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!

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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!

League Night at Game Knight

Tonight was League Night at my FLGS. I decided to bring a list that I’d almost brought to the store championship and thought would be a lot of fun. After all, league nights aren’t about winning, right? They’re for trying out cool new things! At least, they are for me. I don’t get to go super often, so since I’m not in the running for any sort of prizes I’m happy to just screw around. So without further adieu, my list:

Soontir Fel (PS9), TIE Interceptor, Push The Limit (EPT), Royal Guard TIE (title), Autothrusters (modification), Stealth Device (modification)

Onyx Squadron Pilot (PS3), TIE Defender

Onyx Squadron Pilot (PS3), TIE Defender

Total is 99 points so I can grab initiative (or rather, make the opponent take it for Soontir’s dodginess). I only got to play two games tonight, and though they went very differently, I must say I was quite pleased with this list.

First off, Defenders are beasts. I love them. Sure, they don’t do great on the turning game. But stack them up against jousters… they hold their own. Granted, I had some pretty hot dice in the first game, but still it went very well. The white k-turn is awesome, and although you can’t do a whole lot of turning (both 1 and 2 turns are red), you can bank into the engagement and then take the white k to stay in it. I also really enjoyed having the 5 straight, which was a blast just jumping into range 1 like that.

I was a little surprised by the amount of Scum I saw on the tables tonight. There were 7 of us there (one guy was there checking it out, he used another guy’s ships and played against him), and there was 1 Imperial player (myself), and 1 Rebel player. The rest of the field was Scum. I think more people than just me think of league nights as learning nights, because this was definitely NOT the case at the store championship a couple weeks ago, and doesn’t seem to have been the case at any since.

My first game was against Mike, who was the lonely Rebel. I felt like our lists were actually quite similar, though on different ends. He was flying a pair of Blue B-wings (PS2), both with ion cannons, and one with the E2 upgrade and a Tactician. A stress and an ion token in one attack? No thank you sir. He also had Corran Horn in his E-wing, sporting Advanced Proton Torpedoes, Marksmanship, and a Fire Control System. That FCS is a sweet upgrade. So like I said, it felt fairly similar with 2 jousters and 1 fairly dodgy ship. Corran is no Soontir, but they’re similar enough that I enjoyed it.

This game was one giant exercise in him not guessing correctly about where I was going. I lit up his B-wing on the first round of shooting without taking any damage in return (or maybe 1 shield or something dumb), leaving it with something like 2 hull. It was actually crazy, I rolled 3 dodges on the first attack, 2 on the second (which was enough), and I think 2 or 3 on the third. It was obscene. The next turn he did his 2-k, thinking I would fly past him with the defender, or fly around with Soontir who was coming in from the flank. I did 2 straights with Soontir and a Defender, and a 2 bank with the other and just wiped it off the table, not that it had a shot that round anyway.

He really misjudged where I was going and the B-wing paid the price

He really misjudged where I was going and the B-wing paid the price

The next round saw both Defenders do white k-turns, and then Corran ran into one. Lucky for him it wasn’t the one he had a target lock on, and he still had arc. I was able to put some long distance shots into the B-wing, and some close ones into Corran that left him at 1 hull. He was able to get one of my Defenders off the table on the next round, but the round after that I put Soontir right in the pack and unloaded into poor Corran. My Defender then beat into the side of that B-wing, and they both went down on the same turn. It was a grand display for Fel’s Defenders first showing.

The second game didn’t go so well. In my defense, I got totally abandoned by my dice. Cam was flying for the Scum, with a pair of Cartel Spacer Scyks (PS2) with the title and Mangler cannons, and two Hired Gun Y-wings (PS4) with the Warthog loadout, as he called it: Unhinged astromech, Ion turret, BTL-A4 title, and Engine Upgrade. The game started out well with my Defenders meeting his two Warthogs in the asteroids and his two Cartel Spacers trying to come in behind but getting flanked by Soontir. The first round of shooting, Soontir knocked one Spacer down to 1 hull. Next round all of Cam’s ships did k-turns, which was ok because my Defenders shot forward and were ready to pound into the sides of the Spacers. Or at least, they would have if we hadn’t remembered at the last moment that one of my Defenders had been ionized. So, one did, and the other got caught with two Y-wings behind him, pointed into his exhaust. Soontir knocked out the first Spacer, and the two Defenders managed to knock out the other one that same turn, so neither ship actually ever got to fire a shot.

