Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Resistance is Futile

Hello people,

After a rather bubonic Christmas period I'm currently sat watching Episode IV waiting for some washes to dry as on a few more of my recently supplemented X-Wing fleet.

For a game that I initially overlooked, making an  vaguely informed, "logical", decision, for Attack Wing I'm now a full convert.

From my initial purchase of a Firespray, in preparation for Scum and Villainy, I now have;

- 1 x Firespray
- 4 x TIE Fighter
- 3 x TIE Interceptor
- 1 x TIE Defender
- 1 x TIE Phantom
- 1 x VT49 Decimator
- 2 x HWK-290

All this on top of;

- A new KR case
- Two Red Bubble printed long sleeve Ts, one an 8 Bit Style Boba and the other a TIE Pilot.
- A set of Cog O' Two movement / range rulers. I wasn't going to but then they released a Black Sun set...in white, which now that I've painted the recessed detail crimson matches my fleet scheme.

Mr C was good enough to donate me one of his several vinyl 3"x3" game mats and there were also a couple of packs of extra dice.

That will be it until Scum and Villany rock up. It's been a fairly decent investment but one that's paid itself back hugely already. Can't play enough and actively looking for days out on it, which has been a nice revival. Even at a competitive leavle the Meta is as well balanced as you could hope for, encouraging inovation.

On that note myself and Mr C rocked up at Lost Ark again last Sunday and got in three games, for which I ran a TIE mini swarm for the first time, given my seasonal additions;

Soontir Fel - Push the Limit - Royal Guard - Stealth Device - Shield Upgrade
Howlrunner - Swarm Tactics
Mauler Mithel - Swarm Tactics
Academy Pilot
Academy Pilot

First up Mr C ran a Chewy / Dash twin 360 list, which looked fearsome by reputation. My dice were pretty hot and Chewy went down with minimal losses. Dash struck back but Fel got inside Range 1 and stayed there for the win. Mr C then swapped to 3 stress dealing B-Wings which looked good on paper but got hammered....twice.

I made a few newb mistakes manoeuvring the swarm but, as always, learnt from them. Looking to drop Shield Upgrade on Fel for a Targeting Computer but otherwise all good.

The apprentice may have become the master....for the day at least :)

Thursday, 25 December 2014

The Spirit of the Season

Hello people,

With Enfield Gamers mothballed until 6th January a few of the chaps reported to casa del Oddleg Tuesday night to scratch the itch. After a few minor emergencies it was myself, Charlie, Rob and Mr C.

Mr C had been keen on playing Rebel Assault, an early gift from himself, but he was running late so the rest of us plumped for War on Terror and had it set-up as he arrived.

It hadn't come out of the box for a while but the simple RISK-esque mechanics meant we were soon back into the flow of things with minimal effort. From initial deployment Rob made a play for Antarctica and South East Aisa while I went for the Americas with Charlie and Mr C set to carve up hte Europe / Africa landmass. Much as with RISK no-one fancied trying to take and control Russia.

Charlie was fairly aggressive straight out of the blocks taking lumps out of Rob and Mr C. Mr C took the bait while Rob consolidated and I quietly built my powder puff pink empire :)

Fighting on multiple fronts (lessons form history?) saw Charlie fairly stretched and deploying his state sponsored Terrorists early doors. Mr C responded by Nuking him (subtle that lad) into a very definite 4th place at which point Charlie turned terrorist! This is an excellent mechanism within the that means that eliminated players take control of the Terrorists making them a proper late game faction and keeping all your players in the game.
Having learnt our lessons in previous games about deploying Terrorist with wild abandon only to be mullered by them during the endgame (lessons from history?) myself Ron and Mr C quickly developed a co-operative strategy to keep Charlie in check. It took a lot of effort but worked, also producing a far different and interesting game.

Charlie played his part well, including rhetoric and trying to set the coalition against itself. As we moved into the endgame Mr C was, predictably, the one to make the final play throwing Nukes at me...twice (subtle that lad). Thankfully my carefully prepared Nuclear Bunker and Disarmament Treaty foiled his plans for me to complete my liberation of the Americas to claim the 10 Liberty Points required for victory.

"America.....saving the world from the world...and all that lovely gushing oil" ;)

Merry Christmas

Monday, 22 December 2014

Life Affirming Experience

Hello people,

It's started toa few weeks since Last Time Out but Tuesday night we managed a full house as the lads stalked Mr Cloak through the mothballed medical research facility. No issues there then!

