31 March 2014

Potporrui for $500, Part 2

Hey sorry about the late update. I've been sick again and my youngest has as well. He had me up until like 4am Saturday night and last night both and I couldn't get a few minutes tied together to post this. 

I don't know if this is going to like start becoming a thing on here or what, but I've got another collection of short bits I want to talk about.

TIE Phantom Advanced Cloaking Device
With all the hubub of the painting contest last week, I didn't have much of a chance to comment on some photos making their way around the internet regarding the TIE Phantom's Advanced Cloaking Device late last week.

UPDATE: +Travis Murray just sent me an attachment that appears to be the rules card for the Cloak/ Decloak action! 

Fab's Squadron Builder Now in German! 
Remember when Fab was asking for help translating X-Wing content into German for his site? A guy named Wolftech stepped up and now der Vaderland has access to Fab's Squadron Builder in the native tongue. Check it out here- http://fabpsb.free.fr/index.php?lng=de

TippCon X-Wing Championships

Got an email from a guy named Chris LaCross asking if TheMetalBikini.com could promote an X-Wing Tournament/ Con he's organizing. You can find the full details of the two X-Wing events and the LCG event here by clicking on the Schedule and Tournament Docs link. Short version is TippCon is the last weekend in May and they hold it in Lafayette, In. While I'd love to attend, I'll likely be working weekends at that point, so I'm probably out. If not though, or if I can somehow finagle my way out of it, I'll definitely get up there to check it out!

Painting Contest Winners
MM and I are shipping your prizes to the addresses you sent us today. I'll keep y'all posted with any tracking info should i receive it.

28 March 2014

TMB.com and Miniature Market Painting Contest- The Results!

So I've been struggling with my selections for this for hours now. I mean, literally hours. I'm totally not joking around when I say I could have picked at least 8 Finalists for this thing and still felt like I left out some worthy contenders. Trust me, you'll see what I mean when I put all of these pics up on TMB next week.

I ended up consulting with a handful of close confidants-

  • One is something of a painting veteran who is well aware of stuff like OSL and can execute other advanced techniques that are well above the layman's head.
  • One is a new painter who is quickly learning the basics. 
  • One is a guy who plays minis games but doesn't paint.
  • One is somebody completely not even into miniatures in the slightest. 

Ok, you guessed it- the last one was the wife.

Anyway, after consulting with these folks, we were in total agreement on number 1, but while we all picked pretty well the same entries for the others, we had them in all different orders.

Finally, I just decided to take one long, last, fully zoomed in look and make my selections.

So without further adieu, I give you third place in this affair, from Seattle, Washington, USA- Booster's Wrecked Lambda Shuttle!

Now, I know, I know- this is a painting contest not a conversion contest. I agree, but Booster did some very realistic, very technical work on this model and it's just crazy good. I love it. Congrats Booster! 

Coming in at second all the way from the UK is Dan Tulley!

This model is just beautiful. Getting lines that defined ain't easy, folks. That's some really clean work right there. And to get such nice lines between two extremely contrasting colors? Two contrasting extremely hard to get right colors? Wow, Dan. That's a beaut, pal. And I mean look at that- he highlighted the friggin' guns, yo. I really like the selections on where the colors were applied too. It looks complete without looking busy, y'know what I mean? It has just enough going on to be striking without overdoing it. Congrats Dan!

This last ship really knocked me off my feet. Creative conversion work, breathtaking paint job, it's just a gorgeously executed effort up and down. Please put your hands together for the big ship most likely to be sporting the Engine Upgrade Modification, Australia's own Robert Sakaluk and his YT-1300!

Wow, right? Amazing ain't it? It's like, where do I even start? The painting is beautifully done, really capturing that lived-in, beat-up feel the ships and equipment had in the original trilogy without looking sloppy or incomplete. The conversion work is seamless and natural without looking tacked-on and obvious. Just hands-down an awesome job all around. 

Thanks again to all of you who took the time and went to the trouble of entering! I'll get a gallery of all the entrants up as soon as I can. 

Winners- I'll be in touch with you shortly! 

And thanks once again to Miniature Market who graciously donated not only the FFG prizes for this contest, but also the very idea of doing some kind of contest for the TMB readers! Show 'em some love, y'all! 

27 March 2014

The Painting Contest is Officially Over!

Put down the brushes and the cameras everyone- the first ever TMB and Miniature Market X-Wing Miniatures Painting Contest has come to a close officially as of now. 

Wow, y'all.

I never really know when something like this is going to resonate with you guys, but the amount of entries I got for the painting contest really surprised me! I haven't actually gone through and counted them yet, but I got emails from about 50 different people and many of you submitted more than one entry. Just guessing, I'd say I ended up with around 75 entries or so!

No update today other than this while I go through all of your pics and begin the arduous process of trying to pick out the winners!

Thanks again for all of y'all who took the time and went to the trouble of entering. Once again- all of your submissions will end up here on the site in a gallery I'll throw up in the Arts and (Space)Crafts section in the next few days.

And kudos to all of you for being good sports and not attempting to bribe me with a FC Barcelona themed entry in honor of their amazing win this past Sunday over Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. Why? Well, because-

Be sure to stop back by tomorrow (Friday) to see what ships got first, second, and third! Thanks again for playing!

26 March 2014

Arts and (Space)Crafts- Is That an Academy Pilot or is That Larry?

It's a relatively rare occurrence (about 10 times out of 273 posts or so) that I manage to push the dominating, only-child, control freak side of my brain into a corner and publish stuff that other people have written on here. There's actually a semi-nebulous/ semi-applicable good reason for that besides my own personal idiosyncrasies, but that's a loooong story that's best told in person and not in writing that could possibly invoke litigation from nefarious other parties. 

It's not often that I make an exception to that rule, but occasionally, I get something in the ol' Gmail inbox that just really impresses me and I'm compelled, nay forced, to do just that for the good of the X-Wing community. 

This article is one of those kinds of articles. Take it away Doug!

Is that TIE fighter #2 or is it Larry?
by Doug Hildebrand

There is a small problem with flying Wedge Antilles in a tournament. If you fly against another Rebel player, he is probably flying Wedge also. Everyone loves him. He is like that prom queen passing out candy to orphans – there’s nothing to not like. The last tournament I played in I faced one opponent who had nearly the exact four pilot list as I brought – Wedge with Swarm Tactics, Garven Dreis (I had an R2 Astromech on Garven Dreis to keep him green, and he skipped it to come in at 99pts for initiative), and two Rookies (and FFG doesn’t have the contract for Clone Wars). Telling who is who would normally be a pain in the neck (and three feet lower). We didn’t have that problem at all, and I am going to tell you why.

