Heroes of the Aturi Cluster (Part II)

Heroes of the Aturi Cluster User Manual Cover
Heroes of the Aturi Cluster
Wow, I completely forgot about this. A long time ago (in a galaxy right here) I wrote a post about “Heroes of the Aturi Cluster” which is a fan-made campaign expansion for X-Wing Miniatures Game. I talked about my Y-Wing pilot “Rover” and the abilities he had by the end of the campaign. What I didn’t talk about was how the Imperial side worked, and I’ll address that now, as well as talk about the overview of how the campaign works.

Imperial AI
The Heroes campaign is designed so that you can play solo, with friends, and with or without a GM or Game Master. The Imperial forces almost always outnumber the Rebels, which means if there was an actual brain behind their movements they would almost certainly win. Instead the Imperials select targets and move based on AI or Artificial Intelligence cards. An Imperial TIE Fighter (or squad, at least initially) will select a target based on a set of rules. Once the target is selected the next step is to determine the movement. This is done by rolling a d6, determining the approach vector and range, and picking the resulting maneuver off of a chart. That’s it. Trust me, with as many as 20 TIE Interceptors on the board at one time, if you had to stop and think about the moves for each individual ship you would never get anything done! 😯

Here’s what the AI movement card looks like for a basic TIE Fighter. The movement selection is based on whether the closest target is in arc or not, and from there what vector the TIE Fighter would have to select to approach the target. There is a different move option based on whether the target is approaching or fleeing, and what the initial range is. Once the movement is selected and executed there is a flow chart that walks you through the ship action options (barrel roll, focus, evade).

TIE Fighter AI Card - Heroes of the Aturi Cluster
TIE Fighter AI Card – Heroes of the Aturi Cluster

It’s a very elegant solution and 95% of the time makes relatively intelligent moves. Every now and then you roll something completely crazy which serves to completely mess up the Rebel fleet plans…and I’m okay with that. 👿

Each different type of ship (TIE Fighter, TIE Advanced, Lambda Shuttle, etc.) has an AI card specifically designed for their typical moves, all based on the actual maneuver dials that come with the ships. There are plenty of fan-made cards for ships that were not included in the initial Heroes materials as well.

But that’s not all…what about elite ships? Ships with special pilot abilities? Heroes offers that too! TIE Fighters are most likely to be basic pilots, but more advanced ships like the TIE Advanced or TIE Interceptor can have special elite abilities. Here’s a sample of what one of those cards looks like.

TIE Interceptor Elite Card - Heroes of the Aturi Cluster
TIE Interceptor Elite Card – Heroes of the Aturi Cluster

When a TIE Interceptor ship (or squad) is encountered, there are six different elite cards to pick from. I may have picked one of my favorite ones to show here. 😉 In this case every TIE Interceptor in this squad has a Stealth Device. Combined with their native 3 evade dice this makes them extremely difficult to hit! But wait, there’s more! If the encounter rules call for an “elite” opponent, the Game Master will determine the average pilot skill of the Rebel forces and include every option on the card that is appropriate. Suppose the Rebels have an average pilot skill of only 3 because they are just starting out. The TIE Interceptors would have a pilot skill of 4 and both Autothrusters and Predator. If the average Rebel pilot skill was 4 or higher then the TIE Interceptors would be PS 6 and include not only Autothrusters and Predator but also Rexler Brath’s special pilot skill. By creating this mechanic the game grows with you. As you gain in levels, so do your opponents. It’s simple, and it’s brilliant. I love it.

How does all of this come together?

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