Having played miniatures games for the last 5 years, I do enjoy occasionally playing Star Wars Minis as well as a good game of Clix. And yet, somehow, my Clix always get played with just a little more.
Okay, I lied–I play Clix a LOT more than Star Wars Minis, and it’s not just because the game isn’t being produced or supported anymore. I like the game okay, but…there are some definite structural flaws, which make gameplay a lot less fun. For example:
#1: The Game Suffers from the “Rich Kid Effect”
“Rich Kid Effect”: The more money you’re willing to drop on the game, the better items you get.
Almost without fail, the most monetarily expensive SWMinis pieces are the best in the game. If you don’t have a lot of money, you’re not going to be able to get hold of 13 and 14 attacks, 21 or 22 defenses, and tons of Force Powers–it’s just not going to happen. Thus, “rich kid” players win more tournaments not because they’re skilled, but because they can simply afford “better” and “stronger” pieces.
I don’t know about you, but going into a game knowing that I’m probably going to lose because I can’t afford big-money pieces isn’t much of an incentive to play. Comparatively speaking, you can find excellent Clix pieces for cheaper and still win with them against new and more expensive pieces–it’s more about the player’s skill than their paycheck.
#2: All You Have to Do is Pick Big Point Value Pieces to Win
Again, almost without fail, figures with a higher point value almost automatically have better combat values. Figures like Emperor Palpatine, Sith Lord (62 pts, 130 HP, 20 Def, 15 Atk), Yoda, Jedi Master (64 pts, 140 HP, 21 Def, 14 Atk), or Exar Kun (84 pts, 180 HP, 23 Def, 19 Atk) are way expensive for playing in an environment where a typical game limits your team size to 100 points, but they are very much worth it. They just generally have better stats (and powers) than your lower-point-value characters, which means they stand up better in battle and win more. (Consider that lower-point-value figures have attacks of 8-10 and defenses of 16-18, and you see what I mean by “bigger is better.”)
Clix suffers from this a little bit, especially with “power creep” (figures’ powers and stats gradually increasing with every set release). But at least there are some 50-point Clix pieces who can still rip open a 250-point piece. In SWMinis, you either play big or go home, and that doesn’t leave a lot of room for creative army building.
#3: Factions from the Movies Have Better Pieces
If you’re a SWMinis fan playing Rebels or Sith, you’ve pretty much got it made. If you’re a SWMinis fan and want to play other factions like Mandalorians, Old Republic, Separatist, or Yuuzhan Vong, you might as well not bother playing tournaments, or even casual.
Why? Because in general, the “popular” factions have better powers and stats than the “non-popular” factions (and by “popular” I mean “made popular by the movies”). There is a definite power imbalance between the factions, which makes it frustrating to try playing different groups. Why bother, when you’re going to be outmatched for trying something unusual?
Now, I will admit that some of the more-supported team symbols and abilities in Clix (such as Superman-Ally, Batman-Ally, X-Men, and Power Cosmic) get more stuff to do in-game. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t win with a team full of Mystics, 2000 A.D. people, or Suicide Squad members. Teams and their symbols are a little more balanced in Clix, and depend more on the player’s skill than his/her chosen faction.
#4: Many of the Rulings Leave You Scratching Your Head
As a Clix player, some of the differing movement rules for SWMinis made me frustrated. What do you MEAN, diagonal movements cost twice as much as straight movements? What do you MEAN, I can’t shoot past this corner? Some of the rules between other minis games and SWMinis differ in such nitpicky ways that it’s hard to remember (and even harder to reason out WHY they made this difference). I even created a page about all these rules weirdnesses on my gaming site, just so I could remember better!
When rulings just flat don’t make sense, or they are different in such small ways that it’s almost ridiculous, it can stop people from enjoying the game. You spend half the time trying to figure out if a particular strategic move is legal in SWMinis, or if it’s legal in every other minis game BUT SWMinis. Not conducive to good casual or tournament play, sadly.
While I enjoy breaking out my old favorite SWMinis pieces on occasion, the flaws I’ve detailed above are definite roadblocks to enjoying the game more. With the game pretty much being dead and abandoned, it’s likely I’m one of the only ones left who cares about this issue, but I’d love to see someone fix or at least address these major game flaws. After all, this could be one of the biggest tie-ins to the Star Wars franchise…if it had a little better-functioning game environment.