26 February 2013

Elite Pilot Skills- Veteran Instincts

This post regarding Elite Pilot Skills is part of a larger article regarding Wave 2 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 "Ship List Articles" tab at the top of the page or simply click here.

Veteran Instincts (1)
Card Text: Increase your Pilot Skill value by 2
Usage in game: Functions as advertised- move later, shoot earlier by boosting your PR by 2.
Action?: No.

Breakdown: I'll be the first to admit that I don't read every single X-Wing Miniatures forum or website out there, but I don't see many people talking about Veteran Instincts at all. It's all Expose this and Push The Limit that. I don't know that I've seen anyone really discussing Veteran Instincts. If I did, well, it obviously didn't make much of an impression.

That said, I can see why. It's a subtle, little 1 point card that you're most likely thinking to yourself, "So it buffs your PR by 2. Big deal. Most of the pilots who can take Elite Pilot Skills already have formidable PR ratings", right? So why would you get excited over a card like this, even if it only costs 1 point?

As usual, let's do some process of elimination here and first talk about what pilots we don't want to buy Veteran Instincts for and see if anyone's left standing at the end.

First and foremost, anybody who generally utilizes Swarm Tactics is off the list. So no Luke, no Howlrunner, etc. Gone also are the guys who can make use of several different Elite Pilot Talents depending on what fits your style- I'm talking about Wedge Antilles and Vader primarily here. We said yesterday that Draw Their Fire fits in nicely with Chewbacca, so he's gone as well.

On the Rebel side, all we've got left is Wave 2 stuff (which at the time of this posting, I haven't covered yet, but looking ahead). Solo already has a PR of 9 and a very offensive ability that can be further buffed by other Elite Pilot Skills like Marksmanship, so I'm not nuts about putting VI on him. Tycho Celchu, the A-Wing pilot, seems to have had Daredevil custom made with him in mind, and as he's already PR 8, I'm not really feeling it for him either. The Green Squadron A-Wing can take Elite Pilot Skills, but fall in kind of a PR no-man's land of 3. It's only a point, but I don't see the point (pun intended) of giving them a 5 PR. Early projections have them being great candidates for other Elite Pilot Skills like Deadeye, Daredevil, or Push The Limit depending on the role you plan on them taking for you on the table and the amount of A-Wings/ other ships you plan on fielding in your list.

So who have I left out on the Rebel side?

Lando has a Dreis-like Focus buff with a range of Range 1, but it's linked to a green maneuver rather than spending, so giving him Veteran Instincts would delay the gifting of this Focus token to another ship, which in this instance is useful as it'd be quite late in the movement phase now that Lando's stock PR has been boosted from 7 to 9, so ostensibly you could give it to the ship needing it the most. Lando also strikes me as one of those pilots that doesn't have a particular Elite Pilot Skill that works well with him; or to put it another way, has several available that are all sort of useful, but nothing just jumping out saying, "Pick me! Pick me!" like the nerdy kid in class that knows the answer to the teacher's question.

On the gearhead side of the fence, Mithel's a possibility as him shooting at the same PR as Wedge is scary to me as a primarily Rebel player. He's also one of those guys I don't usually give an Elite Pilot Skill to as none of them are flat-out obviously for him; you could always have a Black Squadron TIE take over his Swarm Tactics relay duty if you roll him like that. Speaking of which, what about a Black Squadron TIE? It'd kick them up to a PR of 6, which kind of isn't bad as they'd fire before any X-Wing except Luke and Wedge, and tie him with Garven Dreis. Not terrible for a 15 point TIE Fighter (total points, of course). 

I think the main benefit here would be having an extra ship firing at that PR. If your usual Rebel opponent takes the usual compliment of Rebel stuff, he's probably got a ship or two firing at PR 8 or 9, then everyone else going at 2 or 4, with possibly one ship at around 5 or 6. Most Wave 1 Imp players have anywhere from 1 to 3 ships firing at PR 8 or 9, then maybe one or two at 5 to 7, then the rest firing at 4 or less. In other words, Imperials usually have the top and bottom of the shooting phase with Rebels going in the middle. Shifting one of those ships from the bottom of the pile to the middle could be fairly significant especially if you have nothing else in mind for that Black Squadron TIE as far as Elite Pilot Skills.

