Tuesday, March 14, 2017

League 3 AAR and next for X-Wing

So, the third month event is done for the Titan League…  I did fairly well, but I got knocked out of the top four at the buzzer…  Frankly, probably for the best as 3 games in a day might be the limit for me.  Though having practiced with the Squadron I flew a fair bit meant I did not make stupid mistakes and was prepared for the lists I did run across.  First game was a close loss against a good Rey/Falcon build…  Flew well, but it is a dice game and if you just fail to evade every shot for the first half of the game…  Well, things tend to go against you J…  So, not a great start. 

Game 2 was against one of the lads from Bloomington.  He did well in the Regionals and was testing stuff for the Chicago System Open next weekend.  Glad I was able to help I guess.  He flew the Ghost (Kanan pilot) and Biggs.  The biggest weakness of that one I found was that Kanan NEEDS actions in order to get the Focus and do his thing reducing attacks.  Manaroo kitted out as a Bumpmaster was deadly.  I joked that I was going to kill his Ghost with the APL…  Only REALLY did 3-4 Damage with that, but denying him actions for those turns meant that I was able to keep my Y-Wing alive and pumping in Focus while Fenn Rau swung around to finish him off.  So, the argument that the APL DID kill him could I suppose be made.  So, a 100-0 win.  I hope he makes the adjustments by the weekend, and as he is looking for a third K-Wing it seems he is… 

Third game was Chewie in the Falcon with 2 Y-Wings with just TLTs to back him up.  Short game.  Sorry to say he was outclassed, but he did get Manaroo down to half and kill off one of my other ships to make it 100-50…  MoV not quite enough J… Still, I had a fun and pretty darn good Squadron out there to play...

So, now the FAQ goes into effect this week, so what changes do I make?  Well, I could fly essentially the same list with a Contracted Scout replacing Manaroo in there and buying a few more 1 point upgrades.  Solid list still, and the Nerf to Manaroo is not that big of a deal really to me.  I think I could count on one hand the number of times swapping the TL/Focus were important to the overall game.  Yes, there were a few instances when it was nice to roll in with the Mandalorian fighter with Focus, TL and able to boost into Range one…  But more often than not it was simply not needed.  So Option One would be to simply make the minor change to the current list.

That might be boring though, and I really want to fly something different.  Rebels are looking OK now.  Ironically, they got NO real Nerfs in the FAQ, which should say a lot about the state of the game before the FAQ…

Unnamed Squadron (100)
Norra Wexley — ARC-170
29
Expertise
4
R2-D2
4
Vectored Thrusters
2
Alliance Overhaul
0
Ship Total: 39

Braylen Stramm — ARC-170
25
Tactician
2
R3-A2
2
Alliance Overhaul
0
Ship Total: 29

Horton Salm — Y-Wing
25
Twin Laser Turret
6
R2 Astromech
1
Ship Total: 32


Not sure if Nora needs PTL and Nein Numb or Expertise.  I suspect PTL/Numb will be the direction I go.  Solid ships the ARC-170 is and with 2 of them?  Frankly I lost the top 4 spot because in 2 of my games the Large base ship got to half or less killing my MoV, so something like this I think should work fairly well.  The Stress control, accurate TLT and Nora for the potential big hit…

Another one I am kicking around is:

Unnamed Squadron (100)
Norra Wexley — ARC-170
29
Push the Limit
3
Nien Nunb
1
R2-D2
4
Vectored Thrusters
2
Alliance Overhaul
0
Ship Total: 39

Ten Numb — B-Wing
31
Adaptability
0
Collision Detector
0
"Mangler" Cannon
4
Ship Total: 35

Gold Squadron Pilot — Y-Wing
18
Twin Laser Turret
6
Vectored Thrusters
2
Ship Total: 26

This one brings back the ancient B-Wing….  Ten Numb has the Pilot Ability to just push through the Critical…  With the Mangler Cannon that changes one Hit to a Critical, so there should be at least one Critical each shot.  Should be an interesting one at least… 




Wednesday, March 8, 2017

March, X-Wing League and stuff...

