If you’re at all familiar with Star Wars you probably know the X-Wing Miniatures CR90 by one of its many names: The Rebel Blockade Runner. The Corellian Corvette. The Tantive IV. While not as famous as The Millennium Falcon in general pop culture, the CR90 is the first ship we see on screen in the original Star Wars film, so it has had a bit of resonance with Star Wars fan.
When the really big ships (classified as “huge” in the game) were first announced for X-Wing Miniatures they were an easy pass for me. I didn’t want some big hunk of plastic to store along with all the other junk in my life. And frankly, while it’s big, the fact that it’s not to scale with the rest of the ships put me a bit off. Yes, I realize that one that was in scale would be completely impractical on every level, but I’m an irrational person.
It wasn’t until recently that I was looking at reiews of the CR90 that it started to appeal to me. And even better was the fact that Star Wars X-wing: Tantive IV Expansion Pack for around 40 dollars less than it’s original asking price. Furthermore, I liked the idea of the missions that came with it, that is a series of missions that changed based on the outcome of each match.
The CR90 model is freaking great. The only minor quibble I have with it is that it would have been a bit cooler if they would have been able to paint the inside of the engines with a light blue, but other than that its a really cool model suitable as a display piece.
As far as the size of it goes, it’s not big enough, but it works well for the game. It’s imposing enough to represent a large vessel and that’s good enough for me.
In addition to the CR90 and all the stuff you need to use it in a game of X-Wing Miniatures, you also get some extra upgrade cards that you can use with your other ships that can carry crew members, which is a really nice bonus.
The CR90 has two sections, a fore and an aft. Each section does different functions and can hold different upgrades. Furthermore, it takes disabling (destroying) both sections to knock it out of the fight. The rear section is more related to creating energy and reinforcing shields, which makes sense because that’s where the engines are. The front of the ship is more about navigation and sensors, again it makes sense because that’s where the bridge is located. It’s something that I really love about this ship, it gives you a bit of feeling of commanding a large vessel.
I haven’t played any free-for-all games with this huge ship yet, but I’ve played two of the missions that came with it. The first thing I must note is that I really like playing missions in X-Wing Miniatures. Just a straight up dog fight can be fun, but it grows boring after awhile. I need objectives to keep me interested. Fantasy Flight could make a whole book of missions and I’d be all over it. The fact that they haven’t yet seems rather surprising to me. Anyway, the missions that come with the CR90 are labeled “Cinematic Play” where the missions are connected. The outcome of each of the missions impacts which one you end up playing next. Seriously, why isn’t there a book of missions with this type of thing?
I must digress for a moment. When I play X-Wing my favorite ship types can be described as conservative. While I own and have used Expansion Universe ships, the ships that get the most play from me are the regular star fighters seen in the original Star Wars trilogy. And I especially like it when the squads make sense from a military standpoint i.e. several ships of the same type grouped together. That’s one reason why I really liked the cinematic missions included with the CR90. It allowed me to build squads that were the most movie like I could think of. I had TIE squads, TIE Interceptor Squads, TIE Bomber squads, it was glorious.
Speaking of TIE Bombers, they’re pretty cool in the regular game, but having the CR90 (and I’m assuming the Rebel Transport) make them a must have. Their mission is to bomb and bomb they can! If you load them up with proton torpedoes and a bomb along with a Munitions Failsafe card for safety, they can put some major hurt on the lumbering CR90. Even worse for the Rebel player, while you’re trying to take down the TIE Bombers, the regular old TIEs can pepper the CR90 and do plenty of damage on their own.
First mission: The first mission is simply a lone CR90 trying to buy time as it flees from a few TIE fighters. The Imperials (aka my girlfriend) somehow didn’t realize until several turns went by that they only had so many rounds to defeat the CR90. The other mistake by the Imperials is that they split their fire between the front and the back when they only had to disable one section to win the mission. This bought enough time for the Rebels to win the first mission.
Second Mission: The next mission was 2A, since the Rebels won the last match. It would have branched to 2B if they had lost. The mission starts out with the CR90 running low on fuel and hooked up to a fueling pod. The Rebel player has to decide to wait and try to fuel for a few rounds to get energy or try to make a break for it. To complicate things, the Imperials come from two different directions. And there are a lot of them.
I was playing as the Rebels and I probably made the worst decision and stuck by the fuel pump for far longer than I should have. This allowed the Imperials to blow it up and cause a good amount of damage to the CR90. Getting hit by a proton torpedo and then running right into a Proximity mine didn’t do much for the health of the big vessel either.
There’s really a fun dynamic when you’re playing the CR90 of balancing out your energy to perform actions. You only gain energy through moving the ship and the faster it goes, the less energy you get. And practically everything you do requires energy. You have to decide what is going to get priority. Do you want to reinforce your shields or use that energy to re-roll an attack die? It leads to some tough decision making that ultimately makes the game challenging and fun.
For the set of missions alone I think the CR90 was a solid purchase, but even without them it’s a fun addition to the game that adds some more versatility to it. And aside from it being an active combatant in the game, It could be a great set piece. I’ve already thought of a mission using it as a prop in a “capture the flag” type mission. I’ll share more details on it in the future. Anyway, if you enjoy X-Wing pick this sucker up.