A Lambda-class Shuttle mission

Elmer, the elderly human who owns and operates Argy’s Space Tavern just outside the Aturi Cluster, squinted his bloodshot eyes as he examined the bottle of Corellian Whiskey. The strands of white hair on the top of his head swayed like skinny, sad flags as he repeatedly checked the number of credits in the register against what was left in the bottle.

“You’ve been over pouring again,” Elmer said to the Bimm bartender who worked the dayshift. The Bimm’s floppy ears drooped toward the ground. “This stash of whiskey has to last us at least another week.”

A group of smugglers nearby laughed.

“Elmer, you could have enough whiskey to fill two Death Stars, you’d still make sure we paid for every extra shot,” said Alffik, a Zabrak smuggler who had placed his blaster next to his pint of beer.

Elmer eyed the Zabrak with annoyance. The space tavern owner knew the rogue was right but didn’t care. In a week’s time another massive shipment of whiskey and beer was due to arrive aboard a Lambda-class Shuttle. That would keep his patrons happy – and his bottom line fat – for a while. Just so long as the spirits and suds made it to Agry’s – with the Tavern Wars raging there was always a risk they could be intercepted or destroyed by ships sent by Elmer’s rival Lew the Hutt, owner of the Steamline.

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Mission: A K-Wing whiskey run

Bake Travnor, the grey-bearded leader of Whiskey Squadron, reluctantly reached inside his jacket pocket and pulled out his glasses. As soon as he put them on several smugglers at the Steamline Space Tavern chuckled.

“Laugh all you want,” Bake said as he motioned for a fresh drink – whiskey on the rocks. “If I’m going to get Lew the Hutt’s Whyren’s Reserve delivered here I’ve got to learn to fly a K-Wing.”

When Travnor’s refill arrived he resumed studying the flight manual for the assault starfighter. In his many years as a Rebel and New Republic pilot the fifty-something Travnor had flown X-Wings, A-Wings and Y-Wings but had always avoided the bulky K-Wing.

Now Lew, the Steamline owner, had secured 10 cases of Whyren’s, the rare Correllian Whiskey. He’d also rented a K-Wing that he’d charged Travnor with flying to deliver his expensive stash. Unfortunately for Travnor Lew had spent so much on the whiskey and starfighter rental he had no money to pay for any other vessels. Travnor would have to pick up the booze and make it back on his own, knowing full well that Lew’s rival in the Tavern Wars, Elmer the Argy’s space tavern owner, would be sending ships to shoot him down.

“Oh well,” Bake said as he finished his drink. “For Whyren’s, it’s worth the risk.”

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An X-Wing mission inspired by Wraith Squadron

(Updated squad point totals for Second Edition)

A half dozen pilots clustered at the far end of the bar at the Steamline Space Tavern waiting to hear more from Bake Travnor, the leader of Whiskey Squadron. Bake caught the eyes of Dans, the two-headed Troig bartender, and motioned for another round for the crew. A glass of Correllian Whiskey, on the rocks, was placed on the wood bar before Bake. He scratched his beard, which was as grey as a T-65 Snubfighter, then took a sip.

“What’s the best shot you ever saw Bake?” asked Morto Lesky, a young smuggler recently recruited by Bake to work for Lew the Hutt during the Tavern Wars. Bake, who flew missions for 25 years for the Rebellion and New Republic, appreciated that his reputation preceded him with the youngsters but knew that part of the reverence was simply because he was old. He downed the rest of his drink.

“I didn’t see this, it happened before I joined Wraith Squadron,” Bake said as the pilots leaned closer.

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Mission: Whisky Squadron flies into an ambush

The smugglers and other assorted riffraff at Argy’s space tavern gripped their drinks nervously. Elmer, the elderly human owner of the joint on the edge of the Aturi Cluster, was smiling. The Argy’s regulars were used to many things – surly service, bands that didn’t play in tune, clouds of cigarette smoke so thick that sometimes the bar itself was veiled behind choking fog – but a happy Elmer was not something they were prepared for.

Finally a particularly bold Abyssin, who was the first mate on a transport that ferried bar food to Argy’s, spoke.

“Good news Elmer?” the green, one-eyed creature asked.

Elmer, who was rail thin and hunched over, opened his bloodshot eyes nearly as wide as an Ion Cannon.

“I’ve laid a trap for Whiskey Squadron,” Elmer explained, chuckling in a way that reminded the Abyssin of the sounds a malfunctioning hyperdrive makes. “I’ll get the best of Lew the Hutt in the Tavern Wars yet.”

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Whiskey Squadron versus the YV-666

The lumbering space freighter grew ever larger as the two T-65 X-Wings sped toward it.

“It seems a shame to destroy that thing since it’s filled with beer,” said Arlo Durkan as he assessed the YV-666, which looked to him like an angry whale.

“Stay focused Whiskey Two,” said Bake Travnor. “If we blow that bucket out of space we’ll be drinking for free at the Steamline Tavern and Lew the Hutt will pay us handsomely.”

Bake was the leader of Whiskey Squadron, employed by Lew the Hutt to help wage the Tavern Wars. Lew owned the Steamline and his rival Elmer, owner of Argy’s space tavern, had a huge shipment of kegs aboard the YV-666. Whiskey Squadron was tasked with making sure it never made it to the thirsty Argy’s patrons.

“Roger that Whiskey One. But you know, most squadrons have 12 ships. We scrambled so fast it’s just you and me against this big ugly.”

Bake checked his sensors then cast a wary eye around their target.

