X-Wing ship debris

I don’t have any tactical genius or game experiences to impart today, just a blatant sales pitch for something cool. I wandered across a listing the other day for a Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures “Expansion Pack” that I had never seen before, and I was intrigued – Destroyed ship obstacles. They’re third party, not tournament legal, and not something I can see myself adding to my collection (I have too much stuff to carry around as-is), but it’s definitely cool, and I thought I might share it with my readers because it’s a unique concept.

The first one I found was the Corellian Corvette. Since then, options for a GR-75 Medium Transport, a Firespray-31, a YT-2400, and a VT-49 Decimator have all been added. There’s more photos of each on their respective product pages on Amazon (click the photos for links).

Corvette_Debris
For sale: CR-90 Blockade Runner. Single owner, only driven to Massassi Temple on Sundays.
GR-75_Debris
I hope this doesn’t cause Armada’s wave 1 to be delayed any further…

 

Firespray_Debris
Early playtesting with Emon Azameen. This, ladies and gentlemen, is why “Genius” is a Salvaged Astromech, and not a Crew upgrade.
Outrider_Debris
Leebo thought he was Dash for a few minutes and flew right into those asteroids. Alternative joke: Can Dash ignore himself?
VT-49_Debris
Oicunn trades in for a newer model when his lease is up.

They’re expensive, I’ll admit, and most miniature gamers will look at it and say “I could do that, just gimme a drill, a big knife, and some weathering paints”. But for those who aren’t 100% focused on competitive play, and want some cool scenery for a casual game without having to put the effort to make their own, this really isn’t a bad idea.

– The Tabletop General

The B-Wing swarm – BBBBZ / BBBB

I arrived at our local X-Wing game night this week at the same time as a good friend of mine who I rarely get a chance to play against. We walked in to find several other games in progress, and it seemed everyone else was already engaged, so he started pulling out a list and I began flipping through my squads, trying to find something out of the ordinary to fly – my triple Interceptor list deserved a week off. I had almost decided to run a TIE swarm when it came up in conversation that my friend had never played against a relatively common tournament list – “BBBBZ”. There’s probably some more elegant or descriptive names out there, but it’s not often that you can tell someone EXACTLY what a full 100 point list contains with only five letters, so I embrace it.

BBBBZ

Blue Squadron Pilot – 22 (B-Wing / Rebel Aces)

Blue Squadron Pilot – 22 (B-Wing / Rebel Aces)

Blue Squadron Pilot – 22 (B-Wing / Rebel Aces)

Blue Squadron Pilot – 22 (B-Wing / Rebel Aces)

Bandit Squadron Pilot – 12 (Z-95 Headhunter)

That’s it, 100 points exactly. Pilot skill 2 across the board. Zero upgrades. Only 6 evade dice total spread across 5 ships. But the list brings a whopping total of 36 hull and shield points, and throws out a respectable 14 attack dice. I’m not a HUGE fan of the list, but it has made a respectable showing in many store championship events this year, and it sounded like something that was suitably different from my usual selections to use.

For this particular game, my opponent fielded the following:

Rexler Brath – 37 (TIE Defender)
Flechette Cannon – 2 (M3-A)
Veteran Instincts – 1 (Slave 1 /  Millennium Falcon)

Royal Guard Pilot – 22 (Imperial Aces)
Royal Guard TIE – 0 (Imperial Aces)
Push the Limit – 3 (A-Wing /  Imperial Aces)
Autothrusters – 2 (Starviper)
Stealth Device – 3 (M3-A / Slave 1)

Royal Guard Pilot – 22 (Imperial Aces)
Royal Guard TIE – 0 (Imperial Aces)
Push the Limit – 3 (A-Wing /  Imperial Aces)
Autothrusters – 2 (Starviper)
Stealth Device – 3 (M3-A / Slave 1)

We were approaching this as a relatively casual game, but then he threw down his “Lost City Squadron” rank card – a challenge. One of our local TO’s borrowed the “Bag Tag” system from Disc Golf, and had fifty numbered rank cards printed out, which were randomly distributed around our community. In a challenge match, both players offer up their card as a wager on the match, and the winner takes the higher of the ranks. We’re still working on the system, but the idea is to offer some minor perks for being ranked highly, such as free local event entry to the highest ranked player present. With my current #4 ranking on the line, now I had to take this seriously, despite not being practiced with flying the list.

With obstacles (both debris and asteroids) fairly tightly packed in the center, we deployed in opposite corners of the map with distinctly separate goals – I intended to use the obstacles as additional blockers and to force a joust; while my opponent appeared intend upon flying past and around them, approaching me from the side. Without splitting his force, however, there was nothing to prevent me from turning my force to face his as he approached, and we engaged in the middle of the field.

