The cards from the Sabacc dealer landed in front of Bake Travnor with a clicking sound that reminded the grizzled pilot of whiskey knocking ice cubes together in a glass. Travnor finished the drink in front of him and caught the bartender’s eye for another. Not for nothing was the mercenary crew he led called Whiskey Squadron.
Travnor would wait for his next round to arrive before he looked at his cards. On the table before him were all the credits he’d earned on the latest successful mission flying for the Steamline Tavern. The weekly Sabacc game at the tavern in a space barge cruising through the Outer Rim was organized by Lew the Hutt, Steamline owner and Travnor’s boss.
If the turn of these new cards was friendly, the grey-bearded pilot would have enough credits to buy just about anything he pleased. But if he lost this hand he’d be in hock to Lew yet again, meaning his time as a pilot for hire in the Tavern Wars would continue to stretch on.
Do you fancy injecting even more chance into a game of X-Wing? Here’s a fun option for casual games.
Grab one standard, 52-card Poker deck and be sure to include the two Jokers. Before your X-Wing game shuffle the deck at the same time the players shuffle their damage decks. Play the game as usual, but each time a player’s ship reaches half points, draw the top card off the Poker deck. If the card drawn is an Ace of Clubs, an 8 of Clubs or an 8 of Spades, that ship receives another face down damage card. If the card drawn is the Ace of Spaces or one of the two Jokers, the ship is destroyed. If any other card is drawn nothing happens. Put drawn cards to the side of the main Poker deck during the game.
Now, why are the black Aces and 8s the unlucky cards along with the Jokers here? ‘Black Aces and 8s’ is the traditional ‘Dead Man’s hand.’ That is reportedly the hand ‘Wild Bill’ Hickok was holding when he was shot and killed during a card game in 1876 in Deadwood, South Dakota.
So grab a glass of your favorite tipple, put the plastic space ships on the table and try your luck at X-Wing Dead Man’s Hand!
The pilots of Whiskey Squadron could tell by the look on Bake Travnor’s grey stubbled face that their leader was not bringing good news along with the pitcher of Jawa beer he was carrying. The older pilot placed the grog in the middle of the table at the Steamline Tavern, a drinking establishment housed in a space barge cruising through the lawless Outer Rim of the galaxy.
“What is this swill?” asked Howe Hackett, one of the young pilots Travnor had recruited to help the Steamline side in the Tavern Wars, an ongoing dispute over supply shipments with a nearby rival space boozer. “Jawa beer may be fine on Tatooine, but isn’t their anything better behind the bar?”
Travnor’s dour expression didn’t change as he filled the squad’s glasses.
“Get used to it for now boys,” he said. “Lew says he’s short on funds. No fancy beer, and, more worryingly, no new astromechs, missiles or other toys until we successfully guard a few more supply runs from enemy attacks.”
Lew the Hutt was the joint’s owner, and all the pilots knew better than to bring their complaints to the angry green giant. Whiskey Squadron sipped their beers slowly, knowing the perils of mercenary life were now even more dangerous.
The young pilot placed the empty beer mug down on the bar at the Steamline Space tavern, his hand as shaky as if he held a malfunctioning light saber. Bake Travnor waved for another round for the kid, who had just finished his fourth glass of Thuris Stout.
“I’m telling you Bake, they came out of nowhere. Tie Fighters behind us and a big Tie Defender dead ahead. There was nothing we could do.”
Travnor had been debriefing the pilot, the only survivor of the ambush. The attack was the latest clash in the Tavern Wars, an ongoing fight between two rival owners of bars that operated from separate barges in the lawless Outer Rim. Travnor led Whiskey Squadron, the mercenaries who guarded shipments and waged battles on behalf of the owner of the Steamline. Travnor’s boss, Lew the Hutt, would not be pleased about this setback.
“I can’t believe Agry’s got ahold of a Defender. Those things are pricey,” Travnor said as he sipped his whiskey. “But what has me most worried is someone obviously tipped them off to our flight route.”
The older pilot scanned the dark bar, barely able to see to the end through the smoke from cigarettes and cigars that rose slowly to the ceiling. Someone had sold them out. And in a joint with more scoundrels than saints, finding the culprit wouldn’t be easy.
The juke box at Argy’s space tavern levitated about six feet above the floor as the patrons watched with wary amusement as Elmer, the joint’s owner, reached up with a screw driver and plyers in an attempt to fix the aging machine. Like most things at Argy’s the music box had seen better days. The barkeep grumbled and shouted as he worked, which made it seem like the juke box was playing a particularly angry spoken word album.
