Quickie Update

So the short update on me: we’ve been running the X-wing RPG at my FLGS, and we’ve had a good time. We started out by escaping their base, and having a star destroyer show up alongside the Imperials. I made one out of cardboard. It’s 3 feet long and just sits on the edge of the board. We had some rules for making it fire and stuff, but it didn’t have hull values or anything just to let the players know to not even bother, just RUN. The game was chaos though, because there were just SO MANY ships on the table. Each player was controlling 2 ships (scenario specific rule, usually its just the one), and there were 8 players, so in order to have enough Imperials on the table to motivate the Rebels to escape there had to be… well, a lot. I ended up cutting out a bunch of steps from the scenario and just cutting to the conclusion because it was taking like 45 minutes to do a round. We also attacked a Scum space station in order to establish a new base, and ran into a nasty surprise among the asteroids leading up to it. Finally, the players defended a shipment of reinforcement ships for their squadron hangar, and only barely managed to survive. They had a YT-1300, a 2400, and a transport that they were supposed to protect and only managed to save the Transport, but it worked out because they unlocked B-wings as a reinforcement ship. We missed our last game due to me having to work, and our next one is scheduled for Canada day (our national holiday, so the store will be closed), so we’re either going to get another night that week or just wait AGAIN to play, which would suck.

I’ve missed a couple of previews from FFG about the new Wave 7 that I’d like to write about, so those will be coming out in quick succession, and we played a 4 player game ten days ago that I’d like to do a recap of, so stay tuned!

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Fixing the X-wing

The X-wing is far and away my favourite ship from the Star Wars saga, so it breaks my heart to see it unused in the meta. Discussions of how to “fix” the ship are rampant; one such post by reddit user Bozbacca on the x-wing subreddit inspired this post. I want to make clear right here at the top that I am sure that FFG will be releasing something to make the X-wing better. They’ve done a great job monitoring the meta, and have released two fixes for the Interceptor, one for the A-wing, one for the Y-wing, and soon, one for the TIE Advanced and some funky munitions fixes. So, I don’t doubt that we’ll see something to help the poor X out, especially considering it is the title ship of the game.

A quick recap on the problems with the X-wing: first and foremost, it is not very maneuverable. It tends to get eaten alive by Interceptors, Phantoms, E-wings, and in some cases even well-flown YTs of both varieties. It’s maneuver dial is lackluster, and has no way to consistently change its position after standard movement. Second, the X-wing lacks survivability. The B-wing and Y-wing simply trade off their agility values for huge hull and shield states; the TIEs and A-wings trade their health for extra agility which makes them harder to hit. X-wings are a middle of the road value on both. They have enough health that a total flub on the defense roll will rarely (but occasionally) result in death, but not enough defense dice to reliably mitigate any real damage. With 3 attack dice, the ship packs a punch, but no more than a B-wing or really almost any other ship in the game whose price point would be comparable. These other ships, however, bring additional strengths to the table that the X-wing simply lacks.

However, within the realm of the films and extending lore, we do not see the X-wing as some middling fighter of debatable value. Rather, it rocks! It’s been the star of multiple video games, a ten novel series, and even bears the title of a fantastic miniatures game. Just looking at the 1996 Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels, from the 1 page description, one can already tell that this is a space superiority fighter that does it job with style. The X-wings 4 laser cannons, which can be set to fire single, double, or quad-linked, and 2 torpedo tubes that can hold up to 3 torpedoes each (for a total of 6), suggest a fighter that is heavily armed. The text of the guide actually specifically says “The X-wing is known for its durability”, which is not something any X-wing pilot (of this game) would say! It is also apparently easy to fly, and requires the astromech droid to handle “many of the in-flight operations, such as damage control, astrogation jumps, and flight performance adjustment”. Then there is the one thing that we don’t have for X-wing that is so thematic players have been dreaming up ways to do it since the game’s inception: S-foils. It’s well established that the X-wing is able to close its wings to dramatically increase its speed (at least it was that way in the Rogue Squadron games). This also typically cancels the X-wing’s ability to attack, though I seem to remember some novels where the X fired its guns with the wings in the closed position. This boosts the X-wing’s ability to move across the battlefield dramatically.

With that said, I’m going to propose 5 different ways to fix or boost the X-wing. They’re probably not all viable, and I do not think that all 5 should be implemented (because that would be too much), but I think all 5 bear some consideration.

https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/7b/X-wing.jpg

All wings report in.

