01 April 2015

Wave 7 Revealed or the Gentle Art of Making Enemies

"George Lucas, Pasadena" by Joey Gannon from Pittsburgh, PA - Lucas. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

So as I'm sure y'all have noticed, I've not been posting much lately again. I'd like to tell you that it's been because I've been super busy at work and because some relatively heavy stuff has been going down in my personal life, but that ain't the truth Ringo.

The truth is I'm bad about shooting my mouth off. There's a saying, one that I may or may not have made up, that teachers are the biggest smartasses. Well, I may not be a teacher anymore, but I was one for five years in what feels like a previous life, and as I've exhibited in bits and pieces over the years, I can be a real smartypants when I want to be. I can usually keep it in check, but sometimes I just can't quite feed the sarcasmatron enough and he breaks out like it's 1992 all over again.

And then there's trouble.

It all started one year ago today when I ran this picture alongside my trademark witty caption on TMB.com...

Well, turns out Mr. My Neck is Bigger Than My Head doesn't have much of a sense of humor. I know, right? I was surprised too. I mean, you'd think the guy that brought us Binks would appreciate a good smart remark, but alas. It was not meant to be. 

Not long after that, I received a weird voicemail. Not overtly threatening, and sounding a bit like a slightly peckish Lorne Michaels, but putting two and two together, I suddenly found myself faced with the cold realization that I had pissed off one of the richest and thin-skinned people walking the Earth. This was unlikely to end well for yours truly. 

I got over it after a couple of days, and to be completely honest, I'd kind of forgotten about the voicemail UNTIL LAST NIGHT!

Last night I got an email, y'all. 

To: cidmcdp@gmail.com
Subject: Order 66


I took back a little of that Disney money I gave to "the charity" and threw it at the guy who owns FFG. Good news; I now have full creative control over X-Wing Miniatures! 

First thing, we need to go back and fix some things that don't jive with what I had in mind. I was going to write up a FAQ, but I figured I'd just send you what I had in mind instead. 

1. There will no longer be points in X-Wing Miniatures. The term Points will be replaced by the new term Midichlorian Count. For example, Darth Vader does not cost 29 points. Darth Vader has a Midichlorian Count of 29. 

2. We will no longer have red and green dice in X-Wing Miniatures. These will be replaced by octahedral "Chance Cubes." The explosion symbols will be henceforth referred to as "Yahoo!", the unfilled explosion symbols will be referred to as "Eeechewawa!" and a blank will be called "A Bad Feeling About This." Focus results will still just be Focus results. Oh and wavvy arrows are rerolls. I guess. Maybe they're midichlorians too.  

3. While I realize it has no effect on the game in any way, shape, or form, players are assumed to have purchased all ship upgrades from Watto's Olde Junk Shoppe and Emporium and should refer to it as such whenever appropriate. Crew Members, regardless of neutrality or faction affiliation are similarly regarded to have been recruited from The Outlander Club. What? Are you kidding? It was the bar in Attack of the Clones. Yeah, the second movie. 

All of that taken care of, let's talk about the new exciting features I'm going to bring to X-Wing Miniatures. 

IV. I decided to throw Abrams a bone and let him help out a little bit. He really thought the art on the cards was missing something. I have to say upon review I agree. 


V. Cuse and Lindelof will be re-working the rulebook's text. Those two are pretty solid at tying up loose ends, so I'm confident they'll do a fine job with it. If not, they'll just time travel their way out of it. 

VI. I'll be releasing a large format, 3D, pop-up book, scratch-n-sniff version of the rulebook. It will basically be the same exact thing as the existing rulebook, but there will be way more people in the background and have some fireworks and stuff. The 3D glasses for the new rulebook will be available in kid's meals at Subway. 

Here's the news you've really been waiting for- I'm revealing the Wave 7 ships. 

First, two new Factions- The Republic and the Bad Guys. Republic will get Anakin's Yellow Spaceship and that Gungan submarine thing, but it'll be a Starfighter. Bad Guys will get Darth Maul's hoverscooter and one of the Droid Starfighters. Doesn't matter which one, really. 

Second, the old Factions will be replaced with the new Factions. 

Third, Scum and Villainy never existed. 

If you and your readers don't like the changes and stuff, just realize that this is a kid's game and probably the reason you don't like the game after these changes is that you're no longer a kid with a kid's sensibilities watching a kid's movie, er, I mean playing a kid's game. Now, nevermind that you guys can play nonsense like Trouble, Operation, or Sorry! and have a good time- the point here is that my new X-Wing game is the most awesomest technical achievement known to man and the reason you don't like it is, put simply, because you suck. 

And if you don't like it, I'll never make any more rules for it (until somebody with deep pockets comes along). 



That's it. I'm done with this game. Peace out, fools. 

