The Millenium Falcon and Red Two.
Hello dear readers!
Sorry for the meager amount of posts lately. Seems life and Christmas and stuff got the best of me. I've squeezed in some board gaming in the form of High Frontier and Gears of War, and I've got my hands on some of the new Dust Warfare models from Campaign Book Hades! More on that later though.
We were actually prepping to play some Dust Warfare this weekend, but then Anders discovered that Alphaspel, a local games store where I buy most of my stuff, was running the X-Wing Kessel Run Event! Having some excellent prices like the Millenium Falcon and Slave-1 on offer we decided to enter. Now, playing the game is a reward in itself, but getting one of the big boys... that gets you fired up. Hehe! It had been a while since we played X-Wing though so we decided to meet up early to get in a practice game, so we could refresh our memories of the rules as well as test out our squadron builds.
With this event coming up I found an great excuse to put some extra paint touches on my models. I looked through some different reference photos as well as Buckaroo's excellent blog for inspiration and ended up painting Wedge's Red Two and Luke's iconic Red Five. And since I will be getting two more X-Wings for sure Red Leader and Red Three (Biggs!) will join them. Beside painting individual detailing on the fuselage I also decided to paint engine glow and I think this really helped to add some dynamic flair to the models!
Red Five flanked by Red Two and Gold Two.
Is it a bit too pink? Maybe.
Anyway, getting back to plannig my squadron...
The way I see it a three ship rebel build don't have enough staying power or offensive power to measure up against larger imperial swarms of 6+ ships, so I knew I wanted four ships at least. At first I considered four X-Wings, but that would have meant buying an extra core box, which is not within budget at the moment, so three X-Wings and one Y-Wing. Garven Dreis (Red Leader) and "Dutch" Vander (Gold Leader) have a great synergy between their special abilities so those would form the core of my force. To provide extra strike power and hit points I also broght two X-Wing rookie pilots - they only have a pilot skill of 2, but I've found that as long as you have one or two pilots with decent skill, some with lesser isn't that big of a problem. Here's what my squadron looked like:
Total Squad Points: 99
Pilot: Garven Dreis, X-Wing (26)
Upgrades: R2 Astromech (1)
Pilot: "Dutch" Vander, Y-Wing (23)
Upgrades: Ion Cannon Turret (5)R5-K6 (2)
Pilot: Rookie Pilot 1, X-Wing (21)
Upgrades: No upgrades Selected
Pilot: Rookie Pilot 2, X-Wing (21)
Upgrades: No upgrades Selected
The idea obviously being to get target locks aplenty from Duch with his astromech and extra focus from Garven, allowing me to attack as often as possible with both - making for some seriously deadly shots. This worked well during my test match against Anders; I flew in a tight formation on my left flank, with rookies at the front and Garven and Dutch staggered behind them. For the first three turns I simply flew 1 straight ahead to allow the imperials to break formation as they tried to move through the asteroids. When they finally were in range they were pretty much tangled up and I could start overlapping my firing arcs fairly effectively - ending in a win for the rebels.
Now it was time for the real event however!
The turn up wasn't as great as the organizer had hoped as there were only six of us, however I wasn't too upset since that meant better chances of winning. Hehe! We would play two games each, in a Swiss style tournament, and then the top two players would meet in the finale using two pre-built lists consisting of the new ships.
Match OneIn my first game I faced a guy named Micke and his imperial semi-swarm. Not a full eight TIE swarm fortunately, but six fighters was still the most I had ever faced. He had four academy pilots though who all have a pilot skill of 1, meaning they have to set up first. Micke deployed them in two pairs, one on each flank. This was just what I was hoping for as this would hopefully allow me to deploy in a refused flank and deal with the pincers piecemal. I set up my tight formation and as he had already committed himself Micke split up his two "star pilots" - Vader and Howlrunner.
First exchange of fire.
"It's called a Koiogran turn, suckers!"
Around this time Vader and his cronies had arrived, however they had some trouble staying in formation. Some shots were exchanged but although damage was applied (to the imperial side mostly) I didn't manage to destroy anything (one TIE got disabled by the Ion cannon though!). The next turn proved bloody! Vader made a neat move putting himself behind my formation, but the rest of the TIEs were out of position and couldn't line up any clean shots. The rebels on the other hand destroyed two TIEs and in the following turn the ionized TIE revved his engine a bit too hard as power came back on and he ran off the playing field (counting as destroyed). Vader shot at me but didn't do enough damage and that was the end of the game.
I'm happy that I managed to stay in formation all the way through!
Counting up points I got 55 points vs Micke's 21 earning me a Match Win (five points). This put me in the lead of the tournament as the others only had Modified Match Wins (three points). Looking good!
Match TwoIn my second game I met yet another imperial player. Although it would have been interesting to play a mirror match I was still happy with this as it's what I'm used to. Fredrik, who commanded the imperials, had put together a different squadron from Micke. There were more named pilots but one less ship on the whole. I used my refused flank tactic again while Fredrik deployed his in two close groups at the center of his deployment zone.
Big empty space is empty. I need to get cracking with my 3D asteroids!
