Hello! Welcome to this week’s blog!
Before I get started I want to just quickly (well, maybe not quickly!) talk about the tournament we’re hosting at Firestorm Games in Newport at the end of this month.
First off, it sold out. That in itself is of course really great. Then I was approached by a few people asking if there were still tickets. Being sold out, obviously, there weren’t. However, since we’ve had higher than 16 player tournaments at Newport in the past (like, pre-covid), I chatted it over with Mark Hall (who is TO’ing the event) and he went and had words with the store.
15 minutes later we had 4 more tickets available and an hour after that, they’d all sold out too, taking us to 20 players!
If you’d be interested in coming along to get yourself some of Louis Leong’s incredible Mandalorian themed prize kit or perhaps to try and get your hands on this rather incredible trophy…
…then you can check the Facebook event to see if there have been any drops or to get yourself added to the reserve list.
Incidentally, ALL future events will be organised and publicised via Facebook as events. If you’re coming to this month’s event or thinking about July or any future events then please join the Exile Squadron Facebook group to see what’s happening.
I really do feel blessed that our local play group is still active (sadly I know this isn’t the case everywhere) and that we’re able to sell out events in our quirky but limited play space.
I’ll be posting more about the tournament in the build up to it over the coming weeks. Exciting times!
There’s been several batches of spoiler posts from AMG about the upcoming new releases (the Rogue Class fighter for Scum and CIS and the Republic Z-95), all of which look vaguely interesting. What’s more interesting than that though is that AMG confirmed (on a paint stream, of course!) that there will be a points update to coincide with the releases. Being that the packs are scheduled for release just 8 days before the UK Games Expo (a Worlds Qualifier event) it will be very interesting to find out whether new points will be valid for it. Since the historical precedent set by FFG back in 1.0 days was either 10 or 11 days (I can’t quite remember which!) then I doubt it but so much has changed with AMG’s stewardship that it is possible (if unlikely) that new points could be in play.
I also think that ruling that way would be a massive faux pas and very upsetting for players who have spent any length of time prepping for it so I really hope it’s ruled as it historically would have been.
Aside from that, new points will be…… interesting. I genuinely don’t think we’ve had anywhere near long enough to fully work out everything that’s good/bad/somewhere in between although we (the community at large) are starting to get there I think.
I’m going to assume that this update will be to adjust any wildly obscene anomalies (*cough* Jedi! *cough*) and perhaps swap around some of the better 2 point ships for slightly worse pilots.
It’s all speculation though and there are other people far more qualified than me to do that sort of thing so let’s get down to business…
The batrep… (JARGON ALERT!!)
Since Firestorm re-opened for in person play following covid things have been… interesting. A few of the previous regulars have been coming along on our Wednesday night casual sessions but some haven’t. When you throw a version/rules update into the mix I can understand why the motivation to pack stuff into a case and drive 20, 30 or 45 minutes to play a game you’re not exactly sure how to play any more maybe isn’t as appealing as what you once knew.
This week two of the guys who hadn’t yet played 2.5 had decided to come and give it a go (mainly because they’ve signed up to the tournament in a month’s time!). With 2 of our guys breaking out a game of Legion, that left Mark and myself to run through games with Matt (against Mark) and Alex (against me).
I saw this as an opportunity in a few ways. First, I wanted to make sure that Alex got as thorough a run through of how 2.5 works as I could. Secondly, with a little 2.5 experience myself, I could see what a newly converting 20 -> 2.5 player makes of it all. Finally, I could try out the Falcon list again but with no pressure since the result of this game has no bearing whatsoever.
So, what exactly had 2.5 n00b Alex brought along to use?
Anakin Skywalker (Y-Wing) (6)
Shattering Shot (3)
Ion Cannon Turret (5)
Proton Torpedoes (12)
R4-P Astromech (2)
Ship Cost: 6 Loadout: (28/28) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 4
Obi-Wan Kenobi (5)
Heightened Perception (3)
Instinctive Aim (1)
Concussion Missiles (6)
Calibrated Laser Targeting (0)
Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (10/10) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 2
Barriss Offee (3)
Instinctive Aim (1)
Concussion Missiles (6)
Calibrated Laser Targeting (0)
Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (7/7) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 2
Ahsoka Tano (4)
Calibrated Laser Targeting (0)
Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (9/9) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 2
Alpha-3B “Besh” (0)
Ship Cost: 2 Loadout: (0/0) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 2
Eeesh. Ship-wise it’s almost (but not quite) Nathan Eide’s Adepticon winning list. Now, I can’t really blame Alex for bringing this list because:
- he’s always been an exclusively Republic player and
- it’s pretty much what I did by taking Marcel’s Rebel Adepticon list a little while back.
Alex knows what he’s doing with these ships and, scenario strategy aside, the game still generally works like it did before. And Alex has always been pretty handy at X-Wing.