Typically, you pull out those little tombstones with the numbers on them and start sorting through them to find a matching pair so you can use the white sides and he can use the black sides, swearing ensues as none of the numbers match, and I need a third to mark the Rookie cards to align with the ones on the ships…. So Black Rookie #1 and Black Rookie #2 (why it gotta be black rookie, man?- Clint) are fighting against White Rookie #27 and White Rookie #13 (oh, my bad) and White Wedge #5 is facing off against Black Wedge #8. Doesn’t really have a cinematic feel to it, now does it? The Star Wars universe is rich with loads of characters and names from the books and movies; it seems a shame to call the pilots #6 and #9. My thought was to give my pilots more character and make it easier to recognize not just mine from my opponent but who I am referring to during game play.

Drawing inspiration from the Attack Wing pilot tombstones, I devised my own. That is the only thing I like about Attack Wing, the pilot tombstones; the rest is not in the same league as X-Wing. Not getting on that soap box today, so let’s just park that thought for now. The Attack Wing generic pilots (the ones with no abilities and a pilot skill of one) come with each ship, yet they have different pictures on each of the tombstones. I liked that. So, I made my own for my X-Wing ships. It is an extremely easy process that requires no real computer skill what-so-ever. You don’t even need high powered editing programs like Photoshop. I did it with PowerPoint. Here’s how you do it in ten quick and easy steps, because eleven would be too hard:

Step 1: Scan the tokens you want. I did a single tombstone and a Target Lock icon (didn’t mention the Target Locks yet, just go with it). These will be used for size reference.

Step 2: Find some images you want to use as your pilots. There is a host of Rebel and Imperial pilot pictures out on the internet, but don’t let that limit your imagination. You can use family photos, and not worry about copyright infringement. You can make your mother-in-law into Dark Curse. You know you want to.

Step 3: Use the Shape Menu to select the tombstone figure and create one on the page. Rotate it 90 degrees so it is round end up and resize it until it covers the scanned one neatly. You can get rid of the scanned one now, as it will not be used.

Step 4: Right click the tombstone and open the Format Picture window. Select fill at the top of the list and you should see this:

Select the radio button for “Picture or texture fill”, click on the “File” button, select the image you want to use, and before you close the window uncheck the “Rotate with shape” box. The image is now inside the tombstone. You may need to crop some images to fit in the shape better as PowerPoint doesn’t crop the image to place it in the shape; it stretches whichever side doesn’t fill all the way. Play with it a bit and get it to your liking and you are set for the first pilot icon. Highlight the new tombstone and CTRL-D yourself a few more copies and you have your first one done. I do six tombstone images – enough for three double sided tokens.

Step 5: Take the same image and import it. Size it so it fits over the center of the Target Lock token. I changed the border to circular and minimized the line width because I liked the way it looked for some and for others I used the fade edge – your choice. CTRL-D that to make a second image; enough to cover both sides of one token. Yes, only one Target Lock token. Explanation to follow.

Step 6: Rinse and repeat for as many pilots as you want for your fleet. For speed, copy the whole set you just did and change the image with the whole set highlighted. It will do all six in one shot. Saves a lot of time.

Step 7: Print out on regular paper. Nothing special needed.

Step 8: Cut them out. I size them up to the tokens to ensure that I don’t have anything hanging over the edge. That just looks sloppy if they need to be trimmed.

Step 9: Glue them on to the tokens you already have. I used standard white glue on my first set and then tried a special glue stick for paper (prevents wrinkles). I like the white glue better as it is easier to control where it goes. It’s your choice.

Step 10: Assign to your ships as necessary. I do it for named pilots also. It saves confusion when you fight the clone Vader and allows me to track which named character is which when I have more than one named pilot on the board – I need my glasses to read the type on the base, but not to see the images on the tombstones.

Shields up, if you got’em. Now the hero of the match isn’t Rookie #17, it is Moe Howard or whoever becomes an ace that evening. Now you can come home and say “Honey, your mother was a beast today. She was killing them all day long. And Timmy, I was disappointed in your performance. You need to step it up.” Or “Beyonce was amazing all night long. Gonna have to do that more often”. You know you want to be able to say that, every man does.

I have some images from the movies that I used. Luke is an easy one to spot (not on the example below). But Garven and Wedge aren’t always recognizable to some of the unwashed masses. I keep them set apart. The page below shows what I used for my tournament set (I printed an extra target lock in case I messed up cutting it out). Garven got the skull icon and I had a male and female rookie. John Cleese was my second option for Garven

Wait a damn minute….. what about the Target Lock, and why only one? You know how when everything gets all hot and heavy and ships are mixing it up and you have tokens all over the board? Vader has two people with Target Locks on him, he has one on someone else, he take a focus and an evade icon and that is just your first ship? Tokens and stuff are everywhere. You move him and you can’t determine if this “B” Target Lock is mine or yours or if it was on this guy or that and more swearing ensues. You have to remember that Academy TIE #25 is using Target Lock “R” because that is so intuitively obvious. Now you only have to put one token down on the ship that is being target locked and the picture matches the pilot tombstone that is already on the base of the one about to deliver some hurt. Less crap on the board and less confusion as to what goes where and who it belongs to.

Another suggestion for a quick and simple solution (that isn’t enough for an article) is to paint your bases. For my ships, Wedge always has a red base, Luke is white, Dreis is green, Empire is gray. This gives me a quick reference and definitely makes mine look different from my opponent’s bases. As for the legality in play, FFG directly addresses this in the tournament rules saying that:

“Players are welcome and encouraged to personalize their squads according to the following rules. The TO is the final authority on any component’s eligibility in the tournament……. Ship models may be painted as desired as long as the alteration are not offensive and do not adversely affect another players’ experience….. Ship bases cannot be modified to alter their size or shape”.

So, if you are using Darth Hefner and his swarm of Miss January through Miss June you need to keep it family friendly where the sexiest thing you see is a smile.

If you have an questions about copyright issues for an image the answer on this page does help clarify (http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/copyright-fair-use-and-how-it-works-for-online-images/) or if you want a resource for free images (http://www.techsoup.org/support/articles-and-how-tos/finding-and-using-images-from-the-web). This would mean that Darth Hefner’s swarm of lovely ladies is copyright protected and would not be prudent to try and use on a website or for profit in any shape way or form. Use of the images for personal use (i.e. gameplay at home or your FLGS) hits the grayest of gray areas out there. It can be compared to recording a TV show on a DVR or VCR for personal use. It is considered legal, but never has been challenged with an absolute decision. The best answer on legality I got was “I don’t know. No one does really”. I could DVR a football game and watch it at home with no problem, but if I showed in a bar to entertain patrons I would need to get permission. Bottom line is that copyright laws, fair use laws, public domain and the digital age have not kept in step. The whole concept of sharing a recording has gone from having a few friends over to watch the game at your house to sharing with a few thousand “friends” over the internet. From my non-lawyer perspective I deduce that since I am not receiving any gain from the use of the images and no one is losing out on potential profit from use in private gaming, it would be ok. Selling or distributing the images on a large scale would not. If a trained lawyer has any insight, it would be nice to hear (I don’t want to play Gingerbread Man with this).

