|Evacuation of Hoth
A Preview of the Rebel Transport Expansion Pack for X-Wing (TM)
|X-Wing | Published 21 March 2014|
In our earlier previews of the Rebel Transport Expansion Pack, we looked at the GR-75 transport miniature and how it maneuvers, as well as the new tactical options it presents with its new rules for “energy.” We also looked at the expansion’s new X-wing escort miniature with its variant paint scheme, some of the new upgrades that accompany it, and its four new unique pilots: Wes Janson, “Hobbie” Klivian, Tarn Mison, and fan-favorite Jek Porkins.
Today, developer Frank Brooks turns our attention toward three of the four new missions the Rebel Transport Expansion Pack brings to X-Wing, how they link to form the game’s first campaign, and how this campaign presents a uniquely rewarding experience. He also looks at how Rebel and Imperial players face different challenges as they confront the all-new prospect of flying and battling with or against huge ships in midst of the game’s high-intensity space battles.
A 360-degree view of the GR-75 medium transport miniature. (Click for a larger view.)
Frank Brooks on Evacuation of Hoth
The missions from the Rebel Transport Expansion Pack truly feel different from every other mission we have already released. The massive GR-75 transport miniature towers over the other ships on the field, and every mission is intensely focused around this ship and its fate. Although the GR-75 transport’s escorts are vital to the Rebellion’s success, the maneuvers and actions that the GR-75 performs truly drive how each mission unfolds. Whether the transport moves quickly at first to take advantage of early positioning, or whether it moves slowly to store up energy, the decisions the Rebel player makes with his GR-75 have a huge impact on how both the Rebels and Imperials need to adapt their strategies.
Another important change to the missions introduced in the Rebel Transport Expansion Pack is that they can be connected together into a campaign called Evacuation of Hoth. Though they can be played individually and each of them offers a compelling scenario, these missions can be woven together to follow the crew of a GR-75 medium transport and their escorts as they strive desperately to flee the surface of Hoth past some of the Imperial air support for the ground invasion, fly between Star Destroyers to break though the Imperial blockade, and then work its way through an asteroid field before making its jump to hyperspace.
In the first mission, the Rebel player must use the GR-75’s escort ships to gain air superiority and de-activate the space mines that prevent the Rebels from simply sprinting into space. The whole while, Imperial forces continue to harass the transport and its escorts. If the Imperials try to eliminate the escort craft and then focus on destroying the transport later, the GR-75 can use its various support abilities to make things difficult for them. On the other hand, if the Imperial forces focus on attacking the Transport first and fail to destroy it right away, they risk letting the Rebel escort ships gain control over the space mines, meaning the GR-75 can easily boost past the mines and fly off the board.
During the second mission, the Rebel starships must survive wave after wave of Imperial fighters that make their way from the blockading Star Destroyers to engage the Rebel forces. As the Rebels continue along their flight path, their battle with the Imperial ships is punctuated by shots from planetary ion cannons and nearby Star Destroyers raining down turbolaser and ion blasts.
If the GR-75 holds fast until the campaign’s finale, it must navigate an asteroid field in the heat of combat before it can make its jump to hyperspace. Meanwhile, its escorting wingmen will be giving all they’ve got in combat with more Imperial starfighters. It’s enough to induce a bout of claustrophobia as Imperial forces surround the transport and menacing asteroids force the helmsman of the GR-75 to restrict his movements. However, even though the GR-75 is surrounded from the start, it only needs to survive long enough for the navigator to enter the proper hyperspace coordinates and the ship can safely flee.
One of the highlights of this campaign is that offers entirely different challenges for the Rebel and Imperial players.
The Imperial player gains an immediate and constant numerical superiority, but his approach to the campaign is more rigid than the Rebel player’s. At the campaign’s outset, the Imperial player needs to plan out which ships will be used in which missions, and any named pilot or crew he uses in one mission cannot be used in another mission. For example, if Darth Vader is on a Lambda-class shuttle during the first mission, he cannot take off again during the second mission to hound the Rebel transport.
This lack of flexibility is meant to represent the way that Imperial command passes its directions to the fleet at the beginning of the battle, and if the Rebels win a mission, they benefit from the opportunity to look at the list of Imperials they will face in the next mission.
On the other hand, the Rebels don’t need to choose who is involved in which mission before the campaign begins, but they must choose a limited list of Rebel forces. This represents the limited number of ships available to the Rebellion during this dark and terrible time. Immediately before a mission, they choose which ships and upgrades they want to use, but they can only draw from the limited list they created at the start of the campaign. This flexibility is particularly helpful if they win a mission since they can choose which options are the best for them to defeat the known enemy threat.
However, if the Imperials win a mission, usually by severely damaging the GR-75, they can remove some valuable Rebel assets by striking off named pilots not used during the mission or by striking off specific upgrade cards. Not only that, but if a named Rebel pilot like Wes Janson is shot down during a mission, he cannot be used again for any of the later missions. Thus, as the campaign progresses, the list of Rebel options diminishes while the stakes get higher and higher.
The missions in the Rebel Transport Expansion Pack are unlike anything the game has seen before, especially when you play them together as a campaign, and we look forward to releasing more Epic missions in the future, as well as the rules for Epic Play battles!
Keep your eyes peeled, and start prepping for evacuation. The Rebel Transport Expansion Pack for X-Wing is on its way, along with more previews and news articles, including one in which the game’s developers address the unique role that huge ships play in X-Wing and Epic Play.
Head to your local retailer to pre-order your copy of the Rebel Transport Expansion Pack today!
X-Wing is a tactical ship-to-ship combat game in which players take control of powerful rebel X-wings and nimble Imperial TIE Fighters, facing them against each other in fast-paced space combat. Featuring stunningly detailed and painted miniatures, X-Wing recreates Star Wars’ exciting space battles. Select your crew, plan your maneuvers, and complete your mission!