To put it another way, as an Imperial player, do you ever wish you could get Biggs out of the way a little slower? Yeah. Didn't think so.

As for Wave 2, like the Rebels, most of the Wave 2 stuff has other Elite Pilot Skills that are probably better suited for use. Fett's high PR and gigantic base making his Range 1 that much larger, should look at Swarm Tactics pretty hard. Of the Firespray pilots though, Kath Scarlet jumps out at me as being a big beneficiary of VI. First, it pumps her PR to a formidable 9. Secondly, it lets her put those Stress tokens on somebody early which gives the ships accompanying her more time to prioritize targets later in the turn and well, helps to ensure she's still around to put those tokens on somebody.

Soontir Fel, the TIE Interceptor pilot, dovetails so nicely with Daredevil it's sorta disgusting, so I wouldn't think of giving him anything else. but Turr Phennir has some potential as a VI candidate. He would boost up to a PR9, and as his special ability let's him perform a Boost or Barrel Roll after he attacks, why wouldn't you want to do it earlier rather than later? Saber Squadron Pilots wouldn't be stupid for thinking they ought to consider VI as they're probably roamers or at most, in a group of 2 with another TIE Interceptor. Obviously, if their wingman is somebody cool possessing Swarm Tactics, this probably isn't the Elite Pilot Skill they're looking for, but if it's just the Saber and another Saber or an Avenger, it just might be.

So who's left at this point? Poor old Maarek Stele. Is this the card that finally makes him work? Nah, probably not. It makes him more effective, sure, but again, for only one more point you've got yourself a Vader who is PR 9 without having to use his Elite Pilot Skill on VI.

I'ma keep lookin' for you though, Maarek. I'ma keep lookin'.

25 February 2013

Elite Pilot Skills- Draw Their Fire

This post regarding Elite Pilot Skills is part of a larger article regarding Wave 2 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 "Ship List Articles" tab at the top of the page or simply click here.

Draw Their Fire (1)
Card Text: When a friendly ship at Range 1 is hit by an attack, you may suffer 1 of the uncancelled <critical damage symbol> results of the target ship.
Usage in game: Critical damage placement mitigation
Action?: No.

Breakdown: First, and perhaps most importantly, note the word may in there. You don't have to use this card when the triggers for it are satisfied; it's solely up to you when Draw Your Fire comes into play.

The usage of this card is pretty straightforward- if you have a ship with a crit assigned to it, you can pass it to the ship bearing Draw Their Fire, so long as the ship with DTF is within Range 1 of that ship.

That in mind, let's look at what ships would benefit from carrying this upgrade.

First, recall that a hit and a crit both have the same effect against ship shields- they're both just hits in that context. In my mind, this is the main mechanism of decision making when it comes to choosing whether or not to utilize Draw Their Fire or just let the original target take the hit- if the target has a shield to spare and is unlikely to get hammered on by other ships in the vicinity, let them take it. If not, take it on the DTF ship (assuming of course it has shields and isn't likely to get hammered on either). The only other criteria I'd look at in this selection process is if Kath Scarlett was the attacker. She has a special ability that turns cancelled Critical Damages into Stress. It's too early to tell obviously, but if she sees heavy use post Wave 2, that definitely does limit the effectiveness of this upgrade.

So the ideal application would be to use this on a ship with a lot of shields and hull by default.  

Looking at it from a Rebel player perspective, I'm not really interested in considering an A-Wing though it is possible. A Y-Wing would be nice, but none of the Y-Wing pilots can use Elite Pilot Talents so the're out too. For a surprise, you could stick it on an X-Wing with Shield Upgrade and/ or a damage mitigation droid like R5 Astromech or R2-D2 perhaps, but again- this isn't a ship upgrade, this is an Elite Pilot Skill, so you're really only looking at Luke or Wedge who could take this and frankly, I feel as though there are other, better Elite Pilot Skills to give both of those guys, so like the A-Wing, it's an option, just not a particularly useful one comparitively. Long story long, a Rebel player is likely left with the YT-1300 being the candidate.

