Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures

Gen Con 2018, Day 1

This year we convinced Bill and Sarah to come to Gen Con with us, so that made things even more fun.  Last year we didn’t rush the FFG booth and we really missed the excitement of being one of the first people into the convention hall.  We arrived around 8:30am and had an hour and a half to wait to get it.  It went by quickly and we made it into the event hall pretty quickly.  Even though we were further ahead in line than we were 2 years ago, we still had an hour wait in the line.  We were able to purchase a core set for X-Wing 2.0, a couple upgrades, Han Solo and Commandos for Star Wars Legion.  From there, we met up with Bill and Sarah who opted to not be apart of the mob. 🙂  Day 1 was spent like the last few years where we went shopping through the vendor hall.  We didn’t really play any games or do anything very interesting.

One thing we did differently this year was park at Lucas Oil Stadium.  The cost to park was significantly higher than the Zoo, but it was well worth it.  We were much closer to the convention center so that made the day feel much easier.  We left a little early to go have a nice supper with Bill and Sarah.  After supper we went back to the house where I taught both of them how to play X-Wing. 🙂

X-Wing Tag-Team Furball

I found the rules for this on a couple of websites and saw a video of people playing it and thought it looked really fun.  At any rate, I cleaned up the text of the rules and added some clarifications and thought I would post it here.

X-Wing Tag-Team Furball
For 3-6 players

Rules:
– Use a standard 36×36 mat.
– Each player brings two small-based ships. Each ship and upgrades can be a maximum of 35 points. Points cannot be shared between ships. Ship builds can be lower than 35 points for initiative bids. Ships may be the same but each ship cannot be the same unique pilot or share unique upgrade cards.
– Each player also brings 3 debris or asteroid tokens and any other tokens required by the ships.
– Asteroid placement restrictions are simply that they cannot overlap each other or be within R1 of the starting positions.
– For 5-6 player game, each player starts approximately 20″ from the center in a circular formation. 4 players may use the corners.
– Normal initiative rules apply. Lowest squad count determines who goes first and play passes to the next player on the left. Remember to fly casual.
– If a ship is destroyed, the player’s second ship can be “tagged” in at the player’s starting location. If an enemy ship is overlapping that player’s starting location, shift the enemy ship closer to the center until the player’s ship can be placed in the starting area. Roll 1 attack die on the enemy ship and it suffers any hit or critical damage.
– A newly spawned ship will be able to attack this round if that pilot’s skill has not been passed.
Example: Player’s first ship is PS6 and is destroyed. The second ship is PS4 and has range on another enemy ship. When it is PS4 turn to activate during combat, it may perform an attack as normal.
– If a player pilots a ship off the edge of the board, it is considered destroyed and the player’s second ship may enter the battle at the player’s starting area. The newly placed ship may set and reveal a manuever dial if its pilot skill has not been passed.
Example: A player flies a PS2 ship off the board and places their PS8 ship on the board. The player would set a manuever dial and then reveal it when it is time for PS8 to activate. If both ships are PS2, then the second ship would place and reveal a manuever dial immediately.
– If a player has a second ship intact when the first ship flies off the board, it is not permanently destroyed. It is merely put in waiting. While in waiting, add counter tokens of temporary damage to it equalling the remaining hull points. During the End Phase, remove one counter token from ships in waiting. If a ship is in waiting and has no counter tokens remaining, it may flip a face-up damage card face-down.
Example: A B-Wing with 5 shields and 3 Hull is attacked and loses 2 shields. During movement, it runs over a Proton Bomb and gets a Direct Hit critical damage card. The player knows they have an X-Wing waiting and ready, they fly it off the edge of the board. The B-Wing recieves 1 token to represent the 1 remaining hull point. The X-wing survives for another 5 rounds before being destroyed. The B-Wing returns to the starting area with 3 shields and 1 face-down damage card. Here’s how it works. After the B-Wing flew off the board edge and recieved its token, the token was removed during the End Phase. After the next round completed, the face-up damage card was flipped face down since there are no more tokens remaining. The following 3 rounds, nothing happened to the B-Wing. Damage is not repaired and shields are not regenerated. Had the X-wing been immediately destroyed, the B-Wing would be placed back in the starting area and since it still has a cooldown token remaining, it would recieve a face-down damage card in combination with the already face-up Direct Hit card and would destroy the B-Wing immediately.
– The last player with a surviving ship wins the match.
– Normal X-Wing rules apply unless otherwise specified.

