Ion Bombs Away, with the “K-Wing”.

Seriously, this was a set of obscure references on all fronts.

Seriously, this was a set of obscure references on all fronts.

I played a whole lot of X-Wing Miniatures over the past weekend. I’ve mentioned it before, it’s a game that gives you tiny spaceship toys, strange rulers and asteroids, and then the rules to play with your tiny spaceships. In a word: awesome.

My friend and I (Tax Hitler) went to the game store in Santa Monica, Aero Hobbies. Aero used to be like someone’s basement, now it’s more like a hardware store set up for gaming. No frills and friendly, with an incredible selection on the walls of the retail space. I highly recommend the shop.

That being said, I almost immediately pulled a Millennium Falcon off of the wall. I’ve wanted one for a while, because…it’s the @#$%ing Millennium Falcon. Really, that’s a no-brainer. It’s physically larger than a mess of the other models, and beautifully painted. It’s also a really good ship for the game, despite the fact that many waves of new ships have come after it.

A fellow had been waiting for a while, with all of his “travel” X-wing gear in a toolbox. He saw Tax Hitler and I fussing over the miniatures, and invited us to play the game. It turned out that he was a teacher too, but more importantly, he was a nice, sportsmanlike guy. We immediately made a new friend, and exchanged contact info during play. While Tax Hitler dueled in space, I started adding to my stack of minis. The first thing to be added to the stack was a recent game release, the “K-wing.”

What the @#$% is a K-wing? Good question…because the answer is obscure, even by MY standards.

The BTL-S8 K-wing assault starfighter, commonly known as the K-wing, was a heavy starfighter/bomber in the primarly novel driven Star Wars Expanded Universe. They first appeared in “Star Wars: Before the Storm”, the first novel in the “Black Fleet Crisis” trilogy. Honestly, that series was pretty unmemorable. Not “Crystal Star” level of bad (I recently re-read that, not believing that Vonda McIntyre wrote the worst Star Wars novel ever) but bad.

The K-wing is described in text by one of its pilots. “We’re the heavy hitters. When you need a command bridge leveled or a convoy of tanks wiped out, the K-wings get the call.” You can see my rendition of the spaceship in panel one of today’s art…it has never been on screen in a film. In fact, its entire catalog of appearances is in one video game (Star Wars: Battlefront, as cut content) and five novels…three in the SAME trilogy.

Pretty obscure.

Later in the weekend, I played with it, and it far outshone the much more famous Falcon. The K-wing is a game changer, despite appearing only in lame novels. There are good Star Wars novels…I’m making a very important point there.

The K-wing was intended as a game changer, with the intent of bringing certain features back into the game. The expansion packs come with a whole lot of stuff, which I’ve never talked about before…lets look:

Everything that was in the deceptively small package.

Everything that was in the deceptively small package.

Whoa…! What does that all mean, to gamers and non gamers? Well… we’re looking at a bomber in the strangest sense of the word. It is a heavy “hit-and-run” kind of bomber with heavy armor plating and “surprising acceleration”, normally not found on bombers. It’s set up to carry a huge payload. In total, the K-wing has 9 hit points, of which 4 are shields. For a small ship, that an impressive amount of hit points, which aren’t evenly matched by the workhorse of the rebel fleet: the Y-wing. Other than that, the K–wing comes standard with a 360 degree turret and a single agility point. So we know that the shields are there because it is pretty bad at dodging.

All the K-wings come with 3 different actions: Focus, Lock-on and the new SLAM action. SLAM stands for Sub Light Acceleration Motor and gives the designated ship a fast sort of Boost. In game terms after an executed maneuver, you may perform this action to perform a SECOND move with the same speed. That’s a pretty big deal, and makes “on the fly” steering decisions very important. It’s not free though…after the SLAM, you assign a Weapons Disabled token to the ship…it cannot perform ANY form of attack. It also counts as a maneuver and you cannot perform SLAM as a free action.

You CAN drop a bomb during the SLAM, though.

To be clear…

That’s right – you can pretty much do what bombers have always needed to do: Move, BOMB and MOVE! You know…to get away from your own bomb. Which is smart.

Also, you get a card called Extra Munitions. This is HUGE. “When you equip this card, place 1 ordnance token on each equipped missile, torpedo or bomb upgrade cards. When you are instructed to discard an upgrade card, you may discard 1 ordnance token on that card instead.” Translation: it gives you two of each missile, torpedo, or bomb.

Awesome.

I love how that card reads EACH of your equiped cards. So a K-wing which brings a bomb, a missile and a torpedo will get 3 extra ordnance for a total of 6 expendable secondary weapons. Now THATS a bomber. I’d find myself surprised if the K-wing ever fires his Firepower 2 laser. I didn’t while playing it.

Hint? The “Ion Bomb” upgrade with the “extra munitions” card is a massive boon when played properly…which I managed to do.

All in all, the K-wing is a game changer. It makes torpedoes and bombs useful again, and is a serious ship in its own right. Serious enough to be the star when I ran it, pretty tricked out, with the Millennium Falcon. Don’t buy my review, because I’m not that great a gamer? I understand…check here at the Cardboard Dungeon.

23 point base.  That's how I roll.

23 point base. That’s how I roll.

Right? That guy said it was a game changer. I’m going to trust him, not me. He talks specifically about “huge changes to the game.” Also…watching that review a couple of times gave me a clue how to play the @#$% figure.

This is what you look for on the shelf...or on amazon.com.

This is what you look for on the shelf…or on amazon.com.

About the art…the protagonist is once again dressed like Lando Calrissian, but in this case, in his “Battle of Endor” uniform. It seemed appropriate, and I feel like we will keep seeing that particular suit again. It’s fun to draw, keeps with the themes, and during the interview process to get my current job, our hero dressed like Lando in “Empire.” The outfit just has too much going for it.

Once again…a post not about school at all. Not to worry…tomorrow, we talk specifically about a meeting!

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