My Top 10 Star Wars characters

In honour of Star Wars day, I’m going to do a list of my top 10 Star Wars characters from the Star Wars franchise that I have discovered so far

WARNING: May contain various spoilers. You have been warned!

10: The Grand Inquisitor – I’m not normally a fan of bad guys, but the concept of the Grand Inquisitor intrigued me. He had a British accent (as all good villains should) and started off fighting with a rapier style lightsaber in a very gentlemanly style of fighting. Different enough from your traditional bad guy that it resonated with me. I also really liked the temple guards from the clone wars, which of course the Grand Inquisitor was before.

9: Wedge Antilles – Cool, calm and collected, Wedge is probably the Rebellion’s best pilot but doesn’t have the ego complex of Anakin Skywalker or Han Solo to go with it. Wedge was a key part of the battle of Yavin and at the battle of Endor blew up the second Death Star along with Lando Calrisian. I’ve only read a couple of old legends comic with him in, and again he is a level headed and an incredibly competent pilot and military leader.

8: Hondo Ohnaka – Hondo got on my nerves at first, but eventually I found him hilarious. There is one episode of Clone Wars in Season 5 where my girlfriend sat upstairs was concerned about the strange barking laugh I was making! Hondo does bring comedy to Clone Wars and Rebels, but he quickly makes friends then double crosses and makes friends again – it keeps you on your toes! His gang were also smart enough to capture Count Dooku, Obi Wan and Anakin. Not something every pirate gang could do.

7: Hera Syndulla – Hera shares a lot of the same qualities as Wedge. She is passionate about the Rebellion, but her and Kanan become almost adoptive parents of the Ghost crew. Unlike Rey they don’t make Hera an expert at anything she turns her hand to. She is an amazing pilot, and has some fighting and espionage skills (especially in the novel A New Dawn) but they don’t over do it in other areas. Her leadership abilities and loyalty are recognized and she slowly makes her way up the ranks of the Rebellion. She also provides a solid character to bounce off of with the humourous scenes in Rebels, usually setting up a funny scene with Chopper.

6: Captain Rex – Rex is a badass Clone Trooper, always ready for action, and a solid part of the Republic Army. I think the scene that most sums him up is when trying to retake a Republic outpost. One of the Clones asks to take point, and Rex replies “I always go first!” I also like the modifications Rex has made to his armour, and his choice of dual blaster pistols so he can get stuck in at close quarters.

5: Anakin Skywalker – But not in the films I might add! The character was whinny and the acting was terrible! But in the Clone Wars, Anakin is an amazing character. A powerful force user and incredible in lightsaber combat, as well as the best pilot in the Galaxy, Anakin is sent by the Jedi council to do the most difficult of tasks. And where the rest of the Jedi fail, he usually succeeds. He’s not afraid to use questionable techniques to get the job done such as force choking. While this was probably added to show a more gradual decent to the the dark side, I feel Anakin could still have used these powers and stayed loyal to the Jedi if they hadn’t been such dicks to him. Time and time again, Anakin saves the day, and the Jedi rarely cut him any slack (especially Mace Windu.) Anakin’s banter with those who are close to him (Obi Wan, Rex and Ahsoka) also is a core chunk of the humour in the Clone Wars, and the story arcs with Anakin and Ahsoka in are the best ones in the series.

4: Embo – Embo was a Kyuzo bounty hunter, who didn’t speak much but his combat scenes are amazing. The concept of his hat/ shield/ surfboard/ Captain America shield is unique in the Clone Wars (and probably the rest of Star Wars), but he also has some other cools things like his bowcaster (traditionally a Wookie weapon) and his pet dog thing. He also seems to have some sort of code of honour, as he was one of the bounty hunters defending the farmers in the story with Hondo trying to steal from them (hardly a high paying job?) His competence in combat also gives Anakin Skywalker a run for his money when the two fight. Hopefully we will see Embo in Rebels at some point.

3: R2-D2 – R2-D2 has been my favourite character for years. As a kid, the gadget laden whistling droid was always fun, plus he looks really cool, but growing up I still appreciate the heroics and loyally of the droid. He has developed personality and resourcefulness above any other droid due to escaping frequent member wipes. Anakin and Ahsoka genuinely care about the droid, and he responds with what the puppy equivalent of love must be! He has a few spotlight moments in the Clone Wars which are fun and show off what a capable droid he is, not forgetting how many times he saves the day in the films. His reunion with Ahsoka in the novel Ahsoka also got me right in the feels. One of the best parts of the book. Anakin always called R2-D2 “buddy”, and one of the tradgeys of Anakin’s turn to the darkside is the end of this friendship. In Revenge of the Sith, as they head to Mustafphar, you can tell R2 is nervous, and knows something is wrong with Anakin. R2 just wants his old master back.

2: Ahsoka Tano – My reaction to Ahoska’s introduction in the Clone Wars film was the same as everyone else’s. “Who is this annoying little girl and why have they brought her in to ruin Star Wars?” However, as the character grows and develops through the series, so does your appreciation for her as a character. She always wants to do the right thing but often gets clouded by this and gets reckless. She was the perfect Padawan for Anakin Skywalker, and the dynamic between the two of them is a big part of the Clone Wars series. She also becomes best friends with Rex and respects the astromech droids like R2-D2 as though they were equals. Again, she becomes very powerful with the force, especially for a Padawan, and her lightsaber form is very different and cool to watch. Like Anakin she is not scared to use force to interrogate prisoners, but she seems more weary of the dark side then Anakin does and manages to avoid falling for it’s trap, even though the Jedi look down their noses at her just like they do with Anakin. After the Clone Wars she becomes a fearsome warrior in her own right but never looses the compassion powerful Jedi like Mace Windu seem to have lost. And the scene where she defeats two Inquisitors whilst the Rebels crew just watch is fantastic.

1: Chopper – My first thought was that Chopper was a stupid design. I didn’t like the two weird arms coming out of his head. However, the cantankerous droid is hilarious and a big part of why I watch Rebels! He carries out orders, but in his own way, and isn’t scared to wind up his crew. Essentially, he’s a bit of a dick! He saves the day on a number of occasions and isn’t afraid to show off about it. Like R2-D2, he seems very human, though maybe a bit crazy. One of my favourite moments is when Hera asks him to blow up the house, and he runs around planting explosives, laughing manically. He has his serious moments too. I liked the episode where he was talking to another Clone Wars droid, he refereed to himself as a ‘War Hero’ and showed that he kept a hologram of Hera. Despite being a dick, after all these years he recognizes and appreciates her saving him.