X-Wing Coop – Heroes of the Aturi Cluster

Last night during Armada night at my local gaming store, we put our capital ships on the shelf and pulled out our X-Wing miniatures.  Well, really we used mostly my stuff.  But at any rate, some of the guys had expressed some interest in playing the fan-created coop campaign, Heroes of the Aturi Cluster.  This was our second time playing so we just continued the campaign.  Overall it’s pretty fun and a lot more difficult than you would think.  Basically, you start off in either and X-Wing or a Y-Wing with a pilot skill of 2.  Most of the opponents are PS1.  The tricky thing is all of the Imperial units are controlled with AI cards and dice rolls.  This sounds easy to get around and win but they AI is actually tuned very well and they pose a huge threat.

Last night we played a couple of pretty difficult missions.  A couple of us are pretty good at X-Wing, so that helped.  But unfortunately, being in front or bad luck with deployment of the enemy can lead to certain doom.  Rather than immediately losing your pilot, you have a chance to eject and only lose some upgrades or XP.  So it’s not a total loss.  XP is the primary way of getting upgrades in the game.  The neat thing with the campaign is when you level up your character, you gain access to more upgrade slots.  So it’s interesting to see a ship with multiple modifications and elite pilots skills.  You can also use XP to buy pilot abilities but you have to have the same pilot skill as the pilot ability you’re buying.  It really balanced out pretty well.

I highly recommend anyone wanting to take a break from the one vs one competitive style of X-Wing and give the coop campaign a try.

Heroes of the Aturi Cluster – Co-operative Rebel Campaign

Gaming line laser – Prototype!

Well I received both the laser module and the Black & Decker level in the same shipment.  Being of the more engineering mindset, I went for the module first.  I grabbed a few AAA battery holders and some alligator clips and it powered up just fine.  The laser is pretty crisp and gives a very good line.  On black felt surfaces, the red laser is absorbed quite a bit (as one would expect) but it still seems playable, especially on our gaming surfaces.  After playing with it for a few minutes, I opened up the Black & Decker level.  The laser just just as bright (if not slightly more) but has a brighter section towards the center of the beam.  My only two complaints about the line level is the unit is pretty big and the switch is in a weird position.  It’s also an on/off switch instead of a momentary switch, but that’s not quite a complaint… more of a personal preference, I would say.

After a few minutes of messing around, I started to wonder how I could use that laser module and what I could mount it in.  I spent probably an hour or so looking for pen lasers that are either cheap or sell assemblies that I can put my own module in.  I didn’t find anything good.  So I headed down to the basement to see what parts I could come up with or anything I could re-use to get a proof of concept going.  Then I found it.  A 4 AAA battery holder.  Bingo!

The laser module run on up to 5V DC.  3 AAA batteries would yield about 4.5V DC, which is what I had been using for testing.  The 4th spot in the holder would house the laser module and the momentary switch.  Once again, I got out my alligator clips and batteries and tested my theory.  The battery holder has leads which need to be tied together.  The laser leads would then be clipped to the posts for the 4th battery.  If you’re doing this at home, check the voltage with a digital meter BEFORE hooking up your laser!  Worked like a champ for me!

I ended up drilling out both ends of the 4th battery slot.  The prototyping process only took about an hour.  I ended up leaving the leads on the laser long, in case I wanted to change something, so the laser is slightly angled right now.

