22 August 2016

Dice Hate Part I


Nic here -

It has been a decent amount of time since we have posted an article and I take full responsibility. The whole tenure process made me insanely busy during the last few months as I attempt to move up the academic ladder.

Anyways...we are back!

Recently, we had the opportunity to review some custom made dice from Nerd-X (our fellow friendly nerds that make awesome x-wing custom stuff from Germany).

They arrived about two weeks ago and we have been play testing the heck out of them!
Transparent Dice from Nerd-X

Not only are they pretty awesome looking, they have a bit of a different feel than the normal FFG dice. That could be because they don't have grimy sweat and tears on them from space battles lost or dirt from being flung onto the floor after rolling blanks. The edges are a bit more rounded than FFG dice,  they are pristine in clarity and without any internal flaws. I wish I had some of the championship transparent dice to compare to but alas I am not one of the 10 across the world that have them.

The white dice are superb and really stand out on the table with all the same qualities as the transparent dice (minus the whole transparency business). The painted symbols are pristine and stand out. I even tried to rub off one of the symbols with a blade and alas no wear and tear! Solid craftsmanship for sure!

Overall we have received tons of positive comments and interest from our local players regarding both sets of dice. In ever growing community of third-party X-Wing accessories, it can be difficult to find this high of quality work. In the end we have had fun playing with our nifty new sets of dice and it has helped some of us stand out (ehhhhhmmmm Jeb) when our flying was a bit on the lacking side.

After spending a few games playing with some folks and receiving some question from our readers, the overall question that was brought up was are the dice legal in tournament play.

In short, no.

However (there is always a however am I right??), it has sparked some interesting debates and thoughts. As such, being the saints that we are we sought out on a brave adventure to see what the X-Wing community thought about the use of non-approved FFG dice. Here are few comments from readers and internet folks who provided some interesting perspectives:

"As a TO I will never allow third party dice. The risk of controversy is to big.
As a player I would request that we use an official set of dice as well."

"The specific dice shown here also has the issue of breaking trademark. The symbols are a direct copy of FFGs which I think is very poor form by the seller/manefacturer"

"They looks great, but pretty sure FFG ruled against the use of third party dice in competitive play as well."

"I use mine at my local, everyone knows they're 3rd party with no complaints."

"My deal with the dice is that it's not allowed in the rules for all levels of play. If you read that and ignore it, what other rules are you willing to break?"

" I don't like them because they are clearly trying to mimic the official ones, so it's begging to have counterfeit dice being sold on third party sites."

"Dice are included in the start boxes and tokens with the ships. It's mostly irritating and confusing with all these 3rd party tokens. I don't think any non-FFG items should be allowed. No 3D printed ships, no proxy cards, no fake dice and no confusing tokens."

"No one is even mentioned the dice app that FFG has put out. According FFG it's a legal way to roll dice. My personal opinion, I would ban it form tournament play over aftermarket dice"

"I am 100% for this. As a tabletop RPG player for 20 years I have amassed a huge dice collection and I know these will be awesome and roll just the same as FFG's. Literally the only reason to not allow them is at a function where FFG could not allow third party merch. I plan to buy and use extensively."

"Aren't the symbols on the dice copywrited? Disney are usually quick on these kind of things..."

"People complaing about 3th dices is the same people who complain about iD. Booooooriiiinnnnng..." (This one was one of my favorites)

"We're all hardwired to see patterns and seek logical explanations, even when things are completely random"

" I think whether or not I allowed my opponent to use them in a tourney situation would depend on whether I knew my opponent."

"Do the dice roll the same results??"

Apparently, custom dice are rather controversial. The comments  and thoughts continue on and on and on and on. Yet it would seem the main themes that emerged were folks liked them but wouldn't allow them for fear of a potentially rigged dice and that FFG forbid them from play.

In case you were curious, here is the exact wording from FFG's most recent tournament regulations:

"Players must use only official Star Wars: X-Wing™ Miniatures Game components in tournament play, with the following exceptions for third-party components:
• Tokens other than obstacles and bombs 
• Range rulers that match the dimensions of an official range ruler or a particular section of an official range ruler
• Movement templates"

"If a player uses the Star Wars™ Dice App, the device with the app must be displayed in full view of both players at all times, and their opponent may request to share the app"

In true non-Frank like fashion (eh? eh?? joke anyone??) FFG rules against the use of them. As such I cannot see much room around that ruling.