“Stay on my wing Whiskey Two. We need to concentrate our fire. And be alert. I bet a bottle of Correllian whiskey this guy has a small fighter nearby flying escort.”

Mission Setup:

(Updated Squad Points for Second Edition)

Steamline (Whiskey Squadron rules*): 75 squad points. Must have two small ships.

Argy’s: 70 squad points. Must have 1 YV-666 and one small ship (Suggested list below**).

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X-Wing Whiskey Squadron is born

Bake Travnor sipped his Corellian whiskey on the rocks and surveyed the scene at the Steamline Space Tavern. Travnor, a former Rebel and New Republic pilot who had spent 25 years flying X-Wings, A-Wings and Y-Wings on missions across the galaxy, smiled as he noticed the several hundred other patrons at the Steamline were also enjoying the name brand booze. Bake had helped escort the freighter carrying the spirits to the Steamline, a remote watering hole just outside the Aturi Cluster.

“You humans do love Corellian whiskey,” Dans, the two-headed Troig bartender, said from his left head. “When we announced the shipment had docked I thought I would go deaf from all the cheering – and I have four ears.”

Bake laughed.

“Lew the Hutt wants to see you,” Dans said from his right head.

The veteran pilot finished his drink, setting it back down on the large, horseshoe-shaped wooden bar carefully. Why would the Steamline owner want to see him? His tab was paid and he didn’t think he’d done anything recently to offend Lew; people who upset Lew didn’t last long, especially now as the Tavern Wars raged.

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X-Wing solo mission: Blast the jammer

(Updated squad point totals for Second Edition)

Elmer, owner of Argy’s space tavern, has deployed a communications jammer that has disrupted all signals to the Steamline Tavern. The Steamline is owned by Elmer’s rival in the Tavern Wars, Lew the Hutt. Now the Steamline’s juke box won’t work and, most annoyingly for Lew, he can’t access information about the bar tabs owed by the many smugglers who frequent his joint. Lew has dispatched ships to destroy the jammer in the container near the space taverns. Pilots hired by Elmer will try to stop them.

Mission Setup:

Steamline (Solo player): 95 squad points. (Must have two ships).

Argy’s (AI): 135 squad points.  (Must have three ships.).

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The joys of simple X-Wing lists

Fresh off a shuttle that had stopped at the Steamline Space Tavern to refuel the Bith walked to the bar and sat down. Dans, the two-headed Troig bartender, asked the traveler what he was drinking.

“I’d like a Ramble Blaster, with a cucumber wedge instead of an olive,” the Bith said, wearing a black turtleneck and looking slightly out of place at the remote saloon outside the Aturi Cluster.

“A Ramble Blaster,” said Dans from his left head, annoyed and amused at the same time. “Where do you think you are? At some royal function. A Ramble Blaster is one shot of sloe gin from Coruscant aged in oaken barrels and a jigger of sweet vermouth from Mon Cala, shaken with six ounces of tonic.”

Several patrons at the long,  horseshoe-shaped wooden bar, mostly smugglers at varying levels of sobriety, laughed.

“What would you suggest?” the Bith asked meekly.

“Whiskey on the rocks,” Dans’ right head said as he reached for a bottle of cheap booze. “Since the Tavern Wars began everybody has had to make do with less.”

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Making do with less is one of the fun parts of running X-Wing missions with 50 or 75 points. A standard 100-point squad list is cool, too, obviously. But at times playing with myriad upgrades, astromechs and elite pilot skills gets cumbersome and confusing. When you’ve only got a few points to spend you have to pick your additions wisely. It also makes each round faster and more focused on the flying.

Below are three of our favorite 50-point lists, one for each faction:

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Band on the run – clear debris

Elmer has hired plutonium rock band Disaster Area to play at Argy’s but the route to the space tavern is blocked with debris. The Argy’s owner needs pilots to blast the debris into oblivion so the band’s spaceship can make it to the venue. The Disaster Area vessel is, of course, large, packed with amps, instruments and the band’s personal stash of spirits. Pilots hired by Lew the Hutt from the Steamline will be trying to destroy the Argy’s ships, just one of the hazards of bar ownership during the Tavern Wars.

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A bar bet: YT-1300 mission

“It’s only been done two times,” Elmer said to the smuggler as several drinkers tried subtly to get the space tavern owner’s attention. They needed refills, but knew better than to be too aggressive in asking for them; Elmer served patrons when he was ready. If they were in a hurry they could head down to the busier end of the massive wooden bar at Argy’s where the hired help quickly dispensed beer, booze and cigarettes.

“And both times by Han Solo, I know,” said the smuggler, a cocky young human who had told Elmer his name was Rico and that his YT-1300 was docked at the mini spaceport connected to the tavern. “I can do it. And when I succeed I want half your winnings and an open tab for life.”

Elmer grinned, something the wizened old man rarely did, especially since the Tavern Wars began. He arched his white eyebrows and said: “An open tab for a year – that’s what I’ll pay. That and half the winnings will make you a very rich and very drunk man. Agree to that and I’ll place the bet with the bookie. Lew the Hutt will be happy to take the other side – and to send ships to shoot you down.”

And with that the smuggler had agreed to try to complete the four-square run.

Elmer’s grin grew into a toothy smile.

“You can even pick any pilot in this place to be your wing man. If you both live, I’ll offer your partner a year of free drinks as well.”

Rico finished his beer and placed the mug back on the bar. He turned and saw a growing number of pilots slowly approaching him. Would one of them be brave – or foolish – enough to join him?

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