 

linelaser - 1 - Prototype linelaser - 2 - Line display

 

 

After this turning out so well, I decided to open up the Black & Decker level to see what its laser module looks like.  Come to find out, it’s very difficult to remove.  I guess they don’t want that little laser to move around at all… makes sense.  Anyway, after around an hour of working at it, the laser module was finally free.  This model uses a standard laser and has a lens fit over the end to produce the line… with probably produces the darker section in the center.  After buying another 4 AAA battery holder, I went ahead and mounted this one too.  Especially since the Black & Decker case was pretty much ruined.  From start to finish, it took about 30 minutes to get the laser mounted, soldered, and working.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of this one’s final product.  I also don’t have any pictures of the process.  At some point in the next few weeks, I think I’ll try to post some in-depth pictures of how to build one.

 

Gaming Line Laser – Inspiration

Recently I watched the 2014 World Championship for Xwing to get some build ideas, movement ideas, etc.  But through all that, I saw that they were using a laser to see if ships are in the firing arc.  In our basement games, we kicked around the idea of how cool it’d be to have laser lines come directly out of the base of our ships, but I never really seriously considered it since the cost of a base with two lasers would be horribly expensive plus it’d be super difficult to project a line like that.  Also the fact that the laser would just go on forever without some serious tweaking, it just seemed like too much to attempt.

After seeing that handheld laser in action, I started Googling around to see if I could find it.  Well in a few short minutes, I found it here: http://www.tabletop-laser.com/.  Great, cool!  Problem solved.  Clicked the link to Amazon and it comes up Amazon.de.  No big deal, I’ll sign into my Amazon account in German.  Show stopper… they don’t ship to the US.  After a little more research, I found that this particular laser is too powerful to pass the US import laws.  Back to square one.

On the official FFG forums, other users have been wanting a laser solution as well.  I think this is where I found out about the power limit on the US customs.  But anyway, other gamers use a Black & Decker line level and they feel it does a pretty good job.  So I headed over to Amazon and purchased the Black & Decker BDL220S Laser Level.  I also found a stand alone laser module that looked pretty good.  So I went ahead and purchased one of those as well.  The laser module was $10 more than the Black & Decker level, but it would give me the option to build up something from scratch.  Reviews on both items are mixed, so we’ll have to wait and see if we get a lemon.

Once these get here, I’ll report how well the project is going.

X-wing Halloween party

Overall it was a fun day of playing.  We had 3 areas set up for playing skirmishes and the ability to transform to a large play area.  After everyone got to try out their individual fleets, we created 2 large teams to begin the missions.  We started off with a shuttle escort mission, which ended very quickly due to the Imperials focus firing down the shuttle.  It really didn’t stand a chance.  Right before breaking for supper, we set up for the second mission, Escape from Hoth.  After supper, we started getting to the combat phases.  This game lasted a long time since the Huge ship moves very slowly and none of us had really ever played with it before.  As the GR-75 pilot, I was a little disappointed I was never in the position to plow over the enemy with it, but I’m sure I’ll get a chance later on.

Battle Report:

Misc skirmishes had mixed results.  Using pilot score of 50 points seemed to be pretty limiting, but still created a fun environment.

Mission 1: Senator shuttle escort – Close quarter escorts and very tight formation flying on the Rebel side proved to be ineffective against the equally tight flying formation of the Imperial fleet.  150PS on Rebel vs 200PS on Imperial (with no reinforcements).  The Shuttle had 6 hull and 6 shield, starting off.  After the first wave of combat, the shuttle was still alive (barely) with 1 Hull remaining.  No other ships were destroyed in the combat, but a few suffered damage.

