23 April 2014

Huge Ship Rules, Part 1- Combat and Damage

Monday, FFG revealed the Huge ship rules and the new Epic rules. I talked about the Epic stuff yesterday, and while the FFG update covered both, I decided to break them up over a few days as the Huge ship rules really are kind of an entirely new game unto themselves, so rather than write one massive article, I wanted to break it down into several smaller articles on the topics.

Right on, so rather unexpectedly, we had the Huge ship rules dropped on our heads Monday. If you haven't seen them yet, you can download them direct from FFG here. The reveal article itself is more about what the designers were going for with the Huge ships, why they did what they did, and then a couple of spotlights on the way the Huge ships maneuver and they way they utilize Energy.

As usual, reading my condensed take on this stuff should not be a substitute for reading the actual rules. Additionally, I'm not going to talk about every single thing regarding the Huge ship rules. A lot of this stuff is actually pretty close to the normal X-Wing rules with some tweaks and changes. I'll mainly be focusing on the tweaks and changes and not the stuff you already understand.

Ok, so first things first- when can you use these Huge ships? In Epic play and in Cinematic Missions that allow ships with the Epic icon.

Next big question- what's the story with that monster Range template that goes out to Range 5? 

Long story short- some of the Huge ship weapons specifically say they work out to a Range beyond three. If you're packing one of those weapons, you get to use the monster range template. Don't get too excited though- you know how when you fire a Primary at Range 3 your target gets another Defense die? Well he gets two when you shoot a Primary at him at Range 4 and three extra green dice at Range 5. Kind of a bummer, but keep in mind that just like in regular Small/ Large ship X-Wing, this only applies to Primary Weapons. 

Speaking of shooting stuff, another interesting point about the Huge ships is that not only can they fire their Primary weapon as normal during their Combat Phase, but they can also fire any and all Secondary weapons assuming you've got valid targets. No mention of having to fire on the same target or any of that hoo haa. I'd also venture to guess this is why you can't roll Crew Member Luke or Gunner- since you can fire more than one weapon, allowing you to reroll misses would probably be too much of an advantage. 

As for what makes a valid target, if you look closely, you'll see the Huge ships have firing arcs printed on their base inserts just like their smaller brethren, and in some instances even have weapons (both Primary and Secondary) with turret markings. As you'd expect, Turret weapons on Huge ships allow you to shoot at targets outside of the printed arcs. What works a little differently though is you measure from either the Fore base or the Aft base to the center of your intended target's base. If that line doesn't cross the blue line that sort of acts like an equator between the Fore and the Aft, you're good to go and may fire when ready with that weapon from that particular section. If that line does cross the blue line, no dice. 

See the blue line in the middle of the ship?

Final note on Huge ships shooting at stuff- the CR90 (and possibly other Huge ships to be released in the future) has more than just one arc printed on its base(s). Secondary weapons in that particular section, and by section I mean fore or aft, must use those additional firing arcs when making their attacks. Now, I'll be honest with you here- maybe my eyes aren't so good, or maybe this doesn't even really matter and I'm reading too much into it, but I don't see what differentiates a Huge ship's Primary firing arc from these Additional firing arcs. In any case, they call it out in the rules, so I thought I'd mention it. Maybe it'll become clearer to me when we get the models and bases in our hands. 

One thing I'm not entirely clear on is when exactly the Huge ships shoot. Not to completely spoil tomorrow's article regarding Huge ship Maneuvering, Energy, Activation, and Actions (jeez- this may turn into a three-parter instead of just a two-parter), but Huge ships Activate after all the other smaller ships, regardless of those smaller ship's Pilot Skill. They give this example in the rules- 

Again, maybe I've missed it somewhere or I'm reading too much into it, but I can't find any corresponding Combat Phase entry that explains when exactly the Huge ships fire. Maybe they just fire in standard Pilot Skill order like any other ship and it's just the Activation Phase that's different. Anyway, it's a question that's on my mind and I figure it's probably on y'all's as well, so I thought I'd throw that in there. 

