Duking it Out…

The intro…

Welcome to this week’s blog! Strap in people, it’s a big one this week…

It’s been a funny old week for me (in X-Wing terms at least!). Having played my first casual play night in well over a year and followed it up 3 days later with a 3 game tournament, we then had an unexpected additional Wednesday night made available where I popped down and played AGAIN! 3 times in 7 days!

Nothing for months then all at once!

The Sith Taker league is over for this season and I’m actually still not quite sure where I’ve placed… The rather amazing Ben Hibbert (who organises the whole thing) leaves some time at the end of each season for any missed games to be played and scores to be submitted. I had to do this for one of my games which went down as a (randomly selected) loss where I actually won it. A few players around me had yet to play their 8th game and so It will still be a little while until I know my final league placing and even longer until I find out if I’ve moved up a league (which I’m not really sure I will but who knows…).

What I do know is that I finished on 4-4 (wins-losses) and that all 4 wins came when using the Heratanni list. My four losses break down to: one with Heratanni (a close one though!), one with Rey-Wings (again, mighty close), one with an experimental Dash Rendar list (not close, like, at all) and one with the Rebel Hyperspace list that I was testing for the tournament I’m going to talk about today.

Not bad, really. With a few dice going another way and maybe not testing things out then I could have maybe managed coming in the top 5. Either way, I made the choices I made and the dice are what they are. I’m in this league for the fun and for regular games. Results are nice but not the be all and end all.

I will be planning on getting some online casual games in over the next few weeks while I wait patiently for season 4 of the Sith Taker league to start back up so there will still be plenty to write about and I’ve got some beautifully janky (JARGON ALERT!!) lists to try out. I can’t wait! That said, it seems that casual play at my FLGS (JARGON ALERT!!) is back on and the temptation to use actual plastic ships is very strong!

But back to the main topic of conversation for today – I’m going to a tournament!

A few weeks ago one of our guys posted in our local chat group that another store in the area was holding it’s very first X-Wing tournament.

With Cai and I only having played twice in real life since casual play nights stopped (I mean, they were both 4 game tournaments at Firestorm Cardiff but still…) I picked up two tickets immediately, just to make sure we got some.

The store in question is Duke’s Gaming of Pontypool.

As we got closer to the day details about the tournament and the store itself became more apparent. It was to be an 8 player, 3 round tournament (with 1h30 minute rounds but not timed super strictly) using the Hyperspace format and, what’s more, there was a trophy!

SHINY!

If you read last week’s blog then you’ll know that my preparation going into the tournament wasn’t particularly plain sailing.

I’d picked up Matt Carey’s Rebel Hyperspace list to try out and promptly got smashed up by Jon Vicary in that last week of the Sith Taker league. I’d then shamelessly stolen Jon’s list and taken it to casual play at Firestorm for the first night back and… lost with it twice.

But I felt better about the Resistance list than the Rebel one and so I decided to stick with it.

Lieutenant Bastian (47)
Integrated S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 47 Half Points: 24 Threshold: 4

Jessika Pava (51)
Integrated S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 51 Half Points: 26 Threshold: 4

Temmin Wexley (52)
R6-D8 (4)
Integrated S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 56 Half Points: 28 Threshold: 4

L’ulo L’ampar (42)
Predator (2)

Ship total: 44 Half Points: 22 Threshold: 2

Total: 198

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Resistance&d=v8ZhZ200Z254XWWW175WWY296XWWW175WWY297XW359WWW175WWY239X127WWW&sn=HS%20Resistance&obs=

The key to the list is that each ship has passive mods – a way to modify dice outside of the usual lock or focus choice, meaning that it’s possible to potentially double mod some attacks. The thing is, it’s not always particularly easy to get these regularly since both Lulo and Temmin require bullseye targets (and Temmin needs OTHER ships to get it) while Jess needs buddies close by and Bastian needs other people to hit his targets first.

Still, when it comes off, it’s pretty darn effective. Add to that the fact that T-70’s a reasonably survivable (at least, they feel like they are when I’m the one trying to kill them) and Lulo can either hit like an X-Wing or defend/run like an A-Wing and there are some decent tools in this list.

