York – Geek capital of the UK

Not going to lie, I haven’t travelled the whole of the UK, and I may be a little biased as I love York (some would say too much…), but here is my pitch on why I feel the walled City of York is the geek capital of the UK!

york

Shops

York has a good range of shops for the discerning gamer, with places to meet and play games with like-minded people

OG Games – OG Games is one of two specialist board and card gaming stores in York. Established in 2015, OG Games brought York it’s first store with a dedicated gaming space. They have dedicated gaming nights four nights a week, the lineup which has rotated somewhat with demand, but currently it hosts X-Wing & Imperial Assault, Yu-Gi-Oh, Netrunner, Dice Masters, Star Wars Destiny, Friday Night Magic and Pokemon TGC. They stock a wider range than this, and do demo games for new products. They also do regular tournaments where you can win prizes from the publishers tournament kits. You can find more about their gaming events here. OG Games is located on a little alleyway between The Shambles and Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate.

Travelling Man – Travelling Man is the other specialist board and card gaming store, and is also a comic book store. In 2016, they moved to a bigger store and have expanded their stock massively. They also have a gaming space, and have held events in external venues before the move such as world boardgame day events and boardgames nights at the Ackhorne pub. They now have in-store gaming events and tournaments with tournament kits, an annual geek bizarre, and a community comic library is planned. They also have comic book signings and chances to meet the author. They have a number of different groups to co-ordinate their events, so the best way to stay up to date is to go in store or have a search on Facebook. Travelling Man are located on Goodramgate, a few doors down from their old store.

Sore Thumb Retro games – Sore Thumb used to be located on a market stall, but have successfully migrated to a shop on Gillygate. They have a HUGE range of retro games and consoles, as well as gaming memorabilia. The staff (and customers) know their stuff – I went in for a recommendation on multi-tap PS1 games and got so many recommendations from staff and assembled customers! Looking on trip adviser, people come from all over the North of England to stock up on their retro gaming fix. They buy and sell games, so it’s worth visiting regularly as the stock changes depending on what people have sold to them. They also do an annual event with a small entry fee where you can play on a range of consoles (which used to be in the Fleeting Arms on Gillygate but this has moved with the closure of Fleeting Arms.)

Give the Dog a Bone –GTDAB is a gift shop on Fossgate with a wide range, with lots of choice in geek and pop culture items such as bags, coasters and posters in franchises such as Super Mario Bros, Adventure Time, Breaking Bad, Star Wars etc. It’s a great place to pick up a stocking filler for the geeks in your life

The Shop That Must Not be Named – A sister shop from the people behind GTDAB, TSTMNBN sells only Harry Potter merchandise on The Shambles, the historic street which inspired Diagon Alley. Seeing a business opportunity that the success of this shop has enjoyed, a company that runs gift shops across the Country has bought two shops opposite each other on the Shambles and turned both of these into Harry Potter shops as well. Yeah, I don’t get why he needs two either…  On a related note, the metal bridge in York station is the bridge in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone where Hagrid talking to Harry at King’s Cross station was filmed.

As well as this, there are chain stores such as GAME, HMV, CEX and Waterstones where you can buy games and graphic novels from. Waterstones York has a larger selection of graphic novels, fantasy fiction and board games than a store of it’s size in most Cities. Like Whitby charity shops carry Gothic clothing, I was impressed with the large collection of graphic novels in Mind on Goodramgate. Oxfam bookstore on Low Petergate also has a good selection, and there’s usually something geeky in the window that grabs my eye (usually when I’m passing by and the shops closed!)

 

Gaming spaces

Belong – GAME have opened up one of their BELONG gaming arenas in York. They have PC’s, PS4’s and XBox Ones you an play on for an hourly charge. They have themed nights such as Overwatch night, and it looks like they are trying to get a community going.

Random Encounter – After visiting Dark Matter gaming cafe in Durham, I couldn’t understand why we didn’t have one in York. Well, York nearly had three! Random Encounter is York’s first pop culture cafe, where you can get something to eat and drink as well as play boardgames, video games or read some manga. They have a wide ranging menu including vegetarian and vegan options, so there’s something for everyone. Awesomely, Random Encounter has opened next door to Sore Thumb on Gillygate (which is close to York St. John University, on what is seeming to become geek street!)

Another gaming cafe had launched a Kickstarter but has cancelled as the market is getting quite crowded, and rumour had it a different boardgames cafe was planned to open in October.

And finally, in November 2017 a Kickstarter appeared for a Fantasy themed bar in York, the Quest Inn. The plan is to open in 2019, and you can read more about it here. In the meantime, The Royal Oak on Goodramgate has a private function room which is perfect if you need somewhere private to hold a geek event. And whilst not technically geeky, Thomas’ of York is a fantastic pub where some of my friends have gone to play their own boardgames before. It describes itself as ‘York’s Quirkiest Pub’, it also does amazing food and drink, has a variety of events on, is friendly and welcoming and also very supportive of the LGQBT community.