Now that we've talked about Huge ships shooting at other stuff, let's talk about shooting at Huge ships and what happens when you ding one. 

First, as you'd expect, when you attack a Huge ship, you're either targeting the Fore section or the Aft section. If you're coming in from the flank, the choice is probably going to be up to you, but if you're more to the Fore or Aft, that blue line comes into play again if you're aiming for the section that is further away. 

Remember a few paragraphs back where we measured to see if a target was in a particular section's firing arc by drawing a line from the attacking section to the middle of the target's base? And if that line didn't cross the blue equator we were good to go? Same deal here basically- the ship attacking the Huge ship does the same line measuring and if that line doesn't cross the blue equator, you can attack the section you want (if it's in range, in your arc, etc.). If not, you can't. 

The actual Combat Phase portion of rolling to Attack, modifying, rolling to Defend, modifying is pretty well the same. Huge ships have a stock Defense of 0, but can gain dice through Crew Members, Upgrades, or obstructing Obstacles and whatnot it sounds like. 

Should you manage to land some hits against a Huge ship, understand that some Huge ships have a separate Fore Pilot Card and a separate Aft Pilot Card, while some Huge ships just have a single card to represent the ship. This goes on to make something of a difference in the way Damage is applied. 

For ships with a single card, you still have Fore and Aft Damage Decks, and as a ship attacking a Huge ship, you still target the Fore or the Aft of the ship with your attack. If you manage to land hits, you deal Damage Cards from that particular section's Damage Deck against the Hull value of that ship just like when you land hits on any other ship in X-Wing. Stick a number of cards to the Huge ship in an amount that equals or exceeds the Hull value on the card, and it's toast. 

For ships with separate Fore and Aft cards, it works similarly, but as you've probably guessed, the Damage card instead gets stuck to the Fore card or the Aft card as determined by the location of your attack and therefore counts against that section card's Hull value only. If you manage to equal or exceed the Hull value on that section card with Damage cards, then you've managed to Cripple that section of the Huge ship. This ends up being a pretty big deal. 

When a ship has a section Crippled, the owner of the Huge ship flips over the section card to reveal the Crippled face. Crippled sections have less Upgrade slots than the regular, full-strength section card, and if the guy with the Huge ship has more Upgrades than slots upon the Crippling, he has to discard down to the new Crippled limit. Crippled sections also produce less Energy, so if he has more Energy tokens than what's allowed under the new Crippled status, he has to discard those too. Titles and Modifications aren't affected by Crippling and once a section is Crippled, it can no longer be targeted or assigned further damage. 

If a Huge ship has both its Fore and Aft Crippled, it's destroyed. 

All that said, Huge ships still observe the Simultaneous Attack rules, so while Face-up Damage effects are still in play once they're applied, the Huge ship does get a chance to return fire on opponents before it's removed from the game. 

There are also a couple of mentions about damage that would affect both the Fore and the Aft are applied to one or the other as chosen by the Attacking player. I'm guessing those are Face-up Damage card text type effects, but again, not actually having seen any of these Damage Deck cards, it's kinda hard to say. I will say I sort of don't see how that could happen if it isn't some kind of card text effect, which is what's pushing me into that assumption. 

22 April 2014

Epic Format Rules Revealed!

Man, it seems like it's been ages since I did anything but talk about new stuff on here, but well, here we go again.

Yesterday, FFG pulled the curtain back on one of the new game formats they've been hinting around at since the Huge ships were first partially revealed. Yes, as you've probably already heard or at least perhaps noticed in the title of this article, it was the Epic Rules.

We all kinda knew that the Epic rules involved games at points above 100, but other than that, we didn't know much at all. Now of course we do.

First, here's a direct link to the Epic Tournament Rules.