The first turn of shooting didn’t go well for me at all. With several ships too far away to fire (I really need to practice maneuvering these things), no target locks, and firing at long range, I took a lot of damage on one B-Wing and did none in return – It’s really hard to crack those Interceptors open!

Things got nasty from there. Seeing what a bad position he would be otherwise on the upcoming turn, my opponent elected to fly one Interceptor straight up the middle and out the other side of the engagement, crossing a debris field in the process and taking a Direct Hit. The other would be attempting to skirt the side of my force and dodge out of my arcs, but there just weren’t enough places for it to go safely, and my injured B-Wing blocked him perfectly, while the rest of the squad had moved up and stacked up Target Locks. Rexler Brath vaporized the wounded Blue Squadron Pilot, but the action-less Interceptor fell to the massed firepower of the remainder of my squad.

The chase was on from there, with the Defender and damaged Interceptor doing everything they could to dodge arcs and get clean shots. As several other players noted, I should have started a timer as soon as it was declared to be a ranked match if I really wanted to keep my card. It ended up taking the better part of two hours to finish the cat & mouse game between the two squads, as I switched targets several times to attempt to catch one in a bad position. In the end, clever maneuvering with my B-Wings combined with my knowledge of the moves available to the Imperial ships to allow me to trap and kill both remaining enemy ships, losing the Z-95 and another B-Wing in the process, and with two healthy B-Wings remaining. Depending on when time expired, the match could have ended several different ways, but there was only a couple of minutes where I was behind, losing the Z-95 before finishing the second Interceptor.

There’s certainly power to be found in the B-Wings, but the Z-95 seems like it doesn’t always do a whole lot for me in this list. I’ve faced a couple variants that drop the Headhunter for upgrades on the B-wings, and I would probably select one of these if I were to bring out such a list in tournament play.

Tricky B’s

Blue Squadron Pilot – 22 (B-Wing / Rebel Aces)
Fire-Control Systems – 2 (B-Wing / TIE Phantom)

Blue Squadron Pilot – 22 (B-Wing / Rebel Aces)
Fire-Control Systems – 2 (B-Wing / TIE Phantom)

Blue Squadron Pilot – 22 (B-Wing / Rebel Aces)
Advanced Sensors – 3 (Lambda / E-Wing)

Blue Squadron Pilot – 22 (B-Wing / Rebel Aces)
Advanced Sensors – 3 (Lambda / E-Wing)
B-Wing/E2 – 1 (Rebel Aces)
Intelligence Agent – 1 (HWK-290 / Lambda)

wpid-img_20150411_150602279.jpg
(Gollum voice) Tricksy rebels-es… (/Gollum)

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Intelligence Agent? Perhaps with my Cloaks & Dagger list? Those Advanced Sensor B-Wings can pump out unexpected damage by taking a Focus or Target Lock before a hard turn or K-Turn, or thanks to the Intelligence Agent they can be really good at getting right in your way to block maneuvers and deny actions. Then Fire-Control Systems lets the other two focus on pure damage output.

The alternative that I really like in theory is something that I faced early in the day of my Store Championship win.

Stress B’s

Blue Squadron Pilot – 22 (B-Wing / Rebel Aces)
B-Wing/E2 Modification – 1 (Rebel Aces)
Tactician – 2 (TIE Phantom)

Blue Squadron Pilot – 22 (B-Wing / Rebel Aces)
B-Wing/E2 Modification – 1 (Rebel Aces)
Tactician – 2 (TIE Phantom)

Blue Squadron Pilot – 22 (B-Wing / Rebel Aces)
B-Wing/E2 Modification – 1 (Rebel Aces)
Tactician – 2 (TIE Phantom)

Blue Squadron Pilot – 22 (B-Wing / Rebel Aces)
B-Wing/E2 Modification – 1 (Rebel Aces)
Tactician – 2 (TIE Phantom)

B-Wing and TIE Interceptor Furball
Range 2 is a no-no zone for these Interceptors!

Potentially applying four stress per turn, these B-Wings do a really good job of locking down one or two targets, taking them out of the game, and then coming back around for the remainder. They can be beaten, but it’s rough. I’ll be potentially playing as a ringer against players with a bye for the round in an upcoming “El Sith-o De Mayo” tournament, and I may have to give this variant a spin.

So what do you guys think? Which squad would perform the best, out of the three? Is there another variant with multiple B-Wings on the table that you like more and I didn’t list? Leave a comment below, I welcome your feedback as always!