 

Clubs and Societies

York has loads of geeks with a varied range of interests, and there’s loads of clubs and societies where you can find people with like-minded interests:

Beyond Monopoly – A boardgames club where you can go and play- well, boardgames that aren’t just your standard fare. They meet four times a week and have a small entrance fee. They have a stock of games or you can bring your own.

York Wargames Society – York Wargames Society offers tabletop miniatures games as well as roleplay groups. Based at Guppy’s Enterprise Club just outside the City walls, they offer a space to game several times a week for a small membership and entrance fee. You can try your first two sessions for free to see if you like the club.

York Garrison Wargaming club- York Garrison is based in the Folk Hall at New Earswick, a self-contained village on the edge of York. They meet on a Wednesday night and one Saturday a month for longer sessions. The first session is free, and after that you can join for just £1 with a small fee payable for each session you go to. They play a range of wargames and miniatures games, and you can pre-arrange a game on their forum.

York University- York University at Heslington has a huge range of societies, including Sci-Fi and Fantasy, Mugglesoc (Harry Potter) which has it’s own Quidditch team, HAZsoc (fighting Zombies with Nerf guns), Fragsoc (PC gaming), Animee, Doctor Who, Douglas Adams and more. Most of them will let alumni (many ex-students stick around, possibly because of job prospects from places like York Science park) and non-students join as well, although you will have to contact the society directly rather than through the yusu.org website.

There is also a second Uni, York St. John’s, which has it’s main campus on Lord Mayor’s Walk (near Gillygate.) I’m not sure on the details of the societies and if non-students can join, but the societies page is here,

Pokemon Go – Although the popularity for the game has decreased since the game was released, York has a thriving and highly organised Pokemon Go community. There is a Facebook page people can join, and a Discord server where people can co-ordinate raids. It’s not uncommon during the day to see a large group of people with their phones out gathered round one of the towns many gyms when legendary Pokemon are about! No doubt they will be just as organised with Harry Potter Go when that is released.

York Geeks and Gamers – A group on Meetup.com that allows fellow geeks and gamers to socialise and play games, they do a variety of events including boardgames, RPGs, Pokemon Go events and socials. It’s free to join, and is specifically there to bring people together.

 

Events

Vapnartak – one of the UK’s biggest and best wargaming shows, there are over 50 traders, a bring and buy, demo games you can try and tournaments for more experienced players. Held at York racecourse every February, you can find out more here

York Unleashed – again held at York racecourse, this time in August. If you’re reading this you probably know what a comic con is, and of course we have one in the geek capital, so I’ll just link to their Facebook page

York Geekfest – York Geekfest is a festival created by University of York students which is open to the public on the University campus. It started out quite small but they have been adding more each year. There are traders, shows you can watch, activities you can get involved in, art galleries, demonstrations and animee screenings. The first year was free but I believe it’s only a small fee to get in now. They’ve also had an after party at Fibbers in previous years for a small fee.

Yor-Kon comic con – 2017 saw a smaller homebrew comic-con at York Crescent community venue start up. Follow this page to see if they do another one next year

The Fleeting Quiz- Fleeting Quiz started at the Fleeting Arms community pub (which unfortunately shut down, as it was a nice place to chill out with a PS2 game and have a drink and was on Geek Street Gillygate) and now takes place in City Screen basement. They have different themes each month which are well attended. The more popular franchises take part over two nights due to demand!

 

History

York is a historic City, particularly rich in Viking and Roman history. There are lots of museums for history geeks- probably a whole blog post on it’s own, so for now I’ll leave you with the Visit York website

There’s also an annual York Viking weekend, but it’s more of a market and less on things to do and see

 

Jobs

York has it’s own Science park near the University, and it’s fair share of tech companies with all the geeky jobs that go with them

 

With all this going on, it’s no surprise York has a high NPSM (nerds per square meter), and that you’ll bump into things like the car below that the residents have created. On our little street with about 60 houses there are two geek cars and a geek moped!

WP_20170918_11_21_43_ProA car loaded with comic and pop culture stickers

In conclusion, with all of this I think York is the geek capital of the UK. Why not come for a visit and see what it has to offer?

Advertisements

Tantive vs Raider

A classic Rebel vs Imperial match up, with both of their corvette class ships ready to blast each other to pieces. What could possibly go wrong? Max and I went to York Garrison Wargames for a 300 point match. After the stomping I got from Max last time, we agreed that we would not field more than 2 of the same ship or upgrade.

 

My list

CR90 Corvette (Fore) – 80 points

Tantive IV, Weapons Engineer, Single Turbolasers, Quad Laser Cannons, Sensor Team, Supercharged Power Cells, Breach Specialist, IG-RM Thug Droids

CR90 Corvette (Aft) – 59 points

Raymus Antiles, Single Turbo Lasers, Optimised Generators

CR-90 total = 139 points

Esege Tuketu + Twin Laser Turret + Recon Specialist (37 points)

Shara Bey + Alliance Overhaul + Weapons Engineer (31 points)

Rorak Garnet (19 points)

Jess Pava (25 points)

Blue Squadron Pilot + Fire-Control System (24 points) x2

 

Max ran two Tie Aggressors, two Glaive Squadron Tie Defenders with TIE/D, Ion Cannon and Crack Shot, Captain Jonas with Deadeye, Proton Torpedoes and Extra Munitions, Howlrunner with Decoy, and an Imperial Raider which included a Single Turbolaser on the fore, and a Single Turbolaser and Quad Laser Cannons on the aft (plus some other upgrades including 2x IG-RM Thug Droids.)