You'll notice the Epic Rules pretty closely follow the Tournament Rules I talked about yesterday. Lots of the same verbiage regarding TO participation, component modification, sportsmanship, etc., etc., right? I'm not going to rehash all that business. Instead, I'll just talk about what makes Epic, well epic and we'll just kind of go from there, ok?

Epic Dogfight Tournament Rules
Right on, so the biggest difference between Epic and standard here is the points level- Epic Dogfights have the two opponents squaring off with 300 point lists. As the point total is three times higher than a normal match, the time limit is increased accordingly as well- 180 minutes is the standard which can be turned down to 150 minutes or up to 210 so long as the increase or decrease is conveyed to the players in advance.

In addition to the 300 points, players are also allowed 5 Epic Points which can be spent on Huge ships. Note that you still have to pay for the ship (and upgrades) in standard points like normal- Epic Points just more or less encourages you to not just buy three 'Vettes and roll that (I guess) for your Epic list. The Transport is worth 2 Epic points, the Tantive is worth 3 Epic Points, by the way.

Points aside, the final limiter on what you can field in Epic is another slightly modified standard dogfight idea- players are limited to no more than 12 small ships of the same type or 6 large ships of the same type. Again, just to clarify, a TIE Fighter is a TIE Fighter is a TIE Fighter. What I mean by that is different pilots don't count as ship types. Whether you're talking about the multitude of X-Wing pilots that'll be available very soon or the myriad of available TIE Fighter pilots, 12 total is all you have for that.

Much like upping the time limit, you'd expect that Epic matches are played on an area larger than 3' x 3'. You'd be right expecting that. Epic matches are played on a 6' x 3' area with the long edges being "player edges" (just like a 40k table's orientation, in other words with the long edges to the players and the short edges on the sides).

Deployment pretty well follows Tournament rules, but you drop 12 asteroids on the table rather than just 6 and in what I assume is an an effort to speed things up a bit, players drop them two at a time starting with the guy who holds initiative. Huge ships are then dropped before large or small ships and are deployed in such a way that at least part of its base is touching the player edge. Note that this Huge ship deployment step is actually separate from the large and small ship step, so you and your buddy are going to drop all of the Huge ships before you start dropping the smaller stuff. Oh, and the smaller, and by smaller I do mean both Large and Small, stuff can now be dropped at Range 1-2 from the Player Edge instead of just Range 1.

Past that, pretty much everything else is the same- win conditions, points earned for Match Win, Modified Match Win, 12 point differential, etc. The only difference here is a couple of restrictions-

1) Biggs' card text doesn't work for folks attacking Huge ships
2) Luke, Gunner, and Navigator can't be Crew Members on Huge ships

Now, you may be thinking to yourself, "Well, that sounds really cool, but man, I don't know if I have 300 points available in my personal collection. I wish there was some way I could team up with a pal to play one of these huge games."

Lucky you, because...

Epic Dogfight Tournament Team Rules
This has me more excited than a farm boy going to Toshi Station to pick up some power converters. Yes aficionados, you can play an officially sanctioned team game in this Epic format! How cool is that?

Differences between Team Epic and Epic are pretty much what you'd expect- essentially, what was a 1v1 game in normal Epic is now 2v2. The teams must both use the same Faction, and if your buddy uses a dotted card, that card is unavailable to your squadron.

Additionally, instead of 300 points with 5 Epic points, players build 200 point squads with 3 Epic points available. Similarly, instead of being limited to 12 Small ships and 6 Large ships of the same type, Team Epic limits you to 8 Small ships and 4 Large ships of the same type.

Teams must nominate a Captain who ends up being the guy that turns in the lists for both players on the team. Captains are also the guys who do the asteroid placement which works exactly the same as Epic- 12 obstacles total dropped in two at a time.

