Future Editions of X-Wing…. Someday?

Have you ever thought about what happens if FFG makes an X-Wing 2nd Edition?   I’ve thought about it alot!  I’ve even made an  April Fools Joke earlier this year!  And while I don’t expect they’ll do a full blown 2nd edition of the game any time soon… I do think it’s certainly a possibility in the future.

So what would happen if they actually did announce a 2nd edition? I got to thinking about this and I came up with a list of 10 things I would have changed if I could re-design X-Wing.   Naturally I’d incorporate these changes into a new version of the game.

But what about leaving the 1st edition in the dust?  Should 2nd edition be compatible with the 1st edition?  It’s a difficult question to answer, because in order for a game to thrive, it has to be selling product.   But how can a game sell product if everyone is simply using their old “version 1” ships?

I think for a 2nd Edition to sell well, and to be accepted by the people, it would need to do several things.

Remember the Love

First, it would need to be a return to what made people fall in love with X-Wing in the first place, at least in some regards.  Thematic dog-fighting, flying amazing looking miniatures in space, and everyone near you “Oogling” your game with awe and wonder.

Fix the Flaws

Second, it would need to fix the design flaws in the original first edition.  I covered much of this in the “Top 10 Fixes” video above.  FFG tends to learn very well from past mistakes and I have no doubt they would be able to pull this off without much difficulty.   Each new game that comes out tends to improve on what worked, while discarding aspects that didn’t work.

Slightly New Feel

I also believe that a 2nd edition would have to “Feel” different.  Whether it’s ship bases, movement, larger ship models, or something all together new, like focusing on the 3D aspect of space flight.  This need to have a new twist that the original doesn’t have.

Minimize the Tokens

One problem with X-Wing and several miniatures games, are the number of tokens involved.  The less tiny cardboard chits you need to put on the play surface, the better it’s going to be for everyone.

Change in Scale

A change in scale may also be helpful in creating a positive play experience.  Maybe scale, as it applies to ship size, but also maybe scale in a sense of the number of ships you can have on the board.  Typical X-Wing games tend to have 2, 3, or 4 ships, but can have a maximum of 8, (though 8 ships is an extremely rare occurrence).  Suppose a new version of X-Wing has only 1, 2, or 3 ships on the board at any given time?

Reduce the Playtime

One draw that games like Magic the Gathering, and Destiny have, are that they can be played in a short amount of time.  By reducing the scale, reducing the tokens, and adjusting the game, FFG might consider reducing the average playtime from an hour, to somewhere between 10 and 15 minutes.  Shorter games don’t necessarily mean less fun either, because you can get more games played and even change up your list.  This would also reduce the setup and teardown time.

 

I’m not even convinced that X-Wing is going to have a 2nd edition any time soon…. but if they do I hope they check this article out first!

Rapid Launch Bays – So Delicious!

Rapid Launch Bays has easily got to be one of my favorite cards in the game.  It  allows squadrons to be carried into battle on board a ship and “Launch” directly into the heat of combat.  And while it’s not exactly a “New” card, I do want to talk about just how much I love it!

One of the early things I didn’t like much about Armada, was that enemy fleets had to start the game with squadrons deployed.  Considering that some squadrons are fast, and some are incredibly slow, it never made that much sense to be.  Why would rebels launch A-Wings and a YT-1300 both at the same time while being at maximum distance from enemy contact?  When this card came out it was a breath of fresh air.  Finally, I could have a more thematic battle, with ships launching directly into combat.

Flight Commander is practically an auto include on any ship using Rapid Launch Bays.   It allows you to MOVE first, get into position, THEN drop your squadrons, and immediately shoot.   From a certain point of view, it allows any ship to be as dangerous as a Demolisher.

The usage of this card was also clarified recently.  You don’t actually have to activate the ships that you deploy with this card – allowing them to shoot and move so long as you activate them afterward with some OTHER ship.  You have options!   You can drop some X-Wings, activate ONE of them, perhaps one other ship, and leave the rest of your deployed ships for another activation or perhaps even the squadron phase.