Mission 2: Escape from Hoth — This was our first time playing with a Huge ship, the GR-75 Transport.  The Imperial team spread mines throughout the play area, but they seemed to have little effect since the GR-75 flew close to the edge of the border, allowing it to narrowly miss the mines.  The Rebel team had a slow start getting turned the correct direction and even lost a few key players, like Luke Skywalker, to the deadly dual-Tie Phantom swarm.  Once the Phantoms were dealt with, the Rebels kept the Imperials busy enough for the GR-75 to very slowly make its way to the escape area and activate the hyper drive!

 

X-wing… Which upgrades to get first?

Here in about a week and a half, I’m having the second get-together at my house to play X-wing.  The first was such a huge success and a ton of fun, I encouraged everyone to get their own Core Set and at least 1 upgrade.  This time around, we’re each going to have a fleet consisting of 50 Pilot Score points.  This isn’t possible with just the Core Set, so it has forced everyone to consider which upgrade to get… since we’re all super competitive and all.

Being super competitive, we all want an edge over the other players but we also want to have variety.  Which is why almost everyone in our small group of gamers has asked the same question: Which upgrade should I get first?  The short answer is, ANY OF THEM!  The game is pretty well balanced and by using the Pilot Score as the limiting factor, the fleets will be pretty well matched.  Each upgrade or Expansion set comes with some unique pilots with very cool abilities.  Some are better than others, but those come at a higher pilot cost.

I ended up making this list of the current upgrades and what I feel are the pros and cons of each upgrade.  I tried to be impartial, so you may or may not agree with my opinions on this.

Wave 1
Xwing — Pro: Wedge is a level 9 pilot that can reduce defender’s agility. Con: Just another xwing and kind of expensive
Tie fighter — Pro: Howlrunner, Backstabber… both super cool pilots. Con: Just another tie fighter and kind of expensive
Y-Wing — Pro: Durable bomber with an ion turret that can make things interesting. Con: slow flier and lots of red maneuvers
Tie Advanced — Pro: Darth Vader doesn’t take stress… ever! Con: Darth is a very expensive pilot and not always worth the extra cost.

Wave 2
Millennium Falcon — Pro: 360° firing arc, lots of shield, lots of hull. Con: 1 agility and is a bullet magnet (would laser magnet work?)
Slave 1 — Pro: Forward and reverse firing arcs. Can drop mines. Con: Difficult to fly with tie swarms or in any sort of formation.
A-wing — Pro: super fast and maneuverable. Plus BOOST! Con: weak hull
Tie Interceptor — Pro: fast and maneuverable, more damage than regular tie. Con: Hard to find and expensive. Pilots are expensive compared to regular ties.

Wave 3
Hwk-290 — Pro: Heavy armor and shield. Con: slow moving and weak attack
Lambda Shuttle — Pro: Only ship with a stop maneuver. Great support ship. Con: Expensive pilots, not very good in combat by itself.
B-wing — Pro: A more maneuverable bomber. Pretty durable. Con: 1 agility
Tie Bomber — Pro: Heavy armor and the only tie fighter to carry bombs. Con: difficult to get this slow mover in range to fire a bomb.

Wave 4
Z-95 Headhunter — Pro: Great for tie swarm busting. Con: Like a weaker Xwing.
Tie Defender — Pro: K-turns are not red maneuvers. Solid attack, solid hull, solid shield. Con: Expensive pilot cost. Very expensive.
E-Wing — Pro: fast like an A-wing, tough like an X-wing. Con: Expensive pilot cost. Very expensive, but not as bad as Tie Defender. But almost.
Tie Phantom — Pro: Stealth!! Very powerful attack. Did I mention STEALTH??? Con: Fairly weak when not cloaked. Plus odd-man out when flying a formation.

Imperial Aces — Pro: 2 more Tie Interceptors plus advanced pilots. Con: Expensive, both real dollars and pilot costs.
Rebel Aces — Pro: 2 more rebel craft, A-wing and B-Wing with advanced pilots. Con: Expensive, both real dollars and pilot cost.
Rebel Transport — Pro: An EPIC ship with some cool missions. Con: $60+ and can’t shoot back.
Tantive IV — Pro: An EPIC rebel ship that can shoot back at range 5!! Con: You have to use a front and rear pilot, basically taking up 90 PS.