New FAQ dropped for X-Wing…  It fixed a number of the very real issues with the game.  Something you do NOT see with most other gaming companies.  Not 100% I think, they did not touch PTL and a few of the other borderline cards, but Manaroo, the Emperor, Zuckuss, and the x7 TIE Defender title…  Those were huge.  The Emperor going to call it before the dice are rolled is likewise big. Moreover, it makes it probably correctly costed I think.  Still REALLY powerful, just not going to be able to blindly use it as the insurance policy it became.  I think you’ll need to play it aggressive and quick.  NOT going to be able to just let it sit back and use it when a roll fails you…  Zuckuss is likewise I think corrected.  Can ONLY use it if you are not currently Stressed.  Kills off the Party Bus use and Dengaroo completely.  Well, the Bus can use it once.  Push through that one time Damage that might get you the game, just no longer going to be able to pile on the Stress and have no down side really…  All in all, great for the game I think.

Mind, the FAQ does not actually take effect until the 17th so one last event with the old rules.
So looking at this for the last event:
FennManarooKavil2 (100)
Manaroo — JumpMaster 5000
27
Attanni Mindlink
1
Plasma Torpedoes
3
Extra Munitions
2
Intelligence Agent
1
Anti-Pursuit Lasers
2
Ship Total: 36

Fenn Rau — Protectorate Starfighter
28
Attanni Mindlink
1
Autothrusters
2
Concord Dawn Protector
1
Ship Total: 32

Kavil — Y-Wing
24
Attanni Mindlink
1
Twin Laser Turret
6
Unhinged Astromech
1
Ship Total: 32


Not too subtle and I do not think it is overly OP…  The Mindlink is going to get Focus all around and for the moment, Manaroo still allows me to pass the Focus and Target Locks board wide.  Next week it goes to Range 1 only, so I suspect it will be relegated to some VERY odd builds instead of the uber utility ship she is now.  Eh, in any case it is a fun list to play…  Post FAQ I’ll probably get back to Rebels as they were where I started in the game.

Speaking of getting back to the beginning…  Getting the old Ranger back on the road.  Need new tires for that and the Silverwing.  So, guessing that’s where the tax return if any goes to.  But I want the girls to have the vehicle with the advanced safety features and the like…  Me, I prefer the older stuff, so the simple pickup truck gets me where I need to go.  Sticking with the heavier workout schedule and getting back into shape…  Slowly, but since going fast has many risks at my current age…

Cleaning an ancient rifle for a bit this evening pre Elliptical workout…  Weird, when I was in the Army I hated cleaning weapons…  Now, the brass, wood and steel of the ancient rifles are…  Well, comfortable for me.  1898 Krag and a No 1 MK III Lee Enfield.  So, American rifle from the Spanish American War and the British rifle from WWI.  Both have VERY smooth actions, are more accurate than I can be with them and still quite useful as basic rifles.  Not automatic and not nearly as efficient as the modern AR type rifles, but…  That and my go to rifle being the Garand I shot when I was shooting competitively in the old days.  600m targets with WWII issue weapons…  Firing AP ammo, so no body armor on the planet works at 300m or less.  Simple and solid.  Kind of what I'm trying to get back to...



Friday, February 24, 2017

More X-Wing stuff for the Titan League Month 3 coming up...

Well, ending another long week…  DID get in a test game with the S&V build for X-Wing…  Went with a Manaroo, Fenn Rau, Kavil build.  Kavil kitted out with the Engine Upgrade and Autoblaster Turret to allow him to get in and hunt Aces.  Manaroo was kitted out as a Bump Master and honestly, with Intel Agent and the Anti Pursuit Lasers, he ended up doing a lot of damage…  And more importantly disrupting things to allow me to get out of tight spots.  Kavil was…  A disappointment.  However, Tony correctly realized the ancient Y-Wing was both the easiest target and the more dangerous to his TIE Defenders.  ABT ignores defenses on Hits, so Range 1 out of Arc, I get 3 Dice with likely mods…  Makes it rough to rely on Agility to keep your ships safe when Agility is ignored.  Range 1 though.  So, I think I MIGHT have gotten off one ABT shot, but thinking back I suspect it was just the (fairly weak) main guns of the Y-Wing that did hit for a few against the TIE Bomber.  Fenn Rau was OK…  Got several Range one attempts and…  Well, the ship survived.  Might have gotten a few kills, but about mid game got the “Blinded Pilot” crit making his PS 0…  WAY less useful as an arc dodger at PS 0 rather than PS 9.

