20 August 2013

Wave 3 Preview- The B-Wing

Right on, so this article's been a long time coming. I covered the rest of the Wave 3 stuff prior to this, but today, finally, the oft-delayed B-Wing article from me goes up. Was it worth the wait? Hell, I don't know. Let's take a look and see what we've got here. 

First, the majority of the info from this article comes from the stuff revealed in the FFG article called, "Target Lock Acquired" where they talk about the B-Wing and the TIE Bomber. The info does not come from my totally hilarious April Fool's Day post from, uh, well, 1 April. 

Like most of the Rebel ships, the B-Wing comes in two named pilot versions and two common pilot versions. I always like to start off with the common dudes first just to get an idea of what I'm working with before muddying the waters with named pilots and their abilities, and since this is my bar, that's where we'll start. 

So Blue Squadron is the cheapest, lowest Pilot Skill version of the B-Wing and clocks in at 22 points or one point more expensive than the Rookie X-Wing. How do the two compare? 

First, the stats are relatively similar. Easy, I said relatively. The one Defend die is a bit rotten, but it has 3 more shields than the Rook to help make up for that. They have the same 3 Attack, so that's good, and they both also have 3 Hull. All in all, it's looking fairly even. Where I think the B-Wing kinda comes into its own is possessing the extra Barrel Roll Action in addition to the Focus and Target Lock that Rookie also gets. How often you make use of it is entirely dependent on you and your ability, but as any TIE Interceptor player will attest, having a Barrel Roll in your arsenal is never a bad thing. After all, who cares if you only have one Defense die if you can BR out of your opponent's firing arc anyway? 

Past that, you've got a double load of torpedoes, the funky raygun, and the new Wave 3-centric Advanced Systems upgrades all available to you. That's a lot of variations via upgrades for such a cheap ship. 

So what are the common B-Wings well suited for? I think folks who regularly switch their alliances between Empire and Rebels will probably have a ball with this ship because they're used to barrel rolling, whereas guys like me who predominantly play Rebels, might struggle a bit with it at first. Also folks who have messed around with Firespray lists as I think the most straightforward application of this ship is as a Firespray-lite- staying back behind some X-Wings, bombing in shots to finish fools off from long range. I could see tacking on a Heavy Laser Cannon or an Ion Cannon once in a while for the the lulz, but really, I think it runs fairly decent just as it is. Keep in mind, the most common backline Firesprays are built around Trelix with an HLC or Kath with either an HLC or an Ion Cannon. Your generic B-Wing isn't going to be nearly as effective, but it's also much cheaper, so as long as you're not leaning on it heavily for results, you can use it in much the same way, albeit to diminished effect. As usual, the PS2 version of the ship is 2 points cheaper than the PS4 version with no other differences between the two. 

Ten Numb is the most expensive B-Wing pilot slotting into your list for 31 points. Considering the other options available at that amount of points, he'd better bring something pretty special to the table, right? PS8 is solid but not earthshaking, and the Elite Pilot Skill icon is something you should expect at this kind of point cost. Ten Numb's main benefit is his card text ability- which states that when you attack, 1 of your <crit> results cannot be cancelled by defense dice. 

Ok, so as I've stated before, I think crits are an important way to reduce the effectiveness of big ships. That's not to say that they don't work on small ships, just that they work on big ships better. As the Imperials will be able to choose between the Firespray and the Lambda, both quite capable and dangerous options, having the ability to stick a crit that can't be cancelled is kind of a big deal. That said, sticking an uncancelable (yeah, not a real word, I know) crit on a TIE Interceptor could be pretty amazing too, so it's not like you should only use Ten against big ships. 

The question in my mind is how often does this card text actually work. You're paying 9 points over the cost of the Dagger version for 6 more Pilot Skill, the Elite Pilot Skill icon, and the card text. Is it worth it? 

Weeeeell, maybe. 

As you've likely noticed before, your red Attack die is an 8-sider. Of those 8 sides, one is a critical result. Since you get to throw three of them down every time you attack, you've got a decent shot at rolling a crit. Of course, increasing those odds by running Ten Numb with Marksmanship or with Proton Torpedoes, and you've got the potential to stick somebody with some nasty and (probably) lasting effects. That said, you're talking about more than a third of your point total in a 100 point match, and Rebel ships aren't exactly cheap to start with (translation: you're not going to field much anything else in a 4-ship list in the way of upgrades or named pilots). There again though, against anybody buy a low PS swarm, you're probably coming out ahead with that strategy. 

As formidable as Ten Numb is, it's Ibtisam I'm more likely to mispronounce. I mean, I'm more likely to use. 28 points, she's not exactly cheap, but like Ten Numb, she adds the Elite Pilot Skill icon as well as (in this case) 4 PS above the cheapest incarnation, and her card text for 6 more points. 

