This year I started playing the X-Wing Miniatures Game again with Josh, having not played it much after originally buying it.
Playing it again has made me realise just what a good game it is. The trouble is, with Josh leaving home, I’ve lost my regular opponent, so how was I going to keep playing?
One thought was to look at the tournament scene, which seems to be quite vibrant in the UK. Having looked around, I found an open tournament being played at Galactic Models in Derby.
So, Saturday saw me make the short trip up the M1 for a day playing X-Wing. Considering that my model collection contains nothing newer that Wave III (Fantasy Flight Games are just releasing Wave X) and I would be playing my first tournament, I was not expecting to win a game – but to be honest that wasn’t the aim of the day – it was much more about dipping my toe in the water of a competitive gaming environment, and playing games with a different set of opponents.
So what list did I play? Well I normally play Imperials (I didn’t get much choice as Josh wanted to play the Rebels) so I thought I would try a TIE Swarm with 3 TIE Fighters with Academy Pilots, plus Howlrunner, and two TIE Interceptors (one with Marksman).
The tournament was organised as a four-round Swiss style tournament, with each game lasting 75 minutes.
The first game went to time. I was playing a list with an A-Wing, a B-Wing (Keyan Farlander) and an X-Wing. I managed to destroy the B-Wing, but lost 2 TIE Fighters and 2 TIE Interceptors, so lost 38:74.
The second game I faced an ARC-170 (Norra Wexley), and T-70 X-Wing (Poe Dameron) and an A-Wing. I almost destroyed the ARC-170 (it was down to 1 hull point) before my swarm was destroyed, so I lost 0:100.
Game three was against an Imperial list which contained a Special Forces TIE (Backdraft), a TIE Phantom (Echo) and a TIE Bomber. Again I struggled to cause damage during the game, though I did manage to take out the TIE Bomber, but really struggled with the special abilities of the other pilots. Final score was 28:100.
So that left the final game, which was a play-off for the wooden spoon. Again I faced an Imperial list, this time with Two TIE Defenders and a TIE Shuttle (modified TIE Bomber). Though I caused a fair amount of damage, I didn’t manage to destroy a single ship. It was a really tight game, with most of the game taking place in a very small area with lots of ‘bumping’. My last TIE Interceptor lead a charmed life, surviving for 3 turns against constant fire from both Defenders, so I ended up losing the game 0:80.
So, 4 games, 4 losses – unsurprisingly I came away with the wooden spoon – which was exactly what I expected, to be honest.
But, I enjoyed the day, and played against 4 great opponents, who were all very patient with an X-Wing rookie.
It’s clear that Galactic Models has a core group of very good X-Wing players (one is a regional champion). It seems that I’m going to need to play a lot of games to practice and get competitive.
One of the issues is, as with every game that has constant new releases, even if you don’t change your ships, the new upgrade cards that come out with every wave constantly change the abilities and synergies of ships – if you don’t have access to some of these cards (as I said, I don’t own a ship beyond Wave III), you could well be struggling against players who have a larger/newer collection of models. But the game is as much about pilot skill, and it was clear that I was very low on game practice and flew my ships poorly (though I think I did improve during the day).
Would I enter another tournament – certainly. As I said, I enjoyed the day, and I’d like to play X-Wing on a much more regular basis. I just need to find some regular opponents. As for my model collection? Well, I’m an Imperial fan at heart, so a few ships are on my shopping list: A TIE Defender, TIE Punisher and the Aces and Veterans boxes, to name a few.
One final word about the venue. I was really impressed with Galactic Models. It’s a large store with a good range of products: both for wargaming and boardgames, but also for ‘classic’ modelling hobbies including kits, model railways and slot car racing. There is plenty of room in-store for playing games, and the staff are very friendly. If you are looking for a hobby centre in the Derby area, this FLGS is highly recommended.