Having already Triumphed his way to a pretty full schematic Tanner stayed at his workstation, assisted by 7s, as technical support while Agenai, Perit and Sindori crossed the PURGING CHAMBER, following Mr Cloak's apparent route to the Lab.

Tanner, having taken control of the doors, let the lads in who stealthed their way around the frigid low-light lab peering into the Recovery area next door which sported a number of super hi-tech medi-beds, a couple of which seemed occupied. Opening and closing the relevant doors in sequence, with the intention of containing Mr Cloak, the boys moved in for a closer look.
Two of the beds contained some seriously overgrown and ugly cyborgs of a rather crude and greenish hue plus tusks and bad breath. With something for him to do 7s hot-footed across, dug out his half of a med-kit and kicked off some inappropriate invasive surgery after at lest checking for pulse (no) and brainwaves (yes). Sin joined in with a rather less precise method of rifle butt and bowie knife as the hunt stalled somewhat.

Meanwhile, Tanner rigged the internal sensors to try and locate any signals from any remote devices, assuming that Mr Cloak was likely to be active. Rolling up yet more serious Success Tanner triangulated in on the unit on the far right of the map, simply marked with four internal units.
The source started transmitting........the cyborgs stirred.

To be honest I had started to wonder if we were still hunting for Cloak or carving the turkey but once the cyborgs so did the lads, especially their trigger fingers. The cyborgs proved to be tough old birds, though 7s one proved a little wingless. Filling the fully functioning version with a combination of laser bolts and stun darts 7s ignored his wingless wonder who then rolled out of bed and face-butted him into an emergency shutdown.
Feeling the heat Tanner opened the door in the direction of the signal for Perit to stalk through....to encounter Mr Cloak making his exit stage left taking a certain teenage computer genius (Jared....remember him?) with a heavily bandaged arm before him. Storming out behind him was Daddy Cyborg....the super pissed version!

Having previously rolled rather poorly for Intiative Daddy C barrelled into Perit and gave him a good old fashioned slap with an industrial chainsword.
Working out a damage equivalent Mr C suggested a chain-axe which is Strength +3, Pierce 3 and +20% to Critical Damage rolls. Making friends there Mr C?

Rolling away Sin turned his rifle setting up to 12 and let rip. Daddy C hit back with a Triumph for a big ol' Crit. Agenai hid behind a bed and took a potshot with his pistol....

Daddy C took a Stun Dart up the nose from Perit, who had rolled under the nearest Med-Bed while Sin did his best to find level 13. Daddy C hit Sin again with another Triumph for an even bigger ol' Crit for Sin to hit the floor. Agenai hid behind a bed and took a potshot with his pistol....

Perit shot again and rolled away. Daddy C cut through the Medi-Bed above him winding him badly. Agenai hid behind a bed and took a potshot with his pistol..........Daddy C fell down.
Meanwhile Tanner had been fighting his own desperate hacker battle with Mr Cloak over the door and environmental controls of the unit. Swaying back and forth Tanner pull another Triumph out of the bag but with enough Threat to Stress him into unconsciousness just as he was negotiating with Mr Cloak, safe passage for Jared.

This all happened just as Daddy C hit the deck leaving Agenai and barely breathing Perit to negotiate. Previous conflicts left the boys jittery and unwilling to try the trigger, more of an option with Sindori sucking floor, so safe passage was traded for Jared.

There was the small matter of HOW to open the doors with Tanner drooling into his keyboard. Answer; spend a Destiny point to regain consciousness. Cracking out yet another Triumph Tanner opened the door into the freshly prepped PURGING CHAMBER allowing Mr Cloak to believe that it was all his doing. As Cloaky reached the far door that belief was rudely dispelled with the door lock making that raspberry sound and the PURGING CHAMBER notching up to 13........not a lot left to worry about!

So, another major battle, plenty of people on the floor and more questions than answers.....must be time to dish out some XP :)

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Pigs might Fly

Hello people,

Tuesday night down at Enfield Gamers myself and Dave T managed to get in three very entertaining games of X-Wing during the evening. I went with a couple of variants of my Lockjaw Shuttle / Defender list while Dave had a couple of runs with a TIE Bomber list he'd put together. 