Other notable mentions that didn’t make the list:

K2-SO

Quinlan Vos

The Guardians of Whills

Rey

Kea Moll

BB-8

 

Hope you enjoyed my list! May the 4th be with you!

The Power of the Generic EPT

And so my latest epic X-Wing game has concluded. This one was not pretty!

Max and I travelled to York Garrison wargames just outside of York for a 350 point game. As we set up, we could see we’d both gone for very specific tactics. I’d built a list full of aces and lots of ways to dish out stress, with a GR-75 with slicer tools to back it up; the logic being Imperial ships can be hard to hit whereas slicer tools is guaranteed damage. Max went for a list using generic pilots that have Elite Pilot Talent (EPT) slots- 4x Tie Defenders with Tractor Beam and Ruthlessness, 4x Tie Bombers with Deadeye, Assualt Missiles, Extra Munitions and Guidance Chips, plus a Gozanti Cruiser to carry the bombers in to battle and an Upsilon Class Shuttle for support.

My list consisted of:

Coran Horn + R5-P9 + Fire Control System + Adaptability (40)

Jan Ors + Adaptability + Ion Cannon Turret (30)

Ten Numb + Fire Control System + Mangler Cannon + B/E2 + Tactician (40)

“Dutch” Vander + BTL-A4 Y-Wing + Ion Cannon Turret (28)

Nera Dantels + Flechette Torpedoes + Flechette Torpedoes + B/E2 + Rey (34)

Etahn A’Bhat + Trick Shot (32)

Braylen Stramm + R3-A2 + Gunner + Alliance Overhaul (32)

Zeb Orrelios + Sabine’s Masterpiece + Black Market Slicer Tools (15)

GR-75 Medium Transport + Dutyfree + Shield Technician + Frequency Jammer + Slicer Tools + Tibanna Gas Supplies + Automated Protocols (53)

Gold Squadron Pilot + BTL-A4 Y-Wing + Ion Cannon Turret (23)

Rookie Pilot + Flechette Torpedoes (23)

Total = 350 points

The Tie Bombers unfortunately won’t take stress from Flechette Torpedoes, but I did have Tactician, R3-A2 and the jam action on the GR-75, so the ‘stress and slice’ plan wasn’t completely scuppered from the offset. Max won the coin flip and got initiative.

So here’s the setup:

wp_20170211_11_06_15_proSetup at the start of the game

We looked at each other’s lists but I didn’t realise how powerful Ruthlessness would be, or how quickly the Bombers would deploy. I figured in a joust against the Defenders I’d win, so I set up most of my forces for this. This not only  cost me the game, but set it up for a crushing defeat.

I figured if Max used his head, he’d bring a Gozanti, and if he used his heart he’d bring the Imperial Raider, so I’d brought two Y-Wings with the BTL-A4 title to take down a Raider, just in case. For some reason, despite it only being a 3 dice attack with no ability to use focus tokens, I’d decided in my head the Gozanti was a big threat, and committed my Y-Wings to it (seen to the right, ready to flank.)

And we were off, for probably the most action packed first round X-Wing has ever seen! My ships all went forward, no faster than speed 3 due the ARC-170 and B-Wing dials. The Defenders raced forward and focused up, and the Gozanti raced forward at top speed. To my horror, he managed to deploy all 4 bombers expertly with some well placed barrel rolls from 3 of the Bombers.. He then used General Hux to give the 3 Bombers that had barrel rolled focus tokens. Suddenly, I was scared. 4 Bombers with Deadeye and all in range. Shit! I think the highlight for me was getting 3 stress tokens down from the GR-75 with a jam action and Frequency Jammer upgrade.

wp_20170211_11_27_36_proStart of the combat phase, round 1

wp_20170211_11_27_58_proStart of the combat phase, round 1

I opened the joust. Ten Numb had target locked a Defender but not one he could use Tactician on. I decided damage was more important than the stress token, and I went for the locked Defender, and chipped off a couple of shields. Jan was out of range, and Corran took a range 3 shot.

Then the volley opened up. Defender on the ARC-170. Tractor Beam. Hits. No more green dice. Ruthlessness on Corran. Primary weapon. 3 damage on the ARC un-contested from a green dice. Another damage to Corran. This continued, and as Ruthlessness doesn’t need to do any damage (it just needs to hit), the Tractor Beam attacks were also hurting. Corran was destroyed entirely by Ruthlessness, and other ships suffered damage during the onslaught. After the Defenders finished firing, I’d lost Braylen Stramm, Corran Horn and suffered a fair bit of damage. Then it was the Bombers to fire. I braced myself for more pain!

The Bombers managed to finish off Nera, Etahn A’Bhat and Rookie Pilot. Nera and E’tahn got to fire with the simultaneous attack rule, and I chipped away a few more shields on the Defenders.

Zeb took a pot shot at a Tie Bomber at Range 3 and missed. At the end of the round I’d lost the bulk of my forces, and defeat was inevitable!

wp_20170211_11_43_02_proEnd of combat phase, round 1. The board is looking much emptier!

Round 2, and the Imperials began mop-up duty. The Y-Wings got in range of the Gozanti and Dutch got them both a target lock. Zeb squared up with the Bombers, but was in no position to use his Black Market Slicer Tools. Jan Ors and the GR-75 did their best to get somewhere useful, but it was too late.

Combat opened with Jan firing an unmodified Ion Cannon Turret at the stressed defender, which missed. The Defenders and Bombers then launched at Jan and the GR-75. Jan was destroyed, and the GR-75 lost it’s shields. It later used Slicer Tools and Automated Protocols to put the stressed Defender to it’s last hull, and recover all it’s shields. Zeb did a damage to a Tie Bomber, and the Gozanti did a damage back to Zeb. The Y-Wings had slowly started to chip at the Gozanti, attacking at range 3 with just their primary weapons.

wp_20170211_11_57_21_proStart of combat phase, round 2

Round 3, and Max moved the nearly-dead Defender in the way of the GR-75, ready to give it a faceup damage card when the GR-75 ran over the Defender. But I’d finally take a ship! The Bombers straightened their formation, and the Y-Wings closed in on the Gozanti. Unfortunately, the GR-75’s faceup damage card stopped it from doing the jam action, which was key to it’s strategy. I tried and failed to fix it, then recovered my shields. I hammered at the Gozanti with the Y-Wings, getting 4 damage cards through and 2 ion tokens, so I knew Max would have less energy to recover shields next turn. The Gozanti destroyed Zeb, leaving me with just 3 ships.

wp_20170211_12_18_37_proEnd of combat phase, round 3

Round 4, and Max started turning his forces back towards the Y-Wings. We managed to destroy each others huge ships. At the end of the round, I had two Y-Wings that hadn’t taken much damage against a pretty healthy mix of 8 ships (the Gozanti had shot at Dutch twice.) And turn 5, I’d have to avoid a 4 dice firing arc on the Upsilon class shuttle.

