|Starfighters, Droids, Rookies, and Legends
A Look at Ship Cards and Upgrades in STAR WARS: X-Wing (TM)
|X-Wing | Published 23 July 2012||Rating||24 votes|
“We’ll have to destroy them ship to ship. Get the crews to their fighters.”
–Darth Vader, Star Wars: A New Hope
X-Wing™, the miniatures game of thrilling Star Wars space combat, is coming this summer at Gen Con Indy 2012. With its tense dogfights, intuitive rules, and stunning miniatures, X-Wing brings the magic of the movies’ most dramatic space battles to your tabletop.
In our earlier X-Wing previews, we’ve reviewed the rules for combat and explored how the development team’s commitment to detail led to the stunning sculpts for the game’s starfighters, including a TIE fighter produced accurately at scale for the first time in the industry. Today, we’ll take a look at some of the ways you can customize your experience.
Core Set and Beyond
From the first day X-Wing becomes available, you’ll have plenty of exciting choices to make as you build your squads. The Core Set, alone, comes with thirteen ship cards and five upgrade cards that can each lend a different tenor to the battles between your X-wing and two TIE fighters.
Expansion packs add even more options, allowing you to add more starfighters to your squadrons and to man them with a wide range of different pilots. Rebel players looking to free the galaxy from the iron grip of the Empire can draw upon a mix of sleek X-wings and rugged Y-wings. Single fighter expansions for each allow you to boost your squad with four ship cards and five upgrades.
Imperial players can call upon new starfighters and pilots to crush the Rebellion with single fighter expansion packs for the TIE/In and TIE Advanced. The TIE Fighter™ Expansion Pack adds six ship cards and three upgrade cards, and the TIE Advanced™ Expansion Pack comes with four ship cards, including one representing the fearsome pilot Darth Vader! It also expands your squad building options with five upgrade cards.
Starships and Pilots
Customization in X-Wing, however, isn’t just a matter of combining starfighters in different numbers; players will find plenty of ways to explore the game’s levels of customization as soon as they open a Core Set.
X-wings and TIE fighters function differently, and these differences are represented through their maneuver dials and on their ship cards. Each type of starfighter has its own maneuver dial, defining the maneuvers available to it each turn. No matter who pilots an X-wing or TIE fighter, each ship of a given type is capable of performing the same maneuvers. Because of this, the maneuver dial lends to a starfighter’s personality as it races through space during a game. Additionally, each ship card introduces a starfighter’s primary weapon, agility, hull, and shield values.
TIE fighters are nimble and quick but lack the X-wing’s shielding and heavier firepower.
Ship cards also indicate each starfighter’s available actions (highlighted in yellow above). You can see that TIEs can take actions to Focus, Barrel Roll, and Evade, whereas X-wings can Focus and Acquire a Target Lock.
Not all the information on a ship card is shared across all ships of the same type. Each ship card also shares information specific to its pilot: the pilot’s skill value, any unique ability the pilot might offer his squad, and the starfighter’s squad point cost. Any one of these differences can potentially provide the edge you need to emerge victorious in combat.
While neither a Rookie Pilot nor a Red Squadron Pilot has a unique pilot ability, the Red Squadron Pilot’s skill of “4” means that it will act later in the Activation phase and earlier in the Combat phase. Though it may seem a small gain for the two squad point cost increase, in the heat of battle, even a slight increase in skill can prove the difference between life and death. The Red Squadron Pilot’s increased skill means he can fire before the Obsidian Squadron Pilot. The Rookie Pilot, on the other hand, wouldn’t be able to fire until after the Obsidian Squadron Pilot.
The differences between pilots become more remarkable, though, when you consider the unique abilities of pilots like Luke Skywalker, who can convert a Focus die result to a Miss when he’s defending, and Biggs Darklighter, who can prevent your foes from firing at any allied ships within Range 1. Such abilities lend themselves to more fully developed strategies that can provide benefits to pilots flying in formation or that equip a lone pilot to strike out on his own.
Mauler Mithel costs five more squad points than an Academy Pilot, but his skill of “7” ensures he attacks much earlier in the Combat phase, and his unique ability adds extra lethality to his shots.
The bottom of each ship card also features an upgrade bar. Each icon in the upgrade bar corresponds to a type of upgrade available to that specific starfighter. Upgrades include secondary weapons, astromech droids, and elite pilot talents. Each upgrade requires you to spend some of your squad points but allows you to further specialize your strategy.
Upgrade cards provide you the means to customize your starfighters and squads.
As an example, you can pay three squad points to equip Luke Skywalker with Marksmanship to increase his chances of successfully hitting enemy TIEs. Or should you pay four squad points to equip his starfighter with R2-D2, an astromech capable of repairing damage to Luke’s shields? Or will you pay eleven squad points to equip Luke’s ship with both upgrades, as well as some potent Proton Torpedoes?
Imperial players cannot upgrade their TIE fighters with astromechs or secondary weapons, but some pilots, like Mauler Mithel, allow you to upgrade their ships with elite talents.
As you move toward advanced squad building, the choice becomes even more meaningful. Equipping Luke with Marksmanship, R2-D2, and Proton Torpedoes might make him capable of great deeds on his own, but it could also force him to take two twenty-one point Rookie Pilots as his wingmen rather than the veteran pilots, Biggs Darklighter and Wedge Antilles. We’ll examine squad building more closely in an upcoming preview.
Get to Know Your Squadron
The initial wave of X-Wing releases will open all kinds of early strategies, and as you seek to liberate or dominate the galaxy, you’ll need to strike the right balance between starfighters, pilots, and upgrades. After all, to gain an edge in the fast-paced dogfights of X-Wing, you’ll need to consider not only which starfighters to send into space but whether you’ll man them with rookies or with legends.
Stay tuned for more previews over the coming weeks. Until then…
May the Force be with you!™
X-Wing is a tactical ship-to-ship combat game in which players take control of powerful rebel X-wings and nimble Imperial TIE Fighters, facing them against each other in fast-paced space combat. Featuring stunningly detailed and painted miniatures, X-Wing recreates Star Wars’ exciting space battles. Select your crew, plan your maneuvers, and complete your mission!