X-wing the miniature game (from now on referred to as X-Wing) has been around for years. Its not the cheapest miniature game, but compared to others *cough-Games Workshop-cough* it’s a bargain. Add on top of that, that the miniatures come pre-painted and look good straight out of the pack and it’s even better.
Since its inception the licence sat with Fantasy Flight Games (FFG), who have a reputation for quality games but inadequate production volumes. Originally there was a single core starter set, which was superseded with a new one when Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released in cinemas. Then back in September 2018, a second edition was released. This revised lots of rules, components and branding. Recognising that players had invested a fair amount of money into X-Wing collections, FFG released conversion kits which contained all the upgrade components so long as you bought a new core set.
2nd edition has become the main format that people now play. This is easily identifiable as the packaging when from death star grey coloured to space black coloured.
More recently the licence for X-Wing was transferred from FFG to Atomic Mass Games (AMG), who are experienced at games featuring miniatures. Currently AMG haven’t had chance to release any of their own designed content due to the long production cycle and the delays resulting from Covid (May-21).
The game is usually played 1 vs 1 with squad lists made using a variety of free apps on mobile devices (Launch Bay Next on phones, or Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0 on laptops/pc’s/macs)
There are a few game formats that play more than 2 players but these are pretty infrequent.
The standard game is played over 75 minutes, between two players on a 3 foot by 3-foot play mat with each player fielding a squad comprised of 200 points worth of ships and ship/pilot upgrades. Don’t worry about having to do maths, the squad builder apps do all the heavy lifting there.
Like most games systems, the rules looked great on paper when they printed them, but didn’t completely hold up to the mass volume testing of all the players around the world and numerous errors or interpretation issues were found. As such currently on the FFG website is the rules guide and a rules FAQ/Errata that makes clarifications. Being fair to the developers, they are pretty good at keeping the FAQ up to date and respond to community issues in a reasonable time.
In an effort to keep the game fresh FFG introduced two mechanics to second edition, the first is twice annual points reviews and the second is two formats Hyperspace vs Extended.
Points Review – Every ship, pilot & upgrade in the game has a points value that is totalled to get your 200 points worth of squad. Every six months-ish, FFG/AMG tweak the points list as they realise some combination of cards is a bit too expensive or too cheap and negatively affecting the play experience. The apps and websites get updated within hours of new points being released and players can check if their favourite list is still within the 200 point limit or if they have to go back to the drawing board.
Hyperspace and Extended are covered later in Game Formats.
As part of the move to second edition, alongside the new films and I’m sure some capitalist marketing idea, the game was expanded to feature seven player factions.
-From the Age of Republic (Star Wars films 1-3) you have the Galactic Republic and the Separatist Faction
-From the Age of Rebellion (Star Wars films 4-6) you have the Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance
-From the Age of Resistance (Star Wars films 7-9) you have the First Order and the Resistance
-Alongside all of these you have the Scum & Villainy Faction, bounty hunters, pirates, organised crime, etc.
When playing a two player game, each player can only field ships from a single faction at a time, although both players using the same faction is fine (think of it like a training exercise rather than a battle)
Hyperspace Format – this is where some ships and upgrades are not considered tournament legal. What is Hyperspace legal is reviewed usually at the same time as the points and tends to coincide with new ship releases. The aim was to make the playing field level for new players as fewer options and to rotate in and out certain ships to keep content fresh (the cynic in me totally doesn’t think this is a sales marketing ploy). Lots of FFG official events use this format.
Extended format – this is where all ships and upgrades are allowed with the exception of huge ships and their relevant cards. This format lets those players who have an impressive collection of ships field just about anything for any given faction. Most club and shop tournaments use this format.
Epic Play – This is where you can break the 200 point per side limit and usually have more than one player per side. This is great fun, but takes longer than the 75 minutes usually allowed. A few extra components and rules are introduced, all of which are available in the Epic Play pack.
Huge Ship Format – This format is similar to Epic Play but allows the use of Huge ships. Currently there are five huge ships with a sixth due for release in June 2021. These ships look amazing, from the Tantive IV to the Imperial Raider. Again, new rules are introduced and these are explained the huge ship expansion pack. As stunning as these ships look, they just don’t see that much table time and the only thing in my house that gathers more dust than these is the exercise bike.
Aces High – This format is completely different to all the previous formats; this can include up to five players at once controlling a single ship in what is basically a free for all with points scored on first damage and ship destruction. Each ship is allowed to respawn so no player is out of the game. It runs for a set amount of time and the player with the most points are the winner.
Release Schedule & Availability
As touched upon above, FFG have a reputation for under producing new releases and pretty much all retailers being unable to fulfil all their pre-orders. All ships will eventually get reprints but it can be months or unfortunately years before it happens.
The UK supplier for X-Wing ships has advised then tend to receive each ship only twice per year because production orders are placed anything from 6-12 months before delivery.
This has resulted in some ridiculous pricing on places like eBay and Facebook Market Place.
In some cases its better to buy first edition content, which although no longer being produced, it is still available at some retailers and is usable when paired with the relevant content from the 2nd edition conversion kits.
This contains the rules pamphlet, movement templates, tokens, asteroids, damage decks, three ships (1 x-wing and 2 tie fighters), relevant pilot cards and a number of upgrade cards. The contents of this box are purely meant as a starter and will not give you enough content to make a full 200-point squad list.
