Saturday, 4 October 2014

465 - Got in a Proper X-Wing Game...and got TABLED!

Hullo, Drax-Fans!
I'm delighted to note that this week I managed to get another game of X-Wing in. Fancy that: a game I can play that I (a) don't need elaborate scenery for, (b) can play with a colleague, (c) can play reasonably quickly and (d) don't have to make a round-trip of 60 miles for the privilege of playing!
[For those of you unfamiliar with the rural South-West of England, try to imagine driving most of that distance through pitch-black, rain-drenched, claustrophobically-high-sided single-track roads whilst burning fuel at £1.43/litre...or whatever the hell that is in $/gallon - not fun!]

Well, I went a got myself a cute lil' A-Wing (because I'm a sucker and I'm trying to learn to play with a more aggressive, manoeuvrist style in my table-top gaming), and of course I just have to play Rebels. We went for 100 pts for our first post-intro 'proper' game - all the other models belong to DS, my opponent. After humming-and-hawing for five minutes, here's what I went for:
...except I forgot to include Tycho Celchu in his A-Wing, and  whatever upgrade he had which grants you an extra hull point, but the rest are a Red Squadron X-Wing with R2-D2 and two Z-95 Headhunters: Tala Squadron Pilot with (I think) Cluster Missiles and Airen Cracken with Proton Torpedoes and Ammo Failsafe [I later realised he couldn't take torpedoes, so we'll chalk that one up to an over-enthusiastic ground crew].
For his part, DS brought along a Right Bunch O' Bastards:
Two TIE Interceptors - Carnor Jax and Tetran Cowll - and three TIE Fighters - Howlrunner, Backstabber and Academy Pilot. Between them they carried a modest handful of upgrades. If I had any strategic nous at all I would've at least read these cards before the game. I don't; I didn't.

We deployed. This is where my stupidity began, and approximately where it ended, too. From this point on, this post-battle analysis will virtually cease, because my tactical stupidity will speak for itself...
'Easy,' I thought, 'I'll just fly my two weakest craft straight at his TIE swarm.' - Idiot.
[Above] Turn 1 - "Advance in line abreast"
[Above] End of Move 2...
[Above] ...and end of Headhunter 1.
[Above] End of Move 3...
[Above] ...and bye-bye Headhunter 2.
[Above] End of Turn 4, during which my A-Wing tried to pull a red stunt whilst stressed, so DS got to move him for me. D'oh!
[Above] End of Turn 5 - hanging in there.
[Above] End of Turn 6 - still very much failing to kill anything. I should draw your attention to Howlrunner (far left) who - after stitching me up like a kipper in the opening turns - decided he'd had enough and simply buggered off stargazing for a while!
[Above] Turn 7 - very nearly the end...
[Above] Turn 7 - very actually the end.

Did I learn some lessons from this? Yes. Did I get nearly enough sleep after this game? No. No, I sodding didn't.

It was a great fun game, but the Rebel leadership was pitifully outclassed: DS played pretty damned well - a couple of rookie errors notwithstanding. More than anything else I've learnt not to underestimate the TIE fighter en masse.


I believe it was none other than Adm. Lord Nelson who famously intoned, "You must hate the French Academy Pilot as you hate the Devil himself".

And he was right.

Ta-ra for now: I've got a fresh cuppa and I'm off to actually do some painting for once! Yay!

- Drax.

PS: British readers of my age (mid-30s): points for getting the kids' TV reference in this post's salutations.


  1. Only the side of the New Order shall prevail. You rebel scum.

    1. Not me - Skeletor and co, Cobra, Decipticons, the Empire - I never signed on to the good guy rubbish even as a child. We would have had the best Action Force fights ever. LOL


  2. Love that table! Verr sexy!

    One of the problems Fantasy Flight has with the X Wing game is that despite the fact that they're on...what?...Wave 5 or whatever now, a Wave 1 list still dominates the game.
    The Tie Swarm.
    A well-played Tie Swarm simply puts out too much firepower per turn for anything Rebel to beat it. And since damaged ships continue to fire and maneuver as if they weren't damaged at all, smaller Rebel lists are forced to waste their own firepower finishing off damaged Ties with a single hullpoint remaining,

    Fantasy Flight really backed themselves into a corner in Wave 1 with the Tie Swarm, and the only thing that I think can save this game is a nerfbat and some banning. Simply put, there needs to be a cap on the number of standard Ties an Imperial player can run in a list.

    1. Thanks, SinSynn!

      [Re. the table: imagine my frustration/embarrassment when we discovered that our poxy dining table is only just over 35" wide. Sheesh!]

      As for the Tie swarm, I hadn't really appreciated just how powerful it has the potential to be.

      I must point out that DS was in no way 'power-gaming' (hell, it's only our second game!) but it was the special rules that took me aback - specifically 'Swarm Tactics' x2 and Carnor Jax's special rule. I'm a prat for not even trying to find out in advance, too.

