Category Archives: X-Wing

X-Wing RPG Crossover AAR

Last week Metalhead and I had the opportunity to try out some rules that bridged RPG and miniature gaming using Star Wars X-Wing. In doing so we tweaked the Stress rules and expanded the options available to the four PC’s who were crewing a single YT-1300 with a pilot, 2xGunners (top and bottom quad-lasers) and an Engineer. The scenario had them being chased by 8 vanilla TIEs run by the GM and temporary assistant GM (me). Instead of the normal turn order we did the following:

  1. TIE’s Activate (Maneuver from dial and single Action)
  2. YT-1300 Activates (see below)
  3. YT-1300 Shoots (see below)
  4. TIEs Shoot
  5. End Phase
The TIE Swarm advances in V formation.

The TIE Swarm advances in V formation.

The YT had upgraded Shields and Hull (+1 to each), was equipped with a Stealth Device and had 2xHoming Missiles (fired by the pilot). During activation the players did the following:

A) Pilot executes a single maneuver:

  • White Maneuvers (on dial): No additional effect
  • GREEN MANEUVER: -1 Stress Token
  • RED MANEUVER: +1 Stress Token
  • Maneuver NOT on the dial: Make a piloting skill check
    • SUCCESS=Maneuver completed, +1 Stress
    • FAIL=GM Selects Maneuver & +1 Stress Token
    • CRITICAL FAIL: 1 Critical Damage & +1 Stress Counter
  • STRESS: Only white/green maneuvers may be performed (i.e. only on dial)

B) Perform an Action: Pilot could Focus, Evade or Target Lock. The two gunners could make a skill check to receive a Focus token. Critical Failure resulted in no shooting that turn.

TIEs pursue the fleeing YT-1300

TIEs pursue the fleeing YT-1300

During the Combat Phase the two gunners and the pilot (if applicable) could make an attack. Gunners were considered to have Luke Skywalker’s crew ability.

The Imperial pilots close in for the kill.

The Imperial pilots close in for the kill.

Finally, during the End Phase the Engineer could make a skill check to do one of the following:

SUCCESS: perform one of the following:

  • Redirect Power to Shields: Restore a Shield
  • Redirect Power to Engines: Remove 1 Stress Token
  • Repairs: Flip a face-up damage card face-down
  • Countermeasures: Provide Pilot +1 Agility in following turn.
  • Engine Boost: Pilot immediately performs a free Boost Action.
  • Fire Anti-pursuit Lasers (if overlapped)

FAILURE: do nothing.

CRITICAL FAILURE: GM selects one of the following:

  • Engine Glitch: Only Green maneuver may be performed in next turn
  • Weapon Glitch: One quad gun knocked off line for one turn OR missiles disabled for one turn.
  • Computer Glitch: Red Target lock removed
  • System Overload: Gain +1 Stress token
  • Shield Failure: Lose 1 Shield

photo 3The result of the encounter was that the YT-1300 was able to splash 2 TIEs and then was disabled just before it could get off table (i.e. to the hyperspace point), which was technically a PC loss. Here’s what we learned:

Improves

  • Allow multiple crew and/or droids to take actions during Activation or in the End Phase (the latter if they didn’t perform one in the former, for example, a Co-pilot could establish a Target Lock while the pilot performed an Evade).
  • Limit the off-dial maneuvers available and/or increase the difficulty.
  • Increase difficulty of End Phase actions.

Sustains

  • Crew acting independently in their assigned roles
  • Objective driven scenario (not just fight to the death)
  • Beefed up PC ship

Overall the concept really worked. The game played quickly and smoothly and all players were engaged in the action. The build up in the RPG portion preceding the battle really amped up the tension and was framed by some more role playing that further increased the cinematic feel. It also turned out to be a great way of introducing new players to X-Wing.

I greatly look forward to trying this again with some of the tweaks we identified with a large ship or a small squadron of fighters. A few more stabs at it and I think it could easily be applied to the epic ships, too!!

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X-Wing Epic Play Game Review Part II: The Challenge (Tournament Format)

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In Part I we reviewed the CR-90 campaign and the first go at epic/cinematic play for the JDL. We also established we butchered the energy rules. A few weeks later we played our Hurricon 2014 JDL Challenge based on the epic tournament format and with a splash of cinematic flair in that there was some flavor text and the lists were built so they somewhat made sense for a mission taking place before the Battle of Yavin. You can find the scenario brief here.

