Thursday, 3 April 2014

"Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1!

Yes this post is going to be jam packed with X-Wing goodness,

the last 3 weeks have hosted The NAGA X-Wing competition and “3,750:1” a 1000 point X-Wing game

Lets jump right in!

NAGA X-Wing competition

Originally I planned to use a list based around giving all my ships boost, thus able to change direction to ensure beyond doubt that I could shoot every turn, I also originally wanted the YT-1300 with a gunner, making doubly sure it would hit something every turn. After a couple of tester games I decided both of these ideas were needlessly expensive.
In the end I settled on a more streamlined list, going for the classic A-wing Tycho Push the limit list, the tank YT-1300 with chewy shrugging off crit effects, and a B wing for the knife fights.

My list:

  • A-Wing, Tycho Celchu, Push the limit, Shield Upgrade. 
  • YT-1300, Chewbacca, Millenium Falcon.
  • B-Wing, Dagger Squadron Pilot.

Total:100 points

Game Plan:

I set out with a fairly basic plan for each game, positioning both the A-wing and B-wing together on one side of the table pointing directly forwards, with the falcon on the other side of the table pointing diagonally away from the other 2 ships. My plan was to always change the direction of the falcon with a tight turn off the bat, misdirecting the opponent – unless it seemed better to continue in that direction. I also always kept a decent sized asteroid field in the centre as I find the falcon insanely manoeuvrable and enjoy leading the enemy through it at any opportunity.

Apologies for lack of info on the opponent lists, it was a few weeks back now.

Game 1
Nigel – Tycho Celchu, X-wing Biggs, X-wing (named)
Without wanting to sound like it was a walk over, I essentially lucked out with my positioning and manoeuvres resulting in me running rings around Nigel’s squadron, wiping him out to a man. This was the game I was actually unsure about due to the 3 named pilots, but as it turned out I ended up being able to wipe out Biggs early on, essentially removing his blocking ability by using it to my advantage. 5 competition points for a complete win.

Game 2
Scott – TIE Swarm with vader in a TIE Advanced
This game I was having difficulty planning my moves, it’s hard to run rings around superior numbers, in retrospect I should have concentrated on killing a ship each turn, focusing my attacks, and trying to keep out of R1 of all the fighters. In the end I lost the Falcon, losing 42 points, but somehow managed to kill enough to claim back 43 points, giving me a technical win for competition 3 points.

Game 3
Dave – 3x TIE interceptor, 1 TIE fighter,
This was a nervous game, Both Dave and I were after a decent win. I used the Falcons manoeuvrability to keep it behind the interceptors, some unlucky dice rolling from Dave meant his first attack run was fairly uneventful, resulting in a largely scattered game of pot shots whilst the falcon just did its thing. It was extremely close, but I managed to scrape a technical win = 3 competition points

Game 4
Brent – 3x B-Wing, Heavy laser cannon
This was THE game. Brent has a tendancy to take a pretty hardcore list and utilise it to its fullest. In this case 3 heavy laser cannon toting B-Wings flying in a defensive wall proved impenetrable. Flying the three ships together creates a “Death zone” in front where you are going to be hit by 1, 2 or 3 rounds of 4 dice shots, regardless of range. The B-Wings manoeuvres also allow the wall to switch direction neatly, by flipping with a koiogran 2, or pulling a tight turn, the fire arc is easily turned to face any oncoming foes. My first mistake was flying the A-wing straight at them. The second mistake was flying my B-wing straight at them. The final mistake was being anywhere near the B-Wings. In retrospect I’m still completely at a loss how to approach this list, I could have flown the falcon and B-wing at the wall, try to scatter the squad whilst getting the A-wing to fly in behind and get close, but this would probably have ended in the demise of the falcon turn 1, not a great position to be in. I think I should have made brent approach me through the Asteroid field, forcing him to make some manoeuvre decisions. Luckily not losing the falcon kept Brent from getting a full win. A loss = 0 competition points for me

I think the tension was too high with this game and i forgot to take any pictures, imagine 3 B-Wings strafing left and right on the far table edge whilst I wandered straight into it and blew up.

11 points got me 2nd place, with a £5 prize
Brent took the winning spot for the £10 prize.