So a few general thoughts about this from our perspective (again these are just our perspectives so don't get your panties in a bunch when you disagree with our comments):

(1) Third-party dice are not legal in tournament play but causal play is just fine. As a TO I have faced situations where third-party dice were used in tournament play as long as both players used the dice
(2) The use of hit, crit, eyeball, and evade symbols don't seem like copyright infringement to us (I am honestly not sure you can copyright that?)
(3) If you are not playing with folks you don't know ask before use or offer to share dice (remember sharing is caring)

Overall, third-party tokens, dice, and templates are really works of art (these Nerd-X dice are for sure) and I applaud people who make them and produce them. I for one have zero skill at art and I find it astounding what folks come up, so all you third-party artists keep up the good work and ignore the haters (haters gonna hate y'all).

The last thing I wanted to mention was a question thrown my direction after having some extreme luck with my new dice.

 "Do the dice roll the same results??"

This is a difficult to answer without some science, however, you are in luck as I happen to be one (a neuroscientist to be exact).

As such, in our follow up article we will approach the dice from scientific perspective to answer this burning question.

Hold onto your butts---this will be a fun ride y'all.

Until then stay frosty and please keep bickering and arguing about X-Wing stuff on social media and the like. In fact, feel free to argue with us if you have a different perspective.

05 August 2016

I'll Show You the Dark Side ( tenth Wave of X-Wing™ Starship Expansions )

I just want to say that I am Super, Super, Super Excited for this !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The new ships are Sabine's TIE Fighter (what the what, rebels get a tie fighter ),  Upsilon-class Shuttle (w00t Kylo Ren! ), and a quad jumper ( the scum players need something ;-) ).  With these new expansions, it looks like you can place affects on ships, which I think is really cool.  I'm sure more details will be release soon™.  You can read about the new ships here:


18 July 2016

Special Forces TIE Expansion Pack for X-Wing

I'm a little late to the party, but Special Forces TIE Expansion preview was released today by FFG.   What is different from the rebels release?   THERE A GENERIC PILOTS!  WOOOHOOO!  Actually,  I think the ability to shoot from both arcs (front and rear) in the same attack is pretty cool.  The dial is not awesome (the hard 1 turn is a red. Booo! ) but having 3 shield and 3 hull should allow it survive a bit better.  You can read the preview here ->


17 July 2016

The Art of the TIE Defender

Fellow Nerds and Nerdettes (wait do girls play X-Wing??) lend me your ears!

Nic here -

Since the release of Imperial Veterans, we all reached into the back of our closets, under our beds, and shifted through our X-Wing kits to find our TIE Defenders. When this ship was first released I squealed like a little school girl because I was finally able to play my favorite ship from TIE FIGHTER.

I ended up buying two originally and when they arrived I quickly stuck them on the table with a Heavy Laser Cannon and another with a Autoblaster. I raced across the board with my 5-green straight (eat your heart out Baron Von Fel!)and the first shots were fired against a Biggs walks the dog list! Two shields from Biggs gone already and I was on my way to freedom, or so I thought. I quickly decided to do the most amazing move made to man! The 4 white K-turn. The star shown brighter than ever before and I could almost see Biggs floating in space whiter than Casper the friendly ghost.

But then the B-Wings fired back and to my horror I lovely TIE Defenders began to melt.

Devastation...Horror...Shock...I quickly packed my things (while sniffing back tears of defeat) and tossed my TIE Defenders into the black hole that is the bottom of my X-Wing kit. They disappeared never to be seen again.

Until now!!!!!!

Anyways - I hope you liked my story but I had to set the scene. I know of few of you out in the netherspace have stories similar to mine. Now that Imperial Veterans is out, life seems to be a bit brighter again thanks to these two little cards.

Now that I have had the privilege to try these suckers out I can finally say that my favorite ship from the Expanded Universe (which has been shot to death by the Mouse) is back!

Here is the evolution of my tests lists to determine the efficacy of the TIE Defender:

List 1 - Target Locks for Days
Omega Leader - Comm Relay
Colonel Jendon - Emperor Palpatine, ST-321 Title
Colonel Vessery - Adaptability, Flechette Cannon, TIE/D, Twin Ion Engine Mk.II

Now this list was just pure fun at first! The target lock synergy was amazing, and I was able to double shot with target locks on both attacks to deal some nasty damage and a stress token to my opponent. However, I had a problem once again that the lack of an evade made my list pure offense. This is not a bad thing but when your green dice roll like mine, life gets a bit nasty when you have no tokens to spend for defense. The second problem with this list was that I had to stay within range one of the space cow (aka the shuttle). This was incredibly hard to do in order line up my shots accordingly. Alas, I barley walked away with the win against a nasty Dengar and Bossk build with Omega Leader limping around with one hull left. I had some adjustments to make and fast as our tournament was approaching.