Got lost in the legal ramifications, but don’t want to condone piracy. This is meant as a way for you to personalize your ships and get some extra fun out of your gaming experience. The icons can be interchangeable if you wish. If you use an image of Wedge Antilles, I would suggest only using it on him. The generic pilots can be used on just about anything Rebel ship. The female pilot above can start out as a Rookie and later become a Red Squadron pilot. The non-Star Wars images can be used interchangeably between Rebel and Empire.

See what I mean? I swear, when I read this I felt like Denis Leary talking about the guy who invented whippets- I don't know where Doug works, but he oughta be working for the space program. 

Brilliant stuff, Doug! Thanks again for letting me post it on here!

25 March 2014

Z-95 Headhunter Preview

Man, FFG and you guys are keeping me hoppin' these days!

So yesterday FFG revealed some more info on the forthcoming Wave 4 ship, the Rebel Alliance Z-95 Headhunter.

Right on, so we've talked about this guy a bit before, but FFG has given us a LOT more info with yesterday's post. To refresh though, here's Frito Bandito to show the ship's stats. 

As I said before, you gotta give 'em credit- it'll be easy to remember the ship's stats, right? The question on everybody's mind though in that initial reveal, or at least the question on my mind during that initial reveal was, "What's the maneuver dial like though?" 

Well, FFG dropped it on us yesterday. 

I think most of us know that the Z-95 was Incom's precursor to the X-Wing, so everyone figured the dial would probably be pretty similar, maybe a touch crappier. If you compare the two, they're pretty close to being the same. As for the the actual moves? They're almost 100% identical. The difference being the Z has a 3 K-Turn where the X-Wing's K-Turn is a 4. Aside from that, the only difference is in the colors at speeds 1 and 2. 

The available speed one moves for an X-Wing are all green where the Z only the straight is green. 
The available speed two moves for an X-Wing only one is green- the straight 2. The Z has the banks as well.
The speed three moves are the same between the two ships save for the Z's K-Turn. 
Both ships sport a four straight, but the X-Wing has the 4 K-Turn.

So not much difference in the dials really. 

Ok, so the ship is cheap and the dial isn't terrible, let's look at the other pilots that are going to be included in this expansion-

Tala Squadron is the PS 4 version of the Z-95. No upgrades the PS 2 Bandito version doesn't possess, but it's only 1 point more. 

As there's not much to see there, let's head on to the named guys, shall we? 

Can't decide if I'm going to call this guy Loo-tennant or Lef-tenant just yet, but I can assure you I'ma definitely call him "Blunt" or "Bluntman" and make a ton of weed jokes when I play with/ against him. 

All joking aside, well, some joking aside, Bluntman has PS 6 and an Elite Pilot Skill slot for only 17 points which is pretty reasonable in my book when you factor in his card text. Long story short? This guy kills Stealth Devices. Long story long? Notice a few choice verbiage selections there... First thing, "When Attacking..." so this is another one of those instances where we don't care if the attacker is using Primaries or Secondaries, so long as they're attacking. Secondly, Bluntman's card text triggers even if the target doesn't suffer damage. So the way I'm reading this, and admittedly, it's late and I'm not devoting my usual attention to writing this as I promised my oldest I'd print him out some buildings for his Thomas train table before I go to bed and I'm sorta going back and forth between the printer and this article, but it seems to me like this is another one of those deals where you don't even have to hit your target (in the rulebook or local parlance sense of the terms) to trigger the effect. Off the top of my head, I can't think of any other effect this text has other than killing off Stealth Devices and/ or if you couple it with the often under-utilized Assault Missiles, but I'm probably missing something there. That's pretty awesome, but also extremely specialized, so outside of meta where Stealth Devices are heavily used, this guy may not see quite as much action as you might think, but man, he does go a long way to keeping folks honest, doesn't he? 

The last pilot revealed is a guy by the name of Airen Cracken. 

Now, while I think you'd be stretching the joke too thin to call Cracken Chronic when he's by himself, I think you're absolutely within the realm of funny referring to Blount and Cracken collectively as Bluntman and Chronic. 

See, you thought I was going to do a "RELEASE THE CRACKENSZZZ!!!11!!one!!!" joke there, didn't ya?

Cracken is PS 8 and costs two more points than Blount for the same available upgrades setup save of course for his card text which is friggin' amazing as you can see from the image above. 

There aren't a ton of guys who can pull an Action in the Combat Phase. Turd Ferguson springs to mind, and Dreis and Dutch both sort of do it, but Cracken straight up allows another ship at Range 1 to perform a Free Action after he attacks, which being PS 8, it shouldn't be too hard to find a grateful recipient of that kind of love. 

There are tons of different applications for this text that spring to mind, but the two that jumped out at me first is giving Biggs a Free Action to either Focus or kick on an equipped R2-F2 could really shake up some plans for your opponent, or for pitching somebody carrying Expose as an Elite Pilot Skill that managed to get into a choice position to fire on somebody with little chance of negative repercussion. Or just simply tossing another Z-95 with a Target Lock a Focus token so he can make his Missile salvo really count. Or tossing it to another missile/ torpedo carrier who just got a lot more dangerous. 

All for the cost of a prototype A-Wing? Sign me up- that guy's good. Nevermind the fact that you could even throw on an Elite Pilot Skill like Swarm Tactics as the dude is PS 8. Does he come with a bullseye painted on the back of his ship? He oughta- he's basically Vader + Squad Leader without having to pay for Squad Leader. Just make sure you put him in a position where he can attack and you're in good shape- doesn't matter if he actually connects or not, just give him a target. Of course, flying against him, you gotta kinda treat him like Garven Dreis and stay out of his arcs to nullify him. The tough thing with Cracken is he's so much cheaper than Dreis and his ability is so much better. 

In addition to showing us the dial and all the available pilots, FFG did us yet another solid by revealing some more upgrade cards too. 

This is one of those cards that I can't quite decide if I'm overvaluing it or it really is as awesome as I think it is, but first, one of my trademark digressions. 

