Places to chill in York #01 – Spark York

Spark York is an allegedly temporary project run by a group of hipsters on Piccadilly, York. They have built a space up using shipping containers, scaffolding and wooden boards. It has craft beer, street food and even a vintage clothes shop. They also host music events and community events. Yeah that does all scream hipster, but as I walked round on a bright summer’s day (not pictured, I took the pictures a few days later!) it does seem like a nice place to sit with a pint. The decked area actually reminded me of childhood holidays in Skegness (probably not the vibe they were going for!) and the place is a perfect sun trap! The food smells great and the drinks look very tempting. So is this a place I would sit and chill?

WP_20180916_13_29_48_Pro

Probably not! Whilst the food and drink is no doubt high quality, it all looks very pricey. From what I understand the owners are a bit greedy when it comes to renting essentially a metal box away from the main tourist footfall of town, and this gets passed on to the customers. With Brew York just around the corner, I’d probably just go there and my beer money will last way longer!

Honestly, I just feel sorry for the traders. Whilst it’s heaving on a warm summers evening and weekend, I’m not sure how well this venue is going to do in winter, even with their canvas roof. Time will tell. They also only have a short lease on the land.

WP_20180916_13_28_50_Pro

Advertisements

Two player destiny draft

In my hunt for Doctor Aphra, I recently bought a whole Legacies booster box in hopes she’d be in there (there’s quite a few other useful cards in there too I want.)

I decided it might be fun to draft with some of those packs and keep the cards to get a bit more value from the box, so I had a small two player draft with my friend Nathan. The draft was a couple of weeks ago so my brain is a little fuzzy.

The first round I didn’t draft any characters worth using, so I went Lobot/ Ketsu/ Jawa. I also grabbed ALL off the plots in the draft, and Scariff Comm tower. I had grabbed most of the yellow cards, so Nathan went Anakin/ Lobot/ Jawa. The Jawa was much more present in this two player draft than the 12 player one at OG Games, and he was surprisingly useful (even if it was only to remove his dice to resolve another card.) I was really impressed with Lobot, as his special ability is really powerful, increasing the damage other characters can do. I ended up with the sniper riffle on Ketsu and the repeating blaster on Lobot, so there was a good mix of dice being rolled and a lots of choice of dice for Lobot to increase the damage of.

The second round we used Nathan’s Way of the Force boosters. I can’t remember what was played, but I do remember Nathan won.

For a tie breaker, we then opened three packs each of Legacies and three Way of the Force each. I ended up with Jar Jar Binks/ Clone Trooper/ Jawa and Mother Talzin. Nathan had Battle Droid/ Jedha Partisan/ Jawa and Anakin. We both had one of each colour character, so the possibilities were limited only by the cards our opponent didn’t pick, as any choice was valid. This was probably the closest and most fun game of them all.

I had to remember to activate Jar Jar Binks first, as he can be negative to you if you roll him when you have other dice in your pool. However at 7 points he is a cheap way to get yellow cards in your deck! Clone Trooper got tooled up with the usual tools (repeating blaster/ sniper riffle/ supply pack) and was my damage machine. At one point he rolled his special on the repeating blaster, did two damage, then re-rolled the special back into the pool which Nathan was less than happy about! With his upgrades, at one point I lined up 6 ranged damage with the Clone Trooper so took out the Jawa early rather than overkill the Battle Droid. We were both using our Jawa in a similar way (pot shots and removing his die to resolve cards) so it wasn’t a waste to take it off the board. My Clone Trooper was the obvious target and went next, followed by the Battle Droid. It was very much a close tit for tat battle. In the end it was Mother Talzin versus his Anakin, and she only just won, owing to her ability to change an opponents dice which has a 50/50 chance of going off, and I got lucky with it.

I still love drafting, though rotating 12 booster packs around two people is a lot more restrictive than rotating 36 between six people. At one point Nathan was trying to build a two character blue deck and didn’t have 30 blue and grey cards to do it, so had to switch to a two colour deck.

This was followed by opening another 18 booster packs and watching the rest of what was a days pay be opened and done with in about 30 minutes! Whoops!

All in all I got Zebs Bo Riffle and Yoda which I was pleased with, plus Force Wave which I traded for something I really wanted, then 3 duff legendaries and no Doctor Aphra ūüė¶ Nevermind, that’s the risk of a TGC.

Till next time!

Star Wars Destiny and drafting

I recently got a Star Wars Destiny Two-Player Starter Set, and I find myself involved with a collectible card game for the first time since I left school!

I took my two player starter set to a friends house to give it a try as I knew he had some Destiny stuff. I really liked it after playing our first game. The gameplay is simple but strategic. It is action by action, so your well thought out plans can get foiled easily by a well played card from your opponent. Throwing dice in there makes it more varied then Magic the Gathering where you chuck cards at each other. I love the way characters from across the factions are split into heroes and villains. And the artwork is amazing!