Single Ship Expansions
Most expansions are like this, inside the boxes you’ll get the ship, the relevant movement dials, pilot cards, upgrade cards, tokens and if needed a little rules supplement that explains any ship specific rules.
Multi Ship Expansions
Like the single ship expansions, these contain multiple ships, usually two or three, for a single faction and contain all the relevant cards, dials, tokens etc along with any rules. Whilst these tend to be better value than buying the ships individually, they don’t always contain all the same tokens & cards.
The ships often have an alternative paint scheme to the single ship packs.
Recognising that players didn’t need more of certain ships so were unlikely to keep buying packs that way, FFG introduced card packs that contain cards and relevant tokens.
The packs that have been released so far are
Hotshots and Aces – new pilots for existing ships
Never Tell Me the Odds – more asteroids, debris, cloud tokens and environmental cards that change the way the battlefield is setup.
Fully Loaded – bombs, missiles and other ordnance cards and tokens
Epic Ships & Huge Ships
These two packs contain the cards and rules to allow you to play in either epic or huge ship formats.
Official Enhancement Kits
A range here and with the exception of play mats, the rest are optional enhancements to make your game look prettier. There are also Dial Covers, Damage Decks & Movement Templates.
The game requires a 3’x3’ play space, ideally a non-slip one. FFG released a number of play mats that fit the bill with themed mats, from the plain space backdrop mats to the iconic space scenes from the films. My personal favourite is the Ice Planet Hoth Playmat with the Cloud City Bespin mat a close second.
Dial Covers – the game uses cardboard dials to determine which manoeuvre your ship intends to perform. These plastic covers are harder wearing and are faction specific.
Damage Decks – The core set comes with a generic damage deck; these are faction specific and include larger poker sized cards rather than the small cards in the core set. They feature schematics which show where on the ship the relevant critical damage would affect. The effects of the cards are exactly the same as the core set and all other faction damage decks, its only the artwork and size that is different.
Movement templates – these are plastic versions of the cardboard movement templates from the core set. They are nicely sculpted to look like part of the death star and are more hard wearing.
3rd Party Enhancements
With some of the components being made from cardboard, the market for acrylic replacements is pretty big. Almost every token in the game can be found in acrylic from online sellers.
The same sellers also produce movement templates and trays to carry all the tokens and trays.
The two largest in the UK are Cog’o’Two and Buy the Same Token, although there are lots of smaller sellers on Etsy.
My personal preference is Cog’o’Two, their work speaks for itself, it looks great, is high quality and their customer service is really good. They do custom work for groups so you can have club logos on their stuff and they attend the larger events around the country so you can meet them and discuss the game and your requirements with them.
This is where it gets tough but hopefully this will help.
First off, a core set, its got a bit of everything and some components that you can use regardless of which faction you side with.
STOP – At this stage its all too easy to go down the rabbit hole and end up with a large number of ships sat on a shelf that never see table time. Ideally you should find your local gaming group, go down and meet a few players (who by and large are really nice people) and will let you use their ships to practice with. Each of the factions plays differently, looks different and has different strengths and weaknesses.
for example, Galactic Empire mass produces ships, considers them disposable and only aces survive so they have relatively less ship interactions and either swamp their opponents or outmatch them. Compared to the Rebel Alliance who are all about team play and have abilities and upgrades to support each other.
It is worth seeing which faction you like and suits your play style. Initially I’d say pick one or two factions (so you can play at home too) and get a few ships. The multi-ship packs are great but don’t exist for all factions yet.
If you want to go Republic, the Guardians of the Republic box set and a Naboo Starfighter
If you want to go Separatist, The Servants of Strike box set and a couple of extra vulture droids
If you want to go Rebel, a Millennium Falcon and either a B-Wing or a Y-Wing
If you want to go Imperial, a TIE Advanced V1 (Darth Vader’s ship) and a couple of TIE fighters
If you want to go Resistance, The Heralds of Hope and an extra A-Wing
If you want to go First Order, two Special Forces TIE’s and a silencer
If you want to go Scum & Villainy, Slave 1 and two Fang Fighters
I’d suggest next up, get yourself a playmat, the non-slip nature and exact sizing improve the whole game experience.
What you buy next is really up to you, whether you opt for fancy tokens and movement templates or more ships is up to you.
The only things I wouldn’t recommend really are the huge ship and epic packs. They don’t see enough table time to warrant buying them and on the rare occasions that you do play this format, you only need one or two players to have the content and more experienced players tend to have them that you can use.
Groups & Community & Events
If you get into X-Wing, you’ll hear a lot about the community. Because its great, its entirely down to the people who love this game and want to share that with everyone. You can go to events where you know no one and get made to feel welcome. People will discuss the game online and compared to other groups its mostly discussion without getting personal. Everyone has an opinion that is different to everyone else’s. Jump in and see for yourself.
There are a number of x-wing groups around the country, finding your local one should be a priority.
In Leicester, the Leicester Vanguard X-Wing Group, play out of Bean Gaming on Wednesday evenings, find their group on facebook.
These groups tend to run events and tournaments with either official organised play prizes or 3rd party prizes.
There are no end of X-Wing events to attend, from local, to regional, to national and even global.
FFG co-ordinate Organised Play events, where you can work your way up if successful to the heights of the Worlds event which was held in the USA. The last two winners were from the UK. Find your local group, there are usually some players that travel to other events and you can learn more about them and decide which ones you want to attend.
That’s the not so short intro to X-Wing, May the Force be with you, always.
Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies.