Thursday, August 22, 2013

X-Wing: Followup

As several of you may recall, I bought in to X-Wing in early October of 2012.  I had heard wonderful things about it after Gencon, but I was hesitant to get into a miniatures game.  I know from my Star Trek CCG days that any game with frequent expansions is deceivingly expensive.  So I did my homework on X-Wing, just like I try to do on any game before I purchase it.  I read reviews, I watched tutorial videos, strategy videos, basically anything I could get my hands on.  The more I read and watched about the game, the more I started to give in to the dark side want it.  I knew the game would be easy enough to learn, and more importantly, easy enough to teach other people how to play.  I also knew that I'd have to supply both factions, but as I did more research, I realized that wasn't a terrible thing since not all upgrades came with all ships.

Enter November, and my review of X-Wing.  At that point I was a lost cause.  This game was awesome, nothing you could tell me would kill that enthusiasm.  Each time I played, I learned something new.  We had two epic battles over Thanksgiving which taught me a lot about the game, and made me a much better pilot.  Then came December and the Kessel Run.  See, FFG had underestimated demand, and thus had limited supply.  Wave 2 was supposed to be in stores by Christmas, but they saw that it wasn't going to happen.  So they pulled a great marketing move and sent kits out to a lot of retailers.  This allowed players to see the new ships, even play with them.  I was super fortunate that my area had only 3 people show up, so we each walked out with 2 ships.  This let me enjoy the new ships for a few months, not that I got to play very often.  I think it was March before I got my hands on the Falcon, but at that point the options for the game just opened up.  What X-Wing has done really well is limited the number of things that can go on any given ship, but in each of those categories there are a great number of options.  Want to put Luke Skywalker in an X-Wing, sure.  Do you take R2-D2? How about a generic R2 droid.  Proton Torpedoes?  How about a pilot skill like Expert Handling, or Squad Leader, or maybe Marksmanship?  Maybe a ship upgrade like Enhanced Engines, or maybe a Shield Upgrade.  Once you settle on Luke as an X-Wing pilot, you still have over 100 different options of how to equip him.  Then Luke isn't even half of your points for a standard tournament list, so the options keep going.  For me, variety and depth are two things that keep a game interesting and keep me coming back to it.  X-Wing has all of that and more.

Eventually the hype of Wave 2 died down, I wasn't playing the game as much since I don't have many people around who want to play, so it kinda sat dormant.  So, when I went on a trip to Santa Barbara for a week in late April, I knew I had to take my ships with me since I would be staying with college buddies for the week.  Best decision I made packing wise because we played 3 or 4 games, and got to mess around with a lot of different squads.  It was also great timing because FFG announced the Wave 3 ships on May 4th and that excited me even more.  Sadly, I've only played 2 games between May and now, but more games will happen.  I have two different stores, one in Modesto, and one in Hilmar, who are going to run X-Wing nights/tournaments with me demoing/judging. Wave 3 will be in my hands soon enough, hopefully in another month or so, and the idea of the new large ships has my mind spinning with excitement over the even more epic battles to come.

I've learned some very important X-Wing lessons over the last year.  Here's a few that really stand out.

  • Tabletop got a lot wrong, so read the rulebook, don't follow the show.
  • It doesn't matter how good your list is if you constantly fly into your other ships and asteroids.
  • Piloting is the most important part of the game
  • Your dice do hate you, but so do your opponent's. 
  • Your dice are streaky, or appear to be.
  • Never leave Luke with R2D2 for last with a single Tie Fighter, you can't win.
  • Big ships move far
  • You can fly off the board if you're not careful. The look on your face is hilarious to your opponent.

So yes, X-Wing is worth it.  I don't get to play it as often as I'd like, but every time I play, I have a great time.  It doesn't matter if every single ship I play gets shot down before I can take out an enemy ship, or if the game takes 3 hours.  I have so much fun each and every time I play it.

Now, to put my take on what you might want to get if you want to experience X-Wing.
Well first, try to demo the game before you buy.  I'm sure someone in your area plays and would be willing to teach you, I know I'm always happy to teach the game.
If you can't find a demo, or if you enjoy your demo, buy a core set, maybe even 2.  Now I hear some of you asking "why would I buy the same thing twice?"  Well the answer is simple.  If you want to have your own dice, it's good to have more than 1 core set.  Also, if you don't want to have to share moving templates, you need a 2nd set.  Plus, for your money, you double your ship count.
Then play that.  Mess around with 30-50 point games.  Have fun.
Still like it?  Ok, now time for expansions.
First, get an X-Wing and Tie Fighter Expansion.  Now you're asking "why would I get a ship I already own?"  Another simple answer.  Each of these expansions adds some new pilots for their respective ship to the game.  For instance the X-Wing expansion adds in Wedge who is a great pilot.
Then get a Tie Advanced.  One word - Vader.
After that, the choices are really up to you.  For Rebels, I love the Falcon, 1 A-Wing is great, 1-2 Y-Wings might be worth it, they depend on your play style.
For Imperials, I love Tie Interceptors, I own 4.  Slave 1 is a useful ship with a lot of great upgrades.

Here's what I own by ships and I'll say what I think is good for beginners to own

  • 4 X-Wings, beginners probably only need 2 or 3 as long as 1 is an expansion so they have all the pilots.
  • 3 Y-Wings. I've never fielded more than 2 and that was in an epic game. Beginners could get by with 1.
  • 1 Millenium Falcon. I think this is good, I've thought about buying a 2nd for the upgrades and to run double Falcon lists, but it's not a priority for me.
  • 2 A-Wings. I like them both, I've never ran both at the same time, so I say a beginner can get by with 1.
  • 5 Tie Fighters (4 from core sets 1 expansion).  5 is a good number to have.  You could get by with 3 (1 core and 1 expansion) but it's really easy to get to 5.
  • 3 Tie Advance.  I went overboard here.  2 were great for epic games, but you only really need 1.
  • 4 Tie Interceptors.  I've run 3 together before.  I got the 4th for epic games.  For new players, 1 is great to experiment with and see if you like it.  If you do, 2 or 3 is a good number.
  • 2 Slave 1.  I got the 2nd one for the upgrades and I got a deal on it.  You only really need 1 of these as a newer player, but it's not even necessary if you're ok with proxies.
I haven't quite decided how many Wave 3 ships I'm going to get.  I know at least 1 of each, quite possibly 2 of each, with a 3rd B-Wing and Tie Bomber.  Have I mentioned that I'm a bit addicted to this game?

At this point I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the large ships, aka too big to fit on the table in our current scale so we have to change things so it feels right even if it isn't exact.  First off, I don't care about scale.  Second, I wavered between really? and I gotta got those.  I've come down on the side of I'm going to suck it up and buy it because they will look awesome, and they'll make my store demo days all the more fun.  Plus, missions are the long future of this game.  I want a campaign that I can play for years, and these will be a vital part of it.  

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