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Saturday, January 14, 2006

 

Star Wars Miniatures-Too Bad It's a collectible Game

I've played a couple games of Star Wars Miniatures and I really like it. This is a game that has a lot going for it. Play is fun and thematic, there are many scenarios available to play, an unlimited number of players can theoretically play, but most importantly the pieces are cool.

Players choose their squad from the units available. Each unit is worth a certain number of points, small units such as storm troopers and battle droids are cheaper than stronger units such as commanders and named characters from the movies. Players choose squads worth an agreed upon value, place their characters on the board and commence.

Certain characters have certain abilities, for example some move faster than others, some can make multiple attacks in a turn, some such as commanders impart a bonus upon units around them. Some characters can use "force" powers. The number of characters available is immense. If you collect the miniatures you can construct an indefinite number of squads, with varying abilities.

I didn't read the rules, but they seemed clean and designed for ease of play. The line-of-sight rules were, shall we say... liberal. Basically, unless a wall, or other obstacle is completely and unarguably blocking line-of-sight units have line-of-sight to each other. Conversely, unless a unit clearly has an unobstructed shot every unit has some cover which adds to his defense. In a nut shell it isn't much of a stretch to say every unit can shoot at every other unit, but every unit is also behind some cover.

For those of you familiar, Star Wars Miniatures is similar to HeroScape. In fact, after playing Star Wars Miniatures I had to knock my rating of HeroScape down a notch. The theme, wider variety of units and interaction between units in Star Wars Miniatures made for a better game.

Although I have only played with adults, it is a game children will like, and be able to play with little prompting by adults. I do think HeroScape is slightly easier for younger children (children under 14) to play unaided. The owner of the game has already said I could borrow it for game night at the Boys and Girls Club. I am certain it will go over well there with both boys and girls middle-school age and up.

As good as it is I won't be acquiring Star Wars Miniatures anytime soon. Not because of any flaw in gameplay, but because it is a collectible game. I am a collector by nature. If I get started collecting I won't be able to stop. Collectible games are (by design) a money pit. They are primarily designed to separate you from your money, and the good ones are very good at accomplishing that task. Star Wars Miniatures is among the best.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with collectible games here is a quick description. Players buy a box of pieces without knowing exactly what they are getting. Most of the pieces are "commons", a few will be "uncommons", and a very few will be "rare" and "ultra rare". The rare and ultra rare pieces are the good ones. If you buy an entire case of pieces you will only get a couple rares. A case of Star Wars Miniatures, "Revenge of the Sith" collection sells for $90 + shipping on E-Bay.

Starter sets are available for less than $20, and a starter set will provide many hours of enjoyment. Look out though, the starter kit is merely crack for collectors and gamers like me.

Good gaming,
Coldfoot

Comments:
The miniatures do look (more than) ok, but I think that most collectible miniature games tend to have serious balance issues.
Oh, and a question: Are there points assigned to each model?

Thanks for the review
 
I think I understand the question. Each piece has a point cost. Off the top of my head; a basic battle droid is 4 points, a commander is 10 - 20 points and a Jedi will be upwards of 50 points.
 
Thanks a lot... :)
 
You're right, the biggest problem about the game is the scarcity of some pieces. But, with a little ingenuity, you can modify common figures to represent the rare ones. There's quite a few samples of such modifications in the official site's forums (and on my own site, but I don't want to seem like I posted this comment just for a plug). Nice blog.
 
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