Edge’s Epic Essentials – Part 1: What IS Epic?

Welcome to Part 1 of my guide to Epic play in the X-Wing Miniatures game! The longer, more accurate title of this post might be something like, “What is Epic, and why should I care?”

So,what IS Epic, anyway?

Epic is an alternative play format for the X-Wing Miniatures game. It uses the same basic rules and game structure, but scales everything up to, well, Epic proportions. The key differences are…

  • A much higher squad point limit is used (300 for Epic, 400 total per team for Team Epic)
  • Huge ships such as the Imperial Raider and Rebel Transport are allowed
  • The play area is twice as big (6’x3′ instead of 3’x’3)
  • Twice as many obstacles (asteroids/debris) are used
  • Deployment rules for squads and obstacles are a bit different

I’ll get into the details of all of the above later in this guide, but hopefully you’ve got the general idea. Epic play is a chance to throw tons of ships on a gigantic table and duke it out. Instead of a battle between just a few aces or a flight of generics, you have the points to field whole squadrons of mid-range ships such as B-Wings and multiples of large, expensive ships like the Decimator. On top of that, you have the option to use capital ships that bring a whole new dimension to the game.

Capital ships? Tell me more…

There are three currently released ships and one unreleased ship that are officially referred to as “Huge” ships (I will always capitalize “Huge” when referring to these, or refer to them as “capital” ships). All of them use a pair of Large size bases (the same bases the Falcon, Shuttle, etc. use) with a special cardboard base plate. They end up being as wide as a Large ship but over twice as long. The models for these ships are at a somewhat different scale than the standard ships in X-Wing, though, otherwise they wouldn’t fit on the table as nicely.

The Huge ships that exist so far are below (links go to the X-Wing wiki page for each one):

  • The GR-75, a.k.a. The Rebel Transport – this is the ship you see taking off from the Battle of Hoth, protected by X-Wings, in Empire Strikes Back. It’s primarily a support ship, since it lacks any guns, but you can also use it like a battering ram!
  • The CR-90, a.k.a. The Rebel Corvette – this is the ship you see in the opening of the original Star Wars: A New Hope, pursued by a Star Destroyer. It has great big turret on its front section, and can equip enough weapons, crew, and other upgrades to act as both a battleship and a support craft, depending on how you kit it out.
  • The Imperial Raider – this is an original ship invented by FFG with permission from Disney. It looks like a scaled-down Star Destroyer. It’s a very aggressive ship, as befits the Imperial mindset, with a double-tap ability on its primary weapon. Support abilities on this ship are limited, but they do exist.
  • The Imperial Assault Carrier, a.k.a. the Gozanti Cruiser (currently unreleased) – this is a ship seen in several episodes of the recent Rebels cartoon. A lot of details are still unknown for this ship, but FFG has revealed that it will be able to carry TIE Fighters into battle attached to its underside and deploy them somehow during the fight. I expect it will bring a mix of support and combat ability to the table.

All of the Huge ships use some additional and unique rules, to accommodate their unusual size and scope for the X-Wing Miniatures game. Some of the most notable differences are…

  • Huge ships use a different movement template and method of handling movement.
  • An additional resource, called “Energy”, is used to power attacks and some upgrade cards for Huge ships. Energy is gained when the ship moves (slower, easier moves gain more energy, faster/harder moves gain less) and spent when card abilities require it.
  • There are several actions unique to Huge ships, such as Reinforce and Recover (both defensive actions), Coordinate (lets you grant actions to allied ships), and Jam (causes stress to enemy ships). Each Huge ship has its own action bar showing what actions it can take.
  • There are many upgrades, including all the Team, Cargo, and Hardpoint upgrades, that can only be equipped to Huge ships.
  • The CR-90 and the Raider are so big that they get two ship/pilot cards, each with their own pool of hit points, representing the “fore” and “aft” sections of the ship. It’s possible to do enough damage to one section to “cripple” that section and cause severe penalties to the whole ship, without actually destroying the ship.
  • Some Huge ship weapons get to attack beyond Range 3. A special range ruler that goes out to Range 4 and Range 5 is included with the Huge ships that can use it.
  • Huge ships can fire multiple attacks per round if they are equipped with multiple weapons (usually a primary weapon plus one or more secondary weapon upgrade cards). Doing so usually costs Energy, however.
  • Each Huge ship has an “Epic Point” value that is used in addition to their squad point value to limit how many such ships you can put in your squad at once.

Don’t get freaked out by all these differences, though. The Huge ships are easier to learn than you might think. I’ll be going over the details of these ships more thoroughly in later posts.

What about the scenarios that come with the Huge ships? Are those Epic?

Each Huge ship comes with a set of scenarios in a booklet that feature that ship. These scenarios are more properly categorized as “Cinematic” play (as it’s called by FFG) rather than Epic. They use different squad point totals and special mission rules. Some of the scenarios are even organized into “campaigns” where the results of one mission affect the set-up and rules for future missions, which is great if you have a chance to play a series of games against the same opponent.

Even though these scenarios are technically not Epic, they’re still a ton of fun and a great way to enjoy Huge ships and non-standard X-Wing play. I’ll probably dedicate at least one post in this guide to Huge ships scenario play specifically, but a lot of the general advice about Huge ships and playing with higher-than-normal point totals should also apply.

