Wednesday, 18 May 2016

X-Wing: Original Trilogy

Want to spice up your X-life?
Try a three-way!

For all you Fett-Solo-Calrissian shippers out there.

Squadron Leaders Kraken, Kasfunatu and myself (I'm Stylus, how do you do?) were all free for a Skype battle one evening, and so we decided to try our a three-player scenario (I believe it was a modified version of "Mission 12: Bounty Hunt").

We decided (hello, Kraken here) to limit our points a little, just to keep things quick and nasty. To add to this, Bounty Hunt had some special bonuses we could use, one-offs, to give a ship various short-lived abilities like 'shoot before everyone regardless'. I forget when and where they were used, later on, but they were both potent and entertaining to use. 

This is Kas reporting for duty. I'm not sure they added to the game and I know we played them wrong - which was more my fault than anything of not explaining when they should be played - we all played the same, but they weren't as tactical or reactionary as they could have been. 

70pts each, Scum vs Empire vs Rebels - let's take to the skies!

Scum& Villainy: Zucks On A Plane

This writeup is coming out about a month after the actual game. There are therefore some memory issues to overcome, like 'what was I thinking when I chose this list'. Err, I don't recall. 

Play with the tractor beam? I remember that much. And the Talonbane was supposed to get in close, double all his bonuses and kill people. I thought the proton rockets might be a good idea for the same, which that Deadeye thing allowing me to skip target locks or something, but in practice it didn't work at all and was wasted points. 

Galactic Empire: Ducks Don't Intercept

My goal was to be sneaky and fast and get out of many arcs as possible. With only two ships, admittedly both aces, I was hoping for survivability with evade and boosting over raw offensive power.

Rebel Alliance: The Busy Bs

So my list was built around a simple premise: I'd discovered the B-Wing/E2 title that allows me to take passengers!

With such tactical nous, I purchased the two cheapest B-Wings I could, gave them both Advanced Sensors, which should compensate for my lack of planning ahead.

The Heavy Laser Cannon is very expensive, but it looks like it can be an absolute beast. The Autoblaster is more situational, but as Kasfunatu like running agile Imperial ships, I like the idea of denying all defence dice (also, I couldn't afford another HLC).

Now for my passengers: Lando gives me the option of having double evade or focus tokens - or one of each - or none at all. Which could completely backfire, but I like the gambling element. C-3PO is, of course, a mainstay on Millennium Falcon builds, so I was interested in how the goldenrod would work on a small ship.


We used the Bounty Hunt set-up rules. My scum in the top right, Stylus's B-Wings in the bottom right, Kas's Imperials over on the other side. My vague plan was to lurk along the edges, hope the other two got into a scrap in the middle and then pick off the survivors. 

Turn 1

As I slowly edged out of my corner, I was unsurprised to see something very similar from the Rebels. They did it in a very nice tight formation though, the show-offs. 

To my dismay, the TIE lineup swept into the centre and angled straight for me! Somebody was feeling cocky, clearly, hoping to use speed to take me out early and then run rings round the lumbering B-Wings. Perhaps I ought to have been flattered, being identified as an early threat, but I didn't think of that until much later. 

I was scared of the B-wings in a joust, and knew I needed some extra fire power. By rounding on K and only targeting the weakest ship, I had the potential of not provoking too much whilst also bringing Stylus into range of the melee. 

I was certainly slow-flying at this point (not hard to do in a B-Wing). My hope was the superior pilots would ignore my clunkers in the early stage and fire at each other. I could then occupy the centre of the board and let my big guns go to work.

No shooting at this early stage, although there might have been a target lock somewhere. 

Turn 2

Like water into a plughole, we all spiralled gently towards the centre and each other. The TIEs started shooting at me, so I returned the favour, although paint chips was pretty much all we scored at this distance. The Rebels were still too far out to hit anyone, so I was definitely nursing a grudge against Kas for his early engagement, the Kad. 

I notice my neat B-Wing formation is already getting squiffy. The right-hand ship (C-3PO) is on a perfect arc to run through that debris cloud, damnit.

