2020.07.01

X Wing miniatures TIE Advanced TIE Defender

Having wrapped up our remote Axis and Allies game, I invited Rob and Jon to play some remote X-Wing miniatures. It started with me creating some builds to choose from and quickly spiraled out of control...


Chris
I'll work out an ai faction. I'll figure out squad selection that's interactive but doesn't require any meticulous remote reading of cards. Any general requests other than having a forgiving chunk of space?
I dont remember it enough to give criteria
Jon
I'm gonna level with you, the only option is lots of lore or a massive amount of lore.
I'm a lore whore
Rob
Lore is special pilot/ship abilities? I'm for it.
Jon
No, lore is the video/tabletop gaming term to describe the minutiae of the game's universe that has absolutely no effect on gameplay (though often gameplay elements are rationalized through lore). It's for nerds, rules lawyers, and people making fun of them. I'll give you an example...

And so it begins

Anyway, the rest of this is a wall of text and images that is, at best, something Rob, Jon, and I can look back on and chuckle. The only things that might be useful for general consumption:
Time to switch to larp mode wherein I'll use text boxes to capture our correspondence.



Me/Narrator
Basically I wanted to give you guys some control over your squads but without any binder flipping. There will be six rounds (A B B A A B), the person drafting that round will choose A or B, e.g.


A: Imperials get Vader/TIE Advanced (score = 50); Alliance gets Luke/X-Wing (score = 50)

B: Imperials get No name/TIE Fighter (score = 25); Alliance gets Porkins/Y-Wing (score = 25)


So whoever picks in a given round is choosing for both themself and their opponent. It can be whatever suits their build or it can be to keep someone out of their opponent's hands. There won't be any imbalance; for each option the units are of equal power (game mechanic to ensure balance). Note that if someone were to select B above, A doesn't drop down to the next round, it's gone forever.


If that didn't make sense, don't worry about it, it'll be clear once we hit the first round. But before that...


% rng.execute()


Rob decides if he wants to choose his pick position (A or B) or if he wants to choose his faction (Imperial or Alliance). Rob, please choose, Jon please follow up with your selection.

Draft

Faction selection



Rob/Imperial
In retrospect I'm not sure I would've made the same decision. But the fact is that I wanted to get off my planet, and working as a bartender to save up to buy a ship of my own was gonna take me another five or ten years. Everyone thinks their planet is a hive of scum and villainy. Mine was just boring. And there weren't that many humans or human analogs, so the dating apps on my comlink were trash. So when the hot recruiter made me an non-binding offer to take a shuttle up to the new destroyer in our system to take a non-binding (she stressed that I would totally be allowed to come home) aptitude test I agreed. I probably would've still agreed if I wasn't bent out of shape by a hang over and the lack of coffee on my planet. She said there was coffee on the destroyer. It wasn't until much later that I learned that was a favorite trick of the Imperials, interrupting the coffee supply before recruiting a planet. I'm not even mad.


On our way up I realized why they didn't just run the tests on the planet. Seeing a destroyer in person is incredible. It was enough to get me to take my eyes off the recruiter's ass. The Imperials really know how to make a flattering uniform.


The test said I could be a pilot. I knew right then I wasn't going home. I called the bar, told them I quit, and told the recruiter I was ready for my "signing bonus."


She laughed in my face.


[Rob chooses Imperial]



Jon/Alliance
I didn't go out thinking there would be any trouble. The fact is, the trouble found me. A crowd had gathered in the city and I went over to see what had happened. Apparently, those Imperial "Peacekeepers" had been just the opposite. They had ruthlessly attacked unarmed protesters in the streets claiming they were just keeping the Imperial order. As more armored goons came toward the crowd with their blast shields down, the crowd started to chant, "Bothan Lives Matter". Chaos ensued, but the people beat back the Imperialist oppressors. We managed to barricade them out of a small part of our city. It was a small victory, but the Emperor threatened to remove the city's magistrate and send in the storm troopers - the ones that are only supposed to be used for intergalactic fighting. No longer was I just a bystander, now I was a Rebel.