Quickly, I think the easiest fix for the X-wing would be to knock a point off its cost. I would only pull the point off the two generic versions, the Rookie and the Red, not the named pilots. This would make the PS2 version only 20 points, so players could field 5 X-wings at a time if they were willing to take them naked. This would give the X-wings a fair bit of a “swarm” mentality, where it’s a smaller swarm with far fewer tricks than the Headhunters, but is composed of significantly more effective ships. It would allow players to field a 4X list but save a couple points off the low end pilots, allowing more upgrades to be purchased. I think it would have a positive effect on the meta’s use of the ship, while still maintaining its established and playtested drawbacks (because nothing should be too strong).

https://i1.wp.com/img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20090319165201/starwars/images/f/ff/X-wing_SWGTCG.jpg

Pew Pew!

Heavy Weapons: The X-wing is supposed to be heavily armed. Four laser cannons is nothing to be scoffed at. I have a couple ideas of how one might simulate the changing of the fire-linking, but I don’t think any are particularly good. Perhaps allowing the ship to make two attacks at 2 dice each (single fire, quick fire), the current attack (dual linked), or doing a heavy quad-linked attack that would hit with 4 or 5 dice but would miss next round’s combat phase due to the recharge on the lasers. What concerns me more is the torpedoes. Protons have been around literally since the start of this game, and ever since then, players have been leaving them aside. They just aren’t viable. If I could do them over, I would make the basic Proton Torpedoes have the same attack value and ability (questionable whether they should spend the TL to attack), but make it range 3 only, and don’t discard the card. Having the option to turn the X-wing into a sniper would be very cool. I suspect the cost would have to stay the same, since you’re effectively turning it into a cannon, but still. Or don’t give it unlimited uses, but then make the torpedoes much cheaper, like probably a 2 point cost. This fix would be pretty difficult to implement, since it would require potentially a new game mechanic (for the lasers), or would require reprinting a whole set of cards, which would need to be playtested across the other ships that can take them. Actually that’s more possible, but would still be a fair bit of work.

Astromechs: Considering the X-wing basically couldn’t fly without a droid, I find it weird how much we see them without anything in this slot. The current droids we see are largely highly specific, lackluster, or both, and all are expensive. I think the X-wing should come with a droid ability already included, and that droid can be “upgraded”. K, look, there are currently 3 generic droids for the X-wing: the R2 (1s and 2s all green), the R5 (flip a Ship crit), and the R7 (target lock on attacker lets you force them to reroll dice). What I’d really like to see is something where anything that has, say, the R5 prefix has the generic R5 ability. So R5-D8, you who never gets used because you’re 3 points and cost an action and have to roll a dice to potentially heal damage, you now also have the ability to turn a ship crit back down! Now granted, R5-D8 just has way too many costs associated, compared to something like R2-D2, to ever make it worthwhile, but adding on the ability to flip a crit would actually make this into a reasonable healer droid. I would argue that R2-D2 is the best astromech droid (and actually the only one that would be problematic with this fix because suddenly you’d have so much green on your dial), but that the second best (named) droid is probably R7-T1 (action: target lock an enemy at range 1-2, and if you’re in their arc, you may immediately perform a free boost). The double-action droid, with no stress, and giving the ship the ability to reposition after moving? It’s the best thing ever! TOO BAD IT’S UNIQUE. Seriously, I’d pay 3 points to stick this puppy on every X and suddenly have them be really viable. I think short of just releasing a whole new set of droids that are going to be useful, this fix would probably be the easiest way to fix it (but R2-D2 would actually need his point cost raised). This could work via a new Title that gives each droid the prefix ability, and maybe the title itself costs -1 to bring down the costs across the board. Actually that could be abused, so make the Title only apply the point saving to the Astromech slot, the same way the new X1 title is applying only to the System/Sensor slot.

