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Modelling, Musings, Star Wars: X-Wing

Star Wars: X-Wing – This gamer’s excitement is back


A box of pure joy.

A box of pure joy.

Back when I was 9, I started playing Basic Dungeons and Dragons, my first adventure was Keep on the Borderlands. I still have the books. I still remember the excitement.

That was 32 years ago. Since then I’ve become a bitter, cynical and jaded gamer, fed up with constant rule revisions and re-releases of figures, as well as ever-higher prices. Four days ago however, I invited a friend around to play the basic rules version of Fantasy Flight Games’ Star Wars: X-Wing. And I haven’t had so much fun pushing plastic figures around a table for a very, very, long time. Warlord’s Bolt Action is very good, and I have some miniatures that need to be painted, and I look forward to playing it again, but Star Wars: X-Wing is different.

Like I said, we only played the basic rules, because we didn’t want to faff around trying to work out what something meant. We wanted to take our TIE fighters and X-Wings into space. We wanted to carry on the fight between the Empire and the Rebels. We wanted to be Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Wedge Antilles, maybe even Han Solo.

Unfortunately, the basic rules didn’t allow for that, and we have to get what Fantasy Flight Games call expansion packs in order to get the correct ship (Darth Vader flies the TIE Advanced Fighter) and the character cards. But I don’t see that as being a problem. Actually, the fact that the figures come ready painted, and the game rules are in a tiny booklet that contains everything you need to play not on the basic Star Wars: X-Wing game, but the advanced version as well, is fabulous.

Although it’s nice to get a big thick tome of rules, read through all the background and fluff, ingest the odd short story, this isn’t really needed. What is needed are rules that are a) easy to understand b) easy to expand upon as your knowledge of the game grows c) games that can be played quickly. And Fantasy Flight Games have absolutely nailed it with  Star Wars: X-Wing.

Yeah. This is pretty much damn well needed.

Yeah. This is pretty much damn well needed. Who doesn’t want to be Han Solo and fly the Millenium Falcon?

Each expansion pack, such as the Millenium Falcon,  comes with at least one ship, additional tokens, upgrade cards, character cards and other little gubbins and they build upon the advanced rules contained within the starter box (it’s in that picture up to the left). Some packs have much bigger ships in them, and those ships contain more rules and missions, allowing players to build on the game as and when they want to. Or their wives let them. Yes, the thumb exists. Yes, it’s big. Love you Karen.

So we played. Within five minutes we were both saying ‘man, this is so cool’! My friend was the first to break and say ‘We so need some more ships!’. All in all we played four games that night. I piloted the Rebel X-Wing twice, and the TIE fighters twice.

All the way through it was edge-of-the-seat, nail-biting tension and excitement. The rules are so well designed that the game just flows. Trying to anticipate the turns of your opponent, whilst trying to get out of their firing arc is so much harder when you’re not actually flying the ship in real-time. Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader have nothing on our skills. And our ability to mix up left and right when looking at our models from a slightly different angle. Hell, Wedge Antilles would be laughing his socks off.

But, most of all, this game reignited my very diminished love for Star Wars. I’m now almost looking forward to the next set of films, and I truly cannot wait for my next game of Star Wars: X-Wing.

About mattsylvester

Father of two beautiful daughters and married to the beautiful Karen, Matthew has been reading and writing fantasy and science fiction since he first read the Hobbit at the age of 7. Matthew was Features Editor, Technical Consultant and regular columnist for magazines such as ‘Fighters’, ‘Combat’, ‘TKD & Korean Martial Arts’ and ‘Traditional Karate’. These are the four leading martial arts magazines in the United Kingdom. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed 'Practical Taekwondo: Back to the Roots', which has been sold around the world. With regard to his martial arts background he has been studying martial arts since 1991. In 1995 he hosted Professor Rick Clark of the ADK and since then has been studying pressure points and their uses in the martial arts and on the street (initially as a Special Constable and as a Door Supervisor). All of this practical hands-on experience means that he is uniquely placed to write fight scenes that are not only plausible but some of which are based on personal or anecdotal experience. Matthew has had a number of short stories published by Fringe Works, KnightWatch Press, Anderfam Press and Emby Press.

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