When should our games slow down?

Expandable games have always been favorites of mine. Every few months we’ll get a new wave of expansions, and more stuff to add to our tabletops! It’s a constant drain on our wallets, but also a constant flow of new gaming goodness, weather it’s tiny spaceships, large capital ships, or little men and aliens! But do these games at some point become saturated?

X-Wing 1st edition is a good example of a game that seemed to try to do too much, too fast. I started playing X-Wing right as Wave 3 came out – and at that point we already had X-Wings, Y-Wings, B-Wings, A-Wings, Millennium Falcons, and almost every highly recognized ship that most casual fans would recognize. Not long after I started playing we began to see a nonstop wave of announcements. Huge ships were coming! Imperial Aces were coming! Wave 4 was Coming! Wave 5 was also announced! All of these things were all coming in almost the same small window of time! X-Wing started digging into Legends! Then the Disney buyout of Lucasfilm happened, and not long after that there was more direction on releasing products that were canon and focused on new products like Episode 7.

With the release of the Force Awakens Core Set – we began to really see what happens when FFG tries too hard to release something too quickly – we got a ton of generic pilots like “Blue Ace” that had no real function other than to simply be filler. We also saw Poe, the greatest pilot in the resistance, only at Pilot Skill 8 – something they later had to fix. We then saw a separate T-70 X-Wing expansion with even more generic pilots – and then once the movie finally came out and more pilots were actually revealed – we got yet ANOTHER T-70 in a Heroes of the Resistance pack, with even MORE pilots. At this point the T-70 was over saturated with too many nameless pilots. I can’t help but think that if they’d just slowed down and waited until AFTER the movie came out – they could have gotten it right the first time! Core set could have had Poe’s Black One – and the T-70 expansion could have been the stock Blue and Grey! But I wonder if they aren’t also running the risk of doing the same thing to Legion?

When Legion came out, FFG said they’d be releasing at least one expansion every month. That’s a tall order for a company that has always had a much slower release pace. The surprising part is that they were largely able to stick to that planned release schedule – minus a few select hiccups from time to time – which has been great for the launch of the game! But is it getting to be too much? Now that the Rebels and the Empire have larger selections of options at every category – do we still need a constant flow of new expansions every single month?

The answer is partly yes, partly no.

While the rebels and empire may not need quite so much to keep them alive, the Clone Wars is also now launching, (And in many peoples hand’s already). Republic and Separatist armies will become very stale if they aren’t given many more options, and soon. Currently they don’t even have a single special forces expansion announced yet, and no operatives either – so it seems reasonable that for the first year at least – these new factions should probably expect a roughly similar release schedule that the original two factions got. I say roughly, because I also expect the occasional rebel and imperial expansion to be thrown in. We’ve already seen Luke and Vader’s new operatives previewed – and rumors of new commanders are spreading like wildfire – so that will also probably happen in 2020. But for staple units? I think we’re good for now. We simply can’t expect a new corps unit type every 3 months for every faction. Once you get your 4th corps, or 4th heavy – I think the well is going to begin to run dry. So I suggest by this time next year, they begin to slow things down a little bit – and maybe stagger releases to every OTHER month. (Unless they have other plans like Sub Factions, etc).

Armada has taken this type of plan to heart, perhaps a bit too much. With an average of one wave per year – many fans begin to fear the game is dead. In a recent Ask me Anything – FFG Head of Studio Andrew Navarro hinted that there were only so many recognizable ships that they could reasonably create for Armada, and expect them to sell well enough. Which is one reason they have slowed the production down so much. We are expecting things to pick back up significantly once the Clone Wars releases in late 2020, but until then it’s likely going to continue to be a slow release schedule for Armada – and personally I’m moderately ok with that.