[Jon chooses first pick]

Round 1 [Alliance]



Me/Narrator
You step onto the Nar Shaddaa docking platform and inhale the putrid, recycled air. "Let's get this over with." Somehow this galactic hub of gray enterprise feels more inhospitable than thousands of goons blockading your hometown, forcing you to stay indoors for months on end and even drink your own urine. You look at the name of the pilots' bar scrawled on your forearm by your wookiee compatriot, "The Fourth Wall". You turn to ask the nearest protocol droid for directions, only to be met with a mechanical "echuta!".


After hours of searching you finally arrive at The Fourth Wall and, despite the inhospitable crowd, pass through unhindered. You gaze around the stools and booths, suddenly aware of the murderous glances cast in your direction. Some look away, but two seem receptive to your inquiry.




"Garven Dreis", he introduces himself. "I like to get into the fight and mix things up. My trusty R2 unit and I can do some damage if we're positioned correctly, and we can help out our wingmen." He doesn't look like he'll come cheap; back home you could probably hire two pilots for his fees.


"I rookie pilot. I fly two-v wing in space." You're not sure if he learned Basic as a second language or if he's just particularly inebriated this morning. Maybe both. You order and choke down a Corellian Speeder Bomb just to take the edge off. Sometimes the strategic decision is an economic one, surely this pilot could at least try to ram his enemies.


[Jon recruits Garven Dreis]

Round 2 [Imperial]



Me/Narrator
"So was this a promotion or demotion?" you ask the familiar face at the perpetually-empty Nar Shaddaa Imperial Recruitment office.


"More credits run through here in a day than a month on Coruscant. We don't get a lot of volunteers from dung farms," she nods at you derisively, "but there's plenty going on behind this little storefront."


"That's exactly why I'm here. I need-"


She hushes you and motions you into a back room. "Yes, I can tell from your unflattering uniform that you were either posted to scrap hauling or black ops. Since you weren't immediately spaced when you arrived, I'm guessing the latter. What do you need?"


"Well, how about that drink you promised me back at Holochron Video?"


"Do you know how many brainless idiots I promise drinks to? I'm dating way above your rank."


Looks like she isn't one to slum it. "Well I hope Lieutenant Boyfriend doesn't have any problems with his post." Down to business, "I need a few names - local pilots with high marks in aptitude but trouble with the background check."


"There are easier places to find a mirror." She works a nearby terminal for a moment and hands you a holo with just two names. "Washouts from the bomber recruitment program. They're both good, but specialize in different munitions. I don't recommend recruiting both; last I saw they were in a knife fight over who would get to date me."


"The things I do for coffee," you mutter as you head down to the undercity.





Rob/Imperial
On my down to the undercity I pinged the Holonet for a good bar. The reviews for the first place recommended their signature drink, something called a Wookie Nipple. I went to the second place. There I tipped conspicuously well and asked the bartender where they liked to drink, left, and went to that bar. I messaged the pilots, had them meet me at Gonk's. Both of them seemed like they'd be able to handle the flying, but the Gamma washout drank cheap whiskey. I hired the Scimitar.

Round 3 [Imperial]



Me/Narrator
The Gamorrean grunts as you confidently stride past him, into the city's third-finest bounty auction house. These scum know who pays the most. You've found your bombers but your fighter contingent isn't up to Imperial doctrine. You look at the advertisements and chuckle at their pseudonyms. "Backstabber". "Night Beast". Are these actual pilots or younglings playing sims?


Your train of thought is interrupted as you hear a voice behind you, "You looking for a pilot?" You turn and see a Kalgashi introduce himself, "They call me Night Beast, my wingman goes by 'Lancelot'. 30 sorties, never taken a hit." Lancelot seems surprised, Night Beast corrects himself, "Well, I've never taken a shot. This isn't my first wingman, but you needn't bother yourself with that detail."


You're not sure what to say as suddenly, brushing past the two, a Gossam shakes your hand, "Anyone can flee laser fire, what you need is Backstabber to eliminate your prey." He seems to be referring to himself. You seem to be faced with a tactical choice.





Rob/Imperial
Seeing as I've never heard of a Kalgashi, I recognize the incongruity of a weak Jedi mind trick.


"Backstabber, huh? Kind of a dumb name when you're looking for a job" I say.