 

Setup

At 299 points to Max’s 300, I had the initiative bid, which was perfect as the CR-90 and Raider are both pilot skill 4. By giving initiative away, I was able to make Max place his Raider first, which meant I could set up the CR-90 to broadside it and get maximum firepower at it. He then placed his Tie Agressors to the right of his Raider to protect it from flanking. I placed my fighter screen opposite to answer this, and Roark Garnet and Esege Tuketu to support my CR-90. He placed his Tie Defenders to confront the CR-90, and Captain Jonas and Howlrunner to support the Raider.

WP_20170909_10_34_45_ProSetup complete (the Mist Hunter in the bottom left is a proxy for a forgotten B-Wing model.) I am split in to a fighter formation (bottom left) and the CR-90 with support ready to broadside (top right.)

 

The game

The first round was fairly uneventful. All ships crawled forward (most had been setup within range 1 of the board edge rather than up to the permitted range 2.) The CR-90 got a couple of shots at a Tie Defender which bounced off it’s green dice, and the Raider shot at a B-Wing with it’s Single Turbolaser. With Captain Jonas nearby it was able to re-roll two dice, and I reminded Max the Single Turbolaser can turn one focus result to a hit. This was very much the tone of the game, it was quite casual and we both reminded each other about missed opportunities. The B-Wing lost 4 shields, and I knew the TLT’s on the Tie Aggressors would be in range next turn, I didn’t think my low agility fighters would last much longer at this point!

The second round was more eventful. The CR-90 was in range of the raider, so I grabbed target locks on the Raider and Captain Jonas with Sensor Team and Weapons Engineer. I used Roark to make the CR-90 pilot skill 12, then proceeded to blast away! I spent an extra energy and my Supercharged Power Cells to perform a 7 dice primary attack on the Raider. Even with my target lock and focus bank from Esege, I only managed to take off 5 shields (Max had used reinforce on the fore.) The fore Single Turbolaser only did one damage, so I had removed all the shields off the fore of the Raider. The aft Single Turbolaser could only reach Captain Jonus, who successfully evaded the attack. Max used decoy on Howlrunner to make the Raider pilot skill 8, so the Raider went next. He shot at the CR-90 fore with his front Single Turbolaser and removed two shields, and used his primary weapon on the B-Wing as the CR-90 was out of range. He spent two energy to double tap, and destroyed the B-Wing. First blood to Max!

WP_20170909_11_05_36_ProEnd of combat phase round  2

Round 3. The hardest decision was during the activation phase. Do I recover the three shields, or do I reinforce the fore? I opted for reinforce, given that there were more than likely three attacks coming my way. Combat began with more harassment for the Raider. Max had recovered all the shields on the fore, so I had to start again. Again, Roark made the Raider pilot skill 12, and I was able to launch my primary weapon and both Single Turbolasers on the Raider. Without a reinforce token, the CR-90 was able to take down the shields again, and get some damage through, including a crit that meant Max now had to spend an energy to perform an action. Annoying, but not crippling with the Optimised Generators upgrade. The Raider (again pilot skill 8 with decoy), had to split it’s fire due to range and arc restrictions, stripping shields off the CR-90’s fore and taking some shields off Jess Pava and the B-Wing. The Single Turbolasers were having more luck as Captain Jonus allows them to re-roll two dice, as opposed to Howlrunner’s one on the primary weapon. The Raider shooting at pilot skill 8 also played to my advantage, as the crits from the IG-RM Thug Droids were absorbed by the shields of my ships. Captain Jonus launched his Proton Torpedoes at Esege and took out his shields. A Tie Defender fired both it’s Ion Cannon and primary weapon at the CR-90, and got damage cards through. The second fired the Ion Cannon at the CR-90 and the primary weapon at Esege, who only took one damage due to some unlucky dice rolling from Max. My fighter screen then opened up the on the fore of the Raider, leaving it with one just hull remaining! I also gave him a nice crit reducing his primary weapon value by two. The Tie Aggressors started to harass the B-Wing with their Twin Laser Turrets. At this point I was starting to worry about how I was going to get the CR-90 turned round, given epic ships can only make 45 degree turns. And doing it avoiding the obstacles would be even harder.