S-foils: The ability to open and close the S-foils is probably the most iconic bit of the X-wing. This is where many people are proposing the new SLAM action should be applied to the X-wing. I personally don’t like that idea only because of just how unnatural it will feel, since SLAM is a direct result of the type of engines on the K-wing. So, I feel that the S-foils should have a different flavour. Maybe it could be treated like the Cloak mechanic. In the RPG I’m getting ready to do, I’m allowing all the Rebel players to do something akin to this, where they disable their weapons for the round, add 1 to the speed of their maneuvers (add the 1 straight to the template), and regenerate a shield. Regenerating may be a bit much (or see below under Survivability), but the ability to “get a move on” would be pretty critical to the X-wing, I think. Maybe instead of doing the clunky “add 1 to the speed of your maneuver” that I’m doing, the ship should just be able to take a free Boost action every round that the wings are closed. The question would become whether they should be able to open their wings at the start of the Combat phase. I mean, obviously they aren’t going to be able to “decloak” with the 2 boosts and barrel rolls, but the ability needs to apply to their ability to reposition in an immediate sort of way, or it hasn’t done anything. Being able to jump across the board is great, but unless you can get a shot lined up (the current issue), it isn’t helping you. Then again, closing your wings into not-attack-position should cost you, so maybe you could still fire your weapons that round but your primary weapon value would be lowered by 1. That is, if this isn’t costing you your action. If it costs the action, then it’s just a flavoured Boost, and nothing else needs to happen, but if it’s something that can be done, say, when revealing the maneuver dial, then it needs to have an additional opportunity cost. A mechanic like this could be done either through a Title or through a Modification, but I don’t think it should happen through a Droid because that just doesn’t really make sense to me.

https://i2.wp.com/img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20070113184721/starwars/images/2/2f/Turbolaser1600.jpg

Can’t touch this DA NANANA. DA NA. DA NA.

Survivability: I think the best answer to the X-wing’s survivability issues is to give it a way to heal, naturally. I know, it sounds crazy, and it probably is crazy, but let’s think about it a bit. If one could, say, reroute power from the weapons (-1 primary weapon value) in order to regenerate a shield, then there would be an opportunity cost and would give the ship some survival in hot situations. Oh wait this is exactly the new K-wing’s PS8 pilot ability, so we likely won’t see that. But, the X-wing is supposed to be a ship with great durability. I think the two agility dice is probably the right choice; it’s far more nimble than a B-wing or Y-wing. I also don’t think it should have more health, because it shouldn’t be as sturdy as a Y-wing, though it seems to need something to make it more sturdy. This is why I think the ability to regenerate health is the best answer. Look, we widely acknowledge R2-D2 as the best droid, but we rarely put him on Biggs. Why? Because Biggs doesn’t survive long enough to make use of R2-D2’s ability. We all know that an X-wing can be really easily focused down in one turn, so giving them the ability to regenerate health doesn’t do much beyond making pot-shots kinda useless. Exactly how this would be applied, I’m not sure. Probably through a droid, since they are supposed to manage damage control and in-flight repairs. Maybe making it so it can only do the heal thing every 2 rounds. At any rate, I think this would go a long way towards making the X-wing more viable in that it would still have a lot of difficulty in a heavily focused engagement (keeping the B-wing strong), but allowing it to be more useful the longer it survives. Make it a marathoner, rather than a sprinter.

So those were my 5 ideas to improve the X-wing. I don’t think all 5 should be implemented, as that would be far too strong, but these are 5 ideas that may bring some flair back to using the X-wing. Let me know what you think in the comments below, or back wherever you found the link!

TIE Defender theory

In my most recent post, I wrote about using my list Fel’s Defenders to great effect in a tournament. Defenders are ships that don’t get a lot of love, so I thought I’d do some writing about the experience of using them and why I think they’re valuable ships.

https://i2.wp.com/www.xwingminiaturesgame.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/tumblr_mhnvrgEV4h1ra6jwno1_1280.jpgFirst off, let’s get the criticisms out in the open. The hard 1 and 2 turns are both red, so if you need to turn sharply, you’re collecting stress. Stress and these ships do not get along; their only green maneuvers are straight (but they are green from 2 right up to 5, so I got that going for me, which is nice). 30 points for a PS1 ship seems bonkers. Both the elite pilots have cool abilities, but they’re both super situational. Rexlar’s ability, though a lot of fun, would actually be better on a lower PS ship since you want to be shooting after the shields have already been stripped. Besides that, Rexlar needs something to give him a dice modifier, so that he can keep his focus for his ability, and this means putting more points into an already expensive ship. And really, the white 4-k is nice, but people can predict that pretty hard (I refer to it lovingly as “The Defender Special” because it’s so popular). Frankly, for 1 point more, you can turn your PS3 Defender into a PS3 Bounty hunter with 4 more total health and a rear firing arc, at the cost of one agility. The same argument could be made for the elite versions and flipping them into the elite Firesprays. The Defender seems to be a ship caught in point-limbo.

