Still building your X-wing Miniatures squads with pen, paper, and a calculator? Then you should try of of these X-wing squad builders. They add up your squad’s points and display the ship stats so you don’t have to keep pulling out your cards. This review covers Voidstate’s Squadron Builder, (Yet Another) X-Wing Miniatures Squad Builder, and Squadrons Generator. If you know of any other squad generators out there, please leave a comment.
Voidstate’s Squadron Builder
This X-wing squad builder is super simple to use. Choose Rebel or Imperial and the ships are displayed in a panel on the left side of the screen. To add a ship to your squad simply click it. Hovering over a ship displays its stats, upgrade options, and any special abilities.
Another nice thing about this X-wing squad builder is the ability to save squads on the server. This functionality requires a Facebook login. Once logged in the ability to save and manage becomes available. On your next visite, saved squads may be loaded and edited. Win and loss ratio may also be recorded.
There is also a squad browser to search, rate, and load squads created by other users. For example, if you want to run a squad with Biggs Darklighter and want some ideas, you can search through all of the lists with Biggs. The only problem is that you can only search for one type of ship. There’s too many Biggs builds to search through them all. Perhaps if more builds were ranked it would be more useful.
A recent addition to Voidstate’s Squadron Builder is collections. Click the Collections button and enter the number of expansions you own. Then (this is important) check Enable collection. Now you’ll see a number to the left side of the available ships list that indicates the number of this type of ship in your collection. This number counts down as you add the ships in your collection to your squad. When it reaches zero the ship becomes grayed out. You can still add grayed out ships to lists, which is a nice touch, because otherwise it would be annoying to turn collections on and off.
Finally, there is a random squad generator. This appears to be a popular feature in X-wing squad builders. Do people actually use the results? According to Voidstate it’s not entirely random. Strong ships are prioritized over weak ships, ships with higher pilot skill are prioritized for upgrades, and Imperial lists have a chance to swarm if an Acadamy Pilot is added. Read the About page for more details.
I can’t say a bunch of nice things without a few gripes. My first gripe is that it requires Facebook in order to save your builds. Its convenient and it works, but I would have preferred just entering my email address. The second is that it’s hard to use on mobile. In fact, sometimes it just plain refuses to work. It was definitely designed to be a desktop application. The third is that there is no BBCode export. It would be handy to paste squads into forums without editing.
(Yet Another) X-Wing Miniatures Squad Builder
A simple, light, and effective X-wing squad builder. First, choose Rebel Alliance or Galactic Empire. Then use the pilot drop down to scroll through available ships and add it. Ship stats, upgrades, and abilities are displayed on the right side of the screen. Upgrade options are displayed in a drop down. It’s also available in German.
The user experience isn’t as good as Voidstate’s. There’s more scrolling involved. For example, if you want to add an X-wing you have to scroll down to the bottom of the list. The pilot data is on the far right of the screen, which isn’t where you’re eyes are when you choose a ship. Despite these criticisms, I like this builder. Why? Because it works great on mobile.
There is also a random squad generator. You may restrict the generator to only use squads in your collection. It doesn’t work as well as Voidstate’s. Most of the time it gave me squads near 100 points, but it also gave me a squad of 68 points and other of 192 points. This isn’t too big of a deal, since you can press Random again.
Like Voidstate’s you can save squads on the server using your Google, Facebook, or Twitter account. I guess nobody wants to write a custom user manager these days. Addtionally, you also save a permalink to the squad. It has BBCode export, which is nice for posting to forums. Of the three, the BBCode export is the best.
The main feature of this X-wing squad builder is the ability to manage your collection. However, it also has free mode, where all ships are available. It supports the languages English and French.
You start by entering all of the expansions you own. This is saved in a cookie, so the next time you visit the data should still be there. It would be nice if this was saved to the server instead of as a cookie.
It also features a random squad generator that generates squads based on your collection. It works pretty well. I got a 100 point squads every time. However, they were very random. I guess that’s the point, but Voidstate’s fudged random probably produces more usable random lists.
There are several ways to save a squad. You may either copy the squad code to your clipboard, copy a permalink to your clipboard, or save a file on your computer. There is no server side saving, which is a nuisance for users accessing the site from multiple computers.
The user experience could use a couple of tweaks. One thing I noticed is that when selecting a ship the stats are only display when you hover over the ship icon. The stats should display when you hover over the text, like when selecting an upgrade. Also, the page is too tall. If you add more than two ships you have to scroll up and down to review your ships. Despite using all of that screen real estate, you still have to hover over the ship to see an enlarged view of the ship stats. Also, I think the front page should just be the free mode squad builder.
The Best X-Wing Squad Builder
My top X-wing squad builder pick is Voidstate’s Squadron Builder. Despite Facebook, I like the layout and squad management features. The new collections feature is pretty cool, too. I only wish it had BBCode export.
Runner up is (Yet Another) X-Wing Miniatures Squad Builder. I use it whenever I’m on mobile. I also use it to throw together a quick list for a forum post.