Our first brush with Epic X-Wing was, well, epic

In Miniatures by JoeLeave a Comment

X-Wing is an amazing game. The ‘move-and-shoot’ simplicity, the variety to be found among its three factions, and the sheer fun of building squads and taking them into battle. It’s tactical miniatures gaming at its finest, and can only be improved by . . . more X-Wing?

That was the theory we set out to explore with our first proper game of Epic X-Wing – the variant format which allows players to field up to three times the amount of miniatures and ordnance than usual, and is played on a board twice the size of that of a normal battle.

This is how it went.

What was your list and why did you build it that way?

Joe: “I flew Rebels so I could make use of my recently-purchased Rebel Transport. I also wanted to try out the Arc-170 and a pair of bomb-laden TLT K-Wings. I had a couple of amped-up A-Wings with Push The Limit, Wired and Vectored Thrusters, and a fairly fat Han Solo in the Falcon.

“My list was made up of ships I wanted to fly because I haven’t flown them enough, essentially. It’s very rare that I play as Rebels, so it was a chance to get some practice in. I really like the look, feel and lore of the Arc-170, and the fact that it’s ‘antiquated’ means I have a burning desire to master this ship.

“Looking back, I didn’t have many named pilots, and more aces might have had more of an impact. As would a better concept of how the ships might work together to blow stuff up.”

Paul: “My list was built on a lie. Actually more of a misunderstanding than a lie, but the Empire would definitely harness sensationalist tabloids to carry their message, so whatevs.

“I thought Joe was packing a Corvette not a Transporter, so I built my list with the sole intent of being able to have the greatest chance to take that out. If I’d known he’d be pootling around with some undefended 39-point support ship I suspect my choices would’ve been different.

“So, taking that into account I based my decisions on my limited understanding of actual military combat tactics. I knew I wanted sufficient ordinance to put a genuine dent in the regenerating shields and hull of a huge ship. I knew I would likely need at least two methods of deploying that ordinance. I knew that I would need a fast, aggressive ace, or aces, to fly combat air patrol over my own Raider, as well as the bombing groups.

“I checked my options: the Decimator was too expensive, the Shuttle too slow. However, the TIE Bomber could carry lots of stuff and the TIE Punisher – awful in 100pts – could be stacked up and protected in a 300pt game.

“I basically loaded up the Bomber and Punisher with as much ordinance as I could spare, used a Phantom to fly cover as I couldn’t afford a Defender and then chucked a load of cheap TIE Fighters on to support the bomber groups with the main ones surrounding the Punisher as that had the most ordinance and I wanted that to get through as much as possible.

“The Raider had hard hitting lasers in its hardpoints, and the ability to regen shields if required.”

The Imperial Raider is basically a small Star Destroyer, in X-Wing terms. It has two firing arcs, and inflicts pain on everything in its path.

What was different, compared to a normal 100 point game?

Paul: “Well, the size of the board was a key part for me. It gave me opportunity to separate out my bomber groups and to use the Raider in the centre of the board to be able to attempt as many hits as possible.

“I found that separation also allowed me to overshoot my target but then not have to turn back into combat as I was heading towards another combat zone anyway. I expected to lose a few ships, but each ship counted a lot less to my strategy because I had gone with a number of low-cost TIEs without actually flying a swarm as such.

“It felt like there was a strategy layer on top of the tactical layer – not only was I having to consider how I could get the A-wing in my arc next turn, but I was also having to consider how that would interact with the other battles that were underway and what ships I wanted to commit to each engagement.

“It also became really apparent that any ship that didn’t contribute each turn was a real waste and that efficient flying (i.e. making sure I was shooting or being shot at) was important. That statement in parentheses is important – I wanted to have opportunity to present Joe with shots that I wanted him to take. There were enough ships out that I could try to maneuver in such a way that my sacrificial lambs were genuinely enticing over and above the crown jewels I was trying to protect.

“Also, flying the Raider is genuinely epic!”

Joe: “I found it quite hard to visualise the tactics I was going to implement in order to gain board control against Paul’s Imperials. This was in part because of the sheer size of the field, but probably mainly because of the ominous presence of the fully-laden TIE Punisher and horrible, horrible Imperial Raider.

“I won’t lie. I was very scared of the Raider, having flown it once myself.

“There are obviously a lot more actions and effects to keep track of in an Epic game, and it took me two or three rounds to get my bearings and learn my abilities. By then it was far too late!

“The Epic format certainly opens up slots for ships that you wouldn’t run in a 100-point game. I can’t imagine flying two K-Wings in any other format, for example. The Arc was great, but it might struggle without space on the board to run and hide. And there was too much space on the board for my Conner Nets to be effective.

“I loved flying the A-Wings. They had space to run-and-gun, barrel-roll out of tight spots and boost round corners. Firing their piddly two-dice guns was something I didn’t love, though.”

There goes Han, off to meet his fate atop an asteroid.

What mistakes or successes defined the game, and what would you do differently?