WP_20170211_12_57_28_Pro.jpgEnd of combat phase, round 4

It took Max 2 more rounds to finish off the Y-Wings, here is the last Y-Wing just before destruction:

WP_20170211_13_12_03_Pro.jpgLast stand of the Y-Wing

So yeah, that happened!

Moral of the story, always pay attention to your opponents list at setup! This wouldn’t have been quite the whitewash if I hadn’t kept my ships at range 1 of each other, and I still could setup so I could have used my buffing abilities. Even so, it would have been a hard battle.

I was particularly impressed with the Gozanti’s delivery of the Tie Bombers, setting up a perfect flanking position.

Changes in the meta

Max’s list utilised some new changes to the meta: generic pilots with EPT’s which are becoming much more common, and we have seen the rise of this with the triple Jumpmaster lists and Crack Shot swarms. Ordnance has also become much more common with Extra Munitions and Guidance Chips. It’s had it’s rise to glory in the 100 pt dogfight meta, but it’s clearly got lots of potential in the epic meta. General Hux compliments the Deadeye Tie Bomber very well, and docking them with the Gozanti protects a ship with no shields until it is in position to deploy for a devastating ordnance assault. I was expecting Max to run all the fiddly aces (Soontir, Inquisitor etc.) but his list was very well put together, and had a very high damage output!

Upwards and onwards

So a lot to think about for my next list, especially in terms of deployment. This was the first time I’d run the Rebel Transport without Toryn Farr, which is a shame as I’d have got to use her this time! She would have stopped the Deadeye ordnance assault dead in it’s tracks.

There’s always next time.

Remember, fly casual!

I’ll Show You the Power of the Dark Side!

Although I am mainly a Rebel and Scum player, I have invested in a few Imperial ships (mainly for specific upgrade cards, but some were to play in a squad like the Tie Phantom and some were just because (I had two Tie Fighters in the core set so it seemed only fitting to splash out £10 and get Howlrunner and Backstabber too!))

My main issue with Imperials is only about 10% of it seems to work in 100 point games. Palp aces is a thing. Three arc-dodging aces is a thing (a mix of Soontir Fel, The Inquisitor, Darth Vader and possibly Whisper or Omega Leader) and Imperial Veterans (usually Colonel Vessery and crack shot Tomax Bren.) Tie swarms aren’t as common but are still effective. But the thing is, you very rarely see anything else.

So I decided to have a ‘what the hell’ match with James. He let me pick an amount of points, and he agreed to match it. I flew every Imperial ship I had, including my favourite pilots and loadouts on Slave 1 and the the Tie Bomber that are too costly to be viable in competitive play, and worked out I needed 420 points. After some last minute tweaks I ended up at 419 points.

We went to York Garrison Wargames for the first time to try out the club.
My list compromised of:

Darth Vader: Tie/x1, Advanced Targeting Computer, Veteran Instincts, Engine Upgrade, Proton Rockets (38 points)
Boba Fett: Slave 1, Extra Munitions, Heavy Laser Cannon, Homing Missiles, Proton Bombs, Navigator, Engine Upgrade, Veteran Instincts (66 points)
Soontir Fel: Royal Guard Tie, Push the Limit, Autothrusters, Stealth Device (35 points)
Whisper: Advanced Cloaking Device, Fire-Control System, Veteran Instincts, Intelligence Agent (40 points)
Captain Kagi: Reinforced Deflectors, Heavy Laser Cannon (37 points)
Howlrunner: Swarm Tactics, Shield Upgrade (24 points)
Omega Leader: Comm Relay, Juke, Stealth Device (29 points)
The Inquisitor: Push the Limit, Concussion Missiles, Tie/v1, Autothrusters (35 points)
Major Rhymer: Extra Munitions, Proton Torpedoes, Assault Missiles, Deadeye, Proximity Mines, Guidance Chips (45 points)
2x Black Squadron Pilot: Crack Shot (15 points each)
2x Epsilon Squadron pilot: Weapons Guidance, Hull Upgrade (20 points each)

I knew James owns 6 Kihraxz fighters and 5 Protectorate starfighters, so I was prepared for a swarm of red dice. My biggest fear was Fenn Rau with Fearlessness, Concord Dawn Protector and Stealth Device. That thing is hard to hit, but also I only had two ships at a higher pilot skill and two fragile ships with the same pilot skill, so if he decided to give away initiative it could end up with Fenn Rau in Range 1 of Soontir or Whisper without a cloak token potentially taking 5 damage. I wasn’t too far off the mark- James decided to give his new Wave 9 ships a try, and I was up against Moralo Eval with a Heavy Laser Cannon, Asaji Ventress in the Shadow Caster ready to dish out stress, 6 Kihraxz fighters including Talonbane Cobra and Graz the Hunter, and 5 Protectorate starfighters including the 3 named pilots.

Setup I had to consider carefully. I had several ships that need to arc dodge and would just melt in a joust. I also wanted to protect Major Ryhmer, Howlrunner and ideally Boba Fett from target locks with Captain Kagi to try and keep them on the table longer. I new I had to spread my aces out otherwise I would get swarmed and my ships would be popped one by one (although maybe not as quickly as Rebel ships due to the fiddly nature of Imperial aces.) James let me decide initiative so I gave it away in order to arc dodge effectively.

img_0168Setup complete and ready to go. Darth Vader and Soontir Fel are in the bottom left (not pictured)

I had 4 ships to place first, so I began to build my mini swarm with my first 4 ships. James answered with two Protectorate starfighters, and Moralo Eval ready to bear down on the swarm. He placed a wing of Kihraxz fighters at the other side of the board, keeping his options open. I reinforced the swarm with Major Rymer, Howlrunner and Captain Kagi. I placed my aces to the left to deal with the Kihraxz fighters (Darth and Soontir to the far left, the other three near the middle), and James placed Asaji Ventress in the middle of the board, and reinforced the Protectorate starfighters with aces (including the dreaded Fenn Rau!), and I placed Boba Fett to reinforce the Tie Swarm. I was a little concerned about my aces of the left flank, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to get behind the Kihraxz fighters, but that was a job for later!

img_0169Start of combat phase on turn 1

Turn one saw shots fired in the combat phase. The Kihraxz fighters had moved slowly, but Asaji moved faster and my aces in the middle of the board began to get in position. My mini swarm moved in, but because Captain Kagi moves so late, he was unable to stop a target lock on a Tie Fighter. Boba did a k-turn, ready to drop a bomb the next round.
All of the combat was on the right side of the board (this was very much a game of two flanks.) Using Deadeye and a focus token, Major Rymer fired a well placed Assault Missiles at one of the Protectorate starfighters, damaging another and Moralo Eval in the process. There were quite a few ships with shots, and by the end of the combat phase I’d lost a Tie Fighter, and James had lost the Protectorate starfighter that had been hit by the Assault Missiles. Moralo Eval had also had his shields chipped at, with help from a Crack Shot, Swarm Tactics and Howlrunner’s ability.

