Gaming on BusinessTypically when I go on business trips I bring along novels, comics, magazines, role-playing sourcebooks, and my trusty Nintendo DS. But every once in a while, if there is any possibility that some gaming can happen, I will take a tabletop game or two. Although I live near Pittsburgh, I am originally from the Philadelphia area, and have friends and family all across the East Coast. I have very fond memories of a week long OSHA training course in King of Prussia, back in 2010. Along with a stack of Knights of the Dinner Table comics I brought my Hackmaster 4th Edition books. On one of the evenings I linked up with my high-school comrades Chris, Randy, and Trevor. We took two hours creating characters while we picked up and ate Chinese food. One of the PC's was rolled up in the car outside the restaurant. Finally we sat down for an incredible adventure...
... and only forty-five minutes into the game we had a TPK - a total party kill - during a bar-fight that went sour...
... good times!
Two Nights in Alexandria
This week I found myself in Virginia for training and meetings. Since my regional office is in Alexandria, I make it down here at least once a year, but never dread the trip since my extremely awesome cousin Rachel and her amazing fiancé Carmel (both made famous during our games of The Strange) live just a couple miles away from the office. Rachel was unfortunately on night shift this week, but Carmel had nothing else going on and is a Star Wars fan! Since I'm learning the Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game, I traveled with my starter set and Millennium Falcon miniature.
During the first game with my wife Jennifer we used the Quickstart rules, which meant no special actions, upgrades, stress, or obstacles. Since Carmel is a seasoned boardgame player, I figured we could push the boundaries and jump right into the full rules. But I wanted to try the full rules on my own first, before teaching them to Carmel, so first I set myself up for an impressive one on one, X-Wing versus TIE Fighter encounter...
... with myself.
Lone X-Wing vs. 2 TIE Fighters on an open table. First attempt with the full rules, with a handful of bumbles, stumbles, and trips.
- Imperials (Jim...): 2 TIE Fighters
- Rebels (...also Jim): 1 X-Wing
Okay, playing Star Wars X-Wing versus yourself is a little difficult. Trying to play both sides from a balanced perspective is challenging, especially when the turn order is "TIE, X-Wing, TIE". But the point of the game was just to learn the rules, so that's what I did. Since I don't often win these types of strategy games, I was really excited to end this skirmish as a victor!
TIE Fighters win!
Lone X-Wing vs. 2 TIE Fighters on an open table. Second game with full rules, but this time with another player.
- Imperials (Jim): 2 TIE Fighters
- Obsidian Squadron Pilot
- Academy Pilot
- Rebels (Carmel): 1 X-Wing
- Rookie Pilot, R2-D2 Upgrade
Towards the end of the game we reached a point where I couldn't get past the Rookie Pilot's shields, and due to my Evade ability, and three agility dice, Carmel couldn't knock out my Obsidian Pilot. So I made a comment suggesting that we declare the game a draw and shake hands after just two more turns.
Carmel agreed and then destroyed my TIE on the next turn.
YT-1300 Freighter vs. 2 TIE Fighters in an asteroid belt. First game with the Millennium Falcon miniature!
- Imperials (Jim): 2 TIE Fighters
- Mauler Mithel, Marksmanship Upgrade
- Dark Curse
- Rebels (Carmel): 1 YT-1300 Freighter
- Outer Rim Smuggler, Luke Skywalker and Chewbacca Upgrades
I was really excited for this game! I fell in love with the Millennium Falcon miniature when I first saw it on the Barnes and Noble shelf over a year ago. I hummed the Star Wars theme while unboxing the figure, and Carmel read the additional rules while I punched the cardboard game pieces. For this battle, Carmel agreed to play a basic Outer Rim Smuggler with some upgrades while I brought two seasoned TIE Fighter veterans to the table. After three games with basic TIE pilots, it was awesome having Mauler Mithel and Dark Curse on the board! To make things even more complicated (and possibly set the balance against Carmel) I threw a bunch of potatoes ... er ... I mean asteroids on the table.
This dogfight was rather one-sided. Carmel's Outer Rim Smuggler had to contend with my two "gnats" as well as the asteroids, and space was restricted on Carmel and Rachel's small Ikea table.
No judgement, I own the same table, although it serves as a computer desk.
With only two attack dice, and my pilots taking advantage of the Evade action, Carmel couldn't take down either of my TIE's. I changed tactics for this game as well. Rather than split my fighters, I kept them in formation for most of the game, so that they could shoot together on most turns.
After chasing Carmel's Outer Rim Smuggler all around the table, almost forcing her to crash into a Gatorade and Panera Iced Tea, I was able to land a stream of critical hits. Too bad Luke and Chewie weren't flying with Han.