I think FFG really is concerned with keeping X-Wing balanced. It's just my opinion, of course, but I think they really are trying hard to avoid a single style of list dominating the meta without completely throwing the rest of the game out of whack. That said, I think they're really tired of TIE Swarms being so good. I think they tried to address them with Assault Missiles, but they were a little too expensive to catch on and of course were really only available to the Rebels on a couple of ships anyway, so they didn't have the meta-shaking effect that FFG was going for. Wave 3 I think they hoped the B-Wings would further pound the TIE Swarm, and they kinda do, but as we've all seen in our Store Championships, the old school Wave 1 classic TIE Swarm is still very forgiving to those who can maneuver it, so the effect was still somewhat lost. 

Wave 4 they're aiming to change that once again with cards like this. 

First off, it's a Mod so you can stick it on anybody you want. Secondly, it's only a point, so it's tough not to justify. Third, the card text gives kind of a Han Solo card text-like effect to Secondaries you discard to perform the Attack, so Missiles and Torps in other words (no, not Bombs- they're not Secondaries, remember?). 

As the trigger criteria involves the attack hitting, I'm obligated once again to run through the difference in die results and Hits, but as I've said it on here a bunch of times, I'll just do the short version- when you make your attack, and your opponent makes his defense roll, if you have more filled and/ or unfilled explosion symbols on your red dice than he has wavy arrows, Evade tokens, or modifications like Focus on his dice, then you've Hit him. It's not if you just roll filled or unfilled explosions- your Attack has to actually get through his attempt to cancel your attack results. If that doesn't happen, Munitions Failsafe kicks in and you don't actually discard your ordnance. 

Defending against this is kinda like that contextual modification stuff you get into when Han shoots at you, but the bearer of Munitions Failsafe doesn't get to attack again, he just doesn't use his Missiles or Torps on you which might be fine, but it might not either. Like I said, it's contextual. I kinda wonder if they're going to FAQ this card's use with Cluster Missiles or leave it the way it seems to be right now. 

Last new card revealed is Wingman which I think all of us were pretty curious about. 

Wow, so that's pretty awesome too, right? Notice though that this is an Elite Pilot Skill, so you can't just tack it onto anybody like Munitions Failsafe, but still, it's pretty slick if you like puling K-Turns, using Push The Limit, Elusiveness, or a surprise Opportunist on your opponent. This is another one of those cards that I can't quite decide if I'm thinking it's a bigger deal than what it is or if it's the game changer I believe it to be. The thing I love is it just straight up removes Stress Tokens as opposed to just moving them around like with Captain Yorr. Admittedly, they're removed in the Combat Phase, so you may have already cost yourself your Perform Action step, but for Advanced Sensor B-Wings, this card is a big deal. 

24 March 2014

Partial Reveal: The Evacuation of Hoth Missions

As has been the case the past several Fridays, FFG released some more X-Wing Minaitures news on their website. This time, it was about some of the scenarios included with the upcoming GR-75 Rebel Transport.

The first thing that was on my mind when I started reading this article was, "Ok- what are we talking about here? Epic or Cinematic?" For those of y'all who are a touch out of the loop, those are the two new game formats, for lack of a better term, that allow for the use of these Huge ships. 

Now, unless my eyes have failed me, they never actually say in the article whether the Evacuation of Hoth Missions which ones these are. There is a tidbit towards the end of the article, and by towards the end I mean like the last full friggin' paragraph before the footer they always use for X-Wing articles, that seems to indicate that more details will be revealed in the coming weeks, blah, blah, blah, including one where a developer will discuss the role the huge ships play in Epic format. 

So long story long, this leads me to believe the discussion on their scenarios and of course my subsequent discussion, are referring to Cinematic play. Or heck, maybe it's both kinda. Who knows? 

I know, I know, all you armchair, backseat drivers are warming up your keyboards to tell me, "Well duh! Of COURSE they're talking about Cinematic play! LOLS" in the comments. I'm just saying for all the good the three pages of italicized intro paragraphs reveal at the start of the article, they never do really come out and officially say it. It also doesn't do much good for clarity when you say stuff like, "...The Expansion launches X-Wing into the all-new reaches of Epic Play and Epic experiences in Cinematic Play." Which sounds, well epic and takes me back to my old band days when we used to play that song live and I'd put on some hockey gloves (because I didn't have any boxing gloves like Mike wore in the video, and well, because hockey gloves make everything better) and yeah, we even did the breakdown where we'd go into like 10 seconds of Technotronic's Pump Up The Jam at the very end just like FNM used to do when they'd play Epic live. But I digress. 

In any case, as I'm under the impression that Epic is going to be rules for big games (i.e. somewhere past 100 points, but I don't know the actual points or anything), I think Cinematic is going to be stuff like this- structured Scenarios that are at times, lopsided points-wise that recreate moments from the movies and whatnot with some special rules that make the campaign itself bigger than just a bunch of one-off games. 

Anyway, over the course of the article, they reveal some info on three of the four missions that'll be included with the GR-75 along with how those scenarios fit together into a sort of linked campaign system FFG has dreamed up. 

While FFG talks about the scenarios then the rules for the campaign, I figure y'all are probably pretty interested in playing the scenarios linked together as the campaign, so you probably want to know what's up with that while you're reading about the scenarios, so I'm going to talk about the two in the opposite order that they're presented on the FFG site. 

Right on. So it sounds like first and foremost, the main difference between the standard one-off dogfights and Missions we've been playing around with are rules governing the use of the named Pilots and/ or Crew Members for both the Rebels and the Imperials in this format. The Imperials have to sit down and plan out what named guys will be used in what Missions and don't seem to be able to deviate from that once it's set regardless of outcome of previous Missions. They say this represents the rigid Imperial command structure but also state that the Empire has the numerical advantage all the time throughout the Missions and therefore the campaign. 

Well into conjecture territory here, but my guess is the Missions themselves will tell the Imperial player what non-named fighters they'll be using or are at least available and in what quantities, then the player can add the named guys to that roster as he sees fit. Again, just my thinking here. 

For the Rebels, they don't have to nominate in advanced what the named guys are doing, but it doesn't sound like all the named guys are available all the time. FFG justifies this design decision based on the narrative of the Rebels being up against a wall pretty badly when the whole secret base on Hoth thing went sideways and the ground started shakin', the earth started quakin', and the AT-ATs started shakin' them all night laaawwwnng. And yeah, two old bands I was in back in the day used to play that song too. Man, I'm like running into an old band theme here and I totally didn't even mean to. 

Winning Missions in this linked campaign gives some nice advantages for the next round. If the Rebels win the Mission, they get to look at the Imperial forces on deck for the next Mission and have the opportunity to pick from the pool of available (Rebel) pilots the best squadron they can muster against those forces. If the Imperials win, they can remove more named pilots from the list of available personnel the Rebels have at their disposal. Additionally, any Rebel pilots who are killed in combat during the campaign are lost for good and cannot be selected for use in later missions. 