– The Tabletop General

X-Wing Wave 7 Preview

The news is in, and the rumors are true; the generally dreaded K-Wing is coming to Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures, in addition to  the greatly anticipated Hound’s Tooth, the Kihraxz Fighter, and the TIE Punisher (declared by the community to be a TIE Interdictor).

Before we get to looking the ships though, I want to cover one upgrade in particular that will appear in multiple of these ships: Extra Munitions. Serving as the “munitions fix” heavily referenced by FFG designers for some time now, Extra Munitions costs two points and takes up a Torpedo slot, but allows you to double up on any other equipped torpedoes, missiles, or bombs. So, while only usable by some ships – Presumably those it comes with, along with the Y-Wing, Firespray (with Slave 1 title),  the B-Wing,  TIE Bombers, and Decimators– a simple 2 point investment can double your return on cards that were formerly one use only. Rather exciting for those who like the idea of running lots of bombs and missiles, no?

Extra Munitions

Now then, let’s look at the new ships, starting with the TIE Punisher, pictured on the Extra Munitions card above. The best way I can think of to describe this thing is the TIE Bomber‘s big brother, adding 3 shields (for a total statline of 2/1/6/3), a Boost action, and a few more upgrade slots, including the ever so valuable System Upgrade slot, all for a minimal premium of points over the TIE Bomber (Only one more point for the PS7 Punisher, Redline, than Major Rhymer, the PS7 TIE Bomber) .

tie-punisher
The TIE Punisher

The Punisher brings with it a host of ordnance options, including new torpedoes, missiles, and bombs – one of which is called Cluster Mines, and drops 3 tokens – that has to be good for those of us who like to use mines for board control! An unrevealed card that I’m rather curious about is the “Twin [Ion?] Engine”. This appears to be a modification (it has no symbol so it must be a modification or a title), restricted to TIE only, which makes sense, but doesn’t tell us much innately. Still, I’d have to say it would be some sort of upgrade to maneuverability for all TIE fighters, and there’s a TIE Defender on the artwork, which makes me believe this card will boost all TIEs in some way, but will especially mitigate the TIE Defender’s lackluster maneuvering options. Fingers are crossed, because I’d really like to use them eventually without considering it a handicap.

Next, we go to Scum & Villainy, starting with Bossk’s ship, Hound’s Tooth. Forum pundits have stated for a while now that this ship was too big to not be classified as a “Huge” ship, but it appears some liberties were taken with the scale, because here it is (presumably) in the “Large” class. The Hound’s Tooth title card allows you to add an “escape ship” for when the Hound’s Tooth is destroyed – the Nashtah Pup, Bossk’s modified Z-95 Headhunter. Sadly, there will not be a repainted Z-95 included – not that we needed one after its’ inclusion in Most Wanted, but it seems like a missed opportunity.

hounds-tooth
The Hound’s Tooth – complete with mismatched stats between cards and ship tile…

This pack would seems to be a perfect opportunity for introduction of more bounty hunter themed equipment, especially crew members, but about half of the cards are reprints. The new cards are Bossk (crew), “Crac…” (confirmed below to be an EPT), Ion Pr… (Projection, maybe?), Glitterstim (spoiled with the Kihraxz, below), and Maneuver Fins /Foils (?). That last card is the only one that you can really glean anything sure from in this photo – from the visible text and name I would presume that it allows you to change the speed of your maneuvers, perhaps as a built in Navigator effect?

As the premier pilot for the Hound’s Tooth, Bossk (pilot) is scary. As befits the brute force he is known for in the Star Wars universe, he can really pump out some damage, canceling a Crit result to get two Hit results when dealing damage with an attack, essentially making it an automatic Direct Hit (and giving Chewbacca the middle finger… or whatever equivalent Trandoshans have…). Do note, however, that this happens AFTER the attack is determined to hit or miss, so that one Crit result can still be canceled by one Evade result. Additionally, it will be much harder to evade his firing arcs than other ships – the Hound’s Tooth includes the game’s first 180 degree (auxiliary) firing arc, meaning that if you aren’t behind Bossk, he can shoot you. As a TIE Interceptor pilot, I don’t like that!

