The Die Is Cast


Another Sunday, another few rounds of X-Wing, another chance to yell at small polyhedral chunks of plastic.

Probably the best compliment I can give to Fantasy Flight Games’ Star Wars miniatures game is that even a game I lose is still a lot of fun.  The models look great and the rules really make the game feel appropriately Star Wars-y. But lurking behind it all are the dice, and they are fickle mistresses indeed.

See, you roll a certain number of dice to attack and a certain number of dice to defend.  Different symbols on the dice mean different things.  And, as I have become intimately familiar with, there are some sides that have no symbols at all.  These blank sides are there to remind you of your proper place in the universe, which is as hopeless extra in a cruel comedy in which everyone is laughing at you.

Oh, I got teased at first.  In our first game, I started off on fire, rolling hits on offense and evades on defense seemingly at will.  I should have known I was simply being set up, but I was flush with my success.

Then came the turn when one of my ships was attacked.  I had five dice to roll to avoid being hit.  Five!  How could the result be anything but my ship laughing at this feeble attempt to blast it out of space?  I shook my mighty handful of probability with all the confidence I could muster, and threw the dice with a haughty grin.  And watched in horror as all five dice came up blank.

I’d been shown my place.  I’d paid the price for my misplaced certainty.  My side went on to lose that game, and the next one as well, as the dice would tantalize me with the appearance of effectiveness, only to let me down when I needed them most.  The gods of chance had taken umbrage, and the cost was little plastic spaceships dying far too quickly.

I’ll be back again next Sunday, of course.  I’ll try to show the proper respect this time around.  But I’ll probably end up staring at blankness again.  The dice, they won’t forget.

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