Back in 2012 I was fortunate enough to attend Star Wars Celebration VI with Stinky Cheese. One of the things I was most looking forward to was checking out a miniatures game that Fantasy Flight Games was about to release: Star Wars X-Wing. Swinging by their booth we drooled over the preview models, picked up a copy of the core game (foolishly skipping the expansions) and, within hours, had our fighters battling it out on my kitchen table.
I immediately fell in love.
Over the next several months I bought another core set and consumed the new waves as they were released. At Gen Con 2013 I ran to the FFG booth in the opening minutes and waited nervously in line until I had secured the new releases. Later that weekend was when they made the official announcement about epic/cinematic play and debuted the first “huge ship” models, the CR-90 Corvette (the first ship shown in the SW saga) and the GR-75 (of “escape from Hoth” fame). We, of course, gawked over the display, marveling at how gorgeous the models appeared.
Over the next several months more details emerged about the huge expansions and the new Epic Tournament format. Tons of speculation (read “arguments”) could be read on the forums as to how viable the expansions would be and if their overall impact on the game would be positive. One of the sticking points for many of the hardcore miniature gamers was FFG’s decision to use a “relative” scale which is smaller than the fighter’s 1/270 (FFG’s rationale for this can be found here). Overall I remained tentatively optimistic. And, one year after I put my nose print on the glass case at Gen Con, I finally got to man the bridge of the CR-90 and give epic play a shot.
Scenarios: CR-90 “Point of No Return” Campaign Scenarios 1, 2b & 3b
Imperial Objectives (all scenarios): Disable 1 section of the CR-90
Players: Mr. Cupcake, Metalhead, Pawatrooper, Stinky Cheese, Pookie and Shart Storm. In Scenario 1 I took the helm of the CR-90 (the only Rebel ship). For the succeeding games we randomized the teams.
Note: I’m only providing a cursory overview of the squadron lists and objectives as the former has assignments that are fixed and the latter is directly copyrighted material that I don’t want to post completely online. The full details of the scenarios can be found in the campaign booklet provided with the Tantive IV Expansion.
Scenario 1: Imperial Victory
Rebel Objective: Survive 6 Turns
Rebels: 1xCR-90 Corvette
Imperials: 6xTIE Fighters
This game was pretty straight forward. The Imps closed in on the Corvette, got inside the turbo lasers’ minimum range and chewed up the hull. The zero agility of the CR-90 pretty much allowed the TIE’s to cause damage with impunity, especially when they got to Range 1. The one moral victory was splashing two TIE’s with the “cowcatcher” effect when I executed a bank that they didn’t expect. It wasn’t enough, though, as the fore section was crippled early in Turn 5’s Combat Phase.
Scenario 2b: Imperial Victory
Rebel Objective: Escape off neutral board edge.
Rebels: CR-90, 2x X-Wings & 1x B-Wing
Imperials: 3xTIE Fighter, 2xTIE Interceptor, 1xTIE Bomber and 1xTIE Defender
This game went rather poorly for the Rebellion. The fighter screen moved forward and got one, solid volley off before the Imperials shot past them. This was exacerbated by an unfortunate overlap that blocked on of the X-Wing’s Koiogran Turn and, for all intents and purposes, put it out of the game. The rest of the fighters did their best to come about, but couldn’t prevent focused fire from virtually every Imperial fighter that crippled the fore section in turn 4 or 5 (can’t remember exactly).
Scenario 3b: Imperial Victory
Rebel Objective: Fix the Hyperdrive
Rebels: CR-90, Wedge Antilles, 1x B-Wing
Group 1 – 2x bombers, 1xLambda
Group 2: 3x TIE Interceptors
Group 3: 6x TIE Fighters
This was a really fun scenario to run. It involved an escalation of force by the Imps as Groups 2 and 3 arrived several turns into the game. In retrospect it was also the scenario where the Rebels did the best job in working toward their objective, especially considering we were not doing energy management correctly and the scenario heavily depended on energy management (see below). They also did an excellent job keeping their fighters shooting and splashed several Imperial ships, including the Lambda shuttle and several TIE’s.
Scenario 4: (not played, ran out of time)
The biggest thing we noticed was that the tactics for the Imperials over the campaign got fairly repetitive: ignore the fighters, close with the CR-90 as quickly as possible and focus fire on one section. In each game the Corvette was put out of commission with relative ease (3b being the closest it came to victory). This prompted us to review of the rules1 and it turned out that we mishandled the energy steps (see below), most likely due to the fact we were using printouts from a squadron builder that obfuscated/confused the energy rules.
Mistakes We Made
- The Reinforce action can be performed FROM any section ON either section.
- The CR-90 should have rolled for potential damage when it collided with the TIE’s.
- CR-90 secondary weapons do not allow for the additional Defense Dice from extended range (caught this mid-game). For example, the “hard points” upgraded with Turbo Laser and Quad Lasers, which is why the Turbo Laser has the rule that the target doubles their agility.
- When allocating energy it is placed on the Ship Card up to the maximum amount of energy then can be assigned to upgrade cards up to the card’s energy limit. The Energy Steps include:
- Gain Energy: Place the energy on the SHIP Card
- Allocate Energy: Move energy from the SHIP Card to any Upgrade Cards (up to the energy limit)
- Use Energy: Use any upgrade abilities that have the word “energy” (once per card per turn, secondary weapons still fire in the Combat Phase)
Primary takeaway: use actual game components should be used for the first pass at new expansions.
The campaign itself does have some merit and was, for the most part, a ton of fun to play through. Next time I will definitely play it using the optional rules for “non campaign play” where players are given freedom to equip the CR-90 as desired. This would allow the Rebel player to equip quad lasers in the fore and aft sections, something that I believe would help it fight off enemy fighters.
As for aesthetics I think the huge ship scale held up quite nicely with the fighters. The ship is big enough to look impressive and the detail is so exquisite you can’t help but cut it some slack. That being said I am still interested in doing a test game with the Kenner CR-90 and some modified movement rules (or simply let the model move in a set path) as it does look a lot more epic next to the fighters.
Part II – The Hurricon 2014 JDL Challenge (coming soon):
In the next few weeks we will have run a JDL Challenge using the Epic Play Tournament format I will post a recap as well as final thoughts and impressions of the huge ships. Stay tuned!!
1There is a standing rule in “The Bunker” that we are not a book club. If a rule isn’t known and can’t be looked up quickly we make our best ruling and drive on with the game. This sometimes leads to errors, but it also prevents things from becoming too bogged down. There’s plenty of time to read between games and make adjustments for the next time.