30 April 2013

Community Service- Esoteric Order of Gamers' X-Wing Rules Summary and Reference Sheet

Community Service is a new series of articles here on TheMetalBikini.com where I spotlight something different, cool, or fun made by someone in the X-Wing Miniatures community that I think you guys might dig. 

Esoteric Order of Gamers' 

X-Wing Rules Summary and Reference Sheet

BC sent me a heads-up on this via email late last week. I finally got a chance to check it out over the weekend, and I'm really impressed. 

The long and the short of it is it's a summary of most of the rule book rules (as well as cards like Boost, Ion Weapons, and Bombs) in a handy, well-produced printout you can easily review or even bust out during a match to help with resolving rules questions. 

Check it out here- Esoteric Order of Gamers' X-Wing Rules Summary and Reference v1

Note that I said it's a summary of the rule book, and by rule book I don't mean Tournament Rules. I've talked before about the differences between the rule book and Tournament Rules, so just be aware there are some discrepancies here if you were planning on packing this guy along to your Regionals or other tournament. 

Don't let that stop you from at least taking a peek at this super handy resource though. I really can't say enough nice things about it- it'd be great to have out on tables when new players are involved or to give away to interested players at demo matches and stuff too. It's just so well done. 

If you have a browse around the rest of The Esoteric Order of Gamers website, which I wholeheartedly recommend you do by the way, you'll find they have similar resources like this available for a ton of other games as well- board games, miniatures games, you name it. If you really dig it, kick those dudes a buck or two. I think it's well worth it as they seem like a good bunch of folks. 

They've also got a sweet Kickstarter summary section saving busy folks like you and I the time and trouble of finding cool projects to fund. 

Nice find, BC! Thanks!

29 April 2013

Veteran Instincts- (Tournament/ Regionals) Etiquette and Protocol, Part 2

Veteran Instincts is another new series here on TheMetalBikini.com where I discuss topics that might appeal to a more veteran level of X-Wing Miniatures player. Think of it as a more advanced version of the Bikini Battle Basics series and you're not far off. It's stuff you need to know, but might not be readily apparent or noticed, or so I think anyway. Far as I know, right?

Tournament/ Regionals Etiquette and Protocol, Part 2

Part 1 in this series ran last Friday. You probably read it, but if you didn't, click that link.

5. Non-Combatants, er Non-Participants
At Games Day 2006, my last match of the tournament was against an Imperial Fists player from Ohio with a beautifully painted army and his wife. 

Yeah, right? It was kinda weird having a spectator. 

To her credit, I think she just sat and read a book the entire match, and after we were done, she came over, the three of us chatted pleasantly, and I thought, "Wow, well that was cool of her." She was just there to support her man, check out some cool models (of which I had none- my opinion, not theirs), and catch up on some reading. 

I've never had the "Oh no, there's the guy that always brings his friend/ girlfriend experience", but I've played next to a couple of tables and talked to a few of the poor bastards that have. It's not pretty and in many ways, your entourage can be much more annoying than you the actual player. I mean, look at it like this- I can beat you. You become that super-arrogant guy I beat at that one tournament. You become an NPC in my story, in other words. A beaten foe; a bested wannabe nemesis. Even if I don't beat you, maybe I managed to one-shot your Stealthed-up Turd Ferguson, or stuck Han with the critical that makes him Pilot Skill 0 and got to make a Han Shoots Last joke. 

I can't do anything to your obnoxious girlfriend or your dipshit friend. I don't have the opportunity. Well, not legally anyway. 

Long story short, you're responsible for the folks you bring with you to this thing. I don't want a bunch of hoo haa from your buddy, your buddy's girlfriend, or whatever during our match, dig? I don't want to be the guy who complains to the TO about your annoying sidecars, I really don't man. Let's just play the game. Dre puts it much more eloquently than I do, if you need further clarification on the point. 

6. Know Your List
I kinda talked about this in some other article on here that I'm too lazy to look up right now, but know what the cards in your list do. Look up any pilot abilities, upgrades, droids, whatever on here, on the AFM Forums, on the FFG forums, whatever. Fully understand what they do before our match. Play your list at least a few times before we meet in a tournament we both paid money to play in. I don't want to be the guy to tell you your card doesn't work the way you think it does, because you might have built your whole list around that incorrect interpretation, and now you're going to have a crappy day because of me. That's no fun for either of us, bro.

Further note, if you're using a pilot with an upgrade that falls into a grey area rules-wise, I'd take a long look at whether or not I'd play that particular combination in a tournament. I'm not going to go through and list all of the rules exploits that have been exposed, they're out there if you want to find them and I've talked about one of them fairly extensively on here before. Me personally, I think it's a bit of a party foul to show up with something like that. Now, you and I, we may have very different motivations for why we're playing in this thing. I'm not trying to tell you how to play your list, I'm just saying I wouldn't do it. 

I remember one time when I was teaching at a community college, we were going through contract negotiations and there were a whole segment of instructors that were convinced the district had this big slush fund and they wanted that money. It got to the point where they were talking about striking over it, which was kind of a big deal because unfortunately this segment of instructors included the president of our little union at the time. I got up and said, "I didn't take this job to be a striker, I took it to be an effin' teacher.", and walked out. 

