“This is Red 5, I’m going in.”

Despite not having played it for months, I still have a soft spot for Fantasy Flight Game’s X-Wing, not the least because it brought me back into miniatures wargaming and brought K. into it. This week, we finally managed to have a game – or better, three games: The first one I played with a friend who was a novice, the other two I played with K. who is a veteran. However, we were both out of practice as we hadn’t played since summer.

For the first game, I took the Imperials and fielded two Tie Fighters and one Tie Advanced against one X-Wing and one Y-Wing. All the ships were upgraded, but I can’t remember any details except that the X-Wing was piloted by Wedge Antilles. That, however, turned out to be but a minor nuissance. Wedge didn’t give me much trouble and I shot him down somewhere in the middle of the game. What broke my neck was the Y-Wing. I didn’t remember how tough they were and ignored him for the first couple of rounds. In the end, we both had one ship left – me a Tie and my friend the Y-Wing. Unfortunately, the latter does tank a lot of hits! Despite being unwieldy, the 360° arc of the ion cannon kept harrassing me until it delivered the third hull damage and my ship blew up unglamorously. I lost by a narrow margin, but I lost nonetheless.

"Stay on target."
“Stay on target.”

For the games against K., I defected to the Rebellion and took one Y-Wing with an ion cannon and proton torpedoes as well as an X-Wing piloted by none other than Luke Skywalker himself, may the force be with him! And at first it was: With a lucky shot, I bagged one Tie in close combat and could then take my time to hunt down the other two. During the rematch, however, K. suddenly remembered all the lessons from months ago and flew like the devil. With her three fighters, she first took down the Y-Wing and then boxed in the poor lonesome X-Wing. She outflew me and systematically denied me manoeuvring space while keeping me in her firing arcs. Because I had Luke, who is good at defending, it did take some time until she had me, but I wasn’t able to take back the initiative and basically danced to her tune.

"It's a trap!"
“It’s a trap!”

Afterwards, we talked a bit about the game. The first thing we noticed was what a distance we had travelled since we first played X-Wing about a year ago and embarked on our crazy journey into wargaming! While X-Wing is still a fun game, K. complained about the limited number of tactical possibilities in relation to SAGA for instance. This, I think, is even more true when you play with the large ships. Months ago, when the second wave of ships arrived, I bought the Millenium Falcon and Slave I. This was a bit of a fanboy impulse: Boba Fett’s ship always was one of my favourites in the Star Wars Universe while the Falcon is, well, the Falcon. However, when we first played with them, they turned out to be a disappointment. Especially the Falcon, with its 360° arc of fire, led to boring flying. It has to be said that the thing we enjoy most about X-Wing is the feeling of space dogfights, and for us this means zooming around and making cool manoeuvres. We are both more interested in outflying each other than in the meta-game aspect of squadron composition. Dogfighting works well with small ships, but with the big ones it felt like the right combination of pilot and upgrade cards was more important then the flying, especially as with the Falcon it makes no big difference were you are positioned in relation to the other ships. Also, because the large ships can take so much damage, our games tended to last longer and become boring slogging matches.

Nonetheless, we will continue to play the game, although not too often – I guess it’s one of those games which can be played to death easily and work best when brought out sporadically. When playing, we will limit ourselves to the small fighters, which for me are best suited for that kind of game. I might, however, buy another Tie Fighter to recreate some movie scenes with the Falcon – after all, I am a serious historical wargamer now!

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