My favorite squadron to use with Rapid Launch bays is probably B-Wings.  Their speed of 2, originally made them incredibly difficult to use effectively.  As a bomber with 2 anti ship dice, you REALLY want these guys up close and personal to enemy ships, and Rapid Launch Bays gives you the ability to deploy them right where you want them.   If you position yourself correctly, you can even drop these trusty bombers so they avoid enemy engagements, allowing them to ravage your enemy’s hull right away!

You can combo this with the Yavaris if you play your cards right.   Dropping some B-Wings at close range of an enemy flagship that has already activated, might be a situation where you want to leave the B-Wings un-activated, if you’ve got a Yavaris nearby that can allow those now close-range B-Wings to double tap.  This is a risky move though, because to do this means you are giving your opponent a chance to react, so you may find your Yavaris destroyed, or your B-Wings engaged by hostile squadrons before they can bomb the enemy flagship. So if you plan to drop your prized bombers in your opponents face, you need to consider how your opponent will counter them before you waste an opportunity to hit them directly.

Rapid Launch Bays can also be used against pesky squadrons.  Suppose you are playing as the Empire and your opponent has a named A-Wing that is stopping all of your best laid plans, and is able to Scatter when you try to attack them, narrowly avoiding death!   Dropping a Boba Fett at range 1 of the enemy’s most annoying squadron might yield you a great opportunity to deal an unavoidable damage, which might be just what it takes to finally get rid of Tycho Celchu or Shara Bey!

 

I generally try to use Rapid Launch Bays on ships that can drop 3 or more squadrons, but also ships that have the mobility required to get them into a good enough position to do so.  Flotillas aren’t bad in this case on either side. It gives them some threat that they may not have otherwise had, and their speed, mobility, and squadron value while all being mediocre, are all balanced well considering their low cost in this case.

For the rebels, I’ve found the Assault Frigate Mk2 tends to be the most well rounded carrier, and works very well as a Rapid Launch Bay platform.  The Empire has several options, with the ISD 1 having the largest potential capacity.  I’ve even tried to use the Raider with Boba Fett before, as a single option, and while not optimal, it still works somewhat interestingly, due to the fact that you can stock a squadron token and still use it, rather than needing to plan a full squadron dial to make this work.

So between the form and the function, Rapid Launch Bays is one of the best upgrades in the game.  It makes the battles more thematic, and really can change the tempo of the way squadrons perform.   I love it and I hope you do to!

 

 

 

How Deadly will the Mandalorians be?

I need to talk about the Mandalorian Gauntlet squadrons that are going to come with the Chimaera expansion for Star Wars Armada.   First off, I’ll admit that we can’t fully see all of their information, but it’s not what we can’t see, but rather what we CAN that’s giving me some cause for both excitement and concern. 

First off, in terms of balance and symmetry, the Empire has been down a ship since the core set.   Now with a refit of the Imperial Star Destroyer, it likely feels like the Empire may be down TWO ships, if you look at this as still being the same model, despite the new versions.  So I’m pleased to see that the Empire is actually gaining a +1 advantage in terms of squadrons.

I’m also happy to see that we aren’t getting bombarded with squadron packs this time around.   This game, for me, has always been first and foremost, about ship-to-ship combat, with squadrons simply one aspect of many.   But for a long time, it felt as though squadrons had so many more options than even ships.   So I’m happy to see only a single squadron make it into the game this time around.  I’m not against adding new squadrons, I’d just like the variety of squadrons to better reflect the points limit on squadrons of 1/3rd your fleet.   I’d effectively like for you to have twice as many ship options as squadron options.  This wave reflects that balance.

The Squadron itself looks strong.   With 7 hull it’s not going to be eliminated easily.  There are two included in this pack, seemingly a generic and Gar Saxon.  Saxon appears to have Rogue and another keyword which I had originally mistaken for Escort.   The symbol is roughly similar to Escort but clearly something else.  If this new keyword is strong I have to wonder if it is also on the generic.  We haven’t seen the dice yet, but we can expect them to be strong considering the reputation of Mandalorians and their ships.  I’m expecting these new squadrons to be amazing.

But I am slightly worried about this new Gauntlet squadron’s cost.   Not the points cost, but rather the $50 price tag on the Chimaera expansion itself.   If this turns out to be one of the best squadrons, that will effectively incentivize some people to buy three of them to run 6 Gauntlet Fighters.   If that proves to be a winning strategy, it represents a very uncomfortable trend for this game.

