Friday, 26 February 2016

Endor The Road vs Decistress

Squadrons Take Flight!
It's All-Skype Fight Night!

Stylus here - the shield is still up, but the text is still plain.

I, Kas, am back after a Xwing enforced drought based on work and holiday and looking forward to a good game. Whilst I was away the Amazon fairies delivered a new toy that I was eager to try out...

Endor The Road

With this list, I complete my set of Original Trilogy squadrons. The first one was a success, the second one even was even better; so I expect this one to be initially exciting, but ultimately a little hollow and with too many commercialised teddy bears.

We're off to the battle of Endor, and my pilots are the leaders of Red, Grey and Green squadrons (so I guess that makes me ... Lando?)

  • Wedge - who gets Predator to increase his lethality, and R2-D2 to give him a chance of making it to the end game (plus an Integrated Astromech, which I will remember to use this time)
  • Horton Salm - the Twin Laser Turret seems such a gimmie, I almost feel cheap taking it. But it synchronises well with Horton's ability. The R5-P9 (aka the poor man's R2-D2) is there to ensure he can stay alive to keep turret sniping at long range. 
  • Arvel Crynyd - the kamikaze pilot himself. I took him because, if I'm going to bump into things (and I do, a lot), I may as well make it a tactic. Proton Rockets and Intimidation are just to max out his effectiveness should I ever get nose-to-nose with something (although that's unlikely, given his pilot skill). Autothrusters added for general survivability.
I do think it's a shame Arvel can't be better kitted out for ramming things: I suppose Veteran Instincts would improve his odds of catching ships unaware, but what he really wants is the chance to take Advanced Sensors, so he can boost or barrel roll himself into a good spot. Sadly not to be, maybe there's as upgrade card in the future.

Despite the reputation of TIE Phantoms and Decimators (not to mention the surfeit of stress it could deliver), I was optimistic about my chances. Both Wedge and Horton would be going before the Phantom, and so could shoot at it before it re-cloaked. And a nippy little blocker like Arvel would be a good match for a brick like the Decimator.

So that was my plan: the X-Wing and Y-Wing concentrate on removing the Phantom, while the A-Wing keeps the Decimator occupied until they can all focus on it.


I had, in truth, tried a phantom+decimator the night before with General East - not the same chars/equipment, and I had lost - so this was my variation.

I planned to use the unpredictable decloaking from Echo to stay out of arc and try and get to points with something often at range 2 (for Tactician); whilst the turretted Kenkirk would not only dish out stress (if range 2 and in firing arc) but also would give it to the first person who shot at him each round. The combination of Ysanne and Kenkirk should allow him to dodge a few hits. Marksmanship works as a very offensive focus, and when only 0 or 1 green worked a lot better than a straight focus.


I actually forgot to take a picture of the deployment (I have a cold - I'm blaming Lemsip for all my subsequent errors of judgement). But we set up as a fairly liner joust: X-Wing, Y-Wing and A-Wing on my side (top to bottom); TIE Phantom and Decimator directly opposite.

Turn 1

I advance cautiously, not eager to get into close range of those big gun. Wedge and Horton nudge forward, Arvel banks a little to the right to close down the angle.

The big ship romps forward, planning to leave enough space for the Phantom to dart behind it. Yet again I get my big ship footprint wrong, and Echo bumps... no cloak for him.

As it is, everyone's out of range, so can do nothing but glare at each other.

It is not until the end of the game that we realise the mistake with initiative. I effectively play the game with Echo as PS7 and Kenkirk as PS5... I knew I'd done something wrong!

Turn 2

The range is closed down and the pile-up ensues: Arvel bumps into the Decimator (excellent!); Horton also bumps the Decimator (not bad, as he seemed to be the Imperials' preferred target), and in a rookie error, Wedge bumps Horton.

In the shooting phase, I relish the chance to use Arvel's ability, but then realise the folly of my Proton Rocket plan: it needs focus, which he is unlikely to have if he caused the bump. No matter: a close-range shot with no return is enough to begin chipping away at the Decimator.

Elsewhere, both Wedge and Horton target the Phantom, although only Wedge manages to take off a shield.

I know Horton is going to be my bane, and so the Phantom starts to chip off shields. The Deci can only shoot Wedge, and so promptly does. At least now Wedge is stressed (after shooting the Deci) and Horton is stressed (from being shot by the Phantom's Tactician).

Turn 3

In an effort to shed some stress (and, in Wedge's case, handily recover a shield), my X-Wing and Y-Wing crawl forward (although Wedge bumps again). The A-Wing k-turns out of the mess to face the Decimator.

With the Phantom cloaked and out of arc, all attention is turned to the Decimator. I strip away all the shields and land a critical, but end up adding to my stress tally.