      I know, of course, that there are some 'builds' which can counter the swarm well, but I'm in this for fun: I've no wish to go down that route even if I could afford it. Which I can't.

      Now then, time to start working on an old-school solution...


      - D

    2. I've played ties with small swarms so far. It is really hard to fly without them all just bumping in to each other. I think it takes a fair bit of skill to fly a large swarm successfully. It sounds like your opponent did what was needed by a swam-ish list to win. He isolated your ships a bit and picked your ships off one at a time. Assault missiles (I think it is this card) is good for taking out swarms. It's also a really good idea to target Howlrunner first and she buffs the models around her (especially with swarm tactics).

    3. Yeah, DS played well, but I did all the hard work for him - I isolated my own ships, failed to take proper advantage of some of my special abilities, was unable to successfully kill off Howlrunner (good to know she's a 'she' by the way: thanks! - I was flying 'Tala' Squadron Pilot as a 'she' just because I thought I needed some variety) or pick on ANYONE effectively enough to kill them, and the only missile I got off (the aberrant torpedo, as it happened) failed to hit anyone.

      I dont think I was actually packing Assault Missiles either: I think I photographed that card in error!

      I suppose I ought to point out that the dice didn' really go my way either...but that seems churlish...

    4. i don't think it is entirely fair to say it dominates the game SinSynn. the swarm is still excellent but there are several rebel builds out there that can comfortably kick its ass, and it has severe trouble beating phantoms and decent interceptors.

  3. I am having a hard time grasping what your A-wing did in the second movement turn. Did you K-turn then boost turn.

    1. Hi, eriochrome!

      If memory serves, I was packing 'Push the Limit', so I went straight then did two consecutive gentle boost turns to swing me round into arc. It surprised my opponent but my shooting was still as much use as an ashtray on a motorcycle.

    2. I am hardly an expert but the A-wing does not really push out much firepower. Without Target Lock or Focus your 2 attack dice are not going to do anything to a defense 3 ship.

      Looking at your lists he seems to have to outnumbered 5 to 4, outgunned with 1 more attack 3 ship with everything else equal, out Agilitied, out piloted skilled, only thing you have is like 2 extra hull plus shields.

      I think sometimes you need to watch over upgrading with the fancy pilots and such. The minimum X-Wing, Z-95, and A-Wing come in at a combined 50 points leaving room for at least 2 more ships. Your 24 point Cracken dies just the same as the 12 point Bandit pilot as you probably saw. The super A-wing pilot is neat but he should be not target at Jax's group since the best part of push the limit is the double tap target lock and focus to make your 2 attack dice do something.

      Fly and learn.

    3. Wow - top tips, and what a speedy anlysis: thanks, mate!

      As it happened, we only had those four rebel ships, and we're still only finding our feet, so I was happy to artificially build it up to 100pts sin order to try all the baddies out.

      We're both quite interested in playing out some more narrative missions soon, so that's the next step...

      ...that and me getting some more rebel ships...

    4. Nothing beats the Chewie Piloted Falcon for beginning rebel players. Put Luke on the guns and add in veteran instincts and it is a cool 50. You can then add 3 more of the cheap ships. The opponent will probably focus on Chewie which will help the other ships stay alive if they are acting later.

    5. If you are tight on funds so that you have to pick up only a ship every so often, I would suggest:

      Squadron Builder which allows you to select each individual box you own and build lists just from those parts. Then you can add a possible purchase and see what it adds to list options.

    6. Crumbs - another top tip! Thanks so much, eriochrome - I really appreciate you taking the trouble.

    7. Drax, a quick point, you cant do two of the same action EVER, even if one is a free action, so no double boosts i'm afraid. note that receiving a toke is not the same as doing an action, so you can still evade and then be given an evade toke from somewhere else (for example)

    8. Oh - oops! Thanks, old pal - on both counts!

  4. Love the bat rep drax, this is a game I've been meaning to try out ever since it came out! For me your only error was a lack of B-wings! Don't know if they are much good in the game but they win for me on style alone!

    1. Thanks, Mate!

      X-Wing is ACE (and I made errors aplenty) but B-Wings and the lovely Y-Wings are only available to pre-order at the mo, so options are limited. Watch this space though...!

  5. Win or lose, it's still a gorgeous game! Glad you're having fun with it, I find balancing "buying a mess of upgrades" with " just having more bare-bones ships" is an interesting conundrum.

    Also, that's about $9/gallon. Oof!

  6. Looks like an awesome game! I've been looking for a straightforward enough game that can be completed in a short while. I'll give it a go mate.


  7. Rebel scum ! Suck vacuum...

    I'm getting me one of these

  8. A very entertaining read! I'm with you as far as keeping it light and fun with X-Wing. I'll just play the ships I like and try out different combinations for fun. Why bother power-gaming, and it's too expensive anyway, especially with something as easy to buy as these models! Cheers, Paul :-)


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