When things were going well for me

When things were going well for me

However, the next round I tried to bring Soontir in, dodged arc on one y-wing but left himself in the other arc. He had a focus from his ability, but that was it, I’d used the actions on being positional. I was pretty sure I knew what the y-wings were going to do, since they were stressed, so after doing my obligatory ion move with the Defender, I tried to barrel roll out of arc. I was right in my guess, I did manage to dodge one of the arcs, but he boosted to get me back in. I think if I’d stayed in that spot and taken a focus instead, it could have gone a lot better for me. Anyway, back to Soontir for shooting. He did actually move after the y-wings and Defender, but that didn’t feel as good for telling the story. One of the y-wings was down to something like 4 hull, and I rolled 4 hits after spending my focus, but he managed to roll 1 dodge and so live to shoot down my poor Defender. Soontir got shot at range 2 by Cam’s other Warthog (a very neat loadout for the Y-wing, I must say), and blanked all four dice on the primary weapon attack and so took 2 hits, and then blanked all three dice (lost stealth) on the ion attack that followed! Un. Real. Suddenly I was down to a Defender (full health) against two Warthog Y-wings, one of which was at full health (or something close to it), and the other on the verge of death. I was able to take down the limping one, but that ion just got to me. He put me right on an asteroid, and I managed to not be ioned the next turn, but I had to fly across it anyway. I only took damage one time, but still. My dice didn’t cooperate when he fired before me, and my Defender was gone before it gone to shoot back. It was a good game and I’m not feeling like I need to rework the list, I think I just got unlucky with the dice and misjudged on the barrel roll. I am usually a Rebel player, so barrel rolls aren’t something I generally get to use very much and they do take some getting used to. I’m definitely interested in flying this again.

My biggest surprise was that Warthog loadout. I’ve been seeing people talking about it on the subreddit, and I hear people say the damage output is “amazing”. I don’t know if I would say that; it caps at 4 damage a round, which is no better than any 3-base attack ship. What’s really cool about it is the ability to do a reasonable amount of damage as well as land an ion token. That’s a big deal. Dealing 3 damage in a shot, it happens. But dealing 3 damage and an ion? Whoa, now we’re talking. He never had the opportunity to use the turret attack against a different target, but just knowing that was an option was also pretty cool.

It sounds like there’s a fair bit of interest in doing an RPG style campaign there. The idea of only controlling 1 ship and not thinking about point cost and squad composition is kind of baffling to some people, since it changes the whole dynamic of the game, but it seems that they’re still interested. I’ll keep the updates coming!

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?

GameKnight Games Store Championship – Thinking about Lists

Well color me annoyed. I wrote this post and yesterday’s AAR immediately following the actual tournament on Saturday, but it appears that WordPress either lost this post, or it only lets you schedule one, or I screwed up the scheduling, or something. At any rate, I’m having to redo this post the morning that I wanted it to go up, so bear with me if it’s less polished.

I said yesterday that I went to bed hoping that James would join me at the tournament. Well, I also went to bed planning to fly one list, and then talked myself out of it by 9am. Actually, when I left the house at 10:15, I took my entire collection with me (other than my Decimator and Huge ships, because I knew I wouldn’t use them). I was hoping to get a feel for what was being played and be able to choose a list accordingly. I wasn’t really able to do that anyway, but the biggest thing was choosing a list that I wasn’t really prepared to play with.

