With the upcoming release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens it seemed like a great time to get myself back into the Star Wars mood. With the release of The Force Awakens core set for the X-Wing miniatures game it seemed like a great place to start. Created by Fantasy Flight Games, the X-Wing tabletop game is a detailed and fun way to experience Star Wars ship battles. Designed for two players and lasting up to about one hour per game, does The Force Awakens Core Set have enough to not only get you started but also make you want to come back for more?
The box contains enough materials for two players to sit down and battle it out on a table top with two TIE fighters and an X-Wing. For the price point of £29.99 you might think that the box doesn’t really contain as much as it should but once you drive into the game, you’ll see it’s good. The reason for this is because the X-Wing game is rather complex game to jump into for the first few games and can take some time before you feel comfortable playing it without the rule booklet near by.
Regardless, The Force Awakens core set has some high quality items in the box to get you going. From the cards to the counters, the miniatures and the dice. Everything within the core set is solid, well made and beautifully detailed. The 1/270 scale X-Wing and TIE fighters are easily the best bits because of the detail put into them.
Though the X-Wing game can be complex to understand at first the way the game plays out is very effective. Each match is made up of rounds with each of these rounds having four stages to them where set actions take place. There is next to no down time as each stage ensure that all players are doing something at all times. This also ensures that the rounds flow effectively and result in a solid gaming experience. Each round is played out as follows…
1 – Select a maneuver
Each player uses that maneuver dial to pick what type of maneuver each of their ships will perform during that round. Some maneuvers cause the ship to become ‘stressed’ which in turn means they are unable to act for the rest of the turn. The trade off is that those are sometimes the ideal manoeuvres to pick and that’s where the tactics really started. Once picked the dial is placed face down next to the ship until each ship and player are done. Note that to destress your ship you need to perform a green maneuver the following turn. Each of the maneuver templates included in the box match up with each ships available maneuvers.
2 – Movement
Once ready, and in ascending pilot skill order, each player reveals and moves their ships. By taking the template that matches with the maneuver picked the ships are model from base edge to base edge keeping to the rules of the maneuver. You might be turning your ship around after a straight dash forward or making a small turn just to keep the enemy in your sights. The great thing about X-Wing here is that there are no rules or need to work out complex rules. You pick a maneuver, use the template and then continue forward with the round. It’s quick, easy and plays great.
3 – Choose an action
The next stage is the action stage where each ship can make one non-combat action per round. Subject to the actions your ship can perform you might want to lock onto a target to make an attack easier or using focus to make your dice rolls better. Some actions are tied to select ships like the TIE fighters being able to perform a barrel roll for a last minute maneuver before combat.
4 – Fight
The last stage of each round is the combat stage where in descending pilot order each player opens fire on any available targets. Each ship has a card linked to it which is placed on the stand for the model which has stats as well as the attack arc on the front. Using this and the range template included in the set each ship can easier see who is within range. From here it is a simple case of rolling the number of dice equal to the attack and defence value of the ships involved in each fight. This repeated for each ship until all fights are resolved and then the round resets and the players go through the four stages again. If of course a ship suffers to much damage, it is destroyed and removed from play. Once all ships are destroyed, that player loses the game.
The time I spent playing The Force Awakens Core Set was enjoyable is somewhat small due to the initial learning curve. The missions that come included in the box give you a great starting point to get a feel for the game and the special rules that can be added to mix things up. Mines for example can add a great sense of tactical tension to the rounds as each player looks to avoid and use them. Once you get additional sets and add them to The Force Awakens Core Set you can start to build your own squads of fighters and really fill the table top with some serious fire fights.
One of the really nice touches within the game is the way that damage is handled on ships. You see not only do ships have a limit to how many damage they can take, you also have shields and critical damage. Shields work but just being a non-rechargeable buffer to initial damage. Critical damage however regards in a damage card being played face up with special rules on each that must be followed. From being unable to fire for a round to having some limits on what actions you can perform and so much more. The damage system really mixes up the flow of the game and mean tactics can change very fast.
Speaking of tactics there isn’t a sure fire way to win. In fact, I would say that each game you play will be different as you’ll always want to try something new, and you’ll find the damage system keeps you on your toes. An example would be how during one match I used the mines to really help me out against the two TIE fighters which might on the rematch, player two would avoid them at all cost. In fact during the second match they were aiming and shooting in attempt to keep me from moving out of their sights. It’s things like this that make the X-Wing game so much fun to play.
Fantasy Flight Games have done a fantastic job of creating a tabletop game that I could easily lose myself in for hours if not whole days at a time. Simple in concept but complex in action makes for a tactical game that really offers a lot of options and memorable moments. Though the high price point for additional sets can be a little off-putting, as well as the time it takes to learn the rules, it is worth sticking it out and pushing through your first few full games to get use to it as there is a lot of fun to be had.
If you’re a fan of Star Wars and tabletop games it is worth checking out The Force Awakens Core Set and the available add-on packs. If you really like Star Wars and table tops games then I highly recommend you pick up and play the X-Wing game as soon as you can. A tabletop experience that would make any Star Wars fan proud.
This review is based on a copy of the product provided by Esdevium Games.