WP_20170909_11_31_28_ProEnd of combat phase round 3

Round 4 was probably the most brutal. Again, I chose to reinforce rather than recover with the CR-90. I used Raymus Antilles to successfully stress a Tie Defender, which (unable to barrel roll) got run over by my CR-90. Max took a swerve to the right with the Raider to try and run over Jess Pava, but missed her by millimetres! Roark made the CR-90 pilot skill 12 again, and it was able to finally cripple the front of the Raider with a Single Turbolaser. The crippled side of the Raider only has a primary weapon value of 2, so together with the crit it already had, the primary weapon was wiped out! I used the other Single Turbolaser and the Primary Weapon to remove the shields on the aft with some very good rolls, and landed a crit that snuck past the shields which disabled his Quad Laser Cannons on the aft, leaving Max with only a Single Turbolaser on the fore to shoot with! My Quad Laser Cannons unloaded on Howlrunner and left her with one hull remaining. The Defender split it’s fire, shooting Roark with the Ion Cannon and ionising it, and unloading a range 1 shot in to the CR-90. Esege’s range 1 primary weapon attack bounced off the Tie Defender, but weirdly the 1 attack dice shot from Roark at range 3 hit and took a shield off it! Shara Bey unloaded in to the aft of the Raider, and the Tie Aggressors took out my second B-Wing. However, I had turned the tide at this point; with the Raider nearly down, two ships destroyed and a 3rd on one hull left.

WP_20170909_11_57_27_ProEnd of combat phase round 4

Round 5, and Max was out to retaliate against Roark! But at the start of the activation phase, I was able to stress the Tie Defender with Raymus Antilles so he would have to do it without dice modification. However, this round was mainly mop-up for the rebellion. The CR-90 destroyed the Raider, and managed to chip another shield off the Tie Defender with two attempts using the Quad Laser Cannons. Max nearly got his wish as he almost destroyed Roark with both attacks from the Tie Defender, and Jess Pava destroyed Howlrunner. His Tie Aggressors stripped the shields off Shara Bey.

WP_20170909_12_14_41_ProEnd of combat phase round 5. The CR-90 is down to 4 hull remaining on the fore but still going strong.

Round 6 was a fairly fast round, where the Tie Defender finished off Roark, and I threw Shara Bey’s rear arc, Esege’s Twin Laser Turret and two long range shots from the CR-90 at the Tie Aggressors. I managed to destroy one and deal two damage to the other.

We called it there as Max had places to be, and to be fair it wouldn’t be much of a game (I’d probably destroy the Tie Aggressor next turn, but in exchange the Tie Defender would probably cripple the front of the CR-90, and I’d have to hunt it down with the smaller ships which were quite scattered. All in all, an enjoyable game.

WP_20170909_12_25_59_ProEnd of combat phase round 6

 

Man of the match

Man of the match has to go to the CR-90 due to the sheer amount of damage it put out!

 

Summary

We both had a fun game, it felt quite balanced until the tipping point in round 4. The Tantive/ Roark/ Esege synergy is fantastic. The Imperials had the Captain Jonus/ Howlrunner buffs, but it’s nowhere near as effective. Max felt his Raider build needed some work. Operations Specialist on the Raider didn’t trigger once, Weapons Engineer would have worked better (it’s more useful than most of the team upgrades.) I could do more with my focus and blank results than Max. His IG-RM Thug Droids need him to roll hits first to be useful.

With these two ships, placement is key. Getting my broadside meant I was able to do all 4 attacks consistently. The Raider is trickier to get multiple attacks lined up. Due the the placement of all it’s arcs the sweet spot is harder to line up. Against a Gozanti carrying Deadeye Tie Bombers, I would have been in trouble, as the CR-90 carries most of my points and firepower, and munitions would chew through it.

The Tie Defenders with TIE/D and Ion cannon scared me when I saw them, as they are not only able to reduce the amount of energy I gain each turn, but they can also deal a three dice attack and are hard to hit with the CR-90’s weapons. Luckily, I ran over one quite early, and the Optimised Generators helped keep the tanks full.

We both also found an interesting dynamic when taking actions with the huge ships – when you are likely to be shot multiple times and have already taken damage, do you recover shields or reinforce? As you have seen with my GR-75 builds, I like to recover shields to absorb any potentials crits, but this game I reinforced each time instead. Looking at what was coming in round 3, I could have recovered three shields, but it looked like there were four attacks coming in so reinforce seemed like a better option, as it would prevent four damage. It was also more re-assuring doing this with the breach specialist onboard incase I got any nasty faceup damage cards, then I could just flip them facedown. I love the artwork on this card, though it didn’t end up getting used in the end.

 

Till next time, fly casual!

CR-90 Vs C-ROC

So I recently bought a Tantive-IV expansion pack, mainly because I was able to get it at a good price and I though the model would look cool on my shelf (where most people’s epic ships sit.) I’ve had a couple of goes with the Tantive IV before and wasn’t impressed. You have to line up the broadside and keep it pointed at the enemy, whilst also keeping it at the right range to line up all four shots to get the most out of it, especially as it can easily push close to half your squad list, and your dice modification is more limited than with small and large ships. The Rebel Transport supporting a number of buffing aces seemed like a better use of points to me. However, I bought it, and I wanted to fly it. So it seemed like a good opportunity to test it vs the new Scum Epic ship, the C-ROC Cruiser. James and I went to York Garrison, and we decided to go with the standard 300 points for a more accurate gauge of the two ships.

