X Wing Miniatures: Exciting, But Hard to Collect

The X-Wing Miniatures Game by Fantasy Flight Games is a great strategic experience set in the Star Wars universe -- but getting the ships you want to play with isn't always easy.

When I started working at a mom-and-pop gaming store six months ago, I already had a love for tabletop gaming. I played Dungeons and Dragons on a near weekly basis for years, and I played tons of board games with friends and family -- everything from Risk to Lords of Waterdeep to Exploding Kittens.

What I hadn't played, however, was a game connected closely to the universe I grew up on: Star Wars. I figured that since I worked in a game store, I might as well start playing the game that seemed to be wildly popular among Star Wars fans -- X-Wing Miniatures. I don't regret my decision one bit, but it has been... interesting coming into the game late.

Fantasy Flight Games publishes lots of insanely good games, and the X-Wing Miniatures Game is definitely one of them. At its core, X-Wing is a space combat strategy game. You take your TIE Fighters or X-Wings -- or a few dozen other famous Star Wars ships -- plot out where you want them to go, and shoot your opponent's ships down. You plot movement using maneuver dials associated with each ship and movement templates and shoot using attack and defense dice.

Some B-Wings take shots at a Lambda Shuttle and its Interceptor escorts.

X-Wing is devilishly simple to learn -- move, shoot, repeat -- but the different ships, pilots, and upgrades make tactical and strategic choices complex and varied. I love nothing more than flying a TIE Interceptor into the teeth of an opponent's ship and then barrel-rolling out of their line of fire, narrowly escaping certain death by laser.

That said, getting my hands on the ships I currently have was difficult.

X-Wing started out with a Core Set of two TIE Fighters and an X-Wing. It has since expanded to another Core Set -- with two First Order TIE Fighters and a T-70 X-Wing from The Force Awakens -- and 53 additional expansions to date. Y-Wings, Vader's TIE Advanced, the Millennium Falcon, Slave I, Lambda Shuttles, the Ghost from Star Wars Rebels, the U-Wing from Rogue One, Kylo Ren's Shuttle, and even ships from Star Wars Legends (what used to be called the Expanded Universe). This list also includes what X-Wing calls "Epic" ships: the Tantive IV (Leia's ship at the beginning of A New Hope) and the Imperial Raider (kind of a mini Star Destroyer), among others.

The Millenium Falcon and A-Wings take on Boba Fett and TIE Fighters.

If you're a collector, this is wonderful and terrible news. It's wonderful because there are a ton of cool ships to collect. It's terrible because a lot of the older ships haven't been reprinted. Fantasy Flight Games isn't the best company when it comes to distributing their products and making sure there's enough to go around -- they're kind of like the Nintendo of the tabletop gaming world; lots of amazing new products, but never enough to fill demand.

There are a few ships older players consider "essential" -- whether because of the ship itself or the upgrade cards that come in the expansion pack -- that are simply out of stock everywhere. The K-Wing, a Rebel bomber, is probably the most infamous at this point. Go on eBay and you can find a few, with starting bids of at least $25. Most of them will cost upwards of $60, for what is normally a $20 expansion.

Fantasy Flight Games has confirmed that they're going to reprint the K-Wing, as well as all the other ships currently out of stock, but if the popularity of the game increases, they still might not make enough. Wanting an older ship that is pretty powerful, like the K-Wing -- it still sees play in national championships -- can be pretty frustrating, but the plethora of other ships make up for it.

Despite the setback of not collecting all the ships, X-Wing is an incredibly fun game and some of the most fun I've had is flying ships against friends at my local gaming store. Trying to predict what your opponent is doing while remaining unpredictable yourself, maneuvering to get the perfect shot on another ship, and rolling the dice to break past their defenses is tense and exciting in all the right ways.

The Ghost maneuvers away from Imperial ships; A-Wings circle around.

And while some ships won't be readily available, there are always different ships to buy to fit your personal style; Imperials are all about flying fast and evading fire, Rebels are good at weathering fire and keeping the pressure on, and Scum and Villainy have some of the most underhanded tricks in the game. Ships have everything from lasers and torpedoes to bombs and ion cannons, and plenty of named crew members to help out; Vader, Chewbacca, Boba Fett, Rey, Asajj Ventress, and the Emperor all make appearances, as well as everyone's favorite droids: BB-8, R2-D2, and C-3PO.

If you're a Star Wars fan and like strategy games, getting into X-Wing Miniatures Game is probably a good choice, even if you can't get everything all at once.

Published Oct. 6th 2017

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