During the second round, the left flank began to move closer together. I bumped Vader into Soontir Fel, and he would loose a shield to a range 3 pot shot from a Kihraxz for this. Asaji Ventress moved closer and moved her firing arc to her left. Whisper, Omega Leader and The Inquisitor all lined Asaji in their sights. Unfortunately, Whisper ended up in the mobile firing arc, which ended up giving Whisper a stress token, so no free cloak later on. Fortunately, the dice were in my favour, and Whisper evaded the attack, whereas I managed to remove the shields from Asaji Ventress. On the right flank, Boba Fett dropped a Proton Bomb, and managed to deal faceup damage cards to three Protectorate starfighters, before moving and getting a shot in with his rear firing arc. Major Rymer managed to fire a Proton Torpedoes at Moralo Eval, but I split my fire with the ships that had arc between Fenn Rau and Moralo Eval, meaning he was still up at the end of the round. Again, the dice favoured me, and although no ships were destroyed, I had damaged two or three ships to near destruction. James was getting very irritated with Major Rymer at this point, and tried to focus him down, leaving with with a console fire crit and two hull remaining. Captain Kagi was now in position, meaning James couldn’t target lock the ships he wanted, and his blank rolls were useless to him.
However, the right flank was now quite tight, and I had to evaluate my next move quite carefully. I opted to k-turn the Tie Swarm, and get Major Rymer out of the way as best as I could. I did a sharp turn, dropping a Proximity Mine hoping to trip up one of this ships. But while the mine was perfectly placed to trip up any of 3 ships either this turn or next, I forgot Howlrunner was yet to move, and she set it off, destroying her. Whoops! My mini swarm instantly lost some punch!

On the left flank, the Kihraxz fighters closed in, and my aces started to take formation. Whisper cleared the stress from Asaji Ventress (I love how Imperial ships generally have a nice amount of green on the dial), and I started to find my stride with my formation. Omega Leader and Ventress exchanged shots, and Darth Vader lost another shield to a pot shot (he would’ve been dead without his two actions.)
On the right flank, Moralo Eval was destroyed, as well as a Fenn Rau. I took damage split across my ships, but Major Rymer hung on with one hull left and I only lost a Tie Fighter.

img_0172A closeup of the right flank at the start of the combat phase in round 3

img_0173End of combat phase after round 3. James looks sad after heavy losses!

Turn 4, and the game started to focus on the left flank. Whisper, the Inquisitor, Vader and Soontir all ended up at Range 1 of Ventress. Ventress gave Soontir a stress token on top of the one he already had from Push the Limit, which made me concerned for his next round. However, the aces finished off Ventress, and with efficiency from things such as Advanced Cloaking Device and Tie/v1 (as well as some lucky rolls), the aces brushed off the attacks from the Kihraxz fighters. Mopup duty began on the right flank, dealing with two damaged Protectorate starfighters. Quite a successful round for me, and I was enjoying a comfortable lead.

img_0176Combat in turn 4

Round 5, and the aces began to engage the Kihraxz  wing. Whisper and the Inquisitor lined up at Range 1 of a Kihraxz fighter, and destroyed it before it could fire. Boba came round for another pass, and the large ships were ready to fight. Captain Kagi had largely been bumping, but Heavy Laser Cannon with 4 dice meant one or two damage was still getting through. Darth Vader did not survive the round, falling to a good shot with a target lock from Graz the Hunter.

Round 6, and the Protectorate starfighters started to chase down Boba Fett. However, Boba was ready, and was able to drop a Proton bomb which hit both of them, and he was able to finish one off with his rear arc. However, Talonbane, now pilot skill 0 from a crit, finished off Boba. I didn’t know it yet, but this would cost me the game. I thought I was still winning at this point.
The aces swarmed another Kihraxz fighter, and destroyed it. At this point, I was loving the manoeuvrability of the aces. Generally, I couldn’t avoid all of the arcs, but I could make sure I could avoid some and still take a shot, with a nice amount of them at range 1. Abilities such as Soontir’s pilot ability made sure I was never at a disadvantage, still able to defend with tokens even after a boost or barrel roll.

img_0179End of round 6. Down to my aces and my shuttle

At this point, we were running out of time, so played one more round. James was left with one Protectorate starfighter, chasing down Captain Kagi who was slowly heading to support the left flank with his Heavy Laser Cannon. Most of the Kihraxz fighters had done a k-turn, and Whisper and Omega Leader were looking at two firing arcs. I damaged a Kihraxz but didn’t destroy it. The game ended with 5 of my ships on the board (the shuttle just being on half points having taken damage but also got a shield back thanks to Reinforced Deflectors) and 6 of James’s, but I was confident I’d won it as they were all my expensive aces that were still on the table.

We began to tot up the points, but as it happened James had stolen it by 23 points (the cost of the Kihraxz I’d failed to blow up.) It didn’t help I’d sunk 111 points in two ships that weren’t that agile (Boba Fett and Major Rymer) as they hadn’t touched half their ordnance, but they were a lot of fun to fly! Destroying them allowed James to easily rack up points.
The Inquisitor had lost two shields, but Soontir, Omega Leader and Whisper were on full health. The Kihraxz fighters had a lot of firepower and health between them, and it would have been interesting to see where the game would have gone with a bit more time.

Thoughts on the game

The game was a lot of fun. I love Major Rymer with Deadeye and Guidance Chips, but it’s just too easy to pile points in to a crit magnet. Captain Kagi did his job nicely when he got in to range, and helped keep Rymer alive. Boba Fett was my man of the match- the Proton Bombs and Extra Munitions were fantastic, delivering a total of 5 faceup damage cards, and pretty much every turn he took a shot from his rear firing arc. Navigator was only used once though as I got the manoeuvres right each turn, with Navigator merely helping me adjust range on that turn.
The aces were a lot of fun to fly, though they had the higher pilot skill which made it easy to flank their prey. It’s surprising how much ground they can cover with push the limit. I remembered to decloak Whisper consistently (the main problem Tie Phantom pilots face) although one turn I did cause a friendly crash by blocking with my decloak.