28 points is the same total as Luke, so naturally I want to compare them. Luke's at a higher PS (8), but Ibtisam has that intensely interesting card text ability. As you'll recall, via his card text, Luke can change an eyeball result rolled on defense to an Evade. Ibtisam's ability is kinda similar, but her ability can be used on attack or defense and so long as she has a Stress token, she can reroll 1 of her dice. 

Now, some folks have been interpreting this as if Miss I has more than one Stress Token, she can reroll more than one die. I'm not one of those people who thinks that's how this card works, but whatever. I guess we'll have to wait on the FAQ. Either way, at a glance, the ability seems pretty great right? 

Again- weeeeeeeell, kinda. 

Bear in mind that you've gotta have her Stressed for this to work. That means you pulled a red, you took Push The Limit (and paid those additional points), or you cancelled one of Kath's hits. It's not like it's too hard to get Stressed (especially with all those red maneuvers available), but you very well may have sacrificed your Perform Action step to get that Stress token. If you used Push the Limit, well, kudos to you- your'e like the B-Wing Vader or something. If you purposely pulled  a red maneuver to generate the Stress, you just traded in a Focus, Target Lock, or Barrel Roll for the ability to reroll a single die. Not a great return on investment. Still though, if you don't mind the idea of wrapping up a third of your points in a single PS6 ship, you're probably not all that worried about that. 

Me personally, I'm probably going to play several games with only my common B-Wing pilots to get the hang of maneuvering them. Past that though, while Ten Numb and Ibtisam both have some pretty unique card text abilities, I think a case could definitely be made for going common on the B-Wing and still getting some good results. 

19 August 2013

Some BIG News Out of GenCon!

Saturday evening, I'm basking in the afterglow of the post-Premier League opening day win (and an away win, no less) by my favorite club when I get an email from a Bikini Aficionado by the name of Lord Fancy Pants. 

Huge fan of your site! I stopped by Fantasy Flight today at GenCon, they had these on display...

The glare blocked out the card for the corvette, but it will also be released early next year, with a retail price of $89.95.


After picking my jaw up off the floor, I thanked him for sending me the pics and the info and asked if I could post his pics here at the bar. We emailed back and forth a few times and Lord Fancy Pants also informed me that while the GR-75 and the 'Vette won't be tournament legal, he said they'd be sold with new scenario packs. So kinda not Wave 4 per se, but more like an expansion was how he described it. 

First, I don't care if they're for tournaments or not- that's effin' cool, y'all. If you haven't already, click on those pics- Lord Fancy Pants took some pretty high res shots of them and they're totally worth drooling over. I also love that he framed the shot of the transport well to capture the relative size next to the X-Wing in the foreground- couldn't have done it better myself and I'm a pretty solid picture-taker, er photographer. These are some pretty big ships! 

Secondly, I haven't even looked around the net to see, but I'll guarantee you there's some basement dwellers crying about the scale. Do me a favor- tell them to stuff it. 

Look- as I said in one of my last posts on the FFG forums, the scale thing is really only important to FFG because they wanted it to be important. As Sean mentioned in the comments to his lengthily titled article and as I'm pretty sure as I've said on here before, ironically, the miniatures are actually the least important part of X-Wing Miniatures- you could take the ship off the peg and play the game without missing a beat. Somebody was going on about how FFG could never make a 'Vette because it'd be too big for a 3'x3' board on the FFG forums to which I replied the above; namely that scale doesn't matter one iota in this game from a mechanics perspective, and also it was entirely possible that the game might not stay 3'x3' and 100 points forever. As is typical with messageboards, my message was met with scorn, derision, and other random strawmen excuses and speculation. Now, I don't mind people disagreeing with me, but the point is this- this is FFG's game and they can do whatever they want with it

Oh sure, it has to pass the license approvals from Lucasfilm or Disney or whoever, but uh, well, I'm not sure if you've noticed, but there's a lot of Star Wars SHIT out there, y'all. And by SHIT, I mean just that- SHIT. Not stuff, or lots of merchandise that I'm sort of collectively referring to as "shit", as in, you just dumped a bunch of spare car parts on the floor of my garage and went, "My God, look at all of this shit." No, friends, by "shit" I mean low-quality, junky, useless stuff. I mean for Christ's sake- there are friggin' Star Wars PEZ dispensers and have been for like 20 years (at least), do you really think somebody at Lucasfilm or Disney is going to pull out a calculator and say, "Sorry, FFG- at the 1/270th scale, a Corvette should be x inches long and this model you've submitted for us is clearly y inches long. Denied!" 

