Battleshed Diaries

Monday 4 May 2015

May the 4th be with you...

Those twin distractions of work and family commitments have been eating into my gaming time the last couple of weeks.

However I still managed to attend my local gaming club (Livingston Battleground) for a return to the Star Wars and Star Trek universes, so a couple of quick summaries for you...

X-Wing:  As I'm posting on that most auspicious day, May 4th, I'll start with X-Wing.  It's been a long while since I last had the opportunity to play X-Wing, even though my 'fleet' is ever-expanding. So I found a big box and headed off to Livingston Battleground. With four players available (including myself) we settled for the 'Evacuation of Hoth' scenario, where a rebel transport (GR-75 medium) and its fighter escort have to navigate space mines and Imperial entanglements to make their escape.

Now, for a relatively simple scenario it didn't half take some time to play - primarily due to the Imperial commanders spending an inordinate amount of time discussing tactics each turn, whereas I, (the rebel transport pilot), was becoming increasingly suspicious of the allegiance and motives of my escort commander;  indeed, I think he was actually a trekker fifth-columnist! Add in a lot of off-topic banter and discussion, the game took at least three hours to play! 

I had very little to do but manoeuvre the GR-75 as few times and provide the odd tactical support to the rebel fighters - who were quickly engaged by the Imperial attack wings, with Wedge Antilles in his X-Wing going down to a barrage of Cluster Missiles on first contact. It went from bad to very bad for the rebel fighters, who suffered from lack of coordination and motivation, with their commander deliriously rambling on the sub-space channel about Romulans and the Borg. No doubt he was suffering from some sort of break down and would have to be relieved of command should the transport actually escape.

Which it didn't. The Imperial forces were having no difficulties with leadership - their tactics were spot on with their two wings working closely together, easily taking apart the demoralised rebel fighters and destroying the transport before it even got anywhere near the mine field!

Star Trek Attack Wing:  The following weekend I was back at Livingston Battleground, with my erstwhile X-Wing rebel commander thoroughly de-cloaked as a fully fledged trekker and keen to lure me to the Dark Side with a few games of Star Trek Attack Wing.

Game play-wise, it's very similar to X-wing; indeed, they share the same system. Players from ether camp would have no difficulty switching systems. For the first couple of games we played the scenario Fall Back to Cardassia Prime, with 1 Breen Player vs 2 Federation Alliance Players; simulating manoeuvres through a raging battlefield, the Breen player must first pass by each of the first 2 Objective Tokens at Range 1 and then enter Cardassian space by going past the 3rd Objective Token at Range 1 and then moving off the edge of the play area.

I opted for a Romulan D'Deridex class star ship, with my ally commanding Klingon Warbird. Our opponent in his Breen Battle cruiser was a wily player this game, expertly avoiding the twin-threats facing him with some impressive manoeuvrings. He managed to damage both the Klingon and Romulan ships, minimising his own damage, eventually meeting all three objectives and exiting to Cardassian space!

By now, I noticed that there seemed to be a discrepancy with how my two trekker players were applying damage to their shields - recharging shields each turn. Normally, in X-wing, once shields were hit they were destroyed unless the player had paid for a repair droid or some other support skill. I assumed this was probably the case for Attack Wing, so queried the ruling.

After a bit of discussion and re-reading of the official rule set it appeared I was correct in my assumption. "No wonder our games took some long!" was the response!

So, after that we reset the scenario and played again. This time the Breen ship didn't fare so well, with shield and hull damage resolving much quicker, ending with the Breen battle cruiser being destroyed near the second objective in half the time it took to play the first game!

Next, we moved on to a third, two-player, scenario - I confess I've missed its name - whereby my Enterprise-D, replete with Captain Kirk, Spock and Mr. Sulu, had to get close enough to a Borg sphere to transport in an Away Team to steel some trekkie thingy-ma-jig, beam back to the Enterprise and get away. 

Somehow I managed to get the Enterprise into range, and beam down my away team of three - taking an action to roll a 'hit' for each crew member added an objective point, and I only needed two to be successful. That said, I also needed to use my Action Phase to beam them in/out, which left the Enterprise vulnerable with its initiative reduced to 1 whilst Kirk was doing his thing. The Borg sphere lost no time using its tractor beam and attempted to engage its cutting devices. However, with a very rare demonstration of cunning on my part - more a fluke - I played an ability card which neutralised all combat during the away team turn, allowing our heroes to return to the Enterprise and attempt an escape. However, the Federation flag ship was too badly damaged by the ruthless Borg and was destroyed before it could warp out. With a little more knowledge of the option cards I think I could have gotten away with it!

I must admit, I do like the hugely thematic and various missions available in Star Trek Attack Wing. Something I think is not as developed in X-Wing. There are numerous comparison blogs on the interweb between X-Wing and Star Trek Attack Wing, and I'm not familiar enough with the latter to attempt a comparison. With the games being so similar, I think it mostly comes down to which 'universe' you prefer to inhabit and invest in. However, I do recommend this comparison from Futurewolfie on the iSlaytheDragon site.

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