Where to Start: X-Wing Miniatures Game

The X-Wing Miniatures Game lets you command squadrons of iconic Star Wars star fighters in faced paced ship-to-ship combat.

Featuring highly detailed preprinted miniatures, X-Wing recreates exciting Star Wars battles, from small engagements to large conflicts, but as the game is approaching its 10 years anniversary, where do you start?

There have been a lot of changes since its launch at Gen Con 2012, there was a revised core set to tie in to the release of The Force Awakens, multiple new faction have been added, a true second edition launched in 2018 and the game was handed over to a whole new studio in the middle of a global pandemic.

It is safe to say that compared to trying to jump in to the game back in 2012, there is a lot more stuff to consider now!

The second edition of the game can be recognized by the black box packaging

The first thing to do it to make sure that you are playing the correct edition of the game.
Since Atomic Mass Games (AMG) took over, there have been some big changes, and as with any living game, this is not necessarily obvious when you pick up the current starter set.

Luckily, AMG has the most up to date rules available on their website as a free down load, so there is no need to struggle, just follow this Link and you will be good to go!

The next thing to go over is probably if you are a completely new player, or someone coming back to the game from either First Edition, or from a prolonged break from Second Edition. As a player looking to return from First Edition is probably the most complex, we will start there, as the Returning Second Edition player and completely new player share a lot of similarities.

If you are a former First Edition player, with a large collection of ships, you may be concerned about what has changed and what is still usable, and the good news is that basically all of your models are still usable in some form!

The launch of Second Edition was accompanied by Conversion Kits for the existing factions, these packs contain the new style cards, card board inserts and dials for your ships so should probably be a solid starting point if you want to carry some of your collection over.

With multiples of each ship, generally one conversion kit is enough to bring a large portion of your collection in to Second Edition.

Well now that that is covered for people who have some older models lets take a look at what you actually need to play the game and what options you have for buying them.

Obviously you will need some models, but we are going to leave that aspect to the end, but on top of that, there are a number of other game components that are required to play.

First up you will need the proprietary Attack & Defense dice, Movement & Range Templates, and a Damage Deck. All of these components are included in the X-Wing Core Set but are available separately in a premium version (compared to the Card Board Punch Board in the Core Set)

I am of the opinion that the Core Set is fairly good value even if you are not planning on playing either of the factions (Rebel Alliance & Galactic Empire) that come in the box, if you do plan on playing once of the factions I would say it’s a must have.

The plastic Range Rulers and Maneuver Templates mean that you can skip the starter if you like.

Another great changes since the launch of Second Edition is that you now have seven factions to choose from, the Rebel Alliance, the Galactic Empire, Scum & Villainy, the First Order, the Resistance, the Galactic Republic, and the Separatist Alliance. All of these factions have a Custom Damage Deck available for purchase so when coupled with the avaliblily of Obstacles in the Faction Boxes or the Never Tell Me The Odds pack gives you access to everything you need to play.

The factions each offer access to different ships and pilots as well as some unique upgrade cards that help to build the theme and feel for each faction, for example, the Galactic Empire has access to cards like Ruthless or Disciplined, Ruthless allows them to damage Friendly ships to increase the amount of damage on their target, whilst Disciplined lets them perform Target Locks or Barrel Roll actions when Friendly ships are destroyed.
A faction like the Galactic Republic however has cards like Battle Meditation and Dedicated that allow the Force Using Jedi Pilots to better Coordinate their Clone Allies, whilst the Dedicated Clones can suffer Strain which makes them temporarily easier to hit to allow the Named Jedi to Reroll Defense Dice.

All of the Factions have a unique feel to them and even where some of the ships cross over they still have a different feel.
Personally I am currently enjoying flying the Prequal Factions, with the interesting Force Abilities from the Jedi and some really cool looking Clone piloted ships like the LAAT/i Gunship, I really enjoy the options and different ships.
The Confederacy of Independent Systems however are filled with nameless droid pilots that all work together to swarm they Jedi and their clone allies as well as having powerhouses like Darth Maul and Jango Fett to add some punch.

The classic match up is still Empire vs Rebels with the Selfless Rebels having lots of abilities that allow them to help each other line up great shots or be harder to kill, generally at the cost of their own survivability. Compared to the Empire with its true Ace pilots, like Darth Vader and Soontir Fel, or its large number of specialist ships from Sienar Fleet Systems, the TIE Fighter, TIE Interceptors, TIE Strikers and the technological terror that is the TIE Defender all have very specific roles that they excel at.