 

Maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe there won’t be much incentive to take more than two.   Hopefully even if there is, we can just borrow one or two from a friend.   The worst case scenario would be for their point cost to warrant you taking 8 or 9, then some one buys 5 Chimaera expansions and wins worlds with a build that some might consider pay-to-win.  I hope that won’t be the case.

 

 

Escape From the Death Star!

I’ve recently put together an interactive adventure using Armada as the basis.   It’s still enjoyable even if you aren’t familiar with Armada.

I hope you guys enjoy it!   It takes awhile to put one of these together.   I may do more in the future.

Surprise Release for Destiny

In a shocking twist of fate, FFG managed to surprise alot of people with a surprise release of a Destiny 2-player Starter in both retail stores like Target, as well as local game stores for Force Friday.  It has some new takes on existing characters, but you’ll need 2 if you want a playset, since it only has one of each card and die.

Legion!!!!!

Well, I’ve wanted a ground game for years and it looks like I’m finally getting it!

Set to release in early 2018, Star Wars legion is basically Warhammer 40K but for Star Wars.   Like similar Star Wars games, this is a tabletop miniatures game with army building, and is set for 1 vs 1 play.  This game has some similarities with Runewars, but has a ton of differences also, most notably that it doesn’t use the tray system.   Every stormtrooper here moves around freely.

The miniatures aren’t exactly in the scale I was hoping for however.  What I really wanted, was for it to be in the same scale as X-Wing, to hopefully allow crossover play at some point.  I was hoping for ultra massive scale battles, with 5-7 AT-ATs marching on the rebels, while the rebels had waves of defenses setup, and we got to see battles that made Hoth look tame by comparison.

What we got was miniatures that are…. larger than Imperial Assault.

Now at first I was disappointed because at this scale, there’s just no way I am going to be able to fit 5-7 AT-ATs on the table top… well not on MY table anyway.  But I think I’m going to be ok with that.   This slightly larger scale is actually turning out to be a good thing because these miniatures look FANTASTIC!  Painting them is going to be a joy. (Did I mention they come unpainted and un-assembled?)  Painting Star Wars miniatures is always a pleasure – though I do have some concerns on weather or not I’ll keep my stormtroopers in standard white or if I’ll jazz them up with some crazy purple flair!

This game is going to also use terrain!  It allows for cover, and elevation!   These are the really exciting parts!   And it’s rekindled my inner crafty person.   I’ve begun working on some Hoth terrain as well!   The next 6 months are going to be an eager time of anticipation!

Spending Time in Kansas City

So I’ve been here in Kansas City for a little over a week now.   Played a few games of Armada with some of the local gamers – probably gonna play some more this weekend if I’m still here!  Some cool stores here!   Here are some of the videos!

Very home sick though!   Miss the family!

Giveaway Time!

So as I get closer to 8,000 subscribers I wanted to do another giveaway!  This time it’s a Star Wars Celebration Exclusive Rey with Speeder Funko Pop!

Details in the video!

Ackbar Nebulons – Turning Taboo into Terror

A few weeks ago I was getting ready for an Armada tournament, and I posted on facebook that I was planning on trying a new build, and that it would be “outside of my comfort zone”.  In jest, a friend said that I should be flying Ackbar Nebulons.  This post received several ‘likes’, and a few follow up comments urging me to fly Ackbar Nebulons.  Clearly, I was being mocked.   Or was I?  I decided at that moment that I would put some work into an Ackbar Nebulon list to spite them all either with shock or dismay.

 

Why is this so taboo in the first place?

Generally you want to enhance your biggest strengths, rather than simply offset your weaknesses.  Some times players try to fill in a ‘gap’ in a ship to make it more well rounded, but most of the time in a short game of only 6 turns, championships are won by those who tend to focus more on a ship’s specialty.  Pairing Ackbar with Nebulons is breaking that rule completely down the middle, by not simply enhancing a weakness (the side arcs) but also by crippling the biggest strength (the front arc).

Nebulons want to be pointed directly at the enemy.  Their 3 shields, and 3 red dice are as tough as a Victory Class Star Destroyer when at long range – but they are so weak on their sides they are a great example of a glass cannon.   One well-placed Raider can take down a Nebulon with a single activation.

