Saturday, May 9, 2015

Why I Pick Biggs in a Core Set Beginners Game

                I know you all have thought it. You eagerly opened up your first X-Wing Miniatures Core Set and marveled at the meticulous detail of the miniatures. Then you started looking at the pilots: legendary Luke Skywalker, some never-before-seen but sweet looking Tie Pilots...and Biggs. "I can't even use his ability! Why do they even bother including him?" Let's find out.
                Its clear from the get-go that Fantasy Flight Games already had the first expansions planned when they released the core set. All you need to do is buy a second X-wing and problem solved: Biggs can fly cover for Luke, just like in Episode 4. But what if I want to play casual and not get expansions? They could have included Biggs in an expansion and given us a usable pilot in the core set, like Wedge.
                From a purely marketing perspective, it actually is a very good move. Getting Wedge for his ability, as well as iconic purposes, is what absolutely sold me to get the X-Wing Fighter expansion. I know my excitement level would not have been at such extremes if I had been offered only two support X-Wings for that pack. In fact, I probably would have bought a second core set before even considering such an option. Fantasy Flight is a master at selling games, how else would they be releasing the 7th wave of expansions? But is that just all the company is? Money-motivated salesmen who didn't care that one of the pilots was a waste? I propose that there is more here than meets the eye.
                With the game being where it is today, the numbers system behind all the ships, pilots, and upgrades creates a staggering sum of data to dig through. But back during the release of the core set, things were very simple and straight forward. Since so much thought went into each and every aspect of the core set, it requires that we give each piece the time and attention it deserves. Let's set aside our qualms about useless pilot skills and look at what else Biggs has to offer. And when we do, we see what has been hiding in plain sight the whole time: a PS5 X-Wing for 25 points.
                Take a few moments to crunch the numbers, and you will find that 25 is the magical place in a beginners game were the Rebel player effectively prevents his opponent from taking a named Tie Fighter pilot AND guarantees that the X-Wing will always have the highest pilot skill. What can the Imperial player do with 25 points? Not much: 2 Academy pilots or 1 Academy and an Obsidian. And with either one, there are no unique pilot abilities and no elite pilot talents. The Imperial player has to rely on outmaneuvering and that alone to win. A pretty good investment of pilot choice for the Rebel player, if you ask me. Maybe it's worth giving Biggs another look in a new light.
                So try it out. Grab your friend and challenge them to a 25 point beginner game of X-Wing. They'll assume you're taking a Rookie with a Proton Torpedo and that they will beat you with pilot skill and broken ordinance. But boy, will they be wrong.

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