The X-Wing Miniatures Game from Fantasy Flight Games is something that interested me since it came out in 2012. Probably like most miniatures gamers I’m a huge Star Wars fan, but there are a lot of Star Wars games out there and only so much time. This one managed to slip by until recently, but now I’m a definite convert – and if you’re a busy gamer who can’t quite find the time, here’s three reasons why you should too (it was going to be five reasons, but as it’s aimed as busy people we cut it down to three – you’re welcome) .
1. You already know what the X-Wing Miniatures Game is about
This might be stating the obvious, but you already know everything you need to about the Star Wars universe*. So many games are difficult to get to grips with because you don’t understand the background (or ‘fluff’ as people seem to want to call it these days). You’re not sure who the factions are or why you should care about them.
Equally, when you don’t know the rules of a game, having an idea of how things work is a big help. If you’ve seen Star Wars: A New Hope then you know that the starfighters move like World War II aircraft. You have a fair idea how easy it is to shoot one down and the kind of weapons they might have. If the games developers have done their job well – and with this game they have – then you already know how to play, just not the game mechanics behind it. So as an X-Wing pilot you know you want to try and get behind the TIE and not let it get behind you, but are aware it’s got the edge in manoeuvrability.
*If you’ve not seen the Star Wars movies but are reading this then you’re definitely in a minority. Before you do anything else, please find a copy of Star Wars (most people you know will have at least one copy) and watch it. Understanding this game is only a fraction of the benefit – apart from the enjoyment of seeing an amazing film, you’ll probably understand twice as many pop-culture references as you do now.
2. Zero preparation required for fully painted miniatures
With most new miniatures games you buy, you open the box, gaze at all the lovely new components and easy-start rulebook and then (if you’re like me) you wonder how long it will take to glue the miniatures together? Also, how many years need dedicated to painting courses so your miniatures look like the ones on the box? I want to be better at the ‘hobby’ (construction and painting) side of my gaming, but in practice that just means it gets left ’til never. Maybe you’re the same?
X-Wing comes with pre-painted miniatures that are quick and easy to put on their stands. You may already know this but if you’re like me you took it for granted. With other games I’ve got into, I price up what it might cost to get my miniatures painted by a professional and it’s not cheap – you wouldn’t expect it to be for good work. So when we look at X-Wing miniatures and what they cost, we should really be thinking “and that’s to get them fully painted”.
Now I’m not pretending that each X-Wing ship has had the same care and attention as if you’d paid to get them professionally painted, but the painting quality look great on the table, and they come that way straight out of the box for a decent price.
3. The Quick-Start Rules are short and simple
Most games try to make themselves accessible to new players with a set of cut-down rules or a simple scenario, and the X-Wing Miniatures Game is no exception. The Quick-Start Rules booklet is the equivalent of two sides of A4 paper, and half of that relates to setup and components which you can then ignore once you’re playing. Half of the remaining page contains examples to clarify things, so the actual starting rules are only half a page of A4.
Fantasy Flight have done a really good job of condensing the game into this simple version which is a lot of fun, teaches you the fundamentals and leaves you eager to learn the rest. The full Rules of Play booklet gets through the rules in just five pages, with an additional advanced section of Squad Building and Missions.
The cards that come with the X-Wing Miniatures Game also provide you with enough options to get a feel for the game without swamping you in endless possibilities. I’m sure there are some players who feel they should get everything in the main box, but I prefer having just enough to give me some choice, just not too much. Four X-Wing Pilots and six different TIE Fighter pilots (with duplicates of the three generic pilots) seems plenty to choose from to begin with. The X-Wing and TIE Fighter Expansions packs, which each include an extra starfighter, provide you with more options for those ships, but I don’t think I’d want that from the outset.
Overall, I found this an easy and intuitive game to get started with, which is pretty important if I’m actually going to fit it into my busy life. The game is quick to set up and the pre-painted miniatures look great on the table. The rules are quick and easy to learn and my knowledge of the Star Wars universe means I only need to learn the rules, not the concepts or the ideas behind why things work that way.
If you haven’t played the X-Wing Miniatures Game yet, I urge you to give it a try.