My hopes for this tournament aren’t huge. I’d like to win a game, going 2-1 would be nice. Overall I’m just happy to be going and playing some real life X-Wing for the second time in 3 days. I feel very privileged.

Before I get into it, a few weeks ago I had also mentioned that Cai was looking for a list to take to this tournament and I got a load of suggestions from people responding to the blog. In case you’re interested, in the end he went with this:

“Warthog” (54)
XX-23 S-Thread Tracers (2)

Ship total: 56 Half Points: 28 Threshold: 5

Jedi Knight (37)
Delta-7B (12)

Ship total: 49 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 3

Squad Seven Veteran (44)
Hull Upgrade (3)

Ship total: 47 Half Points: 24 Threshold: 5

104th Battalion Pilot (42)
Hull Upgrade (3)

Ship total: 45 Half Points: 23 Threshold: 5

Total: 197

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Galactic%20Republic&d=v8ZhZ200Z414X332WWWWWWY277XWW201WY340XWWWWW164Y341XWWWW164&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

It’s not precisely what he had planned and was a bit of a juggle as he had intended to play two squad seven vets but as we’ve only bought one Republic ARC expansion, while we have plenty of ships and dials, we only had one card and base tile (buying stuff is a thing again!!). He had intended to add a hull upgrade to Warthog too but forgot as he was still packing his case when we were due to be leaving the house!

Anyway, we made it on time, introduced ourselves to the incredibly friendly and very lovely owner of the store – Luke. We said hello to friends who were there already and began to unpack our bags.

The batrep(s)…(JARGON ALERT!!)

As usual, with multiple games to cover there won’t be turn by turn batreps here, just summaries and highlights.

When we arrived Luke outlined that as this was the first ever X-Wing event he’d run it would be super casual, no strict timer, friendly play and helping each other was encouraged since someone had dropped out at the last minute and he had decided to step in and play to make up numbers despite having never EVER played before!

Pairings were randomised and results would be written down as just W/L, no MoV today.

Right then ladies and gentlemen, eyes down, look in, here we go!

Game 1 – vs Martin

Not a great pic. I’m clearly out of practice!

My first game was against fellow Exile Martin. I’m not sure if he plays Scum exclusively but I don’t think I’ve ever seen play play any other faction (ever) and so it was little surprise when he opened up his case and started taking out some pilots of questionable repute.

Fenn Rau (68)
Predator (2)

Ship total: 70 Half Points: 35 Threshold: 2

Tápusk (36)
Cutthroat (1)
Boba Fett (4)
Concussion Bombs (4)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Engine Upgrade (2)

Ship total: 50 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 3

Jinata Security Officer (31)
Dorsal Turret (2)
Skilled Bombardier (2)
R4 Astromech (2)
Thermal Detonators (3)

Ship total: 40 Half Points: 20 Threshold: 4

Jinata Security Officer (31)
Dorsal Turret (2)
Skilled Bombardier (2)
R4 Astromech (2)
Thermal Detonators (3)

Ship total: 40 Half Points: 20 Threshold: 4

Total: 200

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Scum%20and%20Villainy&d=v8ZhZ200Z97X127WY474X375W16W355W92W107WWY471XW137WW88W5W339Y471XW137WW88W5W339&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

Ummm…. Ok. Wow. Now I’ve said it before (multiple times probably) – Scum jank (JARGON ALERT!!) is my weakness. Well, not my only one but a pretty major one. That said, Martin’s list, while jam packed with upgrades, is reasonably straightforward to understand. Don’t let Fenn hit you in the face at range 1, don’t get behind anyone else because, well, bombs.

Time for some quick Pre-Flight checks:
Target Priority – Probably Fenn, especially as he’s worth the most points but he’s a slippery one to pin down. I’m concerned about bombs and I will definitely find it easier to put damage onto the 1 agility Y-Wings. Let’s see what pops up in my sights.
Obstacles – The normally slow and lumbering Y-Wings are buffed by the R4 Astromechs so they’ll be able to clear stress easier than normal. Martin’s brought all gas clouds though and my passive mods don’t mind that too much. I’ll aim for a loose cluster in the middle-ish.
Deployment – T-70’s together while Lulo will go out on his own. He will have to be wary of Fenn though…

I have the bid so I make Martin first player since we overlap at initiative 5 and I want Lulo to be able to reposition his way out of trouble.