Lessons learned…  The Mindlink was missed.  Sorely.  So much so that I suspect that it would be the only viable way to kit this Squadron out. 
FennManarooKavil2 (100)
Manaroo — JumpMaster 5000
27
Attanni Mindlink
1
Plasma Torpedoes
3
Extra Munitions
2
Intelligence Agent
1
Anti-Pursuit Lasers
2
Ship Total: 36

Fenn Rau — Protectorate Starfighter
28
Attanni Mindlink
1
Autothrusters
2
Concord Dawn Protector
1
Ship Total: 32

Kavil — Y-Wing
24
Attanni Mindlink
1
Twin Laser Turret
6
Unhinged Astromech
1
Guidance Chips
0
Ship Total: 32


That’s what I think my next iteration will be.  Kavil gets equipped to fight in the old Klingon “Saber Dance” method…  Skirt the field; take the long ranged shots until you kill them with lots of small cuts.  The opposite of the ABT load out where he is ONLY a knife fighter.  The Agility 1 ship is…  NOT suited to getting in close and just trying to go toe to toe with more modern fighters like the upgraded TIE Defenders.  Manaroo has Plasma Torpedoes which replace the PTL and Predator EPTs on my first build.  Fenn is...  Well, he is the finisher.  Or the more obvious threat and therefore the bait.  But in any case, he should be zipping about hoping to stay at Range 3 then pouncing to Range 1 to try to pile on Damage.

Gets me to where I think there are a few thing VASTLY under costed in the game as it stands now.  Full disclosure, I have several of them in my current list, so I am one of the people abusing the point system as well…  The Jumpmaster itself is ~ 10 points under costed when compared to similar ships.  The ship is fast, agile and has an amazing dial.  ONLY weak point being the substandard Attack of 2.  But it has 2 Torpedo slots and CAN get the Attack up to 3 with the title.  With its dial and the Barrel Roll, I can block off an amazingly large area, forcing so many bumps…  And Intel Agent at 1 point gives me that edge to put the JM5K exactly where I need it, assuming I was close with the maneuver I dialed in.  Not likely to win me a LOT of games on its own, but it is a fairly big thing.  The TLT is pretty darn cheap, but probably on the lower end of the “broken” scale.  Neat and potentially powerful, but not overly so…  If you bring one.  Bring say, 4 of them?  Well, that is not additive, more multiplicative in the threat level I think.  You start throwing out 3-4 of them and you are getting 6-8 3 Dice Attacks at Range 2-3.  And no bonus Agility at Range 3…  Yes, only 1 Damage per shot, but getting 6-8 shots?  Not much lasts under that weight of fire.  So, not bad in and of itself…  The Mindlink on the other hand… That I put right up there with PTL and the Emperor as something fundamentally broken.  At least in this configuration with Manaroo being able to pass Focus and Target Locks.  Gets SO easy to get say, Fenn to Range 1, pass him a second Focus AND a Lock to get the fully modified 5 dice shot knowing he will have a Focus and an automatic Evade if he ends up in their Arc for the return fire…  Kind of the perfect storm of abilities, but…  Not a lot different than the Imperial Palpatine shenanigans with the /x7 Title for the TIE Defenders… 

So, some broken stuff, but really not TOO bad I suspect…  Hoping FFG does do something to correct these things a bit before things spiral to STAW levels with the Borg and attack negation stupidity.  With the League, there is essentially money on the table so more folks are bringing their best stuff…  So, no point playing with anything less myself.   But all in all, there is NOT one uber build dominating the whole game…  There ARE a handful of really good ones, but there are a number of hard counters within that set of builds, so…  I suspect the game itself is actually pretty healthy…  Really glad of that I am with this being my (for the moment) only game I am really playing… 

Yes, playing Armada as well now, but that game interests me less…  Lot more in depth, but the fact that an artificial point scale for the game had to be tacked on after release tells me that they never really considered the possibility of someone knowing they were ahead, maybe even from the beginning if the bid for Player One was higher…  That they might then simply avoid contact for the 6 turns of the game and “win” by TKO…  Frustrating as hell and boring to me at least.


