Another run out of X-Wing at the club this week. This time we tackled the first scenario from the rulebook; Political escort. The rebel squadron are tasked with protecting a senator's shuttle as it makes it's way across the board, the Imperials simply have to destroy the shuttle.
We decided to explore list building in the game. Picking the recommended 100 points limit, Adam again commanded the Rebels while I took the Imperials. The Rebel squadron looked like:
Wedge Antilles (X-wing)
- R2 F2 Astromech
- Marksmanship Skill
- Proton Torpedoes
Garven Dreis (X-Wing)
- R2 Astromech
- Proton Torpedoes
Gray Squadron Pilot (Y-Wing)
- R2 D2
- Ion Cannon Turret
At 100 points, the Rebels essentially have a choice of four poor-to-average ships or three really tooled up ships. Adam went with the second option, picking two named pilots (both of whom have a special ability,) Astromechs for everyone and some special weapons. Significantly, both X-Wing pilots had fairly high pilot skills, so would be able to move after most of the Tie Fighters, but fire before them, a significant advantage. A quick tip Adam pointed out for any rebel players, R2 D2 in a Y-Wing is just nasty ( the ship has a hefty three shields, but by not making any stressful manoeuvres R2 restores a lost shield each turn - I've not been able to put a scratch on a Y-Wing yet!)
The Imperial player has a little more freedom at the 100 point level. You could actually fit eight basic Tie Fighters into a list, poor pilots admittedly, but they would put out a lot off attack dice nonetheless Practically speaking, you're limited by the number of ships you have available. I have three Tie Fighters and two Tie Advanced so that's what I went with. Seeing that this was Adam's second game (and that he won our first game,) I decided to go for the big guy straight away, Vader:
Darth Vader (Tie Advanced)
- Marksmanship Skill
- Cluster Missiles
Storm Squadron Pilot (Tie Advanced)
Obsidian Squadron Pilot (Tie)
Academy Squadron Pilot (Tie)
Vader's ability is that he can perform two actions each turn, so he could maximise his attacks by using say a target lock and Marksmanship defend himself with two evade manoeuvres or a combination of both. Backstabber aside, the other pilots are fairly average; the Tie Advanced is still a match for the X-Wing however and numbers should tell with the normal Tie fighters. That's the theory anyway.
The shuttle in this mission should take six turns to cross the table, but with six shields and six hull points, it's able to take a fair bit of punishment. The Rebel pilots can also pull a specific action to increase the shuttles survivability.
The Rebels started with all three of their fighters surrounding the shuttle and they started to move across the board. Each ship can make one action after it moves, the Rebels can Focus (change certain dice results when attacking or defending) or put a target lock on an enemy ship (reroll any dice you want when attacking.) The lead X-Wing focused while the other ships acquired locks on Imperial ships.
Vader and a Tie started on my left, the other Advanced and Tie were in the centre while Backstabber started out wide on my right (he gets bonus attack dice when attacking from outside a ships fire arc - the clue's in his name!) All my ships advanced towards the shuttle, Vader swinging in from the left, Backstabber from the right. At this point I realised that Backstabber was a bit too far out on the right. Some long range shots didn't do much damage on either side.
Turn two saw the squadrons close drastically while the shuttle moved slightly to my left. My plan was to try and take out one (or preferably two) ships on the first pass, before swinging round to give the shuttle a bit of a doing in later turns. Adam branched the two X-Wings off to my left while the Y-Wing moved the middle of the table. Attacks were fairly effective this turn, Adam stripped Vader's shields and damaged a couple Tie Fighters, while I Took the shield off Garven Dreis.
Turn three saw a continuation of the moves in turn two. Little actual damage inflicted on the Rebel side, a couple shields taken off the Y-Wing and one off Wedge. The Rebels were much more efficient, taking out the Obsidian Tie and putting some damage on Vader, meanwhile Vader's wingman took some damage flying over an asteroid. A quirk of the scenarios in the rulebook is that destroyed Tie Fighters reappear next turn, albeit as the lowest skilled pilot. Actually, I'm not sure if this rule applies if you're using your own squadrons - I have a big list of questions I need to put up on the FFG forum.
Turn four and Vader actually decided to do something! Unloading his Cluster missiles at point blank range, Garven Dreis becomes nothing more than debris. Damn that was satisfying. As the two squadrons had flown past each other, the Imperials did some drastic manoeuvring to get the shuttle back in range. Meanwhile, the Y-Wing carried on straightforward regaining it's shields as it went and immobilising the Storm Squadron pilot with his Ion cannon. Wedge swung round to line up vader and his wingman.
Imperial forces desperately try to take the shuttle down...
At this point, I remembered that we were playing a mission and not a "blow everyone up" game. The shuttle would be clear of the table in another two turns, so everyone swung round to get it back into range. Both Tie Advanced put target locks on the shuttle, Backstabber just put himself in attack range and a rookie pilot arrived on the table right in front of the shuttle. Sadly all that firepower managed to do was knock a couple shields off. To make matters worse, Wedge, at close range and with a target lock, took Vader out in one devastating attack - no amount of desperate flicking through the rulebook was going to bring him back!
I still had three ships lined up on the shuttle, but wasn't able to even dent it before it left the table. I think Adam took out another Tie, but by that point I'd accepted that this one game had passed me by! Don't quite know how I'm going to explain this one to the Emperor.
Despite a (partly self-inflicted) defeat, I had a really enjoyable game. Adam said he enjoyed it too, but I imagine victory helps with that! Victory and defeat were clearly caused by choices made, not through any card results or poor dice rolling (although I had a little of the latter.) I can't even accuse the squad Adam chose of being broken or overpowered, Garven Dreis' special ability and two of the Astromechs were completely unnecessary in this scenario. In contrast, my tooled up Vader cost a third of my points and didn't come close to paying them back! I should also point out that once we started, this game took just over an hour to play through, yet we weren't rushing through turns and took some time out to look up and discuss rules. X-Wing has some elegant little rules that make the game flow very quickly. So quickly, that we decided to swap squadron and have another game.
We also managed to set aside one of my original concerns about X-Wing, the sheer number of manoeuvre templates in the game and just how fiddly they would be when the board gets crowded. You can see from the pictures above that both squadrons were tangled together pretty quickly, but there really weren't any issues in moving ships, checking fire arcs or range. Even the number of tokens on the table, and there were a fair amount, didn't cause more than minor confusion, "whose target lock token is this anyway?" but I think with a bit more attention on my part, even that wouldn't have occurred.
There's still the other report for me to write up, but I think that's enough typing for one day. May the Force be with you...
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