Tag: Star Wars

Welcome back drinking buddies!

It is upon us yet again, another Trailerpalooza! Even with Brent on location in Hot-lanta for work, we discuss the most recent reveals of information and how we feel about Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World, Terminator: Genysis, Fantastic Four, and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

We also discuss the new pictures of Jared Leto’s Joker from Suicide Squad. Plus, we get into a bit of a talk about WWE vs. WCW in the late 90s and early 2000s, the Nepal Avalanche and David Hasselhoff’s new song True Survivor from the movie Kung Fury.

But, most importantly, Burns does a double-book-end of Coors Banquet Beer and Shiner’s Birthday Beer. And the guys drink and drink some more! Prost, clink ’em and drink ’em and join us for more Long Distance Drinking! P.S. – Apologies for some slight audio volume issues in the very beginning of the show, it goes away by the 10 minute mark.

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We know it has been a bit, but we are back and ready to get drinking!

On this episode, we discuss Brent’s almost complete turn to the dark side as he has added an iPhone 6 Flex to his already long list of Apple products. With the Apple Watch out, will he want to complete his collection?

Continuing with the Star Wars metaphors, we get a little lost trying to classify who is what evil character in the Star Wars universe at Disney. And Lance says he is pretty sure he is done with Star Wars (we’ll believe it when we see it).

In direct reference to Star Wars and the amount of non-movie content that Disney is putting out there, we attempt to quantify how much of a good thing really is too much and attempt to put us in the place of the creators to see how we would react.

Aside from that, we debrief from all things March Madness and discuss what we did on our vacations over that time as well as give an update on various related enterprises. We also come up with a new show idea, called Between Two Uber Rides and discuss the regular random crap.
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From one dystopian universe to another- today in the 12 Games of Christmas, we take to the stars to visit one of the most beloved franchises in history with…

Game #6

The Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game is a tabletop dogfighting experience to be reckoned with, doing its best to represent the complexity of space battles and the beloved nature of the franchise in an accessible package. And Fantasy Flight Games, for the most part, succeeds brilliantly.

For me, some of my favorite parts of the movies are the massive space battles. This love of space combat was amplified with the classic space battle game X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter, which still goes down as one of my favorite games of all time. Its ability to encapsulate the difficulties of space dog-fighting with the graphics of the late ’90s was phenomenal.

In the X-Wing Miniatures Game, you create a squadron from either the Empire or Rebel Alliance’s array of ships – from the classic X-Wing’s and Tie Fighters, to larger ships like Boba Fett’s Slave One and Han Solo’s Millenium Falcon, as well as the more obscure Imperial Lambda-class Shuttle and Kyle Katarn’s HWK-290 from the Jedi Knight series of video games.

Each of these ships comes pre-assembled and pre-painted and look quite impressive both up close and in action on the table-top.

A few of the Rebel Alliance ships in detal
A few of the Rebel Alliance ships

Along with the ships and their bases, you also receive a set of four cards with each ship, signifying the level of pilot operating the craft. Each one of these pilots is worth a varying amount of points – which add up toward the total points limit you are allowed for your squadron for the given game.

The lower point-cost pilots start with the generic “Yellow Squadron Rookie” and increase in cost to named pilots who have special abilities. An example is the X-Wing from the core game set – you have the option of two generic pilots and then Biggs Darklighter or Luke Skywalker; Biggs’ ability attracts fire to himself from friendly ships near him (as in the movie) whereas Luke’s special allows him to change defense die results to help him evade attacks.

Each of the different ships, as in other pieces of the Star Wars universe, are good for different uses: The X-Wing is your all around attack fighter, the Y-Wing resides in more of a heavy support role, the B-Wing brings large amounts of artillery to the party, while the A-Wing adds speed and missiles to the squad. The varying amount of Tie Fighters fill similar roles on the Imperial side while the large ships give you different bonuses and larger amounts of fire power to utilize against the enemy.

Is Slave One running away? No, just firing with its rear attack.

Each player then chooses their squadron to fit within the agreed-upon point limit, selecting combinations of ships and pilots along with adding upgrades that each ship type can add. This system adds variation to the game, using different combinations to craft the play style of your squadron towards your taste and tactics. If you want to out-shoot your opponents, take a B-Wing with some major artillery along with an ion cannon equipped Y-Wing and an X-Wing; if you want to maneuver your way around the opponent, then use a duo of A-Wings with an X-Wing or maybe even the cheapest Millennium Falcon option.

The gameplay then happens in simultaneous turns. This may seem like an oxymoron, but it is the best way to explain it.  Each ship comes with a movement dial, which includes each of the possible maneuvers you can make with that ship. The number is the distance you can move, the arrow shows the direction of the movement and the color is how taxing the effort is on your pilot and if it causes stress – which limits additional movements in this and subsequent turns.

The movement dial for the B-Wing – Very slow and plodding.