We discover that nobody brought a printed scenario list so after a little random generating, we land on a scenario and start prepping.
Let’s do those Pre-Flight checks:
Scenario – Assault at the Satellite Array
Target/Objective Priority – Get some early objective points in but try and nail those more expensive ships.
Obstacles – blocking off obvious lanes for Alex to approach while keeping mine open is the way.
Deployment – Trying something a little different….
What is that different thing, you ask? Well, since 2.5 dropped I’ve spent many a game chasing objectives. They determine my turn 0 deployment and the bulk of my manoeuvres throughout the game.
The thing is, I’m not convinced I’m doing things right. So, in the interest of experimentation I opted to do something else.
Ignore the fact that Hobbie has already taken his systems phase boost here, this is what I did:
Knowing that Alex would have to hard commit to taking the bottom left objective and be willing to put things in harm’s way for the top right, I decided to deploy my forces mostly together. Hobbie is the exception as he would streak out to the middle for a claim there and hopefully not die.
This means I can claim 2 objectives (and not fall behind) and maybe (hopefully?) get into position to focus fire on Alex’s ships.
Of course I had no idea where Alex would put Anakin when I placed my main damage dealing ships (Leia and Thane) but as Alex was 1st player I knew that Obi-Wan would be there.
I set Hobbie to go 5 straight (or was it 4?) while Leia and Thane go straight. AP-5 will 1 straight to end up in behind them while Ezra will bank in.
Alex’s sends Ahsoka slow but Barriss fast over in the top left while heading in towards the middle with Obi, Ani and Contrail.
I opt to coordinate a focus to Leia with AP-5 while Thane rolls left. I know it’s right behind the rock but I’m planning to coordinate another roll left before he moves next turn.
Leia, focus already in hand, goes for the red boost to come in at Alex’s flank.
In something pretty new to Alex, we engage in turn 1! Anakin launches a Proton Torp at Hobbie and he also takes fire from Contrail and Barriss but only loses 2 shields (what a champ!)
Hobbie and Leia fire at Anakin but just get the 1 shield off him. Thane only has Contrail and does nothing while Leia’s 2nd shot (thanks Bistan!) takes Obi’s shield.
No points for ships and we each control 2 objectives.
Back to planning then.
My plan to bank Leia in slowly is slightly scuppered as I forgot that the 1 bank on the Falcon is white, not blue. Oops. AP-5 needs to coordinate Thane and while AP’s coordinate works on Leia because of his ability, using Hondo on Ezra won’t since she’s stressed.
I set Leia a 2 bank. Let’s see how that works out.
AP-5 gives Ezra the K-2SO calculate.
AP-5 banks right and coordinates a roll to Thane. Ezra goes 2 straight (not ideal), uses Hondo to give Thane a focus and jams AP-5.
Thane’s 1 bank has been blocked by Contrail who has shot right into the mix, denying me an action since he already focused earlier. Should have locked I guess!
Leia’s 2 bank is blocked by Obi-Wan who has unexpectedly dived in to Leia’s face.
Meanwhile, Hobbie used his systems phase boost to bank left and then took a 5 straight to get out of danger.
Alex has committed to the middle with Barriss and Anakin heading there while Ahsoka banks in but is still pretty far out of the action.
Now this is interesting. Anakin fires his Ion turret at Thane and lands 2 damage, taking a shield and giving an ion. Not too awful since a 1 straight will put him in range of the middle objective anyway.
Obi-Wan also fires at Thane and gets 2 more damage on (come on green dice, give me some paint!!) before it’s the turn of my i5’s to shoot.
Leia takes the range 0 shot on Obi-Wan and gets a hit on, leaving him on 2 hull. The second shot is at Anakin who loses another shield. Thane fires at Anakin too and takes his last shield and puts a damage onto hull.
None of the rest of my ships can fire this turn but Barriss puts another hit onto Thane and then Contrail, with his range 0 unmodded 2 dice shot rolls 2 hits and Thane blanks out. Again. And dies. Balls.
Alex scores 4 points for Thane and 1 for the middle objective. 5 for this turn and 7 in total.
I score 3 for objectives this turn, giving me 5 in total.
Back to planning, then!
I wasn’t really expecting Thane to die there (rightly or wrongly, I’m not sure!). I’ll use Hobbie to keep claiming the top left corner, Ezra the bottom right and AP-5 the top right while boosting Leia as much as I can.
I hard turn Leia in to the mix.
Alex has turned Anakin and slooped (JARGON ALERT!!) Obi. Contrail had no option but to cruise past the rock (leaving him no shot) while Ahsoka approaches slowly and Barriss comes forwards.
Anakin takes an ion shot at Leia (his only shot) and knocks a shield off.
Leia hammers Anakin at range 1, taking him down to 1 hull remaining before taking her second shot at Barriss and taking her shield.