“Fang fighters. Lew the Hutt has gone and bought several Fang fighters,” Elmer sputtered.
Sarzo Lord, the Grey Jedi who was keeping the juke box aloft via the Force, sipped his beer and allowed his employer a few more rants and raves before he spoke.
“Fang fighters are tricky to fly,” said Lord, who Elmer employed to lead the Argy’s forces against his rival’s mercenary pilots in the ongoing Tavern Wars. “Besides Bake Travnor I’m not sure anybody else at the Steamline could handle one of those things.”
After a few more adjustments music again filled Argy’s and Lord gently set the machine back on the floor, where it crunched softly as it settled into the decades-old grime. Lord, who stood a full head taller than his boss and had cascading black hair that contrasted sharply with Elmer’s baldness, waited quietly for the instructions he knew were coming. Elmer placed his tools back into his rusting little box, then looked up at the young man whose features were partially obscured by a cloak that was darker than Bantha fur.
“Wrangle up our best pilots and find our most nimble ships that are still spaceworthy. Put those Jedi flying skills to use.”
Bring out your aces! In this two-player scenario each pilot has 150 points to spend on a list.
Smoke from the still smoldering T-65 X-Wing filled the docking bay adjacent to the Steamline Space Tavern, a large barge that cruised through Hook Nebula in the galaxy’s Outer Rim. The Steamline’s owner, Lew the Hutt, had come down to the docking area to marvel at the fact that the X-Wing’s pilot, Bake Travnor, had survived his latest Tavern Wars mission.
Travnor had exited the singed Snub-fighter and was clutching the Corellian Whiskey on the rocks he’d been handed by one of the docking bay’s mechanics, who kept several bottles on hand to accommodate Travnor and other pilots who usually insisted on the booze after returning from battling over alcohol shipments to The Steamline.
“I heard you were engaged with four Scyks. I thought for sure you’d be dead – and I wouldn’t have to pay you this time,” Lew said in a loud and threateningly jocular voice that scared everyone in the area except for Travnor, the leader of the Whiskey Squadron mercenaries who flew for the large brown and green Hut.
“It was a close call, but I’m back, more or less in one piece,” said Travnor, who pulled off his helmet to reveal hair as grey as his close-cropped beard. “I’ve told you Lew, the key to winning dogfights is to make them miss more than they hit.”
After some tinkering I came up with a new talent for my local group for casual X-Wing games – the eponymous Whiskey Squadron rules. A player may spend 1 point for this: Before each defense roll, a pilot may roll one defense die. If it comes up as an evade the players shall add one extra defense die to the subsequent defense roll. This talent can be used by both named and unnamed pilots in a list.
(We still have a few stickers laying around. If you want one email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get it in the mail).
The unmistakable odor of Forvish ale rose above a back table at Argy’s space tavern after several pitchers of the distinctive beverage were placed before the mercenary pilots gathered for a pre-mission briefing.
“Drink quickly boys,” said Sarzo Lord, the Grey Jedi employed by the owner of Argy’s to wage his battles during the Tavern Wars.
The young Jedi removed his brown hood, revealing his long, dark hair and spread out a large space map between the newly filled mugs.
“A transport filled with kegs of beer on a run to the Steamline Tavern has lost power. There are only a few Whiskey Squadron ships protecting it. We need to dispatch the escorts and capture that transport.”
Huge ships are coming back to X-Wing. In honor of their return try this scenario where instead of using Epic rules, play the game as usual but deploy any large vessel as a mega obstacle.
Smoke from cigarras hung low around one of the tables of the Steamline Space Tavern as another round of whiskey and beer was delivered to a group of pilots back from a successful mission.
Bake Travnor, Whiskey Squadron’s leader, took a sip from his glass. Travnor worked for the owner of the Steamline, Lew the Hutt. Lew was fighting over shipments of goods with the owner of a rival Outer Rim joint, a conflict known as the Tavern Wars. Travnor scratched his grey beard as he looked over the other pilots, mostly young smugglers he had recruited. They were loudly debating the relative merits of different ships.
“I’m telling you, I’d take an Interceptor over five Ties,” said a young human named Wiley, a pilot who had made a name for himself running contraband for the remnants of what had once been the Black Sun syndicate. “Ties are no match for Interceptors.”
Travnor finished his whiskey and motioned for another.
“Interceptors are fine, yes, but unless you know what you’re doing a Tie swarm will ruin your day faster than an angry Zilo Beast.”
