it might not be a good tradeoff for others.

4. Optional team play or multiplayer games are much less fun.
I tried the multiplayer games once. I will not try it again. It mostly seems to just add more randomness and you always feel like you're playing two-on-one... because everybody feels like they're playing two-on-one. Why? For most of the game, players are going to shoot at any ship they can, so you essentially have two opposing fleets gunning for you. It ends up in a combat-fest where strategy means even less.

The team game is somewhat better, but it mostly just feels like the one-on-one game where you don't have control over half your pieces.

Honestly, I don't like either format. Leave me with the one-on-one game, please.

5. At times, the board becomes littered with markers and other materials, which can be slightly confusing and detract from the immersion.
This is particularly true when you try playing this with a large armada. Each ship has a movement dial associated with it, as well as at least one card associated with it, as well as a number of different counters associated with it. If you're not keeping careful track of things, this can cause the table to descend into chaotic confusion.

The larger your fleet gets, the worse this can get. My suggestion is to use the "matching tokens" that associate a particular ship with a particular set of cards and tokens, but even that only helps to a certain extent.



Who Would Like This Game?
I liked this game more than I expected to. I've tried miniatures games in the past and they've always left me feeling "meh" at best. Usually, I felt like they were bogged down with rules complexity that made the game overly complicated.

X-Wing doesn't have that problem. It's not overly complicated. In fact, it's quite straightforward to set up and to play. I will be keeping my core sets, thank you very much.

People who will like this game include:

Star Wars fans - This game does a tremendous job of recreating the feel of Star Wars space battles. There's real character introduced thanks to the beautiful components and the character-appropriate stats and abilities on the character cards. Luke Skywalker piloting an X-Wing with R2-D2 in the back works almost exactly like you would expect.

Tabletop combat fans - This is a great light miniatures game. If you know people who might dabble in miniatures, this is a great way to get them started.

Simultaneous action fans - The best part of this game, gameplay-wise, is the simultaneous decisions regarding ship movement. It makes for wonderful decision-making, and some gamers really thrive on that type of choice.



A Video Review
I also posted a video review of this game, which touches on many of the points described above in a reasonably short package. If you want a good glimpse of the game components, this is worth watching.

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Robert Aronovici
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Thanks for the great insight, review and info!

Many people will praise or burn you at the stake about the pros/cons.

Luck is a light factor in this game from what I see. You aren't lucky if you swarm in and destory a ship and you wouldn't be lucky if you hide behind an astroid and are far to shoot with five dice to defend.

Price is a huge con because I am addicted! cool

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Todd Warnken
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Good review and format. I agree with both your positives and negatives.
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Read the rulebook, plan for all contingencies, and…read the rulebook again.
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Quote:
3. It sacrifices detail and "realism" at the altar of fast play and approachability.


Star Wars. Realism.

Oh, well. Pretty good review anyway!

Really, though, we're talking about "movie physics." That's not in nearly the same weight class as Newtonian Delta-V Rocket Fuel Science.

But seriously, I agree that the board gets cluttered with stuff. I'm not a fan of chadwicks and other game-junk strewn across the table, either.

Also, I think this is a fantastic multi-player game. I prefer multi-player scenarios over mano-y-mano tournament contests. Both are fun, but I find multi-player is where it's really at.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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I'm not so sure I agree with your negatives:

1) "This game is a big money sink if you allow it to be." You just explained that two 100pt teams would be spending close to $100. Since most "real" games these days are between $50 and $100, I'm not sure how you can mean that's a "big money sink". Maybe on the pricier end of the Board Game sale, but not a big money sink.

2) Combat is not just resolved by dice. Yes, you do roll the dice, but there are other factors that mitigate the dice rolls and directly affect combat (i.e. Focus, Dodge, etc).

3) The "realism" being sacrificed here is not from the game but rather from the movies. The only thing this game has sacrificed that I can tell is the 3 dimensional aspect. Otherwise, they've done a very good job at representing the movies. The movies though obviously sacrificed realism for drama.

4) Since I've never played multi-player yet, I can't really comment on it (I'm still looking forward to a massive 400pt battle)

5) I've never really felt this game having too many components, especially compared to some other games. On the playing area, the most components one figure would have is 3 (a Target Lock, a Damage, and a Focus or Dodge though I suppose with Vader you could have a Focus *and* Dodge, so 4 is the most). Then off the playing area, you have the cards. This simple, physical separation has made it so it doesn't feel overwhelming in the least.

Anyways, good review. I like you don't really like the miniature games (though I still find myself getting those damned LotR figures) but X-Wing has soared to one of my favorite games of all time.