While harsh, I feel like this is going to add an entirely new level of complexity to X-Wing Miniatures- having to take into account the not only the notion that if you lose a guy he's lost for good, but just in the way that you're going to kit them out. Assuming a guy like Wedge is available for example, kitting him out to be a straight up offensive machine might not be the best approach if you feel like you need to have him available through the rest of the campaign. Conversely, if it comes down to maybe winning the Mission or definitely killing off some Rebel hotshot floating around with one Hull point and a crit, the Empire may have some difficult tactical decisions on its hands as well. I love this. 

As for the Missions themselves...

Mission 1 sounds as though it covers the initial breakout attempt. Rebel pilots are attempting to escort the Transport past some space mines and the responding Imperial forces. I'm guessing the Imperial forces in this Mission will be relatively thin as they indicate in the article the Imperial player seemingly has to choose between engaging the starfighters who are mitigating the space mines or going after the Transport itself. 

In Mission 2, the Empire's blockading forces muster a much stronger response to the Rebel escape attempt. The article says that the Rebels will need to survive wave after wave of fighters while the Rebel ground forces push Ion shots up from the surface like in the movie to provide covering fire and the Star Destroyers rain turbolaser fire into the fray, which likely explains those tokens we saw included with the GR-75 that look like, well, ion and turbolaser shots. 

I'm a little confused about whether the next paragraph in the article is actually talking about Mission 3 or Mission 4. I mean, it says "Mission 3" above the paragraph, but then it starts out saying, "If the GR-75 holds fast until the Campaign's finale", so I kinda think the following might actually be about the 4th and final Mission, and they didn't say anything about Mission 3. Or maybe the text is about Missions 3 and 4 combined. In any case, Mission 3 and/ or 4 has the GR-75 trying to make the jump point but first has to navigate through an asteroid field while the remaining Rebel fighters engage Imperial forces trying to stop her. I kinda think that maybe Mission 3 is the asteroids then Mission 4 is holding it together while the Transport makes it to the jump point, but again- just my own conjecture there. 

If you're stoked to fly some of these Campaign-style Missions in what I think is the Cinematic mode, by all means head on over to Miniature Market and get your pre-order on! FFG says the GR-75 is coming at us in May. 

Now, I know the jaded amongst you are already cracking up. 99% of the time I'm firmly right there with you. That said, I'm slightly optimistic this time simply because Regionals were said to start in May and the Assault at Imdaar Alpha is going down at the very tail end of May and there'll almost certainly be a FAQ and/ or Tournament Rules update before then to address some of the current Wave 3 rules interactions and stuff, so there is at least an opportunity to include the Rebel escort pilots for use in Imdaar and/ or Regionals. 

Again, not saying it's definitely going to happen, just saying I'm not immediately dismissing this "expected by" date like usual. If you put a gun to my head and made me predict, I'd say if they are available for either competition at all, the escorts will be legal for Imdaar but illegal for Regionals. Just my own thoughts on the subject. Again, I got no insider info on this at all. 

Oh, and for more info on the included pilots and whatnots, check out my GR-75 reveal article from before. 

Fab's Squadron Generator, Now Version 4.0!

Our man in France, Fab, has been at it again!

Hello Clint,

I just updated the Fab's Squadrons Generators now in v4.0- 
Big changes this time with a complete new mode : the "GOLDEN MODE".

So, now you can start the build of the squadrons either manually or randomly and alter then as you want. The lock features are still their and they allow multiple ways to use the tool.

A "COMPLETE" button allows to start the build manually and to have i completed ramdomly.

You will find also a "FREE" option near the "MANUAL" button to activate on the fly the free mode.

GOLDEN MODE => http://fabpsb.free.fr/gindex.php

I also added the last expansions.


Too cool, Fab! You are a gentleman and a scholar as well as being a great contributor to the X-Wing Miniatures global community! 

Check it out, y'all!

21 March 2014

Oopinou's X-Wing Miniatures Pilot Card Creator

Not that I'm complaining, but here lately, the past couple of weeks especially, The Metal Bikini has almost been a full-time job with all the reveals, the new relationship between me and Miniature Market, and all of your emails, comments, and G+/ Twitter shenanigans. Again- this is a good thing. Hells bells, it's a great thing actually as I still have a blast talking X-Wing with all of y'all and writing these articles and everything.

That said, there is a downside- I get wrapped up in so many different things, I sometimes forget stuff.

Case in point, a nice French guy that goes by oopinou sent me a link to a card creator he'd been working on awhile back. I'd meant to check it out, then got busy with everything else.

Luckily for me, oopinou wasn't discouraged by my rudeness and luckily for all of us, he emailed me the following early yesterday morning-

Hi Clint,

As I told you, I just released a new X-wing tool initially for the French Community of the game. Inspired by the work of Jason Fuller and based on the Tom Howard's HD template, i'm proud to announce you this new pilot card creator :

Available to this address : http://cardcreator.atelierdufaucon.com/

This one allow to create at the same time :
- the Pilot Card
- the ShipToken
- the Ship Dial

Everything in HD and directly convert to a PNG file allowing the user to download it and print it very easily.
Sharing is available too, and some "template" of ships can be selected to save a few time.

This tool was thinked to be easy and fast to use, an i will take all suggestions in consideration.
It is only in French for the moment, BUT, it is very easy french, and the texts actually are not very needed.

The calculation of the ship cost is not perfect for the moment, but we are looking for people to help us on the maths in this post (in french but we understand english well) : http://www.sw-xwing.com/t1882-Travail-sur-la-matrice-de-calcul-de-Galuf.htm

Bye !

If you find the motivation of correcting my English Mistakes you will become my superhero (what ? Of course you are ever ...)

Maybe you will be interested by this article too : http://www.atelierdufaucon.com/2014/02/les-actions-statistiques-et-choix.html
It as a great success in my community


First, I'm not correcting anybody's mistakes, man. Your English is better than mine about half the time, bro. As I've said before, I work with a bunch of Japanese dudes who get all embarrassed because they don't speak English very well. "No," I tell them. "Your English is much better than my Japanese." You get your point across and we're good as far as I'm concerned, and that's for real. I'm not going to make fun of anybody or get uppity about the language when I can barely pull off saying "Thanks" in more than a handful of languages. Hell, English is a mongrel language anyway- we got how many words to convey basic concepts like agreeing with somebody? That's nuts- you don't need to know them all anyway.

