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Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Why It Works (Review after Wave 2) rss

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Paul DeStefano
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Harrowing dogfights, family drama, shootouts, a tender moment, amazing monsters, humor.

There's a tempo to Star Wars. We all remember Luke screaming NOOOOOOO at Vader. For different reasons, we remember Anakin turned Vader screaming NOOOOOO. But we also remember Leia offering a little cracker to an ewok. We remember first seeing Darth Maul's double lightsaber. And we remember Han saying "I know."

It is NOT all pew-pew-pew. It is NOT all Vrusssshhhhhhhzwwwmzwwwmmm. It's a cycle of teasing action and drama.

Even though the X-Wing Minis game plays out some incredible dogfight sequences, the play of the game is NOT a straight forward flow.

I've got dozens of rounds under my belt now, and I've been wanting to write a review, and it finally came to me what it is that makes this game such rip roaring fun.

It's not the astoundingly detailed minis. And anyone complaining about scale needs to take a close look at the movies, where the scale of the ships to each other changes from shot to shot due to the compositing techniques used at the time.

The minis are awesome. I'm somewhat surprised that different ships use different plastics, but I understand why. That denser stuff used on the X-Wing would collapse a Falcon into itself.

The prepaint jobs are incredible. The cards gorgeous, the components just off the scale. Even with the bit more they must pay in royalties to Uncle George, the massive appeal of this game allows them to make a ton of copies and the price, while at first glance seems daunting, isn't a lot for what you get.

What makes the game work is the pendulum swing. The rhythm.

First, the setup. The agonizing squad building. Is it worth 2 points to raise this pilot's skill, not knowing what the enemy force contains? It could easily be two points that have ZERO effect on the game. Terribly tough gambles. Now that wave 2 is out and you could just as easily face a hulking mothership like a decked out Slave I or a swarm of the world's most annoying TIE fighters, you really have to prepare for a wide contingency of opponents.

This setup is tense. You want flexible. But strong. Synergistic support between squad members, but not so much that the loss of a key ship means defeat. And you ALWAYS want about 3 more points for that perfect build. No matter how many points you choose to fight, you will kill for another 3.

So it's got that whole squad building aspect down great. Especially now that there's a ton of options. Who knows what your opponent will bring?

But the flow of a turn is brilliant.

Everybody chooses their maneuvers. No downtime. But here in the game is where you are playing cat and mouse. Maybe psychologically toying with the opponent, making them think your plan is A when it is actually B.

Hidden agendas and secret moves. That's the next game that plays out after the squad building math.

Then the wonderful move system. Everyone slowly reveals their moves, in what might be the games most questioned rule. The lowest skilled dudes go first, and eventually the better skilled dudes, which mean they have a fairly good chance of accidentally hitting and losing their action, where the lower skill guy might pull it off.

But it works in the long run, because it keeps higher skills in tailing positions.

Bit in this phase of the game, again, very, very little downtime, as the nefarious plans and maneuvers are revealed.

Squeals of glee and grunts of horror abound as unexpected collisions happen and skillful turns are executed.

But then comes the start of your devastating on the spot decision making. While plotting your squadrons moves, you had an overall plan. Now, each ship must choose it's precious action.

Evade? How many guys might end up firing on you? Target? Are you clear to get the shot this or next turn? Focus - the all purpose "Egads, I need help" token. Or maybe that barrel roll or super freakin cool new Boost - move a bit maybe out of a firing arc or -surprise - snap someone into your arc. Maybe you execute some trick of your specific pilot.

Here is where you are tempering your odds. Things that will alter the upcoming luck sequence. carefully guiding the gods of luck to your favor.

The tokens build up on the board as actions get selected. At first, this is a pile of confusing cardboard. In a few games, the counters become invisible, simply reminding you of who plans what.

Whew. So, strategic planning in the squad build, then the secrecy of move plotting, then the agonizing action choices. What more does this game need?

Raw luck.

Bring out the dice. Or the iPad app, if you prefer.

Its Star WARS and the dice bring on the war. Now MORE decisions that hurt. Do I spend my focus token to get that extra damage possibly in, or hold on to it to help me avoid possible damage? What if I hold it and no one fires? What a waste... Two hits coming in... Do I evade? Or hold on to the evade since a crit might come next?

Hopefully, you've pile bonus upon bonus on your fighters. Distance, skill, weapon, focus... Or maybe all you've got is a shot in the dark.

Fire away.

Even defenders are active, choosing focus and evade moments.

Again, very little downtime. Lots of whining and cheering. Little downtime.

Start the cycle again. Hidden choices, movement reveals and actions, combat.

I think THIS is why X-Wing is such a stunningly successful design. It bobs and weaves each turn. No phase is long enough to overstay its welcome. And you must juggle and balance each phase to support the others.

An excellently designed system that overcomes any of it's perceived problems due to the overall strength of play.
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Jeff Kayati
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Lovely review.

I played four matches in five hours on Saturday, and I wasn't tired of playing. I went to sleep that night thinking of maneuvers I should have done to make that A-Wing work just a little better. Or, could I substitute a different missile to be more deadly. What if I went with an Outer Rim Smuggler instead of Tycho? The choices seem endless.

