GTM #206 - Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game: Wave IX Ship Expansions
Reviewed by John Kaufeld

There’s a lot to love about the Wave IX ships in Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game, especially if you like running Scum.

This wave digs deeply into the latest additions to the Star Wars universe, including The Force Awakens, the Star Wars Rebels animated television show, and the new canon from the post-2014 reboot. These new expansions bring plenty of power to the game, but the Scum faction gets the most exciting enhancements.

Let’s take a look at five stand-out aspects you’ll find in the Wave IX ships.

~ Turning on the Mobile Firing Arc ~

One of the biggest goodies that the Scum faction gets in this release also happens to be the largest of the four ships: The Shadow Caster. This Lancer-class pursuit ship comes to the tabletop from Star Wars Rebels, bringing with it a new twist on the classic turret mechanic called the “mobile firing arc.”

The Shadow Caster has permanent primary firing facing out the front of the ship, but also has a second firing arc that can be turned in any direction, similar to the turret on a YT-1300. Unlike a standard turret, the mobile firing arc only points in one direction at a time. You can adjust the mobile firing arc by spending an action or do it for free with the Gyroscopic Targeting upgrade.

~ Tractoring Without the Beam ~

The Shadow Caster has one more trick up its sleeve to confuse and frustrate your opponent’s plans. It allows you to hand out bonus tractor beam tokens. With Ketsu Onyo piloting the ship, you can assign a tractor beam token to a ship at range 1 which is inside both your primary and mobile firing arcs.

If you add The Shadow Caster title card, you can also assign a tractor beam token to an enemy ship inside your mobile firing arc at range 1-2. If you fly with a different pilot, combine the title with the Ketsu Onyo crew card to make an enemy ship keep its tractor beam tokens for the new round.

~ Shooting From Behind ~

Both the ARC-170 and the Special Forces TIE feature primary and auxiliary firing arcs, giving you solid standard ships with stingers in their tails. Both ships also offer upgrades that make the auxiliary firing arc an even more powerful weapon.

Outfitting the ARC-170 with the Alliance Overhaul title lets you change an eye result to a critical hit for attacks through your auxiliary firing arc, plus it adds an extra attack die when shooting your primary weapon through the primary firing arc. Add a Tail Gunner to make the target easier to hit.

The Special Ops Training title for the Special Forces TIE gives you the option to roll an additional attack die to attacks with your primary weapon through the primary firing arc. But, if you don’t roll the die, then you can do an additional attack through the auxiliary firing arc. Combining that with the Backdraft pilot card gives you a forward shot, plus a backward shot with an extra critical hit result.

~ Bringing the Tallon Roll to Scum ~

Until now, only the Rebellion’s T-70 X-wing had the agility to perform the ‘Tallon Roll’. The Protectorate Starfighter changes that, bringing the slick maneuver to the Scum faction.

The Tallon Roll lets a ship execute a hard two turn while rotating 180 degrees in the process. In the right situation, this lets your ship slide out of an attacker’s arc while putting the enemy directly into your arc.

Combine your Tallon Roll with pilot Kad Solus and you get two free focus tokens for your fancy flying.

~ Up Close and Personal ~

Although elegant maneuvering and long-range attacks certainly have their place in the game, the chaos and danger of close-up dogfighting really makes things thrilling. Both the Special Forces TIE and the Protectorate Starfighter were made for this kind of action.

We already discussed how to set up the Special Forces TIE for this kind of operation, so let’s turn the attention to the Protectorate Starfighter. The Fenn Rau pilot card gives you an extra die when attacking or defending enemies at range 1.

If you really want to make your opponent whine, put Old Teroch into a head-to-head showdown at range 1, then discard all of the enemy ship’s focus and evade tokens. Ouch!

~ Recommendations ~

All of the Wave IX ships bring something new and different to Fantasy Flight’s X-Wing Miniatures Game. Regardless of your playing style, you’ll find plenty of new strategies and combinations, especially if you play a lot of Scum.

John Kaufeld often frets over whether the word "meeple" has a proper plural form. You can find him writing about board games, parenting, and other stuff on Twitter at @johnkaufeld and in his newspaper column, The Dad Game (http://dadga.me/column).