The list I had originally in mind was this: http://xwing-builder.co.uk/view/205541/blue-and-green

It’s a list that I had originally cooked up back in January when I went to a league night when I walked in and saw 4 tables going, and each table had at least one Falcon/Outrider/Decimator. I was all, heck no I ain’t playing that game! So I thought I’d go with the A-wings for their proton rockets and then dodginess, and the B-wings for… well, they’re b-wings, you don’t have to justify taking them. The thinking was I could peg off the big guys with the rockets and then be in a really good spot to take on the rest of the list. It actually worked really well in both games that night. I lost one A-wing before he could get his rockets off in the first game, but managed to slip the other one into range 1 on the LAST ROUND, touched off my rockets, and took down his Outrider for the win. The second game was against a Chewie/WSF combo, with the donut thing going on. I managed to do this:

Dash is about to have a bad day

Dash is about to have a bad day

All four of my ships got into range 1 of the WSF, so he had no shots at all. To make it worse, Chewie just landed on an asteroid. Between 2 proton rockets and 2 range 1 b-wings, that poor Outrider came off the board in one round. This list also did reasonably well against James’ Decimator/Phantom list, but I started to worry about how it would fare against someone who used a Phantom more often (no offense to James, he just doesn’t get to play that much), or against something like 4 b-wings. The truth is I probably would have been just fine, but I kind of concluded that this was a gimmick list. The low PS would probably have been a problem, but who knows? Anyway, I decided at the last minute that I wasn’t too sure about running this.

My next thought was to do something like this: http://xwing-builder.co.uk/view/205544/fels-defenders

Really, who doesn’t want to play Soontir Fel? Especially with those new Autothrusters, mmmmm. The stealth device should compound the problem for those few shots he is taking, and the Defender is sort of the Imperial answer to the B-wing. I think this actually would have been a really fun list, and I’d really like to give it a try sometime soon, but for whatever reason I decided not to go with it.

I also thought about revisiting Skill Squadron, that did so well for me at Imdaar Alpha last year. This is the original: http://xwing-builder.co.uk/view/77214/skill-squadron And this is what I tinkered it into in about 15 minutes: http://xwing-builder.co.uk/view/205548/skill-squadron-20

I dropped the Hull Upgrade off Wedge, because it’s just never come in handy, which is weird, but the truth. At first I was going to use the points to bump the rookies up to Blues, but then I realized that for Wedge’s Swarm Tactics he needs to stay within range 1 of a buddy, so leaving it an x-wing would probably facilitate that. I did turn one Rookie into a Blue, and then plopped basic R2 units on Wedge and the Rookie to try to give them some more options with the green maneuvers. It could probably get tinkered into something even more interesting, but I didn’t have the time, and I was concerned about how it would do against positional players like Phantoms, or the newly rejuvenated Soontir Fel.

Ultimately I ended up going with this list, which you may remember from yesterday’s post: http://xwing-builder.co.uk/view/205594/yt-3700

The truth is I’ve been wanting to fly a list like this (Falcon/Outrider) basically since I got my hands on an Outrider at Christmastime. I kept thinking about those scenes in Shadows of the Empire where you have the Falcon and the Outrider flying together, and how cool that would be to do in the game. So, I was probably biased to choose this list from the start. It was cool, don’t get me wrong, but I cooked this list up an hour and a half before playtime having NEVER used the Outrider, and only rarely used the Falcon. I’m more of a starfighter kind of guy, so given the option between a 4-ship Rebel list and anything with the Falcon, I usually pick the 4. I really did want to give this sort of thing a go though. This list bears some resemblance to the one I was flying against on Dash’s Bad Day, which probably should have been a clue, but I guess I figured I was doing it differently enough that I’d be ok.

Obviously, that wasn’t the case. Of my three games I only won one of them, and in my two losses I only managed to destroy a Headhunter. Now granted, my real killer in the third game against Mike’s Han and Headhunters was that I made a brutal pilot error onto a rock and dropped me in all his arcs, and I didn’t fly very well against Chris’ B-wings either, but I did notice some serious shortcomings of this list. The first thing I really noticed was that Chewie had a fantastic economy of actions. He’d get a focus for his attack, two evades, and have 3P0 giving him another guaranteed evade, which made him super tanky. Leebo, on the other hand, would get a focus and that’s it. I had his ability + Determination to help mitigate crits when they came in, but that wasn’t actually as good as I was hoping. I found that once I lost one of my ships, I would really notice the drop in offense and that Leebo had very few defensive options. Losing Chewie usually left Jan as dead weight.