-shnar
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Richard Dickson
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Regarding the cost, yeah, $100 looks like a big money sink if you're new to the world of miniature gaming. But go here and look at the four Warhammer miniatures on display. Those are going to run you $130, and that's nowhere near enough to build a competitive squad. Bump that up to over $200 for the $75 rule book that comes with absolutely zero figures, and you're still not ready to play. For that same price, I can get two core sets and two of each expansion and pretty much play any squad I want to. So it may be a bit of sticker shock at first, but in the scheme of things, it's a very price friendly game.
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Sean D.
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Great review! I just have one point to say for negative #4. I have only played multiplayer with 3-5 players and we've all had a great time with it and having to plan 'around' your team is great fun!
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Campbell
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Good review.

One other negative for me:
Lack of a playmat means you're playing on wood grain "space." Wish they could have included a 3x3 paper space poster.
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Derrick Billings
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#6 to very mildly dislike--the miniatures are a bit lightweight and the center of gravity is a little higher than is ideal. Thankfully the bases have a recessed area underneath where you can glue a washer from a hardware store without affecting the thickness of the model. (This is specifically allowed in the tournament rules.)

Extra weight helps, but with all the times you have to reach across the table to place tokens, dials, and measure distances, it's very easy to bump and shift miniatures, which is frustrating when millimeters make a difference. I'm still looking for a satisfying tablecloth material that will add a bit of friction.
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Count Ringworm
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Grimwalker wrote:

Extra weight helps, but with all the times you have to reach across the table to place tokens, dials, and measure distances, it's very easy to bump and shift miniatures, which is frustrating when millimeters make a difference. I'm still looking for a satisfying tablecloth material that will add a bit of friction.


This got me to thinking- I've ordered from http://www.kjmagnetics.com/ before when i was into 6mm microarmor. I'm sure they'd have something that would fit under the base very well. Then it's just a matter of finding a metallic sheet/playing surface... maybe almost too sticky, with these rare-earth magnets.
 
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Raistiff

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Great review. Been on the fence and this has given me some more things to consider.
 
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Todd Warnken
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raistiff wrote:
Great review. Been on the fence and this has given me some more things to consider.


Get off the fence and get this game. The positives greatly outweigh the negatives.
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Charles Donnell
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Excellent and well balanced review.
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Bryan Wiley
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I kind of agree on the negatives of "high cost"... however.

This is definitely a game where you reach that tipping point where cost is no longer relevant.

Once you have spent enough to get 4 X-Wings, a couple Y-Wings, 5-6 Ties, couple Tie-Advanced... you don't have to get anything else, it would be redundant at that point.

So for right now, having all this, yes, I've spent a chunk of change, but I don't have to buy anything else to be able to play pretty much every list out there (unless of course you start pushing into games that are more than 100 points??).

Once wave 2 comes out, technically you would only buy 1 Falcon, 1 Slave 1, a couple Tie Interceptors and a couple A-Wings. Then again you would have reached the saturation point where buying more miniatures is not required to get full enjoyment out of the game.

With other games, like Warhammer Fantasy or Warhammer 40k, it feels like you have to keep buying new things to stay relevant with the rest of the players. Plus there are 10-20 different units you could invest $100's of dollars in. That's one of the reasons I quit playing 40k.
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Tony Case
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Miniatures games are inherently expensive, and this is no different.

Piffle! Quality of the two games aside, I would much rather drop 10 bucks for one lone TIE Fighter than drop 15 or 20 bucks for a booster of the WotC Starship Battles for 8 ships that MIGHT contain a TIE Fighter. If I'm lucky.
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The price is a big issue. I have bought games that cost approximately $40 for the box set & approximately $15 per supplement, but those games provided much more for those prices. A box set with 12 - 24 ship design sheets, and supplements with 6 or more ship design sheets, and counters will allow you to play much greater variety and on much larger scales than a 2 on 1 for the $40 and add on just 1 unit, not 1 type - 1 unit, for $15 each. With this game, you would need to spend hundreds of dollars to get anywhere close to a squadron level game.

I have played it a few times, and find it enjoyable, but I am not spending that much money for so little just because the miniatures look good.
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Bernd Caspers
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The price issue really isn´t one, when you think about it.
You are getting pre-painted quality minis (and lot´s of other stuff) and that comes with a price.

Do you get a fine dinner in a upper-class restaurant at fast-food prices?

Compared to other miniature games (Games Workshop was already mentioned) and things like hobby model building etc. this actually is very affordable.
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Eric B.
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Broadstorm wrote:
With this game, you would need to spend hundreds of dollars to get anywhere close to a squadron level game.


Only collecting one faction would help keep costs way down (but most people seem to end up collecting enough to play either faction, which makes it much more expensive).

Still, if bought online (though I always encourage supporting local FLGS when applicable) $105-115 dollars would give a player everything they needed to field a large variety of full squadrons for the 100pt game [7 TIEs, 1 TIE Adv, 4 X-Wings, 1 Y-Wing]. So, "hundreds" of dollars is a little bit of an exaggeration, but it is a steep initial purchase.