The Interceptor and Phantom targeted the cobra.

Turn 3

Manouvering time. My plan was to zoom forwards, make the most of the Mist Hunter's looping turn thing, get in behind the TIEs and kill them.

Yep, C-3PO is right in front of the debris cloud ("This is madness!") and I think Lando is dangerously close to running into that asteroid ("We're doomed!"). Luckily my Advanced Sensors can barrel roll me out of these sticky situations next turn.

This went badly wrong - the TIEs zoomed out of arc and all over the place, although I managed a bit of return fire with the Cobra. Zuckuss unfortunately ended up with his flank wide open to both B-Wings, and paid for it heavily! He was left on a single point of hull, which was bad news for me. At least I was sort of behind the TIEs for now.

Boom! That was quite a result for the B-Wing firepower (quite literally - my attack dice fell very favourably). I would have preferred to target the TIEs, since I reckon they'd be harder to cope with in the end game (assuming I made it that far) than the Scum ships - but you don't look a gift Gand in the mouth.

I was loving the Phantom: decloak, move, act, shoot, cloak abilities - highly unpredictable and nippy. The Interceptor misjudged the action though and overshot, but could loop round the asteroid to come back in short order.

Turn 4

Zuckuss accelerated nervously back across the B-Wing flight path. The Talonbane and the Interceptor whisked off towards the top right, the Phantom cloaked as it sped back towards the Bs. 

Somehow, Zuckuss managed to avoid fire from the B-Wings - I'd made it out of the lead ship's arc, just, and I think Stylus decided to consolidate fire on the Phantom in an attempt to take it out early. 

In fact, this was where my temporary alliance with the Scum ships began: Kraken caught the Phantom in a tractor beam and flung it onto a nearby asteroid - perfectly lined up for my cannons and with one fewer defence dice. I wasn't going to turn down such a generous offer and, much to Kasfunatu's consternation, let rip with both B-Wings.

Only for it to come to nothing. That slippy Phantom got away without a scratch.

Kas was flinging fat handfuls of evasion dice, however, and it didn't do an awful lot. Nor were the B-Wings taking any fire, however, and Stylus was was off ahead in terms of hull points remaining.

Damn, I knew the Imperials would be problematic. The only weapon that could reliably damage them was my Autoblaster, but that required Range 1, and with every other pilot moving after me, with plenty of boost, decloak and barrel roll options, my chances of catching one close-up were slim.

That was the plan.

On the other hand, I was well ahead on shield and hull points. A combination of my defensive upgrades and other players not concentrating on me. One advantage to shooting last was that I didn't have to worry about saving any focus tokens - I used them to defend if needed, and spent them to attack if any were left over.

It was already a nasty, mixed-up fight, and a stressful one. Who to focus fire on? Who to take out first? 

Turn 5

My main concern was keeping Zuckuss alive, though, so he skimmed the edge of the conflict and used his tractor beam to good effect, shifting the rear B-wing out of his way so it couldn't hit him and would have to shoot elsewhere.

I was still sticking to my plan of occupying the centre while the better ships looped around me - and it meant I usually had something to shoot at. As a bonus, I hadn't hit any asteroids yet (go Advanced Sensors!).

That worked a treat, although the TIE phantom I was hoping would cop the fire jinked and decloaked straight past the incoming fire. My Talonbane was starting to come round and swapped a bit of fire with a B-Wings, doing little in return for about half his remaining hull. I was definitely feeling tenuous at this stage, although nobody was dead yet!

So much for our temporary alliance, but I had nothing else to shoot at. In fact, the Talonbane was the one ship I didn't want to remove yet. It was the only piece on the board with a superior pilot skill to the Phantom, and so could shoot before it cloaked.

In terms of survival, Lando's B-Wing was intact (mostly because no-one was targeting him), and C-3PO was taking few hits. This was largely due to my failure to use his ability properly (i.e. guess '0' for one guaranteed evade) - I kept blurting out a guess of '1' evade (except for the one time I actually rolled one evade, at which point I remembered to guess '0').