I built my list around Roarak Garnet, expecting some heavy hitters including powerful ordnance volleys. I decided the best way to deal with this was to shoot first. Roarak makes a ship pilot 12 skill during the combat phase, so I figured he could make the Tantive pilot skill 12 and fire off all 4 shots before anyone gets to shoot at it, and if I was really clever I could use a few ships with Swarm Tactics to pass this ability round and get multiple ships to fire at pilot skill 12, and destroy a Jumpmaster 5000 loaded up on ordnance quite comfortably. To do this, I had to find the cheapest generic Rebel pilot with 3 attack dice and an Elite Pilot Talent slot. It wasn’t easy! There aren’t many of them! But I settled on the Red Squadron Veteran T-70 X-Wing pilot. And the finished list is below:

list

If I can keep everything in range, Roarak makes a Red Squadron Veteran Pilot Skill 12 > Red Squadron Veteran #2 > CR-90 Corvette, which gives a total of 6 shots fired at pilot skill 12 before anyone else fires. This could easily be enough to take down a threat before it gets close to plough a large amount of damage in to the CR-90. To make the shots from the CR-90 count, I gave it Weapons Engineer and Sensor Team, so it’s multiple shots can be modified against multiple targets, and by target locking at ranges 4-5, I can make the most of my long range weapons, and hit threats hard before they even get close. Having Esege Tuketu nearby makes up for not being able to assign focus tokens to huge ships, as I can just steal his! Optimized Generators makes sure I have enough energy after powering my hardpoint weapons to recover shields.

James had opted for heavy hitting. A C-ROC with Heavy Laser Turret and cards to back it up such as IG-RM Thug Droids and Mercenary Co-Pilot. Dengar and Manaroo with lots of ordnance, plus Dengar had Swarm Leader with three Scyks to feed him evade tokens to power the rail gun! He also had Kath Scarlet built to deal some damage in her rear arc, with Tail Gunner and Outmanoeuvre equipped.

We placed obstacles in a curvy line across the board. I think we were both making sure our huge ships had room to manoeuvre. As huge ships place first and the C-ROC is only pilot skill 1, this played right in to my hand! James had to place first. As I wanted to take out the C-ROC first (as it has a 4 dice turret from a huge base and can recover shields plus jam my small ships), this meant I could easily place my CR-90 with it’s broadside pointing at the C-ROC. I placed my fighters behind the CR-90 to protect the blind spot (it’s rear) and James placed his Dengar Swarm Leader rail gun to the left of his C-ROC, and Manaroo and Kath Scarlet ahead of my fighters.

WP_20170708_11_17_27_ProSetup and ready to go

WP_20170708_11_17_37_ProA closeup of my setup

The CR-90 and C-ROC close up. So pretty!

Round one, and there was some action. My Rebel ‘mini swarm’ moved fowards towards Kath and focused up, and Kath and Manaroo came foward too. On the other flank Dengar and the Scyks started moving, with Dengar curving round to rail gun the CR-90 next turn. The C-ROC did a two forward, which meant when the CR-90 moved forward it was able to target lock at range 5. Success! This lead to a more bloody than usual first round of combat. Roark made Red Squadron Veteran Pilot Skill 12, who then used Swarm Tactics to pass this on to Red Squadron Veteran #2 who did the same to a B-Wing. The three ships then attacked at pilot skill 12, but with only focus tokens the attacks were average. Kath and Manaroo returned fire and dented the shields on a B-Wing. Esege made some unmodifed TLT attacks on Manaroo. James’ dice weren’t in his favour. It was then the CR-90’s time to shine! Using the Single Turbolaser in the Aft section, I managed to get Manaroo down to just one hull. I spent an energy to boost the primary weapon with an extra dice, and attacked the C-ROC with the primary weapon and the Fore section’s Single Turbolaser. I removed all the shields and got a damage card through on the C-ROC. A good start. Both of the focus tokens on Esege had been used in the volley, this was a great support combo! The final B-Wing finished off Manaroo.

Round 2 saw more blood for the Rebels. The Sycks bumped into each other, causing them to not have range or an evade token for Dengar to use. I didn’t want Kath to zoom past me and have me in her rear arc, so I banked right to form up and go help the CR-90. However, Kath crept forward which I didn’t expect, and caught 3 of my ships with an EMP device.

The combat phase started, and I made my CR-90 pilot skill 12. I then used all 3 weapons that could strike at range 3-5 to finish off the C-ROC in one turn, with backup from Esege and his focus bank. Dengar came round the front of the C-ROC, and managed to get an extra dice with swarm leader and took 4 shields off the front of the CR-90. Kath used EMP device ionizing 3/4 of my ‘mini swarm’ and one of the Syck’s took a pot shot at my CR-90 which bounced off the reinforce token.