I don't think I've ever truly revealed my age on here, but I'm 39, y'all. For those of you who have difficulty with math, that means I was born in 1974, which more to the point means I grew up with the original trilogy. I not only had the hard plastic lightsabers you had to swing as hard as Barry Bonds to make a whistling noise (thus insuring a bruise on whoever the unlucky bastard being Chewbacca that day who accidentally stood within range of your wild swinging), to the O.G. inflatable lightsaber with the flashlight in the end of it. I had a friggin' Star Wars electric toothbrush in like 1979 or '80. The light switch in my room? Yup- R2-D2 light switch cover. I'm not talkin' some decorated replacement switch plate now- I'm talkin' about this big ass plastic R2-D2 that like went on over the switch plate you originally had installed and if you lined it up right, you moved one of those kinda square-shaped vent doo dads on the front of R2-D2 to turn your light on and off. All "official" items here- I'm not talking about some Jawa ashtray a friend made for you for your 23rd birthday or some unlicensed Alliance Firebird shirt on Etsy, this was for reals Star Wars stuff. 

Lest you think that little trip down memory lane was one of my trademark digressions, think again y'all- the point is this: all that stuff got approved. Phantom Menace Doritos? Approved. Yoda Underoos? Approved. Burger King glasses featuring artwork that resembled the Star Wars characters in only the vaguest of ways? Approved. That stuff? Just off the top of my head, by the way. 

So long story long, no, I don't think anybody cares whether or not the 'Vette is 100% to scale with the rest of the ships. Who knows, it may be, it may not. I know FFG got all defensive when somebody intimated that the HWK-290 wasn't to scale at the Star Wars Weekend deal they had back in May when they first confirmed the Wave 3 ships. All I'm saying is the same thing I said over on the FFG boards that time- if they, and by they I mean FFG, think there's a market for it, then they should sell it. As lots of people were talking about big ships on their boards, I made the observation they'd be silly not to sell us some big ships. 

And lo and behold, it looks as though they've done exactly that. And I for one, look forward to it. 

Like I've said about the HWK-290 and sort of obtusely, the Y-Wing and TIE Advanced, I want a reason to use all of these ships, but short of me finding the time to create themed scenarios, playtest them, revise, playtest again, then play, I kinda don't right now. Oh sure, I like to mix it up and all, but honestly, even though I own two Y-Wings, I'm pretty sure I've never actually flown both of them in the same list. Ditto for the TIE Advanced. 

I know, there's the User Created Content page over on BGG. I've read it. I've never posted anything from there because I didn't want to piss off the authors or get the reputation for stealing stuff and posting it here. Oh sure, I could email them and ask permission and all that, but usually by the time I'd get to that point, I'd just think of something else to write about and that'd be that. By the time I really started running out of ideas, I just kind of decided that I'd only ever publish when people contacted me instead of the other way around for a bunch of reasons I don't want to get into at the moment. 

In any case, the TL;DR version for you ADHD sufferers, big ships good, new scenarios good, haters eat crow, lols. 

Sorry if you were coming to read about the B-Wing. I swear I'll get to it tomorrow!

Thanks again to Lord Fancy Pants! You rock, pal!

16 August 2013

Wave 3 Previews: The Moves and Grooves of the Wave 3 Ships!

Yeah, I don't know. Found it on the Gencon site just now. 

I'm working a split shift this week and next week at the plant (11:30 am until 9:00pm) and as I was killing a few minutes in the driveway while my wife got our barky-ass dachshunds hidden away back in our bedroom in an attempt to prevent them from waking up the kiddos when I opened the garage door, I checked my email and found that longtime reader Shane had emailed me to say the maneuver dials had been leaked for the Wave 3 ships at Gencon today. 

First, I came close to heading to Gencon this year. It's just right up the road from me, but ultimately, I had enough vacation days left to either hit Gencon or attend the USMNT v Mexico World Cup Qualifier in Columbus next month. Lest you think poorly of me dear readers, a thousand apologies, but I opted for the WCQ. In addition to being your Blogmaster General and a reluctant hipster, I'm also a member of both the USSSC and an American Outlaw (if any of y'all are going too, drop me an email and we'll meet up at the tailgate or something). Being one of the relatively lucky few to score not only 4 tickets to this sold out match, but tickets in the American Outlaws section... well, there's just no way I could pass that up.  

I figured people would leak all the Wave 3 info one way or another anyway, but it still would have been cool to attend and cover for the site. Maybe next year as it's not a World Cup year. :) 

Right on, enough blabbing- here's the skinny on the maneuver dials from the Wave 3 ships (and if you'd like to talk more about them than just my little comments section, Team Covenant and BoardGameGeek both have the info posted up. 