This was the second time I’d fought against the Shadow Caster, and I’m still not impressed. The abilities look nice on paper, but both times I flew against them they were merely an annoyance. The mobile firing arc makes it predictable, and moving the mobile firing arc on a 3 speed or higher move at the end of the combat phase seems under-powered considering the new Tie Defender Tie/x7 title that gives an evade token you can use the same turn.

James wasn’t very impressed with the Protectorate starfighters. I personally felt they did quite well, and kept my right flank occupied for a long time, but they suffer a similar flaw to the Tie Fighters I guess- if the green dice fail you then you are looking at squishy hull, which isn’t helped by the fact they have no evade action.

York Garrison

This was out first visit to York Garrison, and I was very impressed. We pre-booked a table, and they fitted us in despite having a Guild Ball tournament on that day. They had a 6′ x 4′ table we could use which was ideal. The guy in charge of the club game over to introduce himself and tell us about the club, and the first session is free which is a bonus!
But I will definitely join up and play more epic X-Wing there.

Not in my Name

October saw the Conservative party conference, and Prime Minster Teresa May spelling out her vision for the future of Country.
Now since the EU referendum, the United Kingdom has certainly shown it’s ugly, racist side. Hate crime went up 41% after the result. People feel that they are legitimately allowed to call out things such as “we voted to leave, now you have to leave” in the streets to foreigners. The Country that once established an Empire that covered nearly a quarter of the world, and forced itself upon it is now complaining about having people coming to it. For the UK to get so high and mighty about immigration is hypocritical, but the nature of what’s happening in the streets is disgusting. Many of these incidents are just one or two people who are causing the abuse, but many of them also feature bystanders who do nothing to intervene. The videos I’ve seen have brought be close to tears. How can anyone feel compelled to abuse a fellow human being like this?

You would expect the Government to act responsibly and try and encourage some calm, making a stable exit from the EU and controlling the hate crime it’s top priority. But it seems to have enabled the Conservatives to be even more nasty and go even more right wing.
The policies coming out of the Conservative party conference are disturbing. Giving a speech that was compared to Hitler’s book ‘Mein Campf’, the Home Secretary, has put forward a proposal that all businesses should register how many foreign workers they employ. Schools have also sent out questionnaires asking for the ethnicity of pupils. The talk is of a ‘Hard Brexit’, sacrificing the single market (much to the dismay of big business who are the parties biggest donners) in order to limit migration (in a delusional fantasy that British people will suddenly start doing the jobs that they have not been taking up as much like fruit picker or doctor.)

The vote was on whether to leave the European Union or not, but it seems to have been interpreted by the people as largely being voting for a product or idea. People weren’t voting to leave the EU, people were voting for this idea called ‘Brexit’ (or #Brexit if you prefer) that the media were peddling- as demonstrated by “What is the EU?” being the second most Googled search term the day after the referendum (hmm, maybe should have looked in to that before voting guys?) People were taking pictures of their poling cards and posting #Brexit. No explanation- “I’m voting to leave the EU as I feel it will benefit the Country because xyz.” Just #Brexit. Whatever that means.

I can’t help but wonder if remain had a catchier hashtag than #StrongerIn it may have done better. But the catch is the people who have been pushing the product of Brexit (The Daily Express, The Daily Mail, The Sun) have also been pushing anti-migrant bile and Islamophobia for years. I can almost see why people feel legitimised to do what they are doing, but I would have thought common sense and human decency would have prevailed.

I’ve often wondered why people in Germany didn’t leave as the Nazi’s came to power. But as my Country gets more and more like Nazi Germany every week, I get it. My friends are here, my family are here. My job is here. The places I go to do my hobbies are here. My cool shit is here. And the countries I admire; Norway, Sweden and Germany- I don’t speak the language (although if Scotland leaves the UK it looks really appealing!) At what point does it get so bad you pack your things and leave? And and what point (like in Nazi Germany) is it too late to leave?

Whilst the idiots who are yelling abuse at foreigners, punching pregnant Polish women in the belly and ripping Hijabs off Islamic women are in the minority, the amount of people who tolerate it or sympathise with it is too high, and the Government is using this to be every more nasty and nationalistic. We must look like a nation of despicable people to the rest of the world.

And so I rid myself of my things with the Union Jack on them in my house- stickers off my guitar, a patch off my coat, and my guitar strap. All gone.

I am no longer proud to be British. These atrocities are not in my name.

I Want My Country Back

And no, this isn’t going to be one of those far-right rants about how we need to get all the ‘Immigants out of ur engerland’. Quite the opposite. But I’m going to steal their phrase to make my point.

The EU referendum has brought out a lot of ill feeling. There have been mis-truths on both sides. But through social media reading comments on various articles, you can read the hate and the desire to keep everyone out who isn’t British. And just last year, all this was hate was driven at all immigrants (particularly Muslims) as demonstrated by this vile petition presented to the Government. In the general election the same year, UKIP got 12.6% of the vote share! That’s a lot of people with very right wing views who want to cut the UK off from the world.

But when did we become this vile, hateful, isolationist country with a superiority complex?

One of the things that made Britain great in modern history was it’s willingness to contribute to the European stage. It defended Belgium in World War One. It defended Poland in World War Two. Now we’re just regarded as the sh*theads who invaded Iraq for oil.

We were amongst the first group of Countries in the first wave of enlargement of the EU (a movement formed with the desire to stop further conflict in Europe) in 1973, clearly seeing the need to be part of something greater than ourselves. We were forward thinking enough in the field of civil rights to be a founding member of the Court of European Human Rights and the European Human Rights acts. Outisde of Europe we also founded the Commonwealth.

But now, if the polls are anything to go by, the majority of the public want to say goodbye to years of progress and cut ties with the EU, giving up our seat in Brussels and our chance to change things in the EU for the better.

I want my Country back from the people who want to throw all this away because they are scared of ‘immigrants’ which have been demonised in the media.

What makes Great Britain ‘Great’? It is a Union (like the European Union is…) of four Countries, and many different peoples. The Celts, The Saxons, The Vikings, The Romans, the immigrants from the Commonwealth who came here after World War Two to help rebuild, the Polish people in our factories doing the jobs spoilt Brits don’t want to… we are a mix of many different peoples. We shouldn’t be demonising these people from other Countries- we are them!