So all that being said, the Defender is a solid ship and I don’t think it should be in point-limbo. I’m personally a fan of the naked 32 point PS3 Onyx Squadron Pilot.

There are a couple things to remember about flying Defenders, and I do mean in terms of maneuvering: It is a jouster. It is a jouster, it is a jouster. You can NOT fly a Defender like you would an Interceptor, or even a TIE fighter. Standard TIEs are quite maneuverable and can do just fine in a furball, despite that we tend to think of them as jousters (which they are very well when massed). But frankly, that didn’t slow me down at the tournament. If you need to change angles, you need to stick to banking (soft turns), or go right up and do the hard 3. Actually, if you need to do a hard 1 or 2, chances are pretty good that you could accomplish the same thing with the 4-k, or a 1 bank and barrel roll. The 4-k is still your best friend when flying the Defender. Yes, everyone knows it’s coming, and yes they will try to block it. So, don’t do it when they can block you, but abuse the crap out of it when they can’t. I played a game at league a month ago with this same list, and I ended up just k-turning over B-wings over and over again. They only got shots on me every 2-3 rounds because they would need to flip and then do a green before they could flip again. It can also work as sort of a fencing maneuver. I don’t mean with swords. If you have two enemy ships right in close with you, doing the 4-k can cause your opponent to try to get one of those ships out of the furball (especially something like an Interceptor or Phantom), which gives you at least one round’s reprieve, if not two. In that time you can focus on knocking out the other ship.

The Firespray really is the natural comparison point for the Defender in terms of cost. One reason why I really like the Defender is that you can actually fit a pair of them in beside Super Fel, but you couldn’t do that with Firesprays. That 1 point cost difference is actually a big deal, and gave me a 99 point initiative bid to boot. That doesn’t mean the Defender is a great addition to any list, but it’s something to bear in mind. Additionally, I’ve come to appreciate the white 4-k OVER the firespray’s rear arc. The truth is, I don’t like using the rear arc on the firespray. It sounds like it should be fantastic, and it does come in handy sometimes, but most of the time it isn’t that hard for enemies to get into the flank where you can’t shoot him anyway. If I’m shooting out the rear arc, my ship is pointed the wrong way and I’m going to have to either do a k-turn anyway (where the Defender’s advantage becomes immediately apparent), or do a couple hard turns, where again I’ll be exposing my big juicy flank. The other thing that I’ve found, and this is maybe a little weird and specific to certain people playing, is that people are far more likely to focus fire on a Firespray than they are on a Defender. A Firespray has 10 health, which is huge any way you cut it, and there’s kind of this common knowledge that you have to focus fire on the big guys early, because if you wait till the later game you may not have enough firepower to bring it down. Also, the Defender has 3 agility against the Firespray’s 2 agility, and in my experience shooting at something with 3 agility is kind of like “ugh, do I have to?” whereas shooting at something with only 2 agility is kind of no big deal. The again, I’m usually using ships with 3 attack dice, so that may be the difference for me. At any rate, I’ve found that when I use a firespray, people tend to focus on it because it’s big and is kind of obvious about needing to be grouped up on. Defenders have a similar amount of effective health, but tend to be more ignored.

In terms of actions, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a ship so happy to take Focus. Having 3 attack and 3 defense means that you’re happy to have the token for either, unlike in say an X-wing or TIE fighter, where you really want it for one or the other. I found I used barrel-roll very little, because I really wanted to make my dice count. It’s still there if you really need to dodge an arc or rock, or drop into range 1, but I didn’t find myself using it nearly as often as I would with, say, TIE fighters. Target Locks are there stock too, so Defenders become very useful if your opponent is fielding Carnor Jax or Palob the Token Thief.

Anyway, those are my ramblings about the Defender. I hope some of this was useful to you. I suspect we’ll see something for the Defender in a future release, since it is a drastically under-represented ship in the meta, but I don’t think it’s too shabby.

Tabletop Day!

I was able to get some gaming in yesterday for Tabletop Day. My FLGS hosted an event at a nearby church and I bet there was 100 people in there at one point all gaming, which was very cool to see. I ran into some people I hadn’t seen in a very long time, and they just so happened to have recently picked up a starter set for X-wing Minis and wanted to have a game to see if they were playing correctly and also just learn from someone who knew what they were doing (who, me?).