The two player starter set is a fantastic product. For two people on their own to play casually at home it is a great way to spend an evening, although the villain deck is stronger and feels like it wins more. By buying a second copy, you get the extra character dice and can make a decent deck by having the elite versions of the characters and more cards to choose from. In fact, an experienced tournament player from Team Covenant said he was beaten in a game in a big tournament with a guy who just had two of these starter sets!

But equally I’ve had a day where I didn’t win a single game. Partly down to my deck building, and sometimes I forget to read my characters abilities, but equally when a well built deck where the player has a larger pool of cards than you it can be frustrating.

That’s where drafting comes in. You need a Rivals draft set, and then you buy six booster packs as part of your event ticket. It puts everyone on a similar playing field, as you can only build a deck from the Rivals set and the cards you draft. There are six powerful legendary cards per booster box, and because you pick a card then rotate the boosters, even if one person got all six legendaries from their boosters, they would be rotated around so they wouldn’t end up with all of them. There are some great cards in the Rivals draft set too (the sniper riffle, repeating blaster and holster did most of the damage in my games). If you wanted to play Destiny on the cheap, you could simply buy two of the two player starter sets, a Rivals set, and enjoy the draft experience once every four months when a new set comes out and keep the cards you draft. From all this, you should have enough to draft a decent deck to play regular games in-between drafts. This is assuming you don’t get addicted and buy shit-loads of boosters!

Going back to my earlier frustrations, one of the better things about Destiny is the cards you need to control dice (turn yours to good results and opponents to bad results) are common cards. There is a nice selection in the two player starter, but drafting a few boosters will also get you a good chunk of these cards, and set you well on the way to finishing your deck. I’ve also been lucky in that the guys who play at OG Games gave me some of their spare commons, so I now have lots of dice control options at my disposal!

Another frustration can be getting hold of your favorite characters is they will likely be in booster packs, and are often legendary which is the rarest. For example two of my favourite characters Ahsoka Tano and Doctor Aphra fall into this category.  Even worse is they rotate out of play РAhsoka is from year one and will not be playable in 2019 (unless you play infinte) which is frustrating if you sunk a lot of money trying to get that character. The good news is they seem to rotate in rarity. For example, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo were legendary in year one and hidden in booster packs. However new versions of them appeared in starter sets in year two, so hopefully this will happen for other popular characters too! And hopefully a new version of Ahsoka will appear in time for the 2019 rotation!

The draft experience was amazing, and I played three really close games!

My first game I had Bo-Katan and Anakin Skywalker. My opponent somehow managed to draft Snoke and an elite Fith Brother! However, his luck didn’t hold for long, and he had some really unlucky dice rolls. Snoke was able to do some damage with his ability, but Bo-Katan was delivering it quicker. Anakin was a bit useless, especially as I had a handful of neutral cards so couldn’t use his ability. I defeated Snoke and it looked like I had won. However, the Fith Brother’s dice picked up, and he managed to get his ability of to repeatedly hit me with the same dice. Bo-Katan was the next casualty, and then Anakin. It was really close, and after I defeated Snoke I thought I’d won. The way the tables turned kept it very high stakes!

For the second game I switched Anakin out for Count Dooku. I can’t remember that game, but again it was a close loss for me. I also had a record high of about eight resources. I had purposefully picked a yellow character and the card Respected Businessman (a common card) to make sure I was never low on resources for the draft.

The third game I kept my deck the same, and I was against Leia/ Jawa and Anakin. This was insanely close. It was a mill deck, and entering the last round I had two cards left in my hand, and he was down to Leia with a few health left, and I was worried. However, I managed to defeat her clinging on to a single card in my hand before he could discard it. If he had elite Leia he would have won easily.

The drafting experience was amazing, the draft I feel levels the playing field and I can’t wait to try it again!

Family Tie Expansion – playtest

So today I’ve got to¬†playtest the Family Ties Expansion, alongside the GR-75 conversion and the BFF-1 kit. Not going to do a full write up as I am suffering from trapped nerves affecting my arms and hands, so I am trying to minimize my computer time.

WP_20180624_11_18_51_ProSetup

I now have a big enough table to play epic at home. I took a list that was as close to the X-Wing Alliance game as I could get, and Spencer brought an ace heavy list (the kind I like to fly against.) It was quite slow at first as neither of our red dice rolled particularly well. Spencer took out Emamon Azameen, then I took out one of his Jumpmasters. Then he slowly started picking off my ships one by one, resulting in a big victory for Spencer.

WP_20180624_12_07_14_ProBeginning of round 3

 

Conclusion

I don’t mind loosing with custom ships as it proves they are not overpowered. I think a non-story based list with some of these ships would do well – for example Zuckuss crew on the Otana would be incredibly useful. Looking forward to running some of the Family Ties expansion again and a rematch!

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 РTravelling 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‚Äôs 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?

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.