As mentioned in our previous post about solo play, Heroes of the Aturi Cluster is an expansion/adaptation of X-Wing. We said that it needed its own review, so here it is!
HotAC (as it is known), was created by Josh Derksen in 2015. After two years, it is still going strong and is still available through dockingbay416.com. The game is fully co-operative and consists of 15 campaign missions. With this, many players have noted its similarity to an RPG, given that each player controls one ship and upgrades it using XP from damaging or destroying enemy ships while completing special objectives.
This expansion is perfect for solo play but it can also be played by up to six Rebel players, who battle against an Ai-controlled Empire. Everything is available for free online (although a donation to the creator would be polite!), all you have to do is to print them out. This costs however much you want it to, but you do not have to have it done professionally – a home printer and stock card will get you a decent set.
This set consists of:
- 80-page Campaign Book
- Player Score sheets
- Mission Deck
- Imperial AI Stat cards
- Imperial Pilot Deck
- New terrain: Minefields, Nebula, and a Modular Space Station
Most of these are self-explanatory, but given its novelty, I wanted to include a brief note about the Imperial AI statcards. These cards are how the AI in the game works, featuring a series of prioritized maneuvers that are used to determine their movements towards a target; logic on them determines which actions they perform.
Now for the review!
First of all, a lot of hard work went into this and it shows. The art matches perfectly with the standard game, and depending on how professionally you print it, it can feel just like a store-bought boxed game. It’s worth mentioning that you need letter-size printing, except for the campaign book, which is half-letter. Upon completion, it looks very cool.
There is also an awesome amount of detail put in here, and a lot of thought was given to different scenarios and ships. The creator has a continual dialogue with fans to tweak any problems or issues. As parts are clarified and modified by the users, new versions are created (it’s currently on v0.7). Like any professional game, there’s a comprehensive FAQ online with an active comments section. (FAQ Link) Fans help other fans and playtest new modifications and scenarios, so you can say that it really is a fan-made game.
It’s no wonder that it has been widely hailed by fans.
I love it because it is fun and it continues to be fun over multiple replays. The random factor ensures that it is never the same twice and because you can adjust the number of players, it makes the dynamics change. Die-hard traditionalists might not look kindly on it, but if you are bored of the standard game, it adds some novelty to the Miniatures Universe. You can even persuade newbies and friends who are otherwise uninterested to have a go and it’s a great family game too. As we mentioned, solo play is a great option as well.
To do it justice would probably require a playthrough with write up of that particular instance, but that will have to wait for another time. For now, hopefully that has given you a teaser for a great variation on X-Wing Miniatures. Get out there and play!