So how can it work?

To make it work we have to look past the obvious strength of the front arc and look at how that actually limits it.   Anyone who has spent time trying to fly a Salvation, knows how frustrating it can be to NOT have a front shot with that narrow front arc.

That strong front arc, is so narrow that we can flip the entire mentality of this ship by pretending like we WANT to shoot out of the sides.  Why?  The sides are huge – we will ALWAYS have a shot.   And for the few times we don’t – well that’s fine the front will work in those cases.

Another strength here is that they are cheap.   Typical lists with Ackbar will only have 3 main attacking ships.  Here we can get 5 or more with ease.  Cheap allows for that, and allows for upgrades.   Lets talk about upgrades:

Upgrades:

The main upgrade you’ll want to consider is which Turbolaser you want to use.   Typically, I would suggest running with Slaved Turrets.   They are cheap and this is one of the best ships to use them on.

A fleet full of Nebulons running in a line, can ensure that nearly all of their ships will have a side arc on a target.   Declaring Ackbar is also going to rule out your front and rear arcs anyway, so you are likely only ever going to get ONE shot to begin with.  So now you’ve transformed one red die, into four (or five if you’ve selected a concentrate fire command, which in this case you’ll probably want to do a lot).  Five red dice out the side is pretty nice – and consider that against your front arc, which at best could match that, but not beat it.

The ONLY thing you lose this way, is the ability to take two shots.   A typical Nebulon doesn’t ever get two GOOD shots regardless.   And in the rare case that your enemy is directly in front of you and no side-arc is possible – well that is no problem at all.  Just use your front arc, slaved turrets and CF command and you still have the same amount of dice.

Oh and there are still titles available – you don’t have to run them as generics. Consider this fleet:

Nebulon-B Support Refit + Slaved Turret

Nebulon-B Support Refit + Slaved Turret

Nebulon-B Support Refit + Slaved Turret + Salvation

Nebulon-B Escort Frigate + Slaved Turret + Yavaris

(Flagship)GR-75 Medium Transports + Admiral Ackbar + Adar Tallon

Squadrons:

2x VCX-100 Freighter

Luke Skywalker

Biggs Darklighter

Jan Ors

Here is a fleet that is actually pretty versatile and can prove to be very deadly.  First the squadrons – it’s only 88 points but we are taking good advantage of them.  The GR-75 can activate early, getting Luke to get into position and then readying him with Adar Tallon.  Then when Yavaris activates, Jan can move in if needed to free-up Luke, and Luke can shoot twice.   This lets Luke shoot 3 times per turn.   Biggs and Jan will both help keep Luke Alive, and the VCX-100s will allow both Yavaris and the GR-75 to activate from relative safety.  Luke will be a major threat here, even without having a Bomber Command Center close by.

And as for your ships, you just fly them in a line and go keep the Concentrate Fire command dialed up.   You’ll probably want to lead with the Salvation, to discourage an enemy force from getting in front of you.

 

But suppose you want to go with Enhanced Armament.

Now it gets more expensive.   Each upgrade costs 10, but this does have the obvious benefit of allowing you to attack twice.  Assuming you are able to double arc an enemy at long range, you can now shoot 3 out of the front and 2 out of the side.   That alone isn’t particularly noteworthy on it’s own.   What is clearly the better case is to try and do the “Ackbar Slash” on your enemies now: Attacking one ship on the right, and one ship on the left – getting full bonuses now on both attacks!  This does require that you fly your nebulons directly in the middle of your opponent’s ships, and that is pretty much the tricky part – because you will almost certainly be dead as dirt doing that.

But what if you manage to survive?   Assuming you keep your front pointed directly at an enemy, you may end up being able to force them to fire at your front with 3 shields – and using your double braces you may be able to survive.   If you can manage to get a shot after a forward facing enemy closes in on you, it may be possible to double-arc them from EACH of your sides.   This is the absolute best case scenario and would require you being first player in order to pull off, because you are almost certainly dead if you don’t kill them.

In this case a Neb can declare Ackbar and get two side shots on the Star Destroyer.  Enhanced Armament, Ackbar, and being close up allow the use of all of the extra dice available here.  Four red and one Blue on each side, plus a concentrate fire depending on where you need it will add up to 11 total dice.   Not a bad deal at all from a 61 point ship!  (51 plus 10 for Enhanced Armament).  And if the star destroyer survives you can just ram them! And if you cannot manage a front double arc shot a side version should be significantly easier.

