Star Wars X-Wing [FFG]

This past weekend we played a game of Star Wars X-Wing by Fantasy Flight Games.
As far as games go, this one is tremendous fun. One thing I really love about it is that the complexity is quite low but it still offers great tactical challenge. You have to think several turns ahead, more so if you are the rebels. The game takes the standpoint, though misguided, that some how the Rebels are the “good guys” and thus the paragon of all that is right and true. They have better combat scores and better vehicles. Of course, being such an elite force they also cost more points. The Empire is depicted as a bunch of poorly trained and outfitted rabble, meant to be picked off anonymously. In spite of such a terrible crime, we realize that when life hands you such indignity, laugh it off and turn the tables. that is what we did.

In our game we had 3 Tie Fighters and one Advanced Tie vs. a Y-Wing and two X-Wings – one piloted by Luke Skywalker. Get this; we all know the kid was itching to join the academy and fight the rebels before he hooked up with that zealot “Old Ben” in Beggars Canyon. So, the game has the audacity to say seasoned academy graduates have a very low piloting score and this runt from Tochi Station somehow manages to be one of the BEST PILOTS IN THE GALAXY?!? Yeah, I know what you are saying! In-Sane!

OK, lets get past the obvious flaw in the game makers logic. We all know the Empire is the best so what do we do about it? Well, for one we have numbers. Quality vs. Quantity. As Stalin said once, Quantity has a Quality all of its own! On turn 1 our entire side lines up on the Y-Wing. The Y-Wing is both tough and it has an Ion Cannon. That cannon shoots 360 degrees and disables engines on what it hits. Sure enough when we finally got within range it spiked the engine on the Advanced Tie. Luckily our opponents had nothing lined up in subsequent turns to take it out. Meanwhile one Y-Wing is tough but it’s not able to take the attention of 3 Tie Fighters kinda tough. By turn 3 or 4 it went boom.

The Rebels got in their licks during this time and severely shot up the Advanced Tie and then blew up a regular Tie Fighter. Another Tie fighter was also shot up. Dancing in the sky, using barrel roles and high speed the Empire managed to divide the two remaining X-Wings. The one that wasn’t the “Moisture Farmer” was destroyed in detail which left a rather target rich environment for Luke. Then came a rather interesting turn of events. Luke aggressively got on the tail of the Advanced Tie. What you might not know is, if ships overlap in this game, you back then up along their tracks until they are just touching. Ships that are touching are considered so close they cannot combat each other. Luke managed to overlap the Advanced Tie for two turns which was all it took for the remaining Tie Fighters to line him up and smoke him.

3 Rebels shot down for 1 Tie Fighter. I’ll take that deal all day long!

One tip I would like to pass along is what I am using to store and transport these ships, counters and rules in. I am using a plano box system shown below. It is double sided so it has great capacity for future expansions. I don’t think I’ll get too many of the larger ships in it but I’ll deal with that problem when I have them. It also has a handle which makes it easy to transport.

If you don’t have this game and are on the fence about it, I have to say it is a blast to play. The figures are quite nice. The rules are clear and the system is designed to drain your bank account over a long period of time. Oh just wait. they have vehicles from at last 5 more movies to incorporate into the game. I for one can’t wait for Tri-Fighters and Jedi Starfighters.

Halo – Tomorrow’s War

Just after my last Battlefield 3 video I lost my 2nd Xbox 360. I had bought a spare but it died a few months ago and I opted to wait to repair it. Well, play the violin, both died due to electrical surge (possibly from a bad brick) and neither could be repaired for less than replacement cost. Yeah, ouch. So I am not without a backup plan. Last June I pre-ordered the Limited Edition Star Wars Kinect Xbox 360. Yeah, delayed until early April. In the mean time I am going back to playing games with figures and loving it. Today’s battle report mixes and Xbox theme with miniature wargaming – I used Halo Figures for my first game of Ambush Alley Games’ Tomorrow’s War!

Tomorrow’s War – AAR of the first game

Tomorrow’s War is a platoon based game of near future combat. It is based upon the popular Force on Force game and cousin to Ambush Alley – the game that started it all. Where Ambush Alley focused on the Asymmetric war, Force on Force focuses on Equivalent forces fighting each other but is able to handle the COIN operations as well.