Armada at least, is in a very good place in terms of ship variety and game mechanics. The game has been extremely well designed compared to other games in it’s class, and balance has been surprisingly good. Many lists are viable, and the meta-game varies tremendously from region to region. Armada isn’t really in a place where it is heavily dependent on new expansions to keep the game going – as it’s able to sustain itself fairly well with a minimum of effort. But it would certainly be comforting if we had a BIT more than 1 ship a year, wouldn’t it?

So what is the magic number? How fast is too fast? How slow is too slow? I’d like to think that a wave of expansions every 3 – 6 months is somewhere in the ballpark – but that really depends on the game and how comfortable the community is with a change to their schedule. One thing is crucial though – Communication is key. If FFG decides to slow down Legion production, for example, they NEED to inform the public that this is planned, so as to not create a panic and “The game is DEAD!” reactions that other games have seen in the past. Reassure us that our games are still supported, and we’ll love you forever!

Rebel Attack on Imperial Space Nine!

Had some fun taking photos of my Wiz Kids DS9, and my Star Wars Armada ships! They scale so perfectly with each other!

The Empire is enjoying a calm day aboard the station.

Makes me really wish we had Star Trek : Armada!

Suddenly an attack by the rebels!
The must be growing desperate to declare an attack this deep in Imperial Space!
It has been a hard fought battle… but the Empire will reclaim the station…. someday.

Clone Wars in Armada!

At Star Wars Celebration in Chicago, FFG announced that they are finally bringing Clone Wars to Star Wars Armada! This will complete the cycle of Clone Wars coming to all of their games that still have physical product in development.

This is extremely good news for Armada players! There has certainly been a lack of news over the past few years, but now Armada is approaching what very well may be a golden age. The Super Star Destroyer, the Rebellion in the Rim campaign, two un-announced “sizeable” ships, and the Clone Wars itself, all in development at this point means we have more product in the pipeline for Armada than we’ve ever had before.

Hopefully this means new Armada players will have a cheaper entry point. Either through a cheaper starter or an essentials pack. Armada’s principle downfall has been it’s entry cost, and with a $99 starter, many players simply skip it and jump to X-Wing instead. Although the high cost of entry hasn’t been a problem with Legion, that may likely be due to the tremendous amount of units that come in the Legion core set, compared to the Armada Core Set.

So most of the new product should be in stores before the end of 2019, while the Clone Wars should be hitting Armada in 2020! And this almost certainly doesn’t mean the end of support for the Rebels and the Empire as well! Plus we have high hopes for card packs to come as well, which will allow new players to gain all the missing upgrade cards that were exclusive to only one faction previously! Armada’s future is very bright!

Something BIG is Coming!

A few months back I was asked to take down my videos that talked about the recent flyer in the December issue of Game Trader Magazine, you know… the one that had the massive Super Star Destroyer article in it?   Well I’ve got my own physical copy of that flyer in hand now so I figure it’s time to talk about ALL of that juicy goodness now, since FFG won’t do it!

Here are all of the images, I’ve taken newer photos of them, hopefully they are legible enough!  I’ll be doing videos on them over the course of the next few months to hold us over until this gorgeous model finally comes out!

First video went up this morning!

Giveaways!

Most of my giveaways tend to follow the same two rules.

  1. Be a subscriber
  2. Leave a Comment on a video

It’s as simple as that.   For January and February 2019, I’m running a Force FX Lightsaber giveaway.  The winner will receive an electronic Amazon gift card in the amount of $150, which can be used to purchase a lightsaber of their choice.   As lightsabers on Amazon tend to fluctuate in price depending on demand, this is just a flat amount.  If you want a $200 Saber you’ll have to pay the rest out of pocket.  If you find a Saber that costs $70, then congrats you can now buy two!   You can do whatever you want with the gift card – but I had to pick an amount and $150 seemed like a good and generous amount.

How will you know if you win?

Easy – watch all of my videos!   I announce winners at the end of videos, and this contest will have a winner announced on or about the 1st of March 2019.  I’ll announce the winner and then they will have to contact me through my ABOUT page on my YouTube channel.  I’ll then arrange to get them the gift card as soon as possible, usually within 48 hours of contacting me.