A user on BGG made some sweet visual templates, but as I'm always particularly careful about not jacking people's images and stuff, I'm not using them, so bear with me as I describe them to you. Figured I'd mention them though if you want to see them. 

I think the ship I was most curious about was the Lambda what with it's seemingly ridiculous low cost, so let's look over her moves- 

At Speed 3- Red Left Bank, White Straight, Red Right Bank
At Speed 2- Red Left Turn, White Left Bank, White Straight, White Right Bank, Red Right Turn
At Speed 1- Green Left Bank, Green Straight, Green Right Bank
At Speed 0 (not a typo)- Red Stationary

So this thing's got less moves than a white accountant in a disco. The whole stationary thing has everybody all a twitter tonight, as you might expect. Apparently the rules for remaining stationary are discussed in the little pamphlet thing that comes with the Lambda. I have no idea what they are at the moment (aside from the obvious, of course), but I'm sure someone will drop some science about it in the comments before too long. I wonder how much of this seemingly limited dial gets made slightly better by the fact that it's a big base? No K-Turn, but again, I think that's not that big of a deal. Y'all likely know my stance on the K-Turn, but in short, you probably don't rely on it a ton to begin with if you're past your first couple of months playing X-Wing Miniatures (or you've got some list cooked up that benefits from Stress), so I still think the Lambda is pretty nasty. 

Next up? How about the ship I forgot to write about (well, not really- truth is I left the Chromebook out in the car night before last when I was going to write about it and was too lazy to go and get it out after everyone went to bed- I'll cover it this Monday; I promise), the B-Wing? 

At Speed 4- Red Straight
At Speed 3- Red Left Bank, White Straight, Red Right Bank
At Speed 2- White Left Turn, White Left Bank, Green Straight, White Right Bank, White Right Turn, Red K-Turn
At Speed 1- Red Left Turn, White Left Bank, Green Straight, White Right Bank, White Right Turn

So if a Falcon and a Y-Wing had a kid, it'd be a B-Wing, more or less. More green moves than a Y-Wing, but less moves overall. The K-Turn at speed 2 is slightly eyebrow raising. Overall, for movement options while not taking into account colors (red, white, green) the dial is very similar to the YT-1300. Kind of the opposite of the way I feel about the Lambda though- I think without the big base and 360 degree turret of the YT, the B-Wing might be tougher to fly right off the bat than you might think. Of course, if you've got it penciled in for backline duty, it kinda doesn't matter so much, does it? 

Next on the list, the TIE Bomber- 

At Speed 5- Red K-Turn (Huh?)
At Speed 4- White Straight
At Speed 3- White Left Turn, White Left Bank, Green Straight, White Right Bank, White Right Turn
At Speed 2- Red Left Turn, Green Left Bank, Green Straight, Green Right Bank, Red Right Turn
At Speed 1- White Left Bank, Green Straight, White Right Bank

I have no idea what to make of the K-Turn at 5 with no corresponding straight move. Don't even ask. That said, the fact that you can green move straight at speeds 1, 2, or 3 as well as bank left or right at speed 2 gives you a lot of functionality for losing that speed 5 K-Turn Stress Token, so if you do enjoy the K-Turn, you ought to be able to make fairly good use of it in a Bomber. I still think the TIE Bomber will be the belle of the Wave 3 ball. 

Lastly, the ship some random guy on BoLS got offended over because I labeled it "Most Likely To Be Slightly Underwhelming", the HWK-290- 

At Speed 4- Red Straight
At Speed 3- Red Left Bank, White Straight, Red Right Bank
At Speed 2- White Left Turn, White Left Bank, Green Straight, White Right Bank, White Right Turn
At Speed 1- Green Left Bank, Green Straight, Green Right Bank

If my math is right (big if there- as we've discussed in the past, the maths are not exactly my strong suite), the HWK is tied with the Lambda for fewest moves of any ship in the game (12 total). Also like the Lambda, no K-Turn available. Skimming the threads on both Team Covenant and BGG before writing this, I read people talking about how the HWK is effective out to Range 3 (I guess in terms of pilot card text and that blaster turret) as kind of a way to make up for the rotten dial. Again, maybe I'm completely missing something obvious to everybody else, but I'm just not feelin' this ship on any level. Oh sure, I'll probably buy one because I'm a big dork like that, but I just don't see the viability of this ship in any kind of remotely competitive setting. Don't take my word for it, play around with it when it comes out, I'll do the same, and maybe we'll figure out what I'm missing here. I mean, the Y-Wing has a (somewhat debatably, but not very)  better movement dial than this thing. You ever use a Y-Wing and think to yourself, "Good Lord, this thing has just got moves for days and one too many Attack dice!"? Yeah, me neither. 