The pilots leaned forward, as they knew from experience that Travnor was about to walk down space battle memory lane. He told the group about the old Shadow Wing, an elite squad of Interceptor pilots operating around the time of the Battle of Endor. He described how they were ambushed by a host of Tie Fighters loyal to a rogue Imperial commander and how Shadow Wing’s superior ships were no match for the onslaught of the standard Imperial battle craft.
Travnor smiled, mostly because his drink was being refilled.
A half-dozen pints of Andoan ale levitated inches above the long bar in a dimly lit space tavern, alternately amusing or frightening the regulars depending on their level of intoxication. “Sarzo, stop that,” said Elmer, who operated Argy’s from a space barge stationed just outside the Aturi Cluster. “If the young Jedi Master could come here please. I pay you for your piloting and fighting skills, not to amuse the regulars.” The glasses slowly lowered, then touched down gently on the wooden surface. Sarzo Lord, dressed in a dark brown, hooded robe, rose from his bar stool and walked over to the elderly proprietor.
“You’re crankier then Luke Skywalker was in his last years at the Jedi Praxeum,” Sarzo said.
The two humans faced each other, a study in contrasts. Sarzo Lord was 30, tall with long, black hair that touched his shoulders; Elmer was north of 70 and short. The remaining strands of grey hair on his head were sadder than most of his patrons.
“As one of the last graduates of that Jedi school you must’ve been a great disappointment to Skywalker. So many skills, yet your devotion to the bottle is as strong as your mastery of the Force.”
Sarzo laughed. “All the better for you, Elmer. What’s the next assignment?”
Elmer had hired Sarzo to be his ringer in the Tavern Wars, the ongoing conflict with a rival Outer Rim space tavern owner.
“Several enemy ships are making a delivery through the Hawkwind debris field, thinking we’d never go after them there. Take some pilots and stop them.”
Sarzo reflexively grasped the light saber at his side as he considered the mission.
“Out there you’re just as likely to be killed by a piece of space junk or an asteroid as you are by laser fire.”
Elmer cracked a toothy smile, something he rarely did.
Bake Travnor, the grey-bearded leader of Whiskey Squadron, couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
“A Jedi? Elmer has a Jedi working for him?”
Travnor’s boss, Lew the Hutt, nodded his huge brown and green head as he motioned for his employee’s drink to be refilled. Lew owned the Steamline Space Tavern, and the gastropod was fighting Elmer, the owner of Argy’s Tavern, over the delivery of booze and beer to their establishments. The Outer Rim Conflict was known as the Tavern Wars.
“More of a Dark Jedi,” Lew explained with an intimidating chuckle. “Sort of grey, really. He has a bit of a drinking problem, from what I hear. You’d probably like him.”
The Hutt had an assistant bring a local star sector map over to a table in his office at the Steamline, which operated out of a large space barge. “He’s human. His name is Sarzo Lord and I’ve got a tip that he’ll be leading several ships on a delivery of Kowakian Rum to Argy’s tomorrow.”
Travnor sipped his Corellian Whiskey, then placed the glass gently on the table. The veteran pilot had spent years flying missions for the Rebellion and New Republic. He knew what Lew was going to say before the words were spoken.
Battles, conflicts and strife rage throughout the lawless Outer Rim Territories, but none have been as fierce as The Tavern Wars. The owners of two space taverns are locked in combat over deliveries of beer and booze to their establishments, which sit just outside the Aturi Cluster. Lew the Hutt and Elmer, friendly once but now enemies, hire rogues, pirates and freelancing pilots from various factions – as well as the occasional drunken Jedi – to get shipments to their joints and sabotage their rival’s operations.
Welcome to X-Wing Tavern Wars, a fast-play system designed to test out builds and practice for tournaments – or just enable you to get more games in. X-Wing Tavern Wars is meant to be played quickly, either by two players or solo. Agonizing for 10 minutes over a maneuver doesn’t make sense when the round is up in less than an hour.
Each player has a maximum of 150 points (Second Edition) to spend on a list. Round time is 50 minutes, to be played on a standard 3′ by 3′ battle mat.
For a two-player skirmish each person picks a space tavern to represent, either Argy’s (Elmer) or The Steamline (Lew the Hutt). Argy’s players may use Force abilities if they wish, Steamline players cannot. Steamline players may use Whiskey Squadron special rules.
Each player selects two obstacles for standard play. Specific missions and scenarios may dictate different obstacle numbers and specific placement.