Monday, February 13, 2017

Spring 2017 Month 2 AAR

Well, month 2 of the Spring League over at Titan is done…  😀  Lessons learned.  Got in some good games though.  The list I flew was pretty fun to fly.  I had forgotten how agile those Aggressor class ships are.  Agile, but not overly resilient.  Comparing them to the TIE Defenders, they DO have an additional Hull and Shield, but they are large bases and a lot more expensive.  Dials are nice as well, but I found myself turning around a lot more often than I would like to.  S-Loops are decent, and with SO much Green on the dial, easy to recover from, but well know and I suspect that my choice of “Lone Wolf” as the EPT was a poor one.  Honestly, I do not know what I could have swapped it out for in order to make the build better though.  The Lancer was solid.  The K-4 Droid kept me in Target Locks, and the threat of the Stress/Tractor Beam was enough to keep things at a distance.  The Tractor even moved Biggs to Range 1 of the Aggressor (and out of the X-Win’s Arc) to allow me to fire at one of the K-Wings he was Escorting.  To no avail though, I just had some horrible Dice that game and did not push through Damage quickly enough.  He had his K-Wings kitted out as Bombers and they were REALLY effective at that.  In fact, he won when my Lancer did a 3 Bank too close to the edge and got Conner Netted.  Ion Effect meant I had no choice but fly off the board.  He was surprised when I completed the maneuver, stood up and congratulated him on the win…  He did not realize yet that I was off the board the next turn.  Was a good game though and I am REALLY glad to see so many different builds being played locally. 

Played Tony in my second game and since we had practiced this very game the week previously we both assumed it would be a quick one, with the best dice simply winning out.  Was not the case.  I wound up winning, but it was much longer and far closer than either of us thought it would be I think.  The Aggressors were virtual mirrors with his having VI for the better Pilot Skill, but the disadvantages of the YV-666 became apparent.  I also knew the trick of just take the 2 Damage from the YV and do NOT take the additional 2 shots.  But I think it mostly came down to my Agility Dice were simply hot at the beginning at least allowing me to survive the initial joust and get in where I needed to be to get the Damage through.

Game 3 was against Kanji’s new build.  Super(ish) Dash and Poe.  He did not have Kanan or Kyle on as Crew, but rather Rey.  Not sure that was the best one as I was able to get Stress on him and it locked him to Greens to clear.  He did, but that was more of a testament to his flying skill than anything else.  My dice froze on me, allowing him to survive what I knew to be a very deadly crossfire.  His Poe had an interesting effect with the new Pattern Analyzer.  With it and the Push the Limit Elite Talent, it allows you to move, act twice and then clear the Stress generated by PTL if you did a Green.  In addition, what I expected with the Red maneuver and allowing an Action was there as well, but I had not considered the PTL interaction.  It is REALLY good.  Probably bordering on broken good, but I feel PTL is fairly close to the broken status anyway…  So, something to push new life into the T-70’s at least.  Guessing better players than I have an idea or two for the FO TIE fighters as well, but I am pretty much not playing Imperial at this point, so no sense for me to waste time thinking about it. 

No cut to top 4 with 16 players, so while Kanji won the event, I am not so sure he would have won the single elimination.  His build was good, but… Having faced a few of the others I suspect it would not have gone so well...


In any case, got me thinking about what to play next.  Ended up winning an M-3 Interceptor (small base ship, only one I could even come up with a reason to pick up at this point)…  Bouncing around some ideas, but nothing really solid I think…  But I have a few weeks I guess to come up with something.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Well, crap...

Well, crap.  Got word that it does appear that the Armored Gopher is closing.  I have to admit that does leave quite a void in the community, and I do feel badly that over the last few years I've not gotten out to game or buy stuff...  Many reasons for that, but mostly just sounds like excuses.  I stopped playing 40K, moving on to X-Wing and Armada...  Both of those games are MUCH smaller in terms of expense without the completely open ended investment that 40K represented.  But the games just sort of fell off for me.  My standard once/week gaming became less and less frequent with the girls in extracurricular activities and reality...  My own health issues of course being one of them.  But still, crap.  Do wish there was more I could have done, but it does seem to be far too late at this point.  Maggie and I were talking about this and she once again asked if going in on a game store would be something I'd be interested in...  I have to say, no.  There was a reason I quit playing Magic, Drinking, etc...  Pretty sure I'd burn out VERY quickly were I to go down that path, so best perhaps to avoid it for myself.