"Yeah, well I wasn't going to let that Rodian take my spot in the Top Laser Cannon program. I'll do anything, whatever it takes to win" the Gossam replies.

"Would you drink fresh bantha milk?"

"Almost anything"


I could still feel the twist of a Jedi in my brain, but luckily the narco-spice I'd hit that morning to deal with my wretched hangover made it so I didn't have much of a mind to trick. Fucking Gonk droidtenders.

Round 4 [Alliance]



Me/Narrator
You pass a pilot-sized human with the stiff walk of an Imperial. "Did I see him in the bar, and again in the slums" you ask yourself. You brush off the feeling as you enter the sim aracade.


A crowd has gathered beneath a large screen as two simulation A-wings are locked in an epic dogfight. You turn to the bookie and see 24:22 odds favoring Jake Farrell over Gemmer Sojan. Your nose wrinkles involuntarily as you smell death. Turning, you see dark purple blood leaking from one of the sim booths. The action on the big screen tells you it was neither of the gaming aces. You quickly pick up on their preferred maneuvers; Farrell tries for the difficult task of taking the attacking position behind his rival A-wing. Sojan, on the other hand, appears to prefer missile strikes while deftly avoiding his opponent's laser fire.


You see Farrell swing around behind Sojan, trying to line up an attack as Sojan dives toward the debris of a Nebulon frigate. "Take the shot!" You glance at a nearby Lannick clutching credit chits in one hand and bookmaker slips in the other.




[Jon recruits Gemmer]

Round 5 [Alliance]



Me/Narrator
Another day, another scavenger hunt. The Alliance informant at the den of iniquity had given you another lead to follow up on - in the standard fashion of hand drawn letters on your arm. Clandestine operations really aren't as sophisticated as they're made out to be.


At least this tip included a district name to go with the business name, you glance at your arm, "[UR] Revan". Yep, this is the UR block, and... there's Revan Mining Corp. "Corp" may only be a technical designation, the place looks like a pod repair shop. And smells the same.


You look around the shop as the screen behind the desk shows clips of modified B-wings blasting asteroids apart, text crawls by in numerous languages, "You point, we shoot!" It doesn't require a very keen eye to see spice bursting from some of the asteroids in the advertisement. You probably shouldn't have expected anything different given your chain of referrals.


A man strides out from the back room, "Welcome to Revan Mining, my name is Keyan."




[Jon recruits Keyan]

Round 6 [Imperial]



Me/Narrator
"The things I do for coffee," you mutter as you squeeze through the maintenance hatch and onto a catwalk suspended hundreds of feet above an enormous wastewater cistern. You need just one more recruit for your dark forces and on the universal praise of your current team, the best choice left in the city is, well, an exterminator. While his job includes deftly maneuvering a parasite extermination drone through the tight conduits of Nar Shaddaa's vital systems, he clearly performance the manual portions of the job as well.


"Hullo, what brings you all the way down here?" A grimy man in overalls extends an even grimier hand as he emerges from a steaming vent. "Sign said I'd be back in the office tomorrow."


You decide not to mention that the disappearance of his competition - Tarn Mison - forced you to take immediate action. "I'm looking for a pilot. The job is... dangerous."


He doesn't bat an eye, "Is the money good?"


"Well I don't know what you make here..."


"Deal."


At least there was an easy part.


He continues, "I'll need a few days in the sim, what do you want me to train on?"




[Rob recruits Tempest Squadron TIE Advanced]

Draft recap

X Wing miniatures scenario draft Empire

These handy graphics were useful for identifying each unit as well as helping with friend/foe maneuvers.

X Wing miniatures scenario draft sheet Alliance
Setup


Another phase, another lore. I sent simple briefings to each player containing to-scale squares that could be used to help determine starting formations. I also provided a visual guide for movement - seemingly the hardest part of remote play.



Rob started in formation, pointed toward the center of the map. Jon had a mind to split his forces and flank his enemies.
The battle

Round 1

X Wing miniatures B Wing A Wing X Wing pixelated

Plot twist! After moves were decided, I introduced the scenarioization: our Imperial and Alliance squadrons drop out of hyperspace to find bounty hunters chasing smugglers. Each neutral faction contacts the newcomers over lore comms:


I left the AI rules of engagement secret to the players, but they were:


At best, they could be aggroed, at the worst, they're just cross traffic.

