X-Wing Academy: I Wanna Play X-Wing – What Do I Buy?
Welcome to the X-Wing Academy recruits. Today we talk about how to get started with X-Wing MIniatures.
by Clint Weisgerber
For the longest time, when a person would ask me what they should buy to get into X-Wing Miniatures, I’d say the same thing that folks on the FFG X-Wing Forums would suggest when a new player would indicate interest. I re-examined this advice in light of Wave 2, and now I’m adding to it now that Wave 3 has dropped and we’re looking down the barrel of the Huge ships being released as well as Imperial Aces.
Surprisingly, the answer to this question has changed quite a bit, at least in my mind. Maybe not on the forums and stuff, but folks getting into X-Wing have a few things they ought to consider when they take the plunge. As such, this article is going to change somewhat drastically from its previous incarnation.
First things first- the ships in this game are viable in some form or another, but some ships are easier for a new player to utilize effectively than others. This being the case, I always, always, always suggest to people they buy the stuff they think they’d have fun pushing around on the table.
That said, you do need to buy at least one Core Set because it gives you the Damage Deck you absolutely must have to play the game. Most everything else in there you can get elsewhere- the X-Wing Miniatures Rulebook is downloadable for free from FFG and they sell extra dice and even have a dice app (for iPhone or Android) if you’re phone-centric, there are 3rd party entities selling the movement templates, range rulers, and tokens, and assuming you can find them, you can always buy the Expansion versions of the X-Wing and TIE Fighters that come with the Core Set.
The thing you should be aware of here is that the Core Set doesn’t include all of the available X-Wing and TIE Fighter named pilots. The other thing you, you, you oughta know is that the Expansion X-Wing and Expansion TIE Fighters don’t either. Long story short, if you want to have all of the available X-Wing Pilots and TIE Fighter Pilots, you’ll need to buy both the Core Set and an Expansion of each.
Lots of people will suggest you buy two Core Sets. This isn’t bad advice. Even if you’re paying MSRP for the Core Set, it’s a better deal model-wise than buying a total of three Expansions as the Core Set retails for $40 and three Expansions (without the Damage deck, dice, etc., etc.) retails for $45. Again, the only caveat here is that you won’t have all the available pilots for the ships.
All that said, people that give you that advice are assuming you want to field 2 or 3 X-Wings in your list and 4 or 5 TIE Fighters, or at least would enjoy having the option. If you’re dreaming of an all TIE Interceptor force or something and nothing else will suffice, it’s probably kinda pointless for you to buy two Core Sets just because everybody on the internet says so. Although, full disclosure- if you’re at all in doubt, just go ahead and buy two Core Sets. The extra set of dice is practically necessary and it’s handy to have extra copies of the cardboard movement templates if you’re not crazy about dropping cash on some 3rd party acrylic ones.
Obviously there’s a certain attraction to having at least one copy of every ship and multiples of your favorites. Most of the X-Wing people I come across have way more ships than they’d ever use in a single match. In fact, it’s one of the few miniatures games I’ve come across where it’s fairly common for players to own many ships for both factions. Sure, you probably favor one faction over the other, but very few people go exclusively Rebel or Imperial.
How much stuff should you buy? Well…
Even if you don’t plan on becoming a tourney player, 100 points is still the level at which most folks play the game, and the level at which most of the scenarios are designed to be played. It can be played at lower or higher point totals of course, but 100 points is the number where the majority of pick-up games occur, so it’s the number most folks shoot for. This post assumes you’re doing the same. If you’d rather play less or more, adjust accordingly and bear in mind, just because you play at 100 points, you don’t have to limit yourself to only having 100 points worth of models. It’s nice to have a few extra ships so you can change up your lists to keep things interesting for your opponent.
A-Wing- 18-35 points
B-Wing- 22-40 points
HWK-290- 16-30 points
TIE Interceptor 18- 35 points
TIE Bomber- 16-40+ points
Lambda Shuttle- 21-40 points
Imperial Aces TIE Interceptors- 22-35 points
If you’re curious as to what a particular named pilot brings to the table in the way of card text or the point cost of a particular Droid, Modification, or whatever you can either check out some of the Squadron Builders I’ve come across. My two favorites are Fab’s Squadron Generator and (Yet Another) X-Wing Squadron Builder.
Like I said before, if you’re just starting out with X-Wing Miniatures, some ships are much easier to get the hang of using than others. This is probably going to generate a lot of static in the comments and stuff, but here’s how I’d rank the ships when it comes to how easy or difficult they are to fly for a beginning player, 1 being the easiest- Note this doesn’t include the more recent releases, but only “the basics”.