I love technology as much as anybody, but when I want to relax, technology is often not part of the experience. I will always love a real book in my hands because I don’t like looking at a lit up screen to read, and I will always prefer physical activity to computer play. But with the NSA concern in reading every email, watching all online traffic, and all the privacy concerns involved, I love Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures more and more—because of the low tech, yet complex game play. I play the game as much as I can because it has all the multifaceted strategy of a video game, the intellectual muscle flexing of chess, and the unlimited creative potential of miniature model building incorporated into a non-technical exercise that is a true vacation from the many prying eyes of our modern world. The video shown below is from a couple recent games that I played displaying the creative potential behind the game. The models are very detailed, and provide creative stimulation for boundless imaginations, and the terrain such as asteroids and star field backgrounds surprisingly pull the mind into the game world effectively.
The depth of the game is something to truly behold, but for me it is the lack of technical involvement that is most attractive. When playing, the technical outside world is turned off. However, perhaps even better the creative potential of the game is limitless, and the company Fantasy Flight Games has really overachieved as an organization. Prior to 2013, they already had a championship caliber game that would live on for many years as a crowd favorite. But they didn’t stop there. Instead, they worked on making 2014 one of the most exciting in the short life of the game with a whole range of new additions. Every game addition mentioned below is something that I am very eager to experience and will hit the marketplace within a few months of this writing. These will make the video shown above that much more exciting, and complex, and will fill many evenings with great joy. Fantasy Flight Games is one of the most innovative and forward thinking companies in existence. I wish they were not applying these great skills to just entertainment, but in the field of aerospace, manufacturing science, and research and development. But in the world of gaming, they are simply the best there is at this point in time. Here are just a few of their releases over the next couple of months that I am most excited about.
The GR-75 Medium Transport
First unveiled as a prototype at Gen Con Indy 2013, the iconic GR-75 Rebel transport is most famous for its critical role in the Rebellion’s evacuation from Hoth. However, the GR-75’s role in the Rebellion’s efforts extended far beyond that pivotal conflict.
GR-75 transports were used mainly to transport supplies, equipment, or troops, but some were modified to serve as fuel tankers for long-range starfighter missions. Relatively inexpensive, the GR-75‘s hulls couldn’t be penetrated by Imperial sensors, and the Rebel Alliance often enhanced this feature by outfitting the starship with sensor jammers. Indeed, the Rebel Alliance made such common use of the GR-75 that it was often called the Rebel medium transport.
Rebel Aces features one A-wing and one B-wing miniature, both of which come with alternate paint schemes. You’ll also find four highly skilled unique, new pilots; thirteen upgrade cards; maneuver dials; and all the tokens necessary to launch these starfighters into the thickest action of your space battles against the evil Galactic Empire. It also includes a new mission, which thrusts some of the Rebellion’s finest pilots into a desperate rescue effort that highlights the B-wing’s durability and the A-wing’s agility.
Heroic New Paint Schemes
Fly with the best! The alternate paint schemes on the starfighter miniatures from the Rebel Aces Expansion Pack allow you to battle for the Rebellion’s cause while representing the heroic efforts of the pilots who first flew its A-wings and B-wings as experimental prototypes.
Only ace pilots were granted the right to fly prototypes for the Rebel fleet. Piloting the agile A-wing required tremendous focus and lightning fast reflexes. Still, by helping the Rebel Alliance develop and improve upon its original designs, their efforts benefitted everyone dedicated to the cause of galactic freedom, and the A-wing ultimately proved its worth during the Battle of Endor by helping to cripple Star Destroyers.
To honor those prototype pilots who first flew the ship, the A-wing in Rebel Aces features the paint scheme depicted on the Prototype Pilot ship card, with a bold blue central stripe and red and yellow highlights.
Close Air Support
Manufactured by Incom Corporation, the Z-95 Headhunter was the primary inspiration for the later design of the T-65 X-wing. Even though the X-wing eventually outclassed it in nearly every respect, the Z-95 was cheap, durable, and reliable enough that it continued to see use throughout the Galactic Civil War, most commonly in close air support roles.
Entering X-Wing as the Rebel starship with the lowest squad point value, the Z-95 Headhunter is perfectly suited to play the role within the game that it played within the Star Wars galaxy. It’s a durable and reliable starfighter that comes with the ability to carry and fire missiles, making it capable of playing a strong support role.
The CR90 Corvette
While the Tantive IV is easily the most iconic CR90 corvette in the Star Wars galaxy, it is by no means the only one of import. Manufactured by the Corellian Engineering Corporation, the CR90 was a swift, multipurpose ship that saw widespread use among governments and private parties.
The CR90 corvette’s modular design made it easy for users to reconfigure it to best suit the purpose they wanted it to serve, and the CR90 was often employed as a cargo transport, troop carrier, passenger vessel, or light escort. Additionally, the CR90 could be outfitted with enough weaponry to make it a formidable gunship; it could equip as many as eight turbolasers, six laser cannons, and four ion cannons.
The Tantive IV Expansion Pack presents a similarly adaptable starship for use in your games of X-Wing. Between its two ship cards, for fore and aft sections, the CR90 can equip up to ten upgrades of four different types.
Every time X-Wing Miniature players think they have this game figured out, Fantasy Flight comes up with new ships with entirely new variables making the game ever evolving unlike most table top games. As players provide Fantasy Flight Games with feedback on their website chat forum, the game designers have proven adapt to filling voids discovered in strategy. For instance, Imperial players were dominating tournament play with Tie swarm tactics which allowed cheap Tie Fighters to overwhelm the more expensive point values of the Rebel players by sheer numbers. Fantasy Flight saw this trend and is now releasing the Headhunter which will be nearly the same point value giving Rebel players the option of putting swarms of Headhunters against Imperial players. The CR90 and CR-75 will be the first of a series of big ships to hit the game which will bring entirely new strategies to the game not even yet explored. In this way the strategies that players used last year in 2013 will be useless in 2014 with all these new variables being introduced. In this way, X-Wing Miniatures is very dynamic and is likely the reason the game is exploding in popularity. I know I spend considerable amounts of time reading cards and planning strategy even when I’m not playing the game. It fills my mind with enjoyment for the sheer mechanism of focused thought.
It is always a pleasure to experience a company that is doing everything right. With Fantasy Flight the only real issue they have is in delivery of new product line. They are currently late on the CR90 and CR-75, but for what they provide as far as product, they are worth the wait. There are few things that bring me so much pure joy as Fantasy Flight Games X-Wing Miniatures. For those new to the game I have provided samples of tournament play from Team Covenant who is a committed group of table top gamers who wish to advance the hobby to for the uninitiated. The game is different from gambling games like Poker and Black Jack because it is essentially a war simulation. The added ability to actually pilot vessels makes X-Wing Miniatures even fun to watch because the entire game play area is up for grabs. Every conceivable mathematical surface of a play area is an option. The game is not limited to spaces, or a game board—but to the unlimited options of a game player and how they chose to utilize that battlefield. That freedom is both within the game and from external electronic control, surveillance, and other limitations that make X-Wing one of my favorite current past times—a trend that is not likely to subside any time soon.