We found one other kid who wanted to learn, so we just played a 2v2 of 2 Academy Pilots and 2 Obsidians vs 2 Talas and 2 Bandits, which made for a pretty even fight. Except that the Imperials shredded the Rebels. I was in control of the Obsidians, so that may have had something to do with it and I was able to focus my fire every turn, but they had fun and are excited to play more.

After that one of the guys who regularly comes to the league nights showed up and we decided to have a proper 2v2 (the kid had wandered off). This time each of us took one newbie. I handed off my YT-3700 list to the guy playing Rebels (Leebo and Chewie with upgrades), and scrounged up 3 firesprays for the Imperial newb. I don’t own 3 firesprays, just 2, but really when was the last time I wanted to get 2 firesprays on the table? I’d left one at home because it doesn’t quite fit into my case (same with my second Falcon, which was also left at home), but one of the hosts had a pair that he was willing to share with us. I flew Fel’s Defenders (Soontir with Royal Guard, Autothrusters, Stealth Device, PTL, and 2 PS3 Defenders), and the other guy had Wedge, Keyan Farlander with PTL, and Horton Salm with the BTL title and an ion turret. Well, this game didn’t go too well for the Rebels either, seeing as we didn’t lose a single ship. Soontir didn’t even get shot at, neither of my Defenders lost all their shields. A couple firesprays did take a beating, but none went down, and we were able to focus fire well enough that we knocked out the small Aces pretty quick and then dropped Chewie a turn or two after that. We called it with just Leebo on the board.

I was hoping to give Armada a try (I haven’t picked any of it up but dang I’d like to), but I didn’t get the chance. I needed some lunch and when I got back my friends were just getting into a game of Smallworld, which I love, so I played that till it was time to head home. Got exams this week, so the amount of time I spent there was likely irresponsible to begin with and I didn’t want to push it too far. But, there’s an Armada night at Game Knight this Wednesday, and at that point I’ll be down to just a takehome exam so I may well go to that! Most people who like x-wing seem to have an interest in Armada, so I’ll likely write about that here too.

And then we’re starting up the X-wing RPG on May 6, so I’m hard at work getting that all ready to go. I do want to get a bunch of gaming in between the end of this week when I finish exams, and the start of May when I’m starting my seasonal job, so hopefully there will be plenty of updates between now and then, but not till the end of the week!

X-wing FAQ 3.0 released

Edited for new FAQ link 29 March 2015

FFG released the updated FAQ for X-wing, which is good because there have been some rules that needed clarifying since S&V hit, but mostly the big thing is a couple of changes they made. I’m not going to include any pictures in this article, since you can follow this link to view the whole FAQ yourself, so strap in for a big ol’ wall of my mouth thought words.

A link to the FAQ: https://images-cdn.fantasyflightgames.com/filer_public/9d/df/9ddf0774-9bbc-4eab-89bf-01a9c4ef7eca/x-wing-faq.pdf

The big thing that everyone is all a-flutter about is right there on page 1: Decloaking now takes place at the start of the activation phase. This is huge. For one thing (the little thing), Phantoms are now able to decloak while ioned. This may not seem like a big deal, but let me tell you, being able to stick a Phantom with an ion token and forcing it to be unable to fire the next round (since it wasn’t able to decloak) can be absolutely monstrous. It really cripples the ship. Now at least, they’ll still be able to fire the next round, like any other ship (provided they’re pointed in the right direction).

More importantly, this changes the whole dynamic of arc-dodging for the named Phantoms, Echo and Whisper.  Whereas before you would decloak when it came time to reveal your maneuver dial, and so do that pretty late in the activation phase (especially with Veteran Instincts equipped), now it happens before any other ship on the board has moved. Low-PS Phantoms aren’t affected as badly; their decloak wasn’t that distant from the start of the activation anyway. The grownups may be more concerned though, for a couple reasons: it’s actually possible to block a phantom now. Once the decloak has happened, you’re back to a reasonably normal guessing pattern at where the ship is going to move. Using a barrel roll or a boost to block that now isn’t rocket science, but previously it was more like witchcraft. The other reason why it’s big is because it severely limits the phantom’s ability to arc-dodge. It can still barrel-roll, sure, but I’ve always felt that the Phantom wanted its action for a focus or target lock, in order to get the most out of the attack. Phantoms are all about opportunity attacks. Anyway, it is perfectly feasible to fire without any modifiers, but it really changes how the Phantoms will be played, I think.

