A New Hope – Jumping feet first into X-Wing

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Pursued by the vile terrorists, the damaged Firespray banks around a cluster of asteroids, drawing an equally worse for wear YT-1300 and a barely functioning X-Wing through the centre of debris. With all 3 ships one laser shot away from a hull breach, only expert manoeuvring will save the pilots from death. The YT’s bulk a disadvantage, causing a hit to an asteroid and crippling its sensor arrays, then shots from the rear-facing lasers on the Bounty Hunter’s vessel finish off the Rebel scum’s ship.

Watching such a colossal ship light up the space before his eyes must be terrifying for even an ace pilot. Dodging the remaining asteroids, the agile X-Wing only needs to make his last shot count. The pilots eyes open wide with shock, the Firespray makes a radical change in course and the X-Wing thunders into close proximity, too close. The fatal anti-pursuit lasers making a quick death to such the hero of the Rebellion. Today Major Wes Janson and the mighty Wookie, Chewbacca have died. Death to the Rebel scum.

Long live the Emperor!

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So it’s sad to say that this year my hobby has taken a backseat in my life, other than playing the occasional game of Fantasy, my participation in Corehammer has mainly been running the Ill Blood and helping out behind the scenes a little with the site and some Dark Throne prep. I guess hobby burnout happens to everyone after a while.

Neither working on my Ogres or my US Infantry really appeal to me, and as it’s the gaming and chilling out with mates which I enjoy the most, I thought I would take up some more casual games with less time and money investment to get back me into the swing of things.

The Death Star in low orbit over Tatooine, obvs!

The Death Star in low orbit over Tatooine, obviously!

Luckily for me, way back before Christmas when I lived in Middlesex I picked up a copy of X-Wing, but after moving away from a club that regularly played it before I got to crack it open, it got “filed” under my bed with an unplayed copy of the Game of Thrones board game and a once played Relic. So about a month ago I dug this out and gave my then house mate (I’ve been living a nomadic existence in 2014) a game of the starter rules…

Shit the bed! This game gave a totally cinematic feeling from start to finish with just 3 ships (1 X-Wing and 2 Ties), and with a super streamlined ruleset (the starter rules are a double sided A4 sheet). Other than having to check what happened when ships collided, we didn’t have to check the rules once after turn 2. Straight after the game, we switched sides (or defected, if you look at it that way) and played with the full rules, again, barely having to reference the rulebook (which is an 18 page A5 booklet complete with scenarios and what not).

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“Shuttles ain’t shit” I hear you say?  Yeah, well this one is packing a heavy laser cannon and has a Rebel captive on board. I fucking dare you to shoot me!

So what is X-Wing? X-Wing was based (or licensed, or something else) on Wings of Glory, a WWI dog fighting game and then refined a little more to create X-Wing. It makes sense, as George Lucas has been quoted as using footage of WWI & WWII dog fighting as an influence for the space combat scenes in Star Wars. In game 2 squadrons, generally consisting of around 2-5 ships (not necessarily Rebels vs Empire) fight against each other amongst an asteroid field using ships from the original movies as well as the expanded universe (although I don’t think there is a license agreement for the Episodes I to III, which although are dog shite films, I would like to fly a Naboo Starfighter). I won’t go into the mechanics here, as there is plenty of Youtube videos that go over it in more detail (like this official tutorial from Fantasy Flight Games).

So after playing these learning games, I dug out the extra X-Wing I got for Christmas and went a purchased an extra Tie Fighter and a Tie Advanced, so I could scale both sides and keep them fairly balanced. Using this I then played a few of my Corehammer compatriots. This time jumping straight in with the full rules, confident that someone that can play a complicated game like 40k or Fantasy would be able to pick this up within a turn or 2, which they did. And this is the point where I got a little obsessive and decided I needed to own everything…

Looks just like a toy... but it's clearly a scale replica!

Looks just like a toy… but it’s clearly a scale replica!