All of the players are required to show up with a core set (why? I don't know either- seems kinda redundant), and while point 3 under Deployment kinda gives the impression that the team shares a damage deck, later on under Damage Cards sub-heading, you get the impression that each player has his own damage deck for his ships. I think everyone will have their own decks and point 3 is just kind of an inadvertent copy-paste kind of thing, but maybe they'll clarify it a little for us in a newer version.

The rule in the main X-Wing Rulebook about Table Talk in team settings is overruled in Epic Team- you can talk as much as you want and you can even show your teammate your maneuver dials.

Past that, it's pretty well the same.

I don't know about you guys, but between this and Escalation, I'm pretty stoked about these new ways of playing the game. Seems like tournaments are going to take forever nowdays, but it oughta be fun regardless! If I'm honest, the idea of playing a 1v1 Epic game in an actual tournament setting seems daunting to say the least, but a 2v2 match seems like a blast, not to mention being slightly easier on the old wallet. I think most everybody who has been into this game for awhile could probably put together a pretty competitive 200 point list with the stuff they've got lying around, right? Even without Huge ships? I think so.

I do wonder if the Huge ships will be worth their points in this kind of setting though. I mean, right off the bat you kind of look at it and if you're Rebels, you're considering whether or not you go with your standard 100 point list, throw in a Huge ship or two, and fill-in whatever's left. You kinda feel like the Imperials get left out as they don't have any Huge ships yet. Still though, you start to consider just how many Small and Large Imperials you could stick in a 200 or 300 point list and you start to wonder if those Huge ships will be able to justify their points cost.

Here's to looking forward to finding out!

21 April 2014

Tournament Talk: New Tournament Rules v 1.5.2

As mentioned last week, there are some fairly significant changes lurking within the new Tournament Rules. Let's go down the list and see what jumps out at us, ok?

Intro (untitled lead-in section)
Reference to two different tournament types- competitive and premier.

Component Interpretation and Rules
The TO has the ability to overrule the FAQ when in the TO's opinion, "a mistake or error is discovered." I'll be honest, I'm not nuts about that little tidbit. I understand what they're going for there, but I worry that too many TOs will use that entry to justify bad rulings and/ or rulings where they didn't consult the FAQ. Maybe I'm paranoid or looking for something that isn't there, but this just smacks of something that's going to be abused by stores that don't have a strong X-Wing presence where most everyone knows the rules. Hope I'm wrong about it.

Tournament Organizer Participation
TOs can only play in casual level events or competitive level events if there is a second TO. TOs cannot play in premier level events and cannot participate in their own Regionals, National, or World event.

This decision may not be the most popular, but I think it's a good idea. While I realize it's no fun to organize as opposed to play, I think overall it's poor form to play in a tournament that you're also organizing. I remember reading a post on the FFG boards back in the day where this guy kinda felt like he'd been screwed over by a playing TO. Long story short, he kinda had really, but it wasn't necessarily because the TO was a playing TO, it just made things worse because he was a playing TO and the way in which he'd screwed up kinda favored him and not the guy who felt like he'd been screwed. Had the TO not been playing, the outcome wouldn't have changed really, but the guy's perception of the tournament would have. Know what I'm sayin'?

Component Modifications
3rd part tokens are now acceptable (surprised they weren't before, but they're marked pink so I guess they weren't) so long as it's clear what they represent. It's also now acceptable to use modified ship pegs, but bases still need to be stock though you can add weights. No change to the ruling on painting and modification to the ship models themselves- acceptable and unacceptable, respectively.

Asteroids and obstacles still can't be modified either and you can't use "setup templates" during your deployment, though it's perfectly acceptable to use your range ruler and stuff to precisely position your ships.

Players can't use their own playmats, though TOs can ask players to bring mats ahead of time and randomize their use amongst the participants.

Squad Building
After the first round (in which everyone is randomly paired up barring two family members playing each other or people who traveled together), the players are seeded by their tournament points where the TO is expected to pair people by their point totals as closely as possible. Also if there are an odd number of players, the bye goes to one of the lowest ranked participants and counts as a match win.

