Monday, September 29, 2014

Games Review: X-Wing, X-Panded

Its been a long time since I reviewed the X-Wing Miniatures Game, and since then we've played it quite a bit. Actually, a lot. We've also bought a lot of new fighters for it, expanding both the Rebel and Imperial Fleets to allow for larger battles, or just a lot of variety in smaller battles. Also, a collection of tiny model spaceships which may be a victory in it's own right. Ewan has almost permanently claimed the Imperial side, which is slightly worrying, but not as worrying as the number of times he is beating me these days. So what I thought I'd do is a quick run down of some of the expansions released so far, and how we've found them on the table-top.

I like Y-Wings. I think they're a lovely design and I've always had a fondness for them whenever they turn up. In X-Wing they've got a fun role as a heavy damage tank, and ran with the Ion Cannon turret they can lumber around being really annoying. I do tend to give them cheap-as-chips pilots though, just to keep their costs down.

TIE Advanced
Ewan is a big fan of these but personally I'm not so convinced. They're very survivable for an Imperial ship, and get a missile loadout, but with exception of Darth Vader (who is awesome) they don't really fill me with trepidation. I think that's because they're a generalist in a fleet of specialists, so don't feel like they really fit in anywhere, especially in larger fights where you see more room for specialists and counters.

Millenium Falcon
Its the Millenium Falcon! Why wouldn't you want one? Actually its a pretty effective ship with a good range of pilot and crew options. Its got a huge footprint, which means it's a great blocker, and I tend to let it orbit the edge of the main furball firing in with it's turret guns. Also, Anti-Pursuit Lasers are a must.

Slave 1
I don't think we've got to grips with Slave 1, so it tends to underperform. It's a nice model, and has a lot of fun options, but tends to spend a lot of time benched.

Until Rebel Aces comes out, I've only got the one A-Wing and I always run it with the top-level pilot. It's fast, fantastically maneuverable, and really, really annoying to play against, or so I'm assured, although it does tend to fall apart in a strong breeze. Doesn't tend to get a lot of kills, either, but is a great disruptive influence for harrying and softening up.

TIE Interceptor
These things are beasts. They terrify me, and because we have Imperial Aces, Ewan can put four of them out on the table. They scream around the table and murder things, as TIE Interceptors should, and the range of pilots with great special abilities (thanks to IA) is very impressive. For me, the Imperials best fighter but a parsec.

The first odd-ball ship released for the game, the HWK-290 (from the Dark Forces game series) is a strange beast. Clearly designed as a support ship it comes with a range of upgrades to buff the rest of your fleet it took me a while to settle on a useful build, but even then it's only viable in larger battles where it can suffer from it's fragility if not protected. So, sometimes fun and useful, but certainly not a must-have.

Lambda-Class Shuttle
The counterpart to the HWK-290 is the Lambda-Class Shuttle, one of the most striking designs of the Original Trilogy. It also suffers from being a specialist support ship, which means that Ewan tends to drop it in favour of something more directly killy, which I suspect is a bit of a missed opportunity on his part. Lovely model though.

Rebel Transport
Ah, the Rebel Transport. What are you for? We played one battle with this thing at the "epic" points level but it just got too unwieldy, and we've yet to get around to trying the campaign that came in the box. Impressive lump of plastic, but can't help but feel it was a bit of a waste of money.

TIE Bomber
A pretty impressive missile carrier, the TIE Bomber often ends up on the bench because it's not exciting enough, apparently. If it were me, I think it would get more time, as it's durable, hard-hitting and fills a role the Empire finds hard to hit, thanks to problems with it's other big missile carriers the TIE Advanced.

Finally, the B-Wing. Not the unstoppable Death Machine that Star Wars lore often paints it as, although thats probably for the best. I have to admit I've not found a proper role for it yet in face of the swiss-army-knife section that is the X-Wing, so it does tend to end up benched more often than it should, but it's starting to earn it's place as I fiddle with load outs until I hit one that works.

And thats it. We've got an E-Wing and a TIE Defender but they're not seen any action yet.