So, after the tournament, I did some thinking about the list and came up with this: http://xwing-builder.co.uk/view/205554/yt-3700-12

Dropping the APL was an easy decision, since that was really just something to plug up those last 2 points. The biggest change was dropping the Recon Specialist and Jan Ors, which freed up 5 more points. I wasn’t sure about spending Leebo’s precious EPT slot on Determination, so I thought about dropping it for PTL, but pulled it off just to see. This gave me 8 points to play with. I ended up going with Experimental Interface in Leebo’s mod slot, and dropping Lando into the crew. Lando is a cool card that I’ve never actually used, but the idea of rolling dice to see what pieces you get is really cool. Frankly, I would be using Leebo’s first action as a Focus or TL anyway, and Lando would be there as a defensive option, so even if he blanks it wouldn’t be the end of the world, but the possibility of getting an evade or a defensive focus (or two!) just seems like a really great idea. So that left me with 2 points. My first thought was to put something like Lone Wolf on Leebo, which would have been a lot of fun, given the list some flexibility, and maybe even made up for it when Lando comes up blanks, but I just couldn’t leave that Leebo/Determination combo alone. For the last point I put Intelligence Agent on Chewie, which I’ve never considered to be a great card, but is probably a useful sink for that last point, considering the slot options I had available. I’m pretty excited to give this list a try.

Biggest drawbacks with the YT-3700 1.2 list is that it still has very limited green maneuvers for getting rid of stress. My ships will still be sitting ducks with easily predicted movement, meaning big trouble against something like 4 B-wings. I also really wish I could have found the points for Engine Upgrade on the Falcon, or Expert Handling, to give it some more arc-dodging ability. I guess I could drop off 3P0 and the Intelligence agent to have enough room for the Boost, but I don’t know if that’s worth it. Maybe. Certainly worth looking at. But, I definitely feel better about the ships’ viability once separated.

So, my biggest lesson was about flying a list that you’re not prepared to fly. I think there’s going to be a new rule about choosing the list a week in advance and getting in at least 3 games leading up to see how it does. James says I’m harsh.

University starts up again this week (thanks for the time off, Reading Week), but I’m hoping to be able to do some more writing about the new Scum stuff, so stay tuned!

GameKnight Games Store Championship – The Games

GameKnight Games, Winnipeg, MB is my friendly local gaming store. I went to bed the night before hoping that maybe, just maybe, James would want to come play in the tourney, but he’s got a cold so he wisely chose to stay home. After a bit of a process (though not enough; more on that tomorrow), I decided to fly this: http://xwing-builder.co.uk/view/205594/yt-3700

First match comes around, and I snagged the bye. It was actually kind of funny, because the tournament organizer didn’t realize he hadn’t received my squad form, and so I was the last one to hand it to him. Then he was all, well I can’t give him the bye because he just handed his form in last, so he shuffled them up, and mine came out at the bye anyway. I’m not sure if that was a good thing or not; my showing was rather poor, so the bye gave me a free win, but it did mean I had to spend an hour standing around and watching other games. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t terrible, but I wasn’t there to watch. So anyway, the second match comes up and I’m facing Jeff and his double decimators:

Jeff's decimators list. Also known as Vader and The Chicks.

So this turned out to be quite an interesting game, despite it being 2 large turret ships per side. Maneuvering actually came out to be pretty important, though it wasn’t about maneuvering for shots. Jeff was definitely into blocking. Here’s a picture of our first engagement:

BIG HUG!!

BIG HUG!!

