They’re coming in! Three marks at 2-10!

Posted: December 31, 2012 by mearrin69 in Gaming
Tags: , ,

X-wingLL and I popped in the Episode IV Blu-ray and played a game of Fantasy Flight’s X-Wing Miniatures Game on New Year’s Eve. This was our second session playing this game and we learned a little more about the ships and tactics.

We decided to build 50-point fighter groups. LL played the Alliance and picked up Biggs Darklighter in an X-wing (25 points, Pilot skill of 5) and a guy called Horton Salm in a Y-wing (25 points, Pilot 8). I played the Imperials and chose two Obsidian Squadron pilots in TIEs (13 points, Pilot 3) and a Storm Squadron pilot flying a TIE Advanced (23 points, Pilot 4). That left me at 49 points, so I also took an upgrade called “Determination” for the TIE Advanced pilot. The card would let me discard a face-up damage card dealt to me if it contained the “Pilot” trait. Things were already looking bad for the Imps. We had the Rebs slightly outnumbered but their ships outclassed us by a parsec and they were far better pilots. I reckon if the Storm Squadron pilot was determined about anything it was to not have to go back and report defeat at the hands of Rebel scum.

Unfortunately I didn’t keep a play-by-play of the session so I’ll just provide some general notes of how it went and what we learned. We opened up the game on opposite sides of the play area. I had the two TIEs in formation, LL had the X-wing in guard position over the Y-wing. We decided on our moves and then went in initiative order. In X-Wing, that means that the ships with the lowest Pilot skill go first. This allows better pilots to react to the poorer…and it meant that my TIEs were always first, followed by my TIE-A and then LL’s ships. Ships shoot in reverse order, with the best pilots firing first. We soon found out that situation sucked very badly for these particular Imperials versus these particular Rebels.

sw2In general, TIEs can outfly anything in the black. They can jink like crazy, often avoiding hits, and can maneuver tightly, way better than any of the Rebel ships. They can also, instead of a Focus or other action, choose to execute a barrel roll at the end of their turn – essentially moving laterally by 1″, and even backward or forward slightly. This would be an absolutely killer stunt if TIE pilots were ever in a position to react to enemy ships (i.e. by having a better Pilot and going after the enemy in initiative order) because they’d possibly either be able to roll out of an enemy’s firing arc or roll so that their firing arc covered the enemy. In practice, at least against Rebel pilots of any skill, this just isn’t going to happen. The TIE-A is even better. It performs better and can do barrel rolls too…and it has a couple points of shields.

The X-wing is a good ship. It’s pretty maneuverable, has a good attack rating, and comes with a couple of shields. The Y-wing is an absolute pig. It’s big and slow and doesn’t handle well at all, but it’s armored like a tank and carries a powerful shield generator. Put one of each up against a small squadron of ties and it’s simply a game of attrition – the Xs and Ys lumber around and try to get a good shot or two off on a TIE while the TIEs dodge about and plink at the shields and armor of the heavier ships. TIEs don’t take much to kill. One good shot (three hits on three dice in one attack) from an X will turn it to vapor. Sometimes it takes two. Considering it takes five hits to take out the X, the TIEs have to line up and get at least three mostly successful volleys. Taking out a Y (eight hits) is even harder! That means that the odds are on the Rebels in a fight where they have superior Pilot skill.

And that’s exactly how this session played out. My pair of TIEs flew around the board (in formation for quite a while) for many turns, doing barrel rolls, looking polished. They lined up a few shots on the Rebs but missed (or were dodged) almost all of the time. The TIE-A did a little better, flying about, dodging shots, and shaving a few points off of the Reb’s shields. The X and Y moved slowly and botched a few maneuvers but managed to line up enough shots on the TIEs to paste them both before turning to double-up on the TIE-A. Truthfully, the only reason the fight went on for so long is because they were focused on the TIE-A rather than the pair of TIEs. I think LL could have finished them off first and then doubled up without being harassed.

There are a lot of possible permutations with this game. If I had taken Darth Vader in a TIE-A, I think the Rebels would have been meat. As in the movies (and we saw a lot of TIEs blown up that day on the screen) the incredible numbers of the Empire are nothing versus the skill and resolve of the Rebels…or the power of the Force.

NB: I must warn you that an Imperial CAG may well have been harmed following this session. The pilots have been sitting around in the Ready Room for quite a while and nobody has shown up. That’s usually bad news. It sucks when a CAG gets Force-choked…it sucks worse when the new CAG gets all gung-ho and makes you fly drills until you’re ready to pass out on your own control console.

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