I see people asking this all the time. On message boards, at the stores, on the subreddit (which I frequent), people are constantly wondering what their next purchase should be. Here it is, for all to see:
BUY WHAT YOU WANT.
That’s honestly how simple it is. This is a game, not a job. You need to enjoy it. Now, I know it’s not that simple. We work on budgets and we want to play in tournaments and show off to our friends. Before I get right into it, I do recommend finding a friend who will get into the game with you. This game gets expensive fast (though I’m told it’s nothing compared to Warhammer or other miniatures games), and it would be awesome to be able to focus on the Rebels or the Imperials, rather than having to buy everything. This is often not the case (I supply my whole group with ships), but it would be great if you could find a buddy before you get in too deep. With that being said, here’s a couple thoughts, in order, of what you should buy.
1) Buy a core set.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many people think they don’t really need a core set to play. The core set is a) essential, and b) the best bang for your buck to expand your fleet. You NEED dice, movement templates, a range ruler, and a damage deck to play. Tokens do come with ships, but those four things you will not get from buying the expansions, and you need ’em. Also, small ships are ~$15/each and the core set comes with 3 of them, which makes $45. I usually see it advertized for $40. It’s just a better deal.
2) Buy what you want.
I know, this is where I started this article. But seriously. If you like A-wings, get an A-wing, and don’t let anyone tell you different. If you like the TIE interceptors, grab another one of those. If you see some ship that you’ve never heard of but you think it looks cool, grab that! It’s a game, have fun, experiment. If it was entirely up to me, this game would be almost 100% x-wings. I love that puppy. I’d be doing alternate paint schemes and weird pilot skills and alternate stats. THANKFULLY, it isn’t up to me, which is why we get Falcons and E-wings and TIE bombers, and a much better game. Get the ships you think are cool.
3) Get a second core set.
Having two range rulers is super handy. Having two sets of templates is super handy. Having two sets of dice, oh my goodness, is handy. With the TIE phantom having 4 attack dice and often 4 defense dice, three just really isn’t enough. I have three core sets, actually, so 9 of each die. I got my start when I bought a set from a friend, and then I bought myself another core, and then I bought another set off another friend, and ended up with a third. No regrets about that. I have two sets worth in my basement, and the third set stays in my tackle box for taking to the store. Also, it’s two more TIEs and another X. 4X is a bread-and-butter list, and the TIE swarm is a shark. It’ll never get old. To do either of those, you need some more ships, and the core set is a bargain for expanding those.
I would also recommend picking up the X-wing expansion and the TIE fighter expansion. They are different than the ones in the core set. Wedge Antilles is an amazing x-wing pilot who does not come in the core. Howlrunner is the PS8 TIE pilot that comes in the expansion (not the core), and is without a doubt the greatest force multiplier in the game, a real asset to the Imperial side.
4) Get one of everything.
Once you feel like you have all the ships you really want, I’d really encourage you to grab at least one of all the ships that you’re not that interested in. X-wing Miniatures is a strange game in that most people collect both factions (soon to be 3 factions), which is both a blessing (being able to show your friends the game easily), and a curse (ohh my wallet, it burns!). That being said, you will find cool stuff lurking in the ships you’re not interested in. If nothing else, they often have new upgrade cards you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. For example, most people would tell you the TIE Advanced is pretty useless, but if you don’t get it, you don’t get Squad Leader. Also Vader is super fun to play and don’t let anyone tell you different. I did this with the HWK-290. Zero interest in that ship. Thought it looked ugly and not terribly interesting. Picked it up, it ended up being part of many of my squads. I love the versatility of it. If you don’t do things you’re uncomfortable with, you’ll never learn anything new. Same goes for buying toys. Don’t forget to pick up the Aces packs as those release too, since they add new pilots and upgrades, but they will be different from the original expansion, so you’ll want both.
5) Pick up specific stuff to make lists.
Competition is kind of the crudest form of this game. I really feel that X-wing is at its best when it is in a basement with friends, messing around and having fun. At any rate, buying the ships to make the specific lists you want should be the last thing you do. I guess unless you’re really, really interested in something. For example, I saw the APLs and Ionzes list from the Metal Bikini (PLUG), and I went out immediately and bought a second hawk. Why? Because I wanted to try that list. Have I ever flown two hawks at once since then? Can’t think of a single time! But I did it to try something out, and I don’t regret that.
–The Eternal Question: “I only have $100 to get started”–
People seem to ask this a fair bit. Unfortunately, this answer is going to change over time as new ships release, but I can give a short answer.
BUY WHAT YOU-just kidding. Well, sort of. The core set is $40. That’s a given that you’ll need that. So, you have $60 left to play with. That’s 2 large ships, or 4 small ships, which actually is not a lot of wiggle room. You can grab a Falcon and a Slave I, which are both very fun ships, but that will eat your whole budget. If you’re wanting to do the smaller ships, I’d say grab the X-wing expansion, the A-wing expansion, the TIE interceptor expansion, and the TIE fighter expansion. This will NOT give you a balanced game. TIE fighters really only work in groups. If you wanted this to be balanced, you would probably need to add a fourth TIE fighter to the game. However, putting in these four ships will give you all the pilots for the essential two, and will allow you a taste on the maneuverability/positioning game with the A and the Squint.
Well, that’s all I have to say on the matter. There’s plenty of room to fiddle if you don’t want to stick with the plan I’ve given, but it’s what’s worked for me.