Gaming Unplugged is a monthly musing of different table top games played, examined, and reminisced by Scott McCauliffe.
Star Wars is one of the things that I feel defines a part of me. So when given the chance to pilot an X-Wing and dogfight against a handful of TIE Fighters, I said “Yes please!” Star Wars: X-Wing teams players against each other in fun space battles dodging asteroids and enemy fire. You can choose to join the Rebel Alliance, the Imperial Army, and with the new Scum and Villany expansion set coming out, you can be some good old fashioned mercenaries.
The game does take some playing to really catch on, but the learning curve isn’t very steep. The basics of it all go like this, pick a side, decide what ships you want to fly, choose a pilot and perks, and blast each other into space dust. The game play happens in a few different phases. If you’ve played any sort of miniature war game before this will be familiar territory.
The phases are simple, planning, activation, combat, and end phase. So much of the game comes from the planning phase. This is where each player decides how they plan on moving their ships. The catch here is you’re only deciding how to move, and all the players do it at the same time. So you have no idea how your opponent will move. You could set yourself up to be a major target or poise yourself to destroy your enemies. Hell you could both wind up flying directly into each other. Activation is when the players reveal their planned movements and move accordingly, in turn. Players also decide on using boosts and bonuses at this point. Combat is where all of the shooting happens, if your foes are in range you’ll both roll some dice and resolve any damage done. The end phase is basically there for clean up between turns.
As a major Star Wars fan, one of my favorite parts of X-Wing comes in choosing the ships and pilots. You want to control an X-Wing piloted by Luke Skywalker? You got it! You might prefer having Han Solo command the Millennium Falcon. Fantastic, you can do that! Boba Fett and the Slave I? Yes I think I’ll do that. You can even go outside the movies and have Kyle Katarn pilot his HWK-290. It’s fan service at its best. If you’d like to get a little more creative and think outside the box, each ship has multiple pilot choices. You can have Chewbacca fly your Falcon if you so choose. Each pilot has different stats and perks. This gameplay consideration allows for excellent customization to your fleet.
The developers also thought, “Hey maybe players don’t want to do the same thing over and over.” There are mission packs, and soon campaigns coming out that give the players specific tasks to complete to completely be successful in their battles. These added story missions add some nice variety and keep the game from getting too stale.
My own personal suggestion is to play in teams. Teaming up and splitting up the command of your fleet adds a small bit of role playing to your fights. It gives a little bit of wing-man feel to the gameplay. You can both use the same ship too, even the same pilots so there is no conflict of interest, but I say if you’re using the same ships choose different pilots; this will change up the gameplay for your team. Also, download the X-Wing Soundboard for your phone. It’s fun adding in some sound effects to spice up the combat, just don’t go overboard.
The game runs $39.95 for the core game set, which comes with one X-Wing and two TIE fighters. This is just enough to get in some good quick games. If you want to make it really worth your time though, you have to buy expansions, which will run between $15 and $30, depending which ships you would like. The Falcon and the Slave I are very popular and will cost you a little more than a plain X-Wing. Fantasy Flight Games also has some epic sized ships, like the Tantive IV and Rebel Transport expansions. These will cost you $90 and $60 respectively. In the end though all that really matters is the game is fun. The best thing to do would go in on the core set with a friend. If you don’t like Star Wars X-Wing the worst that’s happened is you’re each out $20, but I promise that won’t happen.