Star Wars fans around the world today have rejoiced at what has been dubbed by Disney as “Force Friday.” And by “rejoiced,” I mean, “gone absolutely insane.” On this day, all of the merchandise for the upcoming Star Wars movie has been released, including action figures, toy lightsabers, models, costumes, an RC drone shaped like the Millennium Falcon, and a model of new adorable droid BB-8.
However, I’m not planning on getting anything. I don’t have quite the budget to celebrate this particular consumerist festival. Truth be told, most of the merchandise doesn’t even interest me, as much as I love Star Wars (and I do love Star Wars – I literally cried during the latest trailer).
One release, though, has at least garnered my interest: the X-Wing Miniatures game has put out a new expansion based on the new Star Wars movie.
X-Wing is an extraordinarily fun game. Players play as either the heroic Rebels or the tyrannical Empire (with a new faction, Scum & Villainy, being recently released to represent the various criminals and bounty hunters that infest the worlds of Star Wars). In playing, the game replicates the dogfighting of the Star Wars movies (which in turn was heavily inspired by World War II aerial dogfights). The most interesting detail of the game is the method by which the players move their ships – instead of moving them at will, players first secretly select a maneuver from a dial specific to each type of ship. The puzzle of this mechanic lies in having to move ships using only a set number of different templates.
As fun as X-Wing is, it’s real significance to me is far greater than that of a mere game. Two Christmases ago, I got X-Wing from my brother. – the starter pack, an X-Wing, an A-Wing, a B-Wing, and a Y-Wing, to be precise. He told me he got it for me so that he would have someone to play it with consistently. Sometimes, though, I wonder if it was part of a greater plan. Now, my brother is 14 years older than me – we are, in fact, similar in a lot of ways, but we’ve never actually been terribly close. This last summer, though, we spent a lot of time playing X-Wing – deliberating over strategy, wondering how best to kill each other, and generally spending the type of quality time that can only be achieved through hairpin-turns and fireballs. Between all the games, though, we would talk – about TV, movies, games, family – all the little things that lives and relationships are made out of.
Ask me why I love Star Wars? Well, in part, Star Wars helped give me something – a relationship with my brother.