16 March 2015

Tournament Talk- The Art of the Interceptor by Jeremy Williams

I received an email awhile back from a guy asking me how I thought Autothrusters would change the meta in regard to how tournament players view the TIE Interceptor. Now, I'm no genius, but I know when I'm being asked a leading question. Long story short, I had an idea that this guy already had some pretty solid plans for Autothrusters on a TIE Interceptor, so I asked him if he wanted to write an article about the subject. As you've probably guessed by now, he said yes. 

I asked if he wanted me to plug anything for his trouble, he told me he runs a Facebook group called Pew Pew Pew! and that he goes by Kommander Keldoth on the FFG forums. Jeremy also took home the plaque at his local Store Championship running a couple of PTL Royal Guard Interceptors with Autothrusters and Trelix with Rebel Captive and a HLC. Solid, no? 

Scum and Villainy is upon us! While there are a ton of new toys and lists to be played with in the new third faction, many Imperial players like myself are salivating over one card in particular: a little modification called Autothrusters.

Which sounds like a sweet 80’s hair metal band

Autothrusters is a two point modification that allows you to convert a blank defense die result into an evade result if you are at range three of the attacker or if you are outside of the attacker’s firing arc (i.e. if he or she is shooting at you with a turret). You can only equip Autothrusters on a ship with the boost action though, which limits it to A-wings, the new Star Viper, the new Aggressor (IG-88’s ship) and of course the long neglected TIE Interceptor!

Ever since Wave 4 came out last year the poor TIE Interceptor was laid aside by many Imperial players in favor of the TIE Phantom, a ship that has more mobility options and that hits with an extra attack die. Over all it was a better flanker and shifted the tournament metagame towards high pilot skill turrets as a counter. Meanwhile the TIE Interceptor sat on the sidelines gathering dust… and biding its time.

Autothrusters will give this iconic ship a chance to shine again by making it a turret counter. With that in mind, it’s time to dust off those dials and go back to flight school to learn the art of the Interceptor! Here’s a few of the old rules for flying a squint:

1) Come in at an angle
The TIE Interceptor lives and dies by two things: Green Dice and arc dodging. As we all know those green dice are about as reliable as Darth Vader in a child support hearing. Hence my motto when flying an Interceptor is: If you’re getting shot at you’re doing it wrong.

The last thing you want to do with an Interceptor is go for a head to head jousting match. It is much easier to arc dodge if you approach the enemy from an oblique angle. Being at an angle allows your barrel roll action to carry you farther towards the edge of your opponent’s firing arc.

How Autothrusters Will Change This: Our number one rule will be even truer in the age of Autothrusters. Turreted ships will now have an incentive to get Interceptors in their primary firing arcs (don’t feel too bad for those turrets though, they are merely being thrust out into the same cruel world that all the other ships have had to operate in).

2) Get in close
This rule goes along with rule 1. It is a lot easier to get out of arc when you are within range 1 of an opponent. A ship’s firing arc is just a big triangle and when you are close to an opponent you are close to the narrow end of that triangle. A cunning opponent will hang back at range 2-3 for as long as possible when engaging Interceptors.

The other benefit to being in range 1 is of course the extra attack die that you will gain when shooting at your opponent. Ouch!

How Autothrusters Will Change This: In addition to granting you a blank-to-evade result when you are out of firing arc, Autothrusters also grant you the same benefit when you are at range 3 of any attacker. This has the potential to change things quite a bit. All of a sudden you may have an incentive to play the Interceptor as a range 3 sniper. This makes a certain pilot very happy. His name starts with a ‘K’ and rhymes with Fir Fanos.

Kir Kanos (TIE Interceptor) 24 points
When attacking at range 2-3 you may spend one evade token to add one <hit> to your attack roll.
Upgrades: None

I can see equipping Kir with Autothrusters, Royal Guard TIE title and Stealth Device to create a very hard to hit long range cannon. You can even have him escort a Shuttle or Decimator equipped with Fleet Officer to toss him a focus. Unfortunately the designers at FFG decided not to give him or Lieutenant Lorrir an Elite Pilot Talent upgrade slot. Hopefully Autothrusters can give us a reason to fly some of the more lack luster Imperial Aces Pilots.

3) Know when to bug out

He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot, will be victorious.

-Sun Tzu

The last thing an Interceptor wants to do is bump another ship. It is important to remember that an Interceptor is just as fragile as a regular run of the mill TIE fighter, and TIE fighters are basically made of toothpicks, paper mache and the hope of a child. Interceptors depend on their focus and evade actions to survive, often gaining both in one turn with a handy little upgrade called Push the Limit

If an Interceptor bumps another ship, it gets no actions. Accidentally bumping is most common when engaging multiple ships at range 1 (see rule #2) in the fur ball that tends to develop after the initial jousting is over with. In those situations don’t be afraid to use that sweet, sweet 4 straight green maneuver to get the hell out of dodge. It is better to bug out and come around for another pass than to get blown up ignominiously like a lowly Academy Pilot.

4) If in doubt, Turtle up

Invincibility lies in the defence; the possibility of victory in the attack.