Secondly, how awesome is this thing? My God! You can set like friggin' everything with this guy's generator! I got on there earlier to mess around with it a little bit before I wrote this article and before I knew it, 30 minutes were gone. I swear, customizing X-Wing Miniatures cards is almost as fun as completely tearing down and redesigning my Moto X's screens. And yeah, I mean that as a compliment.

It's probably no surprise you can change the actual text for the ship, pilot, and card, but you can even pick stuff your little ship icon deal, you can pick different firing arcs (normal, front and rear, 360) for your Primary, pick your upgrade bar icons (including multiples for Missiles, Torpedoes, Crew, etc.), pick your Action bar icons, your Pilot Skill value, your Faction, you name it. You can even make a "dotted" unique pilot! Heck, it even takes all the options and stuff you pick and suggests a point value for your creation. Comprehensive, I think is the word you're looking for here.

Now, I don't speak French, but I do watch hockey, and sometimes that means I'm watching La Ligue nationale de hockey, rather than the National Hockey League, and since I had a couple of years of Latin back in the dinosaur days of high school, I can somewhat stumble my way through a little bit of French. That said, as oopinou mentions, you kinda really don't need to know French to get some good mileage out of his generator. Just experimenting with typing and clicking along with a bit of familiarity with X-Wing Miniatures cards gets you quite a long way.

But wait there's more- this isn't just a card generator, it also generates your maneuver dial and the little square base insert thing with your firing arc and main stats and stuff! How awesome is that?

That's just crazy impressive to me. I hope it is to y'all as well. Now we can make Bikini Squadron, y'all! Aficionados report in! 

Thanks again oopinou! Er, I mean, merci oopinou! Your card generator is tres magnifique!

20 March 2014

Rebel Aces Preview

Oh my God you guys! Did you know another new expansion has been revealed?

I keed, I keed. Of course you know. A TON of y'all emailed/ Tweeted/ G+ed/ Hangouts Messaged me from what must have been nearly the moment this thing turned up as a mysterious image on some Facebook page, let alone once the official reveal info was posted on the FFG site. As to why I didn't run with this as yesterday's article, I had already committed to running the Painting Contest announcement and didn't want to steal my own thunder for that.

Wow. So another revealed expansion. We've got a lot of new toys coming down the pike, huh?

All right, so let's do this thing.

First, much like Imperial Aces, we've got a couple of currently available ships in currently unavailable paint schemes. In this box, as you can plainly see in the image above, we've got an A-Wing painted up like the ship in the Prototype Pilot card and a B-Wing painted with Dagger Squadron markings, which besides being a pretty striking color scheme (a Dagger Squadron in a striking paint scheme? +Punning Pundit, can I get a ruling on that?) is pretty smart if they did it on purpose as the Dagger is a pretty popular flavor of B-Wing these days.

The models are beautiful as always, so moving on, let's peek at the box contents.

Ok, usual assortment of tokens and whatnots, let's be honest here- there's two things are interested in: the pilots and the upgrades. 

Going from right to left on the cards, we've got a Proto A, a Greenie, a unique pilot at PS 5 (sorry, I'm not up on EU so much- can any of y'all make out the name from the text given?), and a PS 7 pilot named Jake Farrell who FFG has also revealed, which is just right neighborly of them if you ask me.

Now, you guys know how much I love to give pilots fun nicknames, I'm going to ignore the order of the A's and E's in Jake's last name and refer to him as Scotty which should be both obvious and hilarious to any of you who listen to North American sports talk radio. I will be doing a lot of shake it up and howcanibedamanwhenyoudaman once this thing drops- just giving you a heads up. 

Former SiriusXM sports personalities notwithstanding, looking at Scotty's card text- wow, holy mackerel. Perform a Focus and get a free Boost or Barrel Roll? Like the A-Wings didn't have enough moves and Actions available to start with, right? Uncle Futrelli's also a respectable PS 7 for only 24 points aaaaand, he sports an Elite Pilot Skill to boot! Nice! Christ, stick PTL on this guy and get even more Action options or if you're feelin' froggy and want a little more offensive output out of him, what about using that Boost or Barrel Roll TIE Interceptor style to take yourself out of your opponent's arcs and then kick on Opportunist or Expose? Lots of possibilities for this guy. I think he'll be leading an A-Wing revival when it's all said and done. 

Continuing on through the pilot cards, we see a Blue B-Wing, a Dagger, a currently unrevealed unique PS 5 pilot (again- if you EU experts can make out that name, share it with the rest of the class in the comments below) and in another awesome nod to the old X-Wing and TIE Fighter PC games, Keyan Farlander.

Like we needed more reasons to fly B-Wings with Advanced Sensors, right? Holy cow- this guy's card text is off the friggin' chain- remove a Stress Token to end up with what is effectively an offense-only Focus. That's wild, y'all. Of course, it comes at a price- 29 points to be exact, but I think you could make a pretty strong case for running this dude even without the Advanced Sensors and just using the card text as a pseudo-Focus to save a few points. Of course, if you don't mind paying points on ships with some real butt kickin' potential, what about sticking some Advanced Proton Torpedoes in Farlander's tubes? Huh? Huh? Not only that, Mr. Farlander's got access to Elite Pilot Skills as well. Wow. 

Moving down to run through the upgrade cards, we first see what appears to be a couple of copies of something called Proton Rockets which as you'd expect is some sort of Secondary Weapon and appears to be a Missile. 

Next in line we've got a card called Enhanced Scopes. 

So it's an Advanced Systems card as evidenced by the little radar dish icon in the lower left which means at the time of writing, this guy can only go on a B-Wing or a Shuttle. I had to laugh when I read this card because when Sean and I were hanging out the night before the Armored Gopher Store Championship a few weeks ago, we were talking shop (which we totally should have recorded and released as TMB Podcast #1- my bad, y'all) and I said something along the lines of, "You know what would be fun? A card that was like the opposite of Veteran Instincts that like lowered your PS value. Like a Rookie Instincts or something." That's more or less what this card does, but it one-ups my idea and only does it in the Activation Phase which allows you to have your Pilot Skill cake and eat it too. For only a point this thing's gonna make for some tough decisions for a lot of people who are already used to running their Shuttles and B-Wings with a particular Advanced System. 

Next we see another new card called... wait a second. Looks like in the spread it's called something like A-Wing Test something, but then there's this revealed card with the same exact artwork and it's called Prototype Veteran. 

Probably a last minute title change or something.

In any case, Prototype Veteran is an 0 cost, A-Wing only Title that allows an A-Wing to stock an Elite Pilot Skill icon. While you can't actually stick it on a Prototype A-Wing, you can stick it on a Greenie (or Tycho or Scotty) to give it another Elite Pilot Skill! Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this is the only instance currently in X-Wing where you can actually give a ship two Elite Pilot Skills. The only limiter here is you can't pick the same Skill twice. 