I trundled forwards slowly but the imperials were in a great hurry and raced towards me at max speed! During the second turn I made the mistake of continuing dead ahead when I probably should have banked right, robbing me of some shots. I did manage to destroy a single TIE but then made some stupid decisions where I wasted target locks and focus trying to shoot Dark Curse, who's immune to that stuff!
I should have banked...
The following turn was a big mess in every way! My ships all managed to crash into TIEs, asteroids or each other meaning I didn't get to take any actions - and of course I lost a hit point from the asteroid (something I would keep doing). This was a turning point for me and from this point forward it was pretty much every man for himself as everyone was flying all over the place! In the tumult Rookie 1 was destroyed (again!) and both Garven and Dutch were taking heavy damage.
Everything was going wrong at the same time!
The following turn both Dutch and Garven kept flying into asteroids in desperate attempts to get out of the TIE firing arcs, while the rookie made a koiogran turn to get his bearings on his enemies. Dutch managed a couple of shots behind him with his Ion cannon, stunning one of the Obsidian Squadron pilots for two turns straight!
In the end this wild gamble paid of as both Garven and Dutch barely espaced with one hit point left each and it came down to the shot by the rookie. Garven coached him through it and Dutch had linked his targeting computer with the rookie's. He pressed the firing studs and patchow-patchow - the TIE went up in a ball of dust! This was the final turn of the game so we added up the points.
I got 33 points vs Fredrik's 21 earning me a Modified Match Win (three points). This put me at eight points, tied with a guy named Steve who also played rebels. As we were only six players we only played two seeding games before the finale and me and Steve rolled off to see who would get to pick which pre-built list first...
FinaleI rolled the more hits on the dice and decided to forego the huge Falcon, flown by Lando, with A-Wings in favour for the more hard-hitting Firespray 31, flown by Kath Scarlet, with TIE interceptors.
Sorry for the fuzzy pictures during this match. Guess I was shaky from hunger.
The first couple of turns proved bloody as the interceptors and Firespray made quick work of one of the A-Wings and all but killed the other. Soontir Fel also put some heavy damage on the Falcon before succumbing to a fluke roll (even with his four evade dice thanks to stealth device).
Interceptors are absolutely deadly! I see a lot of all Interceptor lists in the near future...
The limping A-wing blasted away from the Firespray at top speed but couldn't evade it for long (having a large base makes these big ships surprisingly quick!) and was eventually blown apart by the heavy laser cannons of the Firespray.
That dot in the distance is an A-Wing running away.
What followed after this was a cat and mouse game between the Millenium Falcon and Kath Scarlet. While the Falcon was more heavily damaged the 360° fire arc meant that it could pretty much fly however it wanted, not needing to "aim". The Firespray can fire to the rear as well, but I lost one or two turns of fire when I made maneuvering mistakes, and this allowed Lando to catch up - damaging me heavily.
I had managed to put a critical hit on the Falcon, Damaged Cockpit, meaning Lando's piloting score was reduced to 0. However it was looking like Kath wouldn't make it as her ship only had a single hit point left vs the Falcons four! In the final turn Lando flew a bit too close to an asteroid and bumped into it, causing a hit, and then I rolled a very lucky four hits... Falcon evaded.... one of them! Which wasn't enough and Kath Scarlet flew off with a feeling of having been extremely lucky. Still, a win is a win. :)
No turret, but rearward facing guns is the next best thing. Go Firespray!
This meant I was the champion of our little tournament and I decided to pick the falcon to bring with me home. Although I play mostly rebels the final match didn't really matter all that much to me as I want Slave-1 as well. Still the Falcon is even more iconic and I'm looking forwad to trying her out in our future games.
Final ThoughtsI had a great time and was happy to see that the other players were all nice, sporting people who didn't stink of sweat and could hold a conversation without nerding off too much. Thanks for a great day guys! I'm definitely up for more later on. :)
What today taught me when it comes to the game is the importance of formation flying and maneuvering. You really want to create overlapping fields of fire - kill zones - with your ships and the moment your formation breaks is usually the moment you hand off your chances of winning to lady luck. Kind of like the battle of the second Death Star...
I probably wasn't able to exploit the Garven-Dutch combo quite as much as I had wanted to (mainly due to poor planning from my part), but it proved devastating when it did go off, often netting me four hits. So these two feel like a strong pair. Still, I think I'd like to try out Wedge next time.
Asteroids make things much more fun! When me and Anders had played non-mission games earlier we had simply played on a totally open table, leading to boring, predictable jousting battles. Asteroids help to break up the board a bit and make things more interesting.
The more I play X-Wing the more I start to appreciate the mechanics. Sure it's luck driven in many ways and fluke dice rolls can turn the tide in either direction. But being able to realiable create these kinds of flukes is one of the keys to the game (like the target lock/focus combo). However what I'm even more impressed with is how real life dog fight tactics can be applied to the game. In modified form of course, but it's nice when there's a proper connection to real life tactics rather than being simply "game tactics". It's very much like how I feel Infinity rewards real infantry skirmish tactics. It's neat!
Also Heavy Laser Cannons are... awesome! Sad that I didn't get to play with the bombs.
This has gone on long enough, so I'll simply leave you with some shots of the beautiful Millenium Falcon. I'll probably do some touch ups on her here and there - enhance some detailing and add engine glow for starters - but the model really looks great straight out of the box as well: