torsdag 22 augusti 2013

Star Wars X-wing Wave 3 review

One of my friends went to Gencon, yes I'm officially jealous! Before he went I asked him if he could, possibly, perhaps, pretty please with sugar on top, pick up any of the new ships that FFG were rumoured to release. He answered "Sure, it's the Slave 1, isnt it?". I carefully corrected him and sent him links to FFGs webpage along with pictures of B-wings, TIE Bombers, Lambda Class Shuttles and the HWK-290. "Sure" he said again, "I will see what I can do." When he returned I somehow got it into my head that he would have bought four Slave 1's, but my worry was unfounded. Dave delivered.

Mine, all mine.
So, what are my opinions on the ships of Wave 3?

Let's get the cat out of the bag and start with the HWK-290. This ship is from the Dark Forces series of computer games and is a light personal transport from Corellian Engineering Corporation, the same company that made the famous YT series of light freighters. In other words, this is the only ship so far that isn't featured in any of the films. With a two crew and ability to take six passengers the model is smaller than I imagined, on par with an X-wing but a bit bulkier. At first I didn't like the model, but now it's warming on me. I'm actually planning on getting a second model and repaint it.

Gamewise it's an interesting asset for the rebels. It's not hard-hitting as an X-wing, and not as robust as the Millenium Falcon or an Y-wing. The manuever dial is decent but lacks the K-turn, so the ship can't do a 180 like the other ships in the Rebel fleet. It's cheap, however, and can take a crew and a turret. So you can load it up with an Ion or Blaster turret and a Gunner if you want to give it some more offensive capabilities. It's true worth though is as a support to your other rebel forces. The Moldy Crow title card give the HWK-290 the ability to retain Focus tokens after the End phase, allowing you to build up a pool of focus tokens. Not so useful you may think, but Kyle Katarn (the most famous pilot included) has the ability to give a focus token to a friendly ship within 3 range, while the Recon Specialist crew included give you two focus tokens for each focus action. The other named pilots (Jan Ors and Roark Garnet) also has supporting abilities so this ship will change the metagame a bit I think. And as a last nugget you can give the Blaster turret to your Y-wings in case you are tired of ionising Imperials.

I have always thought that the B-wing looked cool and that the HWK lacked a windscreen...
The other Rebel ship in this release is the B-wing, which can be glimpsed in Return of the Jedi, just at the beginning of the Battle of Endor. Sadly despite being über-cool they didn't get any screen time. According to canon it's a heavy assault fighter designed to take on capital ships. It is heavily armed and has a unique rotating cock-pit which allows the pilot to remain in position while the fighter swivels around him. This is carefully recreated in the LEGO models I have, but sadly not on this small model. It is depicted in flight mode with S-foils extended in attack position in the upright "pose" it is seen in the movie.

Promotional composite still released by Lucasfilm. How I wish they had filmed a scene like this.
Gamewise the B-wing is indeed a heavy fighter. It has the ability to take two torpedoes, one cannon and one system upgrade. We get both regular Proton torpedoes and the new Advanced Proton Torpedoes, Ion Cannon and the new Autoblaster included in the expansion. Advanced Proton Torpedoes and Autoblasters are both range 1 weapons which can be devastating if you manage to get into position. So you have the option to kit it out as either long-range or short-range, or both. The system upgrades are a new kind of upgrade introduced in Wave 3 and included with the B-wing is a Fire-Control System, which lets you gain a Target Lock after you have performed an attack, if the target is still alive that is. Two generic and two named pilots are included; the unique pilots can both take a skill and have a different special ability each.

The B-wing is the first Rebel ship that can take cannons, so you can use the Heavy Blaster cannon included with Slave 1 on the B-wing and put the Autoblaster on Slave 1 if you want to. It is also the only Rebel ship able to do a Barrel Roll, to represent its rotating cockpit. A neat way to use a function already included in the game to make the ship unique. Maneuver-wise it's quite slow, but able to make sharp turns at low speeds and it can make a 2 speed K-turn. Combined with the Barrel roll it will be interesting to play.