On Fire... All hits are crits.... well I know where my next action is going! At least with hull damage I now have a free evade token and a defence die each turn now.

Turn 4

(I think I skipped a screenshot here, but you can see where they ended up). Arvel turns left, then pulls another k-turn. Horton tries to zoom to long range as fast as he could, all the while trying to put his shields back on and manage a console fire before it takes his last hull. Wedge moves forward slowly, ensuring I won't bump anyone, but *just* clips an asteroid.

Kenkirk is taking the slow way round the asteroid, chipping off points from Wedge as he does, who can only bring back so many with his droid. 

In better news, the Twin Laser Turret does its business and reduces the TIE Phantom down to a single hull (I was getting very lucky, as Echo was trying to close the gap, at landing Horton exactly at Range 2). Sadly, Arvel's paltry lasers can't finish the job.

Turn 5

Now on his last hull point, Wedge moves off the asteroid with a green manoeuvre to recover a shield. But before that, he needs to see if the asteroid nails him.

It does, and poor Wedge is off the board. Unless I use Integrated Astromech and spare myself the last damage...

... I forgot to use the bloody thing. Again.

I thought you remembered? Or was that on Horton? (No, Y-Wings can't take Integrated Astromechs, that was a different ability: my R5-P9 giving me back a shield for a focus. I do like the repairbots - even though I have never remembered to use the Integrated upgrade)

Arvel moves forward, but not quite enough to bump the Decimator, Horton makes a bee-line for the far edge, still trying to keep Echo in Range 2.

The A-Wing manages to survive the resulting barrage with only one loss of shield (even with me forgetting that A-Wings have an agility of 3); and even luckier, Horton shoots off the final hull of a cloaked Phantom.

You can't argue with 4 blanks.

(I should point out that, for the entire battle, I forgot to use Horton's special ability of rerolling dice at Range 2-3. I think I was regularly throwing out one damage a turn with each TLT shot, but it was nonetheless a bit of a waste)

Turn 6

This screenshot shows the 'before' image, but I was too busy kicking myself to take a shot after they moved. For a couple of turns following this, the Decimator rumbled on, the A-Wing shot forward, then k-turned, the Y-Wing made a couple of left turns to face back onto the board (and finally remembered to put out his console fire)

In this turn, Arvel turns sharp left, to get angle on the Decimator; while Horton banks left, to get some shooting distance...

... except he doesn't. I got confused and bank right - which puts me point blank range on the Decimator.

Oh, hello

Trying to make the best of it, I open up with my main gun and roll two eyes. I made the mistake of holding back my focus token (I was hoping I could use it for defence, or to regain a shield), whereas I should have given up Horton for dead and just put hurt on the Decimator. True enough, when the Decimator fired, it blasted me with such a torrent, no focus token could help.

Well three crits makes up for the four blanks.

Just the A-Wing against the Decimator: David vs Goliath!
(fortunately David brought his Proton Rockets)

Turn 7

And so begins quite a cat-and-mouse end game: I assumed the faster, more manoeuvrable A-Wing would be about to out-turn the Decimator, but with its size and Engine Upgrade, we're pretty much keeping each other on opposite sides of the circle.

Yes, the increased base and boost, it can manage a straight line speed of effectively 8 compared to the 's 5... even though the biggest on the dial is 4.

Turn 8

Of course, this favours the Decimator, who doesn't need arc of sight to shoot me. I haven't had a shot in for ages. Mind you, I'm doing a good job of keeping him at Range 3, which gives me four defence dice and Autothrusters.

It was going to take a while!

Turn 9

Even the Monty Python Finger of Doom cannot squash the A-Wing.

Once I'd Target Locked the Decimator, I made sure I took an Evade Token when possible. It was my first taste of classic Imperial evasion tactics - and infuriating to an opponent, I'm sure.

I had to target lock, consign myself to miss; to grant marksmanship next round (if I did not need to boost to catch up) to at least have a chance of hitting. It was a slow process.

Turn 10

I spoke too soon. I pulled a long k-turn to get a shot in, and my defence dice finally let me down: four blanks. I get blasted down to my last hull point, for little return. This dodging about is going to get trickier.

Turn 11

Luckily, I have the perfect pilot for this sort of thing. We bump! And so I get to blast away at close range with impunity. The Decimator is now down to five hull points - I just need to engineer a few more situations like this.

Turn 12

I begin by zooming off to the end of the board, to get back to Range 3. Under normal circumstances, I might be better advised to keep at arm's length and plink away hull from the big brick - but the Decimator's upgrades give him evade tokens and agility dice, so my chances aren't great (certainly not better than him taking off my last hull).

With the hyperspace realm looking menacing there was only one way that Arvel was going to go... time to boost and line up a shot.

