Heroes of the Aturi Cluster – The Adventures of Brown Squadron

 

Magnet X-Wing Repaint Y-Wings TIE Fighter

If you play X-Wing and you haven’t checked out the Heroes of the Aturi Cluster campaign, you should.  It’s a cooperative way to play X-Wing with a scripted AI that functions very well, and heroic progression for your pilots across multiple games. It supports 2-6 Rebel players (or ships, if people fly more than one), and the Imperials fly along a well-crafted and easy to use script that varies depending on their range and the bearing to their target.  We have about 8-9 total players, who rotate in and out of the campaign based on availability, so I will provide a roster for each mission, along with any relevant secondary weapons so people can keep up with who is who.

Heroes of the Aturi Cluster components
Heroes of the Aturi Cluster printed components

How does it work?

Well, the players all have their own pilot cards, and can gain experience by damaging and destroying enemy ships, and by accomplishing mission objectives. Those experience points can then be used to buy upgrades, and then level up in Pilot Skill to unlock additional upgrades. The Imperial fighters base their movement choices on a random die roll, chosen based on the range to their target, and the bearing to the target, as seen below. Make no mistake, the Imperial ships in this game can be deadly, and the players will often be outnumbered, facing multiple waves. You can get the rules, templates and custom terrain at at DockingBay416.

X-wing pilot AI stat cards heroes of the aturi cluster
Examples of Imperial “AI” template and Player Ship Card

Brown Squadron kinda-sorta takes its name from the Superego Podcast, which amuses one of our players. I’ve only heard the excerpts from a couple of their Brown Squadron bits; kinda funny I guess. However, I had no better suggestion for a squadron name, and so here we are.

The Scrubs of the Aturi Cluster – Brown Squadron Roster

  • Y-Wing Brown 2 – Barry Porkins – Son of fallen Rebel pilot Jek Porkins – Twin Laser Turret
  • X-Wing Brown 3 – Eleven Numb – Younger sibling of Sullustan hero Ten Numb.
  • X- Wing Brown 4 – Lieutenant Hesh (will see you, in Hell) – The Veteran Sergeant – Veteran Imperial pilot turned Rebel.
  • X-Wing Brown 5 – “Koiogran” Crassus –  Daredevil young pilot known for his risky maneuvers and reckless flying.
  • X-Wing Brown 6 – Kuzon Panik – Speeder pilot who survived the Battle of Hoth.
  • Y-Wing Brown 7 – Unnamed Rookie Pilot – Ion Cannon Turret
  • Y-Wing Brown 8 – Unnamed Pilot – Twin Laser Turret
  • X-Wing Brown 9 – Unnamed Pilot
  • Y-Wing Brown 11 – Unnamed Rookie Pilot – Ion Cannon Turret
  • Y-Wing Brown 12 – Unnamed Rookie Pilot – Twin Laser Turret

All of my collection is magnetized, because, well, this is Leave No Model Unconverted. Not much you can do to modify X-Wing miniatures, especially if you’re like me and you like the way the classic Original Trilogy Star Wars ships look as is. I’ve done a little bit of painting, adding color to the astromech droids on my X and Y-Wings, and some squadron markings were added to them at some point, which is why you’ll notice that the ships change in appearance slightly over time. If you see ships that aren’t magnetized, they probably belong to one of the other players and we’d exhausted my collection of that specific type of ship.

X-Wing Miniatures Magnetized A-Wing Y-Wing TIE Interceptor TIE Avenger Shapeways
Some of my ship collection. The one on the right is a TIE Avenger from the original X-Wing PC games by Mel’s Miniatures on Shapeways. I’d buy an official one if Fantasy Flight would actually make one. We usually run it if the mission draws Elite Interceptors, Advanced, or Defenders since I like it.

 

Repainted X-Wing Minatures Heroes of the Aturi Cluster
Brown Six, Four and Five
Repaint Y-Wing X-Wing Miniatures Game Heroes of the Aturi Cluster
Brown Seven, Three and Eleven

And of course, the Villains of the Aturi Cluster

Star Wars TIE variants X-Wing Miniatures Game Avenger Bomber Interceptor Phantom
The villains of the Aturi Cluster

The Story Begins

With sentiments in the Aturi Cluster having steadily shifted to the cause of the Rebellion, an Imperial compliance task force was dispatched to crack down on any and all suspected Rebel activity. Realizing that their only chance to retain the support of the Aturians was to actively support their resistance to Imperial brutality, the Rebel command in the sector sent the pilots of Brown Squadron to join up with local resistance fighters and carry the fight to the Imperial forces before it was too late.

Brown Squadron was a hodge podge of pilots, some veterans of the Imperial Navy or other planetary defense forces, some were former pirates and merchant pilots, but it also contained several rookie pilots who were entering their first real action in a fighter squadron.  Rebel commanders had promised to deliver newer fighter craft and equipment to the Cluster, but for now, Brown Squadron would be flying in the old but trustworthy X-Wings and Y-Wings that the Rebellion had provided.

Flight Roster, Mission: Local Trouble

  • Y-Wing Brown 2 – Barry Porkins – Twin Laser Turret
  • X- Wing Brown 4 – Lieutenant Hesh (will see you, in Hell)
  • X-Wing Brown 6 – Kuzon Panik
  • Y-Wing Brown 8 – Unnamed Pilot – Twin Laser Turret
  • Y-Wing Brown 11 – Unnamed Rookie Pilot – Ion Cannon Turret

Their first action would come swiftly. Determined to draw Imperial scouts away from their hidden base, Brown Squadron engaged a patrol of TIE Fighters sweeping an asteroid field. With two rookies on his wing, Brown 6 and Brown 11, the former Imperial pilot Lieutenant Hesh, flying under the callsign Brown 4, led one flight, with the other flight consisting of the Y-Wings flown by Brown 8 and Barry Porkins in Brown 2. Attempting to split the TIE patrol into two groups, they plunged forward into the asteroid field, hoping to disrupt the Imperial formations.