List 2 - Tomax to the Max
Tomax Bren - Cool Hand, TIE Shuttle Title, Twin Ion Engine Mk.II, Tactician, Fleet Officer
Countess Ryad - Juke, TIE/x7, Twin Ion Engine Mk.II
Glaive Squadron Pilot - Juke, TIE/x7

Now I had the ultimate power of tokens! When I was range 1-2 of Tomax I was able to be assigned 1 focus token to each of my defenders while maintaining an evade token if I executed a 3, 4, or 5 speed maneuver. Tokens rained like the nectar of the gods from Tomax's rumbling Twin Ion Engines. It worked initially and then suddenly Tomax started to fall behind. I found myself out of position with Tomax while my defenders found themselves in opposite areas due to my opponent splitting his Dengar and Boba Fett. Then Glitterstim was popped and Boba Fett said "Screw you Tomax!" as he died a firey death. This game I did not win, however I did notice that Juke was doing a very nice job at making my opponent spend his focus tokens. Back to drawing board.

List 3 - Palp and his Defenders
Countess Ryad - Juke, TIE/x7, Twin Ion Engine Mk.II
Glaive Squadron Pilot - Juke, TIE/x7, Twin Ion Engine Mk.II
Omicron Group Pilot - Emperor Palpatine

This was it. The day had arrived for our tournament. At the last minute I rushed into the store to pick up the last TIE/fo on the shelf to rip out a Juke card and quickly throw it into my list. This list worked like a charm and I ended up losing a total of eight shields and three hull in 4 games total, and victory was mine (more details about match-ups to come later). The Countess of Blood was everywhere and extremely unpredictable. I even took out a Soontir Fel rather handily because of Ryad's ability to K-turn off of every straight maneuver. I was able to bump Fel with Ryad and my Glaive gave him the fiery finger of death. The synergy of Juke being able to strip my opponents focus token while simultaneously maintaining my own focus token was outstanding. On the last match of the day I flew my Ryad directly into the path of nasty a Bossk with Dengar and Zuckess crew (not on purpose my opponent just out flew me) and I was able to survive with only one shield stripped. Because of this list I believe I have joined the turtle token club.

Now this final list I will leave you with as I have yet to play it but I am curious to see if it works or not.

List 4 - Jukes on You!
Omega Ace - Juke, Comm Relay, Stealth Device
Countess Ryad - Juke, TIE/x7, Twin Ion Engine Mk.II
Glaive Squadron Pilot - Juke, TIE/x7, Twin Ion Engine Mk.II

The triple juke is in theory good, but now with the TIE Defenders I think it has the potential to be...wait for it...legendary. If you focus fire on one target and can hopefully strip them of their focus token with Omega Ace early on in the combat phase, you can Juke the heck out of them with Glaive and Ryad. This list also allows you to split your forces and make your opponent chase multiple targets, while allowing Ryad to fly circles around you. Now I haven't tried it yet, but I am very excited to give it a go and see if it works. My other thought is to have Omega Leader in the place of Omega Ace, but then you do not force your opponent to spend his Focus token.

At the end of it all, I have been having a blast with the new and improved TIE Defenders. I have not come up with many good double shot lists, however, I did get wrecked the other day by a double TIE Defender Tractor Beam Ruthlessness build. Any ideas on some great double shot builds folks?

As usual, fly causal (or not whatever floats your boat) and I will leave you with some lovely everything is better with Titanic Music video.


12 July 2016

The Rules have changed, The Rules have changed !!!

The X-Wing Tournament rules have been updated today (7-12-16).  The new rule information can be found here.

As I take a break from pokemon go and a super important project that I need to have finished by tomorrow at 9am, a quick peruse ( man! I am starting to sound like Nic and his Phd words) shows the following changes:

Leader Participation - The Nic stop TOing and Playing Rule ;-)
A leader may participate in a Relaxed tier tournament for which he or she is responsible only if
there is a second leader present. The second leader must be announced at the beginning of the
tournament and is responsible for all rulings for games in which the first leader is playing. If two
leaders play one another, the marshal is responsible for any rulings during the game.
During Formal and Premier tier tournaments, leaders cannot participate. Leaders for Formal
and Premier tournaments are expected to commit their full attention to organizing and
overseeing the event.