Each player chooses the movement for their ship on that turn and flips it upside down. Those movements are then revealed in reverse initiative order and the ships move according to the movement templates included with the core game set.

A Tie Fighter reveals its movement.

If the ship makes a red movement, the pilot is stressed and cannot make additional actions in the next phase until he makes a green movement to remove the stress in a subsequent turn.

Once all ships have moved, they are now able to determine secondary actions, which differ based upon the ship type and player card. These range from “Evade”, if they know they will be targeted, to “Focus”, which allows the pilot to change a focus role to a result of their choosing.

The battle now reaches the attack phase. In initiative order, each pilot receives an amount of dice per their card to roll (usually 2-3) to see the effectiveness of the attack. If the targeted ship is at close range, the attacker receives an extra die; if at long range, the defending ship receives an extra defense die.

The different possible rolls for attack (red) and defense (green).

As seen above (in order), the defender can roll to evade, focus or no result. The attacker can roll a hit, a critical hit (worth two damage) or a focus. The focus rolls are meaningless unless the pilot chooses the focus action. If selected, the player is then able to change the focus result to whichever die result they choose. Aside from doing extra damage, critical hits can also add handicaps to the pilot or ship hit with the attack.

The game then moves forward in these turns until one side claims victory by destroying all of the other ships or completing some form of objective determined at the start of the game.

The most interesting dynamic in the game is choosing your movement and then revealing that decision. Because you do not know how your opponent’s ships are going to move, you have to anticipate where they will be in order to maneuver your ships into the most advantageous position. Revealing movements is fun  and unpredictable – sometimes a ship will end up right in front of you, while at other times, one of your ships may end up far away from the action.

You can expect the first game or two to be pure learning experiences; you will make mistakes and forget different rules, phases or abilities. In those first few games, I would highly recommend trying a range of ship combinations to figure out what options out there fit into your tactical tendencies.

Once you figure out the rules, a moderately sized game (60 – 75 points) will usually not take longer than a couple of hours, making the game fairly accessible for its level of complexity. 100 point games or battles with more than two players will ultimately add to the game time, but it still feels manageable (I guess most things do compared to Warhammer).

There are a few aspects of the game that do cause difficulties, however. At times, especially once you start playing in higher-point contests, the actual movement of the miniatures on the table can get quite difficult to carry out cleanly. Precise movement is paramount in this game – even the slightest extra rotation when placing a ship onto the table or slightest nudge while moving another ship can alter whether a ship is within line-of-sight or not.

There were a few times in some of our games where ships would be crossing on top of each other and you would have to alter the initiative order of the movement to fit ships into place. Even doing that, at times the table looks more like a game of bumper cars than a space battle as ships end up  stuck to each other for a round.

This is only made more difficult once you start playing with the larger ships. This is because the penultimate battles will send your smaller fighters towards those ships. Their smaller movements through the larger bases of the ships sometimes causes one big jumbled mess. Granted, part of that simulates how hairy and discombobulated dogfighting can be, but it can be at times a hindrance to the gaming experience, as you can end up spending more time measuring and futzing around with the positioning of the ships than actually playing the game.

One particularly messy exchange, with the Falcon at its center.

There are also a few combinations in the game that seem overpowered. For instance, an X-Wing with R2-D2 – which can help regain shields each turn – is a nearly unstoppable force for the cost of only four extra points. Granted, it makes sense per the films, but from a game-balancing perspective, it can be problematic. I could see this always being selected in a Rebel army at a tournament.

Aside from those issues, it definitely is an interesting spin on tabletop wargaming. The startup costs are relatively cheap, by wargaming standards: A basic starter set of the core game and two expansion packs of a ship for each faction will run you approximately $60 – $70 at full retail price; utilizing internet deals could drop that cost by at least a third. This gives you enough models to play simple but enjoyable games with both sides – which is perfect for learning the mechanics and rules.

Fantasy Flight Games is soon expanding the game by adding larger class ships to the fray, in the Tantive IV Rebel Command ship and the Rebel Assault Transport. These new ships are ushering in the new Epic Play style to X-Wing, which is starting to encroach into the levels of battles seen at the end of some of the original movies.

So, if you are a life-long fan of Star Wars like me or are just looking to test your tabletop general skills in a galaxy far, far away, you cannot go wrong picking up this game. May the force – and the dice – be with you!

Rating: Six out of Seven Stars

Have you played the game? What ships do you most want in your collection? Share your opinions in the comments below.

Where to Buy

Quite possibly the best place to buy X-Wing Miniatures are from Miniature Market. They always have discounts on items (when they have them in stock) and if you order $99 or more of products from them, it is free shipping.

Amazon will also have deals from time to time on some of the different expansion packs.

You will also be able to find X-Wing miniatures at many comic/game stores and also at the Fantasy Flight Games Online Store or in person at their Event Center.