That's kinda how I feel about tournaments. If you want to argue about rules, just do that on the internet, man. It's way cheaper and you're much more likely to find fun sparring partners than people who've paid $15 or $20 to enter a tournament where they're ostensibly at the very least, planning on playing a game rather than following Robert's Rules of Trolling or whatever. Again though, it's your dough. You can do whatever you want. Just realize the guy on the other side of the table may not share the same zeal for debate as you. He may just, you know, want to spend his day playing the game, right? 

7. Bring Only What You Need
Some folks might be interested in seeing your entire X-Wing Miniatures collection. Me personally? I'm not. This is a pre-painted, pre-assembled miniatures game, for cryin' out loud. 

I don't see any reason to bring a ton of extra crap with me to a Tournament. Hell, at the Kessel Run, I loaned out all of my Imperial stuff (including movement templates, range ruler, tokens, etc.) to a friend of mine who wanted to play but didn't own anything- I wasn't going to be using it as I was playing Rebels, so why not, right? Even if I wouldn't have loaned it out, I wouldn't have brought it with me. 

The less stuff you have to lug around, the better. As I've alluded to in other points in this article, it's probably gonna be a long day. Travel light and you'll be happier for it. Also if, God forbid, your stuff gets stolen or you bring so much stuff with you that you forget something at the venue, the curb outside the hotel, a bench at a bust stop, whatever, you're not out your entire collection. 

Note this goes for tokens and whatnot too. Actually, it goes even more for tokens and whatnot than the ships. Everyone who's played this game even once knows there's a somewhat ridiculous amount of fiddly stuff that goes along with it. Watching you try and pair up Target Locks for five minutes because you brought all 26 letters of the alphabet is time that could be spent playing, and if we go to the wire, that's really going to be disappointing. If you only bring 3 ships, bring 5 sets of Target Locks, tops. Apply that same line of thinking to the rest of your tokens too- bring what you need, then fudge the number up a couple in case you lose one or it gets mixed in with your opponent's or something.

Now, I know, I know, you've got all your stuff in a Plano box or whatever, and it's not that big of a deal to bring the whole thing, and you don't really want to disrupt your system, and blah, blah, blah. Just trust me on this- for a 100 point tournament, you can probably fit what you actually need in one of the Core Set boxes. Now think about how much easier it is to cram a Core Box into a backpack along with a couple of Diet Dews and a candy bar or something versus lugging around a tool box all day like you're Mr. Fixit. 

Or if you really want to be cool, bring all that stuff, but leave it in the car. Then if some poor guy forgot his third Interceptor back at the hotel or it got broken on the way in, you can be the dude who lets this cat borrow yours, which will elicit a slow-clap from me for sure, because well, let's be honest. I'm totally the type of person to start a slow clap- any reason will do. 

8. "Good Game"
When we're done, win or lose, throw your hand out there across the table, shake it like a man (or woman- are we still pretending girls play dorky-ass miniatures games like this? :) ) and not a limp fish, and wish me a good game. If you won, listen to me berate myself for hitting an obstacle or rolling badly, while I pretend my loss had nothing to do with your superior skill at the game and sympathize. If you lost, I'll extend you the same courtesy. I don't want to hear a bunch of gloating and bragging- this isn't HALO, for Christ's sake. We're better than that. 

Be happy you've won, take any compliments from your vanquished opponent you have coming to you, and throw a couple back their way. 

If you're the winner, resist the temptation to point out every mistake your opponent made that helped you win. I know folks who do this, hell, I'm guilty of it at times, but most of the time it isn't constructive immediately after a match, even if that's 100% your intent. Most of the time, it just comes off kind of know-it-all and dickish. 

So there ya go. How not to be a bad opponent at your next tournament, right? Well, either that or "How to spend two days on your blog being a bossy cow- MOOOO!" If my oldest could read, he'd crack up that I wrote that; it's one of our inside jokes. 

Comments Change

As y'all may or may not have noticed, the comments section has changed a bit. Friday morning I was presented with an option, I believe for the first time, or maybe it was just the first time I ever noticed it, to link up the comments you guys make here on TMB to your Google+ accounts. As you already needed some kind of Google account to post in my comments (to try and keep the spam and drive-by trolls to a minimum), I didn't figure it'd be that much of a change. 

It has been and it hasn't been. 

Friday, it seemed as though the comments completely disappeared there for a bit, and as I had to work Saturday all day then watch my boys Saturday evening, I didn't really get on the site at all, so I don't really know what kind of shape things were in. Today though (Sunday), I noticed the comments seemed to have returned and everything is all G+-ified now. 

Apologies if you hate it, but it makes it easier for me to keep track of and stay on top of. I will warn you though- I still don't really know what I'm doing with G+, so take all of this for what it's worth. I do think y'all will dig it after you get used to it- I got a lot of emails and comments about the old comment system being annoying and "can we post pics in comments?" and stuff like that. Pretty much if you can put it in a G+ post, you can put it in my comments now. 

If you're still not seeing the comments links after the articles, try reloading/ refreshing the page you're looking at, clean out your cache, and stuff like that. They do work and I have gotten some comments from folks who've not commented on TMB articles before, if you were wondering. Also, we've not lost any of the previous comments- at least none that I've noticed. 

