PAX 2017 – Episode V

[[Continued from Yesterday]]

Jump back to the first post HERE.


It turned out that one of the biggest X-Wing tournaments of the year, part of FFG’s “System Open Series,” was taking place on PAX weekend in San Antonio…
But not at PAX.
I have no idea why this was the case.

And so I skipped the morning festivities at PAX and drove over to the Norris Conference Center instead to play some SERIOUSLY competitive X-Wing.

“Someone’s been drawing crop circles on Mustafar again. I want them alive. No disintegrations.”

This is about to get very specific and geeky, but I would like to keep all this for posterity.   So please feel free to SKIP AHEAD TO SUNDAY AFTERNOON if the minutiae of miniature spaceship combat isn’t your thing.  (And I wouldn’t blame you a bit if it isn’t.)

For the tournament, I decided to run two Contracted Scouts:

Affectionately known as “The Toilet Seat.”

Each with:
K4 Security Droid
Proton Torpedos
Extra Munitions
Guidance Chips

And two Banana Binyare Pirates:

I ran these guys nekkid.

My clever plan was to use the Pirates as sacrificial blockers to stop my opponent from getting actions, and allow the Jumpmasters to get off their Proton Torpedoes cleanly. And if for some reason my opponent ignored the Pirates, they each still had 3 attack dice to get some damage in.

Game 1

My first opponent was part of something called the 512 Squadron out of Austin?  I think they’re a podcasting group or something.  And these guys were serious.  There had to have been at least a dozen of them, all wearing the same t-shirts:

X-Wing iz srs biznss

He was running an internet stock list of:

Palpatine Shuttle
Colonel Vessery
Countess Ryad

And he proceeded to completely wreck my list with his green K-turning, triple-action economy Defenders.   Although he did roll very, very well.  I lost track of how many times he rolled 4 attack dice and scored all hits without having to spend any additional actions.  (I promise this isn’t just sour grapes; at one point even he admitted, “Wow…my dice are really hot.” )

Conversely, I wouldn’t have called my dice “cold” per se, but they were definitely tepid.

I did shoot his Shuttle off the board in the last couple rounds as a moral victory, keeping me from earning a 100-0 loss.

Final Score:  Loss 29-100


My second opponent was there with a pretty large playgroup as well, as he had quite a few friends come over mid-match.  (I am at a serious disadvantage without one of these…)

He was running:

Fenn Rau
N’dru Suhlak

This game started with the sad realization that the plastic peg on one of my Banana Pirates had broken.  So I had to run to the front desk and buy an entire Most Wanted box, just so I could get a new Z-95.

I only needed one of those little white ships, but they aren’t sold separately.

So we started the round about 5 or 10 minutes late.

And this game I flew beautifully.  My Pirates blocked Manaroo on every single turn of the game, denying her the ability to send focus tokens to my opponent’s entire squad.  He actually started to tilt a little because I was outflying him, and he kept colliding into my Z-95s over and over.
Sadly, my dice didn’t show up for this game either.  At one point, I had Fenn Rau dead to rights at range one with one hull.  My Jumpmaster hit him with all 3 shots and he said dejectedly, “so, I need to roll 3 evades on 3 dice or he’s gone…

He throws the dice…
And rolled 3 evades.
97% against, and he got the out.
Which meant his Fenn escaped and I had to refocus on his other ships.

I spent the rest of the time firing into his Manaroo, but couldn’t kill it before time was called.  On the very last round his Fenn got cheeky and pulled within range of one of my Jumpmasters and I dropped him with a rear shot.

He ended up taking out one of my Jumpmasters and one Z-95, so:

Final Score: Loss 30-31

Despite losing by one point (that never happens btw), I was much happier with this game than the first one.  I flew it just about as well as I could’ve, and that’s really the only part that’s entirely under my control.  The gods of random number generation, however, simply weren’t with me on Saturday.  But there’s no point in getting tilted over that.  It happens.

