My mate Craig R. had his "Level Up" day and had a whole heap of gaming buddies over to roll dice and such-and-such. I offered to run a big introductory game of X-wing, as quite a few of the guys seem interested in the game but not yet willing to take the plunge. Craig R. himself has a little fleet of ships but had never played a game.
To kick things off I ran a quick game just with Craig R. before people arrived. This gave him some exposure to the rules in action and, I think, a deeper understanding of solid list building. He made all the rookie errors and picked up on some key strategies in a short period of time. Next I set up ~ 300 points of Imperials and Rebels so that we could re-visit the Battle of Endor in (some of) all its glory. The lists were chosen so that as many people as possible could control a functional component, that didn't rely on synergy with other units. The lists are provided after the battle report for those who are interested in that sort of thing.
The fleets lined up against each other ready to go. Most ships only had one upgrade to reduce the cognitive load on the new players. I don't think there were any Decimators on Endor, but I wanted a point-sink on the Imperial side to simplify setup and avoid a TIE swarm whitewash. I also love Decimators (there, I said it). If I ran this scenario again I would probably take the Decimator out and run the Imperials 50 points or so light.
...Or should I say "Mostly Effective Obstacle Dodging". After playing the first game Craig R. was a little more savvy about manoeuvring and the kind of mistakes new players make. We both had to chuckle as the Wade flew the TIE swarm on the left flank in perfect formation whilst the Rebels seemed to scatter randomly after the first turn. Very early in the game people figured out how important planning your moves was, as a few ships lined up obstacles with no way of avoiding them next turn.
The Crazy Furball
As the two fleets finally found range a crazy furball erupted. The TIEs on each flank swept towards the centre of the board, overlapping their firing arcs and focusing on single targets until they were destroyed. Wedge was the first to go. The Rebel attack was more disjointed, splitting fire between different TIE's and the Decimator. This was mainly due to a failure to manoeuvre in such a way that ships could fire on the same target. Another lesson learned!
Where is the Falcon off to? The B-wing vapes the nearest squint, but Wedge bears the brunt of the TIE swarm.
The Rebels manage to get a Y-wing and A-wing in position to fire at the Decimator, causing heavy damage.
The End Game
The Imperial flanks converge on the Rebels in a scissor like manoeuvre, catching the Y-wing and A-wing between them, whilst proton torpedoes and a proton rocket from the TIE bombers and TIE Advanced destroyed the last X-wing. The Falcon finally made it into the thick of the battle and got the Decimator down to one hull point.
At this stage we had been playing for a good couple of hours and I could see the Rebel players lamenting their early tactical decisions. It is amazing how quickly pick this game up. With only the B-wings, a damaged A-wing and Falcon still in play, they were happy to call it quits and discuss how they could have done things differently.
All things considered, this was a great experience for everyone. It showcased the models and the importance of manoeuvring (which is what got me hooked on the game), as well as the richness that upgrades add to gameplay. As I mentioned earlier, if I ran the scenario again, I would probably ditch the Decimator (and perhaps the TIE Advanced as well) and put all the new players on the Rebel side. That would give them a little bit more room to make errors. Hopefully a couple of the guys catch the bug and deepen our player pool in the future.
See you across the table,
Imperial (293 points)
- 4 Black Squadron TIEs with Expose
- Tetran Cowall and a Saber Squadron TIE/In with Predator
- Major Rhymer and a Gamma Squadron TIE bomber with Advanced Proton Torpedoes, Proton Torpedoes and Proton Bombs
- Rear Admiral Chiraneau with Ruthlessness, Engine Upgrade, Mara Jade, Tactician and Rebel Captive (I call this one the Stress Fairy)
- Maarek Stele with Squad Leader, Proton Rockets and Experimental Interface
Rebels (293 points)
- Wedge Antilles and Red Squadron X-wing with Outmaneuver
- Horton Salm and Grey Squadron Y-wing with Ion Cannon Turret
- Tycho Celchu and Green Squadron A-wing with Push the Limit and Proton Rockets
- Ten Numb and Blue Squadron B-wing with Autoblasters
- Lando Calrissian in the Falcon with Veteran Instincts, Engine Upgrade, Nien Nunb and Gunner