We place obstacles and deploy ships and are ready to begin.

I immediately regret my deployment position with Lulo as Tapusk deploys after everyone using the Boba Fett crew. Still, him having to be outside of range 3 of Lulo meant he had to go the far side of the gas cloud so maybe it wasn’t so bad. Plus Lulo is fast enough to get away from him anyway.

My plan is to slide up the board edge and approach the Y-Wings from the side, hopefully meaning I won’t end up behind them after the initial exchange of fire.

I sort of manage it, getting shots from all 3 T-70’s into a Y-Wing and deleting it. Decent start.

Meanwhile Fenn has come screaming in at Lulo who is just doing, well, who knows what behind the T-70’s (nothing constructive!) and is just generally desperately trying to not die.

I correctly predict a Thermal Detonators drop from the Y-Wing and plan accordingly, getting guns onto Fenn and an unanswered range 1 shot from Jess on the remaining Y-Wing. Lulo is still fannying about, running from Fenn but again escapes damage by staying unstressed.

Now the Y-Wing drops thermals again and this time I mess up, going 3 straight with Temmin but unable to use his free boost as Fenn is in the way, leaving him caught in range 1 of BOTH thermals AND rolls a hit for both. Silly me.

This leaves Temmin and the talon rolling Bastian a little bit in no-man’s land while Jess nails a range 1 unanswered shot on the Y-Wing. Lulo is STILL running from Fenn but this time opts to focus and boost for distance. A banked boost will probably put him in the Y-Wing’s arc so I decide on a straight one instead.

That decision backfires spectacularly as Fenn rolls hit, hit, crit and Lulo totally blanks, picking up a Disabled Power Regulator and it’s associated ion token.

Wow.

Oh.

Jess hammers the Y-Wing though, trying to make up for her rather idiotic wing-mate.

Fast forwards a couple of turns and the T-70’s have finished off the Y-Wing and are chasing down Tapusk. I know Fenn is worth more points but he scares me and has lots of green dice.

Bastian has taken a couple of hits but I manage to regroup and, despite knowing that the HWK is rocking the rather scary concussion bombs, I decide to risk chasing him down from behind.

It’s a high risk-high reward situation. The HWK has 2 agility and lost 1 shield (from it’s own Thermal Dets a few turns ago. If I don’t kill him, he’s going to poop bombs at me and I’ll have to scatter, losing my advantage from grouping together and there’s probably not enough time to get back into formation. This would also allow Fenn to dive in and pick someone off.

However, if I can take out the HWK, I’m reasonably certain I can fend Fenn off for the time we have left. At this point of the day I’m already really missing the TTS score tracker…

Look, if you know me at all then you’ll know I’m not one to blow my own trumpet. But oh my word, did I get this just perfect.

Tapusk’s turn lands him in 2 bullseyes (giving Temmin 2 rerolls) and I’ve got all ships in range 1 of Jess (for 2 rerolls) and Bastian will shoot last (hopefully with a lock on Tapusk from taking a damage card).

Well it actually goes better than that with Temmin hurting and then Jess finishing the HWK off. I’m not eating a bomb next turn! Yay!

Even better, Bastian takes a shot at Fenn and lands a hit, enabling him to get a lock for next turn. Lovely!

With just a handful of minutes left we have 1 more turn.

Martin chooses violence, diving in hard with Fenn to pull some points back and manages to dodge Bastian’s arc.

CLENCH!!

He fires at Temmin and gets him to half points but not destroyed.

Temmin and Jess return fire, modded up with passive rerolls and focuses and Skull Leader explodes in a blaze of glory.

Result: 200 – 96 win

A pretty good start! Lulo was a bit useless (or rather, I played him not so well) but he managed to distract Fenn for a bit and while Martin tried to focus down on him he is actually the cheapest part of my list so at least he sort of contributed in some way! I’m happy with the way I managed to regroup my ships to leverage their abilities once I’d split them up.

On to the next round then!

Game 2 – vs Luke

Now, I know I’ve mentioned that this tournament is pretty casual with it’s ‘approximately 90 minute’ rounds and that the store owner and TO Luke is just recording results, not exact scores. We’re still using the Swiss pairing system though so the net result is that winners from round 1 will play each other.

