Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Hope and Faith

Hello People,

There's been a bit of gnashing and wailing at a number of X-Wing top tables recently due to a perceived narrowing of competitive build options. This has been off the back of the recent prominence of Rebel Regen lists that hit you up with  multiple Stress and then simply refuse to die whilst Poe / TLT pick you to pieces.

Imperial Interceptor lists have struggled with TLT, especially quads which have hammered them. TIE swarms have trouble getting arcs and putting out enough damage. Scum seem to have fallen from the top tables entirely since the demise of dual IG-2000s, which may not be the worst thing going.

As such I, and many others in my various play groups, have been at something of a loss as what to fly. For myself I don't fly Rebel and I don't really want to go back to lists that I've flown a lot before, Scum Boba Swarm and Soontir Swarm, despite their relative strength in the current meta. I've flown a few experimental lists over the last couple of months but none of them have grabbed me particularly without having a glaring flaw in their build.

So it was some trepidation that I approached a pair of Store Championships this weekend with two list in mind Scum Boba / TLT and Vader Black-Crack Swarm.

Strolling into Lost Ark on Saturday and was intending to fly Boba but after chatting to a few of the regular crowd I switched over to "Black, Sack and Crack" at the last moment;

Vader - Veteran Instincts - TIE X1 - Advanced Targeting Computer - Engine Upgrade
Howlrunner - Crack Shot
3 x Black Squadron - Crack Shot

Across 4 games I went 2-2 with two big wins, a very close loss and a proper spanking after flying like a div. Sunday it was Dark Sphere for a further 5 games going 3-2 with a big win, two modified wins and two very close losses.

Overall I was very pleased. Not so much with the results but that I'd found a new list different enough from what I've previously flown but with the legs to do better. The PS4 Black Squadrons need a bit more thought as to how they engage and more importantly deal with the disengage the turn after. Vader is definitely NOT Soontir but just as rewarding in his own way with greater versatility unconstrained by Push The Limit Stress.

In analysis I could have been more aggressive all round. Four of my losses were by less than one of the Blacks and with less conservative flying were there for the taking. The couple of games when I trusted to the list went better than when I didn't.

Something to work on for the foreseeable and a couple of alternate art C3-POs for my efforts. Boba will still get a look in but I think I've found my top table list for a good while yet.

I attended with HOPE and found my FAITH :)

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Remote Control #1

Hello people,

Yes its been a while again but in honesty I haven't had too much of interest, relative term I know, or outside of the norm to rattle on about. Until now......

Last night I took a deep breath and put a Tunguska themed list on the table for a game of Infinity with Toby last night down at Enfield Gamers. Between the two of us we've had some pretty brutal games and this time I was going into it without the safety net of a linked team which have become pretty standard MO amongst the majority of us.

Tunguska and their Hacker / Remote heavy theme are what sold me on Nomads in the first place but I wanted to get to a half decent level with the game before taking the plunge. I've also managed to get in a bit more brush-time recently to finish off a few bits and get stuck into my Zonds most of which just now need final highlights (photos imminent). In fact all I've got left to finish otherwise are a pair of half done Zonds, a pair of Inventnors with Pandas, an Intruder sniper before I can treat myself to the TAGs to completely finish my Nomads and Rob's Tohaa. Scary.........
Trying out a 20x20 mission we had 4 turns to repair and escape in a battle damaged APC with bonus points for "inoculating" an enemy trooper with Zombie-Juice (patent pending). In honesty Toby needn't have worried as I turned up with half a plan, made a couple of marginal decisions and then got smashed by the dice, which amusingly was exactly what happened in reverse when we played a recent league game.

Running with an Inventnor, two support Hackers I went Zond heavy with a Gecko mini TAG as what I hoped would be overwhelming fire-power whilst Moran, Zero, and Spektr Specialists ran around doing all of the mission stuff. As I have no doubt intimated it didn't go to plan........

Toby won the WIP role and had me deploy first. I chose to go first to buff my two Reaktion Zonds and blast away. It was a bit of judgement call at the time and I was happy to trade off and then repair. Unfortunately his linked team Missile Launcher simply blew me off the table with superior dice. The two Reaktion Zonds  went first, though the Zondbots passed three Armour Checks each, though the worst blow was the Gecko taking a Crit and a further Hit with the Inventnor and a Salyut Zond right next to it perishing as well. After that it was just a case of mopping up from Turn 1 for Toby, though I did manage to pot a couple of his lads before I went into Retreat.
In hindsight, a wonderful thing, going second and acting on ARO whilst hiding everything else might have been a better call but I wanted to buff the Zonds and seize the initiative. With the dice the way they were I'm not sure it would have made too much of a difference.