Summary ID Unit Maneuver
Activation
Rob pushed for the center of the map, possibly tipping his next moves by barrel rolling his formation toward the Alliance A-Wings. With no collisions or other mishaps, he kept all seven cannons trained in the same direction, most within range of Howlrunner's buff.


Jon "Jon Gruden" Ritchie opened by sending his A-Wings out to the right, X-Wings out to the left, and his heavy hitters slowly down the middle. Would he have stuck to this plan if intelligence had made him aware of the nearby craft?


Combat
No shots were fired by players this round, however in the activation phase Jon took target locks on both a smuggler and a bounty hunter. The Z-95s did a whole lot of nothing against the E-Wings


1 5 straight
2 5 straight
1 5 straight
3 5 straight
4 4 straight
2 3 straight
3 4 straight
4 5 straight
5 5 straight
6 5 straight
5 4 straight
6 2 straight
7 5 straight

Round 2

X Wing miniatures A Wings


Per AI rules, the bounty hunters did not take too kindly to Jon's target locks.

Summary ID Unit Maneuver
Activation
Rob decided to ignore the neutrals and try to finish the isolated A-Wings in one go. He maneuvered all of his adjusted-formation TIEs directly for the Alliance interceptors, taking actions that match their offensive strength.


Jon veered his A-Wings aggressively toward the TIEs, possibly expecting to catch their flank as they - in his mind - might move to engage his main forces. Note Jon claimed a retcon on the positioning of his A-Wings; he wanted the lower skill pilot on the inside. Rob gracefully allowed it.


Combat
The range 2-3 exchange between seven TIEs and two angry A-Wings resulted in the loss of each side's lowest-skill pilot. Each red shirt required a missile to take down.


On the other side of the map, Jon took a couple pot shots at the bounty hunter Firespray.


1 3 bank left
2 3 bank left
1 3 bank left
3 3 bank left
4 3 bank left
2 1 straight
3 2 turn right
4 3 bank left
5 3 bank left
6 3 bank left
5 2 bank right
6 1 straight
7 3 bank left

Round 3

X Wing miniatures HWK

Jon attempted to feel the neutral factions out with some radio banter:



Jon/Alliance
@bounty hunters: You bathe!?!


@smugglers: That should get his attention! Head right at those Imperials. Well take out the FireSpray and you can hit those TIEs at point-blank range. ANTIFA. ANTIFA. ANTIFA.

They replied:


Summary ID Unit Maneuver
Activation
Conflicted about whether to continue his attack on the A-Wings (now singular) or turn to cover his flank, Rob decided on the latter. Using a combination of 2-turns and 3-turns, he steered into Jon's approach as well as the neutral cross traffic. This may have actually worked in Rob's favor, as his TIE Advanced caused a five-ship pileup that deprived Jon of two actions.


With his remaining A-Wing exposed, X-Wings steaming the wrong direction, and heavy hitters in danger of being the next target, Jon was in a bind. His Y-Wing needed range to use its munitions and his B-Wing needed to be in the fray to use its autocannon. Neither was looking particularly likely, so he turned into the storm, hoping for the best.


In retrospect, if Jon still had his skill-1 A-Wing, he could have steered it into the turning TIE ball and wreaked havoc on Rob's formation, actions, and ability to close the gap to Jon's less agile ships. What's more, the hopeless bounty hunters again played blocker and caught the X-Wings before they could complete their maneuvers.


Combat
By design and possibly by default, Rob focused fire on the teed up Y-Wing. It was both low on agility and carrying a load of unused munitions. Jon's hope was for it to survive long enough to fire back (with pilot skill 2). It did accomplish this, but was left only with a range 1 shot on the nearby TIE Defender since its torpedoes were range 2-3 and it didn't have a target lock on anything that far out.


Fortune favored Rob in this round; Jon's unavoidable autoblaster rolled blanks against the range 1 TIE Advanced. Jon did manage some damage against it with his X-Wings.