Squad Deployment
I don't think this is any different, but you can fully deploy everything before the TO says you can start playing.

Lowest squad total determines Initiative, if there's a tie, flip a coin.

EDIT: I should have spent a little more time on this when I wrote it. Lowest squad total still determines Initiative, but now, the player with the lowest total points gets to pick if he wants the initiative or not rather than just automatically getting it.

End of Match
If you destroy all of your opponents ships and have at least one ship of your own left, you automatically score a Match Win and your opponent scores a Match Loss. If neither have ships remaining, it's a Draw.

If your match is called for time, finish the current round then add up the points on the ships that you destroyed including upgrades. The person who scored more receives a Modified Match Win unless they outscore their opponent by more than 12 in which case they earn a Match Win.

EDIT: Some of the commenters on this article thought I should have called more attention to this points differential. It used to be 33, which I'm sure many of you know as I've mentioned it on here a bunch of times in various articles, now it is only 12. So there ya go- attention called.

Match Win- 5 Tournament Points
Modified Match Win- 3 Tournament Points
Draw- 1 Tournament Point
Match Loss- 0 Tournament Points

Tie Breaker
If two participants end up on the same point total, the tie is broken by adding up the match points earned by their opponents in the opponents other matches which FFG refers to as calculating the "Strength of Schedule." Long story short, the guy who had the tougher set of opponents (e.g. higher match points total) wins the tie.

Ok, so this is a new one on everybody. Long story short, the Dogfight rules still apply most of the time, but there are a few exceptions with regard to squad building.

Escalation Tournaments have four rounds and in each of the rounds, players are given more points to field their squad as well as more time to play their games.

I'm cutting out some verbiage and throwing the times and points at you in a condensed form, but basically it goes like this-

Round 1- 50 minutes, 60 point squadrons
Round 2- 70 minutes, 90 point squadrons
Round 3- 90 minutes, 120 point squadrons
Round 4- 120 minutes, 150 point squadrons

TOs can adjust those times up or down by 10 minutes. As you'd expect, you don't have to field the full amount of points; you can field less, but cannot field more.

Escalation Squad Building
Players can't field more than 8 small ships or 4 large ships in their squadron at any points level. EDIT: Worded this one poorly too. You can't field more than 8 small ships of the same type or 4 large ships of the same type in your lists.

In other words, you can't field 10 Academy TIEs for your Round 3 Imperial Escalation squadron.

Round 2, 3, and 4 Squadrons must include the full contents and upgrades of the previous squadrons and the upgrades must stay on the same ships that previously used them though new upgrades may be added.

Additional Tournament Rules
Score Piles
Basically, when your stuff gets killed, you're asked to put the pilot card and any upgrades into what is effectively a discard pile rather than back into your pilot card deck or whatever. Long story short, if your game ends on time, you add up the contents of your "score pile" and that's what is used to calculate your match outcome.

Only thing to watch here is you don't put in "discard this card to..." type cards (torpedoes, missiles, bombs, etc., for example) until the owning ship is destroyed.

Tournament Squad Pool
Legal Products
Gone is the list of ships that can be used in tournaments. Long story short, anything not sporting the epic icon is good to go for tournament play.

Tiers of Tournament Play
Casual- "Have fun" type games, leagues, etc. May include variants.
Competitive- Consistent rules, events like Store Championships and Kessel Run/ Imdaar Alpha type things
Premier- Regionals, National, and World type events. Interestingly, this is the only level mentioned where players are expected to play by the Tournament Rules and FAQ.

So there ya go. What do you make of all that?

Escalation seems fun though not having built an Imperial 150 point list that caps at 8 TIEs and 4 large ships, I wonder if some of y'all might want to debate me on that point.

18 April 2014

GR-75 Transport Now Shipping!

When I received an email from our old pal +Matthew Taylor earlier, I thought it was going to be regarding the butt-kicking his Sharks gave my Kings last night in Game 1 of their 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs series, but no! 