Now on to the Kihraxz Fighter. For those of you wondering “How do you pronounce Kihraxz?” (Google, help me out here, somebody’s going to search for that and I need those five extra page views), the answer is “I don’t.” But my best guess is “Kyr-ACK-sis”. Funny name aside, this looks to be a relatively brutal ship,  filling a combat superiority role similar to the X-Wing, which was previously missing from the Scum and Villainy arsenal. With a stat line of 3/2/4/1, a base cost in the 20(?) to 29 point range, and having only focus and target lock actions available… the similarity to the X-Wing is strong in this one.

kihraxz-fighter
The Kihraxz Fighter

Talonbane Cobra, the first PS9 pilot for Scum and Villainy,  has a simple yet efficient ability, doubling his range bonuses on attack and defense. This makes for four defense dice at Range 3, and a whopping five attack dice at Range 1.

New upgrades in this pack include the same “Crac…” EPT from the Hound’s Tooth, Lightning Reflex(es), and Glitterstim. Glitterstim’s full text is available here: “At the start of the Combat phase, you may discard this card and receive 1 stress token. If you do, until the end of the round, when attacking or defending, you may change all of your Focus results to Hit or Evade results”. For a two point Illicit upgrade, that’s essentially a super-focus. Combine that with the large quantities of dice that Talonbane can toss around, and that could be a painful turn.

Based on what I can see of it, I’m really  interested in the second obscured card in this pack, which a local player has extrapolated as follows: “I think this card is named Lightning Reflexes and lets you discard it after revealing a green or white maneuver to rotate your ship 180 degrees, then you receive a stress token after the remove stress step.” That matches with what text we can see, and it’s an ability that I would love to have in game – Imagine doing that on a Lambda Shuttle that everyone assumed was out of the fight for a few turns!!! (Side note, I really want a way to buy “hidden” elite talents, that’s one of the few mechanics I miss from Attack Wing.)

Last, but arguably not least, we come back to the much-maligned K-Wing. It’s not that the concept is bad, as its’ profile is very close to real life heavy bombers from WW2 (lots of bombs and equipped with defense turrets), but the design is… well, suspect. Many have long suspected that the author who created it (Michael Kube-McDowell) simply flipped through the alphabet looking for a letter to make another rebel ship out of, and then imagined a role from there, as opposed to the ship having a legitimate need. And many sources have conflicting details on the ship’s design, especially concerning cockpit and engine placement. Personally, the design is really growing on me, and if I didn’t know the internet hated it, I would just look at it and see a cool new ship.

k-wing
The K-Wing

In game, the K-Wing’s 2/1/5/4 statline is very similar to the Y-Wing’s 2/1/5/3. Many players who had discussed the possible addition of the K-Wing feared that the two ships would perform too similar of a role. But akin to the difference between the Z-95 and X-Wing, the K-Wing has a few more options than the Y-Wing for upgrades (roughly double the upgrade slots), but a higher base cost and likely different dial to go with it. While it’s relatively common to see multiple Y-Wings on the table (especially now with their new toys from Scum & Villainy), but I don’t know that players will be able to fully equip multiple K-Wings comfortably once we know the final costs of all the upgrades we’re going to want on it.

The K-Wing is the first small ship to have a turret primary attack. It also brings with it a new action, the SLAM, which stands for SubLight Acceleration Motor. Performing a SLAM action allows you to sacrifice your attack for the turn in order to take a second maneuver of the same speed as the first. Depending on what the K-Wing’s dial ends up looking like, this could be a really cool ability to escape trouble and line up shots for subsequent turns.

SLAM

The ace pilot of the K-Wings, Miranda Doni, has a neat little ability that will make her a great end-game closer, allowing her to sacrifice a shield for an extra attack die, or sacrifice an attack die to recover a shield, depending on her needs at the time.

As for the upgrade cards included, the K-Wing adds a new turret to the game the Twin Laser Turret (?), our Extra Munitions fix from above, a Bombardier crew (use the 2 straight for bomb drops) and a couple new bombs – Ion Bomb, and something called a Conner Net. Neither of the bombs is fully defined yet, but it’s pretty obvious by the names and lore as to what they do, and I would presume that they would be the bomb/mine equivalents of each other.

The Twin Laser Turret card is what I really want to see out of this pack as far as upgrades are concerned, because it could really shake things up for Y-Wing and HWK-290 builds. Seeing as the K-Wing already has the game’s first Turret Primary attack on a small base, to make the Twin Laser Turret worth taking, it has to either be really cheap with some form of utility, or hit harder than the K-Wing is already capable of, yet hopefully not rendering the Blaster Turret entirely obsolete.

So that’s what we’ve got so far. What are your thoughts on Wave 7? Love it, hate it, or just want to fly it first? Leave some feedback below, especially if you’ve got more details than I do on any of these remaining cards!