-Sun Tzu

As with any flanker the TIE Interceptor is most effective when flown by a pilot with a high pilot skill, which allows you to adjust your position with your boost and barrel roll at your leisure. Now, not everyone can be Soontir Fel, so it also pays to be able fly an Interceptor with medium to low pilot skill. If you are stuck in a situation where you don’t know what to do, just ‘turtle up’. Push the Limit and grab a focus and an evade token to protect yourself.

Royal Guard Pilot (TIE Interceptor) 22 points
Pilot Skill 6
Upgrades: Elite Pilot Talent

How Autothrusters Will Change This: Remember these guys? They had a brief moment in the meta at the tail end of Wave 3 as a very points efficient flanking ship with a respectable pilot skill of 6. We may be seeing more of them again equipped with Autothrusters. Even if they are outclassed in pilot skill and cannot dodge out of arc, they can hang back at range 3 and be very difficult to hit. The same holds true for Saber Squadron pilots (but hey, why not spend the extra point for a nice pilot skill bump?).

I expect Autothrusters will put a damper on the rampant super/fat turret lists that have been dominating the tournament scene. Not only does it provide a pretty hard counter to turrets, it gives Imperial players a chance to play a flanking ship that isn’t the TIE Phantom. At the end of the day, that’s what makes for good game design: giving the player many viable strategies for how they want to play the game.

13 March 2015

Tournament Talk- Galactic Comics and Games Store Championship

Longtime friend of the bar Nic Murray brought to my attention that he's hosting a Store Championship in his new digs at Statesboro, Georgia's own Galactic Comics and Games next weekend, 21 March 15. You can register in person starting at 10am the day of the tournament or pre-register through this link. The tournament will start at 11am.

In addition to the usual box o' prizes provided by FFG for Store Championships, Nic says that Galactic will also have, and I quote- quality mystery prizes (maybe star wars armada, maybe scum and villainy most wanted, maybe a blockade runner, maybe a rebel transport - come on who doesn't want C3PO as a card for a Fat Han build...am I right? the possibilities are endless and mysterious!). 

In addition, we will be holding an alternate paint contest (all tournament participants will vote and I will take pictures and share with you [and by you, he means me- Clint]!). Top place receives a prize as well (TBD but I can guarantee it will be worth the trip even if you do not play in the tournament).

So that's pretty dope, right? Lots of prizes and a painting contest! Hell, if I didn't live 9 hours away, I'd even head down there. That's a pretty sweet haul and looks like a really nice store to play in!

Nic mentioned they already have some folks signed up, but they can accommodate up to 30 players, so if you're on the fence it might not be a bad idea to go ahead and register, lest you get disappointed trying to get in day of.

Cost is $6 and if you want more info or have questions you want to ask, check out the facebook page they made for the event.

Good luck y'all!

Arts and (Space)Crafts- Custom Debris Templates from Zuckuss!

I received an email from longtime Bikini Aficionado Zuckuss awhile back who wanted to share how to make some awesome debris Templates with the rest of the bar. It's pretty short and sweet, but you can't deny how much more badass these would be to whip out for your games instead of the stock debris shapes, amirite? 

Step 1:

Coat the debris template with grease or Vaseline to reduce sticking of the epoxy. Using a flat surface, tape wax paper to it and the template to the wax paper.

Step 2:

Cut up pieces of your debris. I used a TIE that was replaced by FFG because it arrived damaged. I also grated aluminum foil for the debris particles.

Step 3:

Mix epoxy (I used pour-on high gloss epoxy coating) and pour into template, but do not fill to the brim. I went slowly and added more as needed. Add debris pieces and effects, such as the foil.

Step 4:

Let it cure for 18 hours then, using a razor or X-Acto knife, slowly trim the edges on both sides of the template. The epoxy will be pretty malleable and easier to trim and remove from the template than if you waited the full 24-48 hours for it to cure.

Step 5:

Let the epoxy cure until hard (about 48 hours total) then sand the edges to make it look clean.

Pretty awesome, huh? Bet you wish you wouldn't have pitched your punched-out debris template thingy, huh? I love the idea of pouring the epoxy instead of trying to Dremel or jigsaw out the shapes, because well, I'm pretty much all thumbs when it comes to stuff like that. 

In any case, it shouldn't be that hard to trace the shapes onto some cardstock or cardboard or something and transfer Zuckuss' ideas on to that, right? I gotta say, I'm really tempted to cook up a few of these myself, maybe even with some extra fixins- maybe go a little more three-dimensional or maybe even add in a blinking red LED to one of them like a rescue beacon or something. 

Great stuff, Zuck! Thanks again!

05 March 2015

Two Million Pageviews!

If you'll recall, it took a little under a year and a half for TheMetalBikini.com to hit a million pageviews, it took a little less than a year to get from one million to two million. 

Pretty amazing when you consider how infrequently I've written over the past six months. 

It's funny, about two years ago I was freaking out because TMB had it's 10,000th pageview, now two years later it's two million. That's rad! 

Thanks again for all your support!