Ha, ha! New table suckas! Yeah!
Right. So last Saturday evening, BC and Sean were supposed to play a game over Hangout, but one of Sean's kiddos got sick, so BC and I began texting about what we were going to do. After some back and forth, BC agreed to a "small-side" (i.e. less than 100 points, in our own verbiage) game so I could take a bunch of pictures for a series of articles covering how a game of X-Wing really works. We discussed a 50 point match, then BC had the novel idea of just using the stuff in the Core Set as it fits thematically with what I'm trying to do here- namely give the perspective X-Wing player or those new to the game an insight into how all of this awesomeness really works.
I complimented him on his insight and took it a step further suggesting we play one of the scenarios from the back of the rule book rather than a straight up dogfight like we usually do. He was down like a town to try something different as we've done pretty much nothing but play the dogfight scenario since like Christmas. We decided to play Scenario 3- Dark Whispers mainly because it didn't have asteroids, so therefore allowed for a faster setup time since it was already getting pretty late.
Like all of the rule book scenarios, you can play them with more than just the Core Set ships, but we used only the suggested pilots from the Core. BC wanted to be Rebels, and as such, he would be using a lone Red Squadron X-Wing, with Proton Torpedoes and R2-F2. This left the Imperials for me- one Obsidian Squadron TIE Fighter and one Black Squadron TIE Fighter with the Determination Elite Pilot Skill.
That settled, we started putting our stuff together, picking out the counters and tokens we'd need for our match, getting out the movement templates, and pulling dice out. We also set out the cards representing our ships, and BC placed a couple of Shield Tokens on his X-Wing card to represent the state of his shields. As my TIEs fly without shields, my cards don't have them.
Note: This may seem a little weird, the way we do things, but keep in mind we play over Google Hangout, so don't let the grid map in the pictures and the fact that none of BC's cards and maneuver dials and whatnots are on my table throw you off.
A quick read through of the scenario reveals our objectives/ win conditions. As the Imps, I'm supposed to "scan" some satellite counters. I do this by overlapping (I'll talk more about what exactly this means later, I promise) the satellite counter then opting to "scan" instead of attacking that round. Once I've scanned a satellite, I pick the counter up and put it on my ship's base, then try to fly back to my own board edge. BC is supposed to prevent me from doing this. Should he lose his lone Red Squadron X-Wing, he can add a Rookie Pilot "reinforcement" in the current turn's end phase (which is also when you clean off most of the Action tokens).
Ship setup is fairly standard- our deployment zones start at our table edge and end at Range 1 towards the center of the table. You can see my Range Ruler there on the left side of my table.
From Left, below the mat, my maneuver dials and various Action tokens, ship/ pilot cards with the Determination card, maneuver templates
Note: If you, uh, you know, actually like, read the scenario's Mission Setup section, it actually tells you to do what I just said above, only without having to know about Pilot Skill or Initiative or whatever. What's that old line about writers being terrible readers? Oh, there's no old saying like that? I just totally made that up? Ah. Mea culpa, homies.
If you look closely on the far side of the table, you can also see that BC has deployed his X-Wing and the two satellites. The satellites aren't a "standard" thing in X-Wing, just this scenario, so they have their own deployment rules outlined in the scenario rules. If you're curious about the methods used to deploy the satellite, just have a look at page 24 of the rule book.
Now that we're all set up and we've got everything deployed on the board, the game kicks off normal mode with the Planning Phase. We colloquially refer to this as, "Spinnin' wheels." That is, it's when you pick up your ship's maneuver dial and assign a maneuver to it. You do this in secret, and once you've picked your move, you set the wheel face-down near either the miniature for your ship or near the ship/ pilot card so that your opponent knows which ship that wheel is referring to. Once both players have set maneuver dials for all of their ships, you then reveal the dials one by one, in Pilot Skill order, from lowest PS to highest completing the maneuver and assigning an Action (if appropriate) before moving on to the next ship/ pilot.
