Indiana 40K Championship

Indiana 40K Championship


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

X-Wing: Wave 2 Ships First Impressions

So the Wave 2 ships ( YT-1300, Firespray, A-Wing, and TIE Interceptor) all hit store shelves earlier this week, and all I can say is that I am really impressed.  Fantasy Flight Games is putting out a number of great products right now and getting a good portion of my gaming budget lately.  Earlier this week for my birthday I purchased Descent 2, and it's expansion, Liar of the Wyrm. Last night, a Falcon, a Slave I, 2 A-Wings, and 2 TIE Interceptors.

First impressions of the Wave 2 ships is that average game sizes might be increasing, currently options are starter (1 X-Wing versus 2 TIE Fighters or to increase the point total to 100 points a side).   In free play, I see team games (2v2, 3v3, 4v4 or even larger games in the works) and I also think players will bump point totals to 150 or 200 points a side.  There is even talk at the FLGS that a massive Battle of Yavin type game might be around the corner, and that players will draft for unique/named pilots.  I am really interested in getting in one a game of that scale, but I don't think that my corporate sponsor (employer) would be too keen on that idea.  I also am thinking you might actually see more actual squadrons ran in the game, I like the idea of having a squadron of 12 TIE Fighters face off against a half squad of X-Wings, I think that just reminds me of the hours and hours I spent playing the original X-Wing computer game back on my 386 that was running DOS 6 and Windows 3.1 at the time.  (WOW, that just seems like an eternity ago having that pre-Pentium Intel processor and those operating systems)

As for the ships themselves, I am going to review the Interceptors and the A-Wings together, since both ships have similiar roles as far as interceptor/reconnaissance/escort type roles.  The best way to describe the ships would be as very quick and agile, with the TIE Interceptors having a bit more raw firepower in the way of lasercannons, the A-Wings on the other hand have some shielding and the chance to upgrade with missiles.  Also both ships have the boost ability available without upgrade, while the booost takes the place of another action, a skilled gamer will use the boost to quickly get his/her ship into position for another attack run.  I think it will be interesting to see how players start building squadrons with the availability of the Interceptors and A-Wings.

Prior to the Wave 2 release I can tell you I was most interested in getting my hands on both the A-Wings and the Interceptors, after running a game taking Boba Fett with his Slave I and two Avenger Squadron Interceptor against Lando Calrissian in the Millenium Falcon with Nien Nunb and two A-Wings, I must say that I am sold on the Slave I.  I think utilizing the Slave I in the manner that I did in my first game with it is the way to go, although not a true starfighter it is a pretty tough ship to take  down. Although its hull is not as tough to crack as the Falcon is and it doesn't quite have the shielding of the Falcon, the ability to have both missile and torpedo upgrades, and the nasty bomb upgrade does  make it seem more of a fighter when compared to the Falcon.  For my first game with the Slave, I can say that I kept my distance from the A-Wings, allowing my Interceptors to focus on the A-Wings, and try to soften up the Falcon when they had shots.  I tried to keep the Slave out of direct fire arcs for the Falcon or at least keep as much distance as I could, since my opponent had the boost upgrade on the Falcon. I knew with that upgrade he could out manoever me and keep out of my firing arcs without any problems, leaving me in a very bad situation.  That first game I took the following upgrades on the Slave: Slave I title, Heavy Laser Cannon, Mercenary Copilot, Siesmic charges, Stealth device and Expose.  I was least impressed with the Expose upgrade, it seemed extremely situational at best, and I never felt that I was in the right situation to use it.  I am going to give it a few more games before making a decision to drop it, it just seems to me that there isn't a good alternative for the points at this time.

And that leaves me with the ever popular Millenium Falcon.  Not actually having run it in game, these are all impressions that I have in regards to the stats for the Falcon and how those stats seem to play out in actual games.  The Falcon has the highest hull rating and shield rating of any ship in the game right now, which is what I would expect for a highly modified smuggler ship, the dual turrets seem balanced against other ships where as if they are rolling well, they should be able to take out a TIE Fighter or an Interceptor in a turn, but not on a constant basis, and the agility dice leave something to be desired, but I guess for the size of the ship it makes some sense.  I just feel completely unimpressed for the points cost for the Falcon itself, the Falcon with Chewie, Lando or Han as pilot just seems too expensive, and the generic smuggler pilot doesn't have the stats I would be expecting. Again, you might want to take this review on the Falcon with a grain of salt, as I haven't ran it in game yet, and eventually I am planning on running the Falcon, but for the time being, I think I will be sticking with the Slave I.