I've seen far too many game stores come and go over the years, and this was definitely my favorite of them.  The policy of making everyone welcome, etc...  That and it was in an awesome location...  Well, the store was REALLY nice, living in Tolono I had a bit of a trek to get there, so it was not just something to pop in to viit...

Watching a number of my coworkers wander off to interviews, kind of amusing for me since I'm no longer responsible for anything outside of my own Department.  My wife has had 2 and another Monday, so REALLY good chance she'll move before I do at this rate :-)...  Nothing I'm worried about at this point though, have a good job and I'm not going to stress myself over things I should not...  :-)  Well, there is a phrase I generally use here, but I'll keep it G rated...

Hmmm, more random gaming stuff...  Have to schedule an Armada game which should be a fairly simple one for me then next weekend the second X-Wing League event.  Looking at:

Or:

Alternate on the Second one would be the Accuracy Corrector and Auto Blaster Turret...  But the TLT is pretty insane on that platform.

The first one is likely what I'll fly with...  Need to paint up one of my Mandelorian Fighters and likely magnetize the Jumpmaster to get it back on the bloody peg...  Second one is amusing, but seems like a gimmick to me.  I like the S&V Aces and this would allow me to get good, modified shots in and win or lose based on the dice rolling and my own skill/audacity flying them...


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Work stuff, X-Wing and Armada...

Kind of in a holding pattern on work…  Waiting to see what, if anything comes of the Madigan Combine trying to get all pay to State workers stopped while we are without budget.  Should be thrown out, but of course IANAL per usual…  Seems odd that she’d do this as presumably it is part of her job to protect the State from lawsuits and there would be a number of fairly powerful Unions asking the hard questions about Federal labor laws and the requirement to be paid, etc…  But who knows I guess.  But in any case it does seem to be driving a wedge into the budget talks.  Seems very unlikely that we’ll have a budget for the State for another year.  Since I now have a theoretical budget and I know where the cuts will have to be made…  Well, drawing up the list of things we do so that the Department can decide what we stop doing.  Also seems to have scuttled my plans to refill the line of one of my people who is leaving.  He WAS retiring in November, but I was able to convince him to stay on a bit longer.  Hate to see that much talent and institutional knowledge walk out the  door, but…  Does seem to be the way things go at the University unfortunately.  At this point cuts are pretty much going to have to be in the salary lines.  In theory we were going to have a mid-year raise…  Well, I say “we” in the general term, not me.  Not really a big deal I guess as I got a raise when they corrected my title.  So, that ALMOST made up for the far below average raise I got last time when I was stuck between Departments…  ‘course that would be why I am so dead set against making “agreements” between units at the University.  It leaves the people affected in the middle with neither side really covering them when something goes wrong or when something HR related needs to happen.  Having been caught between like that I can say it sucks.  Eh, enough of that, all a bit negative and nothing can be done about it at this point.

Gaming…  I picked up the new captured Rebel TIE…  Looking forward to running that.  Should be interesting at least.  I think there are a fair number of things I can do with it…  Running with the Ghost for a Lothal Rebel theme just feels right at least J…  Otherwise I am playing with some Mindlink builds…  I REALLY want Cobrabane to work, so I have one with him, Fenn Rau and Manaroo…  Fun and a win quick or die trying sort of build.  The TIE Defender/Bomber build was successful, but…  Frankly boring to me.  And since I’d rather have fun than worry too much about placing in the top 4 of the event…  Well, the fun builds I think are where I go back to.


Armada…  Had a game this evening.  Have to say it was the most frustrating one I’ve had.  Boring as hell too…  No fire between ships at all, just a few fighter stands dying, mostly mine.  Mind, my opponent did NOTHING illegal, it just felt like the rule interactions were just bad…  Escort meaning I could only fire at that, but if I did I took damage from the fighter it was protecting due to its special rule (named pilot).  And the Intel to make my Fighter Heavy and moving the one that was Engaged a millimeter to cause the damage that the Pilot ability causes…  Nothing to be done really J  The Rebels do have some tricks I suppose, but when the game is won or lost on technicalities it is just a lot less fun for me…  Why I think X-Wing is where I’d be placing my focus into…

Monday, January 30, 2017

Back from Chicago, gearing up for Armada and X-Wing...