This is just an outstanding game. It's only drawback? The price point to really get into it.

Looking forward to playing more, and more often.
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Mike Stevens
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Great review. This game is just awesome FUN!
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Francis K. Lalumiere
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More an ode than a review, it nonetheless makes for a beautiful read.
Well done!
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Mike Ptak
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This isn't just a game for grognards and collectors. Gameplay is simple, and you don't need to collect the latest and greatest expansion to be at the top of the game. X-Wings and TIEs will ALWAYS be viable no matter what expansion comes out.
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Francis K. Lalumiere
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Norsehound wrote:
This isn't just a game for grognards and collectors. Gameplay is simple, and you don't need to collect the latest and greatest expansion to be at the top of the game. X-Wings and TIEs will ALWAYS be viable no matter what expansion comes out.
At least I hope so!
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Dark Overlord
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BTW, they now pay royalties to uncle Mickey not Uncle George.

But great review
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Mike Mitchell
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Great review! Pretty much sums up my feelings about the game.

Thanks!
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Alex Brown
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I agree, overall this is the Promise Fulfilled from FFG as an 'experience' game. It's enthralling and evocative.

However, I do think hobby gamers should know it's still fiddly and more of an hour-plus game at the squad level. I don't mind FFG advertising to the lowest common denominator, but X-Wing is definitely an investment.

Just one that is worth it
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Salim Khoury
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Well that settles it, officially off the fence and on my way to target, curse you thanks Paul!
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Mike Ptak
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If you field multiple squadrons maybe the game is more than an hour, but typical 100pt matches usually go that long, depending. I've ended games in a half hour before.
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Jeff Kayati
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Norsehound wrote:
If you field multiple squadrons maybe the game is more than an hour, but typical 100pt matches usually go that long, depending. I've ended games in a half hour before.
I lost in just twenty minutes last weekend! blush
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Paul DeStefano
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Norsehound wrote:
If you field multiple squadrons maybe the game is more than an hour, but typical 100pt matches usually go that long, depending. I've ended games in a half hour before.
If you're unfamiliar with your squad, it can take on the longer side.

100 points can easily hit 45 minutes, and yeah, sometimes less.
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John Cobb
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Alex Brown wrote:
However, I do think hobby gamers should know it's still fiddly...
Fiddly how? The casual gamers I introduced it to found it very straight forward: plan, move using templates and hopefully shoot.
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Loose Cannon
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Awesome review.
Just got my copy on Wednesday.
Every ship but the Two new big ones.
Played a half hour figuring out how to play.
Have since read the rules.

Still not sure I understand the overlapping affects yet.
Does affect both ships. Or just the one causing the overlap.
Do ships collide?
Is their damage involved?

Thanks
Joe
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Paul DeStefano
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SlimJim wrote:


Still not sure I understand the overlapping affects yet.
Does affect both ships. Or just the one causing the overlap.
Do ships collide?
Is their damage involved?

Thanks
Joe
The one that "HIT" the other is actually dodging, flying above the other. This causes it to lose its Action. It may not shoot that ship. No damage.
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Loose Cannon
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So the ship you run into can still shoot you?
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Jeff Kayati
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SlimJim wrote:
So the ship you run into can still shoot you?
No. You can check the Forums for detailed answers to all your questions.
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Jeff Dunford
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SlimJim wrote:
So the ship you run into can still shoot you?
A ship cannot shoot a ship it is in contact with (except for Arvel Crynyd), regardless of which one caused the contact. But only the one that caused the contact loses its action (since the other ship either already took its action or hasn't moved yet).
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Paul DeStefano
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SlimJim wrote:
So the ship you run into can still shoot you?
You can't shoot in base contact, except some special pilot ability.
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Loose Cannon
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Got it. Thanks guys.
I didn't think they could shoot each other.
Just finished reading the rules again.

I see now, only the activating ship loses its action.


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Dan Dirk
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Geosphere wrote:
SlimJim wrote:
So the ship you run into can still shoot you?
You can't shoot in base contact, except some special pilot ability.
Only in the same round there was an overlap. They FAQ'ed that "touching" is only defined in the same round which an overlap occurs.

So if you overlapped this round and are touching in combat phase, you can't fire on each other. If some how the next round you both move and are still touching (but didn't overlap and have to back track on template) you both can fire on each other.

Really the only time this would happen is if the overlapping player is following and "rear-ends" causing the overlap... Then the next round both players select the same straight movement so bases still touch but did not overlap.
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Mike Clarke
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Yes you can. You just can't target the ship you're touching. You can shoot anything else. So you CAN shoot.
 
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Alex Brown
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jacob4408 wrote:
Alex Brown wrote:
However, I do think hobby gamers should know it's still fiddly...
Fiddly how? The casual gamers I introduced it to found it very straight forward: plan, move using templates and hopefully shoot.
It has a tonne of components for what it is.

In some ways, this adds to the experience, in other ways they seem to get in the way.
 
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Paul DeStefano
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mikecl wrote:
Yes you can. You just can't target the ship you're touching. You can shoot anything else. So you CAN shoot.
Sorry. As a miniatures gamer, I had assumed that people read that as 'can't shoot people in base contact with'.

You are correct.
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