Full story here if you're curious about how it all works- http://support.google.com/blogger/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2981015

26 April 2013

Veteran Instincts- (Tournament/ Regionals) Etiquette and Protocol, Part 1

Veteran Instincts is another new series here on TheMetalBikini.com where I discuss topics that might appeal to a more veteran level of X-Wing Miniatures player. Think of it as a more advanced version of the Bikini Battle Basics series and you're not far off. It's stuff you need to know, but might not be readily apparent or noticed, or so I think anyway. Far as I know, right?

Tournament/ Regionals Etiquette and Protocol

I think I've mentioned it on here before, but in a past job, I was in charge of a 4-man industrial maintenance team. I don't know if many of you work in manufacturing, or know people who work in manufacturing, or more specifically, regularly deal with folks who work maintenance in manufacturing, but they can be a fairly rough around the edges bunch. Oh sure, you've got some folks who work in industrial maintenance that are perfectly normal and all, but a lot of these guys are... how should I put this... outliers in many ways. Especially when it comes to hygiene. 

One of the guys that worked for me had some kind of weird setup where he hauled water to his house which was, predictably, out in the sticks. Long story short, he would get water on Monday, and either couldn't haul that much or couldn't store that much, but in any case, usually by Thursday evening, and defnitely on Friday evening, the brotha would start to reek. 

Now again, industrial maintenance can be a demanding job. I've done it before, and there were many days where I'd have sweat through my clothes, my clothes mind you, not just my shirt, by 8:30 am. That's a good time, let me tell you- sweating through your clothes by 8:30 and you generally leave around 4:30 or 5pm. That's just brilliant. Anyway, I'm not hating on anybody, but usually you find ways to mitigate. A stick of deodorant or a bottle of cologne in your toolbox, hell maybe even a spare pair of drawers or jeans tucked away in your trunk you change into at lunchtime or something. 

Not this guy though. And by this guy I mean the guy I'm talking about, not me. I'm not pointing my thumbs at myself when I say, "this guy." 

The dude would reek. I mean like distractingly so. As such, I had to have a "stinky talk" with him. I had to ask a grown man to please stop stinking at work because people had complained to management about his chronic funk. No, not that kind of chronic funk- like the body odor kind. 

What's worse, I actually had to have the stinky talk with him again before it was all said and done and he transferred away from my plant. 

This is why I'm uniquely qualified to tell you what's acceptable and unacceptable for Regionals and Tournaments in general. Because I'm the guy that pulls you off to the side, maybe even outside, to have the stinky talk with you. It's awkward and sometimes feelers get hurt, but in the long run, it benefits us all, so here we go. 

1. Attire
I'm just going to come right out and say it- wearing a Star Wars shirt to an X-Wing Tournament is kinda like wearing the shirt of the band you're going to see in concert. Now normally, in any other locale, I'm totally down with it. I have a few myself, of course. But not to a tournament. It's too obvious. Acceptable exceptions are some truly unique Star Wars shirts- like if you've managed to acquire one of the vintage Empire Strikes Back VHS box set re-issue t-shirts from 1995 or whatever. 

What to wear instead? Well, tournaments are all day affairs, so wear something you're going to be comfortable in. Something not overly tight, warm, or loose (knocks minis around, y'know) for starters. I plan on rocking a US Soccer jersey at Regionals. Why? Well, for one, it's made out of Nike Dri-Fit, which is this brilliantly light and cool fabric that is completely opaque but feels like you have no shirt on at all, which will be awesome as my Regional is in June. Secondly, it's not too loose and not too tight. Its also somewhat unique and I'm just fond of it in general. Also stay away from a ton of accessories like bracelets, wallet chains, necklaces, and other stuff that is prone to knocking over minis. We're at an X-Wing Regionals, not a Mr. T lookalike convention or attending goth kid 101 class.  

Generally speaking, you don't have to tell guys to wear comfortable shoes, but well, wear comfortable shoes. If you've never played in a tournament before, and especially if you've never played at the venue you'll be attending, you may not get a lot of time to sit down depending on how things are set up. I remember at Games Day 2006, I did a lot of standing. Like pretty much 8 hours worth. Course, that may not be a big deal to some of y'all, but it is something to keep in mind. 

Band T-Shirts are good too, so long as you pick a cool band and don't go on and on about them during the match, which segues into my next point rather neatly... 

2. Table Talk
As I've mentioned before, Tournament Rules for X-Wing involve time limits. As such, when it's time to play, shut up and play. Don't tell me your life story and slow down deployment because you're gesturing with one of your ships instead of setting it down. Don't tell me moves I should have made, then subsequently the moves you would have made to respond to those moves during our match. Don't talk to your buddy at the next table about what moves he should be making either. I also have no interest in your favorite movie, band, sports team, political party, sexual position, pizza, e-cigarette liquid flavor, breed of dog, radio station, author, or beer is while we're playing. Once we're done? Sure thing, man. Tell me all about it. I love talking to people. My wife used to get pissed at me because I'd spend hours standing in the driveway talking to this crazy old dude that lived next door to us in our duplex. I'll talk to anybody so long as they tell me entertaining stuff- just not during the match. 

For however long the time limit allows or until the match is over, focus on the match as much as possible. Can you drop a Star Wars line here or there? Sure. Just don't quote all of Empire to me while you piss around trying to pick a maneuver for your 3rd Black Squadron TIE and for Christ's sake- this isn't 40k and you're not playing Orks. No yelling on the bus.  

