“Proceed with the countdown. All groups assume attack coordinates.”
–Admiral Ackbar, Star Wars : Return of the Jedi
The countdown has begun. Star Wars : X-Wing™ is on its way…
Squadrons of pilots head to their fighters. As the Rebel Alliance puts its faith in the young men and women piloting its X-wings into battle, the Galactic Empire launches its fleet, and hundreds of TIE fighters fly in formation around the larger capital starships. Huddled in their cockpits, TIE pilots scan the expanses of space for any threat to Galactic rule. Confrontation is imminent.
Now, as we wait eagerly for its upcoming release, we’ll take a look at the game through a series of previews on how the design team brought X-Wing to life. In future previews, we’ll see how players can customize their own fleets, we’ll look at the different pilots and upgrades available in the Core Set and the first four expansion packs, and we’ll learn more about the process of designing the game’s detailed miniatures. Today, we’ll kick off our X-Wing previews with a look at the game’s dramatic dogfights!
Deploy the Fleet
Whether you’re commanding an entire fleet or the starfighters from a single Core Set, X-Wing keeps you focused on the action with its intuitive and cinematic gameplay. X-wings and TIE fighters blast through space, maneuvering to lock their sights on an enemy, or taking evasive action to dart away from lasers and proton torpedos.
As X-wings and TIE fighters engage, players guide their fighters through a quick series of three main phases: Planning, Maneuver, and Combat.
Each starfighter in X-Wing has its own maneuver dial that lists each of the different possible maneuvers it can perform. Meanwhile, each maneuver consists of three elements: bearing, speed, and difficulty.
The maneuver dial’s arrow indicates the bearing. Starfighters can dart through space along as many as six different bearings.
The number on the maneuver dial indicates the starfighter’s maneuver speed. The higher the speed, the farther the fighter will travel during its activation phase.
The TIE fighter is capable of a 5-speed forward maneuver that the X-wing can’t match.
When you start playing, you’ll find that X-wings and TIE fighters maneuver differently, and don’t share all the same combinations of speeds and bearings. Part of the game experience is learning how to take advantage of each ship’s unique set of possible maneuvers.
The final component of a maneuver is its difficulty, which is indicated by the arrow’s color. A standard maneuver is white, an easy maneuver is green, and a difficult maneuver is red.
Difficult maneuvers may allow your pilots to slip out of their enemies’ firing range, or catch an unsuspecting enemy squarely in their point-blank firing range. However, these tricky maneuvers also stress your fighters, and a pilot whose fighter suffers stress can’t take actions during the activation phase. ( You can read more about pilot actions in the section on the activation phase, below. )
In the planning phase, the players select one maneuver for each of their starfighters, turning the maneuver dial until the selected maneuver is revealed in the dial’s window. The dials are then turned facedown until they are revealed during the activation phase.
After players have planned their maneuvers for the turn, they activate their starfighters in order corresponding to their pilots’ ascending level of skill.
The Imperial player first activates his TIE fighter piloted by the skill 3 Obsidian Squadron Pilot. Next, the Rebel player moves Biggs Darklighter along his predetermined maneuver track. Finally, as the pilot with the highest skill, Mauler Mithel performs his maneuver last.
Starting with the pilot with the lowest skill, each starfighter’s maneuver dial is revealed, and its owner moves the starfighter along the corresponding maneuver track.
Once the ship has completed its movement, its pilot can take an action. Each pilot’s card indicates a specific set of actions he can perform. Some starfighters are capable of sharp turns that allow them to evade incoming fire. Some can take their enemies by surprise by performing dramatic barrel rolls. Some have targeting arrays that allow them to acquire a target lock on an enemy fighter. Most pilots are capable of focusing on the combat, improving their reactions and boosting either their attack or defense rolls, and some of the most skillful pilots can select upgrades that allow them even further options for their actions.
A lone TIE fighter performs a sharp right turn at 3 speed.
Starfighters set their movement, fly along their courses, and take their actions. Then, in the Combat Phase, weapons blast back and forth. Pilots try to blast through their enemies’ hulls, even as they attempt to elude incoming fire. Glancing hits may lower a fighter’s shields or cause structural damage, and direct hits may cause even further complications, stunning pilots, or causing system malfunctions.
In the combat phase, pilots can fire at any foes within range and within their firing arcs, starting with the pilot with the highest skill, then continuing in descending order.
Each time a pilot fires one of his starfighter’s weapons, its owner rolls a number of red dice equal to the weapon’s attack value. The number of dice a player rolls for his starfighter's primary weapon may also be modified by range. The attacker counts the number of hits, and the defending pilot tries to escape the barrage by rolling a number of green dice equal to his fighter’s agility value. Each successful evasion result reduces the number of hits by one.
When Biggs Darklighter sets his sights on a TIE fighter, he rolls three attack dice for his X-wing’s lasers. At close range, his attack is even deadlier, and he gets to roll an extra attack die. The TIE pilot then gets to roll three defense dice in an effort to evade the incoming fire.
The Core Set comes with three red attack dice and three green defense dice. Each of these eight-sided dice features several custom icons.
X-Wing Dice Iconography
This symbol indicates a potential hit.
This symbol indicates a critical hit. A starfighter may only cancel a critical hit after all other hits have been cancelled.
This symbol represents the successful evasion of incoming fire. It negates one hit (or critical hit).
Pilots may "focus" or take other actions that allow them to convert results of this symbol into evasion results, hits, or even critical hits.
Hitting the Target
Some starfighters have deflector shields. They start with a number of shield tokens equal to their shield rating and discard a shield token each time they’re hit, negating that hit. However, once a ship has no shields, each point of damage is tracked with a damage card. Once a ship suffers a number of damage equal to its hull rating, the ship is destroyed.
The Obsidian Squadron Pilot’s TIE fighter has a hull rating of three (circled in red) and two damage cards. The next point of damage will destroy his TIE. Meanwhile, the Obsidian Squadron Pilot’s TIE fighter also suffered a critical hit (see below) that damaged his sensor array. Accordingly, he can no longer focus, barrel roll, or evade!
Normally, when a ship suffers damage, it tracks the damage with a facedown damage card. However, when a ship suffers a critical hit, the damage card is placed next to the ship card faceup. While all damage a starfighter suffers reduces the integrity of its hull, critical hits may also stun pilots, start console fires, or cause weapon malfunctions. Critical hits add excitement and realism to the damage your starfighters suffer, forcing your pilots to deal with new challenges even as they try to outmaneuver their foes!
Prepare for the Jump to Hyperspace
It won’t be long before players will be able to enjoy the fluid, cinematic combat and detailed miniatures of X-Wing . In the meantime, be sure to keep an eye on our website for more previews and updates!
X-Wing is a tactical ship-to-ship combat game in whi ch 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!