Saturday, February 15, 2014

Star Wars X-Wing revisited and Erasmus Campaign

Long time ago...

actually only more than one year ago I got my copy of the core set of the Star Wars X-wing miniatures game and wrote a more or less I-hate-you-maybe-could-like-you post bzw. review about it.
That day I played three or four games, but only the first two scenarios of the Core Set book and only with the one X-wing and the two TIEs from that set.
I did not play again...

...until one week ago :)

A friend of mine has been collecting (more or less) the game and so far he has two models of the "basic" starships, namely the X-Wing, Y-Wing, A-Wing, the TIEs, advance TIE, interceptor and I think he also has some of the big ships, anyway, the point is, he has more models than the ones on the core set alone.
He has also been trying to get us to play the game. He actually managed to play a four people scenario (I was not there) and it seemed to be better than my experience so far.

Two weeks ago we were talking about free time (lack of), games and things and stuff and we find ourselves talking about X-wing and how disappointed I was with the game.
He has found a very nice campaign on the web, the Erasmus campaign at a web called although the original one is still being discussed at BoardGameGeek.
This campaign has revived my interest in the game. The idea behind is very elegant and remembers me of something I found once, long time ago when I was playing AT-43. Basically the idea is you start small and slowly build up the game.
The campaign has four scenarios and the first once is only 50 points each side, no named pilots, no bi ships, so basically Wave 1 fighters.
We did that one week ago. It was great !
The first mission resembles the scenario 3 from the core set. In the core set, the empire starships have to "read" some satellites, in the Erasmus mission the Rebels have to destroy two satellites which the empire fighters can "protect" (special action for the mission).
It was a blast !
You can find some pictures and a nice narrative on the blog that this friend of mine has just created to follow not only this game but also future games.
Yes, future games. We are going to keep playing :)

So far we have played the first and the second mission of this Erasmus campaign.
The second mission is kind of weird. There are like three versions around, the one in themetalbikini and when we looked it up in boardgamegeek the one there, which have been updated recently.
The apparent problem with this mission seems to be that it is very difficult for the Rebels to win. The idea is similar to the shuttle mission from the core set and have the same problems.
A shuttle starts on one side of the board and moves towards the other side at a maximum speed forwards of 2, so in more or less 5 to 6 rounds will be out of the board and in safety.
One force (Empire, for example) escorts the shuttle and deploy on the same side where the shuttle starts.
The opposing force (Rebels, for example) has to attack the shuttle and deploy on the border of the board towards the one the shuttle moves and they get there their reinforcements !!!
That is insane. For the defending player there is no motivation to finish off any attacking enemy fighter as immediately a new, fresh fighter will appear right in front of the shuttle.
I think this kind of North to South engagement with reinforcements is broken in design.
In my opinion a far better idea will be to make the attacking force to deploy not opposite to the shuttle but perpendicular to it, so instead of a North - South deployment, it will be a North-East (or North-West) deployment, with the opposing forces on 90° of each other. Of course, the attacking force should be limited to deploy closer to the middle line of the table, let say, in a range of plus, minus 2 from this line.
With this deployment, if the defending player manages to destroy a ship early in the game, the reinforcements will appear not in front of the shuttle but on one side, so the defending player should also consider to move the shuttle sideways and not only run forwards, but if this players destroys an attacking fighter later in the game, the reinforcement will appear behind, which sometimes can be a bad thing, but here means that the attacker will have to speed up to catch the shuttle.
We did not try this scenario, but I will not mind to do it.
The patch we used was to forbid the deployment of reinforcements below range 3 of the shuttle, but still, it does not feels right.

We are going to play the third mission next week. This mission is similar to the second mission of the core set, wherein Luke is trapped in the middle of the table with some hyperspace problem and has to survive some rounds and then escape.
The Erasmus mission actually has a named pilot of the Rebel Alliance in the middle of the board with some asteroids lying around who has to run away from the empire forces into safety (out board).
You would say that this is stupidly easy, just pick up the best pilot of an A-Wing and run like hell. Well, that will work for an isolated scenario, but this is a campaign, so you "win" this named pilot if he survives the scenario for the final mission of the campaign, which coincidentally is a full combat mission, so maybe your very fast rabbit is not the kind of guy you will like to have in a heavy fight and being a progressive campaign, he will be the only named pilot you will have there (except Vander if the Rebels also won the first mission and he didn't dye in the second, which is my case :C )

Anyway, I thought it will be a nice idea to re-evaluate my previous post concerning this game. It seems to be that with more ships and good scenarios (and maybe the proper opponent) it can be a lot of fun.
So far I am playing again and I just ordered some more miniatures, nothing big, a second core set (very nice deal, an X-wing and two TIEs plus all the rest for the same price than the three fighters per se) (yeah, I know, the special pilots are not there, but their cards are already available on the web, so how cares), a third X-wing, a Y-wing and two adv. TIEs, which is roughly 100 point per side (actually only 86 on the Rebel side, but still enough for me).

I decided to stick to the Wave 1 ships, get to know them, play some more scenarios, maybe design a campaign together with this friend of mine and how knows?, maybe I finish buying all the rest of the stuff. The models look awesome anyway.

By the way, if you have any ideas for a campaign, a scenario or maybe already done some of this or know a place where to find some nice ones, it will be great if you drop us a comment with the info :)

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