That in mind, what are some good YT-1300 pilots or upgrades that make this Elite Pilot Skill work better or help to mitigate the effect? Well, Chewie has the ability to turn a Critical Damage into a facedown Damage card without resolving the ability, so that's a pretty nice instance of synergy right there. Not only does the original recipient of the crit get away clean, the Chewie Falcon with DTF only gets a facedown Damage, worst case scenario. Not bad at all. Lando and Han have less inherent synergy with this card, and again, there are probably better Elite Pilot Skills for both of those guys, but with the amount of shields and hull a YT-1300 possesses, you could still make use of this card. You're likely to have already added Shield Upgrade and or Engine Upgrade anyway and both of those help to increase the effectiveness of Draw Their Fire.

I think rolling a Chewie Falcon with Draw Their Fire would be a great way to help an ship using Expose, another Wave 2 Elite Pilot Skill card, stay alive. That's kind of the thing that jumps out at me, but obviously it'd work well with any pilot you need to survive because of some bigger picture reason like the ability to push Swarm Tactics, for example. In it's usage, using DTF is sorta, kinda like a Biggs you can turn off as you need to. Obviously it's not always in play the way Biggs is, but being able to kick it on when you need to makes it more valuable in my book. An opponent can key on Biggs and know that he's going to take all the hits, then he's out. With this kind of DTF setup, he can't really do that as you may or may not elect to take that crit. It also neuters the effectiveness of Winged Gundark, which is kind of unfortunate as he was fair to middlin' to begin with.

On the Imperial side of the fence, nothing jumps out at me as particularly synergistic with DTF. That doesn't make it useless for Imperials, just not quite as effective as it plays for Chewie.

Picking ships that are good candidates for DTF is much like the Rebel selection process we went through earlier, but much shorter as half of the Imperial ships don't have shields to eat up the crits, I wouldn't consider sticking DTF on anybody without at least some shields, so that drastically speeds up the selection process here. We could talk about sticking it on a Black Squadron TIE with the aim of making it kind of a 14 point sin eater, but like the A-Wing, I'm not nuts over the idea.

Darth Vader I think you could make a case for DTF. Now, hear me out! As I said in the Vader article, Vader's bloody hard to kill for the reasons discussed uh, well, in... that ... article. As such, can he take a hit once in awhile to keep somebody important like Howlrunner or Turr Phennir from taking a crit? Sure. If he can pull it into his shields especially, it's not a big deal because let's be honest- he's probably not getting shot anyway with his ability to both Evade and Focus every turn. Am I saying I'm in love with the idea and it's a no-brainer selection? No. Can I see a dedicated player working it out with some practice? Sure, I can.

Boba Fett has his sneaky movement ability kind of works here as you could fool an opponent into thinking he's not close enough to use DTF and subsequently trigger it anyway, but honestly that's stretching an application pretty thin. Truthfully, I think any of the Firespray pilots who can take Elite Pilot Skills will probably have as much luck tanking it up with DTF as Fett would, and Fett would probably be better served with an Elite Pilot skill like Deadeye or Swarm Tactics. Really though, the Empire stuff just screams offense to me from every angle and as Wave 2 ships seem no different, I'd suggest leaving this card at home if you're a dedicated Imperial player.

23 February 2013

Wave 2 Articles Starting Monday, 25 Feb 13

With the Wave 2 Release announcement from FFG earlier in the week, I pushed up the schedule on my Wave 2 Listbuilding Articles from where I'd kind of originally penciled it in (uhhh.... later?).

Similar in style, content, and length to my Wave 1 Listbuilding articles, I'll be covering all of the Wave 2 Elite Pilot Skills, Modifications, Secondary Weapon Systems, Pilots, Crew Members, and everything else in the coming weeks!  

Like with Wave 1, with some of the shorter articles, I'll post multiples in the same day, but I guarantee you'll get at least one Wave 2 listbuilding article per day until we're through them. 

