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. 


  1. Another solid article! My only suggestion is when talking about initiative, you might point out that the tournament rules are a bit different - when squads are at equal point levels, initiative is determined by a coin toss. I know you're aiming your articles more at the casual player, but if that player decides to participate in an official event somewhere down the road, they should be aware of the minor differences in this and a few other points (like asteroids).

  2. Hey thanks, Marty!

    That's a great point- I'd not omitted the difference purposely, I'd just forgotten it. That's a really good suggestion, and thinking back, I may have missed that in the Tourney v Friendly Rules article too. I'll go back and check tonight and edit this article accordingly as well.

  3. So guess who didn't read the literature that came with the large ships? *This guy*. I didn't realize they took two ion tokens to trigger the ionizing effect.

    Also, I'm still not entirely clear on the deployment of the large ships. Sometimes I'm dense with these things so bear with...can you deploy the base of the Falcon outside range 1? I'm not sure I understand "fill the DZ" if you can deploy your base beyond the DZ.

    1. Deployment of large ships must do one of two things:
      1. Be completely within Range 1
      2. Be touching the back edge of the table

      Basically, if you set up square you can fit fully within range 1 of the edge, and normal rules apply. But if you start turned by some amount, the ship literally can't fit in Range 1 (the diagonal of the base is more than a range band). So the (2) above lets you start angled.

    2. Yup, that.

      The large ship base is slightly smaller than Range 1 (which is the standard for determining your deployment zone). As such, there's really only the two possibilities that Buhallin mentions above- either your base is square to the table and you're all in, or you're turned slightly and the base is going to hang over the front edge of your DZ. If you want to turn it, then whatever is your rearmost base corner (the corner closest to your table edge, in other words) needs to be touching your table edge.

  4. Thanks y'all. I probably should have dug out my rules and read about it, but I was lazy.