And so, pretty much randomly (because weren’t recording MoV (JARGON ALERT!!), I’m paired with Luke. No, not store owner Luke that I just mentioned, another Luke, ‘our Luke’ (i.e. he’s another Exile Squadron member). He’s also really rather good at this game.

Normally he like Imperial aces (or ace plus swarm I’ve seen him fly a few times) which he flies very patiently, drawing his opponent in but today he was bringing Jedi.

Well, perhaps not today….

Luke’s list? Well, it’s just brimming with Jedi…

“Broadside” (36)
Ion Cannon Turret (5)
Thermal Detonators (3)
Hull Upgrade (3)

Ship total: 47 Half Points: 24 Threshold: 5

Jedi Knight (37)
Delta-7B (12)
Synchronized Console (1)

Ship total: 50 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 3

Jedi Knight (37)
Delta-7B (12)
Synchronized Console (1)

Ship total: 50 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 3

Jedi Knight (37)
Delta-7B (12)
Synchronized Console (1)

Ship total: 50 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 3

Total: 197

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Galactic%20Republic&d=v8ZhZ200Z364XW138WWWW339W164Y277XWW201W211Y277XWW201W211Y277XWW201W211&sn=Unsaved%20Squadron&obs=

Three solid 6 health ships with Force and a chunky 10 health crit-proof Y-Wing which has threats out the front, back and side. This should be interesting.

He has the bid and all his ships are i3 so Bastian and Jess will be moving before any of his ships.

It’s Pre-Flight checks time:
Target Priority – Hmmm… every ship is worth roughly the same. The Jedi are maybe more dangerous in terms of damage output but also will be harder to hit due their manoeuvrability and repositioning options. They’ll have to come at me though so hopefully I can take some out.
Obstacles – While close clusters should hamper the Y-Wing, it also favours the nimble Jedi more than it favours my slightly more sluggish T-70’s. Maybe a compromise. Close clusters also means wide open spaces elsewhere which may suit me better. The Jedi can hide in the obstacles but the Y-Wing not so much. Maybe it’ll draw him out.
Deployment – Same as before I think – T-70’s close together, Lulo will start close but hang back and flank/bait as seems suitable.

We place obstacles and deploy ships and we’re ready to go.

This game was really very cagey for AGES as we very slowly swapped sides, with Luke’s ships coming over to me and mine across towards him. The difference was that while I was keeping my ships together to leverage their abilities, he didn’t have to and so when we first started to engage things looked like this:

MIND YOUR FLANK TEMMIN!

We exchanged range 3 tickles for little to no damage before I now had to decide how to commit – hit Broadside or turn on some Jedi?

I decide to go for Broadside. Yes he’s worth less points but if I can block him with Bastian and focus down with the others I’ve got a chance of doing some real damage.

I miss the block on Broadside.

However, I DO get the block on the accompanying Jedi and manage to wipe him out as well as Lulo getting a nice 4 dice shot unanswered into Broadside. Nice. I’ll take that.

Bastian takes some fire though, opting to spend his focus on one green eyeball result to prevent one damage before then being hit for 3 damage from a Jedi and rolling….3 freaking eyeballs. That’s unfortunate. The damage keeps on rolling in and Bastian is gone.

Worse than that, I give Lulo a 3 bank instead of a 2 hard to clear his stress (since I didn’t want to face off with the Jedi) and this happens…

LULO!!! NOOOOOOO!!!!!

Thankfully Lulo survives but he can’t reposition or shoot and so I’ve missed some opportunities here and things aren’t looking great.

Luke takes a range 1 shot into Jess. He rolls 4 dice and they ALL come up blank. No problem, he says, I’ve got a lock. He rerolls all 4 and ALL FOUR BLANK AGAIN.

To compund the issue, the other Jedi fires at Temmin from range 2 AND HE FREAKING BLANKS OUT AGAIN!!!

11 blank red dice in.a.row.

I have never seen that. I should be in HUGE trouble here but Luke’s horrific dice have bailed me out BIG TIME.

From here Broadside finishes Jess but simultaneous fire sees her bring him down to one hull before she goes.

As time ticks on I manage to remove another Jedi and get the last hit onto Broadside, leaving just 1 Jedi against a halved Lulo and a damaged but still full points Temmin.