I’m especially concerned for what this is going to do to Echo. Whisper is great, we all get that, and receiving a focus token after an attack that hits is a great ability that will always be great. But Echo, that ability is specifically about making the decloak more unpredictable. Not that it’s predictable now, but it’s a lot less frightening when you’re doing half the movement, then all the other ships, the the other half, you know? I haven’t tried it yet, so I may be totally wrong, but I feel like we may see a decrease in Echo and an uptick in Whisper from this change.

Phantoms have been meta-defining since their release. I said it a year ago when they were coming out, they were the ship I was most excited for because they stood to change the game the most. They did. Unfortunately, mostly what they did was cause turret lists to become insanely popular, to the degree that Interceptors became useless and totally replaced by Phantoms. I’m glad to see Autothrusters bringing the squints back into the fold of regular love, but I am concerned about how much of a drop we may see in phantom use. That being said, I loathe the turret-heavy meta. It was this rock-paper-scissors thing of swarms/turrets/phantoms, where the swarms (even Rebel warms with B-wings, not just TIE fighters), beat the turret ships like the Falcon, Decimator, and Outrider; the turrets beat the phantoms, and the phantoms beat the swarms. That’s not that fun to me. Then again, I flew a pair of turrets at the most recent tournament I attended, so maybe I’m a hypocrite. Possible. Regardless, I am excited at the prospect of having more lists be viable. Now we just need a buff to my beloved x-wings.

A couple other neat bits from the FAQ:

Accuracy Corrector can be used after the Blinded Pilot crit. Oooo. We already knew you could trigger Gunner and crew Vader off it, but this makes this upgrade a little more cool.

Oicunn got clarified that his ability activates after his maneuver has been completed, meaning he only triggers against the ship that he ends his movement touching. Probably the way I’ve been playing him already, but also probably an important distinction to make official.

I didn’t realize 3P0 could be used in conjunction with the Lando crew card, but it makes sense. I’m not a big fan of guessing on two dice, that’s a little bit too much of a gamble for me, but it’s cool to know it’s there. In that tournament where I had 3P0 on Chewie, I actually didn’t like being shot at range 3 because it meant having 2 dice and not having a clue what to guess with 3P0. Funny that you can make the gambling Lando card even more gambly though.

Calculation limits your focus token to flipping one eyeball into a crit; that focus token doesn’t flip any other eyeballs into hits. This makes sense, and again is probably how I would have read the card anyway, but an important thing to have a real ruling on.

Feedback Array doesn’t count as an attack, so it can be used while parked on an asteroid. That’s kind of a big deal, and makes for some interesting possibilities. I’ve seen some celebration of this around the various boards I frequent.

The clarification to the Dauntless title, that it gains the stress prior to the clear stress portion of the maneuver, is both a blessing and a curse. It means that doing a green maneuver and then hitting doesn’t leave you with a stress for your action, which is dandy, but it also means that if you start with a stress, do a green move, and then bump, you’re not able to take an action at all with that title. So, a little come, a little go, it’s one of those rules-lawyers things where you count the steps of the movement.

I’m quite intrigued by the Experimental Interface statement. You can trigger it at the same time as Push the Limit, which will give you two stresses in total (very bad), but you’ll be able to do 3 actions (very cool?). Not a ton of ships I can see this sort of thing being great on, but maybe if you were flying a Fat Han it could come in really handy to boost, evade, and focus? Or something. I don’t know. Like I said, it intrigues me, but I’m not totally sure where it would come into play.

The official ruling on losing an Aggressor with the IG-2000 title came in, with the immediate loss of the pilot ability for everyone else. This is what most people thought it would be.

We also got a ruling on whether crew Jan can turn just one of the focuses (foci?) from Recon Specialist into an Evade, leaving the other as a Focus. Yes. Yes she can. And so can you. But only if you pay the squad points of putting Jan in your ship.

Beyond that, I didn’t see anything else that surprised me. There were actually more things than I mentioned (though it may seem like I talked about it all), but I don’t feel like they merit anything in particular. So that’s all for that, I have a fair bit of schoolwork over the next two weeks and then I have exams, so there may not be anything for a couple weeks, but you better believe I’m going to be getting some x-wing in once exams are done, and that’ll mean more writing!