Chewie JUST came up short of hitting, so we both got to take our actions. I laid some hurt into that middle Decimator, knocked off the shields and some hull too. The next round he just did a 1 bank, which turned him slightly. This frustrated me because I’d gone for my green 2 straight or something, so I didn’t clear him because he was turned. Anyway, that turn I got a crit on him with Leebo’s mangler that caused him to take damage if he collided. So, that was the end of his blocking shenanigans, for which I was grateful. A couple more rounds and he got Chewie off the board, and the next turn Leebo took out the Deci with Vader. The DeciVader, if you would. That was terrible. So then the last round his patrol leader, who was about 45 degrees facing away from the edge of the board but rather close to it, but pointed at me, tried to do a bank, hit Leebo (triggering damage from the Stunned Pilot card, triggering Anti-pursuit lasers, which also scored a hit, leaving him at just 2 hull), and then I did a 4 straight to clear him, focused, and fired my Mangler into his rear for his last couple hull. That was an intense match, and actually really fun. I did kind of feel like I won it on dumb luck though. Win, 100-52.

Third match was against Chris and his 4 b-wings. Dang, I took a picture for this section but it came out SUPER blurry. That’s what I get for taking pictures with a phone. And having shaky hands because this was my first tournament in 9 months… and maybe my 4th game of x-wing for the year. That’s not a lot of playtime, and probably part of why I didn’t do super well. Anyway, Chris started with his troops on the far right, and I started somewhat on the left. Chewie sort of went right up the middle, trying to get behind, but ended up getting caught by all 4 b-wings. I was stressed, half dead, and definitely going to stay in arc if I went for the green maneuver, so I went for the white 3 bank… and didn’t manage to clear. I didn’t hit anything, but I didn’t clear his arcs. Chewie went down in a big ball of fire, and with 4 b-wings it didn’t take long for Leebo to follow. I really realized in this game just how underpowered this build left Leebo. He was kind of nothing without Chewie. More on that tomorrow, for now, suffice to say that this round went 100-0, and not for me.

The fourth match I was against Mike, one of the judges, and all around a cool guy. He was flying a decked Han Solo, and 3 Tala Squadron Z-95s:

Chubby Han? Dash Rendar, Luke Skywalker, Engine Upgrade, Lone Wolf

Chubby Han? Dash Rendar, Luke Skywalker, Engine Upgrade, Lone Wolf

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His Han came off the stand because he was touching Chewie

His Han came off the stand because he was touching Chewie

So I got to this match and realized I should take more pictures. Then all of a sudden, I decided I shouldn’t take more pictures. Cuz this didn’t go well for me. Leebo took a hail of fire from those Headhunters and Han while Han was touching Chewie, who was all tanked up with no one shooting at him. Then, a couple rounds later, I tried to arc-dodge with Leebo and ended up RIGHT on an asteroid, AND in the arc of ALL THREE headhunters. It was a colossally boneheaded move, and I hold that in that one wrong move I really lost the game. It was getting dark before that, but suddenly all the stars went out. After that it was Chewie against 3 headhunters and Han, who had taken like 1 hull damage, a crit that had taken away his pilot ability and EPT card, but still. I was actually a little hopeful about getting Han off the table, butthen time was called. I had just one round left, so I took it on one of the headhunters that had his shields gone, so that I wouldn’t leave in complete disgrace. He got the full win, but at least I wasn’t totally wiped like against Chris. What was interesting about this fight was that in both the others, Chewie had gone down first, and in this one he focused on Leebo. Interesting. Anyway, Loss, 48-13.

I had a lot of fun, and I’ve been doing lots of thinking about why this list didn’t work well. I did manage to place in the top 8 (out of like, 13), so I did manage to get my hands on a sexy x-wing dice bag (not gonna lie, I was super lusty for that thing. It was like, half the reason I was there). Tomorrow I’m also going to talk about some of the other lists I was considering, and what I would do differently with this list given the option.

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

Battle with James Sept 10/14

So I finally got to play a game of x-wing a couple days ago. It’s honestly been like four weeks, which is terrible. My buddy James came over; we’ve been playing together since I first got into the game a little over a year ago. And let me tell you, James has never beaten me. Until the other night. It was like watching a butterfly come out of the cocoon. It was beautiful.

What really thrilled me about this game was it was the first time I’ve felt like James has played a list I was genuinely scared of. He often does stuff like double phantoms+, but never anything like a swarm with a flanker. I haven’t been able to get a ton of experience with the new wave 4 ships, so getting the E-wing and the Phantom on the table at the same time was a lot of fun.