During this game my niece arrived, and I’d promised her a Saturday at PAX.  So I conceded fully to my opponent, since I was going to drop out anyway, and my “official” score became a Loss 0 – 100.  Putting me in dead last for the entire tournament.

Yes, it was not lost on me that I was due that comeuppance for that boast post last week.
Serves me right.

We drove over to PAX and spent the rest of the day walking around there.  She had a Pokemon tournament in the afternoon which precluded me from making my own Destiny tournament (although given how badly I was rolling earlier, perhaps this wasn’t a bad thing), and afterward we had some dinner and I drove her home.


I got up early and drove back for a second day of beatings play in the X-Wing tournament.

They were running a side event (called a “Hangar Bay”), where you bring two different squads and play with one each game, based on what your opponent is running.

My two lists were:

Mangler Cannon
Inspiring Recruit

Proton Torpedoes
Extra Munitions
K4 Security Droid
Unhinged Astromech
Guidance Chips
Punishing One Title


Engine Upgrade
Millennium Falcon Title

Tail Gunner
Alliance Overhaul

I’m pretty experienced with flying Bossk and Jumpmasters, but Dengar as a pilot was a first for me.  (And he was awesome.)  The second list I’d never flown before in my life, but it sounded like fun.


Flew the Bossk/Dengar list against:

Omega Leader
Colonel Vessery

Yes, another Defender.

This one was a VERY close game, and came down to the wire with Backdraft at 2 hull left vs. Bossk with 4.  He got a fantastic roll, scoring 4 hits (and then gave a strange little fist pump and a gloating, “HELL YEAH!  TAKE THAT!” to go with it), and I needed my one defense die to come up with an evade to hang on.
Game over.

Final Score: Loss 64-100


Went up against another one of those 512 Squadron guys, and you’ll never guess what he was running…

Palpatine Shuttle
The Inquisitor
Colonel Vessery

Vessery and a Shuttle again.  How novel.  (And if I never see another TIE Defender, it’ll be too soon…)

I chose Rey/Norra for this game, and it was never even close.

These two have no idea what’s coming…

His first salvo ate through ALL of the shields on the Falcon, and by the end of the fourth turn both Rey and Norra had 2 crits on them apiece.  (Rey received a damaged cockpit, which dropped her pilot skill down from 8 to 0.  Brutal.)
I did get his Inquisitor off the board, but Vessery proved too much to deal with and Rey went down.  Then I gambled with Norra by flying her over an asteroid in an attempt to surprise him.  Which totally worked…  Alas I rolled a hit when I did so, which meant that she surprised him…by crashing into a space rock and blowing herself up.

Game over.

Final Score: Loss 31-100

That’s right, I didn’t win a single game all weekend.

And I came away with the nagging realization that while I flew pretty well (Rey/Norra notwithstanding), I need a LOT more work on my firing, action prioritization, and remembering to use all my abilities/upgrades each turn.

I dropped after that round because I needed to get back to pick up Daphne and take her to PAX.


Okay, so I went back to Seguin at about 2:30, packed up all our stuff and then headed back into San Antonio with Daphne to take her to her third PAX.
I did have to interrupt her billiards game to do so.


A quick 30 minutes later and we were on our way in.

And I’ll tell you guys this.  She’s much heavier than she was last year…

But she seemed to have a great time looking around at everything.  At least she sounded like she was having a great time; I couldn’t actually see her.

The Expo Hall floor.

I’m a terrible father…

After about an hour of walking around, I figured Daphne needed some time to stretch her legs.  So we found a relatively quiet corner of the convention center, and I let her run around for a bit.

Then, on our way out, we stopped at our usual photo op.

“Who’s ‘scruffy lookin’?”

And then walked back to the car…

That’s the face of a man who has a 3-hour car ride with a toddler ahead of him.

And once again this man would be dead wrong in his assessments.   That little girl in his backpack was fantastically well-behaved for the trip to Houston.  She didn’t sleep at all, but she just sat in the back seat and sang the entire way home.

Which, for one Mr. BumbleDad, is infinitely better than listening to podcasts.

Okay, that’s enough I think.  See you tomorrow.


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