Board game roundup: Rebel Transport, Tantive IV make X-Wing even better
First released in 2012, Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures has been a huge success, and it has seen no shortage of starfighter expansions. The game is a collectable miniature game in which two players take on the role of the evil Empire or the heroic Rebel Alliance as they pilot X-Wing starfighters and TIE Fighters in deadly dogfights on the tabletop. Though in the past, X-Wing has introduced large ships like the Millennium Falcon, Slave I and the Imperial Shuttle, these new ships dwarf anything that has come before.
First seen fleeing the planet Hoth in the 1980 film, “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back,” the Rebel Transport expansion uses new rules and a new template for movement. One new key mechanic that it brings to the table is energy. Each turn the Rebel player will select the ship's movement on its movement dial, just like they would with the smaller fighters. Here however, after each movement, the ships generates energy. The slower the ship moves means the more energy it can generate for other things.
After movement, players can allocate their energy to different tasks and then take actions.
The Rebel Transport also comes with one X-Wing starfighter escort with an orange paint scheme and several new pilot cards. The Rebel Transport must be surrounded by a bodyguard of Rebel starfighters, as it has no offensive weapons of its own. Unlike most ships in the game, the Rebel Transport only comes with one ship card, displaying its shield points and hull strength.
The Tantive IV has the distinction of being the very first spaceship ever seen in the Star Wars universe, appearing at the very beginning of “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.” The Tantive IV expansion for X-Wing, sold separately from the Rebel Transport, uses the same new movement/energy rules and movement template, though it does come with quite a few more options.
The Tantive IV comes with several crew upgrade cards, including Han Solo and Leia Organa, which give the ship important bonuses. Critically, the Tantive IV comes with important weapons. In addition to a primary laser weapon with a 360-degree firing arc, several upgrade cards allow the ship to fire additional weapons at the cost of energy.
Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures is just a fantastic game, and these two huge ship expansions bring a lot more fun and variety to the table. Both ships come with scenario and campaign books that allow players to re-create the adventures from the films. Fantasy Flight Games has really gone all out to make these pre-painted minis absolutely gorgeous. The attention to detail on these sculpts make the ships true works of Star Wars art. The only downside is that Fantasy Flight Games has not yet announced an Imperial huge-ship release, which could add a whole new dimension to the game as two or more huge ships battle.
Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures is recommended for ages 14 and up. Play time varies with scenario.
Forsaken Lore: Also from Fantasy Fight Games is Forsaken Lore, an expansion to last year's breakout hit, Eldritch Horror. In my Top Ten Tabletop Games of 2013, Eldritch Horror came in at No. 1, and for good reason. It's a smart, scary board game that has players working together to battle some of H.P. Lovecraft's most menacing monsters.
One of the few (and big) complaints about Eldritch Horror was that it didn't have enough cards for its adventures, and therefore replayability suffered. This new expansion features a new ancient one, a monster named Yig, and mountains of new mystery cards, mythos cards, asset cards, condition cards and more.
Forsaken Lore adds virtually nothing to the game in terms of mechanics, though it didn't really need to. This expansion offers more of the great storytelling adventure that players have come to love from the game.
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