I realised a while back that, after 12 months of playing X-wing, my gaming group has never played a scenario from an expansion. Usually I prefer games with a strong narrative, but we have been using X-wing as more of a pick-up game, with the exception of the big Death Star Trench scenario we played in May. To remedy this I teamed up with KuriboGoomba and Wade to give the scenario from the Imperial Aces expansion a go: Cutting the Cord.
The scenario adds a lot of complexity to the usual game of X-wing and gives the Imperial player/s a chance to fly a powerful prototype TIE around ganking people. For those not familiar with the expansion, the scenario includes 6 small research facilities which can provide special bonuses to one TIE in the Imperial fleet within range 1. The rebel force includes two operatives on a single ship, which can be delivered to a facility in order to sabotage it, though this renders the ship transporting them defenseless for a turn. The facilities are very hard to destroy any other way (4 defense dice), unless they are actively providing a bonus to the TIE (2 defense dice).
The Imperial fleet consisted of Carnor Jax (Elusiveness, Stealth Device, Royal Guard TIE and Autothrusters), a prototype Royal Guard Pilot (Wingman, Stealth Device, Royal Guard TIE and Autothrusters) and Colonel Jendon (Accuracy Corrector, Hull Upgrade, Darth Vader and ST-321).
|"Apology accepted, Colonel Jendon..."|
The Rebel fleet had an extra 10 points to spend. I considered rolling with one of my usual B-wing lists but ended up with my "A-wing Mafia" list: Corran Horn (Stay on Target, Advanced Proton Torpedoes, R7-T1 and Munitions Failsafe), Jake Farrell (Wingman, Proton Rockets, Munitions Failsafe, A-wing Test Pilot and Opportunist) and Green Squadron Pilot (Wingman, Proton Rockets, Munitions Failsafe, A-wing Test Pilot and Opportunist).
Early in the game KuriboGoomba and I banked our ships right, away from the shuttle, so that we could minimise the number of Imperial ships firing at us. We misjudged by the merest fraction though and Colonel Jendon stripped Goomba's A-wing of its shields, with the help of accuracy corrector, followed by a critical hit from Darth Vader. Apart from reducing our ship down to one hull point, it also damaged the weapons system.
|Unfortunately for our heroes, the shuttle is closer than it looks...|
The Interceptors skillfully dodged most of our firing arcs, really threading the needle between the asteroids and ships. Corran took a shot at the prototype but failed to make an impact. We felt that we wouldn't survive very long by ignoring the shuttle, as its ability to harass was greatly enhanced by Darth Vader and A-wings simply can't take that many hits. So we prepared to take it out, even as our red A-wing was vapourised.
Corran and Jake brought their weapons to bear on the shuttle, with Corran firing twice and removing its shields. Jake launched a proton rocket which caused a further 5 hits, including 2 critical hits. With a single hull point remaining due to the Hull Upgrade, I was relieved to pick up a damage card that counts as two damage to finish it off!
I didn't realise it at the time, but by maneuvering to avoid the shuttles firing arc, I actually lined up an asteroid instead. The next turn I was forced to collide with it and lose my action for the round. The alternative would have been to land and deliver a Rebel operative, but the Interceptors were breathing down my neck and I needed the defense dice. Unfortunately it didn't matter, having synchronised with the nearby research facility the prototype unleashed two rounds of firing at the A-wing, wiping it out.
After several very close turns trading fire, I flew Corran into another asteroid (by the merest fraction of a base!) and he was pummeled by fire. The Imperial prototype was safe, but Vader was dead (take that "Ani").
I think if I played the scenario as the Rebels again, I would dedicate a ship to blowing up the facilities when they are easy to hit, i.e. in use. A turreted ship would be great for this; I was thinking a YT-2400. As always, playing to the objective wins games. Goomba and I chose to focus on the Shuttle instead (granted it was causing us a lot of pain) and paid the price for our lack of vision :-)
See you across the table,