Articles will start showing up on Monday, 25 Feb 13 early in the A.M as always. 

See you then!

22 February 2013

X-Wing Miniatures Game Storage

A topic that comes up fairly regularly on the FFG forums is how one stores his X-Wing Miniatures game. To my knowledge, there's really only one company making a specialized storage system (and it's currently only available for Wave 1 stuff), so there's a lot of re-tasked or homebrewed storage systems out there to choose from or be inspired by. 

(EDIT: Eagle-eyed Bikini Aficionado Frank has mentioned in the comments for this article that Battle Foam has a new tray insert system that will accommodate more ships and Wave 2 ships. It's a two-tray system where one tray holds a bunch of ships and the other hold your dice, cards, etc. Looks pretty sweet and he says it works well. Check it out here.)

(FURTHER EDIT: Bikini Aficionado Groznit Goregut brought to my attention via the comments on this article of a company called KR Multicase who also has an X-Wing storage product. Check it out here.

In a completely uncharacteristic moment of foresight, when I bought my first X-Wing Miniatures Core Set, I actually kept all the packaging, and by packaging, I mean all the little ziplock bags. I know, completely unlike me to save stuff like that, right? Oddly enough, while I pitched the clamshells the Expansion ships come in, I kept the bags out of those as well. And when I bought my second Core Set, yup, you guessed it, I kept those baggies too. 

I feel like I have a pretty average amount of X-Wing Miniatures stuff. I know a couple of folks who have more, I know a couple of folks who have less. In the end, if you want to try and use my storage idea, ideally you've got about the same amount of stuff that I do- much more and you're probably going to run out of room doing it my way. For a frame of reference, here's my current X-Wing Miniatures inventory- 

2 Core Sets (so 2 X-Wings and 4 TIEs)
2 X-Wing Expansions (2 more X-Wings)
1 TIE Fighter Expansion (1 more TIE)
2 TIE Advanced Expansions
1 Y-Wing Expansion
1 A-Wing Expansion (Yup! Got lucky at my Kessel Run Tournament!) 

Plus all the assorted tokens, movement wheels, do dads, and whatnots that come with all those ships. 

(And yes, I'll have to re-evaluate this system very soon upon the arrival of Wave 2. Until then though, here's some pictures of how I store and transport my X-Wing Miniatures. )

Everything that isn't ships, dice, the clear acrylic pegs, the Damage deck, the cardboard squares that go on the bases, and the upgrade cards goes back into the original Core Set box. I know not everyone's down with the Core Box, but it seemed really sturdy to me, so I wanted to continue using it if at all possible. I also dig the artwork. 

I keep the range ruler under the plastic insert. The movement templates except for the straight 4 and 5 go in the large baggie, then go into the front plastic well. The asteroids also go into a large baggie and the front well. The 4 and 5 straight go in the front well loose. All of the bases for my ships also end up in the front well. All of the other tokens go into bags separating them from each other and end up in the right side well. 

The left side well contains a baggie of my Rebel pilot cards, my Imperial pilot cards, and all the movement wheels for my ships. 

That big bag that's outside the box on the right is my "Everything" bag. I ended up with so many bags, I made a bag that has enough tokens and whatnots to cover a 100 point game with either faction- Evades, Shields, Paired Target Locks, Focuses, Stresses, you name it, it's in there. All the tokens inside are individually bagged still. I also have six sets of ship numbers in there. That Everything bag saves me a ton of time during setup. 

I can still fit the lid down on the Core Box when all this stuff is packed in, and yeah, I even put that plastic shell over the front well so nothing falls out the big hole in the front of the Core Set box. 

In addition to the Core Set box, I have a Plano-type box (I'm not sure if it's actually a Plano- it's just an old bait box I had floating around my 40k stuff for years that used to be a bitz box) that I store pretty much everything else in. 