 

The spirit of this contest is to promote discussion on my channel, interaction among Star Wars and Gaming fans, and provide a little excitement and reward for one lucky subscriber.  I reserve the right to disqualify anyone from prize winning eligibility at my own discretion.  This would generally be spam bots, hate speech, are generally people being cruel to each other.  I will not reward someone for being a jerk to my subscribers.

Good luck!  May the Force be with you!

 

X-Wing Wave 3! The Clone Wars!

Wave 3 has been announced and it’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for!  The Clone Wars have officially begun!

 

This is officially being dubbed as Wave 3, and it’s exciting for so many reasons!   First off, it’s not JUST new factions!  We are getting a Scum Z-95 and an Imperial TIE Striker!   There seems to be nothing for the Rebels yet, but I’m sure there’s a good reason for that.  It’s probably going to be tricky to fit 7 factions worth of expansions into each wave that’s coming, so we’ll probably see some alternating releases for awhile!

The Z-95 is sporting a new paint job!

The TIE Striker appears to be virtually identical to the original.

It’s also worth noting that the Z-95 and TIE Striker don’t come with any new cards that aren’t already found in their respective conversion kits, so if you were hoping for new pilots for these ships you are likely out of luck for the foreseeable future.  The good news however, is that if you’ve already got your kits, you probably can skip these purchases altogether!

 

Additionally, we are getting Squadron Packs!

These new squadron packs will act much like a miniature faction starter!   Coming with 3 ships each they’ll remind you of the structure of the original core set, but these don’t come with dice, damage decks, or templates – so you’ll still need the core game’s box to play if you are just now diving into X-Wing.

Darth Maul’s Scimitar looks awesome and will have the ability to cloak!

The Vulture Droid expansion will sport a different pain job than the squadron pack, so if you want extras this is an additional option.

The ARC-170 looks even more beautiful than the rebels’ version, and looks to come with Chancellor Palpatine!

The Delta 7 has a new paint job, and through this preview we notice some new pink/purple actions, that likely interact with the force somehow!

 

Which faction are you most excited about?

Building your Rebel Commando Units

Now that the Rebel Commandos have arrived in Legion, you may be wondering how to best use these new versatile Special Forces units, especially since this is the first expansion pack to offer two units for the price of one!  Lets break down the ways you can run them and which ways work best.

The Heavy Weapons

These are what make this unit shine.  The DH-447 Sniper has unlimited range, pierce 1, and two dice ( albeit one of them is white).  It also has High Velocity, which if it’s the only weapon in the attack pool, the defender can’t spend dodge tokens.  It’s VERY likely to do damage, but only a little.

The Proton Charge Saboteur is the answer to swarm lists.  Now finally, your opponent may have to think twice about grouping up 6 units of Corps close together!   This unit can Arm a proton charge as an action, which places a charge within range.  When detonated, these charges will make a ranged attack against EVERY unit at range 1 of it, one at a time.  This is tremendous for multiple reasons, which include damaging groups of enemies, dealing out loads of suppression, and even hurting vehicles!  The attack itself , which consists of one red die and two white, has Blast, Impact 1, and it’s own special Surge to Crit!  Each Saboteur has Detonate : 1, which allows them to trigger ONE charge to detonate after ANY unit takes an action.  This means, you can drop a mine, move out, and trigger your charge after you move.  This also means you can run in, drop a charge, and immediately blow it, potentially hurting yourself!   It could be dangerous doing the latter, but if that means you can hit 3 enemy units?   It just might be worth it!

The Basic Unit

One of the first thing’s you’re going to notice, is the lack of a personnel upgrade, which means you aren’t going to be able to outfit this unit with six miniatures, so five will be your limit if you use a Heavy Weapons miniature.  In addition, we get Comms, Gear, Grenades, and a new upgrade called Training, which isn’t half bad considering that we get Duck and Cover with this wave.   As far as the rest of the stats, they are largely similar to the typical Rebel Troopers, with a few key upgrades (which help, considering they cost an extra 20 points).  So what do we gain for those extra 20 points?

