16 October 2013

Crew Members- Navigator

This post regarding Crew Members is part of a larger article regarding Wave 3 listbuilding- the rest of the posts n this series will be available in the coming weeks as I'm revealing a post or two per day on the various topics in that larger article. For more info, click the "List Building Resources" tab at the top of the page or simply click here.

Navigator (3)
Card Text: When you reveal a maneuver, you may rotate your dial to another maneuver with the same bearing. You cannot rotate to a red maneuver if you have any stress tokens.

Usage in game: Lying about your dial and getting away with it, er, uh...
Action?: No
Breakdown: Navigator is like that late-bloomer girl (or hell, guy I guess too- I shouldn't push my own sexual orientation upon y'all, right?) that you never really thought twice about in high school, but you run into in a bookstore four or five years later and go, "Oh, wow." 

When you first saw Navigator, if you're like me, you likely glossed over it in favor of easier to use, more sexy cards like Recon Specialist or Darth Vader, Crew Member, but now that all this stuff's been out for a little while, you're going back through your cards one evening and say to yourself, "Oh, wow. That's really kind of amazing." 

While Boba Fett can also change his revealed maneuver, he does it in a somewhat different way than Navigator. To my knowledge, even including the leaked Royal Guard Interceptors from Imperial Aces, these are the only two cards in the game that allow you to affect the maneuver you've picked to reveal.

So let's break this down, shall we?

First things first- what's a bearing, exactly? Are we like talking boats and starboard and sextants here? Since I grew up roughly 800 miles away from the nearest ocean, I'm no sailor. Lucky for us, a quick glance at the X-Wing Miniatures Rule Book reveals exactly what a bearing is in this game- no compass or funny hats required.

Right on- so Bearing is the arrow on your maneuver dial. A straight, a left turn, a right bank, etc. So Navigator allows you to reveal a different maneuver than the one you picked with a different speed number, but the same arrow.

So a couple of things come to mind taking this all in-

1) You still gotta pick a maneuver your ship is actually capable of, so take a look at that dial and note the moves, especially the red moves. Some folks predicted this card would help make up for the crappy movement dial on a Shuttle, it kinda does, but obviously not completely as you can't just make stuff up and you can only take on a red move if you're unstressed.

2) K-Turns and Straights don't share the same bearing even though they share the same template. Don't let anybody con you on this one. Dig on the excerpt above- it's very clear as to what are the available bearings in this game.

"What about the Lambda's stationary move?" You ask. "What's the bearing on that?"

Well, lucky for you, I just got back up off the couch and checked the rules pamphlet included with the Lambda just be sure. I figured since I'd gone to the trouble of digging it out, I might as well take a picture of it with my phone (I'd already put away the wife's camera after finally taking some new ship pics- sorry the pics have been kinda recycled lately; I lost my favorite SD card for the camera and just found it earlier this evening), because, well, I don't know. I like pics. They tend to break up my wall o' text tendencies.

The bearing on the stationary maneuver is well, stationary. So despite what the rule book might have you believe, there's actually currently 7 bearings, post-Wave 3 release.

All that said, is Navigator good for anything besides the obvious benefit of being able to alter the speed of your chosen bearing? Does it work particularly well with anybody?

Well, as with the rest of these Crew Member cards, you're stuck with folks who have an extra seat in their ship- the YT-1300, the Firespray, the Shuttle, and the HWK are our candidates here.

Fett is pretty good choice if you aren't married to the idea of using him with a Gunner or Mercenary Copilot or whatever already. Using the Fett ability along with the options presented by Navigator lends some real flexibility. In case you don't remember and didn't feel like clicking on the link back up there towards the beginning of this article, Fett can flip a bank (the easy turn) maneuver from left to right or right to left at the same speed. The option to trigger this ability is upon reveal of the dial, which is also when Navigator triggers. Convenient, huh? So not only can Fett flip his turn bearing via his card text, he can change to any available speed as well if you stick a Navigator in there with him. If you're keeping score at home, that's having the option of pulling five other maneuvers than the one you actually locked in on your dial in the Planning phase. That's pretty handy if you're not so great at avoiding other ships and obstacles and for staying out of your buddy's firing arcs and Range 1 and stuff.

Past that, it benefits pretty much anyone who can take it, but not nearly to that degree. Off the top of my head, I'd say if you tend to run a small list (2-3 ships) of high PS pilots and face swarms a lot, you'll get some good use out of Navigator.

One thing it can't do though, is let you change your maneuver after you've physically moved your ship. You can't use Navigator to pick another move after you've put down a template and realized you're going to run into something. The reason? The rules state that you reveal your maneuver as the first step in the Activation phase, then set your template for step 2, and execute your maneuver as step 3. If you trigger Navigator, it'd happen between 1 and 2. That said, it's still useful in case an enemy (or maybe even friendly) ship moved into the space you were going to occupy with your ship carrying Navigator, but you gotta call it before you actually pull out the template and move.

Is it for you? Depends on how good you are at moving and guessing your opponent's maneuvers. If you find yourself the victim of blocking a lot, you'd probably get some good mileage out of Navigator, especially on higher PS ships as they reveal their dial later in the round. Like a lot of the more subtle X-Wing upgrades, I see this benefiting the new player or the very experienced without a ton of use between those extremes. This isn't to say that the average player can't use it, but I doubt that guy would see the benefit for the points as readily as someone who is still getting used to moving ships around in Pilot Skill order and maneuvering in general like a new player or somebody playing at a very high level who needs his Navigator-equipped ship to always retain it's Perform Action step or stay out of enemy arcs.

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