I zoom in for a block to deny Luke a shot in the penultimate turn, leaving him facing the wrong way and in the last turn I go full speed with both, putting enough distance between us to get out of range and deny incoming shots.

I can’t remember the state of that last Jedi but even if it’s full health, I’ve bagged enough points.

Result: 146 (probably) – 120 win

Wow! Ok, first of all, I straight up stole that game. The initial engage at range 3 was even but Luke’s position was much better going into the next turn. I lost Bastian relatively easily but Jess should have been dead at least 1 turn earlier (possibly 2), saved only by what is the very worst dice luck I have EVER seen. Ever.

I’ve heard Dee Yun say on multiple Fly Better Podcast episodes that to do well in a tournament you have to steal a game and not get one stole from you. Well this was my steal.

I’m now 2-0 and to be honest, I’m pretty freaking happy about it (with just the slightest touch of guilt about that last game).

Again I’m pretty happy with how I flew in general but again a mistake with Lulo (putting him on a rock) was made. I need to sort this out!

At this point we break for lunch but the other 1-0 table is my son Cai versus Alex (ANOTHER Exile) and it’s looking pretty tight…

Game 3 – vs Alex

Sadly for Cai, his last couple of turns didn’t go too well and he ended up losing by around 30 points (which a part of me is relieved about to be honest. It could have been a rather awkward drive home afterwards whichever way it went!).

At this point I realised that only two of us were on 2 wins and therefore there can only be one 3-0 player (because maths!).

And so it seems that I’m facing Alex in a game for first place!

Now Alex is a good player. He pretty much exclusively plays Republic (at least, that’s all I’ve ever seen him play!) and way back when, back before lockdowns were a thing, He and his friend (and fellow Exile) Russell won a pairs tournament in Firestorm Cardiff.

So what is he flying today? Well, unsurprisingly, it’s Republic.

Obi-Wan Kenobi (Eta-2) (49)
Predator (2)

Ship total: 51 Half Points: 26 Threshold: 2

Anakin Skywalker (N-1 Starfighter) (41)
Passive Sensors (2)
Ion Torpedoes (4)

Ship total: 47 Half Points: 24 Threshold: 3

Jedi Knight (37)
Delta-7B (12)

Ship total: 49 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 3

Jedi Knight (37)
Delta-7B (12)

Ship total: 49 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 3

Total: 196

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Galactic%20Republic&d=v8ZhZ200Z440XW127WWWY322XW240WW135Y277XWW201WY277XWW201W&sn=Unsaved%20Squadron&obs=

More bloomin Jedi. He also has a 2 point bid over me so it’s likely that his Knights will move after Jess and Bastian, Baby Ani after Temmin and Obi-Wan after Lulo. Plus ALL his ships have the Force.

Not ideal.

With Lulo having already left the board by way of Ion today I’m acutely aware of Anakin’s Ion torps and the Aethersprites are the chunky 7B variety so they will be suitably dangerous while still being as nimble with repositions.

Yuck.

At this point I figure that two wins for the day is as much as I could have realistically hoped for and try to temper my expectations and make sure that I actually enjoy the game without pressure. Given that I’ve only just picked up this list and that I lost 2 games with it in the lead up to the day, I’m pretty happy anyway.

Right then, let’s look at the Pre-Flight checks:
Target Priority – Each ship is worth roughly the same so no obvious points tank to try and take down. Anakin will only have 2 agility but with his free evade could be hard to get damage onto. Realistically I’m expecting Alex to press with the Knights as main damage dealers so I’ll aim to get them out of the way and go from there.
Obstacles – Like last game, the ships I’m facing are all pretty manoeuvrable, more so than mine so I’ll aim to cluster as much as I can and try to operate in the open spaces.
Deployment – No need to change I think, I’ll stick with all ships together, splitting Lulo off to flank or bait with.

Alex does indeed make me first player and so we start putting down obstacles and ships and are set, ready to go.

We both start out really pretty cagey. Alex sends his Jedi in amongst the obstacles while I head for the open space.

Alex feints in before heading back out again with his Knights while Anakin gets drawn in to chasing Lulo who lags behind the T-70’s.