3. Cell Phones
I'm not crazy enough to say something like, "Leave it in the car", because, well, I wouldn't do that either. I am crazy enough to say, if you do anything more than take a few seconds to see who just texted you or called, it's a party foul. Now, if it's an emergency like your kid just swallowed a penny or something, well, I'll make an exception. If it's an emergency like your girlfriend asking you why you put an empty peanut butter jar back in the cabinet instead of throwing it away, that's crappy. 

Also don't check your email or reply to emails. If you want to take a picture of our match, by all means go ahead, I probably will be too, just don't spend forever framing the shot, and please, post it to Twitter or your Facebook after the match. Don't make me wait while you try to think of some witty caption for your picture. 

It should go without saying that actually taking a phone call during a match is just not to be done again, unless somebody is dying/ dead. Then it's cool. I guess. 

I very nearly made a seperate entry for laptops or tablets, but suffice it to say, they'd read basically the same way as the cell phone. I don't mind some light use, but please put working on your Mandalorian fan-fic on hold or watching Firefly until after our match concludes. 

4. Hygiene
You need to have showered within the past 24 hours, at least. This isn't a sport- I shouldn't smell you from across the table. It's just pathetic to feed into that unwashed, stinky nerd stereotype. We're better than that, right? 

And while I'd also prefer you didn't douse yourself in Axe body spray, I'd rather smell that than your B.O. 

That's enough for now, I'll put up Part 2 on Monday! Have a great weekend and for those of y'all attending Regionals this weekend, good luck!

25 April 2013

Just Beat It- Han Shoots First

Just Beat It is a new series here on TheMetalBikini.com where I take some 80's song and give it the "Weird Al" Yankovic treatment themed around the idea of defeating some of the more well-known lists that are frequenting the current tournament scene. 

I found this image here, that guy says he found it here

You might have heard about this nasty new list-
Han, two Rookie X-Wings, and you've got the gist.
So are you gonna win or are you goin' home pissed?
Let's beat 'em. Let's beat 'em. 

Han Solo Falcon rollin' at PS nine, 
I know you want him dead, but you ain't got the time, 
You gotta smoke those Rookies like Snoop Lion smoke a dime,
You'll beat 'em. Just run out the time. 

To beat 'em, beat 'em, beat 'em, beat 'em,
Keep your head and don't get heated.
"But Solo's so scary, where do I begin?" 
Shoot down those Rookies- Modified Win.
You'll beat 'em. Beat 'em.
You'll beat 'em. Beat 'em. 
You'll beat 'em. Beat 'em. 
You'll beat 'em. Beat 'em. 

The key to winning is to focus your fire,
All guns on one target will make him perspire, 
Play defensive, stay away, play it down to the wire,
You'll beat 'em. You'll beat 'em. 

Two Rookie Pilots come in at around forty-two
Worry about them, not Han and Gunner Luke.
If you come in swingin' hard, then turtle just like Claude Lemieux,
You'll beat 'em. Like the Kings swept the Blues

To beat 'em, beat 'em, beat 'em, beat 'em,
Keep your head and don't get heated.
"But Solo's so scary, where do I begin?" 
Shoot down those Rookies- Modified Win.
You'll beat 'em. Beat 'em. 

You'll beat 'em. Beat 'em. 
You'll beat 'em. Beat 'em. 
You'll beat 'em. Beat 'em. 

To stay true to the original, repeat the chorus about 2,000 times, then fade out whilst standing in front of a fan, doing a toe-stand, and grabbin' your junk. 

24 April 2013

Bikini Battle Basics- Things Every X-Wing Player Should Know

Bikini Battle Basics is a series of articles 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 or could just be a topic that warrants further discussion, but doesn't fit directly into a category like Listbuilding, for example. 

Bikini Battle Basics- Things Every X-Wing Player Should Know

This is one of those articles I've had sitting around in my "drafts" folder for like a month and a half now. It's changed pretty substantially over that time, it started out being "10 Things..." and briefly expanded to "15 Things...", but as I wrote articles on topics like The Three Main Actions , The Damage Deck Explained!, and Obstacles and Asteroids Explained! the list has gotten shorter and shorter and killed any potential 10 Things I Hate About You jokes in the process, which let's be honest, wasn't going to turn out well for any of us anyway. Hell, I might have even had Ion Weapons in there at some point- can't remember for sure now. Probably did. But as I often do, I digress.

As you might imagine, in most of those cases, as I started to write the entry in this list for the above topics, I soon had enough material to make an dedicated article, so that stuff spun off into the articles I've linked to above. 

There were always still a few more though, and as they've been sitting around that dusty old drafts folder for several weeks with no significant changes in the form of additions or subtractions, I figure I'm finally safe to write this article. 

1. When Can I measure/ pre-measure stuff?  

If you think about this for a moment, there are two times you'd want to pre-measure or measure before being committed or whatever in this game- before you move, that is, before you select a maneuver or Action that allows movement, and to see if a target is in range so you may fire when ready.

So which, if either or both, are permissible? 

