Archive for February, 2016

Having been a long time spectator, rather than player, of Fantasy Flight Games’ popular space combat game – Star Wars: X-Wing – It has long been a dream of mine to dip my toes in and give it a proper go.

So instead of that, I somehow ended up playing my third game to date of X-Wing against an extremely formidable opponent. An opponent who knew the rulebook back to back. Who, I hear, had won a tournament with a team of eight TIE Fighters. An opponent who had the good grace of telling me, I would be going up against a double Decimator team that hadn’t lost. That opponent being Toni McCorkindale, an avid Star Wars and X-Wing fan. And as I mulled over the thought of this battle for the week leading up to the game, I realised I was probably going to lose. So, having no real clue on team building, I enlisted the help of fellow Suppressing Fire contributor, Ömer, to construct me a team that would give me a fighting chance against the two Decimators.

I had one condition for this team, It had to include the imperial Aces. I’d had my eye on them for a while and this gave me the perfect excuse to lay some cash down and get them. So, with this in mind, Omer created : Crouch Squadron.

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This is the team I was up against.

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So, starting things off, here are the two Decimators in question. One, an out-of-the-box, and the other with a custom paint job, replete with battle damage on the front.  The battle damage being a signifier of what Toni was inevitably hoping to do to my poor Interceptors, which I felt was a really nice way of making a paint job not only reflect the strategy at play, but also hinting at some kind of narrative beyond the core game.

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Another shot, just to show you how menacing these ships can be.

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This is my piddly team.

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I say piddly, but I’m actually impressed with how they look. The Interceptors are a thing of beauty. On their own, at least, I mean, look at that thing looming in the background!

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So, having set up, the game begins. And I manage to fail on my first go.

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Told you I hadn’t played it much. And yes, I ended up absent mindedly sending my Interceptors towards each other. Sigh.

The Decimators move ahead into the asteroid field.

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Doesn’t look too good from my end.

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My Interceptors – after having untangled themselves from each other – move in to engage the Decimators. With my higher pilot skill I was hoping to focus on one Decimator at a time, and unleash a fast barrage of attacks. It was the only strategy I could see working against those hulking ships.

This partially works, as I manage to take down two shields in my first attack with Tetran, and another with Carnor. Not ideal as each of these Decimators has four shields, then twelve hull points.

This left me in a compromising position to say the least.

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While the Interceptors work the grey Decimator, I send Vader after the purple one. Unable to attack, the game passes to Toni, who wants to make up for those shields I took down.

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Targeting Carnor with the Purple Decimator, Toni manages to roll a triple critical, managing to take out my only shield in the process. Thankful I had some evades, which saved me from certain destruction.

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The next turn sends both of us flying around each other. Vader corrects his course in order to set his sights on the Purple Decimator. My two interceptors now unable to target either of them, with their rear ends exposed to the Decimators 360 degree firing arc.

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Sufficed to say, I was beginning to feel the pressure.

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More glamour shots.

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Vader, being the only member of my team who can attack, rolls a triple critical on the purple Decimator, taking out a large portion of its shields. The Decimators fire on my Interceptors, causing damage to Tetran, bumping him down to one hull, and a damage on Carnor. Not looking good.  

Another movement phase later and I’ve swung my Interceptors around in order to get a fix on the Decimators.

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Vader continues his pursuit.

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Toni then reminds my why her purple Decimator has battle damage on its front. It’s a shunter. Doing one unavoidable damage to enemy ships it ends its turn touching.

Alas, this was the end of Tetran.

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This meant I had Vader and Carnor left to rely on, with the chance of victory looking slim.

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I swing Carnor around again, determined to take out at least one Decimator, but realise my mistake in splitting my efforts between the two earlier on. The grey Decimator fires on Vader, further whittling down his shields until they are gone.

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The inevitable happens: Carnor is destroyed by the purple Decimator’s decisive use of its shunting capabilities; something I will be mindful of if I play this team again.

With only Vader left, I decide to play thematically, first, to have Vader fight until there is absolutely no hope of winning, and after that, to bug the hell out.

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I swing Vader around to get a fix on the grey Decimator. They fire on him, he avoids the attack from the purple Decimator, but takes two hits from the grey one, leaving him with one hull left.

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With Vader completely surrounded, I decide to save him by fleeing. A fitting move by the Lord of Darkness right?

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To summarise, the game was a crash course in learning the rules properly for myself, And an opportunity for Toni to further aggrandize her double Decimator team, which I have to say is well thought out, and a tough one to keep ahead of. Indeed, the team seemed to be designed to keep you on the defensive as they slowly whittle you down. I think the trick here is to go in and do as much damage as you possibly can before this happens.

Ultimately though, I had tons of fun. I really enjoyed the Interceptors, and will definitely continue to use them as I fly my way around the galaxy, being a buffoon, crashing into my own ships and being a pansy.

Looking forward to the next game! 


Words and picture by Joe Crouch.  Star Wars: X-Wing and various expanions are available now from Fantasy Flight Games; and you can follow Joe on Twitter.

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