I’ve discovered that my biggest problem playing X-Wing is my lack of flying experience. Some players have as many miles behind the controls as some professional airline pilots. I do not. I decided that I need to learn how to fly. So I pulled out my templates and a sheet of paper with a 1 inch grid drawn on it. The first thing I noticed is a 1 straight template is not 1 inch long but rather it’s about an inch and a half. This makes the large ship based about 3 inches by 3 inches.
A small ship base is the size of a 1 straight. Therefore 2 small ship bases is as long as a 2 straight which is the same size as a large ship base. Therefore to move 1 straight, the ship will need TWO ship lengths clear in front of it (one for the template and one for the base in it’s new position). With this information I wanted to build a formation that would work as a good starting formation.
Using the width of a straight template (as shown in image 2) ensures that the spacing between ships remains equal. This is a pretty good formation to begin with. Using consecutive hard turns will cause the ships to bump each other keeping them from using any actions. Image 4 using the same bank template to the same result, the ships all bump into each other. But when the pilots all use the same hard turn template they are able to hold formation. The two ships on the left became the ships on the right. This will work for any of the hard turn templates as long as you set the ships up based on their pilot skills so that the front ships are moved first and then the back ships. This works great with a swarm of four ships all with the same pilot skill. As a note (not shown) using consecutive bank templates (1 & 2 or 2 & 3) will work in the same way allowing the ships to remain in formation.
The larger ship base can cause even more confusion because when it moves 1 straight template forward the front edge of the base has actually moved 3 straight forward (1 for the template and two for the bases’ length). So when moving a large ship it is important to determine whether the space available is the template length + 2 long enough for the ship. Using a 4 straight will move the front edge of the ship’s base 6 ‘spaces’! When flying along side a small ship it doesn’t take much for the large ship to outrun the smaller ship.
The ships are setup with a space between them equal to the width of a straight template (as seen in Image 9). Using two different size hard turns (in this case the 1 and 2) allows for the large ship to move from beside the small ship to in front of the small ship. Using a pair of banks (again 1 and 2) I found the ship stayed side by side (for the most part) from here a pair of straights would propel both ships into the battle. If the large ship has the option to boost that would push his out in front of the smaller ship if needed.
Getting Around Stuff
Space can be messy and you need to get around obstacles before you hit them (causing yourself unwanted damage). This is what I want every new pilot to practice. Place an asteroid (or debris field) and a ship and then get around it. Image 10 shows a small ship sitting within range 1 of an asteroid. The pilot needs to know which template will get them around the object (image 11)
The 1 soft bank will cause the pilot to crash his ship and he will need to roll for damage while both loosing his actions and his ability to attack. Using the hard 1 turns the ship away from the asteroid allowing the ship to get away. Below are three different things a pilot might be able to do after dodging the asteroid.
Image 14 shows the pilot’s (from image 13) next move. Another 1 hard bank followed by a boost will quickly get him out past the asteroid. If the ship’s approach angle was a little different it might need to use a 2 hard turn and a boost action to swing around the asteroid as shown in image 15. Finally, in image 16 the pilot has tucked himself into the nook of the asteroid, but his enemy’s move has brought the pilot into their sights. Getting behind the asteroid will help the pilot defend himself from the coming attack so a hard 2 gets the ship around the side of the asteroid. The pilot determines if he has slipped out of the enemy’s firing arc. If not, a barrel roll might help. To the left clears the asteroid and maybe the coming attack as well. If there is no way to clear the arc then a barrel roll to the right will tuck the pilot in behind the asteroid. The enemy ship will now need to make an obstructed attack, allowing the pilot to increase his agility by one.
It is important to practice flying. Pull out a few ships and obstructions and set them up on the kitchen table and fly around. Try to get across the table without hitting any asteroids or bumping into any ships. Don’t worry about attacking anything, that’s now the purpose right now. Just log those flying hours. See in your head where the ship will end up at the end of the round.
Have fun and fly casual.