A thoughtful and personal exploration of games

Computer Games Aren’t The Only Ones I Play


As the title says, I don’t only play computer games. I do have a DS, a PSP, a PS2, and I’ve played most modern console systems shy of the PS3 and the Wii U (and obviously I haven’t played on some older obscure systems like the Jaguar and a few others). From time to time I have also played Dungeons & Dragons (Third and Fourth editions), Pathfinder D&D, and Star Wars RPG (West End Games to WOTC’s three versions). I’ve tried Shadowrun, Lord of the Rings, and Champions RPGs. I’ve also played my fair share of board games ranging from the classics like Monopoly and Battleship to more modern ones like Settlers of Catan and Arkham Horror.

Yesterday I pulled out my Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game and took part in a small tournament at my local gaming shop. Shy of practicing to get a grasp of the rules when I first got them on/around Christmas, I’ve only played it once before with my friends. So, the relative newbie here entering a tournament where some of the guys have played so much they’ve got game pieces that show significant wear.

Initially I wasn’t sure if I wanted to play or not and it took a few minutes for me to build up the nerve to even walk up to the people gathering to ask about the tournament. I’d found out about it a couple of nights before just poking at the forums for the game. After chatting with a couple of friendly guys, the tournament coordinator showed and told us how things were going to work and what was going to happen. I went to my car, got my case of stuff (it’s one of those craft boxes with adjustable partitions that folks use for beads sometimes), and I paid my five bucks so I could play.

A few nights prior, when I found out about the tournament, I was messing around and built a 100-point squad. Initially based on a recommended internet build, I fiddled with it until I was more or less happy, never expecting to actually USE it. I had taken a picture of all the cards I was using and so I filled out the tournament entry sheet with phone in hand.

My 100-point squad was as follows:

Wedge Antilles with Swarm Tactics and R2-D2 (R2-D2 is a LIFESAVER because he allows you to regain a shield token whenever you use a green maneuver and I was doing that ALL OF THE TIME)

Biggs Darklighter with R2-F2 (Note to self: I really need to remember to have Biggs use R2-F2’s ability to increase his Agility by 1. That’s what got him killed more often than not.)

“Dutch” Vander with an Ion Cannon Turret, an R5 Astromech, and two Proton Torpedoes (I love the “cheapness” of the Ion Cannon Turret, but it’s supremely balanced because its effects don’t last)

I’m sure none of that means anything to you, but suffice to say I had two X-Wings and a Y-Wing. I called it “Just Another Rebel Squad” or JARS for short. Hey, they asked for a squad name and I’m horribly unoriginal.

In my first match, hands trembling as they usually do in PvP situations, I managed to squeak out a partial win. That means I only beat the guy by total remaining points on the field and not through killing all of his units. Biggs died kind of early on (his ability forces the enemy to shoot at him if they can), but I managed to wipe out all three of his TIE Fighters leaving his Firespray and my Wedge and “Dutch” to fight until the 60 minutes were up.

For my second match, the enemy fielded a pair of TIE Advanced and a generic Bounty Hunter piloted Firespray. One of the TIE Advanced was actually piloted by Darth Vader, but he died first to a really great shot from Biggs. Unfortunately, everything went downhill from there as he proceeded to wipe me off the board and I picked up a total loss. Still, great fun and I learned a lot… namely that the Firespray is DANGEROUS and Y-Wings are super durable in this game.

My third and final game was up against another Rebel squad, Wedge Antilles in an X-Wing and Han Solo in the Falcon (with Luke as a Gunner and Chewbacca as co-pilot). I was genuinely terrified for most of the match, but my opponent made a couple of mistakes that added up later. Biggs died very early on mostly due to my own mistakes, but then “Dutch” managed to use his Ion Cannon to make his Wedge get so close to the edge of the board that no maneuvers could bring him back on it (therefore he was removed from play and considered destroyed). Han Solo proceeded to kill “Dutch” ASAP because the was legitimately afraid of the Ion Cannon ability and then it was a slugging match between my “Mirror Wedge” and his Falcon. I very much won by sheer luck at the end with one hull point remaining on Wedge. We were both amazed at the outcome and talked for a while about what happened. Note: the larger ships are hard to maneuver through the asteroid conditions of a tournament. Also, if you don’t want one of your ships to get shot at by a big ship like the Falcon, just run into it and they can’t shoot at each other (I did this with my Wedge for about half the fight).

Seeing as I’d gotten only one loss, one total win, and one partial win, I happened to come in second place. Apparently all but one guy had two losses and one win (that one guy had three wins I think). So, I netted a bag of some lucite target lock markers for use in the game. They’re pretty cool looking and I’m very enthused by my success.

Yup. My first time playing in a tournament environment got me second place and I didn’t even have the newer pieces from Wave 2 (The YT-1300, Firespray-31, A-Wing, and TIE Interceptor and all the cards that come with them are all considered Wave 2). I don’t know if or when I’ll do it again, but it was a great experience. I consider it “social anxiety handling practice” for heading to PAX East later this week (I’ll write about that when I get back, maybe next Tuesday depending on how I feel after my return on Monday).

Maybe I was lucky yesterday. I am part-Irish and yesterday WAS St. Patrick’s Day, so, who knows?

Until next time!

– Elorfin

P.S. “In my experience, there’s no such thing as luck.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi.

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