He played Echo with ACD, Howlrunner, and four Academy pilots, for 100 even. He’d played this list once before against a friend of mine, which I reffed. Actually now that I think it about it, it’s been longer than four weeks since I’ve played. Four weeks ago was that game where I supervised. Yikes. ANYWAY. After that game, which James won, I’d told him he should seriously consider being a swarm player. He’s loved the phantoms since they came out, but hasn’t had great luck with them. As I said, he hadn’t won yet, but that night his Echo + swarm paid off.

I wanted to try something weird, so I played Wedge, Biggs, and Corran Horn with R2D2, Engine Upgrade, and PTL, for 100 even. I made a couple rookie mistakes, which did not help me one bit.

I won the initiative roll, and I took it since the only PS conflict was Howlrunner/Corran. I ran Wedge right into an AP, and Biggs landed just barely inside range 1 of two Academies. I took out Howlrunner, but just barely. Wedge rolled three blanks and a crit, which Howl was able to dodge, but Biggs pushed through with a hit and a crit, which was, naturally, a Direct Hit. Biggs still went down that turn. Next turn I knocked out an AP when I used Corran’s double tap, but the next turn I ran Corran into a TIE, and actually got pushed back through Wedge, and ended up in the arcs of the Phantom and all three TIEs, with no actions. He almost made it, but that last TIE knocked him out. Wedge was down to something like 2 health at that point and I’d only managed to do 1 damage to Echo, so I conceded.

Lesson 1: Don’t joust a swarm.

Lesson 2: Don’t joust a swarm.

Lesson 3: Pay attention to where they’re going to move. Had I done the 1 straight I was thinking about instead of the 3, Biggs would have been in range 2 and Wedge wouldn’t have collided during the initial meeting. That could have made for a very different game. I guess it also applies to losing Corran; that was really a single mistake that cost me that ship, and he moved in a way that I really wasn’t expecting (who knew TIE fighters had a green 2 bank? Everyone knows that? Oh. Well then).

I’m seriously considering running something like 2 Gold squadron with Ion Turrets and 2 Dagger squadron with Advanced Sensors next time. I think that would be quite fun, but no idea how it will work. I’m also thinking about Paul Heaver’s alternate Nationals list, which if I remember correctly was Biggs, Grey squadron with Ion turret, and two Blue’s with AS. I really like the concept of that list.

My FLGS is also starting up a new league on October 1, but I’m wondering real hard over whether I’ll be able to attend now that university is in full swing. If I do go, there will be more battle reports going up!

What to buy?

I see people asking this all the time. On message boards, at the stores, on the subreddit (which I frequent), people are constantly wondering what their next purchase should be. Here it is, for all to see:

BUY WHAT YOU WANT.

That’s honestly how simple it is. This is a game, not a job. You need to enjoy it. Now, I know it’s not that simple. We work on budgets and we want to play in tournaments and show off to our friends. Before I get right into it, I do recommend finding a friend who will get into the game with you. This game gets expensive fast (though I’m told it’s nothing compared to Warhammer or other miniatures games), and it would be awesome to be able to focus on the Rebels or the Imperials, rather than having to buy everything. This is often not the case (I supply my whole group with ships), but it would be great if you could find a buddy before you get in too deep. With that being said, here’s a couple thoughts, in order, of what you should buy.

1) Buy a core set.

This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many people think they don’t really need a core set to play. The core set is a) essential, and b) the best bang for your buck to expand your fleet. You NEED dice, movement templates, a range ruler, and a damage deck to play. Tokens do come with ships, but those four things you will not get from buying the expansions, and you need ’em. Also, small ships are ~$15/each and the core set comes with 3 of them, which makes $45. I usually see it advertized for $40. It’s just a better deal.

2) Buy what you want.

