Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Breaking into X-wing

A couple of posts ago I mentioned that I was starting to collect some miniatures for the X-wing game. They are pretty hard to find in Sydney, so most of mine have been purchased online. Well, a few days ago I walked into a random computer gaming store that had some stock but no customers! My jaw literally dropped. After composing myself I had a flick through the blisters and box-sets and settled on a TIE Defender (PC gaming nostalgia right there), a TIE Phantom and a Rebel Aces box because I love B-wings and A-wings are so damn fast. It will be very happy days when the supply of these figures starts to meet demand (well... at least my demand). Availability has been the greatest stumbling block for me breaking into the game, as the concept, artwork, miniature detail, rule-set and costs are all attractive.  
Wade picked some pieces up at PAX Australia this year (he was an "enforcer" or whatever you call them: dude who tells you where to find cool stuff and keeps the peace), as well as a cheap starfield mat. Last night we cracked open my new packs and had a training session. In my first game as the Rebel player, I tactically lost the battle in the second turn, by performing a manoeuvre that was poorly judged and left me in a stressed X-wing with two TIE fighters in my rear arc. I never shook them and they tag teamed over the next couple of turns to keep me perpetually under fire. Scratch one X-wing. The next game was a lot tighter, as we both started to predict each other's moves and understood the consequences of manoeuvres better. I picked another X-wing with Biggs Darklighter and R2-D2 as well as an A-wing with Jake Farrell and Marksmanship. I was hoping to use Biggs to draw fire away from the A-wing whilst it manoeuvred in close for some quick kills. Wade took my TIE defender with the best pilot available and a TIE fighter with some guy who is ridiculously hard to hit. 
I started the game by manoeuvring aggressively onto the right flank. Wade misjudged a move with his TIE fighter and hit some asteroids, which I was able to take advantage of and cause some damage with my A-wing. Already its speed and manoeuvrability were making an impact, though I could already see that it was going to take a lot of wasted shots to take down that TIE fighter pilot.

Expecting a midfield rush, the TIE's are flanked and weather the enfilade

Using the TIE defender as a deterrent, the TIE fighter manoeuvred to safety. After the X-wing took a pounding from the TIE defender, I managed to sucker the TIE fighter into another compromising position using the damaged X-wing as bait. The X-wing was taken out before it could fire but the A-wing's accurate response destroyed the TIE fighter. Thus began a deadly game of cat and mouse with the TIE Defender.

We traded tight manoeuvres and cannon fire for about half an hour all across the star field. We both had several chances to finish each other off but our lack of experiences in judging distances was telling. We both benefitted from each other's mistakes, only to emulate them later on.

Wade tries to take advantage of an ion cannon strike, but miscalculates the distance and overshoots; a temporary reprieve 

Wade scored a vital hit with his ion cannon, which ultimately ruined my chances of victory. He judged his last move well and unleashed a torrent of fire into the side of my disabled A-wing, destroying it utterly.

What a great game! X-wing is easy to pick up but can be intensely tactical, with plenty of scope for scenario and campaign play. The double-blind style of play is fun, adding a nice dose of random to the game. You really need to bend your brain and think about multiple contingencies if you want to play this well. I can't wait to have another crack at it with larger forces.

See you across the table,