X-Wing: Collecting a Rebel Fleet

Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game By Fantasy Flight GamesThe addition of a second Y-Wing means my Rebel fleet for Fantasy Flight’s X-Wing Miniatures Game is starting to take shape. With a few games (and wins) under my belt I’ve started to get to grips with the tactics of fighting with a Rebel fleet.

To be perfectly, brutally, honest you can pick up the basics for my approach from reading the X-Wing novels but as that’s 10 books it may just be quicker to read on.

So the Rebellion’s main strength has always been the quality of its pilots. You can put a crap pilot in an X-Wing and they’ll end up dead. Perhaps not as quickly as a crap pilot in a TIE fighter, but still. So when it comes to collecting a fleet your first thought should be to the quality of the pilot you’re putting behind the stick over what the hardware can do.

Granted this is quite limiting at the moment thanks to the woefully slow release schedule Fantasy Flight are working to. There’s various hooky cards floating around the internet and it’s sorely tempting under the circumstances. But the point is, that ability to fire first is vitally important to the often outnumbered Rebellion.

And top tip; try to keep your points under the agreed limit, or at least less than your opponent. Possessing the initiative and the higher pilot skill is too good a combination to pass up.

Rebel Fleet

Profile cards aside the other issue is whether or not you collect a fleet with your heart or with your head. Given the choice, I’d happily collect all X-Wings. Their all round performance means that they’ll be able to go toe to toe with just about any other snubfighter with the exception of the TIE Defender. However the durability and weapons of Y-Wings and the savage speed of A-Wings make them both invaluable to a squadron sized force.

This combined arms approach, coupled with quick draw pilots and durability of those fighters is what makes the Rebels so lethal. And gives you the edge over the oft simplistic and bludgeoning approach of Imperial fleets full of cheap, poorly trained pilots, flying cheap poorly built TIEs. Couple it with the Imperials’ own preferred tactic of mobbing targets and it’s surprising how quickly you can chew through Imperial formations. Concentrated fire backed up by the ability to soak up some real punishment means that, providing you don’t allow your flights to get bogged down, they can take on a fleet twice their size and comfortably and capably deal with it. The trick being to scissor your say through Imperial formations. Try to avoid furballs which allow superior numbers to be brought to bear. And where possible try to plan your moves so you can tuck in behind a target with one element or another every other turn allowing you to hammer everything bar a Lambda Class and Slave 1 with impunity.

The important lesson however is never leave you wingman. A flight of three X-Wings is difficult to deal with. Possessing 9 shots, 6 shields and 9 damage points between them, they chuck out 3 more shots and can soak up 6 more points of damage for the same number of TIE fighters. Don’t be tempted to break one off to finish off a target. Ignore it and move on to the next. By the time the winged target is dead your lone fighter will be two turns away from formation and that’s a long time in X-Wing.

With all this in mind it’s also vitally important to identify threats. Figure out which of your opponent’s ships have comparable pilot skill to your pilots, or a trait that tips the balance in their favour. And then destroy them. Slowly stripping away advantages not only makes your life easier but demoralises the opponent. Plus the Imperial player is going up against a fleet of superior pilots and so target prioritisation almost becomes meaningless to them. You can play to your advantage by applying pressure with different ships at different times which forces them to engage multiple targets, spreading the damage points out.

But let’s not forget the various upgrade cards. Proton Torpedoes are a relative cheap, yet devastating tool. The important this is to not save them. They only work at long-range so fire them off as soon as possible. It’s up to you whether or not you put multiple locks on a single target. If the target gets destroyed by one missile then you’ll just have to wait another turn. The important thing is that you want at least one enemy fighter dead for each flight of two or three ships a turn firing that turn. There are ways this can be improved upon. Marksmanship is mandatory, among one or two others.

And finally: capital ships. Larger, bulkier, and tougher ships like the Falcon serve two vital roles. The first is the obvious magnet for enemy fire. They’re big enough and ugly enough to take quite a pounding. If you’re lucky your opponent will get so distracted trying to bring it down that they’ll ignore the snubfighters scything their way through TIE fighters. The second is their ability to anchor your ever flexing line. It’s 360 degree field of fire means that it will always – assuming you make it keep pace with the rest of your fleet – be able to lend a hand to soften up, or finish off, a problem target. Again, with the right combination of upgrades the Falcon can not only shoot first, but lob out a volley of missiles, repair itself, get a burst of speed or gain the evade ability, which is very very useful.

