05 February 2014

Bikini Battle Basics- Shields Explained!

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- Shields Explained!

Strange or unlikely as it may seem to those of y'all who have been playing since the beginning, I still get email questions about Shields on a relatively regular basis. As a matter of fact, I just got one in my inbox last week. 

While many of your questions about shields have been answered in other BBB articles, I figured it wouldn't hurt for me to spend a few minutes talking about them here in one spot as that was like the whole original point of this site- to try and group all of the X-Wing info out there into one central location, ya dig? 

So, in no particular order, are some of the questions I get asked about Shields- 

1. How exactly do ion weapons vs. shields work? 

This is by far the most common question I get regarding Shields and it was one that I played wrong for at least the first three or four months I was playing X-Wing. It was also the main reason I wrote the Ion Weapons Explained! article, then halfway through that article, I realized it would probably be handier to write The Combat Phase Explained! article, then go back and write the Ions Explained! article, so I did that instead. At least I think I did. I'd have to check the dates to be sure.  

Right, so I don't want to completely rehash what I said in those articles as you can click on them and read them should you feel the explanation I'm about to give a bit lacking, but here's the skinny- start with the Ion Weapons card you get with the ships that have the ability to take ion guns. It says: 

If this attack hits the target ship/ defender, the ship suffers 1 damage and receives 1 ion token. Then cancel all dice results.

The thing that confuses everybody that gets confused is the term "hit." See, we get used to the idea of rolling a filled explosion symbol on a red Attack die and saying, "that's a hit." This is why I have to be really careful on here and type annoying stuff like <filled explosion result>, and hit (local parlance), and hit (rulebook sense of the word). It's because we've got two events that people in real life usually refer to as hits- the die result and the unmitigated damage. Unfortunately, they're definitely not the same thing and the rules can get pretty confusing if you don't get your head around that fact early on. 

What the Ion Weapons card is calling a hit is a hit in the rulebook sense. What I mean by that is it's damage scored against the target ship- it's not an Attack die result alone, it's an Attack die result that's not been mitigated by the defender with an Evade result, an Evade Token, a Focused eyeball result, or whatever. 

If the attacker lands an honest-to-God, rulebook hit(s) with an Ion Weapon on a defending ship, the defender gets an Ion Token and takes 1 damage. This is just standard, run-of-the-mill damage with nothing particularly special about it, so if you have Shields on your ship, you remove a point of Shielding from this attack just like you would any other attack that hits you in the rulebook sense of the term. Ion shots don't bypass Shields or any other craziness- it's just 1 point of regular damage with an Ion Token thrown in for good measure. That's it. The rest of the card text, the bit about cancelling die results is just a limiter mechanism so that no matter how many hits (rulebook sense of the word) you scored, you only ever do 1 damage. 

2. What weapons/ damage bypass shields? 
Not too many, but there are a few instances. The key to finding stuff that bypasses Shields is looking for card text written a particular way. I'm not going to list them all because it's late and I'll probably miss some or new stuff will come out and I'll have to update this article again and we know my track record for going back and updating old articles is pretty crappy. Also, I still believe in the whole idea of teaching y'all how to fish rather than just giving you fish to eat or whatever. 

The key to finding the damage that potentially bypasses shields (which I know one of you guys is going to post in the comments just to make me look like a tool anyway, lols) is noticing cards that say something along the lines of, "... deal 1 damage card", rather than "... suffer 1 damage." The best example of this difference I can think of off the top of my head is Proton Bomb versus Seismic Charges. When Seismic Charges detonate, everybody within Range 1 "suffers 1 damage." If you suffer damage and have a ship with Shields, you lose a point of shielding, however Proton Bomb says you get a face-up Damage Card. In that instance, the card is telling you to bypass the normal run of play and just take the face up card regardless of whether or not you have Shields still active around your ship. 

TL;DR- Look for cards that say something like "deal a (Damage) card" rather than "suffer damage."

3. How do I regenerate my Shields? 
Unless I'm just totally out of it, I think there are only two ways non-Huge ships can recover Shields- either through executing a Green maneuver with R2-D2 in the hole behind your cockpit or by playing the Chewbacca, Crew Member card. 

Of course, one can increase their Shield value by adding the Shield Upgrade Modification, but that doesn't really count as regenerating. 

4. How do I deal with ships that have a lot of Shields? 
I don't know that there's any sure fire, really direct way of dealing with a ship that has a lot of shielding other than shooting the piss out of it. Obviously having all of your ships key on it or busting off some Advanced Proton Torpedoes or using one of the aforementioned "deal a card" type weapons is as close as you're going to get. 

As for the indirect ways, try to lure them into hitting Obstacles or other ships so that they hopefully take damage in the case of Obstacles, or lose their Perform Action step in both cases. A Falcon isn't quite as scary when it's rolling that single lonely green die and nothing to modify it with, and even losing a point or two of Shields foolishly flying into an asteroid field with those 3,720 to 1 odds can make a difference in the overall longevity of the ship. 

Ion Weapons can be good for this too. Everybody knows it takes two Ion Tokens to stall out a Big ship, but some folks gloss over the fact that a Big ship with only a single Ion Token has no way to lose that token. So you don't have to score two Ion hits in a single salvo (impossible) or even a single round, just two total. Again, this doesn't directly affect the Big ship's shields, but it forces him into doing a straight 1 for his next maneuver which does help you gauge where he's going next and hopefully allows you to focus your firepower as efficiently as possible. Also, if he's Stressed when you manage to ionize him, he'll not be losing that Stress Token, so he won't be able to Perform Action either which as we all know is a Big Deal. And by Big Deal, I mean bad for him, good for you.  

5. If I hit an asteroid, do I lose a hull point or a shield point? 
If you have Shields, you lose a Shield, if not, hull. Just like usual. Rules say you "suffer damage" when you hit an Obstacle. Remember this isn't automatic- you roll an Attack die and if it comes up an explosion symbol of either kind, you suffer that damage. If you get a blank or an eyeball, you get happy.

Also remember you make this roll if your ship's base touches an Obstacle or if your maneuver template does. Thank God I've got readers like +Davyd Atwood to keep me honest around here as he's reminded me in the comments for this article that in addition to rolling that Attack die, any time a ship's base overlaps an obstacle you also lose your Perform Action step for that turn. Additionally, if your base overlaps the obstacle, you also can't shoot at anybody. 

Last thing to remember and I'll stop nagging- if you landed on the Obstacle with your base and in the next turn you lay down your movement template and it's touching that Obstacle, you make the Attack roll again and lose your Perform Action step again. Sucks, huh? Stay away from the rocks, boys!

6. If I hit another ship, do I lose a hull point or a shield point? 
Neither. You just lose your Perform Action step (and aren't allowed to attack ships you're touching bases with). Unless it's a Huge ship that hits you- FFG made a semi-vague reference to a TIE hitting the GR-75 and said that (paraphrasing here) it got run over and destroyed. 

I think that's about it. Did I miss anything, +Benjamin Reese? :) 

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