Epic Play – Epic Fun!

And so the challenge has been completed, and my epic game against Craig has been played at OG Games. Craig fully seized this rare opportunity to play epic, and ran both the Imperial Raider-Class Corvette and Gozanti-Class Cruiser. Unfortunately, this didn’t leave him with squad points for much else, leaving him with Darth Vader with the usual upgrades and four ace Tie Fighters, which he docked on his Gozanti.
I, on the other hand, had abused the Rebel’s buffing abilities, with 4 of my small ships with the ability to buff other ships, and a filthy build on Ten Numb that allowed me to roll 6 red dice with a target lock with help from Jan Ors (see rules queries below.) My GR-75 was quite light, with Toryn Farr to harass the small ships, and Automated Protocols, Shield Technician, Tibanna Gas Supplies and Quantum Storm to keep energy fully charged and the shields fully up.

Setup

We deployed the 12 obstacles on the 6′ x 3′ play area (10x 3D asteroids using bases from the original core set, and 2x custom Class-A cargo containers.) As I only had one epic ship, I immediately had the advantage as my movement wasn’t as restricted, and I proceeded to place most of my obstacles along Craig’s play edge to restrict the movement of his epic ships. As per the epic tournament rules (which we decided to use as they make the game more fun- mainly because epic ships start with full energy), huge ships deploy first, so Craig placed his pilot skill 2 Gozanti in a nice place near the middle edge of one mat. I placed my GR-75 in the middle of the mat, and Craig placed his Raider near the corner of the mat, away from the Gozanti. The fact huge ships are deployed first then put Craig at a huge disadvantage, as I had brought 8 small ships, so I then placed all of these together, with a nice clear run to storm the board and attack the rear of the Raider. The huge ships don’t turn very far or fast (both speed banks are about 30 degrees turn) which would make it very difficult to react to my small ships movement. Craig placed Darth Vader next to the Raider to help defend it, but he was heavily outnumbered.

WP_20160126_001Initial deployment of the ships

WP_20160126_002A close-up view of my ships in formation

The match

For the first two rounds, everything inched forward, going no faster than speed 3. On the second round, most of my ships were able to get a target lock on Darth Vader, and on round three, Craig went 5 forward, hoping an aggressive move would put him in a position to take on some of my ships. Unfortunately, he hit Ten Numb, lost his actions, and was a viable target for my other 7 ships. Darth Vader did not last the round!

WP_20160126_005Darth Vader ahead of my B-Wings with six target locks on him, shortly before his demise!

Craig then managed to land a hit with Ion Cannon Battery on Ten Numb, giving him an ion token. I failed to compensate for this adequately with the left side of my formation, causing Etahn A’baht to crash in to the back of Nera Dantels, and some of the other ships crashed too, denying me actions, and causing some of my ships to be unable to hit the Raider, either due to being out of range or out of arc.
This caused me no end of problems- every single round from getting that ion token, I crashed at least one small ship into another one of my own.
As the rounds passed, I began to chip away at the Raiders aft. I lost some of my synergy with Airen Cracken being out of arc and not able to give free actions having not attacked, and Craig had plenty of energy to both fire his secondary weapons and get a recover action in. The shop owner had been watching and helping us with the epic rules, and pointed out the Raider can attack twice with it’s primary weapon, and said it could attack with the primary weapon out of the arcs at the aft (this is incorrect- see rules queries below.) This did give him some extra shots at me, but as it can’t be used at range 1 this did limit him a bit as I had some ships at range 1.

Meanwhile, the Gozanti crept closer to the action, and my GR-75 was floating around not doing much. Craig got a few pot shots at the GR-75 thanks to the equipped turret on the Gozanti, but I was able to recover the shields without issue. When he got a bit nearer, he was able to deploy two of the docked Tie Fighters. As he removed them from the Gozanti model, one of them flew across the shop and broke! Those docking clamps are well and truly holding those fighters!

Space for the Tie Fighters was limited, and Craig had to barrel roll them to successfully deploy them. Unfortunately for the Ties, as the GR-75 is a higher pilot skill than the Gozanti, the Tie’s were in range 1-2, which gave me a perfect opportunity to do a jam action and give one of the Tie’s two stress tokens. With the Raider’s aft nearly crippled, I had ships to spare to turn round and attack the Tie Fighters. Next round, I was able to jam the second Tie Fighter with my GR-75, and without evade tokens they didn’t last long.

WP_20160126_007The Tie Fighters have been deployed and are advancing!