X-wing Upgrades!

After having played several games with the wife, we felt it was time to get some much needed upgrades.  After doing a little bit of research, we decided we wanted to take it kind of slow but also keep the two factions somewhat balanced.  We ended up spending a little more than we anticipated but feel pretty good about what we’ve purchased.  Here’s what we got.

1. Another starter set.  Seriously, other people I’ve talked to about this have called me crazy for this but hear me out.  With buying a second starter set (for $28!!), we get another set of movement templates, another range ruler, more dice, and 3 more ships… which is pretty much the cheapest way to increase the size of your fleet.  This is my #1 upgrade, if anyone is looking for recommendations.

2. X-wing and Tie-Fighter upgrades.  These each only come with 1 ship, but both upgrades have some very handy pilots.  For the X-wing side, we get Wedge who is a must-have in your X-wing squadron.  On the Tie-Fighter side, we get Howlrunner… another must-have in your tie squadron.  Howlrunner’s ability lets any other friendly ship at range 1 re-roll an attack die.  Very huge for anyone running a Tie swarm.

3. Millennium Falcon.  Honestly I got this for two reasons.  First, my wife likes the model and thinks it’s really cool.  The second being it’s really, really hard to find for a decent price.  I actually picked it up for $25 but I’ve seen it as high as $75.  Once un-packed, the model is absolutely beautiful.  The ship has 8 hull points and 5 shields… pretty tough to destroy.  Luckily for the Imperials, it only gets 1 Agility so if you get a good roll you’ll be able to do some serious damage.

4. Slave 1.  Since I got the Falcon, I had to get something for the Imperial side to be balanced.  Like the Falcon, this is another large ship and has a larger than normal base.  Slave 1 features and forward and reverse firing arc, so nobody is safe from this guy.

5. E-Wing.  The E-wing is like a cross between the A-wing and the X-wing.  Fast like an A-wing but tough like an X-wing.  This ship features 3 hull, like the X-wing and 3 shield points.  A very tough ship.  One of the pilots, Corran, has the ability to perform an additional attack during the “End Phase” but this keeps him from attacking the next round.  A pretty nice ability if an enemy pilot is nearly destroyed.

6. Tie Phantom.  Since the E-wing is pretty tough, I wanted something with enough attack to take it down.  Plus what’s cooler than being able to cloak?  The cloaking and de-cloaking actions are a little difficult to get used to, but overall it’s not a bad little Tie-Fighter.  With 4 attack, it can be brutal at range 1.

 

After playing with these upgrades for a while, I’m sure we’ll pick up a few more.

X-wings miniatures

Recently a couple of our friends went to Gencon and came back with a new tabletop game, Star Wars X-wing by Final Flight Fantasy.  Not being much of a fan of Star Wars, I was pretty apprehensive at first.  We were all struggling to figure out the rules to the game, since none of us were very familiar with this style of gameplay.  After several hours, we thought we had a pretty good handle on the game despite the rule book being difficult to follow.  Come to find out, we were pretty close but still missed some key points.  After a little research, we found a Youtube video they put out that describes the rules in a very concise manner.  After watching the whole 10 minute video, it’s pretty easy to figure out the gameplay.  Granted there are some more advanced things that don’t get covered in the video, but at least it gets you playing.

The core game comes with only 3 ships.  One X-Wing for the Rebel side and two Tie-Fighters for the Imperial side.  The X-Wings are more heavily armored and have shields, so this is actually pretty well balanced.  Having played both factions multiple times, it really is fun to play.  Both teams have different strengths, so you obviously want to play to them.  I picked up my starter set from Amazon for $30.  If you shop around, you’ll find it for around that price but also be sure to check Ebay for people selling their entire collections.  Sometimes you can find a good deal.