Andy came over on Monday evening and we had a game of X-Wing. This was Andy's first game and my first non-solo game using the full rules.
We played with the models continued in the basic set; two TIE fighters and an X-Wing. As per the rulebook these were piloted by "Obsidian Squadron Pilot", "Night Beast", and Luke Skywalker respectively. It occurred to me after I'd changed over the card inserts on the bases that swapping between Obsidian Squadron Pilot and the even lower-skilled guy I'd been set up for previously was pointless as the only difference was between two pilot skills that meant either pilot would have moved first and fired last in this game.
We played across the kitchen table on the suitably coloured back-side of a Games Workshop battlemat. Andy took the Imperials and rapidly learned the value of a well-timed Koiogan turn (an Immelman or split-S for those of you who remember SPI's Air War). In the pic below he's acquired a stress token as a result of pulling one to give him a shot at Luke.
Combat was a hell of a lot easier for me as I had two targets and hence twice the chance of finding one of them in my firing arc when the combat phase came around. In the pic below I could shoot at either as ships don't block line of sight. I chose to shoot at the nearer TIE fighter though I had a target lock-on to the other. Unlike TIE fighters, X-Wings have the ability to lock-on and you can retain the lock-on whilst engaging another ship so I saved it for a later shot.
In the course of several such passes I took a couple of hits which caused my shields to go down (another bonus for the X-Wing user; TIE fighters are faster and more manoeuvrable but lack shields) whilst scoring hits on both of Andy's ships. One of the hits was a critical, in this case Blinded Pilot meaning Andy had to shoot at me once without causing any effect before he could recover his vision.
In the end I think it was Luke's superior skill (rather than mine) that won out. Although moving last isn't much of an advantage (you lock your move in before you know what the enemy is going to do) the ability to barrel roll after moving can be useful. On one occasion I was able to roll such that Andy's TIE Fighter remained in my arc of fire but I just slipped out of his. This and the ability to choose whether to Focus or Lock-on after seeing where the enemy ends up was very powerful in this set-up.
All-in-all I like this game. It's got to be taken on it's own terms; as a simulation of the movies, not a simulation of "real" space combat. But on that basis it's a good short game for a relaxed evening with friends or family. I think a multi-player melee (what Neil McDougall would call a "grand rammy") is called for.