Paul: “The mistake that defined the game was Han Solo parking himself on a rock in front of two TIE Fighters, a TIE F/O, a TIE Punisher and more or less in range of the Raider. Han was loaded up, and I was able to unload quickly on him with a shed-load of focused fire.

“That took out a large chunk of Joe’s points, and my plan of splitting the battlefield and protecting my assets behind cannon fodder paid off.”

“I was pleased with my flying in general, and in particular the way that I was able to maximise the firepower from the Raider most turns. Being able to bring both arcs into play meant that I was really utilising the point investment, and I finished the game with most of my munitions having been unloaded in the general direction of the Rebels at least!”

“If I were to play again, I think I’d try to get the Phantom more involved, but by the same token my plan was always to keep it in reserve where it might be needed.”
“In this game I do think the Raider had a more impactful presence than the transport, and that because we’ve flown the Raider before we were more aware of its impact. If Joe had flown the Transport before I suspect he would’ve had more opportunity to identify shortcomings and build around it.

“Every game of X-wing I play makes me want to play again, and soon. The Epic experience was fulfilling as it bridged the gap between the ‘twitchy’ nature of X-Wing and the more steady game of Armada. I’d strongly recommend it as a way to get the benefits of both games!”

Joe: “Clearly, landing Han on a big asteroid in round two, then letting the TIEs block him there the next round, was pivotal to my defeat. There was nothing I could do but sob quietly as Paul pinged the Falcon’s shields away. I don’t think I even managed to roll an evade for the whole assault.

“The two K-Wings – which I had high hopes for – were also too remote for the first couple of rounds, swooping around the perimeter of the asteroid field when they needed to be mixing it up in battle, firing off TLT shots at Paul’s mini-swarms.

“My A-Wings performed admirably, dodging arcs and using the Push the Limit / Wired combo to make the most of their two attack dice. But the luck of the roll really wasn’t with me on the day and, despite scalping three TIEs, I couldn’t deliver the finishing blow to either the Bomber or TIE/fo.

“I play a lot of Scum, so I found myself asking questions like ‘why am I only rolling two attack dice?’ and ‘where are my sneaky tricks?’ – but I do want to play as Rebels again. Next time, I’ll fly aces in X-Wings, with Vectored Thrusters, Push the Limit and Wired. Boom. Revenge list done.

“The biggest problem, I feel, was that my Epic ship – or my lack of understanding of it – really let me down. I just didn’t know what the hell to do with the Rebel Transport. It didn’t match up to the firepower of the Raider and, although Whisper got jammed and sliced to within one hull of destruction, the GR-75 ultimately made zero impact on the field.”

How do you fly this thing? Please let us know. 🙁

Joe’s list (299/300 points):

GR-75 Medium Transport: GR-75 Medium Transport (30)
Combat Retrofit (10)
· Toryn Farr (6)
· Dutyfree (+0 Energy) (2)
Frequency Jammer (4)
Backup Shield Generator (3)
Slicer Tools (7)

K-Wing: · Miranda Doni (29)
Extra Munitions (2)
Concussion Missiles (4)
Twin Laser Turret (6)
Conner Net (4)
Conner Net (4)
Advanced SLAM (2)
Bombardier (1)

K-Wing: Warden Squadron Pilot (23)
Extra Munitions (2)
Concussion Missiles (4)
Twin Laser Turret (6)
Conner Net (4)
Conner Net (4)
Advanced SLAM (2)
Bombardier (1)

A-Wing: Green Squadron Pilot (19)
Push The Limit (3)
Chardaan Refit (-2)
Vectored Thrusters (2)
A-Wing Test Pilot (0)
Wired (1)

A-Wing: Green Squadron Pilot (19)
Push The Limit (3)
Chardaan Refit (-2)
Vectored Thrusters (2)
A-Wing Test Pilot (0)
Wired (1)

ARC-170: · Braylen Stramm (25)
· R2-D2 (4)
Shield Upgrade (4)
· Nien Nunb (1)
Alliance Overhaul (0)

YT-1300: · Han Solo (46)
Calculation (1)
Anti Pursuit Laser (2)
Tactician (2)
· Luke Skywalker (7)
· Millennium Falcon (Evade) (1)

Paul’s list (300 points):

Whisper (37)
TIE Phantom (32)
Collision Detector (0)
Veteran Instincts (1)
Advanced Cloaking Device (4)

Academy Pilot (12) x 4

“Redline” (44)
TIE Punisher (27)
Fire-Control System (2)
Proton Torpedoes (4)
Proton Torpedoes (4)
Cluster Missiles (4)
Advanced Homing Missiles (3)

Gamma Squadron Veteran (28)
TIE Bomber (19)
Proton Torpedoes (4)
Extra Munitions (2)
Ion Pulse Missiles (3)
Long Range Scanners (0)

Raider-class Corvette (aft) (65) Raider-class Corvette (50)
Shield Technician (1)
Single Turbolasers (8)
Ion Cannon Battery (6)
Raider-class Corvette (fore) (59) Raider-class Corvette (50)
Quad Laser Cannons (6)
Engine Booster (3)

“Zeta Ace” (19)
TIE/fo Fighter (18)
Draw Their Fire (1)

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