Scum & Villainy have all of the cool Bounty Hunters from across the galaxy, as well as pilots that form the pride of Mandalor. Ranging from Boba Fett, Fenn Rau, and other Mandalorians (yes even The Mandalorian.) to pilots like Lando Calrissian in his pristine Millennium Falcon or Kanan Jarrus in his days fleeing from the Empire before he fell in with the Rebels Crew.

Resistance and First Order bring some of the most technologically advanced ships to the table with powerful stat lines and some iconic pilots form the new trilogy, be it Poe Damron flying his iconic T-70 X-Wing “Black One” or Kylo Ren in a TIE Silencer they excel at using individual pilots with powerful ships and abilities but generally cost more than the other factions due to those advantages.

All of the factions now have a Squadron Box which can be a good value way of bulking out a faction.

Whilst I didn’t want this to be a definitive Buying Guide, as X-Wing is a living game so points change regularly the Squadron Boxes are generally a good place to start, the Scum & Villainy set, Fugitives and Collaborators and the First Order set, Fury of the First Order are a little harder to start building with to get full value from the box, they are all still a good foundation to your faction of choice.
Generally, I advise people to just get 3 to 4 small ships that they like and maybe one Large Base ship (like the Millennium Falcon or the Impressive new Gauntlet) and they have enough to get things on the table, have multiple build options and start to figure out exactly what they like to play with.
Some factions can bend this formula a little, for example you can generally get more Large Based ships in Scum & Villainy or 6 or 7 Small Ships in Separatist is you like the Vulture Swarms. Whatever you choose, just flying ships that you like is not a bad way to learn to play!

This is a good time to cover the new Squad Building rules for X-Wing.

Way back in 1st edition, X-Wing Squadrons were built to 100 points, with ships costing from 12 to 50 or 60 points. Second Edition changed this to 200 points but generally doubled the rough cost of each ship to add a little granularity to the game.
Atomic Mass Games have introduced a completely new way of squad building, with ships now costing between 2 and 10 points but the squad limit being 20 points. Whilst this removes some granularity they address this by keeping all of the upgrades at their old points values, and assigning each pilot in the game a Load Out Value, that they get to freely spend on these upgrades.
This means that we no longer see Luke Skywalker in his T-65 X-Wing trying to cut points and not take an Astromech Droid or Proton Torpedoes, when you pay the 6 or 7 points for Luke he includes a set number of Load Out Points that you then get to spend on upgrades, so we get more thematic feeling ships on the table, but generally the number of ships and upgrades on the table has gone up, which can make it a little harder to remember how everything interacts, so don’t feel like you have to spend every load out point when you are first learning the game!

Now I am sure all of that sounds confusing, and the link to the Official App does not seem to help…
Well, with the change from FFG to AMG, they stopped supporting the Official App, but have instead embraced some of the much more user friendly Community lead builders, my builder of choice is YASB.app which is web browser based but very easy to use and has nice clean print out options.

In a time bending match up we have the First Order taking on the Galactic Republic in an Assault at the Satellite Array Mission.

The last change of note to the game that I wanted to talk about today was the introduction of Missions to X-Wing, players of the games First Edition may remember that the large ships came with some missions in the boxes but that generally they were not really played, and the standard game was always a Dog Fight.

There are now four official missions that the game focuses one, Assault at the Satellite Array, Scramble the Transmissions, Salvage Mission, and Chance Engagement. All four scenarios add alternate scoring to just destroying your opponents ships, Chance Engagement is the closest to the old Dog Fight Scenario, with only a single Objective in the center that you score if you are the only player close to it.
The other scenarios take a variation on the theme of controlling points on the table, either by having more ships closers to them than your opponent, by taking an action to “flip” it to your side, or by picking it up to carry it around on your pilot card.

This change has generally sped up the pace of play of the game and gives you a lot more to keep track of, which to me makes X-Wing an even more engaging game.

so, after all that, the only thing left to do after that is to get out and start playing!
X-Wing has a very active online community so searching on social media for X-Wing in your local area will likely bring up some results.
If you are local to the Sentry Box, we are lucky in Calgary to have a very active X-Wing community that meets every Friday Night in the After Hours Room at the Sentry Box, so head over to the Calgary X-Wing Group on Facebook and join Chinook Squadron Today!