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Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game» Forums » Variants

Subject: HotAC: Secure Holonet Receiver Mission Strategies rss

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Dave Rathbun
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Our gaming group has tried this mission twice now. The first time we were incredibly unlucky in that the token identifying the "special" channel was the second-to-last to be drawn. At that point we were already well into the mission (turn 7 maybe?). Adding the additional Inspection Squad made life difficult, and there were so many ships on the board (five players) that movement became difficult because of the log jam in the middle. Ultimately we failed the mission because the HWK got shot down. In that mission it felt like there was more attempts made to shoot down TIE fighters than to identify and secure the channel.

Last night we started again. We had six players, and our average PS was over 4. That meant we got a random upgrade to the Beta Squad; don't you know it the last TIE fighter was replaced by a Shuttle. That meant our initial opponents were Alpha Squad (4 TIE fighters) and Beta Squad (3 TIE plus Shuttle) and of course the 9 components of the communications array.

This time our luck was better. We identified the "special" channel on the second attempt, by turn 2! However, that luck was mitigated by the fact that the Inspection Team arrived in turn 3. Also the game master (me) was rolling incredible green dice. By turn 4 when the Gamma Squad arrived (three TIE fighters plus a bonus TIE Interceptor due to our PS) we had killed a whopping two TIE fighters! Our highest rated pilot had four hits (two boom + two kaboom) on a TIE Interceptor. The Interceptor had a stealth device and was rolling four green dice... rolled four natural evades and didn't have to use a single token. That continued through the night.

We started at 6:30 and got kicked out of the store at 9:00. We had completed turn six. Given our lesson learned from the first attempt we had gone through and disabled 8 of the 9 communications components, so we had that going for us. But our HWK was way out of range of the originally identified "special" because we were trying to keep her safe. One of our X-Wings had been destroyed, and a second was sitting at one hull. There were two shuttles on the board, three Interceptors, and seven TIE fighters. The HWK with the slicer techs was sitting on one or two hull.

At this point we called the game due to being kicked out of the store, but it sure felt like we were going to fail once again.

Are there any strategy tips that folks can offer as to how to get through this? One challenge we have is that the game campaign has proven to be very popular at our store. We have now had our full components of six players for several weeks in a row. With six players on the board, the number of Imperial opponents is also increased. This mission setup grid has exactly one blank cell; every other cell is either a standard ship, or a potential replacement, or an upgrade. We've tried killing ships, and it took too long to identify the secure channel. We tried focusing on the communications array, and we weren't killing ships. I guess there has to be a middle ground.

For a "Round 1" mission, this one seems difficult!
 
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Chris Laudermilk
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I am certainly no expert (playing this mission was my second-ever game of X-Wing whistle ), but the strategy I proposed worked out for us. We had three players, which may be a big difference in our experience.

Anyway, what I came up with was set the X-Wings to primarily distract the TIE fighters--keep ourselves in their faces to draw them to us. Then let the HWK go off and find the channel mostly unmolested. Even with me rolling poorly, that worked out pretty well. I managed to pull one formation off into a corner chasing after me while the HWK went the opposite way. One player acted as wingman & tried to pick off TIEs chasing me, while the other first went up the middle to shoot up the main installation (eliminated one channel right off), then get the heat off the HWK from the second TIE squadron.

It felt touch and go, and the HWK found the target all the way at the far "buoy." It sucked that it took so long--I was all shot to bits, and the others were getting a little ragged--but it also managed to get the shuttle team entering the map as far away as possible. We lucked out on rolls, and the channel went down in a couple of turns, then everyone managed to jump out on the first try.

With a little less luck on some rolls we likely would have gone down in flames, but the overall strategy worked out great. Well, except that my son and I enjoyed it enough that we are now on this darn slippery slope with the game--my wallet is hurting.
 
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Dave Rathbun
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Thanks for your input! Sending the HWK off by itself didn't even enter our conversation. It's an interesting tactic, but when the "Inspection Squad" arrives they are focused on attacking the HWK. With the "Strike" AI, they will pursue and shoot the HWK and only shoot something else if they can't get to her. It seems risky to have the HWK isolated!

This mission definitely feels like it could be easier to manage with a smaller crew.
 
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Chris Laudermilk
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In our play we had one X-Wing shepherding the HWK, and were fortunate in that the inspection squad entered across the map, giving us a little breathing room. I do think the overall concept was sound: focus on getting the heat off the HWK so they can do their job. Killing TIEs is fun, and helps, but really the main goal of the fighters is keeping those guys flying in circles & distracted.
 
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Josh Derksen
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Secure Holonet Receiver is one of those missions that rewards your squadron for having the right tools for the job. In the past, we've played a 6-player squadron and completed the mission by turn 7 (with a mix of PS2-5 ships).

The mission is obviously a little more challenging if you draw the channel early and have to go around disabling everything else to make the chit draw easier.

Y-wings with Ion cannons are excellent support for the HWK in this mission, especially if they also have Ion Bombs or Engine Upgrade. You can have a very mobile force that sweeps across the board and disables the whole array while a couple ships engage the TIE formations. If your squad includes an A-wing (or an X-wing with Engine/Vectored Thrusters), those ships are ideal for kiting the TIEs.

Anyway, it's rare for me to see the inspection squad engaged and destroyed. Once the HWK has the channel, it can jump to hyperspace. After that, everybody else can also jump and complete the mission.
 
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Dave Rathbun
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We tried to get the right tools. During our mission briefing the squad carefully planned out who would have ion weapons, as they're clearly the best option for disabling the various components. Of course the mission HWK (the "Osprey" in our case) comes with an Ion turret. We also have a Y-Wing ("Slo Mo") with an Ion turret, and our own HWK ("Gutz") with yet another Ion turret.

Our pilot skills (if my memory is correct) were 6, 5, 5, 3, 3, 2 so our average was exactly four. Hmm, I just realized that the HWK NPC ship wasn't included in that calculation. Should it be? If it does, it would drop our average pilot skill down and reduce the weight of the Imperial squad.

As an aside, Josh, we are having so much fun running the campaign! Thank you for creating it and putting it out there for us to enjoy.
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Heath Verhovshek
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As an update to this thread, Boomerang II completed this mission on our first try, so I can confirm a few things:

1. We had only 3 players with PS 4, 4 and 7, so none of the Imperials had upgrades. This mission is definitely easier with fewer players.

2. We had 2 X-Wings and one Y-Wing. I took an Ion Torp in my X-Wing and our Y-Wing took and Ion turret. Between us and the HWK, we managed to hit all of the nodes/emplacements by turn 5. We didn't find it until the last node, but it still worked out because it meant we only needed 1 turn to scan.

3. I hadn't read this thread before we played, but we decided to send the HWK off by itself as well. We ran the players off in a fork pattern making sure we were the targets. The Y-Wing put it's turret to good use, making one TIE squad ineffective and the 2 X-Wings were able to rack up some kills and draw the other TIEs far off course. The HWK was able to trail behind in the middle and make a quick adjustment to hit the right node. By the time we discovered the correct node, he was a little out of position, but it only took 2 turns to get him over there.

I think the Y-Wing is invaluable. As it stands, our Y-Wing doesn't get a lot of kills, but he sets em up real nice to be knocked down. And the fact that he can keep flying at his objective, but still mess with the TIEs flight path behind him saved the day. If we had a 4th player, I would have loved to include a B-Wing in our group. I think it's payload could have helped us make short work of entire squads of TIEs. A couple Ion Torps together with Expertise would leave an entire squad almost dead in 2 turns, even if no one else could get a shot off.
 
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