So there it is, y'all. At this point, there's not much left we don't know, and I'm sure by the end of the weekend, the rest of the proverbial beans will have been spilled (if they haven't already). I made this joke already in my reply to him, but allow me to say, Danke Shane for giving me the heads-up that the dial info had leaked. 

I know, that's a terrible joke and you're likely rolling your eyes, but hey- it's me. :) 

09 August 2013

Sean's Lengthily Titled Article Regarding How To Recruit Your Wife/ Friends/ Etc. to Play X-Wing Miniatures

Long time readers will remember me talking about Sean. He's one of the guys I play X-Wing with over Google Hangout and off the top of my head, I'm pretty sure of the people I'm still friends with, I've been friends with Sean longer than anyone else. We go quite a ways back me and him, we've made several terrible/ good movies together, saw Public Enemy in concert together (in 1991, no less), cohabited in Austin, TX for awhile, played (poorly, for the most part) on the high school golf team, wrote a couple of punk songs, wrote a couple of rap songs, you name it pretty much. At this point, by my math (which means the following figure will be highly suspect), I estimate we've been friends for somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 years. 

In any case, he mailed me an article today that's very much a TheMetalBikini.com Friday-type article. It's sort of an editorial, sort of a comedy bit, sort of a primer for how to get people to try X-Wing, but it's all Sean. Well, with a bit of editor-style comments thrown in by yours truly. 


Despite the fact that your Blogmaster General is an obvious X-Phile, I have been unable to persuade him to engage me in a round of X-Wing since June 1 when I annihilated his 4 X-Wing setup to claim last place (despite winning 2 of 3 Swiss rounds [see other articles discussing the uncharacteristic methods of scoring used]) at the Regionals we attended (I still feel as though I came in dead-ass last, but whatever). Since I have been unsuccessful at drawing the Eye of Sauron away from Netrunner, Elder Scroll (it's Elder Sign, smarty pants), Arkham Horror, etc., for the last 2 months and also because my incessant whining (Stop It! Stop Whining!) has thus far been ineffective, I decided that before my DTs got any worse, I needed to branch out, do some networking, and find other folks to play X-Wing with. And by other folks, I mean my wife and brother-in-law.

Now if you’re like me and the guy pouring the drinks, you probably don’t get out much. And if that is the case, you have exactly two options: (1) figure out how to get your wife (or other random family members) to play X-Wing with you or (2) play MMORPGs until you are served with divorce papers (and frankly, why quit then?). Option 2 is just passé, so I recommend going with option 1. The trouble here is that much like Luke Skywalker’s trench run in the first Star Wars movie (meaning the one they made first, not the first one like Episode I or whatever, you know, a New Hope…Episode IV, I guess they call it now, unless they’ve changed it again or something), you have just one shot at destroying the Death Stare. You mean Death Star; that’s a typo right? No. I mean Death Stare: the look that is capable of destroying any chance that you will ever get your wife to play X-Wing with you again after you demo with the wrong list and accidentally annihilate her chances of having any fun by giving her only a one in a million shot at beating you. So what do you do to successfully defeat the Death Stare? Isn’t it obvious? You need the Secret Plans. And guess what? I found the Secret Plans and I’m going to share them with you.

While I’m sure it goes without saying, I discovered the Secret Plans the same way that all men discover anything, really…by being an idiot. And so it came to pass that after about 3 or 4 weeks of trying to persuade my wife to let me teach her how to play X-Wing, my lamentations finally paid off! Having given little thought to what lists to put together for a demo, I quickly thought that a 50 point list with X-Wings and TIEs sounded good, since those are the ships that come with the Core Set. And since X-Wings are a bit more offensive than TIEs, I set my wife up with Wedge and Rookie Pilot which is an even 50 points, and I set myself up with Night Beast, Winged Gundark, and Howlrunner with Swarm Tactics for an even 50 points. My reasoning told me that 2 ships versus three ships is pretty even and that Wedge is a beast, and I could just train my TIEs on Rookie and give Wedge some shots and have a nice easy game where my wife could shoot at my TIEs with Wedge and kill me real good. Alas, my reasoning was wrong. (See being an idiot, above). On the first turn we flew straight at each other from across the table. On the second turn, my wife performed 1-banks in opposite directions (inexplicable, right?), splitting her ships, exposing her flank, and removing all my ships from her firing arcs. So here I am with range 1 bulls-eyes on Wedge with 2 TIEs and the same range 1 bulls-eye on Rookie with the TIE on the other side. What am I going to do? Pass? Letting somebody win is one thing. Just not playing the game so that someone else can win: now that’s something else. To make matters worse, I tried to guess maneuvers that would take me away from her ships, and I guessed wrong, leading to a situation where she continued to have her ships at point blank with her having no shot. A few bad die rolls by my wife, a few good die rolls by me. Game over. She never even hit me. She made one movement error at the beginning of the game and it was unrecoverable for her as a beginner. So that was a bad trainer list. My bad. I saw the Death Stare was pretty darn close to being in range at that point, so I had to think fast. I needed to this salvage this situation quickly, so I climbed into my escape pod and that’s when I discovered the Secret Plans.