While I have played Force on Force in the past, I’ve never been the one to run it. I wanted to have a set of rules that would allow me to run all of my old science fiction figures and Tomorrow’s War certainly fits the bill. So the first out of the Basement were the Halo Clix of which I have what science describes as a “shit tons” worth of figures. It became almost no problem recreating the forces from what I had. The first scenario, “Lost and Found” was trivial to recreate excepts for one issue – it calls for troops that have the future equivalent of the Squad Automatic Weapon (aka ‘SAW’). In the Halo Universe there isn’t anything that matches up with that so I had to get creative. For Covenant forces I declared the Carbine was the SAW. For the Spartan’s, any Spartan that was duel wielding weapons had the same firepower as a SAW. It was an easy and expedient way of dealing with it. The rules are generic enough that they can be bent to almost any theme.

Glancing at the objective

Spartans look at the objective from cover

In the photo below We can see a nice close up of the figures. A Master Chief is the overall Squad Leader. The Spartan with the rocket launcher is the grenadier and the one duel wielding the needlers is the SAW. Other weapons used as substitutes are Fuel Rod Guns for Grenadiers and Covenant Carbines for SAWs.

For the objective I used some older (1990’s) models from the Kryomec game. These habitats make great science fiction buildings and are great as our primary objective point. The ODST soldier is perfect for the downed pilot that the Spartans are trying to rescue.

Objective: rescue downed pilot holed up in this cluster of buildings

For color I added a stand in for a crashed Pelican. This drop ship comes from the Grendel line of miniatures. I think it might be a late 1980’s model or early 1990’s. I don’t know if it went to any game system but it works well as a 28mm figure. I’ve had it for years.

Crashed Pelican - used simply as set dressing

The water hazard posed no difficulty in crossing. The banks were considered cover for any element lined up along them that wasn’t moving. The river sections are just thin MDF painted with the edges flocked. It works well enough. The bridge section is one piece. That bridge isn’t removable and isn’t wide enough for large 28mm vehicles. It is barely wide enough for 20mm vehicles. I believe it was meant for 15mm or smaller scale vehicles.

The Bridge

The Bridge to Desert Station Tango

The figure is the ODST soldier just praying the Marines get him in time.

For the majority of the game the Covenant remained hidden in Ambush. They had greater numbers but their technology class (in this scenario at least) is less than the Spartans. I used a mixture of Grunts, Jackals, Elites, one Brute and one Zealot to make up the opposition. While I did cause some damage when initiating my ambush attacks, the reaction fire from the Spartans was often devastating.

Kill Check!

Kill Check!

Note that while the Spartan fireteam here took 25% casualties, my larger force of xenos took 100%! In Tomorrow’s War you aren’t dead until a casualty/first aid check is done. However in order for that to happen you need a least one friendly withing cohesion distance (2″). We did see the rules specifically state that when a full element is rendered as casualties it remains that way until another friendly unit comes to the rescue. With these merciless Spartans passing through though, unopposed, we determined that they would simply kill check every “dink in the drink” and removed them from play. Right or wrong that is what we did.

Measuring distance

Measuring Distance

Measuring distance is nice when you are checking to see if the enemy is in optimal distance. given the short engagement ranges in this game, EVERYTHING in LOS is in effective range. Optimal range just adds a die to the fire power roll. The Spartans didn’t really need it. They had no trouble plastering xenos without mercy!

Alien flora offers some cover

Alien flora offers some cover

These horrifying alien plants were nice cover. The terrain is naturally made here in Tennessee. Just go walking one of the green ways covered in black walnut trees in late summer or early fall and you can gather up big bags full! Just a few pocketfuls gathered one day were enough to make a nice alien mangrove.

volley fire

Charge weapons! Aim! Fire!

This battle line did me in. Two fire teams, one reduced the other expanded by the squad leader finished off the final xeno squad and rescued the pilot.

I have to say we had a great time playing this game. I took the time to print out the Fog of War cards and trim them nicely (worth the effort) and to find and print out quick reference sheets. Some were better than others. One that covered the very basics of play proved to be the best. You can find them in the forums at We had some questions about the timing of some things but the rules really are quite clear once you can find them. Organizationally they are a bit spread out but for the most part not too difficult to search.

I really look forward to playing a lot more of this game!