It's not very big, but it holds all my stuff currently. Again, yes, I'll obviously need to come up with something else once Wave 2 drops and I pick up at least the Falcon (honestly, I'll probably just store and transport the Falcon and Slave I in the boxes they came in and just get a bigger Plano type box to hold all the starfighters). Although I forgot to stick it in there when I took the picture, I also keep my rulebook on top of the models in this plastic box. It keeps stuff from moving about too much and provides a little padding for when the models and stuff do move around. 

I don't carry everything from both Core Sets in the boxes. I have one Damage deck, one range ruler, and one set of movement templates that I leave at home most of the time. If I know I'm going to be teaching someone how to play, or one of my friends who hasn't bought-in yet is going to be playing, I'll stick them in. Generally though, I don't carry that stuff. 

The last bit of X-Wing kit that goes with those two things is the black piece of felt that acts as my playmat and appears in virtually all of the pictures here on TheMetalBikini.com. There's nothing particularly noteworthy about it, but it's held up quite nicely since I started using it back in October and is much better than playing on a wood-grained table top. 

Pepsi Cat not included

Folded up, it's just about the same size as the Core Set box, as you can see.

So there you have it. There are storage solutions out there that are much better and more expensive than mine, but I've been happy with how portable and sturdy everything in my system has turned out to be. It'll sound terribly dorky, but I take those three items to work with me nearly every day in a US Soccer Nike backpack along with my Samsung Chromebook and a ledger I jot down army list ideas, comedy bit dialogue, or whatever else happens to come to mind.

If I'm lucky, I manage to get some lunch hour games in here and there a couple times a month, and it's nice to actually be able to pull out models when I find somebody interested in the game who wants to know more. As it isn't that much to carry in a backpack I'm already taking to work, I figure why not, right? 

21 February 2013

Maneuvering as a Formation, Part 3

This post is yet another installment in a series of articles called Maneuvering as a Formation. Here's a link to Part the First, and the Second Part

Yesterday and the day before were all about what moves to not make when it came to flying in a tight formation where upon examination we realized with the assistance of my wife's super-nice Canon DSLR that you can't make equal numbered Turns or Banks with ships that start out 100% adjacent to each other. Today we'll talk about what moves actually don't end in overlaps and therefore Action robbing collisions. 

So let's check out some more moves! First up- Turns. I want to get 3 Turns out of the way first and since we know what happens if we do double 3 Turns, let's look at what happens when the outside ship pulls a 2 Turn and the inside ship pulls a 3 Turn. 

Oh, that's right out. No good. 

Ok, moving on. Let's switch those templates and try the reverse- the outside ship pulling a 3 Turn and the inside ship pulling a 2 Turn. 

Friggin' finally! Now we're getting somewhere! In the first time of the history of this blog, two ships Turned and didn't crash into each other! Holy Mackerel!

So we've covered 3-2 and 2-3, let's try a ship on the outside Turning 3 and an inside ship Turning 1. Should be cool, right? 

Oh fo' sho'. No problem there at all either. Let's try a 1-3 and finish off the 3 Turn permutations. 

Smooth like Colt .45. 

At this point we can probably make some pretty valid assumptions about how to make Turns of differing values work, but since I went to the trouble to take all these pictures and upload them to Picasa, humor me and we'll see how this plays out. Next up, a 2-1. 

Ok, so a 2 Turn for the outside is cool with a 1 Turn for the inside. We already did a 2 Turn outside with a 3 Turn inside (wasn't cool- scroll back up if you already forgot that result and consider seeing a doctor about increasing your ADD meds), so let's switch them and see if a 1-2 nets the same results as a 2-3 did. 

Same results- overlap. 

Right. So that's it for turns. Here's a handy summary of the above- 

(Where ships are adjacent and Turning Left)

2-3 Overlap
3-2 Safe
3-1 Safe
1-3 Safe
2-1 Safe
1-2 Overlap

Want to place any bets on Banks? 

Same deal- let's go through the various permutations starting with the 3 Banks. I'll go in the same order as I did with the turns so I don't go completely crazy here trying to keep this straight. 

First up we've got 2 Bank outside, 3 Bank inside. 

They're really, really, REALLY close, but it's a valid move- no overlap. 

Let's flip the templates. Now we're looking at a 3-2. 