Game Overview

Scenarios: Epic Tournament Format, 300pts

Imperials: Stinky Cheese, Pookie, CSI & Corpsman

  • Mauler Mithel (Squad Leader)
  • Backstabber
  • Dark Curse
  • 6x Black Squadron Pilot
  • Major Rhymer (2xProton Torpedoes, 1xMunitions Failsafe)
  • 2xScimitar Squadron Pilot (2xProton Torpedoes, 1xMunitions Failsafe)
  • Colonel Jendon (Heavy Laser Cannon, Rebel Captive, Stealth Device)
  • Bounty Hunter (Gunner, Stealth Device)

Rebels: Mr. Cupcake (me), Metalhead, Pawatrooper, & Papa Bear

  • Wedge Antilles (R5-P9, Proton Torpedoes, Squad Leader)
  • Jek Porkins (R5-D8, Proton Torpedoes)
  • Biggs Darklighter (R2-F2, Proton Torpedoes)
  • 3x Red Squadron Pilot (R2)
  • CR-90: Fore (Weapons Engineer, Quad Laser Cannons, Single Turbolasers, Sensor Team)
  • CR-90: Aft (Quad Laser Cannons, Engineering Team, Tibanna Gas Supplies)

Setup: We randomly selected teams and assigned ships then conducted the game per the tournament rules.

Summary of Rebel Strategy: On the Rebel side I deployed the CR90 on our left angled to traverse the play area lengthwise with the intent in engaging the Imperials early and be able to avoid the asteroids. Papa Bear deployed Biggs and a Red Squadron pilot on the left as an escort, ready for some early coordinate actions. Metalhead deployed Porkins and his wingman in the middle and were tasked with breaking up the TIE Bombers in anticipation that they would focus on the CR-90. And Pawatrooper took Wedge with his wingman to the right flank where he was hoping to draw off some of the fighters and be ready to cut back toward the center once he had thinned the ranks.

Summary of Imperial Strategy: TBP if a member of the Empire provides me with their strategy. As near as I can tell they intended on focus-firing on the CR-90 and then clean up the fighters.

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The Game

In the initial phase of the game things went about as can be expected. Very little maneuvering, just closing up on each other for the first pass. The CR-90 didn’t do a whole lot thanks to my less than stellar rolling (a problem that did not correct for the entire game), but, thanks to it not taking stress, it was able to ignore the Rebel Captive upgrade and open up the shuttle to fire from Biggs and wingman, who also targeted the Firespray. Backstabber’s flight, the shuttle and the Firespray shot forward and I got the distinct impression their goal was to pull in behind my Corvette in hopes of chewing up my aft section. In the middle, as we expected and somewhat feared, the bombers made a bee-line toward the CR-90. Porkins made a decent first pass, getting his red dice to show a good number of little blast marks. Unfortunately, Major Rhymer had an extraordinary run of good luck in which we were convinced he could roll nothing BUT evades and his flight was only scratched then left with clear space between them and their target (i.e. me). On the right Wedge was accomplishing his mission quite well, facing three TIE’s as well as drawing off an additional three TIE’s that were deployed in the center. In no time they had built up quite a furball.

With the initial pass complete the maneuvering and shooting began in earnest. The Shuttle and Firespray slowed and began to open fire on the Corvette as I scrambled to maintain shields and divert some power to the guns (still firing ineffectively). Backstabber directed two of his TIE’s after the Corvette and then, unexpectedly, peeled off to go after Biggs, who, after making a slow advance to maximize shooting opportunities, was coming about. The Red Squadron escort, who we will now refer to as “Ensign Meatshield,” turned into the traffic jam building in my engine wash and engaged all the ships that had me in their sights. Porkins and wingman did a fantastic bit of maneuvering to come in behind the bombers with target locks and focus stacked only to encounter stiff resistance when Rhymer’s luck held, leaving him and his flight free to unleash hell on the CR-90 in the form of multiple torpedo barrages which collapsed shields and slammed into my hull. On the right Wedge and wingman continued to mix it up with Dark Curse and Mauler Mithel, slowly splashing TIE’s and somehow staying in the fight despite being severely outnumbered.

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Coming into the back half of the game the situation balanced on a knife’s edge and it looked grim for the Rebels. Thanks to the multiple torpedo hits both sections of the Corvette were severely damaged. Wedge and Biggs both lost their wingmen, though they took TIE’s down with them. Major Rhymer’s wingmen made an extremely gutsy maneuver that landed them millimeters away from being run over by the CR-90 and allowed them to fire point blank into the aft section, which was now critical. This prompted Porkins to try for an equally risky maneuver that, unfortunately, ended in disaster as his ship clipped the port side of the Corvette. Uncharacteristically he ejected, knowing he couldn’t hold it together, and his ship disintegrated along my hull, but luckily caused no additional damage. Our luckiest moment was when, by chance, the Firespray miscalculated a maneuver and rammed the back of the CR-90. It didn’t cause any damage, but the follow on laser cannon fire was enough to finally cripple my engines and many crewman were lost as the aft section of the ship was sealed off.

