Sunday, January 13, 2013

X-Wing Kessel Run, or how I won myself a Slave.... One....

Yes!  I am still alive!  Life had caught up to me a little bit over the last months I haven't really painted a whole lot since my last post.  A couple of orders arrived over this time, some more ImagiNation stuff from Front Rank, a godless amount of buildings from Pegasus Hobbies to start fleshing out my planned ImagiNation village and finally my Kickstarter pledge (Bushido) from waaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy back in February 2012.

Anyway, during that time I have been able to keep myself happy in regards to wargaming with Fantasy Flight Game's X-Wing Miniatures Game products.  A long time ago I purchased the starter box which yielded everything needed to start gaming for up to three players.  Along with all sorts of templates and cards and dice, the box contained two TIE fighters and one X-Wing.  I played a few games with Mike Hoyt and then we kinda left the game off to the side.  He eventually purchased his own box, doubling the number of fighters we had between the two of us.  Along with the box, he got a TIE Advanced (Darth Vader's TIE from A New Hope) and another X-Wing.  Again, I left the game on the wayside after another match.

Back in December while perusing the fine wears of my FLGS the owner Mike (go figure, another one) notified Mike H and I that he had managed to secure a copy of the Kessel Run Tournament Kit and would be running the tournament in the new year.

With that in mind, Mike H and I tested a couple of games before Christmas and while he had yet to decide upon what composition he would use for his 100 point squadron, I was convinced that my 98 point squadron of 2 TIE Advanced and 4 TIE fighters would be a winning combination.  I kept it relatively simple with my fighters in terms of possible abilities and pilot level settling on Storm Squadron pilots for the TIE Advanced and Obsidian Squadron for the TIEs.  My choice of not using the last 2 points to bring my force up to 100 was to prevent a Rebel player from only using 99 points and gaining the initiative (The Imperial player always has initiative if the two players have the same point total).

Why choosing to use the level 2 pilots for each kind of fighter you might ask?  Well a very popular build in the Meta of the Kessel Run has been to run 8 bog standard TIEs, using pure number to overwhelm your opponent.  By choosing to upgrade one level, I would have the advantage in moving second and shooting first, thus having the possibility to reduce my opponents firepower before he could even shoot back.  TIEs are rather brittle, only taking 3 damage before becoming 1980s special effects.

The advantage for the TIE Advanced was its shields.  While 2 shield points is pretty pitiful in comparison to any (now including A-Wing) Rebel fighter, it was advantageous in when facing other Imperial players while giving staying power when facing Rebels.

Anyway, I borrowed / picked up another TIE so that I could field my full squadron and the Friday before the event I played a couple of test matches against Mike H and another local gamer, Greg.  Mike H was running a rather unorthodox Rebel build, with his squadron being comprised of four, yes four, Y-Wings.  I quite like the idea behind this squadron and was fairly confident I could deal with Y-Wings  during the actual tournament.  Y-Wings are tanks, they take a million (3) shield hits and even more (5) hull hits.  Safe to say, you need to pummel each individually with most of your TIEs to take it out.

Thankfully our generous hosts and tournament organizers set up the area before the horde of GW players arrived to take up all the remaining space.

For our rather small non-Games Workshop wargaming community, we had a very impressive showing of 8 competitors for the tournament.  We would have to play three matches of swiss pairings to pile up points and the top two players would get into the Top 2 and play with pre-built lists.  The #1 seed would get the choice of using either the Slave 1 and two TIE Interceptors or the Millennium Falcon and two A-Wings.  None of these products have actually been released yet, as the idea of the Kessel Run tournament was to drum up hype.

Anyway, my first game of the day was against a similar TIE swarm.  I ended up winning a narrow victory (thus only gaining 3 points instead of 5) by blowing up his Darth Vader piloted TIE Advanced after loosing on of my own TIE Advanced.  In the end, choosing cheaper ships gave me a very small 6 point victory.  Rounds were 60 minutes long and for my grindy squadron build, I needed every second possible.

GAH! TIE swarm!

Game two was a full 5 point victory for myself, facing down a second TIE swarm, this time without a Sith Lord leading them.  Instead it was 5 Ace pilots and 1 Level 1 pilot.  In the end, I pulled his fighters into an asteroid field by sandbagging and always evading.  With 3 minutes left I had a narrow victory, but if I could pull of one more point by killing another fighter, I could gain the full five, so elected to play it out.  In the end I lost another TIE Advance to durdle dice rolling, but on the crack-back, I blew away all but his rookie pilot, taking out 34 points in difference of his force and giving me the 5 point victory.   (You need to get a point difference of 33 to get a full victory)

The final match of the swiss rounds was against Mike H.  Equipped with Ion cannons, Mike H and his Y-Wings tabled his first two opponents before facing down my TIE squadron and getting tabled himself.  Our match was mostly irrelevant as we had both accumulated enough points to finish in the Top 2, thus getting the chance to play in the Top 2 and securing a very nice prize.  I was slightly worried throughout the match as another game was going on that would possibly mean that only one of us would move to the Top 2, but in the end, I feared for not as I would finish on top of the group with 13 points and Mike would finish second with 10.

During testing we had both come to the conclusion that we wanted different prizes and if we faced each other down in the final match, we would just Intentionally Draw and then play the match out to get a feel and test the new fighters before any one else in the area.  Safe to say, after five hours of gaming my mind was slightly fried and I did not realllyyyy take the final match all that seriously.  In the end, I found out that the A-Wing can do really special things and you should never run a TIE Interceptor straight at the Millennium Falcon to "test its firepower".

As you can see, I am quite excited with the prize...
So, after six hours of gaming I walked away with my favourite ship in the entire Star Wars universe, Boba Fett's Slave 1.