Oh yeah! No problem there whatsoever! Two for Two! I spelled that out so nobody would think I was talking about a 2-2 which we already covered the other day. I'm serious. And by nobody I mean me, primarily, for when I go back over this and proofread it later. 

All right, next on the list is a 3 Bank outside, 1 Bank inside. 

Not a care in the world, those two. They're just rollin'. 

Switch templates to a 1-3. 

Ditto for these moves. All good. 

Last set of moves starts off with a 2 Bank on the outside and a 1 Bank on the inside. 

No problemo. Hasta la vista... baby. 

Switch templates to a 1-2. 

Damn right it was a good day.

Bank summary time- 

(Where ships are adjacent and Turning Left)

2-3 Safe
3-2 Safe
3-1 Safe
1-3 Safe
2-1 Safe
1-2 Safe

I'll admit it- maybe it's the kids waking up in the middle of the night the past couple weeks and depriving me of sleep, maybe it's the fact that I kind of just decided to mitigate the whole formation thing all together in my own game by spreading my ships out and forget about playing adjacent or even close to it, but I thought a couple of the Banks would surely result in collisions. Color me surprised. 

And no. No, no, no. No way in hell am I gonna make a Color Me Badd joke and/ or link there. I never liked those guys. They always sounded flat as pancakes to me. Esepcially the one with the curly hair and the fivehead. I tripped out when I saw a picture of English Welsh National Treasure and Manchester United poster boy Ryan Giggs back in the day because they looked alike and it was around the same time (1991-ish). 



Anyway, to summarize all three parts of this Maneuvering as a Formation business in a concise way, consult the following numbered list- 

1. You can make any Bank or Turn with two ships adjacent to you at the same number so long as you don't mind overlapping, colliding, and losing an Action. In other words, don't do that. It's bad and people will make fun of you. 

2. You do not talk about Fight Club.

3. Banks with adjacent ships, so long as they're not performed at the same number, are all good, all day

4. Turning adjacent ships is acceptable so long as you don't Turn at the same number or sequential numbers where the lower number is the outside ship and the higher number is the inside ship. 

5. Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother. 

In all seriousness, I'd been meaning to research this ever since the Kessel Run Tournament when I kept crashing my ships into my other ships but I watched Swarm after Swarm just casually maneuver three adjacent ships around the entire game. I was like George Costanza and they were like Jason Hanky: they were scattin' and beboppin' and I was losin' it.

I thought to myself, "Y'know, when I get home, I'm going to break out the templates and see if you really can make those moves, because I swear I'm making the same moves, but I'm crashing into myself left and right." 

Of course, then I forgot about it for what, two months? Ah well. Better late than never.  

Wave 2 Previews from FFG- A-Wing

Earlier today, and kind of lost in the shuffle by everyone (and by everyone, I of course mean me) reading to the end and going, "OHMAHGERD! WAVE 2 COMES OUT ON FEBRUARY 28!", was a little preview on the last remaining Wave 2 ship, the A-Wing starfighter

I was lucky and won one of these little guys at the Kessel Run Tournament my local club hosted back in December. It's a fun ship. I'm not going to get super deep on it here in this post- I'll soon be posting listbuilding articles for Wave 2 stuff just like I did for the Wave 1 stuff, so rest assured, it'll be covered in detail then. 

I'll say this though for those of y'all who don't already know everything there is to know about the A-Wing. Remember that part in Jedi when the A-Wing pilot that sorta looks like Denis Leary loses it and crashes through the bridge of the Executor?

There ain't no Arvel Crynyd disease, I'll tell ya that much.<Wheezing noises>

That dude's got an A-Wing Pilot card. And yeah, his ability has to do with crashing into stuff. 

I mean honestly, whoever is responsible for that masterstroke of genius at FFG deserves a promotion. I swear to God, man. If I'm that guy's boss, I just walk into his office and say, "Hey. You've got it, pal. And by "it", I mean it. What do we do next?" 

When I got home and started going through my cards and read that, I was all, "No effin' way. No way!" I mean how cool is that? 

Roll on the 28th, y'all. 