X-wing RPG-style Campaign

The thing that’s been bouncing around in my head for the last couple of weeks is the idea of an X-wing miniatures campaign, RPG style. This would involve player-named pilots who would level up and accumulate credits, which would be used to purchase new upgrades and ships. A reddit user named achapin has been posting updates of his group’s current campaign, and graciously posted the rules they have been working off for the rest of the world to see:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1gghnkI8KC9XszbSQqjXVXAM8ssXihDhsYKCNwitpcLc/edit?usp=sharing

I think this is a great idea. I suspect that if such a thing were to happen in my area that I would have to be the GM, but that’s ok. I’ve been batting around the idea of allowing multiple modifications on one ship, so you could really trick out your E-wing or whatever. In fact maybe even let players put multiple Hull Upgrades or something, but at a dramatically increased cost for each additional? I don’t know, but it’s a cool idea. I also like the idea of being able to purchase a wingman for yourself, so that eventually it’s not just you, but that your credits have to sustain both ships.

As far as missions go, I’ve been trying to think in the most basic terms, and at this point I’ve come up with Escort missions, Collection missions, and just plain ol’ Dogfights. Escorts would involve a ship or station that needs to be protected, and Collection would involve something relatively immobile that the players need to get near in order to pick up and then escape. I haven’t looked at the missions FFG includes with their ships yet, but that’s on the list for inspiration. I’ve saved all the extra little “mission” pieces, so I should have lots to play with, but I’m thinking I want to do something to make stationary gun emplacements, and quite possibly some ground targets like walkers and bunkers. Memories of Rogue Squadron, anyone?

Scum and Villainy Arrives!

First off, a couple apologies.

Firstly, I haven’t posted in MONTHS. I know this blog doesn’t have much of a following, but I’ve been busy with university and Christmas and everything; I’ve hardly played any x-wing in that time either. So there’s that.

Secondly, This post is a full week late, which is highly embarrassing. So yeah, sorry about that. Moving along.

I picked up the new ships from S&V last week Friday. I’m super pumped about this new faction and what it stands to bring to the table. I’m not sure I’m going to play with them a ton, since I’m a pretty loyal Rebel player, but I do from time to time like to try weird stuff out, so I’m sure it’ll happen more. Also, I supply all the ships for my friends that like to play (they always come here to play, none of them have any ships), so getting S&V was kind of necessary. I grabbed one copy of Most Wanted (the S&V starter pack, if you will), two Scyks (also known as the M3-A Interceptor; and how do you pronounce that? I’m going with “psyche”, it seems to the most sense grammatically), two StarVipers, and one Aggressor (IG-2000). I wanted to get a second one of those, but frankly, this was already $200 and I’m just not made of money. Actually I realized that if I got the numbers I was really after, I probably would have doubled my order. Which would have made my FLGS owner very happy, but my wallet (and my wife) very mad.

So after unpacking, my buddy James and I (who came with me to pick up the new ships) played a game. He loves his Decimator/Phantom builds , though he hasn’t really settled on something exact, so he went with that (oh yeah, I got the Decimator, Outrider, and the Rebel Transport for Christmas. Score!). I decided I wanted to try the new Scum out, but not really knowing what I was getting into, I went for something relatively conservative.

I rolled two PS2 Scyks with the Heavy title, and Mangler cannons; Torkil flying the HWK and an ion turret (he makes an enemy ship PS0 at the start of combat), and Guri in the StarViper. The x-wing squad builder tells me that’s only 94 points, so I’m thinking the rest were sunk into Guri, but I don’t remember. I’m very sure there were Autothrusters involved for her, but that still leaves 4 points unaccounted. Whatever. Anyway, it was a really good time. It felt a lot like a Rebel list, probably because of the way I’d built it, but it performed reasonably well. I lost Torkil the turn before I took out Chiraneau, and one of my Cartel Spacers was down to 1 hull, but I made it. As usual, it ended up with several of my ships chasing down James’ Echo, which just isn’t that much fun. But, I got him into sort of a corner, and was able to line up one of the Manglers on him to end the game. Biggest first impression: I love that Heavy Scyk title. The fact that it lets you choose how you outfit the ship is just so much fun to me. And the StarViper is pretty rad, I liked it a lot. Guri was cool because even though I was parked in range 1 of Chiraneau so I kept getting stressed by Mara Jade, her ability lets me take a focus when I’m at range 1 anyway so it all worked out. Definitely a cool ability.

I’m a big fan of the new Mangler cannon. You’ll hear some more about my burgeoning love affair tomorrow, but suffice to say that against James’ Decimator, with no dodge dice, the ability to turn a hit into a crit… beautiful. They piled up. My biggest sad about it is that its only 3 dice, so it’s not quite an HLC replacement, but the HLC is so expensive (almost double!) that it may replace it for me.