So what is it that makes this game so enjoyable? Well there are many things:

  1. How the blisters are packaged, just look straight up like toys. Literally just having them on your shelf in the packaging looks cool as hell and I hate having to tear them open to get to the ship inside.
  2. Following on from that, the models come fully painted which means you can play straight out of the box, although if that’s not your thing, there is a massive scene of people repainting their ships (check this guys ships for a start).
  3. The ships actually fly around the board like you imagine they would, I can not credit FFG enough for what they have done. A  Tie acts like a Tie, getting all up in your shit.  A Y-Wing is slow and ponderous, and the Falcon (or YT-1300 ), well, it’s the fucking Falcon!
  4. Depth, this game has loads of it, through ship upgrades, use of different pilots and other modifiers, list building can be a really deep experience. Do you go for brute force or manoeuvrability, a list with lots of hull and shield points, or trick out with ordnance?
  5. Competitive play, if this is your thing (and it’s definitely mine, even though I generally suck), there are lots of tournaments springing up all over the place as well, giving you the chance to write and use that perfect list, working all the synergies all of your ships together.
  6. The game is taking off, quite literally, gaming groups are forming all over the shop (there is a great group down at Dark Sphere in London that meet up on Thursdays).
  7. You get to make stupid sound effects of Tie Fighters making hard turns, explosions, hulls being breached and every other Pew Pew noise you want to make.
  8. It’s Star Wars, do I really have to say it?

So there you go, a brief intro to the world of X-Wing. In the next few weeks I’ll be writing about where to go next once you’ve picked up the starter box.

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Flying a Tie Interceptor with “Push the limit”, the most fun an Edgeman can have legally.

Until then, here is some resources on the Galactic HoloNet to keep you occupied:

Websites
There are a ton of great resources online for checking out the game, finding out new tricks or just getting advice for starting out.

Fantasy Flight Games: the official website offering up news and indepth articles and tactica from some of the top tourney players.
Team Covenant: an indie blog covering a few gaming systems, like the FFG site, you’ll find a lot of X-Wing tactica here as well as community news and links to podcasts and such.
A Few Maneuvers: again, another indie blog focusing on indepth pay and the community around it, with great resources for Vassel play (more on that at a later point).
The Metal Bikini: shit the bed! One more blog offering up critical analysis on all things X-Wing as well as news and then analysis and speculation on that news… well this game is a nerds wet dream, what do you expect?
X-Wing Miniatures Wiki: What it says on the tin, a wiki site with lots of useful, want to see what a heavy laser cannon does and what expansions it comes in, well you’ll find the info here.
Reddit: Reddit nerds love X-Wing, good mix of content from painting to list chat, worth checking out every few days.
The Unofficial X-Wing Squad Builder: the best squad builder I’ve found online, has some cool features like adding you collection in, so you can write lists without accidentally adding shit you don’t own (yet) as well as a decent print squad view. It’s unfortunately a pile of crap on a mobile though.
(Yet Another) X-Wing Miniatures Squad Builder: another squad builder, not as good as the one above, but great on the go. This one works well on mobile devises, so use it when you want to write lists on the bus/in a coffeeshop/on the shitter.

Podcasts
A great resource for information on news and ideas for list building. Subscribe to these and absorb the info while you are sitting in your car/on a bus an store for later use.

A Hive of Scum and Villainy: Great little podcast from some top players in the US. Hosts includes Vassel tournament organisers, so worth listening to if you want to get competative.
The Unofficial X-Wing Podcast: Fantasy players will recognise Ben Curry & Ben Johnson from the Bad Dice podcast. The only UK podcast I’ve found so far, it’s a bit “clean shirt”, but if you are after a n00b friendly UK centric podcast, you can’t go wrong.
Heroic 28: The Kessel Run: After listening to the Bens above, this is the “bad boy” podcast, a little more humour from these Texans, although let’s face it, we are all nerds.
Nova Squadron: New podcast with a focus on competitive play, only 2 episodes out so far, but a good start.

YouTube Channels
For when your X-Wing obsession has reached a new height.

Team Covenant: Videos on all types of games, but check out the X-Wing tourney games for some in depth analysis on the action, you can learn a lot from these games.
Sanctioned
: New Aussielads on the block discussing list building and then games with commentary and decent graphics.
X-Wing Strategy Tips: The channel has not been uploaded in a while, but worth checking out the videos on flying in formation and asteroid placement.
Sozinsky: A Twitch caster who has just started to upload his commentary videos of Vassal tourney games to YouTube.

And now a song about being in love with a Princess in a metal bikini …

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About Stevie

Stevie Boxall currently lives in South London. He has experimented with putting shows on, doing a zine and being in a band, he was pretty crap at all of them. He redeemed some of his punk credibility by doing a semi-well received distro while living in Bournemouth. He is currently playing Bolt Action, Warhammer Fantasy, Dreadball, X-Wing, is currently obsessed with Infinity, Dredd and Deadzone and has sold all of his Space Marines.

2 thoughts on “A New Hope – Jumping feet first into X-Wing

  1. Those Sanctioned videos are top notch, it’s like watching a live sporting event with the stats on screen at all times.

  2. Pingback: The Empire Strikes Back – a buyers guide to X-Wing | COREHAMMER

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