I was running a couple of variants on Col Vessery  (TIE Defender) with Heavy Laser Cannon supported by an Omicron Shuttle with Weapons Engineer and Vader plus a pair of Academy TIEs to run interference.

So for the first two games this saw both of us running a Vader Doom-Shuttle generating obscene numbers of target locks between us. Having learnt a few bits from Sunday's games I deployed the  Shuttle and its TIE escort centrally and then Vessery in response to the opposing fleet. 
This gives the Shuttle a greater sphere of influence but I soon realised that as it moves and gets its action prior to the opposing fleet the ST-321 upgrade is well worth 3 points.

The Shuttle also takes quite a bit of fire, as a slow large target, which meant I didn't get to use Vader much as I simply couldn't afford to take the damage.

Tweeking the list a bit more I'm looking at;

Col Vessery - Veteran Instincts - Heavy Laser Cannon
Omicron Shuttle - ST321 - Weapons Engineer - Ion Cannon
Academy TIE x2

That leaves 3 points for Vader or a Hull Upgrade for Vessey.......just have to playtest!

Scarily I actually managed two, rather rare, wins from three against Dave. He's still got the bragging rights but it's moving in the right direction. Can't believe it took me so long to give this game oa go :)

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Flying High

Hello people,

Following my mini rant I've spent the weekend playing X-Wing. Five games yesterday at our event for Teens Unite and a further two today up at Lost Ark. I enjoyed every last one of them to the point where I feel more and more positive about the game as a whole.

Yesterday I ran Boba with twin Royal Gaurd TIEs. First two games my Evade dice were awful and cost me dear. After lunch things picked up and I went into my final game 2-2. Coming up against chunky Han plus two B-Wings I just couldn't chew through the sheer weight of 29 combined Shield and Hull.Plenty of big 360 arc lists but the day's victory went to five Avenger TIE Interceptors.

An excellent day's gaming and one that found me playing around with an alternative Vessery list for Lost Ark. Working something out I needed to pick up a Lambda Shuttle and a TIE first thing....which is exactly what I did :)

With five of us playing I picked up the first round bye as the event was once again dominated by big 360 arc beasts, two Decimator and one Falcon list. Toting a pair of Heavy Laser Cannons I took down a Decimator, for the win, and the Falcon, to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Fairly stable dice today and the list worked pretty well, with a bit of room for polishing. A few bit s more learnt but I'm really beginning to click with the game now. The shuttle also picked up it's unofficial title, the "Lazy Sow" as it flies like a bit of pig, which I'll somehow work into the paint scheme.

I take it as a measure of a game as to how many games I can play before my head begins to swim. Seven for the weekend and I could easily have played a few more.

Do or Do Not, there is No Try!

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Meta Matters

This is something that had been brewing for a while and is a matter that's very close to my geeky heart. The following is a bit of rant, one born of frustration, but, hopefully, a positive one.

I'm a gamer, I enjoy playing games. I like to win but don't mind if I loose as long as I was able to compete....nicely. Journey not destination. I find it difficult to enjoy playing a game where I've beaten by rules or list. Dice are a different matter. I find it even harder to enjoy a game without any social interaction. 

I want to put out a decent list that works but I'm fluff over cheese. Cheese sticks in my craw and power gaming goads me. I avoid it where I can and deal with it when I can't. It's my / our choice where, when and to a lesser extent who I / we play.
I play for fun, mine and my opponent's, and have been lucky enough to meet many similarly minded geeks. I've enjoyed the vast majority of tournaments but prefer "events". I don't feel the need to explain the difference. Those who this is for already understand, those that don't.....won't.

OP play has been ruining STAW for me along with many others. The virtual cyber knashing, whinging, moaning and posturing has reach a crescendo of the lazy minority on both sides of the debate.

As previously mentioned Dave T has had a positive reaction to his similar experience and I'm very grateful to him. I'll be attending his STAW events at Lost Ark HERE, HERE and HERE. Others have also taken control of this issue for themselves and good on you all. In my view it's the positive response to a negative situation not allowing the minority to overpower the majority.

Following his example I'm putting together a low level STAW escalation campaign. There's already a like minded core ready to play and plenty more out there. I've put it on a tab for your, hopefully positive, feedback.

To steal a tag-line; this is for the players.

