Monday, 26 November 2012

FFG Star Wars - Play Impressions

So yesterday a few of us had the chance to play both Star Wars: X-Wing and Star Wars: Edge of the Empire. Here's my/our first impressions:

Originally we were going run Edge of the Empire in the early afternoon, but one of player's couldn't attend due to an emergency and another couldn't show up till later. So myself and the two other players who showed up decided after creating characters we'd try out the X-Wing miniatures game our absentee player had lent me.

I quickly threw together a quick 50-point squad consisting of a pair of Red Squadron X-Wings, one equipped with Proton Torpedoes, versus a single Tempest Squadron TIE Advanced equipped with Concussion Missiles with an Obsidian Squadron TIE/ln and an Academy Pilot TIE/ln as wingmen.

Mike and Hayden both took control of an X-wing and I handled the Imperials. We began play and soon acquired a decent grasp of the game's mechanics, and soon enough we were jockeying for a position and trying to out guess each others' manoeuvres. The two sides seemed balanced quite well; the weak but fast and agile TIEs against the heavier armed and shielded X-Wings. The game designers we able to keep the quantity vs. quality methodology that pervades Imperial and Rebel starship design respectively. Gameplay is fun and rather quick, and I always found the battle interesting. The Imps managed to take down Mike's X-Wing before my TIE Advance became space dust. The Obsidian Squadron TIE had several lucky shots on the Rebels whilst the Academy Pilot was more of distraction until the very end when it scored the winning hit on Hayden's X-Wing. Looks like he'll graduate from the Imperial Academy with honours! That said it still felt like the combat came down to the wire.

Later that night after our Edge of the Empire session, two us decided to pit Darth Vader's TIE Advanced X1 against the TIE/ln's Winged Gundark and Night Beast. Let's just say TIE vs. TIE doesn't work well because you can never hit each other because everyone's firepower is too low and their agility is too high. We decided to end in a stalemate.

All in all I must say X-Wing met my expectations after a single game. I quite enjoy how it best captures dogfighting on a 2D plane, and the squad building aspect with ship upgrades and unique pilots adds diversity and a neat tactile squad-building component to the game, increasing it's playability. This set my buddy lent me contains the core-set and every ship expansion to date minus the Y-Wing. He says he's not really happy with the game, and I didn't really notice his gripes with it when I played, but then again he's played it much more than I have and also he's the guy who shelled out all the money for it. (It is quite expensive.) But for me at this point, if he's looking to part with it, I think I'm more than willing to buy it off of him if he offers. Also early next year FFG's releasing four more ship expansions: The Millennium Falcon, Slave I, A-Wing, and TIE Interceptor. More possibilities!

Ultimately I'd really like to try out a few more games before I make a choice on purchasing it.

Success - Failure.
Advantage - Threat.
Triumph - Despair.
Light Side - Dark Side.
Once our third player had joined us near the end of our X-Wing game and we went out for a bite to eat, we sat down and began our playtest of Edge of the Empire. I decided to run the Crate of Krayts adventure that was provided in the back of the Beta. The adventure starts off with a combat encounter very soon (to test those mechanics I suppose), so the majority of the session the PC's were fighting. It was a little rocky to say the least; both teaching and learning a new system, stopping to reference rules, trying to shift from Saga's tactical mindset to a more abstract thematic mindset, dealing with a dynamic initiative and range bands, etc. Aside from those pitfalls I think the overall impression was positive. Afterwards there was a good amount of discussion and feedback, some of which I may compile and submit to FFG, though I have seen that some of it has already been covered on their forums.

I also realized that I missed out on a great deal of rules I could have applied, which could have been prevented if I had planned a bit more and made some sort of reference sheet instead of having to flip back and forth through the book. That was my mistake because I'm so used to running systems I'm familiar with fast-and-loose, which doesn't really work when you want to actually test mechanics.

So for next session I have rectified this by finding and printing out FFG forum member gribble's reference sheets. This guy's done a great job compiling Critical Cards, Complete Reference, Combat Reference, and Talent Tree Reference sheets. Also I was attempting to use minis for tracking initiative and range bands, but it didn't work out exactly as I planned and might've made things a little more complicated. I'm going to see if I can adjust this better.

All in all, I'm looking forward to next Sunday when we'll pickup where we left off in Edge of the Empire. I'm thinking things should go a bit smoother now that we've played the game and have better access to the rules via the reference sheets.

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