As a result I’m looking to start engaging through the middle while Alex has decided to disengage, leaving me with some big decisions to make.

I’m forced in to splitting up, mostly because a poorly chosen bank with Bastian has left him no room to take a 2 hard turn to avoid the central rock. 🤦‍♀️

Alex has run away with Obi-Wan, slooped/k-turned with his Knights while Anakin has crept in behind me.

Still, I manage to engineer an engagement where 3 of my ships look to have good shots on a Jedi.

Except it isn’t as good as I’d hoped. Lulo and Temmin have both missed bullseye on the lead Jedi so no Predator or R6-D8 triggers. Jess only has one ship in range 1 and Bastian, well, he’s K-turned to threaten Anakin so he’s no help.

In what turns out to be a disastrous round, I lose Lulo in exchange for 1 shield (ONE SINGLE SHIELD!) on a Jedi Knight.

Not what I wanted.

At this point I feel a little dejected. It feels like an impossible task. Still, I’ve got the two wins I’d hoped for so it’s not all bad.

Then Alex makes a mistake. He turns in gently with Obi-Wan while Anakin rounds a rock and his Jedi try and move in close. Temmin bumps into a Jedi but he and Jess both have shots on Obi-Wan with a couple of soft mods.

Bastian is in a little trouble though, as one of the Jedi has dived in at him for a range 1 unanswered shot.

Alex can’t focus any fire with Obi-Wan shooting Temmin, the Jedi Knights shooting Jess/Bastian and Anakin shooting nobody. My ships took a little damage but not much.

Temmin and Jess manage to get 2 hits onto Obi-Wan though, halving him and almost giving Alex heart failure.

In a slightly desperate attempt for decent position, I 4-k all my ships. What could go wrong?

Alex’s undamaged Jedi banks in towards Bastian while the other sloops. Anakin turns around the rock while Obi-Wan attempts an escape but bumps into the N-1.

Obi-Wan and the stressed Jedi don’t have shots. The other Jedi fires on Bastian but can’t get damage past his greens. Anakin fires at Jess and gets a damage on but no ion tokens (thankfully!)

Jess and Temmin both fire on Obi-Wan, hoping to finish him off. Temmin’s shot isn’t great and Obi_wan shrugs it off easily. Jess has no focus but can reroll one because of her ability and manages 3 hits! YES!

Alex rolls his greens and rolls 3 natural evades. NOOOO!!! Alex cheers and runs a little lap of the store. I can’ blame him, that’s probably just won him the game.

Bastian manages to get another hit onto the damaged Jedi, putting him one away from half points.

Time is called as we head into what will be the last turn.

And I want that Jedi dead.

I give Bastian a 2 bank and focus.

Jess goes 2 straight and focuses.

Alex’s undamaged Jedi takes a 4-k, taking up the space that Bastian just held. The other goes 2 straight to clear his stress and bumps into Bastian. Yay!

Temmin takes a 2 bank to clear stress, takes his free boost action and focuses, facing down the damaged Jedi.

Anakin takes a hard turn and lands right in behind Jess. Yikes.

Obi-Wan (who took a systems phase barrel roll) goes 5 straight and boosts, not wanting to be anywhere near danger or, well anything else at all.

Ok, this is going to be interesting.

Temmin shoots first, armed with a reroll and a focus and hammers the damaged Jedi, getting 3 damage on and reducing it to 1 health.

Anakin goes next but can get just one damage onto Jess, she’s now 1 health from half points.

Tense.

She fires next and successfully takes out the blocked Jedi Knight. It’s a shot too late though as simultaneous fire at initiative 3 means it can shoot back.

Alex fires with the other Jedi first, shooting at Jess but missing.

The blocked, dead Jedi then fires at Jess and this time my green dice don’t hold out and Jess takes the one damage needed to get to half points.

Bastian’s shot on Anakin is the last of the game but isn’t enough to make a difference, taking a shield but he’s still at full points.

We stare at the board, neither of us knowing what the points are. I feel that losing half points on Jess in that last round has cost me and we both open LaunchBay to check out and add up points.

Half of Jess is 26, all of Lulo is 44. it’s a nice round 70 points.

I wait while Alex does the same as the other guys gather around us, waiting for the result.