With victory slipping through our fingers and time running out there appeared to be only one viable course of action: I diverted all the power I could scrounge to engines and began to calculate a jump to light speed. With most Imperial threats behind me this seemed the best chance at preventing the ship from being completely lost (and for us to retain as much of our squad point value as possible for the final tally). While I was effectively out of the fight, the fight was not out of the Rebels. The fortunes of war began to turn our way as Wedge splashed some TIE’s out front, opening a nice, clear lane for my escape, then raced down my starboard side to join Biggs and Porkins’ wingman in a brutal assault on the remaining TIE’s. They quickly reduced several of the enemy ships, including Major Rhymer, and disabled the Imperial shuttle. While not an overwhelming victory, it was enough to encourage the Imperials to withdraw and gave the Alliance force a chance to recover a jettisoned (and much chagrined) Porkins, board the Lambda shuttle. With their rebel ally liberated and a scowling Imperial officer in restraints they returned to their base on Yavin 4 looking forward to some much needed downtime.

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Summary

The game was extremely well balanced. At several points it could have gone either way and, frankly, we got really lucky with the Firespray ramming the CR-90 as its presence in the endgame could have spelled my doom (to CSI’s credit, she is a relatively inexperienced player and had never handled a large ship). One big Rebel mistake was that we failed to take into account how much effort it would take to get through the TIE Bombers’ hulls and prevent them from delivering their ordnance, which was one of the Imperials most successful attack runs and might have won them the game had they been able to follow it up with concentrated fire on the fore section of the Corvette. Also, with the exception of the first few turns, my inexperience with the Corvette kept showing as I had trouble maximizing the effectiveness of my target locks, which was part of the strategy with the selected upgrades. Also, with a little more experience maneuvering, I might have been able to take a less safe route across the board and prevented Porkins’ demise, crushing the bombers instead. On the Imperial side I think, in hindsight, they made one, critical mistake – sending the middle TIE group after Wedge and wingman instead of escorting the bombers to their target. Unbeknownst to them, but beknownst to us, that was playing right into our strategy. Any other setbacks they experienced were just due to capriciousness of the dice and inexperience navigating a swarm to get the right angle on the CR-90 (my one “huzzah” maneuver was fishtailing to block LOS to my fore section in the next to last turn). All in all both sides played a close match that was a lot of fun.

MVP Rebels: Pawatwooper for using Wedge effectively to isolate and destroy so many TIE’s despite being outnumbered 3:1.

MVP Imperials: Pookie for using Major Rhymer’s flight to effectively deliver all ordnance, thus allowing his forces to render the Corvette almost totally combat ineffective.


Epic/Cinematic Play Conclusions

First off, I love the feel of cinematic play and definitely think that larger games with themed lists is the way to go for a truly immersive experience. While not necessary to achieve this goal, the huge ship was definitely an enhancement and not a detractor. I especially like how the CR-90’s upgrades can be used to fit it to many different play styles or simply give it a different feel game to. On the downside I’m not a fan of its primary attack as, with a 3’ wide table, it’s too easy to get “under the guns” (i.e. hug the Corvette’s belt). And, even when you do get a shot at long range, it is really tough to hit targets that are rolling at least two more dice than you AND have access to focus/evade. In other words, I would much prefer the primary to be less like the turbo laser and more like the quad-laser, which is a “no-brainer” upgrade in my opinion. It’s also really important to keep in mind that it is easily damaged and, thus, relatively easy to marginalize early in the game, especially if you can cripple the aft section and cut its energy supply to a trickle. That being said, managing the energy felt like a game within a game and really added an enjoyable layer to the overall strategy. The entire game I was picturing my crew scrambling to keep the shields up and desperately trying to pick out targets as they screamed by the ship.

Bottom Line: If you like your games to have theme, context and a depth of strategy, then the huge ships are a solid investment that will give you endless returns.

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X-Wing Epic Play Game Review Part I: The Point of No Return

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.


Game Overview

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

Imperials:

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)


Campaign Summary

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

  1. The Reinforce action can be performed FROM any section ON either section.
  2. The CR-90 should have rolled for potential damage when it collided with the TIE’s.
  3. 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.
  4. 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:
    1. Gain Energy: Place the energy on the SHIP Card
    2. Allocate Energy: Move energy from the SHIP Card to any Upgrade Cards (up to the energy limit)
    3. 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.


First Impressions

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!!


Notes

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.

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