GAME REVIEW: STAR WARS X-WING: STAR VIPER / DESIGNER: VARIOUS / PUBLISHER: FANTASY FLIGHT / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Shadows of the Empire was a Star Wars multimedia project that featured every possible media tie-in apart from an actual movie. Set between Empire Strikes Back and Return of The Jedi, it heavily featured the criminal faction The Black Sun. It had some great villains and some nice set pieces, as well as some cool and distinctive looking ships. Fantasy Flight Games have capitalised on the existence of Shadows of the Empire by adding the distinctive Starviper ship to its range of available models for the Star Wars X-Wing.
The Starviper model is rather pretty. For a fighter-sized model, it’s very tall and it looks a little like a giant space butterfly monster thing. They aren’t as fragile as they look, and the paint job is merely adequate; most model fans will probably want to get the paint brush out and make it look nicer, but lazier gamers should be okay with what they get in the box.
Rules-wise, the basic ‘grunt’ version of the ship is 25 points. That puts it in the same place as the better types of TIE fighters. You can field improved versions, of course. Prince Xisor (leader of the Black Sun) is essentially a pound-shop Darth Vader in this; he’s okay, but not quite the real thing. When you figure in various fleet builds, the Star Viper will probably end up forming the backbone of your fleet, rather than being the main ship - if you’re looking for a big scary ship to round things off, you want a Firespray or IG-2000.The set also includes an upgrade card for the skill ‘calculation’ that lets you change focus results to critical hits. For a one point skill, this is very nifty. It’s also not faction specific, which is interesting. Other cards improve manoeuvrability and toughness (Autothrusters and Virago are especially nice). This, combined with already nifty movement dial, makes the Starviper a really pretty looking, very nifty weapons platform. You can also equip ion torpedoes, so you can slow your opponent down while you run rings around them. Overall, a solid expansion to an already great set.