A Temple of Mythology: The Rebel Aces Expansion

imageFor the sheer joy of it, I like to take some time out to relish each new release of X-Wing Miniatures particularly when it involves the Rebels.  My new mediation chamber regarding that game is currently located in my basement which is permanently set-up so that I can play Star Wars: Miniatures any time I want.  I often go to my Star Wars room and sit for hours and hours working out various strategies and mission scenarios because it relaxes my mind.  I enjoy just looking at the models and their complicated paint schemes and browsing through all the cards that make the game so interesting.  For a good part of a year I kept the game packed up in various containers which had to be set up on large tables whenever we wanted to play.  But now, it just stays up and I come and go at will which is refreshing.  The game is interesting enough to use a room for such a thing and it is quickly becoming my favorite place in my house.

The new release from Fantasy Flight Games which I am quite excited for is the Rebel Aces expansion pack which features a custom painted B-wing and an A-wing.  There are a couple of new pilots namely Jake Farrell, Keyan Falander who are interesting, but what is best about Rebel Aces is the A-wing Test Pilot card and the Chardaan Refit which allows for eliminating missile tubes to save some point cost in using an A-wing in a combat listing.  I currently don’t use A-wings very much because of their lack of firepower, but with the two mentioned cards, I may well consider it.  Probably the most interesting part of these new expansions are the missions that come with them.  With Aces it is a mission called “Jump to Subspace” which features a rebel operative who has captured a high-ranking Moff.  This operative and his captive also happen to be adrift within an escape pod headed toward an asteroid field.  As imperial forces close in on the escape pod, the Rebel Alliance races to the rescue, relying upon the agility of its A-wing and resilience of its B-wing.

It’s in those X-wing Miniatures missions that I find so much compelling drama that is every bit as interesting as a novel.  The big difference is that the game requires your input whereas the novel is a passive experience.  So spending time at my gaming table has for me become similar to reading books, only I love the tactical strategy involved—and with every new release from Fantasy Flight Games, new variations come into the game which have to be figured out.  Rebel Aces as talked about in the Team Covenant video above is essentially a way to dust off the A-wing into new use now that the game has matured.

It’s a fun time to be a Star Wars fan, not only do I have the daily ability to now play X-wing Miniatures but coming up on Friday is the new Star Wars: Rebels premier movie on the Disney Channel.  I have  been proclaiming this as a game changer in entertainment media because it will be, just as Fantasy Flight Games has taken the Miniatures game and exploded it into this exciting new game which I can spend endless amounts of time contemplating in the privacy of my basement.  The makers of that new series are essentially guys like myself who played with all those old toys as a kid and are now applying that kind of play to the real world of their adult lives.  Kids watching the new Rebels show will then grow up with an even greater hunger for that kind of thing than I did—which is a positive.

Growing up I had a similar space in the basement of my childhood home and I often spent entire weekends down there playing with Star Wars toys and as I become older—building Star Wars models.  When I hit driving age my parents felt I needed my own room in the basement so they finished it off which meant that my Star Wars set-up had to come down.  They figured that I was big enough and it was time to out-grow that kind of thing as if it were a pacifier for a baby.  But that space meant more to me than they realized and once the Star Wars set-up was destroyed and boxed up I pretty much left home.  I immediately started traveling all over the country on wild adventures because the kind of imagination generation that I had been conducting in my basement no longer filled that void and I had to fill it with something.  It had been my favorite place in the entire world and looking back on it, it was just a bunch of plastic, cloth, cardboard and glue.  But it was a realm of endless imagination for me, and I simply relished it.

The popularity of the X-wing Miniatures game today is likely due to the fact that there are other people who feel that way about those types of things as I do.  I am much happier now that I have a permanent set-up for that type of thinking.  I was up at 3:30 AM on Saturday trying to get my CR-90 through an asteroid field dotted with Imperial mines all while being attacked by hoards of Imperial fighters and I had no idea that it was so late.  The world was doing whatever it was doing outside, but I was happy to be enjoying the drama of strategy.  Of course when I do return to the world from that place of fantastic mediation, I feel fresh to solve real problems so it is an enhancement to my life instead of a distraction.  Some people have model trains in their basements; I have Star Wars—thankfully.

There are many things to feel negative about, but it is good to have a sanctuary where your mind can get away from the pressure and be itself.  For me a space in the basement dedicated to my favorite mythology is the ticket, for others it may be the garage or the kitchen—but regardless of where or what it is, it is good to have one.  For me, with all the exciting Star Wars news coming out constantly, this new expansion called Rebel Aces is more than a pleasure; it is an enhancement to my life.  I’m really looking forward to it which I intend to pick up by the weekend.  I will likely celebrate the upcoming Friday by watching Star Wars: Rebels on Disney, then playing X-wing until the sun comes up—and for me—the world will be just perfect in that little corner of my imagination personified by my personal temple of mythology.

Rich Hoffman