Turn 6

Zuckuss failed to scramble all the way out of the incoming B-wings, and ate some heavy laser fire as a result. His already battered ship exploded wetly, and that was that for him. 

Sorry Zuckass, but you practically flew down the barrel of of Heavy Laser Cannon there.

By way of grudge settling, the Talonbane found himself in a position where he could pour a bit of fire on the TIE Phantom, and nearly took it out. That'll teach them to start a fight, I thought! 

In case you're wonder what Turr Phennir is up to - he appears to be doing very wide circuits of the board, presumably readying himself for the end game, although I think someone got a hull point off him.

I probably had a plan at the time, although looking at the maps, I am not sure what it was... probably was just stay alive! That worked so well.... 

Turn 7

Not that I managed to finish a fight, mind you. The Phantom did its best, but just couldn't get free of a big snarl of Rebel and Scum ships. Between us, Stylus and I did for the evasive ghost ship, although Stylus was very clearly kill-stealing after I put all the hard work in.

Oh yes, the advantage of PS2 is that is allows this kind of goal-hanging. Another kill to me! At this point, Kasfunatu starts openly lobbying Kraken for an alliance, pointing out I have about three times as much hull as all their ships combined.

It was worth a try.

The TIE interceptor had been looping round the outside of the combat for a couple of turns, and was just about back in range. When it promptly met a hail of B-Wing fire, and exploded - it hadn't made it through the early turns unscathed, and TIE fighters are basically two waffles sellotaped on to a tennis ball. Not durable, is what I'm saying.


This was particularly bad luck on Kasfunatu's part. The TIE Interceptor made a bad guess as to where C-3PO's B-Wing would end up, and flew right into Range 1 of its Autoblaster. Despite a barrel roll, it *just* couldn't reach the safety of Range 2 and copped a volley with no change to roll its lovely green dice.

Turn 8

Any hopes I had of taking on two virtually unhurt B-Wings with the already-smoking Cobra were short lived. Some rather poor flying on my part left me in both their close arcs, and I lasted just long enough to fluff a round of fire before being spread across the vacuum in a blaze of light.

Another fortuitous stroke - although I did try to do some reckoning for this. The Talonbane was stressed, so only had a couple of likely manoeuvres. I  doubt I would have been able to catch an unstressed one, if he'd been able to put a bit of distance between us.

The Rebels had won!



Hangar Room Chat

I loved this game. It lasted about the same length as a standard two-man bout, but it had about four times the tension and drama. Short-lived alliances, desperate negotiations over fire treaties, alarming early assaults - it was like a pocket world war. Any doubts I had about X-Wing not playing well as a three-way were entirely dispelled, this was a cracker of a battle.

Fantastic game - I second everything Kraken said. I had feared the game would be complicated, or more of a drag, with three players, but the smaller points values meant we rocketed along nicely, and there was always plenty of board to move over.

I concur - fun, frustrating and firepower fuelled. 

I was impressed with my first outing with B-Wings too (I may have to buy a second one for myself), although I did spend quite freely on their upgrades. Advanced Sensors were a big help, although the low pilot skill did mean I was still on the back foot. The HLC certainly earned its corn, although I think the Autoblaster belongs on a higher PS ship - I only got to use it once

The number of hull+shields was worrying too - nice ship.

As for my passengers, I think Lando got away without a scratch. Ironically, when he rolled two evade tokens, he often never used them (because my opponents probably figured there were easier targets out there). My poor guessing notwithstanding, I don't think C-3PO is best used here - I'd have rather spent the points on trying out a named pilot (Ten Numb and a Mangler Cannon sounds fun).

I could have done without the fancy extra powers, mind you. We weren't really focussing on them, but I didn't think they added all that much. Maybe having just one instead of three, your choice of which? Not sure. 

No, I can't really remember using those extra powers, or them affecting the game much - there's enough going on as it is.

I remember several being used - but not as planned in the rules, and not that I remember where or them having a big impact. A complication that was needless in my opinion.

We must definitely try this again - but until then, my heroes of the Rebel Alliance will celebrate!

"Mmm ... smell that glove!"

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