I don't tweet but; #MetaMatters #MyMeta

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Dreaded D

Hello people,

Last night down at Enfield Gamers I once, in fact twice, faced off against the Empire's latest tabletop addition in the form of two Decimator lists as my last couple of practice games before our X-Wing Charity Tournament this Saturday.

First up was a return fixture against Dave T with Rear Admiral Chiraneau with Tactician / Rebel Captive combo supported by a Captain Yorr Shuttle / TIE Wingman stress relief valve. I went with another Boba build featuring Push the Limit, Rebel Captive and Engine Upgrade supported by a pair of PTL Royal Gaurd Interceptors.

As with previous Dave T encounters I got hosed, big time, by a combo of diametrically opposed dice and some poor flying. I did at least get the hang of the Squints pretty quickly and was well impressed by the Shuttle. Added to shopping list :)

Second up was Mr C with the Rear Admiral (snigger) loaded up with Expose, two Tacticians and an Engine Upgrade with a couple of TIEs in support. I rejigged Boba with Predator, Rebel Captive and Engine Upgrade.

Much better game for next his time having placed a central asteroid field that the Decimator circled most of the game. Being allowed to jump on the supporting TIEs helped no end before I initially went in at the beast in a relatively uncoordinated manner. 

Noses bloodied I regrouped and we went at it again for a grandstand finish with the Admiral chasing Boba around whilst toting a bucket load of Stress. Eventually Predator at range 3 saw me grab the win :)

Things learnt;
- Arc dodging Interceptors are fin to play and look great. They also deal with Stress well.
- Decimators are surprisingly nimble for a big ship. At Pilot Skill 8 I often had trouble getting the Admiral in arc.
- Pouring on the Red Dice from Range 3 is probably the best way to deal with a Decimator
- I shall be flying Boba with Predator, Rebel Captive and Engine Upgrade for the foreseeable
- A Decimator and a Shuttle are on the want list

Really looking forward to five games on Saturday......sure I'll get Dave at least once ;)

Monday, 8 December 2014

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Sunday just gone myself and Mr C made our way up to Lost Ark Games in Stevenage for some games of STAW and came away having discovered more than we had expected.

First off, Lost Ark Games;

Personally I'd been up to them once before for my fledgling X-Wing tourney. At that time they had a stall in the indoor market, which was also where we played. Initially a bit wary, and possibly a bit snobby about that one, I soon forgot that and had a great day.
They've since moved.....into a small office unit.......and it really works incredibly well! The open plan area is given over to a dozen 4×3 tables which perfectly suit STAW,  X-Wing, card and board games which seems to be their core business. The shop itself is in the boss' office with the meeting room given over to a couple of full-time 6x4s. Being an office there's a decent sized kitchen and adequate "facilities". 

Not the easiest place to find first time round but otherwise a stroke of genius with parking and scoff a plenty. Check out their Facebook Page, it's a literal gem of a place and well worth supporting.

Second up, STAW;

Dave T, an old gaming bud and former customer, had done the legwork to set the event up as a positive reaction to the increasingly negative OP meta. In other words rather than whinging he's set his own event up, writing a custom scenario and getting the word out.Good stuff mate, all too rare!
With a couple of dropouts it was five of us, who all know each other. With no OP prize to worry about we just played three rounds for fun with a three way to get us all some games. Turns out the scenario worked better as multi player which was a bonus.

More to the point we were all playing STAW to play STAW reminding ourselves of what a good game it is away from the OP Meta influence. Quite possibly the game as it was designed to be played! On the way out we were even discussing a club escalation campaign.

Doesn't get much better than that really :)

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Joyful and Triumphant

Well it is the season for such sentiment!

Getting back to Edge of the Empire this week the chaps found themselves in geosynchronous orbit behind a suitable asteroid as a result of last time out.

First order of business, having recapped all of their many leads / loose ends was forming a plan of action which quickly centred around how much, or little to tell HI-HI. On the far left of the debate was 7s who was incredibly keen to report back and hand over everything in the hope of repaying a large chunk of indentured debt. On the far right of the debate was Sindori who was keen to report back as little as possible and strike deals wherever else they could keeping their newly acquired thrusters "Moody Mynock" into the bargain.

After checking 7s for bugs and control chips it was decided that his sycophancy circuits must just have gone into overload. There was also the matter of his super secret hard-drive still languishing with Dr Robotnic. 