I want my Country back from the bile that is our tabloid newspapers- lies after lies in the Sun and the Daily Express about Muslims, whipping people up in to a frenzy! Scandals about people on benefits, giving the Tories social license to cut lifelines to the majority of benefits claimants who genuinely need it, causing indignity and even death to the poor, the sick and the disabled.

tabloidbileVenomous bile in the UK tabloids

I want my Country back from the hatred- people cheering on the bombing of Syria, knowing full well innocent families will be caught in the blasts. Families coming to Europe fleeing our bombs on boats that are not safe to brave the sea, and the same people in the UK crying ‘send them back to their own Country!’

I want my Country back and my democracy back from the Tories. The NHS was founded when the Country was broke after World War Two, and provided free health care for all. But now, perhaps our greatest social achievement is being sold off and deliberately run in to the ground. Inequality is higher than it’s ever been, and public services are being cut and slashed while MPs get huge pay rises, bankers who caused the crash get massive bonuses, and tycoons funnel vast sums of money in to tax havens. Meanwhile, the Tories show utter contempt for our democracy in the underhand ways they act in parliament- for example fillbusting or the way they are changing the law for fracking (see the bottom of my article here.)

I want my Country back from the madness. An MP was murdered last week for trying to make the world a better place. A soldier was murdered in the streets in 2013. This isn’t normal for a developed Country.

Through all the hatred, I think for the first time ever I am genuinely ashamed to be British.

Why the UK Government response on fracking is wrong

If you’re reading this, you probably know what fracking is, and you probably already think it’s bad.

If you google ‘is fracking bad?’ you’ll probably come to the conclusion that yes, it is very bad. In fact, I’m confident if you just google ‘fracking’ you’ll come to the same conclusion.

This article assumes that the majority of evidence shows that fracking is bad, and the UK government should come to the conclusion that Scotland, France, Bulgaria and New York State (amongst others) that fracking is bad and should not happen in this Country. However, if you write to Number 10 or your local loyal Tory MP (not all of them tow the party fracking line but most do) they will issue a standard cut and paste response such as the one to this petition. (Side note, what they safe about gas being the cleanest fossil fuel isn’t strictly true, as it produces more methane.) However, not all Government bodies and institutions agree that shale gas is a safe bet. The Environment Audit Committee raised concerns, and I will add more to this list as I conduct more research.

There is growing evidence that fracking can’t be managed safely and the UK Government needs to acknowledge that, and in this article I aim to collect it all in one place. Please keep checking back as I’ll try and update it when I find more information.

 

The failure of UK regulation

We are seeing failures in our regulation systems before the drilling has even begun! The Environment Agency has been tasked with monitoring our rivers and aquifers (e.g: our drinking water source!) to ensure it’s safe. But they are failing to keep on top of it with all the current contaminants (such as slurry leakage, waste from factories etc.) which you can read about here, here, here and here. Well, surely they are getting more staff to cope with this increased workload? Well, actually no, they’ve had their budget cut and experienced massive job losses. And to quote an incident directly related to fracking, in 2013 Claudrilla failed to apply for (and the Environment Agency failed to remind them) to obtain fracking wastewater permits, something that was only discovered by a Freedom of Information (FOI) request put in by Friends of the Earth.

The Government also has moved the goalposts by changing the definition of fracking legally, meaning up to 89% of proposed wells in the UK may not be covered by the ‘robust regulation.’

Agencies such as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are also responsible for monitoring safety on site of oil and gas companies, but as this report shows (backed up by FOI requests), the company Third Energy (who have won planning permission to drill a well in North Yorkshire) have had numerous safety issues raised and failed to act in a timely manner. Nothing seems to have come of it though; the company is still operating normally. This same evidence was presented at the planning application but does not seem to have been taken in to account. And this company will be injecting fluid filled with nasty chemicals through the earth, past the water table level… the mind boggles! Needless to say, I do not feel reassured by regulation.

Another good example of the current industries failure is this picture here taken on BBC North West tonight in December 2014.

gaffer tape

As you can see, the connector is not attached using all of the bolt holes, and they have used gaffer tape of all things! But this isn’t some propaganda war against fracking, a BBC Panorama investigation where they went in to expose this. This was actually taken from a news piece that was felt to be biased TOWARDS fracking, yet this can be seen in the background at 1:59 during the clip (you can watch it here.) If they are this lax with the basics (and when they are expecting their site to be filmed!), they will be cutting corners everywhere!

For further reading, there’s also a report done by a PHD student called Fracking – Minding The Gaps, which you can read here.

 

The environment

The government response also talks about shale gas being a short term thing, stating (from the petition response linked earlier) “Shale gas can create a bridge while we develop renewable energy, improve energy efficiency and build new nuclear.” However, the Government have been slashing solar subsidies and scrapping home insulation schemes. So they are not even trying to follow what they set out in their response!

The Governments own climate change advisers even say with current regulation, fracking is not compatible with climate change targets!

It’s also flawed to say we need a bridge to renewables, when renewables can meet our energy needs NOW. 16 countries currently meet 100% of their energy needs using renewables, and other countries are close or achieving streaks of days where they don’t need to burn any fossil fuels. And with the improvements in technology and reduction in cost for energy storage (e.g: the Tesla battery), renewable energy is getting even easier to use (e.g: store power from solar panels so it can be used at night.) And it’s achievable in the UK! Scotland, enjoying greater autonomy with it’s own Parliament, is now half way there. And it’s not all about solar and wind. Wales has the ‘electric mountain‘, a hydro ‘storage battery’ for when we all go stick the kettle on in the commercials. The government wants a bridge to when the nuclear Hinkley point C comes online, but they could produce the same amount of energy for £40bn less over the plants lifetime. Why build a bridge to an expensive nuclear power plant, when you could just invest in renewable energy projects and save on the price of shale gas extraction sites, processing, gas power stations and the most expensive object on Earth?

But lets play devils advocate and say for some strange reason we do need a bridge to renewables. The Government also claims that fracking is required, because we need to switch to gas as it’s ‘cleaner than coal.’ And while it does contain much less carbon dioxide than burning other fuels, it does contain lots of methane and ethane, which hangs around in the atmosphere for less time than carbon dioxide, but is 30x more potent than carbon. And a recent study has shown that in the Northern Hemisphere, levels of ethane and methane have dramatically increased, tied with the rise of fracking in America.

Carbon capture could play a part in this ‘bridge to renewables’, taking carbon dioxide from sources burned for energy such as coal and storing it in the ground. Except the Government scrapped that project.