 

Leading the rookies and hoping to help them gain confidence, Brown 4 swooped in on the lead TIE Fighter. While his shots had intended to line up the fighter to be finished off by his newer squadron-mates, his blasts caused a catastrophic explosion which consumed the fighter in a fiery explosion.
Brown 4 X-Wing destroys TIE FIghter miniatures game Heroes of the Aturi Cluster
Brown 4 draws first blood.
The fight was not going so well on the other side. Certainly caused by magnetic activity in a particularly ferrous asteroid, malfunctions in targeting control in their turrets plagued the the Y-Wings in the other flight. While they were unable to deal significant damage to the Imperial craft, the TIE fighters raked the two Rebel fighter-bombers with laser fire.

 

Brown 11 scored a direct hit with her ion cannon turret, temporarily disabling a TIE Fighter. Having been tutored under the aggressive mentorship of Rebel ace Rexus “Koiogran” Crassus, Brown 6 executed a loop in his X-Wing, plunging back down into the stricken craft, destroying it a a flurry of cannon fire.
Brown 6 Strikes
Brown 6 Strikes

Hearing the radio cries from the other flight, Brown 4 swung over towards the beleaguered Y-Wings, who were now fleeing (bravely) from the other flight of TIE Fighters. However, the ambushers were now the ambushed, as a flight of Interceptors streaked into the asteroid field, hot on the tail of Brown 11.

Pinched between two flights of Imperial craft, Brown 2 was struck by a fatal burst of fire from the pursuing TIE Fighters.
Brown 2 falls victim to the Imperials
Brown 2 falls victim to the Imperials
Brown 4’s shields were stripped and his craft heavily damaged by the onrushing Interceptors, forcing him to take evasive action, and execute a desperate loop to avoid being destroyed by the same ships which had just finished off Brown 2. The gamble paid off, just barely, and the TIE Fighter pilots overshot their target.

 

The two rookies were determined to finish off the last ship in their assigned flight of TIEs. Brown 6 executed yet another loop, but Brown 11 finished the fighter off with her lasers before Brown 6 could strike. The two rookies had celebrated their first kills.
Brown 11 finishes off a TIE Fighter
Brown 11 finishes off a TIE Fighter
With the Interceptors scattering the Rebel craft, and his only experienced wingman, Brown 2, already shot down, Hesh knew the fight had turned against them and survival was now the order of the day. But first he would try to save as much of Brown Squadron as possible. Despite the severe damage to his craft, he swung back into the battle, with Brown 6 falling back into formation on his wing.

 

Brown 8 was in trouble. The Interceptors had dialed in on his already-damaged Y-Wing, and he desperately tried to evade their fire even as he was pursued by the remaining TIE Fighters. Breaking free of the furball, Brown 11 prepared her ship to retreat.

 

Brown 4, accelerating into the furball, slipped in behind one of the TIE Fighters that had destroyed Brown 2. His targeting reticle flashed green, and Hesh stabbed the firing studs. Its engines ruptured and overloaded, TIE Fighter disintegrated in a flash of light.
X-Wing destroys TIE Fighter Miniatures Game Heroes of the Aturi Cluster
Brown 4 destroys another TIE Fighter as Brown 6 moves to assist Brown 8
Pushing onward, Brown 6 bravely split off and swept into the path of the Interceptors, trying to save Brown 8. But the stricken Y-Wing clipped an asteroid trying to evade fire, and was no more.
Y-Wing collides with asteroid while TIE Interceptor chases X-Wing Miniatures Game Heroes of the Aturi Cluster
Brown 8, desperately fleeing, cannot avoid the asteroid
Outgunned by the Interceptors, and knowing their advantage was gone, Brown 4 gave the signal to retreat. However, their mission had been a success. The Imperial craft had been drawn away from the base.
X-Wing Flees Table Edge Heroes of the Aturi Cluster
With the mission won, and discretion being the better part of valor, Brown 4 flees the area.
Y-Wing banking X-Wing Miniatures Game Heroes of the Aturi Cluster
Brown 11 circles around behind the remaining Imperials

 

Taking the long way back to their base. the pilots of Brown Squadron found that the first of the upgraded technology had arrived. The engines on Brown 4 and Brown 11 were upgraded, giving those ships some desperately needed extra speed to deal with the Imperial TIEs. Meanwhile, several new astromech units were included, a relief to several of the pilots who had been using older, beat up models.

 

The Veteran Sergeant’s After Action Report:

This is the introductory mission for Heroes of the Aturi Cluster. The Rebels merely had to survive for ten turns and would get bonus points if they could kill all of the Imperials. This mission is deceptively difficult, as all of the Rebel ships are essentially flying on 5 to 8 starting experience (depending on the ship), which leaves them little better than the Imperial craft, especially if they can’t afford one of the astromechs that help regenerate shields. Brown 11’s player also learned that there are no points merely for surviving, an actually good mechanic that forces the players to stay engaged if they want to get experience points.

 

Splitting up may or may not have been a good plan. It was sound in theory, with our two most experience pilots (in terms of games played) one on each side, and the two player new to X-Wing together. However, the Twin Laser Turret Y-Wings couldn’t handle so many Imperials that close in.

Having more players actually seems to increase the difficulty of the game.

 
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The Adventures of Brown Squadron in the Aturi Cluster Continue
Repainted X-Wings miniatures magnetized