299pts of Rebels
4x Dagger Squadron (B-wings) - Advanced Sensors, Extra Munitions, Plasma Torpedoes)
2x Gold Squadron (Y-wings) - Twin Laser Turret
4x Tala Squadron (Z-95s) - Ion Pulse Missiles, Munitions Failsafe
Han Solo (YT-1300) - Gunner, Millenium Falcon, C3-PO
We knew Matt and Sam were going to use both the Raider and the Gozanti. The list was deliberately 299pts in the hope of getting initiative since Matt's big ship last time was PS4 and it'd mean the Daggers and Talas would get to fire first. In the end Matt and Sam had 299 as well and they won the roll off so that backfired! Basically,
the Daggers and Talas would try to get their missiles and torpedoes off early to maximise the damage on the Raider and hopefully at least force it to use its energy for something other than guns! I'd never both with munitions in smaller games but I figured that a zero agility ship would be a good target. They'd also not give any bonus dice for range 3. Once they'd swept past the Raider they'd then get into rear arcs on the huge ships. The Talas are pretty much disposable missile boats. They won't take much punishment but could make a big difference with all that ion.
The Golds would help Han either deal with fighters or else get in behind the Raider/Gozanti and help add damage. The TLTs on the Golds would hopefully just keep chipping away with two damage per turn on whatever they fired at and generally be a nuisance whilst ignoring stress most of the time.
299pts of Imperials
Instigator (Raider-class Corvette) - Single Turbolasers, Engineering Team, Ion Cannon Battery, Optimized Generators, Quad Laser Cannons, Shield Technician, Tactician, Tibanna Gas Supplies
Captain Oicunn (VT-49 Decimator) - Expose, Ysanne Isard
Vector (Gozanti-class Cruiser) - Broadcast Array, Docking Clamps, Dual Laser Turret, Gunnery Team, Emperor Palpatine
4x Academy Pilot (TIE Fighters)
So basically, 3 big agility 0 things that we didn't want to end up overlapping! We'd still want to focus on one thing at a time though. The Decimator could be chipped away whenever but the huge ships needed a concerted effort to do enough damage to prevent repairs cancelling it out.
Apologies for the poor quality photos by the way. The light reflecting off the mats really messed with my phone's camera and I forgot my proper one!
We popped the Y-wings right in the middle and they put their only normal deployment ship, the Decimator, off to the right. At this point we should've done one of two things, either deploy all of our ships opposite the Decimator or put them all on the other side. The former would've been the better choice. Worst case, we'd have just focussed everything on the Decimator and probably brought it down. Best case, we'd be opposite all three enemy ships. We went for a third option though which was to spread out fleet about across the whole width of the board. Mistake #1.
Sam and Matt responded by dropping their huge ships either side of the Decimator on the right. This meant two of the Bs and two Z-95s would have to slog across to get into range. Not ideal. Unsurprisingly the first turn resulted in no Rebel fire but the Raider was able to its turbolasers at one of the Y-wings taking it down to one shield with a double-tap. In the second turn we managed to get the Z-95s into target lock range and therefore managed to fire off all of their ion pulse missiles into the Gozanti. This meant no energy generation for it next turn and a couple of shields down. Decent start (we thought). I midjudged on the B-wings though leaving them out of target lock range forcing them to focus (not ideal on Bs). Mistake #2. With the fore section of the raider reinforced we decided to start shooting the Decimator with the Golds and Daggers. This took away all of its shields and a few hull too. Again, decent start (we thought). Meanwhile the Raider hammered the Y-wing down to 1 hull, ionned one of the Bs and everything else was still out of range. The Gozanti then helped take one of the Bs into hull.
The Decimator narrowly missed ramming the ionned B-wing which then ran into it anyway. The other Dagger sat perilously close to the front of the Gozanti. Meanwhile the Talas moved around the Gozanti to try and line up in its rear arc later on to chip away with primary weapons now their missiles were spent. The two left flank Daggers and Talas were still out of range and being slowly by avoiding asteroids and each other. Mistake #3. We were now in a position to put some hits on the Raider with Han and the other two Daggers though. In a desire to keep the game going pretty quickly I totally forgot to use the plasma torps on both the B-wings and ended up barely scratching the Raider. Mistake #4. Meanwhile the Y-wings were in a position where I thought they'd both be run over but had a lucky escape when Matt barely moved. The Gozanti now just repaired all of its shields and didn't really need to generate new energy this turn. We realised now that we should've held onto the ion pulse missiles until the ion tokens would have more effect. Mistake #5.
