Here’s a tactical dogfighting game for Star Wars fans. It puts you in deep space, and gives you the opportunity to… blow each other up. You start out with an X-Wing and two Tie Fighters, move dials, move templates, ship and pilot cards, dice, a weapon range ruler, some obstacle markers, some tokens, and that’s about it.
First, one thing that sets this game apart is that there’s no board. You play on whatever tabletop you have available. That can give you a very wide area to play in. It can mean some long-distance chases. It also means that you can introduce your own obstacles, if you want. (The set includes a number of asteroid obstacles, but it could be fun to add your own objects for planet size interference, etc.)
Game play occurs in 5 phases:
1. Planning. Players dial in a move in the ship’s movement dial and lay it face down by the ship. Every ship has a different movement dial, which gives it different maneuvering characteristics. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses.
2. Activation phase. The ships are moved according to the movement dial following a set order. A template — basically, a curved or straight rectangle — is available for each maneuver. This indicates where the ship ends up at the end of its phase. (This is where pilots try to outwit each other. Guessing and second guessing — like paper-rock-scissors on steroids.)
3. Combat phase. Pilots that have others in their sights may fire on them. There are firing arc markers on the ship bases and a weapon range ruler to determine the possibility and accuracy for a shot. Players firing roll firing dice. Players being shot at role defense dice. This is where ships take damage and blow up.
4. End phase. Players that haven’t blown up yet, or otherwise won or lost according to certain conditions, clean up their tokens and prepare for the next round.
The game gets pretty intense — you may actually find yourself leaning into your turns. The aspect of second-guessing your opponent is a real pleasure. Gameplay is simple, but real skill is required to outmaneuver your opponent. Star Wars fans will appreciate the ship characteristics, because they are based on the “real” versions.
With the various scenarios available, as well as the possibility to play on different surfaces and introduce your own obstacles, there is a high replay value. Replay value increases even more with the non-random expansion packs, which give you extra ships and pilots. (You can buy Darth Vader in his special Tie Fighter, for example.) More ship mean more elaborate scenarios.
Drawbacks? The initial price is rather high — three ships? How about a few more for the price. Expansions are likewise expensive. These are the only real drawbacks.
This game is highly recommended for it’s tight dogfighting gameplay and its possibility for complex scenarios with expansion.
Also check out the expansions like Star Wars X-Wing: Y-Wing Expansion Pack and Star Wars X-Wing: TIE Advanced Expansion Pack for creating more complex scenarios.