Sharing Components - I am not sharing my stuff ;-)
Before or during a tournament round, any player may request that a single range ruler, set of
maneuver templates, and/or set of dice be shared for the duration of the round. Any decisions are
subject to review by a marshal or a judge.
The marshal may mandate that players must share a single range ruler, set of maneuver
templates, and/or set of dice during a round.

Players may mark their asteroids, debris fields, and bomb tokens to indicate ownership,
but cannot otherwise alter them in any way.

Lost and Damaged Components - I can make special proxy cards now !!!! hehehehehehehe
If a player loses a component during a tournament, he or she has an opportunity to find a
replacement, if necessary. Any player that discovers they are missing an essential component at
the beginning of or during a round should notify a leader. The leader will give the player a short
time extension to their game in order to find a replacement. If the player cannot find a
replacement within that time, they must concede the game. If the player is unable to find a
replacement by the start of the next round, they should be removed from the tournament.
If an essential component becomes damaged during the course of a tournament, he or she has an
opportunity to find a replacement. If the player cannot find a replacement, the damaged
component is treated as lost unless it falls within one of the following categories.
• Damaged Card: The player keeps the original card near the rest of his or her squad and
uses a proxy card in its place for the remainder of the tournament. A leader will create the
proxy, including the card name, any information that is no longer legible or available on the
damaged card, the name of the leader who created it, and the date it was created.
• Damaged Ship Model or Connection: The model, in its damaged state, does not impede
the progress of play and abides by the rules under “Component Modifications” on page 7.
If the model does impede play, the player keeps the model near the rest of his or her squad
for the remainder of the tournament.
• Damaged Dice, Range Ruler, or Maneuver Template: The player keeps the original
component near the rest of his or her squad and requests to share his or her opponent’s
component for each remaining round of the tournament.

Legal Products  - Woot!  We can use the templates that we created in tournaments !!!!!!
Players must use only official Star Wars: X-Wing™ Miniatures Game components in tournament
play, with the following exceptions for third-party components:
• Tokens other than obstacles and bombs
• Range rulers that match the dimensions of an official range ruler or a particular section of
an official range ruler
• Movement templates that match the dimensions of official maneuver templates

Taking Notes and Outside Material - Weird but ok
Players cannot take notes or reference outside material or information during a tournament round.
However, players may reference official rule documents or game components that do not contain
hidden information at any time or ask a judge for clarification from official rule documents. Official
rule documents include all rules documents available on the X-Wing page of our website, those
found in an X-Wing product, or any portion thereof.

Tournament Round Times - The final game is not unlimited any more !!!!!
Each tournament round of X-Wing is a predetermined length, giving players a certain amount of
time to complete their games. A leader should start the timer for a tournament round after most
players have found their seats and begun to set up. If a game has not concluded when the time for
a tournament round runs out, the players finish the current game round and then calculate their
scores (see “End of Round” on page 14). A tournament round’s length varies depending on the
type of round.
• Swiss Rounds: 75 minutes each
• Single Elimination Rounds (except Final): 75 minutes each
• Final Single Elimination Round: 120 minutes

Final Salvo - No More Ties - Games end in the final countdown (I mean Salvo )
If both players have the same score at the end of a game, they must fire a Final Salvo to
determine the winner. To fire a Final Salvo, each player adds together the printed, unmodified
primary weapon value of his or her remaining, undestroyed ships and rolls attack dice equal to
that number. The player who rolls the highest total number of combined hits and critical hits
wins the game. If both players roll an equal number hits and critical hits, they roll again until a
winner is determined.
If a game ends in mutual destruction, each player adds together the printed, unmodified primary
weapon value of all ships in his or her squad.

Relaxed Game - The let's just have fun rule
Rules are to be followed, but corrections are centered on educating players rather
than disciplinary action. The focus is on creating a fun and friendly environment.

Formal Game - You know better than to do that rule
Rules are enforced, and penalties for more severe infractions are levied when
appropriate. The focus is a friendly competitive environment.

Premier Game - I will smite you with Thor's Hammer for breaking the rules rule
Game and tournament rules are vigilantly enforced with an emphasis on
maintaining the event’s integrity. The focus is on a competitive and fair environment.