The Very Basics 1: Dimensions of the Board, Range Ruler and Ships

Casual and competitive X-Wing are usually played on a square 3’ x 3’ game mat. The background pictures vary, from the stars in outer space to iconic places like the Death Star, Bespin, Hoth or Starkiller base – there are several official mats. Some prefer to play on other surfaces. But they all have one thing in common: they have an area of 91.44 cm x 91.44 cm.

That is useful information, right? It is! In fact, it is so basic that I decided to start this articles series with this very simple fact. Moreover, there are some other, way more important facts waiting to be found, and they are all based on this initial measurement.

Most importantly we need to figure out how long a ship is, how long a range ruler is, and which implications we should then make explicit based on these numbers.

The ship: A small base ship is 4 cm long and wide, a large base ship is double at 8 cm. The medium base is not perfectly inbetween but closer to 6.4 cm. The X-Wing community agreed at one point to call the length of one small ship “length 1” , short for “1 ship long”.

The range ruler has three range bands of equal length, each is 2.5 ships long, or 10 cm if we want to use better known units. The whole range ruler is accordingly 30 cm.

These three facts together allow us to derive the following, with the two crucial ones in bold:

  • The board is 9 ranges long plus 1.44 cm (0.36 ships)
  • The space between the deployment zones is 7 (+0.36 ships) ranges
  • The legal area for obstacles is 5 (+0.36 ships) ranges
  • That’s 22.5 (+0.36) ships, 17.5(+0.36) ships, and 12.5(+0.36) ships, respectively
  • Range 3 is 7.5 ships long
The width of a map is almost exactly 22.5 ship lengths

Some more obvious things we can see here: if you are at a distance of 8 ships, you cannot shoot each other. At a distance of 7.5 to 5 ships you are in range 3. The distance of 5 to 2.5 ship lengths puts you at range 2, and accordingly range 1 is length 2.5 to 0 – even though most ships cannot shoot each other when touching. And of course you should be out of range at exactly 7.5 plus a tiny fraction.

Now let us think through some situations. In my experience, most players deploy their ships at range one from the edge, so the front is 2.5 ships from the edge. In addition, we often see an obstacle at the 2×2 spot, the closest to the corner possible. I’ll go with that ship placement here.

This ship has 20 ships or 8 ranges to move forward. I will later go more into maneuvers, but I can spoil one bit: moving with a 5 straight moves the front edge of your ship by 6 because you have to add the ship. You can do three times a 5 straight for a total of 18 ships, and then a 1 straight on top of that before you flee the field.

The distance from deployment to the first obstacle at 2×2 is one range. So a 2 straight (moving 3) means you’ll overlap, while a 1 straight (moving 2) is safe. The size of the obstacle has to be considered if you want to pass it. Accordingly, a 1 or 4 straight might be safe, while 2 and 3 straight would overlap.

One of the most important tools that were realized early on and (to my knowledge) first shown publicly is the so called “Rule of 11” by Nick. If both ships deploy at their front edge and if they then move 11 lengths, they will be able to shoot each other at range 3.
In short:

  • moving 10 ships keeps you out of range
  • moving 11-12 ships will land you in range 3
  • moving 13-15 ships will land you in range 2
  • moving 16-17 ships will land you in range 1

That would be slightly different if it weren’t for these annoying 0.36 ship lengths I mentioned so frequently in the beginning, remember?  Without those, 10 ships would land you in range 3, and everything would be a bit easier to calculate.

In pictures:

What it looks like if two ships travelled distance X

Make sure to understand why I give these numbers in yellow. I’ll explain the 13 as example:

The A-Wing moves 5, so that’s 5 plus his own length of 1 to a total of 6. The Interceptor moves first 3 and then 2. But his own length needs to be added twice here! So he moves a total of 3+1+2+1 = 7. These 6+7 equal 13, and they will land nicely in range 2.

What about angles? The diagonal of the board has to be at around 32 ships or just below 13 ranges. That’s not extremely useful because of the way we deploy. There are some ways around that if you want to do the math. For example, you and your opponent both deployed at the border and moved 2 straight. So the y distance of 17.5 ships was reduced by 6, the x is around 20.5 ships. Hence you are now at roughly 24 ships distance, or 10 ranges. Both did a boost inwards? That removes 2 on the x and 3 on the y for a distance of 20. One thing is clear: I can’t possibly do that during a game. To give an easier example with a picture: two ships deploying at 45° with their front corner at the 1×1 range border need to move a total of 18 to get into range 3. That’s your “11” now, and accordingly 2 more, or a total of 20, lands you in range 2, while 5 more or total of 23 lands in range 1. I doubt that this information will ever be useful though!

The rule of the diagonal 18. I doubt that this is ever useful!

But one case where this might get useful is when you look at how far into the map the firearc reaches. Banking into the map and following it up by a 5-straight will cover a large part of the central field! But that is a topic for another time.

One thought on “The Very Basics 1: Dimensions of the Board, Range Ruler and Ships

  1. This was very nicely done. This includes some great info on how to approach the first few rounds for sure.


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