Do you get the feeling they want us to start playing A-Wings more? If not, have yourself checked for lead poisoning. 

Also- you can give this to Arvel Crynyd so that he finally gets an Elite Pilot Skill which just makes my day. 

Moving on, we've got some crew cards for Kyle Katarn and Jan Ors which is pretty cool, but hey- isn't it strange that they included Crew Member cards with an Expansion that has ships that can't take Crew Members? Huh. Wonder what the next card is? 

Looks like a Mod as there's no icon in the lower left corner. The card art is a B-Wing with its cockpit canopy up, first line of text seems to indicate some kind of B-Wing only limiter, and looking at the card text, it adds some kind of icon, wait- is that? 

Ooooooh. Right on. So that's why they included some Crew Members with this thing. That card lets you stick a Crew Member in a B-Wing! My mind spins with potential here. C-3PO? Chewie, Crew Member? Saboteur? Hell, just a plain ol' Gunner firing off a HLC? So many interesting possibilities, y'all. 

Last face-up card is the Chardaan Refit. 

This card is funny because Sean came up with a pretty similar idea of trading in functionality to decrease points cost in that same conversation where I was going on about Rookie Instincts. 

So it counts as a Missile, has an A-Wing only limiter, and gives you back 2 points if you seal up those missile tubes. Not too shabby. 

Now, I know a lot of folks like to use A-Wings as alpha strikers because of their extreme maneuverability and missile loadouts, and with all of the missiles available and coming soon, this isn't an easy decision to make. However, if you've used your A-Wings as trailers for other ships to finish off wounded prey or if you plan on going nuts with Prototype Veteran, this card could well be worth its weight in gold. 

That last card is a face down missile card, but we've already got a pair of Chardaan Refits showing. Is that face down card really another missile we're just getting one copy of or just an oversight on FFG's part? Obviously it's too early to say right now. None of the other upgrade cards are duplicated from existing boxes in this Expansion, so it could be something brand new- we just don't know. 

Also included is a new Scenario that uses the included Escape Pod token base thing which accounts for the last bit of stuff in the box. 

Whew! So what do y'all think? There's a whole lot of unrevealed, but unavailable stuff right now floating around out there in the factories, huh? I saw somebody on BoLS say that X-Wing is like the polar opposite of 40k in that regard. Do you like knowing what's coming out like this or do you wish it was more of the 40k "Christmas Morning" model where you don't know until right before it's released? Oh, and speaking of release, Rebel Aces is said to be dropping Q3 this year, which could be around GenCon if you're feeling optimistic or around the time that Episode VII hits theaters if you're not. 

Last but not least, eternally on the ball +Geordan Rosario already has all of this revealed stuff integrated into (Yet Another) X-Wing Miniatures Squad Builder, so if you've got a few free minutes and want to play around with some list ideas, head on over! Thanks again Geordan- you're a credit to the community! 

19 March 2014

TMB.com X-Wing Painting Contest Sponsored by Miniature Market!

I've always wanted more pictures of custom painted X-Wing Miniatures on TheMetalBikini.com, but short of begging or <shudder> actually doing it myself, I never could come up with a good way of doing it...

... Until now!

The good folks over at MiniatureMarket.com have teamed up with the bar to sponsor our first ever X-Wing Miniatures Painting Contest! Yeah, I know, right? Awesome!

So here's the skinny- from the time of this posting (Wednesday, 19 March, 4:00am Central Daylight Time) until 11:59pm on Wednesday the 26th (about a week, in other words), y'all can send in pics of your awesome X-Wing Miniatures models. Starfighters, big ships, conversions, stocks, whatever- it's up to you so long as it's an X-Wing Miniature- or at least started life as one, is still predominantly one, and you're the one that did all of the work.

Entry Guidelines-
1) I want whoever sends the pic to have done the painting. This being the internet and all, there's really no way for me to police this other than to ask you nicely to be honest and insist that you take a picture of the model with the TMB and MM.com Miniatures Painting Contest image somewhere in the background in at least one of your shots. The idea here is not to go and grab some picture off the net and submit it as your own work. You can hold your model up in front of your computer screen when you take the pics so that the image is in the background or you can print it out on paper and set your mini on top of it, whatever- so long as the ad is visible, at least somewhat legible, and not Photoshopped into the image. Oh, and this doesn't have to be an X-Wing Miniature painted especially for this contest- it can be something you painted earlier, that's totally fine so long as it or the pictures of it isn't somehow the property of someone else now.

2) Please, for my own sanity, send me no more than three pictures of your model. Three pics ought to be good enough to show off your skills and give me a good look at your ship. And don't make the images massively huge either, please. I'd like for them to be large enough I can see your work, but not like 4096x5400 or whatever, ok? I don't want to set like a firm dimensional limit on this- just use your own best judgement, aiight?

3) Entering more than one model is fine, but please send me a separate email for each entry and abide by these rules for each entry.

4) When you send me your pics, please include your full name and mailing address in your entry so MM and I know where to send your prizes if you win (more on that in a second). Please note, this contest is open to everybody- Americans, Canadians, English folks, whoever, but you gotta, gotta, gotta send me your real name and address along with your entry pictures. You also need to send the pics from a valid email address, or at least mention one in your entry along with your real name and address so I can contact you if you win.

5) I will announce the winners on here in the article I post on Friday, 28 March. If you're not cool with me using your real name on here, you need to tell me what you want to be called in your entry. If you win first, second, or third, I'll notify you by email.

6) As I'm (probably very foolishly) using my usual email address for this contest, please make the subject of your entry email, "TMB and MM Painting Contest" so I can keep my own personal email at least halfway organized, and for Christ's sake- if you have a question about the contest that you want to email me, don't use that exact phrase as your subject line, ok?

Other Information: 
While I will absolutely credit you with the work you've done, the pics you send me will become property of TMB and the really good ones will go up as part of an image gallery of cool paint jobs that'll become a permanent fixture on the site here in the Arts and (Space)Crafts section. It's probably unlikely that you'd be sending me pictures that someone else owns the rights to, but I don't want anybody misunderstanding the intent here.

I'll be picking the winning entries. There's no real set selection criteria- just whatever I think looks the coolest wins. I don't care if your idea is perfectly detailed canon or something wild and original- if it looks awesome, it's got a shot. And I swear I won't be biased for or against Rebels or Imperials.

I hate saying stuff like this, but I have the right to reject any images that I don't feel would be a good fit for the audience here or for any other reason. In other words, don't send me ships with images that are pornographic or have curse words or whatever on them. No matter how well done it is, I can't be showin' stuff like that on here, man. Again, use your best judgement here people- I don't want to come up with a list of stuff you can't do for this.

