I haven’t talked about this before here, but I’ve really gotten into Fantasy Flight’s X-Wing game. The original Star Wars trilogy was such a big part of my childhood, and watching the iconic beginning of A New Hope is a major memory for me. I still love the films today (well, the original three at least!), and my old LEGO Slave I is still perched on top of my bookcase, so I suppose it was inevitable that I’d give Fantasy Flight’s game a go sooner or later.
The game is great fun, and very different to other space or aerial combat games I’ve played – particularly the movement system. Both players use movement dials to secretly select a manoeuvre for each ship, placing it face-down and then revealing them at the same time. Ships move in order of pilot value, but are locked into the manoeuvre they’ve chosen. You not only have to try and guess what your opponent’s ships will be doing, but you also need to be good at guessing – since you can’t pre-measure anything, I’ve found it’s all too easy to manoeuvre too sharply and plough straight through an asteroid! Additional abilities called Actions can be performed after each ship moves, from acquiring a target lock to doing a barrel roll, and help add an extra level of thought to the game.
The combat is quite fast-paced too, meaning that there’s little ‘down time’ for each player as the action quickly moves around and players will find themselves alternately blasting away at the opponent and trying to dodge the return fire. The combat system is based on a unique D8 and each ship’s individual stats. Ships only really have four statistics each – damage, evasion, hull points and shields – so it’s a nice, fluid system. As one player attempts to damage a ship the other attempts to evade the incoming fire, so it’s nice to have both players doing something rather than one player standing around while another rolls seemingly-endless buckets of dice. The guys over at Will Wheaton’s Tabletop series do a good job of explaining the basic game in their video, so if you’re interested and want to see a game in action I’d recommend them and have put the video below.
The models are also absolutely gorgeous, and incredibly well-detailed. Fantasy Flight were actually given access by LucasArts to the original TIE Fighter models used in Episode IV, so they are particularly true to form! They come pre-painted, which seems to divide some people. Personally I’m happy – it means less painting to do and more time to paint my Wood Elves – and I understand that they’re fairly easy to repaint. I intend to pick up a second Firespray at some point to repaint in Jango Fett’s Episode II colours, so will do a post here with the results when I do eventually find the time to get another.
Unfortunately, I haven’t found any easy way to see the stats for each ship before buying them. There’s no codex equivalent, or (as far as I know) any official way to download PDF’s of ship stats a lá first edition Malifaux. It’s a shame, as while a good 50% of my wargaming purchases is me liking the model, the remaining 50% is influenced by how it’ll play and work in-game. Still, this hasn’t stopped me from amassing a good-sized Imperial fleet so far, and at least a quick Google search tends to bring up at least the basic stats for each ship.
Overall the game seems pretty balanced so far, and I’m really enjoying it. I’d certainly recommend it if you’re a Star Wars fan, or if you want a new aerial assault game to play as the rules are pretty fluid and well-written. If you already play it let me know what you think of it in the comments! :)