 

Here’s a list trying this out.

Nebulon B Support Refit + Enhanced Armament (61)

Nebulon B Support Refit + Enhanced Armament (61)

Nebulon B Support Refit + Enhanced Armament (61)

Nebulon B Support Refit + Enhanced Armament (61)

Flagship -Nebulon B Support Refit + Enhanced Armament + Lando Calrissian +Admiral Ackbar (103)

Squadrons – 3x YT-2400

Five Ships – Five Shooters.   The Squadrons have Rogue so you won’t have to worry about squadron commands, and they are well rounded enough to at least slow down most squadron based threats.  Lando will help prevent Ackbar from being taken out too early.  The rest of the ships you just fly directly at your opponent trying to get as many double side arc shots as you can muster!

 

The strength of this fleet is that with those ultra wide side arcs you’ll be able to shoot at pretty much everything.  If nothing else this type of fleet should be fun!   Imagine charging these unlikely heroes at your enemies!   If you can manage to get a few double side arc Ackbar shots it will be so satisfying your opponent may just stop the game and come shake your hand!

 

Large Ships Need Some Help

 

The Imperial Star Destroyer just doesn’t scare me that much anymore….

So I recently played in a small-ship only tournament for Armada.  Although I wasn’t thrilled about having a restriction on list building, considering Armada has a relatively small collection of ships to choose from to begin with, I felt comfortable regardless, since so many of my competitive lists tend to mostly be small ships anyway.  Here is a video of the tournament for those who are interested:

But this got me thinking why I haven’t been using medium or large ships lately regardless.

Activations:

The biggest advantage I typically see is that having multiple small ships allows me to have a ton of activations.  I like to run with 5 or more, and often can manage at least 6.   This, combined with an initiative bid will usually allow me a ton of flexibility in terms of activations, and allows me to often double-tap an enemy ship with a last activation, then first activation.

Missed opportunities:

Having a large ship with 120 – 150 points all in one spot can be a really dangerous place to be.  Suppose you end up with a crit that says “You cannot attack at long range” – you might be completely ruined for the rest of the game, depending on the fleet you are facing.  Or if you find yourself with no enemy ships in your primary firing arc, you end up getting stuck shooting out of a sub-optimal side, and it can be a huge missed opportunity.  When you are putting almost half of your fleet points into one ship – missing a big shot with it is devastating.

Firepower:

Small ships can have almost the same amount of firepower as large ships.  Consider an Arquitens with enhanced Armament and concentrate fire.  That’s five dice at long range for only 64 points.   And that’s only one arc.  If you are lucky enough to double arc (left and right) you might manage 9 dice from a 64 point ship!  The Aruitens in this case work best with Vader as commander, and while this is effective, it does require a more expensive commander, and deprives you of the flexibility of using someone else like Jerjerrod or Motti.  So if I can get the same firepower as an Imperial Star Destroyer for about half the points.   Sure the ISD can potentially fire twice if it has Gunnery teams, but I could instead just bring a second Arquitens at that point, and not even have the same-target restriction that gunnery teams gives.  And while the ISD is a difficult target to kill, I could argue that a swarm of small ships are even more difficult to fully kill.

A TRC-90 for only 51 points, while not having the same dice as an Arquitens, still has consistent damage and doesn’t require any specific commander to excel. Four of them come in at 204 points and leaves you plenty of room for other ships.  You could potentially run SEVEN of them, and still have points left over for some squadrons.   They are just able to pack so much more firepower per point than Large ships, and they are so maneuverable as well!

 

At Long range, small ships can do ALMOST the same damage that Large ships can do.   And because they tend to be fast and maneuverable, small ships can more easily KEEP the battle at long range without getting stuck in close range.  I feel like Large ships need something to make them formidable again.   Medium ships have a little bit of help with the inclusion of Disposable Capacitors in Wave 6’s Quasar Expansion, but that also can go on small ships!

And what’s worse, it isn’t allowed on Large Ships.  (A real shame in my opinion).  Large ships need some help if I’m going to ever want to bring them to a tournament again.