Wars in the Stars, on a tabletop.

Some of you may know I’m a bit of a Star Wars fan (in the same way Stalin was a bit of a tyrant). Others of you may be aware of the X-Wing Miniatures game, and that I play it. If you’re not, check it out – it’s a great hobby if you’re into space-combat and/or dogfighting games! It’s also what this post is about so if you’re not interested in any of the above then you can probably gloss over this post as it’s about to go into a lot of detail and technical elements of the game. I’d rather you didn’t though, because I photosynthesise off of attention.

I’m attending a tournament on the twentieth of this month and have constructed a Scum & Villainy list to play, as I love the faction despite the fact that it is distinctly average at most things – which is fine, but in a game where you play to your strengths not having a particular strength is an issue. My list is below:

IG-88C (36), Lone Wolf (2), Autothrusters (2), Advanced Sensors (3), Feedback Array (2) = 45 pts.

StarViper (Black Sun Enforcer) (25), Authothrusters (2) = 27pts.

StarViper (Black Sun Enforcer) (25), Authothrusters (2) = 27pts.

Total: 99/100pts

One IG-88?! Starvipers? Yes, this list brings a lot of new ideas to the table – I’ll let you know if they’re good ideas after the tournament. For those you unfamiliar with game, IG-88 ships essentially operate on a hive-mind and can borrow each other’s pilot abilities so running two maximises the ships’ potential. Starvipers are considered grossly too expensive for what they do, even though they do an awful lot, and the non-special character versions without a pilot ability are never seen in tournaments to as a result – to my knowledge.

So I’m putting some fairly unusual tactics to the table. Cue jibes of hipster-strats etc – no, no, no, friend; I honestly think it’s a strong list. I do have an undeniable diversity complex but this list has been designed around that with the aim of also being good.

Let’s start with the StarVipers, as they’re simple to go over. 3-3-4-1 with Focus, Target Lock, Boost and Barrel-Roll and PS1 for 25 points; this isn’t actually terrible. Yeah, it’s pricey compared with a TIE/Fighter or Z-95 but 3 attack and 3 agility make it a good brawler craft, and barrel-roll and boost make it nippy and a good blocker at PS-1. Autothrusters for 2 points turn it into a very survivable sniper craft for Range 3 engagements which still requires fairly substantial attention to remove from the board. The alternative is to scrap one and replace it with two Z-95s with Feedback Array – is this better? I’ll have to play some more games with the StarVipers first.

Whether or not that justifies to you, the discerning reader, the use of StarVipers those are my reasons. Moving on to IG-88, I had three choices for large ship craft but the only one that really interested me was the IG-88 until the JumpMaster5000 is released. I have another list that runs the YV-666 which is jammy, but not massively competitive I don’t think, so I turned it down and the Firespray is a workhorse but I’ve never really enjoyed running it. This left the IG, and of the four available to me the best solo-craft was IG-C, as the free Evade when boosting gives me action economy, a defensive advantage when boosting be it aggressively or defensively and none of the others stood out. I briefly considered IG-A but with my choice of system I felt that IG-C was stronger.

Let’s talk about the load out. Autothrusters were the best option by a long way, as I’ve all the action types I need, and Lone Wolf gives me a bonus as last ship standing – which I imagine the IG-C will be due to the StarViper’s being PS1 – and also if I position well with my turns and Sengor’s Loops. Advanced Sensor assists with position and actions when doing those moves, and gives me more versatility when confronted with blockers/swarms. Feedback Array is an ace up my sleeve for arc dodgers or ensuring I get that final hit on a target.

Originally I had Veteran Instincts (1) & Sensor Jammer (4) on there, giving me a PS competitive Ace with a 1 point initiative bid and an extra defensive upgrade. I found that I rarely got to take an aggressive action, however, so while the ship was tough to hit it didn’t really bite back enough to punish people for it. While the SJ did help strip tokens and punish people for not focusing it felt like paper armour when Advanced Sensors could help me dodge arcs all together. Dropping VI counteracts that somewhat, though, and I have the points to get Lone Wolf with SJ anyway – which seems very strong – as I won’t need a bid at PS6 really.

I want to test Advancer Sensors first though to see if it helps; even if it just lets me dodge and/or block with greater ease it maybe be worth it to catch a higher PS ship off guard as I have Feedback to get some violence done. I did again did consider switching to IG-A with SJ and Lone Wolf, making it quite the late-game predator, which is still an option but I will test IG-C with Advanced Sensors first.

The plan is to start with the StarVipers together and the IG-C at the edge of range 2, possibly facing away from each other, and dally about in my deployment zone long enough – and unhelpfully enough – to drag my opponent through the asteroid field. I’ve practiced placing the field in very unhelpful ways and then hiding behind it. The asteroids and distance should benefit my agility 3, autothruster-equipped shipped more than my opponent. I’m also confident of flying through the field as I don’t need a formation and my ships are pretty nippy – the Sengor’s Loop especially has helped surprised people in games so far, allowing me to turn around a turn or two earlier than expected.

After that it’s a case of hit and run attacks, focusing on whatever looks weak and/or token-less. With three attack dice I’m pretty kitted out against high hp-low agility ships or low hp-high agility ships, and the Feedback Array on IG-C should help finish those off. Staying at range 3 and dodging around asteroids will my planning, with the StarVipers staying loosely together while trying to dodged and IG-C keeping its distance for the Lone Wolf trigger. I’m testing it over the weekend so I’ll be posting again next week with the results.

Play the game? Got suggestions? Or just questions? Comment or ask! I won’t be able to explain the whole game, but I’ll try to cover anything I’ve missed for those who’re interested!

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