Sunday, 29 January 2017

Something different

In September last year, or thereabouts, I decided that the boys, or Hugo at least, might respond to and enjoy "X-Wing", the game of Star Wars spaceship combat.  The game has a huge following, involves model ships, and the boys are pretty Star Wars obsessed.  I reckoned that Hugo, who turned 7 in December, would be old enough to get stuck into the rules; Monty, who will be 4 in a couple of weeks, is clearly too young to appreciate the game but I knew he'd like moving his ships and rolling dice, and it would be impossible to keep him out of a Star Wars game.  I knew that the biggest problem would be what generally happens when children play games and start losing. 

So I started buying ships when cheap deals presented themselves, and invested in (a) a 6x4 mat from Deep Cut Studios and (b) a large box from Feldherr to keep everything in.  The boys were each given a core box set and additional ships for Christmas (they both had to have a Millennium Falcon - luckily there's an "original trilogy" model and a "Force Awakens" one).  We've already had a couple of games, but this is the first where I've taken photos.  What works best is if the boys have a ship each, usually on the Rebel/Resistance side, and I have a couple of (usually useless) Imperial ships. This time we decided to use our The Force Awakens ships for the first time.  Hugo was Poe Dameron and Monty was Jess Pava, from Poe's squadron - we're currently reading Marvel's "Poe Dameron" comic at weekends so the boys know who's who in Blue Squadron.   I let them have 2 upgrades each, so they chose an astromech droid (BB8 for Poe and R2-D2 for Jess); Hugo chose the "Determination" pilot skill card, I think because he likes the picture.

The Resistance cards

I knew the TIE-fighters would be rubbish, so chose a couple of pilot skill cards that I thought would help with combat dice rolls.  (I've bought sleeves for all the cards to protect them from sticky fingers.)

Dad's Omega Squadron

The game started as you'd expect.  Both sides seemed to race to contact, although I noticed Hugo's Poe Dameron was heading straight for the edge of the table.  "Why are you doing that, Hugo"?  "Because I don't want you to fire at me."  "Ok - you do know the point of the game is to fire at other ships; and as you're Poe you're probably going to be pretty good at it?"  That continued for half the game, with Hugo determined to avoid combat.  Monty was very keen to get stuck in, but the manoeuvre dial confuses him and he often found himself facing the wrong way.

Ships passing in the night

After a couple of moves we got ourselves into a situation where at least some firing could begin, even if the concept of mutual support had been lost:

I lost my shields pretty quickly, as TIE-fighters do.  Monty also lost a couple of shields, but the R2-D2 card re-instates them.  Hugo was still running away at this point, in case he got hit. It didn't help that when Hugo did finally turn to fire on my Omega Squad Leader, he rolled an excellent 3 hits, only for me to roll an equally excellent 3 evades:

Funnily enough, this dice roll happened just as England lost today's cricket T20 game to India in the final over, which was on in the background; so I did understand how Hugo felt at throwing unbeatable dice only to, er, get beaten.  But he went off in a sulk for 5 minutes.  By this point, Monty was also in tears because he'd decided that he didn't "want to play a girl anymore".  He'd taken against Jess Pava and said he wanted to be someone cool, like Kylo Ren (unfortunately Kylo Ren's shuttle is a model that is forthcoming, but I suspect unlikely to be available in time for Monty's birthday next month).  Cue more tears, and of course the Kiwi had heard Monty shout "I don't want to be a girl" and had assumed that this was in response to some totally sexist comment that I'd made.  (It doesn't help that the Jess Pava pilot card is actually pretty rubbish.)     

This game needed to end quickly (not least because I'd finished the NZ pinot gris that was fuelling my TIEs).  Luckily Hugo's next attack was far more successful, and Omega Squadron's Leader met his end:

By this point, I'd banished Monty from the table because he had been disrupting the game by making burping noises unnecessarily.  On destroying the Omega Squadron Leader, Hugo ran into the other room to announce his victory, only for Monty to start crying again and to wail "but I wanted to destroy Daddy!"  Nice.  Luckily, by some happenstance Jess Pava had the other Omega pilot in range, and the latter was already on two damage cards.  So it didn't take much for Monty to finish him off.

The boys enjoy the game if they're winning; not so much if they're being shot at.  But I'm sure that will change in time.  Dad's happy being the loser if it keeps the boys occupied for a bit and helps get them into proper games.


Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke said...

Thank you for this pointer! I might have to try this game with our Paul, who turned 7 in late October and is equally Star Wars obsessed. Sadly also with the artifically induced burping noises. Sigh.

Best Regards,


Purp S said...

That's gone quick!
Still loving the blog Giles and inspirational that you are still ploughing through the Independence. You don't do projects by half do you?


David said...

Well done Giles. Never too young to join in.

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

"disrupting the game by making burping noises unnecessarily."

3 year old grandson has a tendency to as well... is it a small boy thing I wonder? :o))

Ken Reilly said...

Family gaming was exactly the reason I got into this great game, glad your lads are enjoying it Giles.

AJ (Allan) Wright said...

This game has a fanatical following with a few in our club. I prefer it when played with the smaller fighters - swarms of tie and X-wings are great fun. The larger models look quite snappy, but they bog down play. Fighters are the most fun and they save you on storage space.

Kevin Lowth said...

Well done Giles. There's great fun to be had gaming with your kids, so long as you start slowly. My son Jack still loves X-Wing but in a very short time he progressed to Basic Impetus, Baroque and now Pickett's Charge.

Author said...

Fun! You know what might be helpful? I play with my son, and rather than thinking of it being against each other, we sort of play it like we are playing out scenes from Star Wars together. That way it doesn't matter who gets blown up, as long as we did a cool scene. Does that make sense?

Good times!:)

Paul Robinson said...

They say patience is a virtue. I've found it a fundamental requirement when playing with kids who are taught that "everyone is a winner" at school. Well done for entering into game playing that requires thought and application.