Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) first released the Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game in 2012 and quickly captured the market for tabletop skirmish games. Star Wars fans picked it up because the X-Wing Miniatures game feels incredibly Star Wars. Epic space dogfights between X-Wings and Tie Fighters, Slave 1 and the Millennium Falcon, Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker were possible. A tight ruleset, challenging gameplay, and a pokeresque mechanic for movement that required you to read your opponent before committing your own ships movement drew in a huge amount of competitive tabletop gamers from outside Star Wars fandom. The X-Wing Miniatures Game soon became one of the games for competitive play, which was enhanced by FFG's great organised play systems. Now FFG have released an updated version of the X-Wing Core Set, along with conversion kits for all previously released miniatures to bring the product into their new ruleset, X-Wing 2nd Edition.
FFG have stated that the reason for X-Wing 2nd Edition (or X-Wing 2.0) was to streamline the rules and allow an overall balancing of everything and that's exactly what it does. Some of the changes for 2nd edition are the addition of a new phase that streamlines a lot of the ship actions and abilities that were bogging down the rules, slowing down and complicating play. 1st edition X-Wing upgrade cards were half the size of the average playing card, these have now been standardized across the set so that all cards are now the same size (apart from the damage deck, which is still the half-size cards, but they're not usually the cards you keep in a binder to look for and will stay as the complete deck). Use of the Force also now plays a much bigger part in X-Wing. Force sensitive characters can use the force at a base level to change dice rolls and higher level characters have specific force abilities.
FFG have also removed the points and upgrade slots off the cards themselves and instead everything is now controlled via their new app and website, which allows FFG to control the points costs and errata for ships and upgrades without having to issues new cards unless there is a change to the card stats. New players will still be able to play without having to go to deep with the squad builder, as every purchase will come with a pre-built combo of ship/equipment with a "threat" cost, so players can initially agree to a threat value for a game and use some of the pre-built builds available.
X-Wing 2nd Edition is a perfect time for new players to start playing the X-Wing Miniatures Game for two reasons. The first and most important is now that players are on a fairly equal footing in terms of purchases and balance, getting in to any game late usually means that players who have been playing from the beginning have an advantage in terms of previous purchases. With X-Wing 1st Edition, certain upgrade cards were only available in specific ship expansions, which meant to be competitive a reasonable buy-in would be required, and then to keep up with the changing meta (a term used to describe the popular winning army builds or decks on the competitive gaming scene) a much more substantial buy-in would be needed to stay competitive. In X-Wing 2nd Edition, upgrades for ships will be available in the ship expansions that can use them, so there should be no requirement to buy an expansion just for a card.
The second reason is that with any re-release or updated edition, the increase in new players is generally high, so new players will have a much easier time finding players of their level rather than constantly playing against veteran players. That said, veteran players will be able to teach you rules and tactics better than someone else who has just picked up the game and will also allow you to test and improve yourself in a challenging environment. Having a nice balance of new and veteran players is a great environment for play, and the first few months of 2nd Edition's release are that time.
X-Wing Miniatures games are split into 5 phases:
- Planning Phase - Each player secretly plans and sets their ship's movement for the turn on special dials
- System Phase - The new phase in 2.0 in which ships with special abilities now activate them
- Activation Phase - In ascending initiative order, players reveal their ships movement dial and move their ship and can preform an action at the end, such as evading, boosting or barrel rolling
- Engagement Phase - Ships engage with their weapons in descending initiative order
- End Phase - Clean up phase
The tactical depth from X-Wing, and what makes it such a great game, is the movement planning system. In most wargames, player forces move towards each other in parallel lines, shooting face on, using cover to avoid fire. In X-Wing, positioning is fundamentally key to putting enemy ships in your weapon arcs while avoiding their weapon arcs. Combat can be pretty deadly for the smaller ships, so planning where you want your ship to be in relation to where your opponents ships might be can make or break your game. Movement is planned with dials for each ship, which list the available movement options for them. X-Wing features a whole host of movement range markers and these are then placed against your ship's base to show its movement for that turn.
Combat is a simple matter of checking that the ship you are firing at is within the arc of fire of your weapon, within range of the weapon, and then rolling as many attack dice as listed on your ship's stat card against the number of defense dice listed on your opponent's ship's card. Hit symbols are negated by evade symbols, and if any hits are remaining, damage is done to your opponent's ship's shields and then hull, removing the ship when it takes damage equal to its hull value.