 

Erosion of democracy

One of the most horrifying things about the ‘dash for gas’ is the Government is using lots of underhanded tricks and tactics to force fracking on communities, bypassing our elected MPs, local planning committees and the will of the people who put them in to office. Here are some examples below:

  • In 2014, a Government report on the impact of shale wells on communities was published with many parts redacted 
  • The National Parks U-turn. This is something I followed quite closely at the time. In January 2015 (under the collation Government), Labour backed a notion to ban drilling under National Parks, Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI’s) and in areas of drinking water at certain depths. The notion carried and this was passed. I watched it on the news and celebrated. However, the Conservatives got a majority Government in May 2015 (one which is now being associated with election fraud), and began to U-turn this bill. It went to a small committee where only a few MPs were invited to speak (although those that knew it was happening could go and listen), and a vote would only be triggered if enough people yelled “Nay” (in our democracy in the 21st Century) when the bill was mentioned in a rubber stamping session in the Commons. However, a vote was triggered to scrap what had been implemented in January and won, and so by December, the U-turn was complete. They really snuck this one through, and just by coincidence I found out about what was happening (by an email from an activist site) and was able to tell my MP about it.
  • Fast tracking applications/ calling in appeals. In August 2015, it was announced that the Communities Secretary would be calling in shale applications that were in need of fast-tracking, or if they had gone to a planning appeal. This was passed during summer recess, so MP’s would be unable to react to it. Articles here and here. To add insult to injury, Creg Clark (who you would hope would be impartial, given he is managing the planning appeals) then was caught co-signing a leaked letter pushing to get the shale industry going- just two days before the Lancashire shale appeal started!
  • The Government announced an investment of £5.6m on a college in Blackpool to teach fracking techniques while the application for the Blackpool wells was still in appeal
  • Claudrilla have started drilling monitoring bore holes while the Blackpool application was still in the appeal. Perhaps they’ve had a heads up from central Government they will win the appeal? Why else would they risk wasting money on this?
  • The planning application for the KM8 well in North Yorkshire was approved by a Tory dominated committee despite 4,375 objections. The committee talked about the national planning framework, which states they need to consult the shale gas report on climate change- a report not available at the time which minsters have been accused of sitting on! And they are still sitting on it!
  • When the report was finally released in July 2016, it said UK regulations are inadequate to mitigate the effects of climate change. However, the Government said they have since improved the regulations since then, but fail to provide any evidence to back this up
  • In 2015, over 10% of the Chancellors external meetings were with oil and gas companies, whereas just 2 (not 2%, but 2) meetings were with renewable energy companies
  • Licensing blocks were issued in Eastern England, although there is a large gap where the Prime Ministers constituency is! Fracking is good enough for us but not good enough for them!
  • March 2016, in an attempt to win over the public on fracking Andrea Leadsom lies and says that fracking does not contain chemicals that are carcinogenic or causes earthquakes, despite the now widely available scientific research that proves otherwise
  • Fracking companies are being allowed to run with parent and child company structures where the child company (for example 3rd Energy) owes a great deal of debt to a parent company (usually in the Cayman Islands to avoid paying tax.) In February 2017, 3rd Energy are £48 million in debt, and also they are 3 months late returning their accounts (so they are likely more in debt then that!) Because of this, the child companies are not making any profit, so do not have to pay any tax on their profits or contribute to the shale wealth fund (a fund set up to compensate communities to the disruption caused by fracking.)
  • The Government refuses to make fracking companies pay a bond to be used to clean up the land should the company go bust. Given the deliberate running of a child company in debt as described above, the fracking companies can simply declare the child company bankrupt and then the taxpayer is stuck with the cleanup bill, whilst any revenue from fracking has been siphoned off safely to the Cayman islands https://amp.theguardian.com/environment/2013/dec/11/taxpayers-fracking-pollution-companies

Scum GR-75 play test

This is part 3 of 3 on an article on the Scum and Villainy conversion kit.

So yesterday, James and I had our initial play test of this kit at The Grid, and we were both very impressed.

Our lists

James had sunk just over 100 points in to the Death Merchant, a GR-75 with a firing arc and two hard points. He then put most of his points into basic pilots. He ran Talonbane Cobra with Cluster Missiles and Munitions Failsafe, Graz the Hunter, Torkil Mux with Twin Laser Turret then the rest were basic pilots: 2x M3-A Scyk Interceptors and 4x Kihraxz Fighters. All his Kihraxz Fighters had Glitterstim.

I however, had put my faith in to named pilots with lots of firepower. Too much faith- this was my first mistake. I ran Moralo Eval with Heavy Laser Cannon, IG-88A and IG-88C with Ion Cannons, Kavil with Blaster Turret, Veteran Instincts and Unhinged Astromech and Emon Azzameen dripping with upgrades. I also had a basic Kihraxz Fighter, and N’dru Suhlak poised to assassinate from range 2 with Lone Wolf, Cluster Missiles and Glitterstim. For my GR-75, I used the support ship from my previous article. This brings Father and Son Azzameen’s ships totals to over 100 points. I may have got carried away. Did I mention I like the PC game X-Wing Alliance?

SupportShipMy GR-75 build, the Vasudra

 

deathmerchantjamesJames’ GR-75 build, the Death Merchant

 

Setup

Having re-read the epic tournament rules, in my game with Craig we had deployed both obstacles and ships incorrectly. This time, we got it right, which made it easier to make a clear space for the huge ships and larger amount of ships, but also by deploying ships in range 1-2 of the player edge gave us more options for deployment, and to jump in to the action quicker. James took initiative, and placed his GR-75 first. I placed mine opposite, but towards the middle of the mat a little more. I decided I didn’t want to risk getting pincered, so I decided to deploy all my ships in one block, and tackle him head on with my high firepower ships and wall of green dice on my Aggressors. This was my second mistake, and a much bigger one! I chose Aggressors in the first place (especially IG-88C) with Ion Cannons so they could boost across the board and take down the GR-75 together. However, I foolishly thought that without a native target lock or ability to use focus tokens, combined with it’s limited firing arc, the Death Merchant wouldn’t be much of a threat. I heavily underestimated the Death Merchant. This was my third mistake.

I kept Emon Azzameen to one side, hoping to swoop past and drop a Proximity Mine, and N’Dru Suhlak out of the way ready to swoop in beyond range 2 of my forces and assassinate a target with Cluster Missiles.

WP_20160312_001All ships deployed

WP_20160312_002All ships deployed

WP_20160312_003A close up of James’ fleet

WP_20160312_004A close up of my block of ships I was hoping would overwhelm James with fire power. Big mistake!

The Game

As per usual with X-Wing, there was no combat in round 1 (apart from a range 5 shot on Kavil from the Death Merchant) with my large ships edging just 1 forward, and the block of Kihraxz Fighters moving 2 or 3 forward. The attack didn’t hit Kavil, but Bossk did give the Death Merchant a target lock for next time. Round 2 however, the action began to unfold rather quickly.