Turn 13

We both turn around the debris cloud, but in opposite directions! Sadly, it's just short of a bump - but as a consolation, I can finally focus and use my Proton Rockets! Five shots coming in, and if each and every one of them hit, I can claim an unlikely victory (as I'm unlikely to survive the counter-fire).

The dice roll poorly: one hit, three eyes and a blank. I spend the Target Lock, and I guess I should have gone for broke and re-rolled the lot (I really needed some critical hits), but I just re-rolled the blank (another blank) and used my focus to turn the eyes into hits.

(We had a rules query about this: the Proton Rockets card specifies that you need a Focus token to use it, but it doesn't say you have to spend it. Unlike, say Blaster Turret, or most Target Lock missiles/torpedoes. Which means the Focus is available to modify your results. Sound right?)

Our ruling at the time, and quick searching: I believe that's the case. Made sense to me.

Anyway, it proved moot - only three damage went through, and the Decimator was staring down at me with two hull intact.

With many a shot back, it was time for the little A-Wing That Could to go home.

Back At The Cantina

What a fight!

Great game. It did slow at the end; but no less gripping when it came down to minimal hull left on both ships.

I fail to pull off the hat-trick with my Original Trilogy list, but I'd definitely play this one again. Poor Wedge didn't really get out of the gates; but the Twin Laser Turret once again proved a great equaliser (imagine what I could of done if I'd remembered Horton's ability?). And I forgot far too many rules for my liking (I think for the next Skype game I'll lay out the cards and upgrades in front of me, as a visual reference).

Equally you were shooting in cases before you should; so may have balanced? Whilst to be fair the Phantom was taken out whilst cloaked there were a couple of rounds that Horton shot him uncloaked which should not have been the case.

Yes, I think I definitely came off better from our rules rustiness - essentially a PS bump for two of my ships, and quite a crucial one, considering how the Phantom needs to cloak after shooting. That's one drawback I saw with Arvel: against a list of aces, he would always go last and be easy to avoid (he doesn't even have an innate Elite Pilot slot - maybe some deliberate balancing by the designers there). Mind you, I think he'd play havoc with a TIE swarm.

But the star of the show was indeed wee Arvel - he makes for a great blocker, with his special ability allowing him some punch at the same time. The Proton Rockets were probably excessive (although they nearly paid off at the end), so maybe next time I'd run him lean, zipping between long and short range, and leave the heavy lifting to others.

(all the same, it was a shame he couldn't *quite* recreate his movie moment of fame by nosediving the capital ship)

Indeed, nippy git. And that ability to shoot whilst bumped is great!


That was a good Imperial list by Kasfunatu - though the Phantom didn't cause me as much trouble as I feared, the constant outpouring of stress was crippling. In the whole battle, neither X-Wing nor Y-Wing made a single red manoeuvre; and even the speedy A-Wing only managed 5 red moves out of 20. My constant bumping with Wedge didn't help, but still... an interesting knot to untie.

I liked the Tactician pairing, although wonder if I should have not bothered with it on the Deci (it only works in front arc). I do like the Rebel Captive though.

The Midi-Chlorian Count

Ah, the the Return of the Jedi, where to begin? Should it be that Mon Mothma last reappeared as the decrepit Aunt Agatha in the Aidan Turner chest hair vehicle Poldark? Or maybe the Imperial Officer who spoke the first lines of the film ("Inform the commander...") also appeared in ageing mercenary yarn The Wild Geese (an 80s version of The Expendables, but with better diction).

No, if you take away one piece of trivia from Return of the Jedi, it should be this: General Madine's beard.

The Ewoks made for a more convincing furball.

Brace yourself for a shock. That beard. Is not a real beard.

The story goes that when actor Dermot Crowley turned up for work, all excited to be part of this massive blockbuster ("Blue Harvest: Horror Beyond Imagination"), it was noticed that he was clean-shaven, whereas his action figure had a full beard.

All rebel strategists must have beards.

Since action figures are expensive to design and tool, whereas actors are ten a penny, a nearby carpet tile was seized, cut to shape and affixed to Mr Crowley's face.

Kenner also wanted to remove his elbow and knee joints, and lock his hands in a permanent semi-grip, but union rules got the better of them,

Armed with a white pointy stick. Such a lame toy.


  1. Splendid battle! I was rooting for the little guy all the way, until I remembered the last time I'd faced down an A-Wing and how irksome a tiny weasel he'd been. Good to see the big guns struggling to manage them, though!

    1. Yes - they may be fragile, but the A-Wings have a great dial. And can greedily can take two Elite Talents, when hardly any X-Wings, and no Y-Wings at all, can have them.

      I'm tempted to see what a whole squadron of A-Wings (Autothrusters, Push The Limit) could achieve - the Rebel version of TIE Interceptors, probably.