For shooting, i.e. determining if a target is in range of your weapons or if the target is in your arc, that's always fine according to the rules. The main takeaway here is if you declare a target that turns out to be beyond the range of your weapons, you can still choose another target with no penalty. It's also totally cool to measure with one weapon system, realize your target is out of range, then decide to fire another weapon system at that same target, or pick a different one using either weapon system on it- whatever. 

For moving your ship, there's a little more to it than that, but not a lot really. 

In the rule book on page 6, it says, "... During the Planning phase, players canot use maneuver templates in order to "test" where ships will end up." 

Breaking that down, it does just what it says- you can't stick a template down on the board to make sure you're going to avoid an Obstacle with a particular maneuver in your Planning Phase. 

As for Actions that produce movement outside of the Execute Maneuver step, and therefore aren't really married to the Planning Phase, of course this is totally kosher. In fact, as the rules says you can't Barrel Roll or Boost into another ship or an Obstacle, you have to "pre-measure" before hand to ensure you won't violate that rule. 

The only grey area I've seen folks talking about on forums is whether or not a player can pre-measure a Daredevil maneuver. If you recall, Daredevil is kind of strange in that it's a Maneuver that occurs in the Perform Action step (all the other moves during Perform Action are termed Actions). In my mind, the using a template to pre-measure is more linked to the Planning Phase than anything else, so I think you can go ahead and use a template to pre-measure Daredevil, personally although there is some room for debate or ambiguity, I suppose. 

I think the main thing to remember here is X-Wing Miniatures isn't a "Gotcha!" type game like 40k is when it comes to stuff like this. You can pretty much try whatever you want, whenever you want, barring of course laying down a maneuver template in the Planning Phase as mentioned above so it's more about making a smart decision rather than penalizing you for making a wrong one. 

2. Initiative- What is it, do I have it, what's it good for? 
The rule book defines and discusses Initiative on page 16, but to answer the three main questions people have regarding Initiative- 

What is it? It's a way of resolving timing conflicts. If you and your opponent both have Pilots at the same Pilot Skill, whoever holds the Initiative activates all of his Pilots with that Pilot Skill value first. In other words, the guy with initiative will maneuver and do his Perform Action step before the other player. 

When the Combat Phase rolls around, the guy with Initiative will resolve his combat steps before the other guy. I know. I used to get that mixed up too. 

Additionally, the book says if there are multiple abilities resolving at the same time, the guy with Initiative resolves his first. I'll be honest, I can't actually think of a scenario in which that would occur, but if/ when it does, the guy holding Initiative would resolve first. 

Do I have it? It depends. If both players spent the same amount of points on their lists and you're the Imperial player, then yeah- you have Initiative. If the two players didn't spend the same amount of points, the guy who spent less on his list has Initiative, regardless of Faction. 

EDIT: Bikini Aficionado Marty Ellenberger pointed out in the comments that Initiative works a little differently in Tournaments than above- in Tourneys, there's no tie goes to the Imperials stipulation- the player with the lower point total has Initiative as usual, but if there is a tie between the players' point totals, the Tournament Rules say it goes to the winner of a coin toss. 

What's it good for? Well, that's definitely a matter of opinion. Obviously there are uses for Initiative  but the real question to me boils down to, "If I'm eyeing a one-point upgrade, do I take it or leave it hoping to get Initiative?" 

Well, it depends on your list, of course. If that one point is going to get somebody and R2 Astromech and you really feel like you could use the extra green maneuvers, then I'd say to hell with the Initiative and spend the point. If you're just looking to add Determination for the hell of it, maybe hold onto it and secure Initiative. 

I don't think I've ever had any good or bad experiences with Initiative either way. In general, I think most folks made way too big of a deal out of it in the beginning, then as we got games under our belts, we realized it wasn't that big of a deal and stopped worrying about it. Now that everyone is like, "Meh- whatever", towards Initiative it might be the time to start securing it again. It does have some tangible benefits after all, and who knows- it might be the difference in Han firing on Soontir Fel or Vader instead of the other way around. 

3. Conflicting Rules
This one isn't really spelled out explicitly anywhere I'm aware of, but we do have a bit of a precedence from the X-Wing FAQ

From the Upgrade Cards heading on page 3 of the FAQ:  

Q: If two or more game effects conflict in 
changing the difficulty of a maneuver, which 
effect takes priority?
A: An effect that increases the difficulty of a maneuver 
takes priority over an effect that decreases the 
difficulty. For example, if a ship equipped with R2 
Astromech is dealt the Damaged Engine card, all 
of the ship’s turn maneuvers are treated as red 
maneuvers, including the 1- and 2-speed turn 

You'll see people talk about stuff like, "the worst of two possibilities" when it comes to conflicting rules debates on forums and stuff. That's kind of not entirely accurate. What we've actually got here is a situation where two cards change the difficultly of a maneuver, and in this situation the FAQ says the effect that increases the difficulty takes precedence. That's it.  

4. What's the difference between "Large" ships and everything else? 
Well, first, as of the time of this writing, there are two "Large" ships in X-Wing Miniatures- the YT-1300 and the Firespray-31. Nevermind any rumor stuff about those being medium ships or whatever, if you look at the little pamphlet that was included with those two ships, they're both termed "Large." 

The pamphlet calls out three main things to keep in mind with Large ships- Ion Tokens, Overlapping, and Setup. To be honest, you really only need to know the first one and the last one- Overlapping works exactly the same way it always does- just with a bigger base in play.  