Now the Gozanti started to release some TIEs and thanks to Emperor Palpatine's intervention the academy pilot was able to take the final three hull from one of the B wings with a Direct Hit from a bonus critical! Ouch! The other B found itself ionned and about to be run over by the Gozanti. No great loss when it was on a single hull but even more annoying now that it had remembered its torps but fluffed the roll completely! The Raider finished off one of the Ys too and put some damage on Han.
More TIEs now to ruin the Z-95s day. Both Talas struggled to land hits too meaning both TIEs survived to put damage on them. The other ships were finally getting into range though and started to co-ordinate their firepower. The Daggers, Talas and Han combined to bring strip all of the shields away and start doing some minor hull damage. Sadly no criticals though. Unforunately, one of the B wings got stress which meant that there was no manoeuvre that wouldn't get it destroyed by a ramming Raider next turn. Mistake #6. With the TIEs dealing with one of the Talas thanks to destroying one thanks to another Emperor Palpatine Direct Hit (!) and another through combined damage things were starting to look bleak.
Still, in the next turn the remaining Rebel ships were able to bring the aft section of the Raider down to a single hull point. Irritatingly close to effectively taking it out of the game. In response the Raider took down a Gold and combined with the Decimator to take out another Dagger. We were now down to Han and a Dagger plus a Tala which was only in range of the Gozanti. This left us in a position where we'd never do enough damage to take the final hull point before it could generate new energy and repair its shields. Time to call the game I thought.
There were quite a number of elementary mistakes on our part. These were mostly because we don't play the game enough and have never properly played against a Huge ship, never mind two! The biggest deal was the spread deployment. We were reluctant to bunch up because neither of us is confident at squadron flying (I really need to practice) and therefore we could imagine we'd lose quite a lot of ships to being overrun by the big guys. That was a huge fear the whole time too, none of our ships are particularly speedy so it's difficult to get into rear arc quickly and you spend a lot of time in the danger zone either being shot or run over!
That lack of speed meant we never got our whole fleet to bear on a single target. I'm confident that Raider would've evaporated with enough ships shooting at once but it just never happened. We set out with a game plan of ignoring everything but the Raider but our deployment prevented us ever really doing it. It didn't help that Matt kept the Raider moving slowing to keep our ships out of range and keep the energy coming. It never really felt like he struggled for energy until the later stages though thanks to his upgrades. Ion is key here I think, the more ion you can get on in a single turn the better. Even more so if you then hit it hard in the following turn.
Reading around on the internet and people seem to find the Raider easy to deal with. Maybe that's because of the list but it felt like an uphill struggle the whole time with demoralising moments when it repaired back to full health before blasting away at us again. We definitely could've done with some more crits as we never got a single one!
All in all I can't say I enjoyed the Epic experience. Obviously losing (and doing so in a way where you never felt like it was close) doesn't help but it really changes the dynamic of the game. I feel like if I want to play something that takes hours, I'd rather play 40K. I see X-wing as a quick sub-hour game with intense battles which hinge on every decision. In this game it seemed like everything took too long and there were too many upgrades on the big ships to keep track of what was going off half the time. I can't say I really enjoyed it at all which is probably the first time that's been the case playing X-wing (except when we tried to play this game before). Matt and Sam seemed to enjoy themselves though so maybe we should replay it and try not to make as many mistakes. I'm still tempted by the Tantive but it seems like a big investment for a ship that I'll realistically use maybe 2-3 times before shelving it. Nice model though...
Regarding our list, for 17pts the Talas with ion pulse missiles are tempting in other lists. They might really disrupt an enemy plan even on big ships. I suspect I'm getting too excited though about something that probably won't even hit against anything with any agility at all! Twin Laser Turrets seem fun though but again that might be the agility zero thing. My K-wing in my 100 pt list has them too so we'll see. Han and the Y-wings were great for their turret ability but never really put in much damage. I feel like their points would've been better spent on more Talas or a fleet of A-wings with missiles. Food for thought anyway.
On Monday night I'll post up the reports from my 100pt games which were much more fun!