Can you play Epic without Huge ships?

Definitely! There’s no reason you need to buy a Huge ship to be able to play Epic. You can download the Epic rules from FFG’s website (see links section below) and get started with just your existing collection. Some players even prefer to play Epic without a Huge ship in their squad, as it lets them field a larger number and variety of smaller ships, just like how some players prefer playing standard X-Wing with more Small ships rather than using Large ships.

This guide will cover general Epic information that will still be useful even if you don’t have any Huge ships. I also will probably dedicate one post specifically to squad building for Epic without a Huge ship. All that said, I still recommend becoming at least somewhat familiar with the rules and stats for Huge ships, so you’ll have an idea of what you’re up against if your opponent chooses to use them.

What about Team Epic?

Team Epic is very similar format to Epic, with about 95% the same rules. The only real difference is that Team Epic is played with a total of four players, two on each side, and each player gets to bring 200 points worth of ships. That means there’s 800 total points of ships on the table!

Both teammates must have only ships from the same faction (Rebel, Imperial, or Scum), and any Unique cards are limited to one per team by name (so you are NOT allowed to have one team member using the Darth Vader pilot and the other team member using the Darth Vader crew, for example, even though they’re different cards). Teammates are encouraged to discuss strategy together during the game and can even show each other their dial choices while still keeping the dial hidden from their opponents. However, each team member is still responsible for his or her own ships and gets the final say in any choices involving his or her ships, to cut down on arguments and keep play moving.

Team Epic is definitely a fun format, but the extra coordination and time required to play makes it a bit difficult to actually do on a regular basis. Most of the material in this guide will apply equally to both Epic and Team Epic, but I will be sure to dedicate at least one post specifically to covering Team Epic and how to approach it.

Is Epic supported by Fantasy Flight? What about competitive play?

Epic is definitely supported by FFG. There are three Huge ships released so far, one more on the way, and good reason to believe even more will be announced in the future. FFG also has official tournament rules for Epic and Team Epic play, and Epic tournaments do happen.

Unfortunately, there’s not nearly as many Epic and Team Epic tournaments as Standard tourneys out there. Even at FFG Worlds, Epic play was only featured in side events. Still, I’m hopeful that if enough people start taking an interest in Epic, we’ll see more competitive play events happening. It’s always possible that FFG will start adding more Epic stuff to the standard rotation of Store, Regional, National, and World tournaments.

So, why should I play Epic?

Because it’s fun! Seriously, though, there’s a lot of different reasons you might enjoy Epic play.

  • It’s a chance to get more of your collection on the table at once.
  • The Huge ships look awesome and provide a different play experience than the Small and Large ships.
  • You get to have massive battles that feel more like the Star Wars movies.
  • The strategies, squadron builds, and turn-by-turn tactics in Epic are more complex and challenging.
  • It can be a fun change of pace from your normal regularly scheduled games.
  • There’s not much of a metagame for Epic currently, because it’s not as popular as standard play. This means there’s more room to experiment with your own ideas rather than feeling like you have to field a certain squad to have a chance at winning.
  • Team Epic is a great way to have a game of X-Wing with more than two players.
  • You can put together tricks, combos, and squadrons that would never fit into normal play due to point limitations.
  • Having so many ships lined up in formation or arranged in chaotic dogfights makes for some great pictures!

Why not just play Armada?

Hey, if you’ve tried Armada and you like it, go for it! If you haven’t tried Armada, and think you might like it, then go try it! That said, there’s a decent number of differences that lead at least some players to prefer Epic X-Wing over Armada.

  • Armada ships are smaller scale. When you drop a Rebel Corvette on the table in X-Wing, it feels huge. When you put one on the table in Armada, it feels dinky.
  • If you’re already an X-Wing player, Epic will let you leverage your existing collection, instead of needing to purchase and learn the rules for an entirely new game.
  • Armada’s rules are different enough that the two games have substantially different styles of play. X-Wing, even in Epic, has a more fast-paced, tactical, swoosh-bang-zoom feel, at least to me. Armada is more about long-term strategy and pursuing objectives
  • Epic X-Wing does a better job of mixing fighter squadrons with capital ships, in my opinion. Fighter squadrons in Armada, even ones with named pilots, are a little dull and often not much of a threat to the big ships. Epic X-Wing, on the other hand, lets you feel the thrill of a swarm of TIE Fighters shooting down a fleeing Rebel Transport, or a squad of X-Wings unleashing a Proton Torpedo barrage to punch through a Raider’s shields and cripple its engines.

Ok, ok, you’ve convinced me. What next? How do I get started on Epic?

That’s going to be the subject of my next post in the guide – Part 2: How do you play Epic?

Besides that, you can go to FFG’s website for X-Wing (link below) and read the Huge Ship and Epic rules for yourself (they say “Epic Tournament Rules”, but they’re the basis for casual Epic play as well). Also, if you play regularly at a game store or with another such group, you might already know someone who plays Epic and can teach you.

Useful Links

As usual, feedback, comments, and suggestions are all welcome. Fly casual, and be epic!