There you have it, a brief overview of the second wave of ships for X-Wing the miniatures game, and if you continue reading, I have included a brief overview for the rest of the game and the first wave ships.  So if you haven't had the chance to buy into the game, or even seen the game in action, let me give you a quick break down, I realize that Fantasy Flight is just getting around to getting shelves EVERYWHERE restocked.  The starter box is priced at $40 for an X-Wing and two (2) TIE Fighters, pilot and upgrade cards, a deck of damage cards, dice, moving templates, and gaming tokens.  Enough to get your appetite whetted and for you to realize that a second starter is really needed to get some repeatablity out of the game itself. If your looking to get a more or less standard sized game of a hundred points, you are looking for the expansion blister X-Wings, TIE Fighters, Y-Wings, and TIE Advanced.  At $15 a piece, the expansion X-Wings and TIE Fighters provide you additional pilots unavailable within the starter box, and the Y-Wings and TIE Advanced add some tactical variance and stragedy to keep things interesting.

So I thought I would give you a slight break down on the the strengths and weaknesses of the ships, and how I tend to them, at this point I am going to skip going into specifics on the pilots, as I haven't had enough games to know which ones I prefer and how to effectively use them all.

So to start out with, the staple of the Rebellion lists, the Incom T-65 X-Wing.  Up until now (with the release of the second wave ships) the Rebellion X-Wing was the building block of the Rebellion lists.  Whether you went with a small list and included Wedge Antilles and/or Luke Skywalker or prefered running a X-Wing swarm or a mixed squadron approach with Y-Wings, you had to run the mighty X-Wing.  A very balanced ship, with great fire power, a decent manoever dial, and plenty of shields and hull to hold out against the TIE fighters, a well equiped pilot, droid and torpedoes with some serious tactics can make an X-Wing a formiable opponent.

While the X-Wings are very versatile, the Y-Wings are much more specialized and fit a rather limited more supportive role.  As a bomber, it doesn't have the speed or manoeverability of the X-Wing or the TIE Fighter and really shouldn't be dog fighting in the the middle of things.  I prefer to equip the Ion Cannons for 5 points and use it as a long range method of keeping opponent's ships tied up.  With a strong hull, but lacking in the shielding and defensive (agility) die, I don't recommend relying on too many Y-Wings on your force, but I might rethink my stance with the release of the A-Wings.  
TIE Fighters are the mainstay of the Imperial fleet of starfighters.  

Cheap, easy to produce, and devestating in the hands of a skilled pilot (if an Imperial pilot can survive more than an individual combat or two), the TIE Fighter can, in numbers, can overwhelm the better equiped Rebellion starfighters.  With just a little more speed and agility than a X-Wing, but significantly less resistance to damage, and not quite the sheer firepower of a single X-Wing.  So far TIE swarm tactics, seem to be very popular amongst the Imperial players at my FLGS.

The other first wave Imperial fighter is the TIE Advanced.  With the speed and manoeverability of a TIE Fighter and the shielding of an X-Wing, the TIE Advanced is meant for more as a one-on-one dogfighter that can go toe-to-toe with X-Wings and Y-Wings.

In addition to the game setting and the familiaity of the units, the simplicity of the rules do really make the game.  Each ship has a movement dial which is set and placed face down next to each ship.   Each pilot has a pilot skill which also corresponds to their initiative.  Pilots activate in order of initiative and then make their movements by placing a movement template in front of the base that the ships sit on, the bases have prongs in which the movement templates sit within.  After a ship moves, you can give it an action, such as evade or focus.  After all the ships have moved and been given actions, then the pilots get to attack in reverse initiative order.  And so when all of the attacks have been resolved, you repeat the entire process starting with setting the dials again.  The rules are light enough for younger players and strategies ae becoming increasingly more sophisticated with addition of the second wave ships and the possibility of larger games. 

So there you have it. Look for our unxboxing and battle report videos for X-Wing starting very soon. What has been your experience with X-Wing thus far? 

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