20 February 2013

Wave 2 Status Update- Now Shipping!

UPDATE: FFG has stated in their A-Wing Preview that the Wave 2 ships should be at retailers on 28 February 2013!!!

Yup! For reals! Check out the screenshot- the Wave 2 stuff on the Upcoming Releases and Reprints section of the FFG site has had its status updated from "On The Boat" to "Now Shipping"!

From- http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_upcoming.asp

I gotta ramp up the schedule for the Wave 2 Listbuilding Articles! 


Maneuvering as a Formation, Part 2

This article is a continuation of an article that ran yesterday called... Maneuvering as a Formation, Part 1. Uhhh, yeah. 

When we last left our heroes (or villains if you're partial to those Rebel terrorists), they were trying to turn adjacent TIE fighters without crashing into each other. We watched as two TIEs that started out right next to each other overlap when they both attempted a 3 Bank maneuver. The question now is will they overlap if they instead perform a 3 Turn maneuver? 

Ok, so here we go. Like yesterday, don't get freaked out that I now have three TIEs on the board. I'm just illustrating that I didn't move the ships from their origin points or the template inadvertently. 

I've got two Core Sets. Might as well use both my 3 Left Turn Templates, right?

 Uh oh...

Here's a close-up-

They don't overlap by much, pretty much just the template guides/ very, very front edge of the base, but they do overlap. 

So what do you think? Will Turns and Banks of lower numbers be any different than the 3's have been? Want to find out? 

Here's pics of the rest of the equal Bank outcomes- 

2 Bank has the same result as the 3 Bank...

...As does the 1 Bank. They plainly overlap.

2 Turn, top view

2 Turn from the side. Look familiar? 

1 Turn, same deal.

Aaaaaaand again. Same result. Overlap.

This is a spot I just hate to be in as the opposing player. On the Banks, it's pretty obvious that an overlap has occurred and I don't think anyone would actually argue with you about it or try and fudge their way out of it with a little table bumping, base sliding or honest-to-God mistakes. With the Turns though, as you saw, it's very slight, and well, let's be honest, a tiny bit of table movement, template misplacement, etc. could make that slight overlap disappear.

The thing is though, now that I've performed this little experiment, I know it's there. Even if the guy on the other side of the table inadvertently or on purpose manages to move his ships without overlapping in this context, I know that two ships right next to each other cannot perform any same number Bank or Turn without overlapping. 

Of course, now it's in your head now too- just like it is mine. So when you're in the second round of the Regionals and somebody has a couple of ships right next to each other and they both pull the same number Bank, do you call them on it even if their stuff doesn't actually appear to overlap? 

All that being said, formations can't just fly in a straight line the entire game; at this point I'm wondering what friggin' turns can you make legally if the ships are right next to each other? 

Find out tomorrow in Formation Movement and Maneuvering Part 3!

No spoiler alert this time- I'm honestly not sure! 

Ha, ha- just kidding. I already took the pictures. Some pretty interesting results, and perhaps not what you were thinking. Fooled me a couple of times anyway. 

19 February 2013

Maneuvering as a Formation, Part 1

Although this article is ostensibly about moving ships in a formation, the main underlying concern at hand is moving those ships without collision. As such, let's just go ahead and get this out of the way and define what a collision is in X-Wing Miniatures and what happens as a result. 

From the X-Wing Rules of Play book page 17- 

Overlapping Other Ships
There are a few situations that may arise where ships overlap other ships, and they are explained below.

Plastic Bases Overlapping
If a ship executes a maneuver that would cause the final position of its base to physically overlap another ship’s base (even partially), follow these steps:
1. From the opposite end of the template, move the active ship backward along the top of the 
template until it no longer overlaps another ship. While moving the ship, adjust it so that the 
template remains centered between both sets of guides on the ship’s base. Place the ship so that the bases of both ships are touching.
2. Skip this ship’s “Perform Action” step. Ships whose bases are touching cannot declare each other as a target during the Combat phase while their bases remain touching. As soon as either of these ships moves away (so that the bases are no longer touching), this combat restriction no longer applies.