As the game progressed, I crippled the aft of the Raider, and Craig deployed the remaining two Ties from the back of the Gozanti, to try and intercept me from behind the Raider. I had difficulty getting my ships round to attack the front of the Raider, mainly bumping in to my own ships, but also Nera kept hitting the back of the Raider. Craig was slowly chipping through my ships with the Raider, at this point having removed Ten Numb and Etahn A’baht. I decided to pin the Raider, and charged the GR-75 forward 4, blocking the Raider. I then kept moving forward slowly with the GR-75, pinning the Raider in place for 4 turns so I could get my small ships round. This did mean the GR-75 kept taking a faceup damage card- but so did the Raider’s fore section! Some of them were nasty, to the point where the Raider couldn’t recover shields anymore. Thanks to my automated protocols, the GR-75 kept recharging it’s shields to full between attacks from the Gozanti turret. It really wasn’t bothered about the turret.

Jake Farell cleared the top of the Raider to get out of the way of my other small ships, and was chased by the two Tie Fighters. I left Corran Horn and Jan Ors to deal with the Ties, whilst I struggled to get my other ships in place to destroy the Raiders fore. Jan’s ion turret harassed one of the Tie’s, and Nera managed to focus, get a free target lock from the GR-75 (finally in range to do a cordinate!), and one shot a Tie Fighter with a proton torpedo from her arse (Craig’s green dice abandoned him this game!) Dutch Vander finally finished off the Raider, leaving a damaged Tie Fighter and the Gozanti (which was untouched, and moving on to the second mat we’d not used all game!) We had to end the game at that point, ending in victory for the Rebels. We both agreed we really enjoyed the game.

Man of the match

Man of the match (or in this case woman of the match) has to go to Jan Ors. I put her in the list purely to dish out an extra attack dice, but I only used that ability twice. She got a couple of ion shots on the Raider, reducing it’s ability to recover shields, but she also gave the Tie Fighters a really hard time.

Thoughts on the GR-75

The GR-75 is the only epic ship I own, and I bought it as it looked more useful than the CR-90. I wasn’t wrong! I had a really useful assortment of options at my disposal, but it didn’t appear that threatening (especially compared to Ten Numb who had the ability to do a 5 dice attack.) I’ll be honest, if I was fighting against my list, I’d have been tempted to leave it alone till later. With Craig only flying 5 small ships, I realised Toryn Farr wouldn’t be that useful, and as Craig had Youngster equipped with Marksmanship, I wasn’t in a position to exploit tokens on the small ships at all (all he did was barrel rolls and marksmanship, which to be fair were effective options.) The GR-75 was out of range for most of the game, so it did very little other than take hits from the Gozanti then recover lost shields. I was very wary of taking a faceup damage card from the asteroid by veering to the left to support my ships, so I moved the ship gingerly around it. This meant I was able to do very little with it, but the two jam actions and two or three coordinate actions were helpful. If there were more enemy ships on the board, it would had to have been much closer to my small ships to earn it’s squad point cost. But all in all, it was a lot of fun to play.

Thoughts on epic

As we were playing we were talking to the shop owner, and we think we got the rules on energy wrong (see section on rules queries at the end of this article.) Epic X-Wing isn’t played as much, and the rules aren’t as common knowledge. The way we were playing meant the huge ships had more energy, and we felt Craig was at a disadvantage with two huge ships on the board. If we’d followed the rules correctly, his ships would have been even more nerfed. We concluded that the player with more epic ships is at disadvantage- which is a huge shame as they are a lot of fun to play, and the player shouldn’t be punished for piloting something that takes skill to fly (balancing out energy, multiple upgrades, a new manoeuvre template and trying to line up multiple firing arcs and ranges) and a significant squad points investment. They also suffer as they can’t use focus tokens so it’s harder to modify attack dice, although there are some options available (such as Gunnery Team or using Weapons Engineer and maintaining two target locks.) And I’d like to see more epic games and huge ships on the boards.
Huge ships are very fun despite not being as competitive. A compromise could be players agree to field equal epic points (when FFG update the epic rules to declare how many epic points the Gozanti cruiser is worth) to make it fair, and give people a chance to play their epic ships. For example, if my opponent was to fly an Imperial Raider at 3 epic points, then I’d agree to fly a CR-90 at 3 epic points.
I initially felt that Automated Protocols was over powered, as I was able to do useful actions such as jam, then recover any damage and not waste any extra energy thanks to my Shield Technician. All huge ships have at least 4 shields, and most ships can’t do more than 4 damage, so a single ship can hit a huge ship all day and not scratch the hull with free recover actions. But thinking about it for a few days- that’s the point. These are frigates. A single ship isn’t supposed to be able to take it out on it’s own. And since I’ve been complaining that huge ships are underwhelming, perhaps this is the fix they need to make them competitive. Yes, the fact my GR-75 wasn’t spending energy to perform attacks and was never short of energy thanks to the Quantum storm title helped keep the shields up, but the Raider would have been much more effective if it could target lock, perform a free recover action, and then reinforce!
I also suffered from the usual problem of fielding too many ships with special abilities, forgetting to get free target locks when Dutch did a target lock, and forgot to change some of the hits that Etahn A’baht changes in to crits. It takes some getting used to fielding an epic amount of ships!