Feeling I had just a fleeting chance to fix this whole mess, I switched off my targeting computer (those things just eff things up anyway) , quickly issued a mea culpa, observed this was a silly list to start with and suggested something with less of a nuance to its maneuverability might be more fun. And by less of a nuance to maneuverability, I meant one and only one ship, specifically: the fastest hunk-a-junk in the galaxy with the pilot most equipped to communicate thoughtfully with women, i.e. Chewbacca. We were playing 50 points, and since Chewie is just 42 points, I skimmed through the upgrades and decided on Gunner and Marksmanship, arriving at an even 50 points. I played the same Imperial list that I had played against the ill-conceived two X-Wing list from the first game. This time, the results were strikingly different. Without needing to worry about the firing arc, my wife was able to shoot every round. Because she had the Gunner upgrade, if she rolled her reds really bad and missed, or if I rolled my greens really well and she missed, then she got another chance. Because of Chewie’s card text she could never take a face up critical damage result and she had a lot of hull and shields to keep her on the board long enough for a fighting chance to legitimately take out some TIEs, which she eventually did do, of course, and with 5 hull left to boot. By the time it was over, she had had a good time, learned how to play the game, and felt that the game was fun and worthwhile, and has been willing to play again. At the same time, it was actually challenging for both players and while I didn’t play as aggressively as I might have played against he who shall not be named, I didn’t just give it away either. So despite a very poor start to my battle plan, I managed to stay on target and defeat the Death Stare.

The next week, I had the opportunity to extend my network of X-Wing Acolytes when my wife suggested I train my visiting brother-in-law in the ways of the Force, i.e. to play X-Wing. He is a regular gamer, but had never played X-Wing before. Since it worked so well in destroying the original Death Stare, I set us up with the Secret Plans again in the hopes of not having anything so gratuitously unoriginal as a “Death Stare II” or whatever. One concern I had with the Secret Plans was that I feared they were a little unbalanced in favor of Rebels (considering how badly my wife beat me with that list), so I wanted to give the Secret Plans another shot to see how they would work out. In another shining example, the Secret Plans proved themselves to be just as balanced as anything else, as my brother-in-law and I played to a draw. The game ended with Winged Gundark (PR 5 with initiative) firing at Chewie and taking his last hull, which resulted in Chewie (who is also PR 5) being able to return fire and take Winged Gundark’s last hull to eliminate both ships from the table. While I did hedge a little against my wife, I played my brother-in-law straight up. It was a fair fight and it went down to the wire, with both of us sweating the die rolls on the last couple of turns. It worked out to be really fun, with a lot of good action and a very satisfying conclusion. My brother-in-law really enjoyed it and told me that he is definitely going to buy the game.

Ultimately my observations are that the Secret Plans are good for training players in a quick 50 point round of X-Wing that involves some decision making, while limiting the chance for the beginner to make unrecoverable tactical errors. The use of Chewbacca with Gunner enables the beginner to focus on learning the movements, actions and attack algorithm, while being forgiven for simple maneuvering errors. The 360 degree YT-1300 arc ensures that your trainee (or Padawan if you are dorky enough to think that word is cool, but hey…at least it isn’t “youngling”, right? The horror. The horror.) will almost always have a shot and that the great majority of the time will be able to damage your TIEs. While the trainee will perhaps take a good deal of damage, he will not have to suffer the effects of critical damage and has plenty of hull and shields to withstand a number of rounds of play. At the same time, the trainee gets exposure to the need of your TIEs to have the YT-1300 in their firing arcs to fire, the extra actions (evade, and barrel roll) that the TIEs can take, the TIEs need to K-turn when appropriate, and the nuances of maneuvering that come along with using the smaller ships, as well as the way card text and upgrades work on ship selection. Both my wife and brother-in-law, despite their inexperience, quickly observed (on their own without my prompting them) that the goal of taking out Howlrunner was paramount and Howlie was the first to go down in both of these games). By the end of the game, I thought we had covered most of the basics and that they had a good understanding to build upon for future sessions. This setup allows you to expose the trainee to elements of the game that the trainee doesn’t need to initially focus on, and that you can supplement as your trainee gets more comfortable with the core mechanics. Additionally, the trainee has to focus on only one ship to get the hang of things, but it is a good enough ship that it can hold its own without being blasted into oblivion. The Secret Plans play pretty fast and are, I think, quite a bit of fun even for someone with a fair bit of experience playing the game. I think the Secret Plans are certainly not the only list out there that can be a good list for teaching, but I found the Secret Plans particularly effective, action-packed, and fun, and not nearly as ill-conceived as the two X-Wing setup that I led with. I am sure that one could substitute Gunner and Marksmanship for something like Luke Skywalker: Gunner and Veteran Instincts and probably have the same style of experience. I recommend the Secret Plans as a training list for folks that you may want to initiate into the ways of X-Wing, and particularly for those who may not have a lot of gaming experience and need something that gives a good amount of well-rounded exposure to the elements of the game, while being simultaneously fun and forgivable in its style of play.

