X – Wing Store Championship

I was at my first X-Wing tournament yesterday. Having played the game for about a month and a half, I was kind of curious to see how the boyfriend and I would hold up against the others, who had been playing for much longer.

Still, going to a tournament like this, isn’t just going and spending ten hours moving space ships around on a board, for me, it is getting up at sunrise and taking care of the horses before going, spending the entire day, looking at the sun outside, wondering if I will be able to make it back to the stable before dark, and when I realize that I won’t, wondering how angry Apocalipse and Ablaze is going to be when I show up too late…

So yes, as much fun as a game like this is, I am ever easily distracted, once we reach the end of the day.

I won’t have any pictures from the tournament itself, since I was busy playing, and couldn’t really play with a camera as well, but I showed up with my dual Decimator listing. I won’t lie, I adore the Decimators… Especially one of them, who can cause damage by flying into the other ships… He really suits the brutish side of me, reminding me ever so slightly of my dear Apollon, who never found an obstacle he could not move if he rammed straight into it, me included. Playing with my two Decimators, one whose strongest force is crashing into people and one, who is a dead eye shot, (especially with predator,) actually seems like the story of my life. The fact that they have no defence either, and just takes the shots, if they get fired at, fits quite well too… I didn’t even think of it, until this morning, how I seem to have found the two space ships in this game, that matches my two old horses the very best… The brute and the predator. Oh, well.

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Anyway, I was seated against a swarm in the very first game. For my dual Decimators, a swarm of small ships is the absolute worst scenario, because they have no defence, and if a whole gang of ships starts firing at them, they just die.

Add to that, the guy flying them, was talking to the others, and I overheard him telling the others that he had made it into the top four at the last regional championship. Nice. Worst, worst possible scenario. I am going to lost the first game, which means I probably won’t make it into the finals…

Already, part of me was thinking, “oh well, I can escape and make it to the stable before dark then…” And then, my competitive side kicked in.

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The guy playing the swarm was amazing. I really wish I had had some pictures of his flying, because he was insanely skilled at flying formation and not hitting asteroids or other space ships. I had a moment there, when I was thinking, “snap. I am so dead.” And then I realized that he wasn’t expecting me to go around him.

I learned long ago, that playing with Decimators, you do not face a swarm head on. If possible, you do not face anyone head on. You circle the smaller ships, those who can only fire in one direction, and you spend all of your game, doing your very best to escape their firing arch, all the while shooting them in the back… Again, looooove the Decimators…

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Anyway, much to my surprise, I won that game.

I was then seated against another guy who had won his first game as well. He flew another Decimator and a Lambda shuttle. He had a lot of crazy modifications on his ships, so they could do stuff I did not expect, (I am pretty new to the game and I usually need to see the cards in play, to fully understand what it is that they do,) but aside from that, I wasn’t too worried about the Lambda.

It is an awesome ship, I would LOVE to see the Lambda work out, but truth is, it is an insanely difficult ship to fly. So my two boys did their sneaky trick and flew behind the Lambda, concentrating their fire on the enemy Decimator.

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In all fairness, the enemy Decimator was quite a problem. I lost one of my boys, before I finally got it shot down, but once it was gone, it was just Lambda chasing for the rest of the game, because I was behind it and it cannot turn fast enough to fire at me. So, I won my second game as well.

The boyfriend had, by then, won his two first games as well, which meant that we were both undefeated and had to face each other before the finals. For me, that was even worse than the swarm…

The boyfriend flies with the Millennium Falcon, which is a big, annoying ship, nearly impossible to shoot  down, and three small ships. Since we had been training at home, I knew that my Decimators could not handle this list, and I knew that the boyfriend would not let me get behind his small ships. He is so on to me, the bastard…

The thing is, normally I would focus on shooting down his Millennium Falcon, because it is the biggest ship, and as such, the one that costs most points and if time runs out, I need his Falcon to be dead, for me to win the game. If I lose a Decimator, shooting down his three little ships, won’t cost him points enough to win me the game.

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The trouble is, if I focus on the Millennium Falcon, going for the kill on that one, his three little ships will spend the time, shooting me down, as I don’t have any defence and any hit, rolled on the dice, is a hit on my Decimators.

So, against my better judgement, I decided on a desperate tactic yesterday, and had to go for an all out kill, shooting down his three little ships first, (so they wouldn’t kill me,) and then, hopefully surviving long enough, to have my two Decimators focus their fire on the Millennium Falcon, once they was no longer being shot down from behind…

Knowing full well, that if shooting down the three little ships lost me just one of my Decimators, I would not have firepower enough to take down the Millennium Falcon with all of his upgrades.

Which was exactly what happened.

So, I lost game number three, about which time the others started talking about how the boyfriend had never lost a game at this store yet. He had played the Hordes and War machines tournament last year and won every single game, and now, he wasn’t losing either. Please add a little pressure here… Now, once people start talking like this, it would seem even worse for him to lose, tarnishing his perfect record.

Still, we both made it into the top four, and once again, I was seated against the worst possible opponent. I would have given a lot, for playing against the two Millennium Falcons the boyfriend faced, rather than the guy I had to play against, for a lot of reasons.

First off, the guy I was seated against, had a swarm like list as well, which is always annoying with my list, and second, he was really arrogant.

