Rule of 11 is one of the most important rules to know in X-wing. Every player uses it, from locals at casual night to world champions like Paul Heaver. It is so important because it is the first round or two of the match and can be the reason a person wins or loses. Controlling range of engagement is crucial in X-wing.
We learned in Basic Training that a small ship is a 1-straight template wide, and large ships are 2-straight wide. This is the basis of Rule of 11.
During the place forces step, when both players ships are directly opposite one another, the rule of 11 will come into play. Rule of 12 & 13 can also come into play, which we will discuss later on.
Both ships are placed as far away from board edge as possible (within range 1 as per the official rules).
Rule of 11 is simply this – there will be no combat until a total of 11 ship bases (or 1 straight templates) have been made from the combined movement of both ships.
This means, that if the TIE Fighter moves 3-straight, we add 3 (movement template) + 1 (ship base) = 4. The Awing moves 5 (template) + 1 (base) = 6. The total movement is 4 + 6 = 10 bases total. This does not meet the Rule of 11, so the ships will not be in combat range.
If the TIE Fighter did a 4-straight (4+1) that would be a combined movement of 5 along with the Awings combined movement of 6, for a total of 11 bases. The Rule of 11 has been met, and combat range has been achieved.
Why is this important? Some upgrades and abilities thrive at range 3 combat like Twin Laser Turrets and most ordnance like Homing Missiles and Plasma Torpedoes. Those ships carrying those upgrades would love to get range 3 attack in the first round. If the fastest their ship can move is a 4-straight + 1 base, then to guarantee they don’t get a shot, your ship has to do a 4-straight or slower.
The Rule of 11 can play out for a couple rounds. For instance, if the opponent did a 1-straight + 1 base for a total of 2 bases, and you did a 1 straight + 1 base for a total of 2 bases, there is only a total of 4 bases moved in that round. The next round, 7 bases must be met to engage in combat.
Your opponent knows your slowest movement is 1 + 1 (base) for 2 total bases. So to guarantee combat, he just needs to dial in a 4-straight + 1 (base) for a total of 5 bases. His 5 + your slowest of 2 = 7 bases. The Rule of 11 will be met.
Large ships follow the same formula, only instead of adding 1 base after the movement, you add 2 bases.
If a large ship does a 3-straight + 2 (bases) = 5 bases and an Awing doing a 5 straight + 1 (base) = 6, that means the Rule of 11 has been met where as a small ship would not have met Rule of 11 with a 3-straight.
If the opponent’s large ship’s fastest maneuver (without any boost or barrel roll) is a 4-straight, what is the fastest your small ship can move and NOT be in combat range.
4+2 = 6 and 3+1 = 4. Combined movement of 10.
Rule of 12 and 13
The Rule of 12 and 13 are the same as Rule of 11, but it depends on the starting positions of each ship. Instead of ships being placed farthest from the edge, they can be placed closest to the edge.
If one ship is placed closest to the edge, we follow the Rule of 12.
If both ships are placed closest to board edge we following Rule of 13.