When it comes to Ion Tokens, a Large ship takes two (or more, I guess) Ion Tokens to trigger the Ion Weapon card text. If a Large ship only has one Ion Token, there's no effect. If you do end up with two Ion Tokens on your Large ship, after you run through the rules on the Ion Weapon card, you discard both Ion Tokens. 

Ok, all well and good, but what about that part in the pamphlet that says, "A large ship is unaffected by a single ion token; the ion token simply remains assigned to the ship."- does that mean Large ships can't get rid of Ion Tokens unless they get Ionized- i.e. from a second successful Ion hit? 

Well, yeah. I'm pretty sure it means exactly that, actually. I can't find any other way mentioned anywhere in the rules, FAQ, Ion Card text, or Large ship pamphlet that states anything about otherwise ridding yourself of a single Ion Token, can you? That's me actually asking the question, not me being a smart ass. It can be hard to tell the difference sometimes. 

As for Setup, rather than extend the standard "deployment zone" for X-Wing past Range 1 of your own board edge, they simply decided that Large ships' bases may extend past the designated setup area so long as no part of the Large ship's base is outside the play area (i.e. off-table) in doing so and it fills the length of the area. 

That sounds kinda convoluted, doesn't it? What's it really mean? 

More or less it boils down to if you don't want to have your base square with your table edge, that's ok as long as your Large ship's base is filling the entire Range 1 deployment area. In other words, you can't deploy your ship square to the table edges with the rear edge of the base just a tiny bit inside your deployment zone. If you want to stick your base out over the edge of your DZ, it has to fill the entire DZ, or put another way- one of your corners better be touching the table edge. 

5. How many moves does it take a ship that can move at a Straight 5 to get across the board? 

Dig on the above picture. Scary, innit? Tape measure included so you know I'm not showing this example on a piece of felt that's less than 36" wide. 

23 April 2013

Arts and (Space)Crafts- Cheap and Easy DIY Starfield Mat

Arts and (Space)Crafts is a series of articles here on TheMetalBikini.com where I spotlight some of the more hobby-oriented aspects of X-Wing Miniatures and share them with all y'all. 

Cheap and Easy DIY Starfield Mat

As I've mentioned on several other occasions, I started out playing Warhammer 40k as my first miniatures game. Not to get completely sidetracked, but there was such a modelling, painting, and crafting learning curve associated with that game, it comes as no surprise to me, and I'm sure a lot of other folks who come from other miniatures games, that one of the appeals of X-Wing Miniatures for a lot of people is the fact that everything is already assembled and painted, right out of the box. 

Sure, I enjoy painting and assembling models now- it's actually one of the aspects of the 40k hobby I enjoy most, as I've become decent at it, but for a long time, it was one of the more frustrating parts of the hobby for me. 

That said, I'm still horrible at building terrain. I was absolutely ecstatic when the Cities of Death ruins came out because I could finally play on some terrain that didn't look like a 3rd grader's Egypt: Jewel of the Nile diorama. 

Anyway, if you've played other miniatures games, you know how much cooler it is to play with painted armies on a tabletop with some cool-ass scenery and terrain and stuff. I'm not trying to hate on people who don't paint and play with books and soda bottles and stuff, but there's absolutely no way anyone can look me straight in the eye and tell me that one of those games isn't better than the other. 

In the background of nearly every picture here on TheMetalBikini.com, you see a starfield mat. It's one I made myself back in October. There wasn't much to making it, but it does definitely make the X-Wing Miniatures experience more enjoyable, and as I've had some search results for "starfield mat" here lately, and what appear to be a bunch of readers somewhat underwhelmed by the official offering from FFG, I thought I'd run you through the steps of making your own cheap and easy starfield mat. 

Now, this isn't one of those 40k terrain articles where they say, "Oh, anyone can do this with the odd bits lying about your house"- it's much, much simpler. I don't know about you, but I don't usually have 20 square feet of foam insulation, a heat knife, a sheet of 3/4" MDF, a gallon of PVC glue, 10 pounds of sand just lying around my house. I also don't have six weeks without the wife, kids, or job to actually build a friggin' table I'm not embarrassed to play games on. No dear readers- you might actually have all this stuff lying around your house. For serious. You also don't have to be a master woodworker or painter to get this thing to go. 

Again- note the title of this article- this is a cheap and easy way to produce a serviceable starfield mat to play your X-Wing games. Following my directions will not produce the Sistine Chapel of gaming mats. It will not cause you to be the envy of your entire gaming club. It won't score you chicks. It will not make you a beautiful or unique snowflake.

It will however be better than playing on a woodgrain table top or kitchen floor and it's something I made in literally an hour this afternoon after I got home from work. 


  • 3' x 3' piece of black felt (or whatever you intend to use- could be an old sheet dyed black, a vinyl tablecloth spray painted black, whatever). 
  • Aluminium foil
  • A couple of pointy items (nails, thumbtacks, tiny screwdriver, needle, etc.)
  • Bricks or simliar heavy item
  • White spray paint

Optional Materials: 

  • Black Spray Paint
  • Tamiya (or whoever) Translucent Paints
  • Old Paintbrush
  • Clearcoat

Really the only thing you might have to go buy is the mat itself. I like using felt because it's cheap and it keeps the X-Wing Miniatures bases from sliding all over the place. You can also fold it up and not worry too much about creasing, so long as you don't fold it up super tight and take it out once in awhile. 