WP_20170708_12_24_53_ProThe end of the combat phase round 2

Round 3, I used Raymus Antilles to successfully guess Dengar was doing a white manoeuvre (he was turning right in a Jumpmaster!) which I meant I got to assign a stress token to him. This meant he couldn’t barrel roll out of the way, and was flattened by the CR-90. This was the only point in the game where I successfully guessed a white manoeuvre with Raymus, but despite being 6 points I’d probably use him again (though with a lot of the newer ships adding so much green to dials, he is only going to get harder to use.) Considering this led to the destruction of about 50 points worth of ship, he paid for himself, although it was quite situational. With the ‘mini swarm’ ionized, Kath crept forward 1 and was able to use Tail Gunner on a B-Wing and Range 1 with 5 dice. James had switched dice at this point and was having much better rolls, and 4 of the dice provided hits, which meant the B-Wing had just one shield left. The CR-90 took shot at Kath with it’s primary weapon with no target lock, and one hit got through. The Sycks were too close for the Single Turbolasers, and I had moved my Red Squadron pilot that wasn’t ionized to help intercept the Sycks. Now there was only one big hitter left, the Swarm Tactics wasn’t as important.

Round 4, and my ‘mini swarm’ K-Turned/ Talon rolled (including the X-Wing that had gone off, so it was now facing the Firespray.) The Firespray did a 3 sharp left, and was bearing down on Roarak Garnet. The Sycks forced Esege to bump, so no focus bank. However, I used the co-ordinate action from the CR-90 to give Esege a focus action, so I had my focus bank back! Roarak made the CR-90 pilot skill 12. The primary weapon finished off Kath’s shields, and one of the Single Turbolasers bounced off Kath as it grants double agility to the defender. The second Single Turbolaser did get a damage through. Kath used cluster missiles to get the Roarak down to one hull, and a Syck finished it off. The ‘mini swarm’ unleashed on Kath, and she was left with one hull. We decided to end it there. Victory for the Rebels!

WP_20170708_13_42_29_ProThe end of Combat round 4

Thoughts on the CR-90

I honestly thought that the CR-90 was going to be rubbish. Keeping all 4 potential shots lined up to get the most out of it would be difficult, making the heavy points investment hard to pay back. It’s also vulnerable if you run out of energy. And once you loose the CR-90, you’ve lost the game as it’s all the firepower in your list gone. However, we worked out afterwoods both hardpoints cover half of the 3×3 section of the board. You have quite a lot of firepower that can shoot before you opponent can even fire at you, which the C-ROC found out. I did expect James to sink more points into swarms of small ships to sit behind my engines and pummel the CR-90 in to it’s weak spot, but getting through the range 3-5 shots the CR-90 to get to that blind spot; James convinced me it was harder than I thought. It would be interesting to see how the CR-90 would do against an Imperial list, as ships like the Tie Defender would just shrug off Single Turbolaser attacks. However, they’d also struggle to sit in the blind spot without a 1 forward on their dial. Ion attacks would cripple the CR-90 as it’s reliant on energy, but that’s if you can get close enough!

Weapons engineer is a must equip on the CR-90. Optimized Generators was also amazing and I can’t imagine playing the CR-90 without it. Esege providing the focus bank was great, and before Wave 7 (K-Wing) and the Imperial Raider (which brought Optimized Generators to the table) I don’t know how effect the CR-90 would be.

While I like the Dodonna’s Pride title, I was too busy performing target locks to co-ordinate, so it was a bit of a waste. I think the Tantive IV title and a Breach Specialist is probably a better idea.

Thoughts on the C-ROC

Unfortunately this fight didn’t give us enough to comment on how good it is. It does have a notable weakness that it is a pilot skill 1 huge ship, so it will always place first. This makes it easy for the opponent to plan their approach. If you have a CR-90 or Imperial Raider you can easily line up your arcs for an opening volley.

Man of the match

No Jan Ors in my list this time! Man of the match goes to the CR-90 which was just a massive damage canon, although Roarak and Esege buffing him had a huge impact on the effectiveness of the CR-90 and there is an argument for them to have man of the match status too! Esege’s focus tokens were mainly used by the CR-90, Esege was very generous! The beauty of the list is you need to take down Roarak and Esege to make the CR-90 less effective, but they are very difficult to get too, and Esege is tough as nails with him being in a K-Wing. It’s not a call I’d like to have to make if I was playing against this list.

Summary

I really enjoyed this match, and I really enjoyed flying the CR-90. I was incredibly surprised by how good it was in this match. I might actually pick it over the Rebel Transport next time! It’s just a shame swarms and mini swarms are so effective in epic, it makes it difficult to run lots of aces like I enjoy.

Family Ties Expansion

WARNING: Contains spoilers for the PC game X-Wing Alliance

One of the things that playing  X-Wing Miniatures has done is get me more interested in the Star Wars expanded universe, and it reminded me of the old PC game X-Wing Alliance, which I dug out and started to play again. It follows the story of the Azzameen family (if you haven’t played the game this is where Emon Azzameen comes from) and it introduces the YT-2000 freighter. I found a YT-2000 model on Shapeways and I knew I just had to bring it to the table.

I had a look at custom cards other people had done online, and I didn’t like any of the stats. So I decided to make my own. The first task was to pick a faction. Should it be Scum or Rebels? Ace joins the Rebellion, but the rest of the family stay independent (hence Emon Azzameen is a Scum pilot.) To me this was an easy choice, I felt the pilots should be Scum and Villainy to fit as independents, but also when I did the ships stats I didn’t want it have access to C-3PO, R2-D2 (crew) or Chewbacca as this would make the ship too powerful.