So if your friends are bored of X-Wing, and if no one else can help, and if you can get your wife to play, then maybe you can beat…the Death Stare.

I love it when a plan comes together (especially if it's a Secret Plan).

That last line is especially poignant as today at lunch after skim reading Sean's email regarding this article, I got a notification that Toyota of Louisville (KY) favorited a Tweet I wrote last weekend.

08 August 2013

Community Service- Fab's Random Squadrons Generator

Two posts in one day after nothing for like two weeks? Yeah, I'll keep ya guessin' like that. 

You guys know how I love to talk about all the email I get, well I got an email back on Sunday went a little somethin' like this (hit it)- 


I created the X-wing miniatures Random Squadrons generator (also availale a manual mode). 
As your site provides a lot of information about the game, perhaps you can put a link to my tool. It is available at the following address : http://fabpsb.free.fr/If you don't know it, I let you discover it and if you have any question, don't hesitate to contact me.

For information, the goal of this generator is to help players to enter into the game and to have a way to speed up the squadron creation phase that could be long for new players.

I consistently improve it and I plan to do an update in the coming weeks in order to create a bridge between the two generation modes (random and manual) in order to generate a random squadrons and to tweak them in the manual mode for example.

First, as this is a .fr domain, I'm guessing English isn't the guy's first language, so respect for that. I only speak English with enough knowledge of Spanish to crack up drunk Honduran football supporters, a teensy bit of Japanese recently picked up on the job, and a very tiny amount of Russian and German. I damn sure don't know enough to code a bilingual list builder. Hell, I don't even know how to code in English to be honest- that's one of the reasons I just use Blogger to host TheMetalBikini.com. 

Anyhizzle, Fab made a pretty swanky random squadron generator/ list builder that's fairly configurable and runs very quickly in your browser. It also features full card text, pictures of the models in their boxes, and just enough options to allow you to tweak it to your own personal taste. Check it out if you have a chance, aficionados- it's good stuff! 

And merci for reading my blog and submitting your site, Fabrice. I've quadruple-checked how to spell your name, which means I'm hoping desperately that I got it right. I just hope your a Lyonnais or Marseille supporter and not PSCity, er, I mean, PSG. :) I was impressed to read about Lyonnais in Soccernomics and well, Joey Barton played for Marseille. What can I say? I was a Dennis Rodman fan too. Sometimes it's fun to root for the bad guy, y'know? 

Wave 3 Preview- TIE Bomber

As a few of y'all pointed out to me via email, FFG has posted another preview of Wave 3 stuff, this time mainly focusing on the B-Wing and TIE Bomber. Personally, I was kinda stoked they finally chose to open up about the Bomber as we'd really not had a whole lot of info regarding it up to this point. 

As I've basically had nothing to talk about since like, oh, May-ish, and I gotta get another article written after this, I'm just going to talk about the Bomber today.  As is the case with most Imperial starfighters, we've got two common pilots and two named pilots. 

So if you were wondering, the cheapest dedicated missile boat in the game so far comes in at 16 points for the base model. 6 Hull is pretty solid, but as I've discussed on here before, sticking a critical on a ship is a good way to negate at least some of its effectiveness, and TIE Bombers will be no different in that regard. Longtime readers will have heard this one before, but taking stuff to help you inflict criticals, be that a Secondary Weapon System like Proton Torpedoes, or pilots who are more likely to do a crit like Maarek aren't all that effective for their points against small ships- it's the big ships with all those hull points where those guys earn their keep. Well, the Bomber is going to fall into that category too because while it's a little ship, it has a lot of hull and no shields, so if you know your opponent is going to be fielding a few, you should bring some crit infliction just like you would if you knew he was going to be rocking a big base ship. 