Obi has Leia at range 1 but Alex recognises that he can’t kill the Falcon in time so fires at AP-5 instead, getting 2 hits past my green dice.
Ahsoka only has Leia in range so fires at her with a primary CLT (JARGON ALERT!!) shot and takes 2 shields from the Falcon. Barriss fires at AP-5 and puts on another 2 hits but he lives on 1 hull.
My only remaining shot is a range 3 obstructed shot with AP-5 at contrail (with no mods) and of course, does no damage.
No points for ships (again!) but I score 3 objective points (both right hand and top left) while Leia’s position in the middle negates Alex’s 2 ships there as Ahsoka is just barely out of range 1.
At this point we’ve been going for an undetermined amount of time but the other game is done and se we call it here.
Result: 8 – 7 win
Yes, I won (just), but the result here is secondary. What’s important is that some of our locals who haven’t ventured down on a Wednesday for a little while got their first taste of 2.5.
It was very interesting to watch Alex going through his thought processes as each turn unfolded. From mentioning that not focusing with Obi-Wan in turn 1 felt weird to really debating decisions that in 2.0 he’d have made with no delay, it was fascinating to see it from the other side. Dealing with ROAD, crossing initiatives, bump rules and scenario strategy is a lot to process at the best of times. All in one hit is something else.
Of course, the upshot of these factors (along with Alex’s self confessed X-Wing rustiness!) is that we got just 3 turns. We didn’t time the game (I forgot!) but actually I’m glad since it relieved the pressure that comes with that.
Three turns is of course a little disappointing in the grand scheme of X-Wing but in all honesty, for a first game of 2.5 for Alex, this was fine. It’ll increase as he gets used to scenarios and gains the experience needed to speed up decisions.
If you’ve been reading the last few blogs you’ll know that I’ve been struggling with how to approach 2.5 myself and so while I’m clearly no expert this particular experience has helped me to reflect on the changes a bit more.
On several occasions I wanted to jump in and say ‘don’t do that’ or ‘why are you overthinking this decision?’ but I made a conscious decision not to do so as Alex was considering options for a couple of reasons.
- To see whether his decision would be different than what he’d have done in 2.0 and
- To allow him to process the decision himself without adding my bias to it.
After all, who am I to say that what I’m doing in 2.5 is the right thing? I’m still working that out myself! Of course we did discuss certain moves and actions after they’d been taken and what may or may not have been a better choice or overall strategy.
Chatting afterwards, Alex went into a second game with different priorities (go for the objectives more) and was roundly demolished. Another learning experience! Thankfully neither of these games has put him off and he’s interested in playing more after initially being apprehensive about the changes.
As for me and how I played? Well, I didn’t line my list up as optimally as I could have. The bottom left objective was roundly ignored for the whole game (all 3 turns of it!) and as for what happened with Thane… well, the less said the better I think!
Changing my priorities in terms of objective scoring vs ship kill scoring was interesting. Given we played just 3 turns and my green dice rather abandoned me I don’t know if I can draw any clear conclusions just yet but like all of 2.5, I’m still in the process of working it all out.
I also forgot to set a timer but I think that was accidentally the right decision since this game was less about how many points I could score in this set amount of time and more about how I could help Alex get to grips with the differences he’d be facing. I’d like to think I succeeded in that but in all honesty, Alex will be the judge of that! We called time at the point that we did as the other game that had started at roughly the time as we did had been finished and packed up so we must have been there or thereabouts.
What can I take from this? A couple of things I think. Firstly, am I thinking about how best to teach someone how to play 2.5? I felt like I fumbled my way through ok but I should take some time to consider how I can improve on it.
Secondly, teaching 2.5 to someone with 2.0 experience is one thing but teaching from scratch is likely something else completely. That will require a LOT more thought and planning!
Lastly, everyone is on a journey here. Most people I know are transitioning from 2.0 to 2.5 but some people (nobody I know directly but still…) may be dusting off their 1.0 collection and diving back in. The thing is, we are all at different points of that journey.
I listened to the Recon Specialist podcast last week where Tyler Tippett mentioned that he’d got 40 odd games in preparation for Adepticon. A few weeks ago I played against Chrispy online and he’d had plenty of reps with a single (well optimised) list too.
By contrast I am still not even 15 games in and Alex and Matt (who played against Mark) had their very first 2.5 experience.
Anyway, following an adjustment of my attitude and expectations a couple of weeks ago I’m very much back to loving the rolling of dice and setting of dials. The list is good (although I maaaay be having my head turned by another possible alternative for the tournament…) and I’m embracing the fun and learning what I can.
Before I sign off I just want to mention that will be NO BLOG NEXT WEEK. I’ve got a CRAZY few days coming up so I’m not only unlikely to get a game but I almost certainly won’t get time to write a blog up either so I’ll ease the pressure and make no promises.
I’ll be back the week after though as I prep for the Newport tournament!
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