I got my fabric from a place called Joann Fabrics. The wife and I were in there buying Halloween decorations and I got a 6' x 3' for like $9 or something around there. You can get black felt other places like Wal-Mart though too. There's lots of options for fabric out there- glittery black felt, space scenes, whatever. I just went with plain black. 

After you've gathered up the rest of your materials, lay your fabric out someplace like a garage floor or deck. I had to use the little side deck today because my wife's Jeep was in the garage. 

Next, get your aluminium foil and start tearing sheets of it off so that it covers your piece of felt entirely. If you're outside, now would be a good time to put the bricks on the aluminum foil to keep it from blowing away or moving around too much. 

Get your pointy nails and stuff and poke a bunch of little holes in the foil. These of course, will end up becoming your stars. 

You can get as creative as you want here poking out constellations or whatever. Poke more holes than you actually need, because all of them probably won't actually "come out." 

After you're done poking your holes, smooth out the foil with your hands and try to get it as close to the felt as possible, eliminating any tents or creases or voids, then lay the bricks down on the edges to keep things nice and flat. Note that if you want stars that are very defined and sharp, your foil has to be as close to the felt as possible. If you don't mind your stars being a bit fuzzy, the foil can get away from the felt a bit- it still has to be pretty close though. 

Understand that unless you've got huge rolls of aluminium foil lying around, you're probably going to have to tear off four or five different sheets to actually cover your entire piece of felt. The only thing to keep in mind here is since you're using spray paint, there's a pretty good chance your spray will get under the places where one piece of foil overlaps another. You can either tape them together, spray in the direction of the overlap, or just try and be careful. It's up to you. I just tried to be careful. Tried being the key word... More on that in a sec. 

Ok, so once you've covered the entire piece of felt with your foil and poked your holes, uncap your white spay paint and go to town. And by go to town, I mean spray the entire surface of the foil covering your mat. 

It really doesn't hurt to spay it on a little thicker than you think you need or to do multiple coats. I mean, don't like spray until you've got a puddle, but some accumulation isn't necessarily a bad thing. If you want, you can vary how much paint you spray on to give a little variety in the brightness of your stars. 

Once you've sprayed your entire surface a few times, let it dry, then move your bricks, pull the foil off, and pitch it. 

Depending on how much time you've got left or how far you want to take this, this can be the end of it, right here. You should end up with a starfield that looks quite a bit like the one I've used for the background in the majority of the pictures here on TheMetalBikini.com. If you want to go a few steps further, continue on!

All right, after I did the above, I took my felt inside and thumbtacked it to the wall of my garage. I'd not taken into account how windy it was today, and as such, I had some pretty obvious paint lines where my sheets of foil were overlapping. 

I didn't have time to start all over again on the backside of the felt (which you can do, of course, if you're disappointed with your first pass at this), so I decided I'd try to fix it. I did a little looking around and found a can of black spray paint. I sprayed a bunch of little irregular shapes over the areas where the white lines were most prominent, then I kind of backed up (like a foot and a half away or so) and did a little fogging to try and even out the transitions between the spray paint shapes and the black felt. 

It's not as pretty as my original, but I did that one in the garage with my airbrush and spent a lot more time on it. It's still not horrible though, even having to fix those paint lines at every... single... overlap. 

If you want to add a little more character to your starfield, get your translucent paints (or even just regular paints) and dab on some color to some of the white stars. I tried to pick the larger ones to give the illusion of them being distant planets or whatever. I had some translucent red, blue, and green lying around from some 40k projects I'd been working on, so I tried all three. Red came out the best, as you'd probably expect, but the blue and the green does add more variety, if a little on the subtle side. I just dabbed it on with a paintbrush; nothing particularly interesting to note there as far as technique or amount or anything- just paint a little bit on to shift the color from white to blue, green, or red as desired. 

Finally, I fogged the whole thing with clear coat. I don't know how that'll work on fabric, but I figured, "why not?" 

So how'd it turn out? You tell me. Like I said, it's not fantastic, but bear in mind these pictures are taken with a Canon DSLR camera with flash, so it kind of doesn't look this bad in real life. If you look really closely, you can see a few of those colored stars in the pictures. 

Not bad for an hour's worth of work, right? 

EDIT: Update! Since I put forth the Bikini Challenge (in the comments) asking you guys to send me pics of your cheap and easy mats, I've had several submissions. 

First up is Bryan. This dude figured out that a $3.99 black project display board from Hobby Lobby would make a great foundation for a fabric play area. He also had this to say in his email...

Bought a 48" x 36" project display board from Hobby Lobby for $3.99

Spray glued on a 48" x 36" felt fabric that had sparkles embedded in the fabric. (Walmart)

Took 2 pieces of duct tape and taped/glued them down 6" onto the board on the long edges.

So, each side has a 6" of setup area for cards, ships, dials, etc, and the play area is exactly 3' x 3'.

The board folds up easily for storage and transportation

Pretty awesome result! Thanks Bryan!

Next we have the interestingly named xBino who submitted his idea of using a yoga mat (no slippage!) for an X-Wing Miniatures playmat via the comments. 

Super cool idea, and nice templates too, bro! 

