I've become quite keen on Fantasy Flight Games' X-Wing Game . A friend and I are gradually expanding the ships that we've tried out and this was the first to feature the TIE Defender. The Defender is the peak of Imperial Design philosophy, which appears to be "let's take the TIE Fighter and stick a few more wings on it". So was it any good? Well in a way we did find out, in a way we didn't...
The Rebel Forces
I've got a theory that the Rebels should work with each other, so I went for a Y-Wing that can pass on Target Locks ("Dutch" Vander) and an X-Wing that could pass on Focus tokens (Garven Dreis). I then bulked those ships out with an extra Rookie X-Wing and two vanilla Z-95s.
Just two ships, a Firespray and a Defender. But both were tricked out with a lot of expansions and with good, but expensive, pilots.
The forces lined up for their initial "joust", I had the Rebels while my friend had the Imperials. Both of his ships were piloted by better pilots than mine (and flown by a better player than me) so I had to place first. I placed my ships in the middle, he split his apart. I've fought the Firespray before and knew that it was a tough nut to crack. So I decided to focus on the Defender, I thought it was the slightly weaker link, all of my ships then went straight for it.
The result? One dead Defender... It did get to shoot first and did a lot of damage to Garven, my best X-Wing pilot, but it was hammered by the attacks from five ships who benefitted from the target lock passing. They should have benefited from the focus passing too, but I blew that part. It was enough, the Defender went down. This left the Firespray zooming in on my side with my ships facing the opposite direction, and my ships aren't very good at turning, so I lumber around.
The Firespray is packing a heavy laser cannon, it does a lot of damage and I loose Garven but I'm turning around... I chase the Firespray up the table...
Then I remember that the thing has a rear firing arc and one of my Z-95s gets a pummelling at point blank range from the thing. But the Firespray is running out of room... The Y-Wing has already landed one ion token on it, one more and it's ionised and might fly off the table...
I manage to ionise the ship once more but it doesn't quite fly off the table, it recovers in time to take a hard turn. The ionisation and the hard turn he has to do keeps him slow. This means that I can pick my range and stay out of that rear arc, I pour on the damage and it goes down.
A Rebel victory!
- A Rebel mini-swarm can hit quite hard, you're rolling a lot of dice in your attacks.
- The Defender is great at turning around, it can do a 180 without taking any stress, which had it survived the first pass would have been a great ability.
- The Defender is still relatively fragile (well compared to the Firespray), and up against 5 rebel ships it will have a tough time. It's questionable whether loading it up with so many points worth of upgrades was a good decision. A few more cheaper Defenders might have been a better bet.
- The Defender was unlucky to take so much damage in that first joust, it rolled appallingly on its evades. I still think that the Rebels would have taken it out not much after the point when it died. But this does highlight that when you have a smaller number of ships the extremes of bad luck will hurt you more than when you've got a greater number of ships to help spread it out between.