One nice thing for me, though, is that I've got Mansions of Madness (with expansions), War of the Ring, and Twilight Imperium collecting perpetual dust in the gaming closet because it's hard to convince friends or the gaming group to play them. My X-Wing investment hasn't been much more than these, and yet I'm able to get this thing onto the table for games all the time as everyone seems to like it. Value-wise, I've gotten a lot more bang for my buck with X-Wing than with other comparable gaming purchases.
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James Sutterlin
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The good thing about this game is its easy. Not a lot of rules, yet it satisfies both casual and hardcore gamers alike. Thing about the miniature cost is those "grab" bag minis from StarWars DnD etc would give you four minis or so with some cards at about $15.00. These minis are awesome but I fear for the X-Wings durability.

In your video you stated range 2-3 doesn't matter and range one gives you and additional attack die. Just a heads up Range 3 gives you a additional defense die.

That was my only other complaing about the game lack of dice. One or two of the Tie Fighter Pilots get a +1 attack die at range 1 so that woud be a total of four. I don't see why it would be so hard to throw in one or two more.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Yeah, "hundreds" of dollars? I'll admit, I've spent about $200 so far, but that's cuz I'm eclectic. In addition to miniatures, I've boughten a playing mat, some foam for the minis, a Corellian Corvette, and other things. As the OP said, you could spend $100 and have a pretty complete game for TWO factions. That puts this game on the higher side of pricey when compared to board games (I've spent $90-$100 MSRP on board games before, like Space Hulk, Descent, Earth Reborn, etc), but on the lower side of pricey when compared to other miniature games.

I repeat, this game is not a big money sink nor even a very expensive game.

-shnar
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Tony Case
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Broadstorm wrote:
With this game, you would need to spend hundreds of dollars to get anywhere close to a squadron level game.


Good heavens no. Lets see - going by Cool Stuff INC's prices, the base game is 25 bucks and each fighter is 10. If you get two base games, and one of each fighter, that'll net you 5 TIE fighters, 2 X-Wings, a TIE Advanced and a Y-Wing for 90 bucks. Throw another X-Wing onto the order to get over a hundred bucks for free shipping and that's a pretty damn solid mix of ships.

That's peanuts compared to any collectable miniature game on the market. Hell, I've dropped more than that on Carcassonne!
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I actually would prefer a counter/chit game that lets me field large fleet actions, capital ships, the Death Star...but that's not the game X-Wing is trying to be. For the game it's trying to be, it's actually very reasonably priced.

But it's not for everyone. It's basically a table-top skirmish minis game set in space with the Star Wars theme. In that regards, it succeeds wonderfully.


Broadstorm wrote:
The price is a big issue. I have bought games that cost approximately $40 for the box set & approximately $15 per supplement, but those games provided much more for those prices. A box set with 12 - 24 ship design sheets, and supplements with 6 or more ship design sheets, and counters will allow you to play much greater variety and on much larger scales than a 2 on 1 for the $40 and add on just 1 unit, not 1 type - 1 unit, for $15 each. With this game, you would need to spend hundreds of dollars to get anywhere close to a squadron level game.

I have played it a few times, and find it enjoyable, but I am not spending that much money for so little just because the miniatures look good.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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kingbobb wrote:
I actually would prefer a counter/chit game that lets me field large fleet actions, capital ships, the Death Star...

Star Wars: Star Warriors?

-shnar
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Kabong wrote:
Broadstorm wrote:
With this game, you would need to spend hundreds of dollars to get anywhere close to a squadron level game.


Good heavens no. Lets see - going by Cool Stuff INC's prices, the base game is 25 bucks and each fighter is 10. If you get two base games, and one of each fighter, that'll net you 5 TIE fighters, 2 X-Wings, a TIE Advanced and a Y-Wing for 90 bucks. Throw another X-Wing onto the order to get over a hundred bucks for free shipping and that's a pretty damn solid mix of ships.

That's peanuts compared to any collectable miniature game on the market. Hell, I've dropped more than that on Carcassonne!


I think maybe this comes down to how the OP is defining "Squadron level"

Probably he doesn't mean, competitive 100 point squad, but rather something based on some thematic description of the numbers of ships in "Squadrons" from a guidebook or novel or something.

But I should let the OP clarify for himself.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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But you can create a very competitive 100 point squad for under $100. You can even create 2 competitive squads (one Rebel one Imperial) for just about $100. So when people complain about cost, they're usually looking at the 'components' when compared to another boardgame. They're thinking, "Geesh, only 3 figures, dice, and a couple cards for $30? For $20 more you could buy Descent and get a whole bunch of figures!" They are failing to realize A) it's a miniature game not a board game and B) it's a completely assembled and very well painted miniature game. And even when comparing to boardgames, when you add it all up, it's not that far off the mark (i.e. 10 very well assembled/painted figures, dice, cardboard, cards for under $100).

-shnar
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