I'm happy that my thinking was sound, it's a theory that appeals, I just need to work on the execution and maybe tweak the list around. Definitely a list to run a few more times, I'll just have to take the pain whilst I do so though at least it will be fully painted ;)

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Life on the NET # 9

Hello people,

It was the second double of the New Year as I pretty much moved into Warboar for the weekend with 6 games of X-Wing and 4 rounds of Netrunner today.

After a long day and late finish yesterday I was putting the decks together before sunrise this morning and once I arrived realise that two of my Corp cards were in Runner sleeves with no spares. As such I had to buy some sleeves and couldn't resist Bowser.......at which point Mario was always going to happen to become my tourney sleeves ;)

As for the decks themselves I went with a new NBN Sparks taxation Corp and a revised Kitt Runner. I finished with three wins and placed 9 of 12 with a few well known faces in attendance.

Sparks pulled two wins despite suffering twice from early Account Siphons, though I managed to reset and give a decent game each time. Lots of timing opportunities and a deck I'll definitely be putting some time into. It was nice to play a different style of deck, patience being key. Quietly pleased with myself :)

My revised Kitt changed quite a bit, dropping Medium for R&D Interface and Magnum Opus for Technical Writer. I suffered for economy throughout and things rarely came together for me. Definitely back to the drawing board but I'll persist. Anarch were strong today and I also fancy giving Criminal another but I currently feel like I lack some of the stronger options.

Lots of options out there before the next run of events. I'll be looking to put gave a few more decks to try out by then. Just signed up to Jinteki.com, another learning curve to take on and really enjoying it :]

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Life on the NET # 8

Hello people,

So after a bit of a battering a couple of Sundays back I'm set to repeat the strangely enjoyable experience again this Sunday at Warboar.

Having spent some time analysing my previous performance I've made the following tweaks to my NBN and Kitt decksMy Making News NBN deck ran both NAPD / Astro-train and Scorched Earth to try and give multiple win options. I ran quite a bit of fairly porous ICE with the idea of counter-striking with the ScorchesAt the club this had worked fairly well. In the wider Meta it struggled to do either reliably.

A couple of Sundays back Runners generally kept Grips of at least 4 to deny me one scorch kills and the double never came up. In hindsight that's just common sense. Meanwhile my fairly porous ICE struggled to keep a well set runner out long enough for the train to ever reach the station.
Thinking back I didn't do much resource trashing, once again concentrating on my own game rather than disrupting the Runner.

In the penultimate round a first turn Account Siphon left me crippled and struggling from the outset, proving to be a pointed lesson in aggressive running against lighted ICEd central servers. As a result I will be running Sparks Agency on Sunday with the aim of taxing the Runner to the eyeballs. The Astros remain along with Global Food and NAPD but Beale is another option.

With Kitt I've really enjoyed the Shaper play style. Playing Gordian / Paintbrush / Medium has come pretty close for me but struggled against multiple central ICE which became very Click and MU intensive. I also ran Magnum Opus for alternative reliable economy but more than once it stalled me as I was constantly clicking through on it which felt very predictable.
With a few recent additions I'm going to switch over to R&D Interface, drop Magnum and include a wider suite of breakers with Clone Chips to recycle Self Modifying Code (finally cottoned on to that one). Hopefully that will free me up to play a less predictable game.....hopefully.

I'm still really enjoying learning the game. Last time out I played against a number of IDs I'd not seen in action before whilst slowly inching my way up the learning. Both of the tweaked decks are relatively untested but I'm still going for a target of four wins.

With another three events in three weeks at the end of next month I'll be looking to try out a couple more factions. Now that I've picked up all of the Deluxe expansions I've got plenty of option to try and hit that four win target but if don't............no worries :)

Friday, 15 January 2016

Something for the New Year?

As previously threatened I've read Issue 3 of Tabletop Gaming from cover to cover.

In short I'm going to be picking up a subscription because I think it's worth £20 to see it can achieve.

Despite the obvious difficulties of the format in the increasingly virtual world it's something I'd like to succeed. Like many things it harks back to the Hobby of my youth, White Dwarf and Wargames Illustrated, which I'm sure for many of us is the attraction.