First off, these Commandos have both offensive and defensive surge, which is pretty nice to start.  Additionally they have a courage value of 2, which helps them still get two actions even when they have a suppression token.  It also makes them a decent commander if your commander should die.  Their keywords however are especially helpful.  Low Profile means you may seriously want to consider always running Duck and Cover.  Scout 2 is incredible for early game positioning and objective play.  Sharpshooter 1 is just all around good, though generally it lends itself to  doubling up fire on a unit that’s already been shot and now has suppression, snipers, or both.

The Commandos are an all around solid unit – but you may not want to run them without a heavy weapons upgrade.  Running them with only 4 miniatures can work if you’re looking for some quality trooper units for your build, but generally you’ll probably want to run some heavy weapons units.  Before we talk Builds, let’s look at the Strike Team.

The Strike Team

 

The Strike Team is almost identical to the standard Rebel Commandos card, with three key differences.   First, the cost, which is only a mere 16 points!  Second, the miniature count is only 1.  Lastly, the keyword “Heavy Weapon Team”, which forces you to take a heavy weapons upgrade, which then becomes the unit leader.

The Strike Team is an ideal way to inflate your unit count, considering that a Strike Team can be as cheap as 42 or 44 points, depending on which Heavy Weapons option you select.  For players who want to push the limits of units in a list for things like activation advantage, the Strike Team will prove an effective way to pad your activations, while also giving you some excellent tricks.

Which Configuration is Best?

For starters, I will suggest using the Sniper in a Strike Team, and the Saboteur with a full unit.  This way you can have two distinct Special Forces units in the same list, with only a single expansion box.  Other options certainly work, but not everyone will want to buy 3 boxes of commandos to try every permutation.

Snipers

Snipers work VERY well with a Strike Team.  Having only 2 miniatures, gives them easier access to be deployed on smaller, narrow ledges.  Additionally, camping a sniper in the corner of a map, often means the rest of the commandos are NOT firing their weapons.  A Strike Team minimizes this by having only one miniature sitting around doing nothing.

Snipers don’t work as well in the full Commando Unit, because that generally tends to mean that you bring them into the battlefield, putting them within range 3 of enemy units, which someone diminishes their value a bit.   However, it does allow you to more easily split fire, dealing out suppression, or combining the sniper’s weapon to give your larger attack Pierce 1.  One other option is also to simply be a strong Counter-Sniper unit.  A Five-Person sniper unit is much less likely to die from opposing sniper fire.

Saboteurs

The Saboteurs work a little better in a full unit, as they are more likely to want to get down into the middle of the battlefield and mine the heck out of it.  Having additional miniatures also means that the saboteur has a longer lifespan, and thus, can survive longer.  Don’t forget, your Saboteurs need to be alive in order to trigger “Detonate”.  When your last saboteur dies, the rest of your charges can no longer be triggered.

The Saboteurs CAN also work well as a Strike Team, but this is one of those cases where I would advise to run more than just one.   Strike Teams are cheaper, and that means more Saboteurs, and thus, more charges placed all over the battlefield.   You could in theory place a maximum of 18 charges in a single game with three Saboteurs, and although that certainly won’t always be the case… being able to place several near key objectives is amazing.  The other advantage of having multiple saboteurs is that you’ll have multiple instances of Detonate.   It’s partially about redundancy, in that losing one saboteur will still allow you to trigger charges, but it’s also about having the ability to trigger more than one at a time.  Blowing 3 charges when an AT-ST steps too close, and taking it from 6 health to dead in a single move… is really satisfying!