It was to inform me that he'd just seen that the GR-75 is Now Shipping on FFG's Upcoming page!

As always, TheMetalBikini.com encourages you to patronize our sponsor, Miniature Market


17 April 2014

Just The FAQs Ma'am- FAQ v 2.0.1

As I said on G+, I'd hoped to update TMB with this article night before last, which means it would have shown up yesterday, but long story short- I fell asleep on the couch.

I actually woke up a couple of times, early enough that I could have written the update, but unlike the previous FAQ and Tournament Rules updates, this wasn't some deal where I'd scan through the pink text, think to myself, "Oh, well that's different" or whatever, then talk about it a little bit. No aficionados, these were actually pretty significant changes and I didn't want to half-ass it or get a bunch of it wrong or whatever, so I really wanted to take some time and read through what all was changing before I wrote about it on here.

Before I jump into this, I want to mention something really quickly- I know that a lot of y'all are casual X-Wing players, and by casual I mean that you probably primarily play against your buddies in non-tournament settings the va-ha-ha-hast majority of the time. I get that. That being said, don't just tune this stuff out as tournament talk or un-fun rules discussion or whatever. Give this stuff at least a passing glance to be sure you're on the same page as the rest of the world and who knows? You might even come up with some new ideas to try out as the result of reading the latest incarnation of the FAQ. FFG has put a lot of work into updating this game and at least trying to address some of the larger rules issues and conflicts since the game dropped, so at least give them your attention for the time it takes to give this document a solid read through. Trust me. 40k players would kill to have FAQs as well done and regularly released as X-Wing's FAQs.

And for God's sake- if you're planning on running some kind of event- homebrewed, sanctioned tournament, Assault at Imdaar Alpha, whatever- read through this and get your head around it before the dice start flying and people start to get frustrated, aiight?

First and probably most obviously, the format of the FAQ itself has changed. Gone are the walls of text and added in are pics of the cards the FAQ is addressing. It's pretty nice and while it maybe wasn't entirely necessary, it does perhaps make it easier to reference your opponent's cards to see if he's playing them right or not. They've also gone through and simplified a lot of the card text wording in various places to make the text easier to understand and apply.

Secondly, all of the special rules cards (the 0 Maneuver, Ion Weapons, Boost, Large Ships, etc.) are now covered in the FAQ, so that's nice for folks with small collections or for folks who don't bring every single thing they own with them to a tournament. It makes things even simpler for TOs who don't have to track all of that stuff anymore.

Maybe the most significant portion is Section 3- Rule Clarifications. There's a lot of stuff in here that wasn't formally covered before. I don't know that any of it is really news to most folks who play X-Wing competitively or keep up with stuff on the various messageboards, but it's there should you need it and actually does a fairly solid job of addressing a lot of the little things like timing issues. Ironically, had this version of the FAQ always been around, there probably wouldn't have been much need for a TMB.com.

As for things that actually got FAQed- there's really only one pink text in the new edition of the FAQ.

Colonel Jendon
If you were one of those people who said that ships that didn't have Target Lock as an available Action couldn't be the recipient of Jendon's Blue Target Lock giveaway card text, turns out you were wrong. They can, no probs.

Long story long, not a lot has actually changed or been ruled on for this edition of the FAQ, but the layout is quite different and the change is most definitely for the better. I daresay we've kind of gotten X-Wing Miniatures version 1.5 for free here. And yeah, the FAQ is still comprehensively cumulative- you don't need to go and try to scare up old versions of the FAQ to get all of the info: the most recent version has everything you need.

As was the case last FAQ update, FFG has gone to an absolute value type web address for the X-Wing FAQ, so you don't need to update your bookmarks and I didn't need to update my link in the right hand sidebar over there. It's the same address as before.

That's it. I'll holla about the new Tournament Rules stuff tomorrow (Friday).