“3,750:1” a 1000 point X-Wing game

After the X-Wing competition, I figured it would be a nice send off to have a large game of X-Wing (or as we have jokingly referred to in the past as "Proper X-Wing")

I spent a few days throwing together some ideas, worked out how many ships the club could muster, thought about what would make the game fun, play quickly, and be entirely based on the idea of a scenario that captures the flavour of Star Wars. Both myself and Dave from NAGA have fond memories of the X-Wing and Tie Fighter games, and I think we're both slightly addicted to this game. (Bring on the bigger stuff - fleets ahoy!)

The Scenario
A convoy of smugglers has been located by the Empire making their way through a particularly dangerous asteroid field, their cargo includes vital Imperial and Rebel secret information to be sold to the highest bidder. Neither side is willing to pay the treacherous pirates, or indeed allow the information to fall into enemy hands.
In a bid to escape, the smugglers have begun unloading delicate information as satellite buoys to distract both factions.

The Fleets

The fleets were fitted out to stay characterful to the Star wars universe. for example all Y-wings have Ion turrets as standard and long range torpedoes. Any ship that could take as astrodroid had one fitted - R2's for the Y-wings and R5s for the X-wings.
TIE Bombers are loaded to the nines with heavy ordnance including proton bombs.
The A-wings and Interceptors were left standard to keep them focused on shooting, the X-wings and TIE advanced were upgraded with advanced proton torpedoes and homing missiles respectively to give them options.

Another consideration was the Pilot Skills. I opted to have 3 groups of ships, the Fast fighters, the fighter bombers, and the TIE fighters. The interceptors and A-wings were pilot skill 3, the TIE fighters were pilot skill 1, and everything else was pilot skill 2. this kept the turn sequence simple to remember.

Imperial Fleet 
12x TIE Fighter Academy [12] (1) - 144 
6x TIE Interceptor Avenger [20] (3) - 120 
4x TIE Bomber Scimitar [16] (2) proton bomb [5] Proton Torpedoes [4] concussion missiles [4] Assault missiles [5] - 136 
4x TIE Advanced Tempest [21] (2) Homing Missiles [5] - 104 
Empire fleet total: 504 points

Rebel Fleet 
6x X-Wing Rookie [21] (2) R5 astromech [1] adv proton torpedoes [6] - 168 
3x A-Wing Green [19] (3) - 57 
3x B-Wing Blue [22] (2) Heavy laser cannon [7] - 87 
6x Y-Wing Gold [20] (2) R2 astromech [1] Ion Turret [5] Proton Torpedoes [4] - 180 
Rebel fleet total: 492 points

Game total: 996 points (ok so I lied about it being 1000 points, but if you include the Smuggler convoy it bumps over)

The Rules

Deployment (Rebel fleet arrives from hyperspace):
The fleets were divided into squadrons of 3 or 4 ships, this was entirely for deployment purposes and to divide the fleet between the players.

The imperial players had first choice of deployment, getting to place one of the ships from each squad anywhere on their half of the board, facing any direction.

The rebels then placed their squadron leaders against their table edge with any straight forwards manouevre selected, ready to arrive from hyperspace.

The rest of the imperial ships were then deployed in their squadrons (within R1 facing any direction)

The rebel squadron leaders then revealed their dials, with the intention of making two immediate movements using the selection shown on their dials.

BUT the imperials revealed they had an Interdictor class Star Destroyer disrupting the hyperdrives, bringing the rebels out early. Each rebel squadron leader rolled an attack die, on a hit result they had to reduce their dial by 1. if this reduced the movement to 0, the squadron were simply placed on the table edge and became stressed.
Otherwise the rebel ships made two movements with the current movement dial.

Damage tokens:
I made some damage tokens (the orange circles bottom left of the above picture) to replace any damage caused. Crits were still resolved using a damage deck for each side, but normal damage was recorded with tokens to reduce card usage - this had the added benefit of saving space around the ship cards.