Also, as this is the first time I've ever done something like this and I'm not a lawyer or anything, these rules may change if necessary. If they do, this article will be updated accordingly, so it might not be a bad idea to give this list another look before you email me your submissions.

Lastly, if you didn't follow the rules posted, your submission will be rejected immediately so please, please, please pay attention especially to those parts above that I've so helpfully underlined for you. If you get in a hurry and realized you screwed up your entry, just send me the whole thing, pics and all, over again rather than send me an email saying, "Oh hey- I forgot to put my address on my entry, here it is."

1st Place- An Imperial Aces Expansion from Miniature Market and a TMB.com t-shirt and sticker from me.
2nd Place- A TIE Fighter Expansion or X-Wing Expansion (your choice) from Miniature Market and a TMB.com t-shirt from me.
3rd Place- A brush set from Miniature Market and a TMB.com sticker from me.

Send your entries to my usual email address here- cidmcdp@gmail.com.

So there ya go! Get to paintin' y'all! There's prizes to be won! And for God's sake, if you don't already do so, please at least consider patronizing Miniature Market with your next purchase of gaming goodies- having a contest like this was all their idea! How cool is that?

Good luck and may the force be with ya!

18 March 2014

To FLGS Or Not To FLGS, That Is The Question

So as I mentioned in yesterday's article, I was really hopeful to pick up an Imperial Aces box on the way home from work today and spend tonight writing something of a review on the box and it's contents and snapping a bunch of new background pictures. 

As you've likely guessed, that didn't happen. 

I needed to run by the grocery store and pick up a couple of things (Perdue Chicken Nuggets, Honest Kids juice, and Diet Dews- thanks for asking) and it just so happens one of my FLGS is like two doors down from the store, so I'm thinking this is going to be perfect. 

I get the groceries, stash them in the car, and head into my FLGS which I've been patronizing since 2004 and head to the X-Wing stuff. 

No Aces. 

There's a customer talking R/C car stuff with the owner and when he wraps up, I ask the owner about the Aces. He tells me that he couldn't get any from his distributor and doesn't plan on being able to get any for a long time. 


There's still hope though, in fact, there's hope in the form of my other FLGS which is even on my way home what with the road construction happening on the street I'd normally take home. I kinda get a bad feeling about it though and call them up before I get there (which by the way- 100% voice dialing on my Moto X? Pure awesomeness). 

Unfortunately, the bad feeling is warranted, "Uh, I think they're coming in Thursday? You're actually the second person that's called about this, but I only work here on Mondays so I don't really know." 

Now, I'm not some special and unique snowflake. I don't expect my FLGS to always stock the very thing I'm looking for, despite what you may think after reading this article. It does kind of bring up an interesting question though- 

Do you support your FLGS or do you buy online? Don't answer just yet...

I think the majority of y'all are aware of my situation- I don't get to play in my store(s) much because of my lack of free time, but I still patronize them if at all possible. Every single X-Wing item I've purchased (or my family has purchased for me, for that matter) has come from one of these two stores. One of them has never held any kind of tournament as they don't have tables to play on. The other hosted a small, unsanctioned tournament and a Kessel Run but nothing since. When I played 40k, I bought something, anything, every single time I went in to play on their tables. It might have been an actual 40k item, but then they stopped carrying GW stuff, so I'd buy a volume (yes, a volume- not an issue) of The Walking Dead, or 100 Bullets, or The Boys, or whatever. Just as a thanks for keeping the lights on for us and giving us a place to play kind of thing, y'know? I did the same thing when I'd go into play X-Wing later on. 

Now though, one of my stores can't seem to get new product for whatever reason, the other store isn't sure if they do or not, which frankly is worse in my opinion. To be fair though, it isn't just X-Wing- this store doesn't seem to be interested in supporting any games aside from Magic and Pokemon/ Yu-Gi-Oh/ whatever. Disclaimer: I'm not mad at them about this- it's their store, they can do what they want, but at the same time, I don't have to spend my money there either, which I gotta assume leads other folks into this circle of nobody plays this game- we don't support this game- so nobody plays this game, ad nauseam (which by the way is exactly what happened to their 40k scene a few years ago, and when the owners told me and my longtime opponent that he quite carrying GW because he was tired of seeing people play stuff they bought from eBay on his tables while we literally have hundreds of dollars of miniatures, books, and whatnots we bought from him in his store on the table in front of him, I gotta say it was a bit of a slap in the ol' face, but I digress). 

I've traditionally resisted buying stuff online unless I just felt like I had to. This goes for everything from gaming stuff to e-cigarette supplies to whatever else. Now, I buy a lot of stuff online, but it's usually stuff I just flat out can't get around here- a Seattle Sounders jersey, for example, or filament for the 3D printer. It isn't because of service or price usually, I just want to help keep these places open in case I really need them at some point and because I may open some business of my own someday and I hope that there are other folks like me out there who will patronize them in spite of the internet. 

Of course, this line of thinking has now left me, the guy from The Metal Bikini, Aces-less. 

I gotta tell ya, when it turned out nobody had stock today, the manufacturing engineer in my head chastised me for not deciding a month ago on pre-ordering an Aces expansion from Miniature Market and then picking up a second copy at one of my FLGS rather than just planning on hitting both local stores each for a copy like usual. 

After I got off the phone with the other FLGS that said they maybe wouldn't be in until Thursday, I got on my phone at a red light and ordered the expansion from Miniature Market. Yes, that's a plug, but look at it from my perspective- I can't get my local stores to support the game I'm playing even after spending money in them the past 10 years and now here's this internet company that's paying me to run ads on my site and selling the product I want to buy cheaper than the FLGS even including shipping. 

What's a bartender to do? Am I absolved of the cardinal gamer sin of buying from the internet instead of a FLGS? I mean in these heady days of places selling at razor-thin margins like Miniature Market and eternally stocked behemoths with shipping deals like Amazon, at some point do I get to make these purchases guilt-free from the comfort of my home, phone, or job like I do with a lot of the rest of the stuff I buy online? 

I got a couple of emails and comments from people today saying their FLGS didn't have Aces either for various reasons so I'm pretty sure it isn't just me, and this isn't an article where I'm trying to determine whether to be disappointed with my FLGS for not being on the ball or FFG for not meeting demand because that kind of thing is a complete waste of time in my opinion just like politicians trying to figure out who to blame the problems on (who cares who effed things up- I'm waaay more interested in how to fix them), I'm just curious to hear your thoughts regarding purchasing from your FLGS. Am I some kind of pre-internet relic buying stuff for more money from a local store or are some of y'all experiencing the same disappointment right now too?