Actually, it was last night. Got in a big, multiplayer game of X-Wing last night at the Dueling Grounds, my first proper game with the full rules. I picked up the bits for this game a little while back, and have been toying with the basic game with the Beloved and the Cub, but last night we broke out the full rules and had at it.
|My flight, the Interceptor in the middle.|
For those of you unfamiliar, the game is by Fantasy Flight, and it's pedigree goes back to the Wings of War game. The core mechanics have been cleaned up, streamlined, and supplemented by an additional layer of choices (you select from a range of actions) that adds some real tactical depth to the game. Plus, as one of the club guys pointed out, Star Wars.
|The approaching Rebel scum.|
One of our newer members, Stephen71, brought down a metric crap-tonne of gear, and we divvied it up into roughly 50 point increments. In total, around 150 points of Brave Imperials (led by the redoubtable hero Darth Vader) faced off against about the same points of Rebel Scum (with that whiny squirt Luke Skywalker along for the ride). Guess on which side I was playing?
|A different angle. The third Rebel flight, a mixed X/Y wing, was a fair bit behind.|
The core mechanics are pretty simple. For each of your ships, you dial in a manoeuvre on a selector placed face down (more zippy ships like TIE Fighters or A-Wings have more, and better, options than, say, a clunky ship like a Y-Wing). In ascending order of pilot skill, manoeuvres are revealed and executed (via a template), and then barring something preventing you, an action is selected. Different ships have different action options, but generally they benefit attack, defence, a combination, or offer supplemental manoeuvres.
|The joys of secret movement. X-wings cross over in a bid to support the B-wings, but . . .|
Firing is then resolved in descending order of pilot skill. In other words, more experienced pilots get to select their action after other ships commit to theirs, and have the opportunity to shoot before their less experienced opponents. Elegant, and a nice way to distinguish between skill classes. There are also a range of unique pilots with additional special abilities (Vader, for example, can take 2 actions).
|. . . end up in my gun sights as a result.|
Shooting resolves through a contested dice roll, with both attack and defence dice potentially modified by selected actions and context. Damage is resolved via a card mechanic. Generic damage is indicated by a face-down card, criticals by a face-up card with additional effects.
|Only one X-wing gets through the gauntlet. Everyone wanted a piece of Luke.|
In the game we played last night, the Imperials managed to break up a fairly loose Rebel deployment into even smaller pieces, and then use our superior numbers and manoeuvreability against them.
|I proceed to head off the trailing Rebel wing.|
TIE fighter variants tend to be relatively fragile compared to Rebel ships, but have mobility options that allow them to rapidly capitalize on even slight miscalculations by their opponents. I was piloting a flight of 2 regular TIEs and a TIE interceptor, and did my best to use my speed and manoeuvrability to engage selectively and focus fire on single targets.
|Meanwhile, the rest of the Imperials break up the leading Rebel formation.|
Over the course of the game, I helped shoot down Luke, shot down Biggs, and put the boots in on a Y-Wing as well. One of the other players, the G-man, brought a selection of Star Wars sound effects to the table, and much TIE-fighter screeching and laser blasting was enjoyed.
|Bottom right, Lord Vader swoops in behind an X-wing.|
In the end, we were able to engage the Rebels piecemeal, and thin them out before they could coordinate and do it to us.
|Furball in the backfield. The Y-wing fired it's Ion cannon at my interceptor, stalling it's movement.|
|The other TIEs compensated by splashing the X-wing escort.|
The Rebels were also using, I think, a couple ships that likely had a steeper learning curve, such as the B-Wing (a bit lumbering, heavy shields), and Y-Wing (slow, heavy hull), that have a role, but I think probably take some practice to get the most of them.
|I loop around for another pass, while the Y-wing scrambles to assist the other Rebels.|
|The TIE fighters move more quickly.|
The miniatures that come with the game are actually pretty nice. I've never been much of a fan of pre-paints, but the sculpts are excellent, with good detail, and the painting is more than adequate for table-top gaming. They evidently take repainting well, so there's that option for those so inclined.
|Like herding sheep. Filthy, Rebel, sheep.|
|Imperials close in.|
So far, I've picked up the core set, Vader's advanced TIE fighter, and a second X-wing, enough for 50-60 points a side with options. I will be picking up more. The game is easy to get into, but has enough depth in play (and in list design) to hold attention.
|Remaining X-wing and Y-wing are down, just the B-wing left.|
|It's about to get messy ;)|