Ever since Wizards of the Coast announced early last year that they would not be renewing the Star Wars hobby gaming license, gamers have been wondering what company would pick up the torch. Now we know the answer: Fantasy Flight Games, the publisher best known for high-quality game components and detailed miniature sculpts. It's as if millions of geek's wallets suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly emptied.
As a publisher of board, card, roleplaying, and miniatures combat games, Fantasy Flight will have no shortage of options to develop Star Wars games around. Two titles have already been announced, Star Wars: The Card Game and X-Wing, but many more will follow. Excitement is high for these and future titles primarily because Fantasy Flight has proven time and time again that they know how to handle a license. In the past, they've published well-received games themed around Game of Thrones, Battlestar Galactica, World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings, Doom, StarCraft, Conan, and more.
Star Wars: The Card Game will be produced using the Living Card Game (LCG) model popularized by Fantasy Flight. LCGs use in-game mechanics very similar to collectible and trading card games, but are instead sold in non-random packs and boxes. The interesting twist to this game is that it will be a co-operative card game, not a direct competition. While many enjoy the format, some gamers gripe about LCGs and CCGs alike, pointing to the fact that a game of skill can be tilted in one direction due to one player spending more money than the other. With a co-operative card game, this argument is invalid since players will collaborate to form one shared deck before a game begins.
The second game, X-Wing, will be a 2-player tactical space combat game pitting X-Wings versus Tie Fighters. The game can be completed in 20 minutes using basic rules, or slightly longer using a detailed set of advanced rules that incorporates targeting computers, astromech droids, customized ships, and unique maneuvers. X-Wing will initially be sold as a starter set with multiple scenarios and full-assembled pre-painted miniatures. They key phrase in Fantasy Flight's description is "starter set," pointing to the unspoken fact that there will be many more sets to follow.