Anyway, before I get too heavily sidetracked;

The Good:
- It's a high quality, professionally laid out and finished product. It's a compliment to say that it doesn't come across as a wargames magazine if you didn't already know.
- It covers all the bases in terms of content: News, New Releases, Editorial, Features, Battle Report, Interview, Events, Reviews, Hobby, Shop and Club Spotlights.
- It's well and intelligently written, pitched at an adult level.
- The reviews tell you what you need to know and have a useful comparison "If you like........" section.
- The full gamut of figure, dice, board and role-playing games are all covered.

The Bad:
- The obligatory FFG Star Wars article read more like a product pamphlet than an article.
- Other than the Introduction to Bushido there wasn't a lot of mechanics in the reviews. The Dropzone Commander battle report had none at all.
- Historical gaming barely got a look in, other than adverts, and board games seemes to dominate the issue as a whole.

My Ugly:
I have to admit to being biased as I've been wanting a decent Wargames magazine for quite sometime. Tabletop Gaming is good but I'm not sure that it's special. This issue was very Sci-Fi / Fantasy and previous issues look to be the same. That's fine but I would prefer that to be openly stated.

These days we're all a lot more savvy and capable of doing our own research so I can forgive a more impressionistic review, in many ways I prefer them, especially when it allows a wider coverage.
I'm still picking up a hard copy subscription because that's who I am. I'm hopeful rather than expectant as these days we can all find this stuff by ourselves but there still something about having it arrive on you doormat.

I'd suggest its well worth a fiver to inform your own opinion ;)

Expect the Unexpected

Hello people,

So last weekend was the first couple of events of the New Gaming Year with X-Wing down at Warboar followed by Netrunner at Dark Sphere.

Saturday I was running a Scum Kath, twin TLT Y-Wing list that I'd been wanting to try out for a while. Going 3-2 I pulled 9th of 35 which is my benchmark these days. Of my losses one was stolen from me at the last while I flew particularly poorly for the other.

Sunday I had far lower expectations amongst a field of 90 for 6 rounds of Netrunner. My nominal target was 4 wins, from a possible 12, at which point the 1 I came away with was far less disappointing than you might have thought.

After any event it's always post analysis on the way home and last weekend it was no different. What was a tangent was a discussion about expectation.

As I've previously mentioned, without trying to boast, I've played an awful lot of X-Wing with a lot of very good players which has in turn helped me to become a very good player. I expect to be able to take an untested list to any event and win the majority of my games.

The point discussed was does a higher level of expectation negatively impact your enjoyment of a day's gaming? If you don't live up to your own expectations then there is that possibility. Is that also the slippery slope into the Win At All Costs brigade?

As I've blogged before I'm very anti WAAC but at the same time I want to be competitive and play competitive games. As bad as it might be to say I don't enjoy easy wins as much as hard fought wins. These days with X-Wing there are plenty of lists I won't run because I feel that I won't be competitive. I'm often looking for something a bit left field that can still hold its own and with decent flying capitalise on its left field nature to do better than maybe it should. That's my thing!

Thinking it through I also think that expectation comes from an informed point of view. With Netrunner I've still got an awful lot to learn about pretty much everything. My gameplay is coming on nicely but my knowledge of the meta and how certain decks, cards, archetypes etc interact needs a lot of polishing. As my level of knowledge / experience is  relatively low does it follow that my expectations follow suit?

Wandering home on Saturday I was looking at little tweaks in tactics rather than list. Wandering home on Sunday I was looking at a lot more. I was looking at where and why my decks had struggled. My NBN didn't win because I never had the kill option and couldn't keep Runners out for long enough. Kitt struggled once multiple ICE went up on R&D and scoring servers. As a result I'm looking to run some different archetypes and really looking forward to doing so.

At the end of the weekend I'm really enjoying being at different ends of the spectrum for each game and isn't that what really matters? ;)

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Tree huggers with GUNS!!

Hello people,

I finally got the photo set-up out and shot Rob's Tohaa. I obviously forgot to redo my recently finished Nomads but getting the tree huggers done has kicked me into gear on that front.

With a couple of troopers and a bunch of zonds left I'm actually closing in on that rarest of TOYS achievements, a fully painted project!! TWO if I count the Tohaa. I do still need to paint up the Gorgie TAG which I'll double up with my Iguana......and Geckos ;)

Happy Days!