Playing as one of the common TIE Bombers, and likely firing pretty late in the combat phase, I think the idea would be to finish off somebody who was already dinged for their shields earlier in the round. Seems relatively obvious, I know, but I don't see many people roll torpedoes or missiles on low PS ships anymore. Back in Wave 1? Sure- you'd see folks roll Rookies with PTs, but now? Maybe that's just my own meta and experiences, but being as how the Bomber can't really be one-shotted with that high hull value and your opponent isn't likely to spend that first round having multiple ships fire on a relatively low cost ship like a Bomber, they are going to be pretty likely to get at least one round of their own warheads out of the tubes before anything particularly bad happens to them. Might not be a strategy you can rely on long term, but I'd bet you could catch a few people with their pants down the first month or so Wave 3 hits the bricks. 

So the age old question- missiles or torpedoes? I think it depends on what the rest of your list looks like. If you don't have a lot of ability to inflict crits, throw torps on your bombers, and missiles if you're just needing to score a lot of hits. How many I think is also very contextual to the rest of your list. As I've mentioned before, I cut my teeth in miniatures gaming with a Space Marine 40k army, but I really came into my own as a Guard player which means I'm loathe to load down one of these ships with a ton of missiles and/ or torpedoes. That said, once those warheads are away, you're not going to accomplish a whole lot with 2 Attack and 2 Defend, so a case can definitely made for telling me to go take a flying leap with that line of thinking. Not having seen the maneuver dials for the TIE Bomber I can't say that with 100% certainty, but I'm still comfortable making the statement as I'd guess the Bomber has a wheel somewhere between an X-Wing and a Y-Wing, likely trending more towards the Y. My advice? Take one set of warheads for sure, then if you've got 4 or 5 points left to burn after picking the rest of your ships, throw another set on some lucky pilot. 

The named pilots for the Bombers are Major Rhymer and Captain Jonus. 

Awright, so 22 points for a PS 6 Bomber with one hell of a special ability. Sounds great to me. Once again- if you haven't already realized, like I said over on BoLS last week, the TIE Bomber is going to be the sell out ship of Wave 3, y'all. Remember how tough it was to get an Interceptor back in April? The Bomber's gonna be the same way. 

One apparent application is to stick him with a ton of other Bombers and watch the hits roll in. TIE Swarm players gotta be lickin' their chops over this guy because he's more or less Howlrunner for Secondary Weapon Systems and then some. That said, if you've got the points to fly Trelix or Kath Scarlet along side this dude? Boy oh boy, somebody's in for a hurtin'. Oh, did I mention he can also take an Elite Pilot Skill? Jonus gonna be carryin' more than just the wheel in a lot of Imperial lists. Believe 'dat. 

The other named pilot guy is sure to become my favorite X-Wing Miniatures pilot bar none. Yeah, maybe even in front of Turd Ferguson

In case you hadn't picked up on it before following the links in my posts, I dig a lot of different kinds of music, but like most folks, there's some music I dig more than others. One of those I dig more than others is anything by Public Enemy. The fact that this dude is named Major Rhymer and Chuck D has often described himself as the Hard Rhymer, expect to hear two things from me when I roll the Major- 

1) A whole lotta whiteboy doing Public Enemy lines, 
2) The various and sundry other nicknames for Chuck D, eg., "Ok, the rhyme animal, the young cannibal, D, public enemy number one is going to attack Green Squadron Pilot..."

Opportunities for rappin' aside, D ain't a bad ship. At 26 points he's not exactly cheap, but his card text virtually assures the ability of using any Secondary at any range. Sure, you're not going to get an extra die if you get into Range 1, but you do get to fire torps or what have you, which is of course, generally not the case.

This is one time I'd break my rule of not putting a bunch of points into a single ship- if you're looking for something to change up that small quantity, elite pilot Imperial list you've been messing around with during Wave 2 and are slightly bored with, I think the Hard Rhymer would be fun to sub in. Deck him out with some warheads of your choosing, stick an Elite Pilot Skill on there (Marksmanship could be fun, for sure) if you're feelin' froggy and you've got the points and force your opponent to make that hard choice- do I try to go after Turr Phennir, Vader, or MistaChuck? Trelix, Backstabber, Mauler Mithel, or the guy who's blowin' up the 90's but started tickin' in '86? You catchin' my drift? 

So for the TL;DR crowd who wandered over here from BoLS and have no appreciation for my flow, TIE Bomber good- buy one. Actually buy several. 

And remember folks, TL;DR really only works on messageboards- you clicked on the article, knucklehead. It ain't like I've got super-important, earth-shattering information you need to know before the apocalypse hits or I hid some amazing nugget of truth you just can't live without in the last line or whatever. You think it's too long? Stop readin' it, dipshit. Ain't nobody keepin' you from hittin' the back button.