The Satellites:
6 satellite buoys were placed around the table, each with 1 rebel information token and 1 imperial information token on it.
Just like the main rulebook scenario a ship that was overlapping a satellite buoy could perform a scanning action, although I increased this to "Any ship that has moved over or is overlapping a satellite buoy..."
A scanning ship simply takes the corresponding information token from the satellite buoy and places it on the ship's card.
I also added the ability to destroy satellites: any primary attack which scores two hits in a single attack destroys a satellite, no focus tokens or target locks can be spent on this attack.
Any information tokens on a satellite or ship that is destroyed is lost and removed from the game.

The Smuggler Convoy:
Consisting of two YT-1300s and two Lambda class shuttles (one with 3 rebel information tokens, the other with 3 imperial information tokens), the convoy was set up on one short table edge. at the end of each round the convoy would make a 2 straight forward movement, always keeping a 1 straight space between them. they never performed actions, and never dinked each other, though they could dink other ships. The two YT-1300s then immediately performed a single attack each against the closest enemy ship (Rebel or Imperial)

Winning the game:
At the end of the game, the team holding the most information tokens (on surviving ships) was the winner. The tokens on the shuttles were also counted if the shuttle was still operational.
The rebel fleet was outnumbered, but focused.
I placed my TIE fighter and bomber squadron in an escorting position to stay true to the scenario.
The Convoy has its sights set on escape.
the TIE fighters and advanced move in to engage the Rebel Y-Wing...wing
My bombers, sensing a firefight was imminent, decided to pull a U-turn and go for the shuttle holding the Rebel information. one dinks however and is left pointing in its original direction. pulling evasive manouvers the pilot decides to join the fighters and engage other targets.
The B-Wings prepare to devastate the Imperial lines.
The Y-Wings open up with a volley of torpedoes, (Brent hands me a stack of torpedo cards which I gawk at whislt packing them away. luckily the Advanced shields protect them from too much damage.

My TIE squadron loses the squadron leader but does a fine job of avoiding the attention of B-wing heavy lasers
My lonely Bomber (#3) drops a proton bomb knocking shields from the smuggler's lead YT-1300 and the following "Rebel" shuttle
these are not great places for TIEs to be
#3 attempts to help out Dave's Interceptor squadron
on the far end of the table X-wings clash with TIEs and interceptors

My bombers spent a while crashing through the smuggler convoy
The Y-wings make their approach on the convoy

Dave's lone information carrying TIE (#4) was following the convoy, marking its target, the 'rebel' shuttle
The last turn, my lonely TIE pops a shot at the 'rebel' shuttle, and does nothing
Then Dave's #4 takes a cheeky shot!
Kaboom! and the last two hull points pop!

Imperial hold 3 pieces of information, plus the shuttle is still alive making 6 in total.
Rebels hold 1 piece of information.

The Empire are victorious!

I enjoyed this game immensely and I definitely learned a few things for the next Proper X-Wing game...
  • Pre-designated deployment may be an option to speed up the game, Taking the options out of the players hands might seem harsh, but if the ships are set up where they should be (fighters up front, bombers at the back for example) then it shouldn't be too much of a problem.
  • I originally roughed up ideas for having a "personal ship" that represented the player on the table, which I will be introducing next game I'm sure. I'm glad it wasn't present in this initial game though, for simplicity's sake.
  • We discussed at the end the idea of movement trays for squadrons, I personally think a follow the leader approach would be better, where the squadron initially has a single dial, with the squadron leader making the movements and the wingmen simply tagging along in formation (simply place them in the same positioning in respect to each other but facing the same direction as the leader) until they opt to break into individual manouevres.
  • Set up is a monumental task. It took just over an hour to set up the ships (which involved finding all the correct base inserts) we had to find matching target lock tokens, separate out all the upgrade cards, lay out the ship cards around the table edge, etc etc. Luckily Dave has all the components broken down into separate sections of tubs and containers so it was fairly straight forwards.
  • Pilot skill is something that I can't quite make my mind up on how best to use it in large games like this. its best not to complicate things so that everybody can get into a routine for each round, there's a lot going on and the more ships going at the same time means the more lenient you can be with forgetting to move one ship before another etc, and it also keeps everybody engaged in the game at the same time. I think i will try to use Pilot skill as a way of telling the story - the faction with the upper hand and their best pilots will have the higher skills - in this scenario the empire were not really prepared for the rebel fleet's arrival, hence the low pilot skills on the TIEs, whereas if the TIEs were attacking say a rebel convoy, I might give them a higher skill to represent their battle-readiness.
Well that's all for me, I'm going to work on my Dreadball teams this weekend, and a little painting project for NAGA. so will probably be putting X-wing away for a rest for a while, though with salute coming up I'm hoping to pick up some new ships if I see any...

