Alright, so you’ve read the Introduction to X-Wing, seen a couple of games played and you’re hooked; how do you get started? First off I want to suggest you check out my Lets make an Army! series as I describe your first few purchases and walk through some basic list ideas with you. For those of us who don’t have time to walk through those steps (or just want get stated faster) I’ve shortened that content to give you a brief overview of how to make a splash into X-Wing. Please note that there are now three factions, and each one of them will take you on a vastly different path of purchases; this guide is only meant to help you get started in the base game, and you can expand from there.
The FFG starter set should always be your first grab simply because of the amount of value you get from it even if you have the ships it comes with. Inside you’ll find a rulebook, measuring templates, tokens and upgrade cards that you can use for any faction. Not to mention that the X-Wing and Tie Fighter are the basic workhorses of their respective factions; they’re just good to have on hand. Many people online will suggest buying two starter sets to maximize on that value. I only really suggest this if you are really looking to play a Tie Swarm (as you get two cheap Tie Fighters per set) or the traditional Han Shoots First list using tow X-Wings; other than those builds I think you can spend your money more wisely. From here on out I’ll be assuming you didn’t buy a second starter set. I suggest you pause your spending here for bit and really see if you love the game. Read the rules, explore them and try out some crazy upgrade combinations. If what you’re experiencing is only intriguing you more, then go on to…
Next you’ll want to buy more dice; seriously, they’re cheap and make playing so much easier. Then as far as expansions you’ll begin to see a lot of options open up. You can really go anywhere but I want to make one thing clear: Despite what some negative forums say, every expansion in this game has value. I will always suggest that you buy what you like, simply because you’ll appreciate it more for doing so. That being said, there are a few ways you could go that I would highly recommend:
Rebels- If you want to focus on rebels then I really suggest following my Let’s Make an Army series as I begin with the starter set and build a list that’s won tournaments in only two more purchases. The basic idea is to buy the starter set, the x wing expansion and the Millennium Falcon expansions to make a great introductory list that is viable in a tournament setting. It’s cheap, fun and gives you a great platform to dive into the rest of the game; check it out here.
Imperials– If you’re really in love with the Imperials there are a ton of different directions you can go. Since you have the 2 Ties from the starter set, I suggest buying the Tie Fighter expansion as it contains the pilot Howlrunner, who is able to greatly increase the effectiveness of your Ties. At that point you can keep buying Tie Fighters to build up a Tie-Swarm (8 or so Tie Fighters, all taking the benefits of Howlrunner) of use those three Ties as a mini-swarm and throwing in a larger ship for more staying power. I suggest the latter as it gets you playing with some fun big ships and can really open you up to more play styles. For your next purchases after the starter set I suggest the Tie Fighter Expansion and the Decimator Expansions.
Scum and Villainy (S&V) – If you want to break away from the main movie struggle and love the idea of the gritty bounty hunter underworld; you may want to check out the Most Wanted expansion, which gives you three ships and the needed pilots to play S&V. You’ll still want the starter set for the templates and damage cards (upgrade cards work on your ships as well) but from here on out you’ll want to focus on S&V list building. Oddly enough, a great start is picking up the Rebel Y-Wing; Most Wanted comes with a number of pilot cards that turn Rebel and Imperial ships into ruthless bounty hunters, maximizing the value of any included expansions you buy as they will now work for 2 factions. My suggested buy list is the Most wanted Expansion set, a Y-Wing and the Firespray. Those purchases will give you a lot of list diversity, options and show you just how cool it is to be able to steal ships from other factions. Another competitive list is built from buying two of the IG-88 expansions. While I cannot argue the effectiveness of those ships, I personally will always suggest that people expand their collections and try new things out, rather than just buying the most direct competitive list; this will expand your knowledge of the game and increase you collection.
By this point you have a small but growing collection of ships and hopefully a few games under your belt. From here on out the door is wide open. Look at the list you like to run and see where you think its weaknesses are. What are other people having success with? What is your favorite ship from the movies? All of those questions will help you determine you next expansions. List building will take time, effort and forethought; all of which are developed over time. Truth is, your list doesn’t win the game, you do; having a solid understanding of the rules and ship interactions will always give you an edge.
But just for the sake of closure I do want to suggest a few things you purchase, no matter what faction you are focusing on. I suggest you buy enough expansions that you have 2 playable factions; one for you and another to introduce more players. Get this community growing! Secondly I really suggest you buy a mat to play on like this one. Buying a mat to look like space may not seem like an investment but it really does add to your overall playing experience and the materials are designed to help keep your ships from moving if they get accidentally bumped by one another. Lastly, I suggest you buy a case to safely and easily transport your models in. A good case can make transporting and setting up your game super easy and keeps your collection from damage, check out cases like these!
I want to finish up this article by touching a point that I hit earlier. I encourage you to go on various forums and talk about the game you love, but beware internet negativity. Many forumites will have their own input on expansions, some are fair, and most are not. If you like ships buy it and play it; then share your experience in a constructive way. It is my goal to get more people playing games and that won’t happen if we tell people that the things they like are a waste of money. Every expansion comes with a ship, unique pilots and a slew of upgrade cards that can usually be used by any other ship; don’t underestimate the value in this. Even if you buy a ship, play it and realize you’re not fond of it in game; you still have value from your purchase in the upgrade cards you obtained. The point is, this is a game; have fun with it!