Friends, I’ve decided that I’ve been remiss in not sharing with you the vast pool of knowledge that I’ve learned over the years regarding tabletop miniatures gaming, and so this is the first of many articles that will pass on some of the laborious research I’ve carved out of the Internet. The tag will be “Miniatures Gaming 101” and I’ll be putting articles ranging from figure sources, game rules, painting tip sites, terrain building help, the best books to buy, and all manner of things relating to all things miniature. I’m not a great figure painter, though I can hold my own, but I am a very capable terrain builder, so I’ll likely share some of my projects with you fine folks as well. So, let’s begin with a great source of material to quickly and cheaply get a table going for a skirmish: Pegasus Hobbies
I’d heard about Settlers of Catan a hundred billion times, at least, as it’s widely called “The Fazzer Of Ze Euroz Gaming”, and I’ve heard it panned by Ameritrash folks as a gaming atrocity. Although not as widely hated, at least publicly, as renaissance farming or weenie trading games, it has been the subject of scorn and ridicule. “It doesn’t have a body count”, they said. “It doesn’t have much player interaction”, the said.
Well, I had a buddy over yesterday for an X-Wing game day, and after playing my third game, I was hooked. If you want me to just cut to the chase, here goes: X-Wing is the smartest, most entertaining fighter skirmish game I’ve ever played. This says a lot, because I’ve played probably twenty of these games, from Full Thrust to Renegade Legion to Battle Fleet Mars to A Call To Arms; I’ve got a lot of experience with these games and X-Wing is easily the most approachable and tightest. The draw, for me, is that the game hits that magical sweet spot where complexity and practicality intersect. Very few games ever hit that spot, generally erring either on the side of simulation or oversimplification. X-Wing, however, gets it absolutely perfect, with enough complexity to make it a game worth playing while having very simple, understandable, and intuitive rules that don’t get in the way of the players. It literally blows every other fighter combat game into itty bitty rippy bits.
The whole idea of the game is that you play Australian, French, American, and British forces attempting to storm a beach and take out a Nazi bunker. This is accomplished by rolling dice every turn in order to gain resources which will allow you to progress through the mine-laden terrain.
Every once in a while, a moment of clarity will occur in your life where you have to kind of sit back and re-evaluate just what the hell it is that you think you’re doing. For some people, it’s sitting in a bar, completely tossed and chain-smoking Marlboros, realizing they should quit the lifestyle before they become a sucked-up Iggy Pop look-alike. For others it’s sitting, glazed, on the couch in a dope-fuelled stupor, perhaps concluding that you’ve been watching a TV that’s not even on, and that you should put down the bong for a minute. Life tends to kick us in the bollocks from time to time with little gems of wisdom, and about a year ago or so, I got mine.