I had been wondering what it would be like, showing up in an environment like this one, as the sole girl, but until I met this guy, the others had been fantastic. This guy though, started out by asking the boyfriends opponent to lose, so he could face the boyfriend again in the finals, because he really wanted a rematch. Making me sit opposite to him thinking, “prick. You have not fucking beaten me yet. You probably will, but I did make it to the semi finals, would you act like I wasn’t air?”

I know I might be a little sensitive here, but it was quite clear that he wasn’t going to handle losing a game to a girl. In fact, he was hardly going to acknowledge me as an opponent. He had a friend too, who came by from time to time, cheering him on, telling him that he had flown so well today, he deserved to win. Which is kind of annoying too, because at this time, we were four people who had flown very well. Only the boyfriend was undefeated, the other three had lost one game. So, no offence, but fuck you…

Okay, it was late in the day, and I was tired and my migraine had caused me to drug up on painkillers, making me rather unfocused and quite easily annoyed. I even forgot some quite important skills, like how my predator can re-roll not one, but two dice against his entire list, and he was kind enough to not remind me.

I know, my mistake, but that is kind of bad gamesmanship. If you can see that your opponent is not playing as he should, forgetting to use his abilities, I always point it out, simply because it feels like cheating to me, if I don’t. I don’t want to win, simply because my opponent forgot a technicality.

I am not saying that it could have won me the game, if I had remembered how many dice I could re-roll, it probably wouldn’t, but truth is, I could have potentially done so, simply because with every ship he lost, there would have been one ship less left to fire at me. I will be kicking myself over that for a while now…

Another thing that really threw me about his list, was how he was able to fit his ships into spaces on the board, that was clearly too small. I have a very good eye for distance and size, I am grew up riding show jumping, if there is anything my eye is trained for, it is estimating distance, down to the last millimeter. It took me a while to figure out why he seemed to be able to dodge asteroids and even my ships, when he should have flown straight into me.

He was using some soft padding underneath his base, to make his ships have a better grip on the board. In theory, that is a really great idea, because the board was really hard to play on, with its smooth surface. In reality, it is kind of cheating, because it raised his ships, list a little, above mine, and sometimes even above the asteroids as well, making him get a lot of actions he shouldn’t have had, because if he had not had that padding, he would have landed on the asteroids, and even worse for me, every time he would have flown straight into me, he instead, got to shoot at me at range one.

Add to that, he kept his maneuver dials on his side of the table, the entire game, making it impossible for me to see if he was actually playing fair. He could have sent his ships anywhere, and just modified it once he saw that it wasn’t going to work out. I am not saying he did, I don’t think he did, but I had no way of telling, and that kind of pisses me off as well. I could have asked for him to not do that, but then again… it hardly mattered. Clearly it was more important to him, to beat me, than it was to me, to beat him. With the boyfriend undefeated, I wasn’t going to win the tournament anyway, because I still can’t take down his list…

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All of this aside, I didn’t play a good game against this guy, I made a lot of mistakes, and he won, going up against the boyfriend again, in the final round. Knowing the boyfriend, he wasn’t going to lose the tournament to a guy he had beaten once already, so I settled down, watching the guy I had just played against get creamed.  That is the thing about the boyfriend. If he had a hard time playing against this guy the first time he met his list, he didn’t really the second time. His mind is kind of Sherlock Holmes like, he figures out the problem and handles it in a way that leaves most of us behind. You can learn a lot, from watching him play, if you pay attention.

The guy with the two Millennium Falcons, who lost to the boyfriend in the semi finals, chose not to want to play for third and fourth place, (again giving me the distinct impression that he did not want to lose to a girl, since he didn’t even bother to ask me if I wanted the game, he just packed up his things, never even looking my way,) landing me, I believe on a third place, because of how they figure out the scores… Not sure, but I am pretty happy with making it into the top four, (out of twelve,) and especially beating the swarm in the first game. That was totally awesome, and so much fun.

Oh, and yes, the boyfriend won the store tournament, of course, and remains undefeated. Wup, wup!

By then, it had gotten completely dark and I had to run off to feed the horses.

I keep forgetting that they are not Poseidon and Apollon. The guys I have now, they don’t get upset that I am late. They just go to sleep, or go play, or you know, pass time. They don’t lay in wait, hanging of the ceiling, throwing hissing fits if I am two seconds late. That is really nice. I just have to stop living in the past, feeling horribly guilty about not following the usual schedule. My little kiddos, they really don’t mind, as long as I do feed them at some point. They are always happy to see me and I never have to apologise with them.

So, my first X- Wing tournament. It was pretty awesome. I like the environment and most of the people who play those games. It was a long day though, and it has cost me the last month of training for it. I haven’t written a word on my books all of February, or March. That is not good. Time to get back to normal for a while, I guess, and should I play another tournament in the future, I am hoping I won’t need that much training beforehand. As much fun as it is, I am not sure it is quite worth that much of my time, and is sure isn’t worth compromising my writing. Still, once in a while, breaking habits is a good thing, I guess. Learning new stuff. Like flying space ships.

That is always nice to be able to do. Thanks Dragons Lair, for a great day!

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About Starstone

-Owned by horses. Writer, Photographer, Director, Musician.
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