Important: If the active ship is executing a <Koigoran Turn Symbol> maneuver that causes it to overlap another ship, 
instead treat its maneuver as a <Straight Maneuver Symbol> maneuver with the same speed and color revealed on the dial.

Plastic Figures Overlapping
Some ship figures extend beyond the edge of their base. If this part of the figure would touch another figure or obstruct its movement, simply add or remove one peg from the base to prevent this situation and continue moving as normal.

Ok, so long story long, it doesn't matter if the models overlap, it matters if the model's bases overlap. Secondly, if you do manage to pull a maneuver that causes you to overlap another ship, you lose your Action for the round even if that ship later moves away from you and move your ship's base back along the template until you're no longer overlapping. Thirdly, if the ship you overlapped doesn't move away (you're still touching it when Combat begins, in other words), neither of you can shoot each other though you're free to shoot any other ships that fall into Range and Firing Arc. 

One of the inherent difficulties of using a formation where your ships need to stay close together (usually to benefit from Swarm Tactics, a "giveaway" ability like Garven Dreis, Dutch Vander, etc. or Squad Leader, or Howlrunner's area-of-effect reroll ability) is moving all the ships around so they don't run into each other. TIE Swarms are especially dependent on this.

(*Note that just because you lose the ability to Perform Action, doesn't necessarily mean you can't do any Actions during that game round. If someone has an ability that passes you an Action token, Squad Leader, etc., you can pull an Action even if you've been in a collision.) 

You may have played as or against a TIE Swarm player especially who tries to be courteous and simplify his movement by moving one ship with the template then moving the TIEs next to him by hand without using the template; holding his formation intact. 

Does that time-saver accurately depict what happens when moving using the templates though or is some error incurred in that process? What moves actually are permissible when moving as a formation besides just flying in straight lines? I decided to find out. 

Clones or just BFFs?

In the picture above I've got two TIEs right next to each other. Both want to pull an easy 3, or to put it in the proper terms, a Bank 3 maneuver. 

Will they overlap or will they stay right next to each other? Let's find out!

Wheeee! (Sorry, can't think of anything remotely funny about this picture)

So the TIE on the right has performed the maneuver. If you're confused as to why I now have three TIEs on the board, don't be- I'm just trying to illustrate that the template hasn't moved or been bumped or anything- it's right where it needs to be. 

Kudos to you if you get my next caption joke...

Here you can see I've removed the maneuver template from the right side, but didn't remove the moving TIE- everything is still in its original position and the post-move position, again to illustrate that no unintended accidental movement has occurred. Now the movement template is on the TIE on the left as he too wants to execute a Bank 3 maneuver. 

<RileyMartinVoice> Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

So the second TIE completes his move and everything's cool, right? Uh, oh! Hold on a second! Let's zoom in there...

... Huh? </RileyMartinVoice>

We've got an overlap!

So, to answer my two original questions, no- if a player declared an Bank 3 for both of these ships, moving one then placing the second right next to it by hand without the template would not be accurate, and no- this would not be a permissible, advisable move for two ships flying in formation because it results in overlap which incurs lost Action in the ship that moved second. 

Why does this happen? It's relatively simple if you stop and think about it for a moment, but not entirely obvious (at least it wasn't to me- I've seen player after player at my club move one ship and drop everyone else in the formation next that that first ship and never called them out on it)- because it's a curved, not straight shape the distance along the inside is shorter than the outside because the template ends in a square end. Don't believe me? Look closely at the pics. Click on them, zoom in. If you still don't believe me, pull your stuff out and try it yourself. 

But wait, maybe that's just some strange permutation of the Bank 3 template that I've decided to make a big deal out of because it's a slow day, right? If the number was different that wouldn't happen. Or maybe if I'd have picked a Turn instead of a Bank. Yeah. A 3 Turn and they definitely wouldn't collide, right? 

Stop by tomorrow for Maneuvering as a Formation, Part 2 and find out the answer to that question and more.

SPOILER ALERT! There probably wouldn't be a Part 2 if this was the only maneuver this happened with would it? :)