Ultimately the best advice I can give for collecting a Rebel fleet – assuming all the cards were available – is to go with what you love. Whilst, personally, I wouldn’t recommend a squadron of B-Wings because they’d get danced around more times than the proverbial piggy in the middle, if they’re your jam than take them.

My fleet will, eventually, be 4 X-Wings, 3 A-Wings, 2 Y-Wings, 1-B-Wing, 2 E-Wings and the Falcon. The reason being it offers a near perfect blend of firepower, speed and durability as well as the capacity throw a lot of Ion cannon shots and missiles at my opponents. Seven ships down, 6 to go. Roll on Salute…

The X-Wing Miniature series is available from Firestorm Games from £6.29.

X-Wing Expansion: Millennium Falcon – A Review

FFGSWXwinglogoI think it’s fair to say that we, at The Shell Case, are rather smitten with X-Wing Miniatures Game by Fantasy Flight Games. As the team has grown I’ve been dangling the game in front of anyone who would let me and fortunately for me Mat bit and bit hard. This has meant several things have happened. A genuine and lasting excitement for Star Wars that has prompted us to get back into the novels and computer games, regular games, battle reports and reviewing models of ships I watched time and again as a child with complete wonderment. Wonderment that has endured these last (almost) 30 years. And not to gush more than I am, I now get to review the Millennium Falcon.

box-SWX06-rightI don’t know why I was surprised when the parcel arrived to find that it was a boxed expansion. Specifically a large box. Because, well, as one would expect, she’s bloody massive. Except I didn’t appreciate how massive having never seen the model next to anything other than Slave 1.

ffgmfBearing in mind that the small black window of the X-Wing contains a single pilot you rather get the idea of size. And for the money it’s actually – compared to the fighter expansions – pretty outstanding value. Yes it’s twice the price but it’s five times the model. At least. The model itself is a faithful recreation of the Falcon right down to its shit-kicker worn out appearance complete with battered bulkheads and battle damage. The only downside, because of its size, is that the basic paint job is a bit on the scrappy side. On the snubfighters it’s not so bad or somehow more excusable – you decide – but with the Falcon it looks like someone has basecoated the model then dipped it in that Army Painter stuff. It’s perfectly passable and still looks cool, it’s just a shame that for the larger models a little more care wasn’t taken.

Aside from a stonking great YT-1300 transport you also get an equally stonking base with stonking great cards to go on top. There’s some new rules which include rules for turrets which makes the Falcon just sick There’s also 4 ship cards including the old favourites – Han Solo, Chewbacca and Lando – and 14 upgrade cards. The deck is full of little gems. Concussion missiles are ace, allowing you to flip misses to hits and all for 4 points. Shield and engine upgrades are slightly over the top but you’d be mad not to take them, especially as the engine upgrade gives you a free move. But co-pilots cards are something to get really excited about, offering up, as they do, some incredibly useful bonuses. For example Luke Skywalker who allows you turn focus results into hits. He is 7 points though, which is embarrassingly expensive. Needless to say, whilst young Luke is manning the gun turrets he probably can’t pilot an X-Wing…

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The ship cards make for some tasty reading. Well, two of them do. Han Solo is ace. Lando, slightly less, and Chewie disappointingly average. But with only 4 points between Han and Chewie you’ll take Han every time. With activation of 9, he’s as quick off the mark as Wedge Antilles. Chuck in 3 shots, 360 degree field of fire, and a re-roll every time is just nuts. Plus 5 shields and 8 points of damage. Don’t get me wrong, the Falcon is a wallowing old tub and turning isn’t its strong suit so getting drawn into a dog fight would be its undoing. But with its durability and the aforementioned turrets means that it should be able to fight its way clear of most traps.

The Millennium Falcon, as an expansion, is superb. Aside from getting to field the beautiful old dame, the upgrade cards are all pretty tasty and the variety of ship cards does mean a lot of fun scenarios to be had. It’s a must for fans and a must for players wanting to move their games on from dogfights. And it’s a must because it’s the Falcon.

The Millennium Falcon expansion pack is available from Firestorm Games priced £22.50.