Half of Obi-Wan is 26, the Jedi knight is 49. It’s 75 points.

I take an extra moment to compute in my head. I destroyed 75. He destroyed 70.

I won.

I won?

I won?!?

I WON!!!!

Result: 75 – 70 win

The conclusion…

I have to admit that I am still in slight disbelief. Even now, almost a week and a half later. I know it’s not a huge tournament. I know it was pretty casual. There’s a lot of reasons to play this down.

But I freaking won it! Am I’m so pleased!

Errmeiigerrsh, that’s ME! With a trophy!!

Let me quickly talk about the game first because it was really really tight. We both made a couple of mistakes and while mine (going aggressive with Lulo) cost me a ship, Alex’s (bumping Obi-Wan) wasn’t quite as costly for him. The dice were a little swingy in places but I think overall were reasonably balanced and I’m just stumbling over a way to say that I actually played this game ok except for my decision to dive in so aggressively with Lulo when I did.

I don’t consider myself a particularly good player. I lose often (although it’s normally quite close!) and so winning here gives me so many different feelings. Elation, relief, pride. Is this the start of some kind of winning streak? I doubt it. I’m much too fond of flying Dash Rendar to win too many games but in a way I guess it’s nice to know that I’m capable of doing alright when I have a decent list, a general strategy and can keep my head.

Without dragging this post out or going full ‘Oscars music/get off stage cue’, I do want to say thanks to a few people. To Cai for, well, still being interested in X-Wing after a crazy year (and growing up, both in height and maturity!) and being my tournament buddy. To my wife for being fine with us going and spending a day with fellow plastic spaceship geeks/addicts on a family day. To my mates, the Exiles who turned up to a new venue to roll some dice – it was (and always is) awesome to see you and I have missed days like these, perhaps more than I realised. To Jon Vicary who, by smashing me up in our game a few weeks ago inspired me (well, basically instructed me!) to take this list to the tournament. Great advice mate! To fellow Exile Josh Hall who lent me the only card I didn’t have for this list (R6-D8). I’d have definitely been worse off without it!

Lastly I want to give Duke’s Gaming a massive shout-out . It’s not big, it’s not flashy but Luke is an awesome bloke, super helpful and incredibly friendly and while there’s not a huge amount of space for play there is enough (even with covid/social distancing), it’s a great atmosphere to play in, it’s close to the town centre (with plenty of parking options) and there’s great products at good prices. Check out his website, you’ll be supporting a great local business!

Everybody pose for the camera!

Paul Fallon (who runs our local X-Wing scene at Firestorm Newport and played on the day) has loosely arranged to run casual store tournaments on alternating months with Luke, so one month we’ll do something in Newport, the next in Pontypool. It’s a great way to build relationship with other stores and players and a fantastic opportunity to grow local community. Plus it means more regular in person X-Wing!

Most importantly of all, I had a great day doing something I love with friends. If the last year or so of pandemic has shown us anything (and it’s shown me a lot!) then it’s that days like this can’t be taken for granted.

I’d normally sign off around here but first there’s something that I’d like to quickly ask.

Before I go…

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the blog, how much of my time it takes up (don’t take that the wrong way, I love doing it!) and, more to the point, issues I’ve had with hosting and downtime of the site. I’d like to move to a more reliable host at least and maybe in future, as normal (i.e. in person) gaming comes back, travel to some tournaments.

As you all know, all this stuff costs money. Obviously.

I’m very much just at the ‘thinking about it’ stage at the moment but I’m looking for some feedback as to whether it’s worth me setting up a Patreon account to try and cover some of these costs. I’m not talking massive subscriptions or anything but even a handful of people throwing £1 a month or something can certainly help me achieve some stuff.

So please, whether your immediate reaction is ‘I’m in!’ or ‘no way!’ if you could take the survey, I’d really, really appreciate it. It won’t take long I promise and it’ll help me work out whether I’m being ridiculous or if this is something that’s actually viable that I could do.

Thanks for being awesome!

If you’re looking to buy some gaming ‘stuff’ and don’t have a local gaming store, you can use my affiliate link for Firestorm games. They’re great!

This blog is supported by thegamingplace.co.uk
Links from cards mentioned in the post will take you to the relevant page to buy that card from their website. These links are sponsored.