X-Wing represents how nimble a ship is by having different maneuvers available on the maneuver dial and they are most definitely not the same from ship to ship. While all the ships have quite a few maneuvers available to them (around 12-14), the more maneuverable ships will have less maneuvers that are represented by red arrows (which cause you to incur Stress when you execute them) and more maneuvers represented by green arrows (which remove Stress as well as trigger other in-game stuff) in addition to having a more maneuvers than their slower, more ponderous brethren.
I figured my best bet for winning this game was to try and capitalize on my TIEs' superior speed and handling by focusing on completing the objective rather than go toe-to-toe with an X-Wing, especially since he'd get one back almost as soon as I'd killed it (assuming I even could). As such, I figured for my first set of maneuvers, I'd just scream in and try to get to those satellites as quickly as I could. BC would definitely move to engage one of my ships, but hopefully I'd be able to dance around a bit while the other ship scanned his satellite and vamoosed for my board edge before the X-Wing could kill both of my TIEs. With that in mind, I set my maneuver dials and told BC I was ready. He set his single dial and it was time to start the show.
I had the ship with the lowest Pilot Skill (the Obsidian TIE), so I turned his dial over first, revealing the "Straight 5" maneuver I'd selected. I picked up my straight 5 template, placed it at the front of my Obsidian TIE's base between the little template alignment nubs, picked the ship up, and dropped it at the end of the template, aligning the template with the alignment nubs on the back of my TIE's base.
After performing your maneuver, if your pilot isn't Stressed (usually by performing a stressful, red arrow maneuver, but can also be triggered by other stuff in the game), you can elect to Perform an Action. On both the ship/ pilot card as well as the cardboard base insert, there are some symbols that represent the Actions available to the ship. My TIEs have Barrel Roll, Evade, and Focus available to them. BC's X-Wing has Focus and Target Lock. I talk about all of those save for Barrel Roll in the Three Main Actions article. Of course, they're also in the rule book as is the particulars of using Barrel Roll.
Not knowing how far up the mat BC's X-Wing was going to move, I went ahead and selected "Evade" as the Obsidian TIE's Action just to be on the safe side. I placed an Evade Token near my miniature then revealed Black Squadron's maneuver dial- also a straight 5.
One of my TIEs pulling a "Straight 5"
Same thinking as before, not knowing if BC's upcoming maneuver, I selected Evade as my Action for the Black Squadron ship to be on the safe side.
For BC's turn, he pulled a Straight 2 and found he was just short of being able to Target Lock either of my ships, so he elected to take no Action as we were at the end of this game turn.
To Target Lock, a ship has to be within at least Range 3 of the ship doing the Target Locking. As this is currently the maximum range for ship weapons in X-Wing, since neither of my TIEs were in Range 3 of BC's X-Wing to provide a Target Lock, we also knew they weren't in range to shoot or be shot at. That's why we skipped the subsequent Combat Phase entirely.
The Evade Tokens on my TIEs and BC pulling a 2 Straight
At this point, BC said, "So, spinnin' wheels?", and we picked up our maneuver dials and assigned our next set of moves to our ships.
Turn one is in the bag, TIE Fighters screaming (would love to have linked the TIE Fighter "howl" there, but the only results on YouTube I can find right now are re-dubs where some dipshit has put in the Howie scream instead, so now instead of just being tired, I'm now pissed off and tired) down the board while the X-Wing sizes up the opposition and undoubtedly is priming his torpedo tubes. Who will end up victorious? Will the Imperials successfully download the transmissions on the Rebel Holonet satellites or will they die tryin'? How many days will I draw out this Sample Game for articles? I mean good lord, it's like a 30 point game, right? But it still took me like 1,900 words to cover deployment and a first turn where nobody fired a shot...
Find out tomorrow (or possibly even Wednesday or Thursday) in our shocking conclusion to Dark Whispers, only here on TheMetalBikini.com!