Bikini Battle Basics is a new series here on TheMetalBikini.com where we dissect certain game mechanics to aid in understanding and promote effective application. In short, it's stuff you need to know, but is somewhat obtuse or hard to understand and warrants further discussion, but don't fit directly into a category like Listbuilding, for example.
Many of the Wave 2 ships, and Wave 1 ships when outfitted with the Engine Modification upgrade, can make use of Boost Actions. So what is it and what's it good for?
Let's start off with talking about what's on the card and how it translates in-game.
First, as the name implies, Boost is an Action you can declare after you move. Essentially, it allows you a little more movement, hence why a lot of folks were referring to this as the "Rebel barrel roll" once folks started seeing the tri-arrow Boost icon in photos of the A-Wing cards.
Once you declare a Boost, you can make a straight 1 move or a bank 1 one move in either direction. Effectively, you do this immediately following your movement maneuver, and for future reference, Boost does not count as a maneuver. Additionally, you cannot Boost if the move would cause you to overlap with another ship's base or an obstacle token- there's no moving your ship back along the template when it comes to a Boost.
So now that we know what it is, what's the point of it?
The criteria for Boosting is contextually similar to Barrel Rolling. Probably the most obvious application is to try and get your Boosting ship out of a would-be attacker's arc of fire, especially if they're at Range 1. Similarly, a Boost can be all it takes to get yourself into Range 1 of an enemy ship you've been tailing. Now whether or not it's better to be in Range 1 or stay at Range 2 but use a Target Lock or Focus for your action, I'll leave that up to the math wizards, but let me say this- it really probably depends on the PR of your ship and the PR of the other ship more than anything, if there are any enemy ships that still have you in their sights, and other extenuating circumstances, but whatever. Somebody's gonna do a stats math probability graph and conclusively prove you should always do one or the other sooner or later, so take it for what it's worth.
I think Boost is one of those cards that really helps a newer player mitigate ineffective maneuvers (which is nice that it comes on so many of the Wave 2 ships few of us have any real experience maneuvering at this point).
Sure, using Boost along with a stock maneuver can cause you to end up in places that a maneuver alone wouldn't allow for, and advanced players will certainly make use of the card, but mostly I see this card benefiting new players more than experienced ones. Making safer, shorter turns or banks to close on an opponent, then Boosting to get into Range 1 of the target, for example. Or misjudging the distance you need (could be shorter, could be longer even) to fire your missiles. End results of maneuvers can be fudged a bit with a Boost. Or perhaps you're trying to get back into range of a Swarm Tactics bubble and you fell a bit short, or you're trying to get back into range of a Squad Leader or Dreis or Howlrunner after running down an enemy ship on the fringe of the battle. Boost helps make that happen too.