RogerBW's Blog

X-Wing Tournament in Aldershot, March 2015 15 March 2015

Yesterday I took part in my first X-Wing tournament. With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

The event was held at The Games Shop, in Aldershot (which has no web site, apparently).

Outside is a fairly dull shopping street (the local big shop is Lidl).

The front of the shop seems to be mostly family games and miniatures; there are boardgames in the back. No sign of any role-playing stuff.

Signups had been limited to forty, and in the end thirty-three people showed up. This made things fairly crowded at first, with no space between play areas to put down cards and such, though after the first match some of the 3'×3' tabletops were removed to make more room. Each round was a strictly-timed sixty minutes, with quarter- or half-hour breaks between.

I brought "Fel's Whisper 2.0":

Soontir Fel / TIE Interceptor
 Royal Guard TIE
 Shield Upgrade
 Hull Upgrade
Whisper / TIE Phantom
 Veteran Instincts
 Fire-Control System
 Advanced Cloaking Device
Academy Pilot / TIE Fighter
Academy Pilot / TIE Fighter

For my first game I was up against Matthew, with:

Tarn Mison / X-Wing
 R-7 Astromech
Rookie Pilot / X-Wing
Rookie Pilot / X-Wing
Keyan Farlander / B-Wing
 Push the Limit

A neat initial approach rapidly became the traditional furball, with Whisper trying to hang back a bit.

I lost one of the TIEs quite quickly, but in exchange for Tarn Mison that wasn't too bad.

The other X-Wings soon followed, though Soontir Fel was taken out by B-Wing fire.

With some bad positioning on my part, though, the B-Wing was the final survivor. 67-100 loss to me.

Simon was my next opponent, with a two-Aggressor force:

IG-88B / Aggressor
 Veteran Instincts
 "Mangler" Cannon
 Shield Upgrade
 Fire-Control System
IG-88D / Aggressor
 Veteran Instincts
 Shield Upgrade
 Fire-Control System
 "Mangler" Cannon

He had a nice combination: make the primary attack, get a free target lock from Fire-Control System, then use IG-88B's secondary attack ability and burn the target lock on the Mangler attack. I lost a TIE very fast, and the Phantom soon afterwards.

But I was able to hammer one of the Aggressors to pieces, and chivvied the other one until it ran off the board. (No photos of that, sorry.) 100-51 win.

My third game was against Michael, and this one was just strange. He took a fairly reasonable Scum force:

Prince Xizor / Starviper
 Veteran Instincts
 Fire-Control System
Kavil / Y-Wing
 Autoblaster Turret
 Unhinged Astromech
 Stay on Target
Syndicate Thug / Y-Wing
 Autoblaster Turret
 Unhinged Astromech
Binayre Pirate / Z-95 Headhunter

…but somehow nothing I tried worked. Yeah, I had some bad dice luck, but even so. The Phantom got in too close and couldn't decloak to attack, then got blown up anyway.

Quite soon I was down to a single TIE. And although I'd scored a few hits, I hadn't been able to concentrate them on a single target.

And the TIE went out in a blaze of, well, not even glory really. 0-100 loss to me.

After lunch I went up against Grant, in my first ever mirror match (i.e. Empire vs Empire). He had an augmented swarm similar to my original idea for Fel's Whisper, with one good ship replacing about three TIEs.

Rexler Brath / TIE Defender
 Lone Wolf
 Heavy Laser Cannon
Howlrunner / TIE Fighter
Academy Pilot / TIE Fighter
Academy Pilot / TIE Fighter
Academy Pilot / TIE Fighter

He moved his swarm back and forth along his rear edge, with the Defender prowling nearby.

This was the game where everything went right for me. I managed some lovely sidesteps with the Phantom's decloak manoeuvre.

The Defender was nailed first, as well as one of the Academy pilots, and the swarm broke up.

And I simply chased them down and killed them while taking no losses. 100-0 to me.

The last game was against Tris with a Rebel freighter force:

Han Solo / YT-1300
 Jan Ors
 Kyle Katarn
 Push the Limit
 Millennium Falcon
Leebo / YT-2400
 "Mangler" Cannon

They split up fairly early on, and although the Phantom went down distressingly quickly so did Leebo.

But the combination of cards under Han Solo led to him generating two Evades per turn as well as a Focus, and our forces simply couldn't get enough damage in on him. 44-100 loss, and he still had plenty of shields.

In the end, I came in 21st out of 30 ranked players, around the middle of the two-game-winner pack. Not great, but could have been worse (one player won no games at all, and three were apparently disqualified). Michael, who slaughtered me so thoroughly in game #3, was only just above me in the final scoring.

But I wasn't playing with any serious hope of coming out on top; I went because I hoped I'd get a solid day of gaming, and I did. I'm certainly not going to do this every month or even more often, the way some people do, but there was no rules-lawyering and the atmosphere in general was very good. Apparent ages ranged from early twenties to, well, me, but with a fair few around the higher end. I didn't have any trouble finishing off games within the time limit, even though I usually take quite a bit longer when playing at the club; having played beforehand with this force certainly helped.

I didn't see any sign of the Lambda-Class Shuttle that was apparently big in the early days of tournament play, and there weren't all that many X-Wings on the tables either. Someone had an Imperial gunboat, and there were a couple more two-Aggressor builds on other tables, but mostly people went for one largish ship at most, and most of them seemed to be playing with a pure-fighter force; there was even a traditional TIE swarm. "Quantity has a quality all of its own." (And Soontir Fel, mainstay of my force, seemed to be in a lot of others' too.)

I think I'll retire this squad for a bit and try out some Rebel forces next.

  1. Posted by Ashley R Pollard at 02:51pm on 16 March 2015

    My, my you have been busy, and all those games you've played means you must have a real handle on the rules. I'm still learning them, as evinced after playing with my Godson and his sister this weekend – they now know the rules better than me.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 03:35pm on 16 March 2015

    Up to a point - there's a substantial amount of ship-specific play style to pick up (e.g. the way the Phantom cloak/decloak is handled), which is why I plan to shift over to the Rebels next. Got some ideas about A- and B- wings…

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