So next was the base stats. I compared the YT-1300 and YT-2000 on Wookiepedia, in the Millennium Falcon Haynes manual and also compared the hull and shield stats on an X-Wing Alliance FAQ and did some maths to work out the hull and shield values. I can’t remember exactly what my sums were, but I reduced the hull value a little as I was at 16 hits total which is 0 agility territory, and I felt this ship needs a green die. I then popped the stats into a custom card creator and used the YT-2400 dial and that gave me a points cost. And behold, the Twin Suns Pilot was ready!

tsp.png

The basic YT-2000 pilot

The next job was to playtest this as is to make sure the baseline stats were OK. With a token 100 point list I played one game against my friend TJ and two against my friend Max. It won a game against Max and lost the other two. I was OK with this as a loss means it’s not undercosted and overpowered, and both opponents felt it was a fair and rounded ship. So I was free to design the rest of the pilots, and indeed I went overboard and did a YT-1300 for the Scum faction as well.

So without further ado, I give you the Family Ties Expansion pack!

fmties

 

YT-2000 pilots

As I’ve previewed the basic pilot above let’s jump straight to the named pilots. But first, a look at the Otana title, the name of the YT-2000 in X-Wing Alliance:

otana

This was inspired from the opening cut scene when the Otana comes under attack from a Star Destroyer, and we see blue ion dancing across the ship as it licks it’s wounds. For one point, the Otana can suffer a 3rd ion token before it suffers the ion effects. This seems pretty situational – ion isn’t used much in the game, although it does mean the ship is immune to Conner Nets, Ion Pulse Missiles etc. and can use 4-LOM crew an additional time before suffering an ill effect. However, it was mainly designed to synergise with some of the pilots and crew in the expansion.

Galin Azzameen

galin

Again, taken from the opening cut scene, Galin co-pilots the Otana, and offers to patch the ship up as they limp away from trouble. As a pilot, Galin can manipulate the controls when doing easier manoeuvres (green manoeuvres) to mitigate the effects of damage to the ship. This does come at a cost though of diverting  power, and this assigns an ion token. Galin is a late game tank, loosing his shields he is able to ignore the effects of 25 of the 33 critical effects in the damage deck, possibly never being ioned thanks to the extra leeway the Otana title grants him.

 

Tomaas Azzameen

tomaas

Another one from the opening credits (Galin and Tomaas don’t appear in X-Wing Alliance much!), this ability is similar to Galin’s. Tomaas is determined to limp home while the Otana is damaged, and this is shown in this card. You are not restricted to revealing a green move on your dial like you are with Galin, but the effect is just for one round, so picking a pilot depends on your play style, but either way you have a late game tank. Again, with the Otana title, you are not ioned straight away.

 

Ace Azzameen

ace

I struggled to come up with a pilot ability for the star of X-Wing Alliance. I’m still not convinced this was the best choice, but as the only ship with an Elite Pilot Talent slot, you can equip the Family Ties talent (see later) and turn him in to a 4 dice, 14 hit tank. I noticed when playing X-Wing Alliance, I was much more accurate when staring down a ship with target lock, so this ability was designed to reflect that. The ability should mean you need to spend a target lock less often, so you should see some reward in terms of action economy, freeing you up to focus more often. If you already have a target lock, perform a focus action you can turn a roll of a hit, focus and blank in to 3 hits without having to spend the lock. A bit circumstantial at times, but it should see some mileage.

 

YT-1300 Pilots

Before we start, let’s look at the titles

titles

The Sabra was the ship that Ace flies in X-Wing Alliance, and the ability is mainly there to make a 2 dice ship have some extra millage, especially against Autothrusters. This may become a 0 point upgrade with a playtest.

The Selu was the ship of Aeron Azzameen (Ace’s older sister), and in one level they disguise it as the Venix, hence the dual title. Aeron is a computer wizz, and when they name the ship Venix they are planting a trap with illegal spice, hence the choice of upgrades the the titles provide. The card works like Adaptability and you make your choice after setup. Will Fire-control System be useful, or would an Emp Device help more? You can decide after you setup and have seen your opponents list!

 

The basic pilot

tst

The Twin Suns Transport is a copy of the basic pilot from the Millennium Falcon expansion pack, but for the Scum and Villainy faction. I kept the stat-line for the basic YT-1300 throughout the cards, as the Falcon is heavily modified and the Azzameen craft are nearer stock level. The two attack dice is not great in the current meta, and will struggle to hit the likes of The Inquisitor or Whisper, but it’s a cheap way of using the Family Ties EPT (see the upgrade section of this blog post), and with Zuckus and 4-LOM crew on you can get the most out of those two dice.