In gaming news, my Hive Splinter Borlin has been renovated for the new codex, I had a little game with them and I think it's nice to have a 6th ed codex to play with. I'm unsure about the new IG (AM?) book, I'm actually liking the new scion models, I might pick up a box if i can find them heavily discounted anywhere, the Taurox does nothing for me, It's not even the model that puts me off, but I wont be buying large amounts for 40k anymore, Forgeworld might sway that slightly (the Tyranid monsters revealed at FW open day interest me a lot, and the Anphelion re-write should be good to (hopefully) update the Scythed Hierodule.

I'm really liking the Mantic Terrain, and will most likely go along to the next Mantic open day and see what goodies I can get my hands on. I have a few kits ordered with my Mars Attacks game, but the damaged set they've just announced look amazing! If I can get my hands on a few standard sets early before my MArs Attacks order arrives, I might be tempted to pick up a few to mess about with.

Oh and in Kickstarter news, the latter half of this year is going to be insane.... so many projects coming to completion from this month onwards. I'm going to have to think of places to store it all...

Catch you soon!! (I might have a better time writing these posts if I didn't insist on leaving it so long between them haha)



The Lucky 88th History

The Lucky 88th

The Royal planet of Borlina is just off the Cadian gate, once a thriving hive planet with a high percentage of royal and rich descendants from Terra itself. Now a diseased, war torn hell hole, home to a twisted secret the Inquisition would rather not recount.

The Curse of Borlina

During a Chaos incursion (Blood & Bile of the Rich Invasion 960.M41) Inquisitor Payne ordered the Orbital Bombardment of the entire planet, choosing Viral Bombing as the means of execution of the foul beasts and corrupted Governors.
Unfortunately the Borlina PDFs were also sentenced to death, whilst deeply in conflict with the Chaos forces.
Under pressure from Inquisitor Rayvenn (of the Black Storm), Inquisitor Payne mercifully ordered areas with high concentrations of loyal forces to be bombed with a weaker strain of the virus. Whilst the planet was bombed with Virus 1, a highly corrosive airborne agent which subsides after 1 day. Virus 13 (a Plague like virus with no corrosive element) was deemed legal for use over loyalist troops, who were forewarned, advised to find cover and don gas equipment. Low on supplies, deep in conflict and without gas equipment the lucky 88th miraculously fought off Virus 13 as if it was a bad case of flu.


A nearby Commissariat fleet jumped at the opportunity to put together their own personal force and made planet fall to gather together the pockets of loyal troops into a fighting regiment. This proved quite difficult, requiring the aid of the nearby Space Marine chapters (“Dragon Marines” and “Black Storm”) to seek out loyal forces.

The largest surviving regiment had barricaded themselves in the Master Palace, which impressed the commissariat no end, for it was a disease ridden nightmare, the very palace itself was a Nurgle infested monstrocity.
Having already adopted the name “Lucky 88th” due to the large amount of survivors from the 88th regiment the troops added a Lucky Ace symbol to their armour and vehicles, much to the annoyance of the commissariat who view it as graffiti and unofficial. In return the more senior commissars keep their gas-masks on when in combat to stir anger into the men, making them fight harder for the injustice caused to them. Lower Commissars tend not to test such practises, wary of the men turning on them when cut off from high command.

Recruitment: The Virus Run

Any outsider coming into contact with any surviving member of the Borlina virus attacks must first be inoculated from the infectious version of the virus which can be fatal to weaker immune systems. New Recruits however are not so lucky. Firstly they are put through a year of heavy training wearing gas masks. Graduation into the Lucky 88th is only complete after a gruelling month fighting through the Virus Run, a heavily infected area of the former Borlingrav Palace, now a Bastion of pestilence and disease. The survivors of this infamous death zone gain the respect of the rest of the regiment, except for the veterans who hate all outsiders including the commissariat.