At its core, that is all you need to know about X-Wing to get started. Specific actions, ship details, and the extra rules details like Force use, ships colliding with each other, or obstacles, as well as linked actions and specific ship and weapons abilities can be read and learned as you play your first few games, and that is what makes the X-Wing Miniatures game so great. This simple ruleset, combined with the huge tactical play, and great setting are what make X-Wing stand out as a tabletop game.
The X-Wing Miniatures game also has an incredible purchase to table time. For most wargames, after purchase, miniatures need to be assembled, rules need to be read, forces assembled, and then the board set up with terrain or scenery. With X-Wing, the miniatures come pre-painted and the only assembly required is for players to place the ships on their stands, place the card sheet for the ship on the base and then attach the stand and ship to the base. Forces can be selected incredibly quickly, even for beginners by using the pre-made threat value cards for their ships, and the learn to play rules are playable straight out of the box, although if being played by two beginners, it will take a couple of playthroughs to be completely comfortable before moving on to the main full rulebook. Scenery can be as simple as some cut out shapes laid on the play space (several pieces of scatter terrain are provided in the box) and will still provide enough variety for games.
The simple preparation and setup for games of X-Wing, along with the entry level of the pre-painted miniatures make this a perfect game for those new to the tabletop hobby and is exactly what brought so many new and veteran tabletop players to the first edition of the game in 2012.
The X-Wing Miniatures Game core box has remained unchanged force wise through three editions (1st Edition, The Force Awakens Edition, and 2nd Edition). The core set has always contained 2 Tie-Fighters and 1 X-Wing, along with various upgrade and pilot cards. You can get an incredible amount of playtime and sheer enjoyment straight out of the box, because Fantasy Flight Games nailed it with their 1st Edition Core Set in terms of product, and other than the rules updates (and thematic feel change between the 1st Edition and the Force Awakens Edition) and cards/token changes, the 2nd Edition Core Set remains incredible as a standalone product. As an example of what can be achieved with X-Wing, the core set shows off the product perfectly, and even if you only purchase the core set, you will get a huge return for your buy-in, and if you enjoy it, expanding from the core set is very simple.
In the X-Wing 2nd Edition Core Set, you get enough cards and equipment for two different 3 threat X-Wing and two different 2 threat X-Wing set ups. For the Tie-Fighers, you get four different 3 threat and five different 2 threat set ups. That's eighteen different combinations of games just using the quick build set up cards with threat values, which increases if you use duplicate Tie-Fighter pilot cards (as there are 2x Obsidian Squadron Pilot and 2x Academy pilot cards included).
The simple joy of learning how to maneuver the incredibly dynamic X-Wing to take out two Tie-Fighters in subsequent turns, or being able to shepherd the X-Wing into a killing zone with the Tie-Fighters, combined with how easy it is to teach and share this joy with new players, just with the core set alone, makes this an incredible product that should have a place in every gamers collection.
The Bottom Line:
So why should you pick up the X-Wing Core 2nd Edition Core Box? There's several reasons why the X-Wing Miniatures Game has been one of the most popular skirmish games for several years and not just among Star Wars fans. Games are quick and straightforward, a lot more so now with 2nd Edition. The rules are very easy to learn; the complexity and tactical input comes from learning the ships, pilots, and upgrades, and then learning how to best pilot your ships, alongside reading your opponents actions and planning your own. The purchase to tabletop speed is incredible, and the ease at which forces can be put together and games set up means that you will spend minimal time preparing and more time playing. If you're a 1st Edition player, the rules have been significantly streamlined, and the additional rules, options, and balance changes really do improve an already great game.
Get this game if:
You've always wanted to recreate epic Star Wars space dogfights.
You want a fantastic tabletop miniatures game with a very fast purchase to tabletop speed.
You want a challenging competitive skirmish game.
You want a game that's simple to learn but has a huge amount of tactical depth.
Avoid this game if:
You want two battle lines of miniatures running straight towards each other.
You want to build your own miniatures.
Have you played the X-Wing Miniatures Game? Have you played an edition before 2nd Edition? What do you think of the changes? What force do you play? Let us know in the comments below.
This copy of The X-Wing Miniatures Game Core Set was provided by Asmodee UK.