 

Emkay Azzameen

emkay.png

The psychotic droid co-pilot loves shooting things, which I have shown here by gaining the chance to remove stress with attacks. There isn’t much you can do to stress him, although it offers protection against the likes of Asaji Ventress, Rebel Captive etc. You could also equip Gonk and Experimental Interface and be able to regenerate shields quicker whilst not being as restricted to green moves to shed the stress.

 

Aeron Azzameen

Aeron.png

Aeron flies alongside you in some of the family missions, and always manages to hold her own in a fight. By being able to treat her focus token as an Evade (on a ship that can’t naturally evade), she is able to survive longer in a one agility ship. With an EPT slot, she can also equip Family Ties.

 

Ace Azzameen

ace13

Ace also makes an appearance in a YT-1300 (which you start X-Wing Alliance with.) His pilot skill, pilot ability and EPT slot are the same as the YT-2000, but in a weaker ship you can get him on the board much cheaper, and with only two attack dice you’ll probably use his ability more often.

 

Upgrades

Family Ties

ft.png

The main feature of the included upgrades is the Family Ties expansion is the Family Ties EPT. They encourage you to run a thematic list of Azzameen and Twin Sun pilots. Most importantly, it makes the YT-1300 pilots more useful as if you can keep them together, they have three attack dice and are much more potent. Including Emon Azzameen from the Most Wanted pack, this would give you a total of 9 ships that can grant the bonus die, and three ships that can equip it, though realistically you can only fit two in the same 100 point list. You could potentially run Emkay, Aeron and Ace (YT-1300) with Aeron and Ace with the Family Ties upgrade, giving you two three dice and one two dice ships if keep them in Range 1 of each other. This was inspired by a mission in the game where you fly alongside Emon and Aeron and become a formidable fighting force if you stay in formation. There are two copies in the pack.

Missile Launcher

missilelauncher

To me, this is a YT-1300 fix as the stock YT-1300 should have a missile launcher. This will let you give a missile slot to the base Rebel or Scum YT-1300. I designed this before the Smuggling Compartment in Heroes of the Resistance was revealed, so it’s nice to know I think along the same lines as the X-Wing developers. There are two copies in the pack although you’ll probably only ever use one.

Crew

crew

Ace Azzameen- I was struggling for ideas for Ace and Galin crew at this point. For Ace, I settled on a slightly more powerful version of the Luke Skywalker crew, being able to change a blank result to a hit instead of a focus. At 8 points, he’s expensive to fit in a list. As Ace joins the Rebellion in X-Wing Alliance, I have made this card Scum or Rebel.

Emkay Azzameen – Whilst blowing stuff up, Emkay frequently gives you ‘primary target updates’, and so the ablity to get a free target lock when your lock target is destroyed seemed apt. For one point, it also could be useful saving you taking fresh target locks, although obviously it will be more useful against a Tie Swarm than a two ship build (which made it difficult to cost the upgrade card.)

Galin- Another take on his mechanical ability with very little in X-Wing Alliance to go off, nothing special here but there’s worse uses of one point then being able to flip a damage card facedown.

Aeron Azzameen- Aeron is noted for being a computer wizz, and her slicing skills are mentioned in X-Wing Alliance. I designed this before Black Market Slicer Tools was previewed, so I wasn’t sure how slicing would work away from Huge Ships. I felt sacrificing power from the shields to power the slicing tools was a good way of representing this, and with a ship with lots of shields such as the YT-2000 or YV-666, this is a good way to finish off evasive ships with just one hit remaining. Pair this up with Black Market Slicer Tools and Experimental Interface, and you can do some serious slicing!

I didn’t create a crew for Tomaas Azzameen as he is included in the GR-75 Scum conversion kit, which you might think is obsolete now as FFG have released an official Huge Ship for X-Wing, but I still think it’s a good kit and has a place on my table.

Also in the pack, I would include

2x Concussion Missiles – what use is a Concision Missile launcher without missiles?

2x Countermeasures – these actually featured in X-Wing Alliance, and when I designed this pack were only available in the YT-2400 expansion

1x Flight instructor – Currently only available in the Lambda shuttle expansion, and as this pack features all one agility ships, it will help with survivability.

YT-2000 movement dial

To save building a working dial with cardboard, I decided to use the YT-2400 dial and this was used in the cost calculation of the ship. However, I also priced up a custom dial points wise and the difference was negligible.

dials.png

FAQ

Tomaas Azzameen- if using your pilot ability causes you to be ionized whilst using this ability, you are not ionized until the next round (a bit like if a Conner Net goes under your ship before you reveal your dial.)

Missile Launcher – If you equip Smuggling Compartment, you can also equip Missile Launcher and another modification upgrade as the two stack.

 

Conclusion

Well, I hope you enjoyed my take on the YT-2000 and how I’d introduce it to X-Wing, and my nod to the classic PC game X-Wing alliance. I will be playtesting this more thoroughly in August and posting the results.

Did I get it right? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.

 

If you want to use the cards, please feel free to download the PDF’s to cut out and keep.

Please note, although every effort has been made to make sure these files are virus free, you download at your own risk. Have fun!

https://www.dropbox.com/s/tbhf9dzjwj9qidm/FamilyTiespack.zip?dl=0

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.