Let’s be honest, toys and games are part of the secret of why Star Wars has been so successful. Allowing adults and children to play in a galaxy far far away creates a circle of fun that means that Star Wars is always present as a fun thing to do. Fantasy Flight’s X-Wing Miniature Game is a prime example of this. It’s a fun game played mostly by adults. Many of the ships in the game come from the Star Wars Rebels show, a series frequently overlooked by grown-ups. The success of the game has bolstered the show’s growing adult following and so on.
The Phantom II is a fantastic example of this relationship. The little shuttle turned up in the later episodes, replacing the original Phantom as the support ship of choice for the titular Rebels. The original Phantom was nippy little support Starfighter, but only available as part of the Ghost expansion pack. As gamers, this was a little annoying as it meant it was pretty expensive to field a squad of the tough little ship. The Phantom II presents a lovely compromise with nice treats for the fans.
For a start, it’s a neat looking ship, looking a lot like a Roman Centurion’s helmet with thrusters. It’s a well painted, lovely looking thing that is finely detailed, but not so intricate that those looking to repaint it will have much of a headache.
Rules-wise, it strikes a compromise between being a cool thing from a TV show and being a useful part of a game. The pilot cards are all named, so you can’t flood the board with lots of generic shuttles. On the other hand, all the pilots make for interesting strategy and cement the role of the ship as a support fighter. Fenn Rau’s appearance in this list will appeal to Rebel players who’ve looked longingly at the Scum faction’s Protectorate ship. Crew-wise, we get everyone’s favourite mechanical anarchist, Chopper, who provides a cheap short-term survival option, and Maul. Not Darth Maul, but simply Maul, the mechanically-legged former Sith Lord. He combos specifically with work-experience Jedi Ezra Bridger to open up a world of delaying and harassing tactics for the shuttle player. Neat stuff.
Overall, an interesting set that places X-Wing firmly in the world of Star Wars Rebels.
PHANTOM II EXPANSION PACK / DESIGNER: VARIOUS / ARTIST: GRZEGORZ BOBROWSKI / PUBLISHER: FANTASY FLIGHT GAMES / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW