Friday, September 28, 2012

Star Wars X-Wing Episode II: Bring me solo (and a cookie)!

I feel somewhat remiss that I have not yet posted a battle report for X-Wing. I am really beginning to love the way it plays, but I haven't yet gotten to play a REAL game of it, since I haven't gotten to play a game against a live human being yet.

You see, I play a fair majority of my games solo. This is because I have a small pool of friends who enjoy gaming, a schedule that runs counter to theirs most of the time, or a location issue (i.e. they are now living many states away). I also have some pretty strong social anxiety issues that make it difficult to just grab a "pick-up" game here and there.

With most games, this isn't really a problem. Either it is built for solo, or I can easily play both sides in the game. Even in card games, I can usually "forget" what is in Player 2's hand and make decisions objectively (usually). And normally I don't worry too much about it because when I game, I am really in it for the story of what happens. So, yeah, I guess I've gained a sort of secondary personality of sorts.

I am Jack's complete lack of social interaction. 
The problem with X-Wing is that it has a hidden movement mechanic that, for some reason, my brain can't forget about. When I try to pick movement and I know about it, the game always ends up the same because I know exactly where I'm gonna be. And its weird because I can do open movement with other wargames I own, but this one is either too quick (and goes even quicker when movement is predictable) or the pilot skill mechanic is way more powerful when you can see what others are doing. Knowing where the other person is gonna be just breaks the game.

I have heard that some people on BoardGameGeek have had some success with random movement, so I figured I'd give it a shot. Lo and behold, that was the answer. I now no longer knew where my opponent was going to be. Suddenly the game was lasting a little longer and the battles were a little closer. With that in mind, I knew I couldn't help but make it into a scenario for the game and share it!

Mission: Training Sim [Solo]

Cam Vior strapped into the egg-shaped cockpit with shaking hands. First time out, never even sat in a seat before. It was dark. No light except what came in around the door. Suddenly bright light washed around him and he could see again, the interior of a TIE fighter now his surroundings. In the distance, a squadron of X-Wings floated against the star field ahead. A voice came through the comm.

"Pilot Vior, simulation is about to begin. Stand by for combat training."

Mission Setup

Although this mission is for one player, there are still 2 sides in the game. You will get one force that you will completely control. The opposing force will have its movement determined randomly and you will make its decisions for it beyond that.

Rebel: Rookie Pilot [Proton Torpedoes].

Imperial: Two Academy Pilots.

Special note: This mission requires a single regular six-sided die that is not included in the base game. This die can be scrounged from a number of other board games or bought in stores cheap.

Do not choose which force you will be playing. Instead, roll the six-sided die once for each force, re-rolling ties. Whichever side rolls highest is the force you will control. If you are using the squad building rules, build each squad separately before determining which force you will control.

Each force deploys as per the rules for a non-mission game of X-Wing.

Special Rules

Movement AI: During the planning phase, the player sets his maneuver dials for his force normally and they will act as normal during the Activation Phase. Do not set dials for the opposing force. During the Activation Phase, using the chart below, determine the speed and maneuver for each opposing ship as its turn comes up:

This image is not my work but belongs to a wonderful fellow on BGG  whose name I cannot find now.
First, find the ship on the chart. Next roll the six-sided die and compare it to the numbers on the left side. That is the ship's speed. If you roll a number that is not on the chart, roll again until you have a number that is. Then, roll the die a second time, counting that many spaces to the right to see what maneuver is performed at that speed. Once again, if you roll a blank space, roll again. If only one maneuver exists at that speed (besides Koiogran Turns; see below), the ship automatically performs that maneuver.

Koiogran Turns: An opposing ship will not normally make a Koiogran Turn. However, if it rolls a speed a which a Koiogran Turn can be made, after any straight maneuver at that speed where it would end up with no enemy ships in its fire arc, treat that straight as a Koiogran Turn instead (i.e. turn the ship around at the end of the movement). Stress is gained as normal if this is a red maneuver for the ship.

Leaving the play area: AI controlled ships will not normally leave the play area. They have been programmed to keep fighting at all costs. If a maneuver would take an AI ship off the play area, it will instead perform the shortest turn possible to avoid leaving the field. If this would still result in the ship leaving the field, remove it from play, but mark the spot where it left the field. During the next Activation Phase, the ship will return from that point on its turn, performing the fastest straight maneuver it is capable of. Ships controlled by a player are still subject to "fleeing" of they leave the play area, so choose your maneuvers wisely!

Other Phases: The rest of the game is played by choosing what each enemy ship would do as if you were playing that force to the best of your ability. No cheating! If you can't trust yourself use the following AI:

Actions: Actions are given the following priority: Barrel Roll (if necessary to improve or avoid attack arc, otherwise ignore), Target Lock, Focus, Evade. If a ship cannot perform an action, it skips it and performs the next in the order. A ship with only one hull point left ALWAYS Evades.

Combat: The AI ship will always attack the closest enemy ship. If there is a tie, choose the one that has taken the most damage. If there is still a tie, choose the one that has the highest Pilot Skill. Otherwise randomly determine the target. If the AI possesses a secondary attack, it will use that attack if able. 


Play continues until all ships on one side are destroyed, leaving one side the victor!

So, that's my scenario. It's nothing new or fancy, compared to what's been mentioned already in various forums, but its at least in mission format. Hope somebody gets some use out of it.

Happy gaming!


  1. Very cool, thanks for this I will definitely try this soon.

  2. Which methons do you personally choose to search for info for your new posts and which search resources do you commonly rely on?

    1. The info for my posts comes from my own hobby experiences and game play. I don't really have to do a lot of searching except for the occasional photo.

  3. I like the idea of playing solo and wound up here because of that search. I have to ask do you feel that randomizing the enemy movement would cause the game to lose tactical depth? Part of play seems to be guessing what the other player will do and moving to stop or frustrate that goal.

    1. I would say it loses a little bit of depth, since you aren't so much out-thinking your opponent as reacting to whatever situation the AI throws at you. While that can take a certain amount of skill, it doesn't allow you to learn to read your opponent and learn his tactics, which can be a difficult skill to acquire. A live opponent will force decisions on you by making you think more than just one move ahead.

      At the very least randomized movement is very tactically different and requires more risk management than honest tactical skill.

  4. Here is a great web applet for x-wing AI.
    Makes for great solo matches, but its embarrassing how much I lose to it.