Ignoring 7's sycophantic bleatings it was decided to first follow up events with Mr Cloak, which greatly pleased Sin who was keen to settle scores, before calling home.

With Tanner at the sensor station he started to kick out the Triumphs in establishing the local space-lanes and as such the most covet approach to Mr Cloak's last known position. Agenai just about managed to deliver from the pilot's seat and the Mynock was soon approaching the tethered asteroid otherwise known as Mr Cloak Central. Tanner once again delivered with the scanner identifying two likely openings in the asteroid.

At this point Agenai had rather overcooked things and was approaching Mr Cloak Central rather quickly....at which point he pulled out a Triumph and looped beautifully into the right-handed crevice (ooh err) pitching and yawing to perfection to cruise into a widening cave mouth perfectly positioned to approach a compact hanger bay.

Putting the Mynock down next to Mr Cloak's blinged up Firespray the boys suited up and trooped out through the airlock, carefully buttoning it up behind them. Perit and Sin checked out the perimeter while Agenai ripped a panel off the Firespray for Tanner and 7s to try and hack their way in. Middling dice defeated Tanner but put the Firespray into lockdown without setting off any alarms. Agenai somehow convinced Sin to cough up his last remaining grenade to rig up a low-tech booby trap.
With Tanner once again doing the necessary with a couple of door locks the chaps made their way in to their newly discovered facility via the cargo / tradesman's entrance and into the main control room, which was evidently decently and expensively put together.

Settling down at a number of various control stations the lads set their hacking skills to use with varying degrees of success.....until Tanner went for the schematic with a Triumph plus multiple Success and advantage.....at which point I simply handed over the map, plus key!

Running through the fruits of their labours;

- Mr Cloak Central is a covert medical research facility
- It's part-time and currently in lock-down having been mothballed a few months ago
- Fully staffed it has a capacity of 20 split between medical and service personnel
- Medical personnel are recruited for each project though several have been present for more than one project
- There are 4 semi-automated operating theatres
- The medical and support blocks are divided by a hermetically sealed PURGING CHAMBER with an airlock control protocol and a variety of purging system
- A number of doors / airlocks (marked in red) have recently been accessed within the last 6 hours

By this time Sin's trigger finger was getting particularly itchy and had resorted to hacking the nearest door-lock with his rifle-butt.

Thankfully Tanner managed to disengage the doorlocks before any major damage was done to those all important Hermetic Seals. Taking the point the headlong assault with Agenai holding position in the PURGING CHAMBER plan was put on hold.

Next week.......Lock and Load cos' we're hunting Cloak! :)

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Interstellar Tsunami

Hello people,

Last night down at Enfield Gamers X-Wing Wave 5 arrived with a BUMP (snigger) as Dave shot me off the table two games in a row with his latest. It should be STRESSED (fa-narr) that I had a particularly enjoyable time of it and, once again, learnt a lot.

I once again took my most recent Boba-Gator / Echo / Red Shirt TIE list. First game Dave took a pair of Decimators which are as physically intimidating as the recent hyperbole floating around the various virtual commentary groups. I attempted to group my recently manufactured asteroids to create a field to slow them down though unfortunately it hindered as much as it helped me.

My relatively poor manoeuvring of Boba plagued me all night, though not as badly as my Defence Dice, and I had a hard time focusing on one Decimator. They have a surprisingly decent dial and my apparent lack of all out attack dice seemed to tell. Unable to hide Echo from two 360 arcs left her on the back foot and in trouble fast.

Second game Dave unboxed his YT-2400, which is a sweet looking ship and went Fat Han / Fat Horn on my ass for a second tanning of the evening. Boba got alpha-striked to atoms in about three turns, though his inability to Evade played it's part, leaving Echo to chase down Mr Horn in vain.

Across the evening I failed to kill a single ship but had a good time doing it. Dave once again went with his Stress inducing builds which continued to cause me issues on top of some heavy 360 degree firepower. I realised Echo would have a hard time but not quite how hard. It reinforces how important manoeuvre is in this game!

Developing my own list, next time out with Boba will feature Rebel Captive and Push the Limit to see how that goes, probably with a pair of Royal Gaurd TIE Interceptors........a gift from Santa of course ;)

All of this will hopefully sort me out a final list for our upcoming X-Wing Charity Tournament. You're very welcome to join us!