Last night i got to play the first two missions from the X-Wing Tantive IV campaign. So i thought id share some action shots and my initial thoughts with all of y'all.
Mission 1: Cripple The Tantive!
I cant remember what the basic premise of this mission was in fluff terms, but I as the imperial player was assigned 5 Black Squadron TIEs and Howlrunner and had 6 turns to cripple either the fore or aft of the Tantive. If i didn't manage it, the Rebels won the mission.
Unsurprisingly, i didn't manage to make much of a dent in a measly 6 turns. I hadn't considered how much damage i really had to do so my plan of 'get round the back of it then follow it along shooting its slightly weaker arse' was going to result in at least 2 turns of me not getting any shots off. I think the Imperial side needs to be a bit more aggressive in this mission.
Mission 2: Cripple the Tantive that's refuelling!
Yeah, bit of a theme occurring here. We switched sides for this one, the Rebels get the Tantive and 75 points of non-unique ships while the Imperials get 3 damaged Black Squadron pilots (left over from mission 1!), Soontir Fell with push the limit and 75 points of other ships. This mission is played on a 3' X 5' area. The Tantive sets up horizontally on the rebel edge and is docked with a refuelling cargo ship. It has to escape off the imperial board edge before either section gets crippled.
However, the rebel player cant move the tantive until after its detached from the cargo ship, but the earlier you choose to do so, the less energy it generates every turn to power its weapons and abilities, so its a tough call.
I chose to detach after 2 turns (although the cargo ship was blown up that turn anyway, causing a vital 2 points of damage to the aft section!).
The game was close but just as the Tantive had got itself into a good position to protect the fore section from the remaining Imperials and plough ahead at full speed to the imperial edge, the aft section took a hefty 2 criticals from an advanced proton torpedo. Unluckily the first critical result gave an additional two damage to the fore which was enough to cripple it. Imperial Victory! We called it a night there to play something else, but I'm hoping to finish the other 3 campaign missions next week sometime.
So, initial thoughts in a 'pros & cons' format.
It looks awesome. Yes, it is slightly disappointing that, despite their initial promises of all pieces in the game being to scale, the large ships aren't quite to scale with the normal ones. But seeing it up close and using it on the table, you soon forget all that. Its an absolute beast. I think the photos above do convey somewhat how impressive the table looks when you've got something that size versus a wave of TIEs.
The campaign is a refreshing change from straight up dogfights on a 3' X 3' until one guy is wiped out. Also, it is in a format of 'if imperials win mission 1 go to mission 2A, if rebels win go to mission 2B' so does have a good amount of replay value, especially as you get to customise the forces more and more as the campaign progresses.
There aren't any Imperial ship versions of it in the set. I did half expect it but its a shame. I would have liked to be able to have an Imperial version doing the same sorts of missions versus fleets of x-wings and b-wings.
Theres a lot to follow! As i took control in game two with more ships, i did find it a bit difficult to remember everything i had to do with it. I probably should have played mission 1 for my first go to be fair, that way it would've been the only thing i had to concentrate on.
Bigger play areas. I did notice the play areas for the missions require you to play games on 3' x 3', 3' x 4', 3' x 5' and 3' x 6'. As the only mat i own is a single 3' x 3' this would basically need us to have another mat. I guess there are 2 players and you've both probably got mats, but still.
The campaign requirements, this is only a very minor gripe, but the set forces for the missions have a fair few specific ships you have to field, the first mission in particular, needs 6 TIE fighters. Thankfully we did have exactly 6 between us, but that could be annoying if you'd seen the tantive as the first thing that's drawn you in to the game, and you've bought say, 1 starter, a couple of other ships and the tantive then realise you cant play the campaign without buying a lot more ships. The way i see it though, if you're spending £60 on the Tantive, you're probably already quite invested in the game.
That cons list does look a fair whack longer than the pros, but i do really like it. I initially baulked at the price tag too, but i don't think its actually that ridiculous for what you get.
Will i be buying one, though? I doubt it. I don't really see the need for a play group to have this particular ship in multiples. But if an Imperial epic play ship hits the stores at some point in the future? I'd likely be all over that.