– The Tabletop General

Munchkin Madness

Munchkin – noun, ( often initial capital letter)
1. a small person, especially one who is dwarfish or elfin in in appearance.
2. a power gamer who plays the rules of a game themselves as a competitive game, seeking to be the most powerful player in a group.
3. a dungeon exploring card game about a collection of munchkins (see definition #2) attempting to out-do one another in a race for power.
Last week, shortly after a refreshingly competitive game of Boss Monster (a better experience than my previous review) I had the pleasure of playing the most competitive game of Munchkin that I’ve seen in quite some time, and it served as a pleasant reminder as to how fun (and crazy) this game can be.
The core game functions just fine on its’ own, but with dozens of variants and expansions, there’s something for everyone in the Munchkin Portfolio. This past Christmas, I gave various members of my family game night group different versions of the game to suit their interests and personalities, like Munchkin Cthulu, Munchkin Legends, Munchkin Booty, and The Good, The Bad, And The Munchkin. Now everyone has their own flavor of the game, but we can get together and mix them all in for a zany mega-game!
DuckOfDoom
The basic premise of Munchkin is that each player represents one of several heroes exploring a dungeon searching for treasure and experience in a race to be the first hero to reach level 10. During their exploration of the dungeon, players will find powerful (and frequently hilarious) magic items, trigger random curses, and fight a vast array of monsters. Or as the game’s creator, Steve Jackson, describes it: “Go down in the dungeon. Kill everything you meet. Backstab your friends and steal their stuff. Grab the treasure and run.”
Combat is very abstract, each monster encountered has a level and potentially a few minor rules to modify what the players’ combat options are. The player who discovered the monster fights it by comparing their own level and any bonuses received from items they have found in the dungeon, with the monsters (usually) winning ties. Players can request and receive assistance from other players by offering a share of the monster’s treasure, or be screwed over by opponents luring additional monsters into the fight.
The game really calls to players of pen & paper RPG games, as much of the game’s humor consists of inside jokes, such as being able to bribe the Game Master with food to gain a free level-up, or the surprisingly specific overwhelming tide of enemies 3,872 Orcs represents. Other jokes in the game are a little more universal and subtle, such as the magic item Kneepads of Allure – the effect is useful (higher level players cannot refuse your help requests, unusable by Clerics), but when you think about the item’s name, the card’s artwork, and the restrictions on the card… it suddenly clicks what is “really” going on there.
KneepadsOfAllure
The game is certainly functional with two players going head to head, but that can get boring and one-sided in a hurry. What makes the game fun for me, especially looking back at my most recent game, is the interactions and politics between players. Stabbing someone in the back (at times literally, a la the Thief class card) at a crucial moment can be a great way to take or keep a lead in the game. But offering to help your peers can make just as much of a difference, especially when done wisely.
Here’s a great example: Last week, one of my opponents found themselves facing a really nasty monster that would almost certainly kill their character. All players in the game had seen that I had recently drawn a “Humongous” card, which would let me make the monster much bigger and meaner, and I had a few other cards in my hand too. I offered to help in the fight, and promised that I would keep the player from dying, but instead of the usual 1-2 cards that players offer for help, I wanted all of the monster’s treasure (a substantial four treasure cards).
The other two players not involved in the fight looked things over, and decided that their characters would be enough to help the active player win the combat even if I played the “Humongous”
modifier, and they didn’t want me to get all that treasure. But at the same time, nobody wanted their characters to be killed if I had further tricks up my sleeve. I coughed pointedly and revealed a “Wandering Monster” card from my hand, which would let me add an extra monster to the fight from my hand, which still had a few other cards that nobody else had seen. After great deliberation (and a few prayers), they joined the fight without me, calling my bluff.
WanderingMonster
Unfortunately, I had no monster to add to the fight, and couldn’t defeat the whole team. Using what options I did have, I shrank the monster instead of buffing it, taking some of the treasure away from the group, disrupting how they had planned to split the rewards. My actual plan had been to make use of my Wizard’s ability, Charm Spell, to make the monster go away (but not count for levels) after having buffed it up for additional treasure, allowing me to trade the four cards in my hand for six new treasure cards. But the politics and shenanigans involved in what actually happened was worth missing the opportunity (I say that mostly because I eventually won the game, albeit with much more difficulty than I expected).
wizard
I still have my reservations about the basic game from a competitive standpoint – in the match referenced above, one player never had an opportunity to win at all; but he could play “kingmaker” and help decide who would win, and that turned out to be really fun for a random one-off game. So it’s not an every game-night caliber purchase, but with a good group, Munchkin can be a great change of pace, and a lot of fun. 
– The Tabletop General