WP_20160312_005The battle at the start of the combat phase during round 2

James’ ships moved first, and I expected the Kihraxz Fighters to move 2 forward and meet me head on for a range 1 joust, but instead they went 3 forward, and a wave of target locks appeared on Moralo Eval. When it was my turn to activate, IG-88A crashed in to the fighters, causing a 3 car pile up with Moralo Eval and Kavil crashing behind him. IG-88C was able to get an action, and I decided to focus on Graz the Hunter, as he has a habit of sticking round until the end of the game with his awesome pilot ability. To my left, Emon Azzameen managed to get in range, and to my right I had crashed my Kiraxz fighter in to an M3-A, again expecting James to move slower than he did. I used the Vasudra to co-ordinate and give Moralo Eval a target lock, as at this point I was desperate to do some damage!

This round hurt! All 6 Kihraxz Fighters fired on either Moralo Eval or IG-88C, and as the YV-666 only has one green dice it had no shields left on it at the end of the round. I rolled a focus and 2 blanks for the first evade roll on IG-88C, and that about sums up my luck with green dice for most of this game! The Death Merchant fired another shot across the board at Kavil, and this round ended with my Kihraxz Fighter and Kavil with a damage card each, and two of my large ships on reduced shields. James had only lost shields on a couple of his Kihraxz Fighters. James had strength in numbers in a straight up joust, and I paid for that.

WP_20160312_006The battle at the start of the combat phase during round 3

First blood went to me during the activation phase, as I accidentally ran over one of the Kihraxz Fighters with the Vasudra! But James’ used all but one of his Glitterstims, including one he’d put on the Death Merchant this round, and this helped him secure more kills.

My plan had been to keep Kavil close to the the Vasudra, so with a co-ordinate action he’d have a focus to use the Blaster Turret and a target lock to modify dice. But it was out of range, and an unmodified attack against a Kihraxz with Glitterstim was disappointing. I got a few average shots off with IG-88A and Moralo Eval, and as I was out of his arc, I managed to finish off Graz the Hunter with Emon Azzameen. N’Dru was in range, but to close to Kavil to get all his bonuses, and his attack bounced of the Glitterstim’d Kihraxz.

But despite the early kill, this round hurt me more, as Graz had already damaged Moral Eval, and Torkil Mux finished him off with his Twin Laser Turret. The Death Merchant finished Kavil off from across the board, and IG-88C with it’s second hardpoint weapon. His M-3A’s finished off my Kihraxz. I had lost 4 ships compared to 2 of his, and three of my tankiest ships to boot.

WP_20160312_007End of round 4, with dials down for round 5

In round 4 I managed to drop a Proximity Mine under Talonbane with Emon’s choice of templates and got a juicy crit, making him pilot skill 0, and IG-88A took a hammering and dropped to 2 hull remaining. Disheartened by James’ excellent green dice rolling and my earlier major mistakes, I decided to hit the ‘f*ck it’ button and used Tomaas Azzameen to give a Kihraxz Fighter an ion and stress token, with the aim to run it over next round. I believe this was one of two rounds where the Death Merchant was running low on energy, but as nothing was threatening it, it was an easy round to recharge.

WP_20160312_008End of round 5, and the board is thinning out

In round 5, James moved Torkil Mux close to the ionned Kihraxz Fighter, and I ran over and destroyed them both, luckily taking no damage to the Vasudra. I had done a hard 3 turn with N’Dru to get round the asteroid, and luckily missed him with the Vasudra. Emon and N’Dru were able to finish off Talonbane. The Vasudra was the only valid target at this point for James and it’s shields were wiped out.This left me with 2 ships with firing arcs compared to his 5. It was not looking good for me.

WP_20160312_009End of round 7 with dials down for round 8

In round 6, the bottom left Kihraxz Fighter did a K-turn but overshot, and was off the board. One less threat for me to deal with! I used my Tibanna Gas Supplies to get a full tank of energy. I ionned the nearest Kihraxz Fighter, and it crashed in to me and took damage. However, I did the same thing in round 7 and it had a nice range 1 shot at me, and combined with a shot from the Death Merchant, the Vasudra took it’s first damage cards of the game. In round 8 I managed to unload Cluster Missiles on the Death Merchant with Glitterstim (but without N’Dru’s bonus dice), and although I managed to get 3 damage on the hull, it was too little too late at this point, and the Death Merchant used Arns Grimraker to damage N’Dru. He was finished off by an M3-A.

WP_20160312_010The Azzameens are hutned down

The rest of the game was fairly cat and mouse. The M3-A’s were out of range of my rear firing arc on Emon Azzameen, and certainly out of range of my last Proximity Mine, so I decided to try and turn round to use my Cluster Missiles, and get the Vasudra nice and close for support. James was able to repair his ship with WED-15 repair droid as he moved, and the Death Merchant and the M3-A’s took pot shots where they could.

WP_20160312_011The Azzameen’s last stand

During Emon’s last turn, I managed to take down an M3-A that had previously run over an asteroid, but the Kihraxz Fighter I’d previously managed to ion and stress repeatedly finally came round the corner, and Emon was destroyed. Obviously, James had won, but we played on to see how long it would take to destroy the Vasudra. It took about 3 turns with the recover actions I was taking (minus 1 energy for a reactor leak.) Complete destruction!

WP_20160312_013James with 3 ships left on the board

 

Conclusion

All in all, we really enjoyed the game and we really enjoyed the Scum GR-75 conversion kit. It felt well balanced, fitted well in to the game, played well and I would have no objection to using it as a regular house rule.

I only have two gripes with the kit. The first is it doesn’t print to scale. In order to make the base for the ship, I had to place an Aggressor cardboard base over the front of the GR-75 base, photocopy it, then colour over the Aggressor stats with a black permanent marker.

I also don’t like that the GR-75 is the same stats and cost as the Rebel one, but with a free illicit slot. While I appreciate the creator did this to make it easier to proxy with the existing Rebel stuff without the need to print everything, it gives the Scum transport a bit of an unfair advantage. Generally, scum pilots are a lower pilot skill- especially if it’s a shared Rebel ship with an illicit slot. If the GR-75 was pilot skill 2, the same amount of points and had an illicit slot it would be perfect!

I was very impressed with the Death Merchant. As I said before, I didn’t think it would be much of a threat so I left it alone. However, it had at least one shot pretty much every turn, James didn’t run out of energy as often as I thought he would, and the Death Merchant pumped out a lot of damage over the game. Arns was a worthwhile 15 points despite only being used a few times. The whole build is not something to take lightly.

I’m kicking myself for the lack of ships in my build and a few stupid moves I made, but credit must also go to James for playing well. I look forward to a rematch.