Laser line of sight tools are amazing for measuring centre- centre (to see if the blue centre line obstructs an attack on a section or not.)

I personally feel 12 obstacles is too much when huge ships are in play, and this is something I will look to house rule.

Finally, the quality of the docking clamps was a bit disappointing on Craig’s Gozanti. Yes, I know they have to compete against gravity, but if the clamps are so stiff that the Ties have to come out with force which causes them to bounce across the shop floor and break, that’s also a problem!

Conclusion

Thanks to OG games for letting us use a huge amount of space, helping with the epic rules, and thanks to Craig for a fun game with huge ships! I’m looking forward to my next epic game and play testing this: https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/176904-stop-gap-measure-for-sv-epic-ships-house-rules-for-sv-gr-75-transport/

Rules queries that arose

A few things that came up during the game (which I’ll try and get answers for and post here):

  • Can a Gozanti Cruiser use the Dual Laser Turret from either section of the ship? It says you can perform the attack outside of your firing arc, but there’s only a firing arc printing on the fore section. And as the Gozanti only has one ship card, technically it’s not equipped (so therefore not limited to?) to one section of the ship. It specifically says in the booklet included with the Gozanti that the Dual Laser Turret is measured from the closest point of the base, so can be used from either section.
  • Can the Imperial Raider fire it’s primary weapon from the aft arcs? The attack value is only printed on the fore card, so I think no, but the booklet that comes with the Raider is ambiguous and doesn’t specifically say no. This has been clarified by FFG that it can only fire the primary weapon from the fore arc- see page 4, post number 64 on this thread https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/185309-can-the-raiders-primary-weapon-be-fired-from-the-aft-sections-firing-arcs/page-4
  • Do upgrade cards like hardpoints with a printed energy value increase the overall energy limit of a ship? The GR-75 titles are pretty obvious with the + symbol meaning the ship can carry extra energy, but the hardpoints have just a number on them. We were discussing if these hardpoints can hold extra energy beyond the ships base energy value, or if that’s just the maximum value of energy the hardpoints can hold, and this comes out of the ships total maximum energy cost. The hardpoints do increase the energy limit, but only for those weapons (so energy on hardpoints can’t be used to perform a recover action, for example.) This thread covers it, apart from they are wrong about starting energy on weapons in epic tournamanet rules (these have now been changed so you start with full energy on secondary weapons https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/184838-epic-play-energy-question/.) I’ve also checked this with the Grid who sometime run epic tournaments, and they agree this interpretation is correct.
  • Some general confusion over energy transfer. We decided a few rounds in it’s fairly well written in the rules- you gain energy to the ships card in one step, then allocate to the hardpoints in the next. It does seem to nerf the epic ships again though- for example, if the Raider had 5 out of 6 energy on the ship card and it’s hardpoints were empty, then executed a manoeuvre that gained it 3 energy, it would add one energy to the ship card then discard the other 2 energy. It can then allocate energy from the ship card to the hardpoints in the next step, but that 2 energy lost might have been useful to recover shields. Instead, we just let the spare energy go straight to hardpoints (as long as it didn’t exceed the value of the ship card and hardpoints.) Even playing the energy rules in this incorrect (but generous configuration), the Raider seemed a bit lacking.
  • I’ve just read today that you have to spend 2 energy to fire the Raider’s primary weapon a second time. That seems to nerf the Raider even more. It seriously chews through energy!
  • We also got the obstacle deployment rules from the epic tournament rules wrong, which meant the obstacles were more spread out than they should be, restricting the huge ships
  • My filthy build with Ten Numb should only be 5 dice with a target lock unless at Range 1, as I failed to read that expose only works with primary weapons.
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