I know, this is where I started this article. But seriously. If you like A-wings, get an A-wing, and don’t let anyone tell you different. If you like the TIE interceptors, grab another one of those. If you see some ship that you’ve never heard of but you think it looks cool, grab that! It’s a game, have fun, experiment. If it was entirely up to me, this game would be almost 100% x-wings. I love that puppy. I’d be doing alternate paint schemes and weird pilot skills and alternate stats. THANKFULLY, it isn’t up to me, which is why we get Falcons and E-wings and TIE bombers, and a much better game. Get the ships you think are cool.

3) Get a second core set.

Having two range rulers is super handy. Having two sets of templates is super handy. Having two sets of dice, oh my goodness, is handy. With the TIE phantom having 4 attack dice and often 4 defense dice, three just really isn’t enough. I have three core sets, actually, so 9 of each die. I got my start when I bought a set from a friend, and then I bought myself another core, and then I bought another set off another friend, and ended up with a third. No regrets about that. I have two sets worth in my basement, and the third set stays in my tackle box for taking to the store. Also, it’s two more TIEs and another X. 4X is a bread-and-butter list, and the TIE swarm is a shark. It’ll never get old. To do either of those, you need some more ships, and the core set is a bargain for expanding those.

I would also recommend picking up the X-wing expansion and the TIE fighter expansion. They are different than the ones in the core set. Wedge Antilles is an amazing x-wing pilot who does not come in the core. Howlrunner is the PS8 TIE pilot that comes in the expansion (not the core), and is without a doubt the greatest force multiplier in the game, a real asset to the Imperial side.

4) Get one of everything.

Once you feel like you have all the ships you really want, I’d really encourage you to grab at least one of all the ships that you’re not that interested in. X-wing Miniatures is a strange game in that most people collect both factions (soon to be 3 factions), which is both a blessing (being able to show your friends the game easily), and a curse (ohh my wallet, it burns!). That being said, you will find cool stuff lurking in the ships you’re not interested in. If nothing else, they often have new upgrade cards you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. For example, most people would tell you the TIE Advanced is pretty useless, but if you don’t get it, you don’t get Squad Leader. Also Vader is super fun to play and don’t let anyone tell you different. I did this with the HWK-290. Zero interest in that ship. Thought it looked ugly and not terribly interesting. Picked it up, it ended up being part of many of my squads. I love the versatility of it. If you don’t do things you’re uncomfortable with, you’ll never learn anything new. Same goes for buying toys. Don’t forget to pick up the Aces packs as those release too, since they add new pilots and upgrades, but they will be different from the original expansion, so you’ll want both.

5) Pick up specific stuff to make lists.

Competition is kind of the crudest form of this game. I really feel that X-wing is at its best when it is in a basement with friends, messing around and having fun. At any rate, buying the ships to make the specific lists you want should be the last thing you do. I guess unless you’re really, really interested in something. For example, I saw the APLs and Ionzes list from the Metal Bikini (PLUG), and I went out immediately and bought a second hawk. Why? Because I wanted to try that list. Have I ever flown two hawks at once since then? Can’t think of a single time! But I did it to try something out, and I don’t regret that.

–The Eternal Question: “I only have $100 to get started”–

People seem to ask this a fair bit. Unfortunately, this answer is going to change over time as new ships release, but I can give a short answer.

BUY WHAT YOU-just kidding. Well, sort of. The core set is $40. That’s a given that you’ll need that. So, you have $60 left to play with. That’s 2 large ships, or 4 small ships, which actually is not a lot of wiggle room. You can grab a Falcon and a Slave I, which are both very fun ships, but that will eat your whole budget. If you’re wanting to do the smaller ships, I’d say grab the X-wing expansion, the A-wing expansion, the TIE interceptor expansion, and the TIE fighter expansion. This will NOT give you a balanced game. TIE fighters really only work in groups. If you wanted this to be balanced, you would probably need to add a fourth TIE fighter to the game. However, putting in these four ships will give you all the pilots for the essential two, and will allow you a taste on the maneuverability/positioning game with the A and the Squint.

Well, that’s all I have to say on the matter. There’s plenty of room to fiddle if you don’t want to stick with the plan I’ve given, but it’s what’s worked for me.