X-Wing Expansion: A-Wing – A Review

Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game By Fantasy Flight GamesThis review is rather later than planned and, for a change, it had nothing to do with me. It’s fair to say that Fantasy Flight have been victims of their own success and have struggled to keep up with demand for the X-Wing Miniatures Game and as such all but the wave 1 range was unavailable.

But rejoice fellow X-Wing gamers, for the restock has hit and you have the briefest window to buy what you can before unscrupulous bastards buy it all up and put it on eBay for three times the price. I’ve been able to get my hands on the A-Wing at long last. Well two actually. I can hear Mat soiling himself from here.

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When I was formulating an idea of what to include in my squadron I knew that I would need something in the rapid response column to either scythe through fast-moving flights of Interceptors or, God forbid, Defenders or to blast past the main enemy line to pick off the TIE Bombers.  A-Wings and E-Wings tick the box most effectively. I’ve always loved the E-Wing ever since it blasted its way across the pages of the Dark Empire series. However, it isn’t out yet. But A-Wings will more than make do for now.

The A-Wing’s always been a bit of a funny one for me. Whilst I appreciate its speed, and being able to out pace and out turn a TIE is appealing, I’ve never liked how soft and squishy they are. However, you can’t knock the speed or its potential punch and in X-Wing it’s a necessity for two very good reasons. One: it performs a vital intercept and engage role that nothing else in the Rebel fleet can. Two: The general lack of pilot cards means that if you want to field a dozen fighters you have to a couple of each type.

But on to the A-Wing itself. Of all the models I’ve seen so far it’s probably the most disappointing. Not because it’s not a loyal representation or anything like that but the pre-painting on the two I got was poorer than on the other ships I own. The additional colouration feels rather arbitrary and does nothing to make it feel like I’m recreating Return of the Jedi. But the thing that really ticks me off is the stupid spots of red paint on the tips of the lasers. There is absolutely no need for it and for the first time since properly collecting and playing X-Wing I’d consider repainting one of the model. Or at least paint over the lasers.

The board it’s blisteringly fast. Speed 5 makes it the fastest thing in the Rebel fleet (so far) and with a wealth of green manoeuvres on its wheel, it is very agile. The down side is you can only make Koigan turns at speeds 3 and 5 which means you could well put yourself out of range of a target if you wait til you’re on top of them to pull the manoeuvre. This does mean it’ll suck in a dogfight and you’ll be far better off performing hit and run attacks. But considering how little armour they have, it was some what of a given anyway. The plethora of missiles it can take as upgrades rather backs up this theory as the ability to strike with concussions missiles or homing missiles on the way in, lasers in the thick of it and then blast out the other side with the handy-dandy boost action. So despite its two armour points it’ll take a big bite out of the Imperials before its shredded to tin foil. Because it will die. Especially going up against the vastly superior TIE Defender. But the Rebel’s strength has always been combined arms…

And it’s pilots. Those that know their Star Wars novels will know that Tycho Celchu is a bit of a badass. His pilot card is no exception. Aside from being comparable to Luke Skywalker with skill 8, he’s allowed to still perform actions with stress tokens. This means he can perform a Koigan turn and lock on, focus or evade. This makes him pretty lethal. To be able to turn to face an attacker and potentially ignore a hit as well as roll 3 dice to evade is nasty. Only two shots in return means he’s still not likely to splash a TIE, but in a pair or in a coordinated attack with an X-Wing or Y-Wing and you’ll be laughing.

You get the usual pointless generic pilot cards which I’d never take. Ever. You also get Arvel Crynyd who allows you to target a ship you’re in base contact with – normally against the rules. With such a fast-moving craft, and in the role it’ll likely be performing, it’s an incredibly useful skill to have and make you slightly happier to have your A-Wing in the thick of it.

Whilst the A-Wing will never replace the X-Wing as my go to fighter, it performs a vital role in a squadron. Especially as the games grow in size and the variety in the Imperial formation increases. The speed and potential punch it can deliver to the back of the Imperial formation is too valuable to pass up, especially taking them in pairs. Which of course you’d do. Because you’d be mental not to. I still dislike their flimsiness and I dislike that they force you to be careless with pilot lives – because it’s not the Rebel way of doing things – but they’re just too damn useful.

The A-Wing is available from Firestorm Games priced £10.79.

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