The TIE bomber in stylish blue-grey while the Lambda Class Shuttle wear 80's computer beige.
Next up is the TIE Bomber. It too doesn't have a lot of screen time, but who doesn't remember when they are Proton Bombing the asteroids in The Empire Strikes Back? This is one mean ship, being able to take two torpedoes, two missiles and one bomb. Although it is probably not wise to fully load the bomber up with everything and the kitchen sink, it gives you the option of customisation. Do I get missiles, torpedoes, or a bomb. One of each? Two kinds of missiles for different targets? Or nothing and just fly it like a decoy and blaster magnet? The choice is yours.

The TIE Bomber is quite maneuverable and able to make a K-turn although it isn't as fast as a regular TIE. While it only has two defense compared to the other TIE:s' normal three, it has six hull points so it should stick around a bit. Two generic and two unique pilots are included. As with the B-wing both named pilots are able to take a skill and have a special ability each; both are useful when attacking with secondary weapons so make sense on the TIE Bombers.

And so we come to the final ship of Wave 3: The Lambda Class Shuttle. Sometimes erranously called the Shuttle Tyderium, but that is only the name of the shuttle the Rebels used to land on the forest moon of Endor in Return of the Jedi. It would have been cool if FFG had included a rebel pilot with the ship, but I guess they are saving it for later.

The Lambda class shuttle is the only big ship in this wave, unlike wave 2 where both the Rebels and the Empire got a big ship each. First off, the ship is beautiful. I have always loved Star Wars for their ship design. Folding wings, hexagonal windows, asymmetric ships, love it. But the Lambda is the most beautiful ship in my opinion. And yes, you can fold the wings up and down on the model.

So what about gameplay? The Lambda fills the support niche. Although it packs a punch with three attack and the ability to take cannon upgrades, the other ships will run rings around it. Put simply, it's manueverability is awful. The hard turns are red, it's top speed is three, and it can't do a K-turn or a barrel roll. Sure you can give it engine upgrade which lets you boost making it a bit faster, but since the hard turns are red you cannot do a turn and then a bank with boost. So you only gain speed, not the ability to turn more. But it can do one maneuver which no other ship can do in the game: it can stop and stand still for a turn. With five hull points and five shields though it can take some damage.

But as I said, it's role is support, not to dog-fight in itself. It can take a system upgrade, a cannon and two crew, and here's where the fun begins. Included in the box are Advanced Sensors, which allow you to take your action before moving, and Sensor Jammer which allows you to change one of the attackers dice when defending. The crew includes among others a Rebel prisoner which give a stress to the first rebel ship each round to target you, and Darth Vader which can cause an extra critical to a ship you attack. The pilots included is a generic pilot and three named ones. The named pilots each have useful support abilites like taking stress off nearby ships or dealing out target locks to other ships. However, none of the pilots are able to take a pilot skill, which I think is a bit odd.

To summarize: If you like Star Wars and X-wing you need all of the ships. At least one of each. (If you are a real die-hard fan you might balk at the HWK-290, but it's a nice ship.) FFG are devious devils and put the most useful cards in only one of the expansions. People have complained that Push The Limit is only in the A-wing expansion, and they will get another gripe in Adrenalin Rush which is included in the TIE bomber. In short it lets you treat a red maneuver as white, once per game. Do a K-turn, target lock and shoot your missiles, blammo. On the other hand they can't include each card in each expansion and I plan to get three bombers anyway. So there. And they did put two copies of Anti-Pursuit Lasers in the Lambda, so they are not all evil.

May the Force be with You.

3 kommentarer:

  1. This is not good at all... I only have the base game and only one solo game played to try the rules, still I want more ships now. :/
    Good and well written review!

  2. Leif many Thanks indeed for this superb and very useful description of the new releases. This is gong to be a nice joint Christmas present for me and the young Padawan!

  3. All your B-wing are belong to me!


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