Monday, 22 May 2017

Two X-Wing Battles: The Kittens Strike Back

Allan moving his Academy pilot forward at the beginning of the first turn on my new space mat bought from Dark Sphere games.

We played two games of X-Wing this Saturday, which made for a very busy weekend after a morning spent shooting arrow at archery practice, and then shooting again on Sunday in our club Spring Handicap competition.  More on archery here.

Our friend Allan came around to play and have a meal, drink wine, the usual really.  He and his wife Paloma are leaving Britain for sunnier climes, though she couldn't make today because of having to finish her doctorate presentation, which was due Monday.

So, I made up two three-player scenarios, with the kittens playing the opposition and us three humans all working together to foil them, which went about as well as could be expected...

The kittens have destroyed one TIE fighter and are leading the rest on a merry chase through the asteroids.

The first scenario was based on the Millenium Falcon flying out of an asteroid belt and engaging it's stardrive to escape, loosely based on the Empire Strikes Back.  The Falcon had Han and R2 D2 aboard with homing missiles and an upgrade to allow the bucket of bolts to do barrel rolls.

It all got a bit gnarly with ships banging into each other, which worked well for the TIEs in preventing the Falcon's progress.

We each ran two of the Empire's Imperial TIEs with one average and one academy pilot each.  Points wise the Falcon was outmatched, but the kittens still managed to get their very battered and beaten ship off the table.

The kittens on the verge of victory with the TIE players (Susan) insisting the Imperials being allowed one more round of firing on the Falcon as the centre pin wasn't across the edge of the board.  Kittens still escaped though.

The second game features two X-wings escorting a Y-wing off the table.

More asteroids to fly through.

The kittens had Red Leader Garven Dreis, Red 2 Wedge Antilles, and Gold Leader Jon "Dutch" Vander facing the same motley crew of Imperial pilots: one skill four, two skill three and three skill one Academy pilots.

My two TIE fighters are bottom left and centre, and I had to turn my lead to avoid hitting the asteroid.

There was much dodging of asteroids and, the inevitable crashing into one's own ships as the Imperials struggled to gang up on the Y-wing–our victory being dependent on destroying it before it could get off the board.

A TIE fighter about about to go boom after being shot up by the kittens, and the two remaining TIEs failed to inflict any damage when returning fire.

Wedge Antilles is a total killer because his character's special ability is to reduce the enemy agility by one, and TIE fighters are a bit fragile if hit.

The kittens did a reverse turn with the X-wings and lined up on two soon to be ex-TIE fighters, which led to complaints from Susan that I was 'avoiding' the fight.

In a move that couldn't have been staged for more laughs, I managed to crash my Academy pilot into Allan's good pilot, and then crash my good pilot into my own Academy pilot, which caused my two TIE fighters to end up trailing the oncoming X-wing furball.

With the two TIE fighters destroyed the Y-wing slip quietly away after the only TIE that can shoot it fails to destroy it.

Points wise the game was very evenly matched, but the kittens managed to get the slightly battered Y-wing away and beat up the Imperials for their trouble.

Afterwards we ate a lovely roast beef dinner, which Susan had made, drank wine, and then watched Rogue One that Allan hadn't yet seen, which made a perfect end to a perfect day.  I will also say that I enjoyed Rogue One more on the second watch because I was able to just relax and let the story unfold without the niggling question of where and who is that?

NBFor those of you reading this and not understanding the 'kittens' use in the game, they are avatars whose movement and dice are controlled by more than one of the opposition players, either in rotation or individually taking command of one ship,which makes for an interesting game.

PS: Amended title after posting.


  1. Gotta love a good game of X-Wing.

    1. Yeah, sure do. I like scenario driven games rather than straight up tournament bashes because winning is nice, but having fun with friends is more important.

    2. And the number of historical battles of any kind that had a "fair" setup is pretty minimal, especially once you get into the modern era with good intelligence on enemy forces. But we've had that conversation before. :)

    3. But, it's a conversation that bears revisiting.

    4. My basic approach here is that chess is the wrong model, and therefore that the "equal point value" tournament battle as an attempt to be chess-like is fundamentally misguided. (X-Wing generally assumes this. Battletech did it too, at least when I was playing it: the default battle has both sides fighting to the death because losing with both forces close to intact is no better than being annihilated but doing more hurt to the enemy.) A real battle has asymmetric forces, generally both sides know who's stronger and who's weaker, and the objective is not the annihilation of the enemy but something more specific and usually less bloody: protect/destroy the convoy, hurt the other side a little then fade back into the jungle, provoke the other side into unleashing heavy weapons where they'll kill civilians, etc.

      TfL's Fighting Season looks as if it ought to deal well with this sort of thing, once it comes out; that's necessarily setting- and force-specific. My generic solution is to give each side points based on enemy force destroyed plus friendly force preserved. But if you don't need to worry about having a Fair Fight and worrying about which player is The Winner, I reckon it's better to have a mission-based game like this one where you can see more or less how things went but you don't need to resolve detailed scores.

      (If you then want to go back to tournament-style games, you could play the same scenario twice and see who won better…)

    5. I agree.

      And like you I'm waiting for TFLs Fighting season.

  2. Interesting... I always had cats pegged more as leaning towards being Imperials! :)