Keep 'em coming! 

22 April 2013

Community Service- List builders UPDATED 27 September 13

Community Service is a new series of articles here on TheMetalBikini.com where I spotlight something different, cool, or fun made by someone in the X-Wing Miniatures community that I think you guys might dig. 

Updated 26 September 13

List Builders

Occasionally I get an email from a random Bikini Aficionado asking if I've checked out a particularly cool or useful link. Often, these links are to list builders. As I write all of these blog posts in the dead of night (not at 4am necessarily, but in the dead of night, nonetheless), I frequently can't/ don't have a bunch of lights on in the house and all my cards strewn out across the dining room table or whatever, so listbuilders are something I don't just use, but really kind of rely on. 

Usually I'm sitting on the couch, lit only by the monitor glow of my old Samsung Series 5 Chromebook, flanked by a couple of sleepy dachshunds, listening for my youngest to wake up crying, typing away on whatever random topic I'm discussing on here in the next few hours, puffing obsessively on my personal vaporizer (or e-cigarette, in local parlance). 

As I get these emails though, I always kind of think to myself, "I wonder how many people don't use these list builders?" It sort of begs the question, y'know? Especially when the email is from someone that I kind of know through the site and I know they've been playing for awhile. 

To me, a list builder isn't just about having your list typed up in some nice format- obviously anyone with a little free time could do the same thing in a Google Docs Spreadsheet, Excel, or a bunch of other programs. It's more about all the little things a good listbuilder will provide- namely, not allowing mistakes and quickly viewing all of the cards at once without having to flip through the, well, actual cards

I used a listbuilder when I started playing 40k largely to keep me from screwing things up in the unit loadouts. Being my first miniatures game and there being a lot of kinda fiddly rules when it came to the options while building a list, Army Builder was invaluable for me for that very reason. Once I got the hang of the FOC, heavy weapons, special weapons, vehicle upgrades, and the option for unlocking the Wargear armory (this was 4th ed- a Sergeant with Terminator Honors in a Tactical Squad worked a little differently back then), I found myself using it less and less. 

You may think that X-Wing Miniatures is too simple of a game to require a listbuilder, but really there's nothing worse than thinking you've figured out some awesome combo that you've never heard anyone else mention only to realize it's illegal because for some damn reason, FFG didn't want Horton Salm to have Elite Pilot Skills even though he's Pilot Skill 8. Using a listbuilder saves you that embarrassment. Or at least saves you from making it in person during your next game- you might still say something silly on a messageboard or something. Not that I'd know anything about something like that of course. : )

Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, a good listbuilder will put all of the card information in front of you in an way that's easier for your brain to process. Well, easier for me anyway. Your mileage may vary. If I had to actually sit down and put all the cards on the table to figure out combos and synergies, I'd be better off just trying to memorize them instead. Having the card text in front of you with just a mouseover or in a list? Maybe it's just me, but that makes all the difference in the world. 

So which X-Wing Miniatures List Builders do I dig the most? Well, first, I live online. You might have realized that when I said I use a Chromebook. In any case, I use listbuilders that are also online. I have no experience whatsoever with any offline listbuilder programs, Excel files, or anything else. I only use the stuff that's online because I can't install programs on my work computer and I'm never really on my PC or Mac anymore at home. Long story short, I can't speak to any offline versions- to be honest, I don't even know if there are any. If you know of any good ones, mention them in the comments and why they're so good and I'll do some checking and edit this article if necessary. 

This one is Voidstate's X-Wing Squadron Builder. It offers solid functionality in a polished package. It runs fast on my machine which is nice, and offers a bevvy of options when it comes to sharing and saving your squadrons. If you haz Facebooks, you can login with that, but as I don't, I can't really speak to that or the additional options that affords. 

(I know, I know, but I swear it's not some "I'm too cool to like Facebook" thing with me- I just never really got it. I do have Twitter and Google+ accounts, if you're curious. I'm not on either of them much anymore mind you as I'm usually either working on the site or looking at the site stats, but I do drop a lot of football (soccer) science on my Twitter. G+ I kind of still don't really understand, so I just pretty much re-share stuff on there. You're much more likely to get some of my original material, so to speak, on Twitter. Hey also- if you guys follow me on G+, send me a message or something- I get random strangers following me all the time on G+, but I think most of them are spammers, but I don't want to seem like a dick by not following you back if you're a TMB reader, y'know?)

Another great listbuilder comes from our pal Fab in France. His listbuilder, if I remember correctly, actually started out as a random squadrons generator, but soon after became both a listbuilder and a random squadrons generator. 

Runs quickly despite including the box art from all of the expansions and card art from every card, random squad generator is fully configurable to your collection, and Fab updates the site based upon user feedback and new stuff punctually. Tres magnifique! No idea if I typed that right, but it's supposed to be a compliment, yo. :)

Last but not least, TMB.com reader Geordan has a pretty swanky listbuilder of his own. 

I like the background art behind the pilot's name, the options are cleanly and efficiently laid out, and mousing-over anything pops up a window on the right side with the full stats are card text. Really handy to use like that. Like Fab, Geordan has also been keeping up with recent events- he already has the Imperial Aces stuff on there that's been revealed so far. He also features a "Card Browser" button that just lets you flip through all the cards very quickly which is another great feature.