In Closing 

These Heavy Weapon units really help make the Commandos Shine – so weather you’re trying to snipe, mine, or simply use the commando’s regular weapon to actually shoot enemies within range 3 – it’s gonna be a great time!   Imperial Scouts will likely behave in a very similar fashion in terms of teams and pairings.   Once those come in both sides will finally have Special Forces!

And if you prefer video – here you go!

Gen Con 2018 – in Pictures!

This Year’s Gen Con was my first ever Gen Con!  Easily the busiest convention I’ve ever been to, it’s easy to get lost among the activity!   I took a bunch of pictures though so lets go through my time!

First up – I had to wait in a line that was nearly a mile long for Will Call to get my tickets to the In Flight Report.  I didn’t even have time to check into my hotel – went straight to the convention center!

But I made it!   Front row seat!   I was crazy nervous that I wasn’t going to make it in time but luckily I managed!

And was surprised with 2 KeyForge decks for attending!   I’ve got to say I’m pretty impressed with this game.  The concept of completely unique decks in every box is really ambitious!   And it plays quickly and is a bit of fun as well!

But THIS thing was the star of the show!  The Super Star Destroyer for Armada really stole my heart!   Finally being able to see it was amazing!   After the report I grabbed some dinner and made my way back to the hotel, to prepare to teach some Legion and Armada the next morning!

The next morning – right before they opened the doors and let everyone in!

Everyone wanted to get pictures of the incoming rush!

There was alot of cosplay!  X-Wing and Legion were the two biggest attractions right in front of the main door, and they almost didn’t have any Armada tables, but luckily I found a core set on a table and was able to get it set up!

We had a core set, Wave 7, and the Rogues and Villains pack for Armada!   Nobody was scheduled to demo it, but I jumped all over it and made alot of new Armada fans from Thursday through Saturday.

Andrew Cox, Fellow Orlando Gamer, took home the championship for Destiny!   Way to represent Orlando!   Now we just need to him playing Legion and Armada as well!

Got to check out some other games as well – Project Elite is being relaunched by CMON, and the new miniatures look awesome!

Finally got to see this giant Cthulhu miniature from CMON’s new Cthulhu : Death May Die kickstarter.  It’s amazing, but it’s just so big it reminded me of the fact that I wouldn’t have had the room to actually put it anywhere!

Got a nice demo from Ares Games on their new title Battlestar Galactica: Starship Battles.  This looks gorgeous!

And got some more pictures of new FFG releases!

Sunday I was judging for a Legion Team Battle!   2v2 Tournament!

There was also an X-Wing Epic Tournament going on!

And the Armada Finals!  Congrats to JJsJuggernaut on an extremely close finish!   Not exactly sure why they had Destiny promos for the Armada winners….

When all was said and done, I had a TON of stuff to bring home and just my carry-on – so I had to break everything down!

I managed to get it all to fit!   Yup I put the falcon in a sock for safekeeping!

 

All in all, it was exhausting.   Working for FFG, demoing games nonstop, over loud crowds can really drain you.   Next time I need to go as a fan instead of an exhibitor.   I’d love to play in the tournaments and have more time to actually shop and participate in the con a bit more!

I also managed to capture a bunch of video as well!   Here’s just some of what I caught!

X-Wing 2.0 Cost Updated

In preparation for Gen Con 2018, FFG has published all of the points and upgrade slots for all of the ships and everything launching in the first wave of 2.0!   These are published in 4 separate files, and I’ve consolidated them all into one single PDF for printing ease and consolidation.

 

Here is the file:

Consolidated XWing Points Aug 2018 2×2

This is certainly subject to change, and I’ve already noticed some changes from the cards released for Second Edition in the TIE Reaper expansion Pack, namely Swarm Tactics is printed as Imperial Only, yet according to FFG it is a generic upgrade that all can use.   This is just one more reason we’ll all have to stay up to speed on the latest from FFG regarding X-Wing 2.0!

Do you think X-Wing Second Edition can recapture the magic?

Here’s my breakdown of these files, from last week.