A couple of weeks ago I got my shiny new X-Wing core set stuff out on the kitchen table and played a little game against myself to try to get used to the mechanics and rules. Since then I’ve been acquiring expansion packs (poor availability allowing) and have been itching to play another game, but this time against a real person.
Last night I turned up at one of the two local gaming clubs that I know of, put my stuff down on the table, and ended up getting a game against a random stranger who happened to have a small armada in his possession. We settled on 100pt lists with me taking the Rebels lead by Luke and my opponent taking Vader and his TIE squadron. The postman didn’t bring me what I wanted earlier in the day so I played with ‘Dutch’ in his Y-Wing, Luke in an X-Wing with R2-D2 and a Red Squadron X-Wing pilot to make up the numbers. There were a few proton torpedoes in the mix too. They were facing Vader in his TIE-Advanced, 2 hulking TIE-Bombers and a shifty TIE-Interceptor. They were armed with a pretty alarming array of bombs and missiles.
It took me a couple of rounds to get my head back into things, picking up the range ruler instead of the movement template to move my Red Squadron X-Wing 3-straight ahead was a sign of where I am in terms of experience as well as proving an extremely alarming turn of events for my opponent as I was quickly in range ;-).
At the setup I had kept my 3 ships together on the left hoping to use Dutch’s skill of providing target locks to a close friendly ship to give me the extra locks I needed to fire my torpedoes. Vader had spread his squad out across the middle half of his side of the battle field. Once we engaged in combat, my piloting skill quickly made Dutch’s ability inconsequential as I either didn’t keep in range or forgot to pass on the target lock. I did manage to knock out one of the Bombers early on which given their impressive 6 hull points was quite a result for Luke and his plucky troopers. The mobility of the TIE ships and the expert handling of a more experienced opponent was evident as K-Turns and Barrel Rolls left me with reduced opportunities to take shots at the enemy, whilst maximising the number of shots coming my way.
Dutch was the target of the early Imperial fire and was the first Rebel ship lost and the Red Squadron pilot’s X-Wing was quick to follow. Luke and R2-D2 were left to fight the fight against the Emperor. Luckily Luke and R2 are a fantastic defensive combination and try as they might, and they did, the TIE’s could not apply the killing blow. Of course eventually they did take him out. I’d like to think that he would have flown away in any ‘normal’ situation, but the game being the game, time and attack dice eventually got the better of him but nit until R2-D2 had repaired shields for turn after turn.
We did start a second game but the club was closing and time was short. We made it into combat taking off a ship each but didn’t get to reach a conclusion. I have a feeling that Vader would have been the victor again though.
My opponent was fantastic. We chatted about our gaming and real lives, as we battled in the stars. He was very patient and at the end of the game I wanted to play more. A great introduction to X-Wing outside of my kitchen.
In terms of squad lists, I learnt that while I start out in the game I may be better placed trying to take named pilots or expertise that is specific to that pilot and not something that affects friendly ships within a range, such as Dutch providing target locks. I’m not skilled enough to manoeuvre well enough to take advantage of the ability. I think I’ll be better off learning the impact of each of the movement templates and getting used to the other cards and mechanics before I try flying in formations. At this stage I would prefer to stay alive longer or hit harder.
What else can I say other than that it’s a fantastic game and I can’t believe I went so long with it on my wishlist before hitting ‘add to basket’.
P.s. The game lends itself to a more visual battle report than many other gaming systems so I’ll look into taking some pictures next time.