Well, LONG weekend in Chicago…  My wife and one of my daughters wandered off to see Hamilton up there.  They said it was amazing, and I’ll take their word for it J  Different places to visit and some really good food…  Specifically, the Italian Village was amazing.  Far better I think than I’ve ever had up there before.  Old school Italian place, so pretty much my speed…  Took the train up there Thursday night.  Was actually quite nice.  Train was full and delays were a reality, but the cost was not so bad and they had WiFi on the vehicle so we could all kill time on our various devices.  Same for the return trip, though the delays were nowhere near so bad…  Since the freight companies own the rails themselves, they get to set the schedules, etc…  NOT like in Europe where last I rode trains.  Still, all in all not bad.  If you ARE going to do it would suggest you do as we did and avoid the busy times…  Fares were better and it was less crazy J

Gaming, Armada still plugging along, have another one Wednesday…  Joe attacked one of our locations and I think might be unpleasantly surprised to find a full Rebel Base there.  So, the mission is set and I get to choose the bonus like say, a Planetary Ion Cannon…  Which of course I will.  Not TOO bad I suspect but it will punish him for going slow and I can be waiting on the other end with Ackbar’s fleet…  It’ll be brutal I suspect, but I think we’ll be fine…  Since the cannons hit any facing, I suspect they ISDs will already have damage when they make it through.

X-Wing, we had our firt League event, the next one is the 12th…  I played m TIE Defender/TIE Bomber list and did well, placed 5th.  Frankly, was pretty happy with that.  Only a few days out of surgery and nowhere near fully recovered, I was pretty dead on my feet by then.  Should be fine for the next one.  Looking at various lists to play as the Wave 10 stuff should be out by then…  It is officially Legal for the Chicago Regional this weekend, so…  I’m playing around with the idea of:

Unnamed Squadron (100)
Hera Syndulla — VCX-100
40
Accuracy Corrector
3
Autoblaster Turret
2
Intelligence Agent
1
Nien Nunb
1
Anti-Pursuit Lasers
2
Ghost
0
Ship Total: 49

Ezra Bridger — Attack Shuttle
20
Rage
1
Autoblaster Turret
2
Phantom
0
Ship Total: 23

Ahsoka Tano — TIE Fighter
17
Veteran Instincts
1
Sabine Wren
2
Scavenger Crane
2
Cluster Mines
4
Captured TIE
1
Sabine's Masterpiece
1
Ship Total: 28



Or

Aggressor/Lancer (100)
Asajj Ventress — Lancer-class Pursuit Craft
37
Push the Limit
3
K4 Security Droid
3
Black Market Slicer Tools
1
Engine Upgrade
4
Shadow Caster
3
Ship Total: 51

IG-88B — Aggressor
36
Lone Wolf
2
Fire-Control System
2
Heavy Laser Cannon
7
Autothrusters
2
Ship Total: 49

Just a few things to work out in practice rounds. I am not 100% on the weapon load outs and the like, but it is I think a good start…

 The new TO has made the official ruling that you must have the actual cards and material for the game as the winner of the last one used a printed list that included the Emperor…  Who is only available in the Imperial Epic Raider class ship, so a VERY pricy card.  Guessing there was a fair bit of bitterness from the other lads in the top 4 cut who drove over from Bloomington/Normal to find out that this was allowed in an event where there was money on the table in the form of prize support.  That changed, depending on attendance, the payout varies, but with 18 players there the winner could I think buy a large based Ship with their winnings…  I tend to run casual events and always play what I have (being of Scottish decent, you work with what you have and make the best of it), so no effect for me personally…  Some of the longer term players though…  Well, lists will have to be adjusted.  I run things over at the Gopher, or I did, I assume I will continue to as they are changing ownership and as I state up front that it is a casual event, proxies are allowed, etc…  And as we are playing for old tournament kits, nothing particularly interesting frankly and certainly nothing like actual money on the table…  Is a MUCH more relaxed event.  Frankly I prefer that most of the time.  Mind, it only takes one person to bring in a top tier list and kill the relaxed environment, but…  So far so good.