2 3 turn right
3 3 turn right
4 3 turn right
2 1 bank right
3 4 straight
4 5 k-turn
5 2 turn right
6 2 turn right
5 3 turn right
6 3 bank right
7 2 turn right

Round 4

X Wing miniatures B Wing TIE Interceptor Firespray

Summary ID Unit Maneuver
Activation
I don't think Rob considered pressing his advantage with small moves, he instead opted for k-turns and veering out of the path of the oncoming rebels. His positioning and initiative left him in good shape to execute uninterrupted k-turns and set himself up to strike his opponents from behind. He sent his rearguard bomber and fighter toward the only daylight within reach, meaning they would be temporarily out of the battle. Was it an attempt to bait the Alliance forces into a bomb? Sadly, no.


Jon's options were limited based on the traffic jam in front of him and accidentally sending his initial maneuvers over unencrypted public comms. He could see the k-turns coming, but could do nothing about them, aside from potentially barrel rolling his B-Wing if it avoided another collision. It did not avoid another collision. Jon's A-Wing cleared its stress and turned back into the fray, but was too far out to do much damage rolling 2 attack dice versus 3 defense.


Combat
Jon immediately gave himself a glimmer of hope by oneshotting Backstabber with his autoturret. The Imperial forces with targets in arc focused on the shielded but low-agility B-Wing and managed to wear it down to one hull point.


The neutrals remained neutral, content to exchange fire as the smugglers slowly moved toward the hyperspace nav relay.


2 4 k-turn
3 4 k-turn
4 3 turn right
3 2 bank right
4 2 turn right
5 4 k-turn
6 5 k-turn
5 1 straight
6 1 straight
7 3 turn right

Round 5

X Wing miniatures TIE Advanced TIE Defender X Wing

Summary ID Unit Maneuver
Activation
Rob's formation flying was finally coming apart after surviving a pass through cross traffic. His ordnance-laden bomber and force-multiplying Howlrunner were headed in the wrong direction and needed to k-turn. Rob's Interceptor/Defender/Advanced combination still packed a punch and were conveniently behind most of Jon's remaining fighters.


Jon was determined to get a final parting shot with his autoturret - that meant keeping his B-Wing alive through Howlrunner's attack. Tarn needed to turn back into the fight, Jon elected to k-turn and focus on the nearer cluster of ties. With the benefit of pilot skill/late movement, Jon elected to let Garven remain behind the TIEs off his starboard. Finally, Jon sent his A-Wing after the outbound bomber and Howlrunner, performing a boost to try to get into +1 attack range.


Combat
Keyan survived Howlrunner's attack, but completely missed the Kir Kanos. Dice simply were not in Jon's favor. They even mocked him by letting his attacks on Rob's TIE Advanced take it down to a single hull point. The already-damaged A-Wing took a critical hit and would be rolling with less agility for a while.


Elsewhere, the bounty hunters finally destroyed the HWK smuggler, but hadn't done much to the agile E-Wings.


2 2 straight
3 2 straight
4 4 k-turn
3 4 k-turn
4 3 bank right
6 2 straight
5 1 bank right
6 1 straight
7 4 k-turn

Round 6

X Wing miniatures

Summary ID Unit Maneuver
Activation
The battle was Rob's to lose, but he looked like he was giving it a solid effort with his first moves - crashing his Advanced and Defender into his own Interceptor even though they were the first units to move, all with the goal of executing a k-turn. As expected, this turned out quite well for him. In keeping with his tactical doctrine, Rob executed k-turns on everyone departing combat and slowed incoming units to have targets in arc as long as possible.


Jon needed a last-ditch swing of luck combined with maneuvers to keep his wounded fighters out of TIE arcs. Rob's circle of death could have only been escaped at the cost of having offensive shots, so Jon elected to stay on target.


Combat
When Jon failed to score the final hit on Rob's T/A with two attacks, he knew he had a date with an Imperial interrogator drone, so he gave in to his fate.


2 4 k-turn
3 4 k-turn
4 1 straight
3 4 straight
4 2 turn left
6 5 k-turn
5 4 k-turn
7 2 straight
Some pngs I used for mapping

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