All in all, Scum is here to stay. I’m excited about the thematic possibilities for campaigns, in particular, but also just for the shenanigans that will surely happen.

Tomorrow I’ll post about my local store championship, which we played today. First tournament where Scum was legal! (at least for me)

Bikini Squadron Analysis

A couple months ago, The Metal Bikini ran a contest that involved submitting custom pilot cards. I had the privilege of going through those entries and pulling out the ones I thought were especially neat or potentially useable. It’s posted in four parts, but here’s the link to the first one if you’re interested in having a read of my thoughts on custom pilot cards.

http://www.themetalbikini.com/2014/09/bikini-squadron-analysis-by-tract-part-1.html

Squad Building Theory

Building a great squad doesn’t happen when you sit down at a table. In fact, the best squads tend to be the product of reflection, testing, and specialization. Every once in a while you’ll decide to do something silly and end up finding something awesome. One time, I decided that I wanted to run ships that all had the ability to heal (or something. I don’t really remember), and ended up taking an X-wing and two Y-wings, all with droids. I threw the ion turrets on the Y’s because I thought what the heck, let’s see what those are like. And that was the night that we discovered ion turrets are INCREDIBLE. However, most of the great lists don’t happen that way. Heck, that wasn’t even a great list, it was just a cool discovery.

You want to build a great list? Play a lot of games, and then think about them.

Typically when analyzing squads (or individual ships), you try to figure out what your ships do best and what they do worst. Some reasonable categories would be stuff like Damage Output, Survivability, and Maneuverability.

If you’re making a squad with high Damage Output, your goal is to put them down as fast as possible. That is, there’s somewhat of a glass-cannon mentality going on, in that you’re actively trying to kill them quickly, because if the fight goes long you won’t last. You’re likely going to want to be killing at least one enemy ship every turn. I fly my Skill Squadron on a regular basis (Wedge with Swarm Tactics and Hull Upgrade, Rookie, Rookie, Roark with Ion turret), and this is what I aim for. I’m usually able to take down at least one ship in the first round of shooting, and that’s before they’ve fired.

If you’re going for high Survivability, you’re going to be looking at ships that have a lot of health (like, 8+), or high-moderate health with high agility, like the Defender. The idea there is that you can take a beating and keep on putting out the damage. It’s the Leviathan vs Swarm mentality, that after 3 rounds of shooting you’ll have knocked out some of their power, while you’ll have lost none, though typically this is at the expense of some firepower. A great example of this list is 3 Bounty Hunters.

Maneuverability is about not ever having to roll defense dice. A-wings, E-wings, Interceptors and Phantoms live and die this way (maybe less so the E-wings but it does seem to be how they are played). The idea is that although your ship can’t take much damage, your opponent just won’t be able to hit you. Even having 3 agility isn’t usually enough to keep those red dice away, so what this focus ends up meaning is that you’re just never in their firing arcs. Soontir Fel is the poster boy for this.

Good squads can focus into one of these categories, or they can use multiple ships to fill multiple roles. Trouble comes for lists when ships are used for roles that they aren’t intended to play, and end up under-performing and hurting the whole squad. In my next post I’m going to work through the Rebel ships and how they fit into list building, and after that I’ll do the Imperial side.

First post

Hello world! I’m told that’s the first thing any new program is made to say.

This blog will be about X-wing miniatures. I plan to post every Wednesday, with some discussion of upcoming releases, speculation, or discussion of strategy. I also intend to post battle reports whenever I get to play, to keep some records and have something worth referencing. I am active on the subreddit for this game, and often read themetalbikini, which I cannot recommend highly enough, so you may see some references to either of those, or if I happen to post something especially good on the subreddit it may pop back up here for everyone to see!

I guess some background on me would be good. I’ve been playing X-wing for about a year now. I have at least one of everything that has been released except the Rebel Transport, which is out of stock in my area (cue heartbreak sound effect). I play fairly regularly, at least a couple games a month, so there shouldn’t be too much of a shortage of battle report posts. I have several friends who like to play, though only one has actually bought into the game, and I’m sure they’ll be making appearances here either as guest writers or at the very least as explosions on the table! Back to my history, I was able to participate in a local Assault at Imdaar Alpha tournament this spring, where I finished first after the swiss rounds, but lost in the final to finish second overall. My tournament squad there will be discussed in another post. So for now, I’ll leave this intro at that.