Scattergun…

The intro…?

Hello and welcome to this week’s blog!

Now, I will be very honest with you here, it’s been a pretty tough week. I was working away a few days last week and so I did NOT get to play X-Wing last week

On top of that, the last game that I did play was actually against Josh Hall, a matchup that we’ve played at least 4 times now and I don’t know how much value there in covering it here for a 3rd time.

I’ve had social engagements (literally, my niece got engaged) a different niece’s birthday, a big birthday to plan, been super busy at work and then my son’s car got broken in to and, well, it’s been a lot.

‘So what is there for me to talk about?’ I hear you ask. Well, there’s stuff, don’t worry.

For starters, there’s the Welsh Open!

Part 1 – The Welsh Open…

Things are ramping up now and we are just over 3 weeks away from the big day!

There will of course be an email sent out to players a bit closer to the time but for now there’s some things I want to share here.

Prizes!

Yes, let’s start with the thing that everyone loves! The swag!

As previously mentioned (like, a lot), the Welsh Open is now an officially recognised AMG Grand Tournament event meaning that there will be the same prize structure as the recent UK Games Expo – cards and dice for everyone, templates and trays for top finishers.

But of course we have WAY more than that to give out of our very own prizing!

In the last week I’ve received the delivery of alt arts – designed by the incredible Dan Eicher – that will be participation swag.

An order has gone in with the wonderful Jon and Michaela at Cog O Two for some lovely acrylic goodies which I’ll show off closer to the time when I’ve got them!

We’ve also got 3D printed tokens, loads of Onyx Squadron foil packs to give out and of course trophies for the winner of the main event and the side event AND top in faction prizes too!

I don’t have a picture to share just now but there’s also a BIG stack of goodies to go on the bounty table. The bounties will be shared closer to the time too!

All in all, if you come to the Welsh Open you WILL come away with a great amount of swag and I guarantee* you will have a fantastic time!

*I mean, like, not a money back guarantee or anything, just, sort of, generally, I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy yourself.

Oh, and you’ll also get a hot lunch included on the Saturday!

You can pick up a ticket from here: https://www.thebattlefields.co.uk/events-at-the-battlefields/star-wars-x-wing-welsh-gt-2024-cardiff

You can also check out the Facebook event page for registration info, rules clarifications or to ask any questions about the event.

We are really excited for the Welsh Open and we’d absolutely love to see you there!

The other thing to mention is the day 2 side event for those who don’t make it into the cut. After some deliberation over a format, we’ve decided to go with what I wanted to do last year:

Cross-faction.

Yes, if you want to pair vulture droids with T-65’s and Torrents then this is the event for you!

There are, of course some rules (I mean, we don’t want TOTAL chaos, right?) which you’ll need to follow:

  • 20 point lists as normal
  • 4 rounds of swiss using all 4 scenarios (in a randomised order on the day)
  • You MUST use the YASB MultiFaction builderhttps://yasb.app/?f=All&d=v9ZeZ20Z&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=. This keeps everyone on the same page and prevents any weird loopholes (like trying to put Disciplined on Kanan or Selfless on a Decimator). If YASB lets you build it, you’re good. If not, then sorry, it’s out!
  • You must bring TWO printed copies of your list. One for the TO and one to show your opponent. It’s going to be confusing enough as it is, let’s make it as easy as we can on each other!
  • The format WILL INCLUDE EXTENDED. I doubt there’s anything truly broken out there but hey, there’s no harm looking!
  • Unique still applies – Han Solo is cool but you won’t be allowed to have Scum Hand and Rebel Han in your list. Sorry. Same goes for title cards. If it has a pip to mark as unique, it applies across your list.
  • To clarify – Darth Vader is a different character than Anakin Skywalker:
  • 8 ship maximum, 3 ship minimum still applies
  • Ban list still applies

I’m sure that questions will come up so get theory crafting and if you get any questions that come out of that, send them my way!

I think that just about covers the Welsh Open for now. Let’s see what else there is, shall we?

Part 2 – A reaction…

Last week’s blog was, for me at least, a bit of a break from convention. I generally prefer to talk about my games and how I feel about the game and what I can do to try and improve myself rather than the game as a whole and all the stuff around it.

I think it was worthwhile though. On Reddit especially, I got a lot of responses from people. Some agreed, some didn’t. Some are optimistic, some more pessimistic. The best thing though is that nobody got vitriolic and started spouting nonsense.

The game is in a rather unusual spot right now. Stock is spotty, info is sparse, the meta is old and there’s no product on the way that we’re aware of. On the other hand, the info that AMG has released feels positive and there’s a year or so of OP planned and a World Championship on the horizon.

Time will tell, I guess, where the game is actually at. In some ways the not knowing is the worst simply because it generates the wild speculation and hot takes that we see. Maybe my post last week didn’t help that. Maybe it did. Even though I’m now aware of more things that perhaps indicate a future I don’t want to contemplate, I’m glad I wrote it and shared it. It felt quite cathartic I think.

Anyway, that’s enough of that, let’s keep things moving…

Part 3 – A thought…

So this is something I’ve had in my head for a good while now. I’ve never shared it here (at least, I don’t think I have?!) and it really only came up as I commented in (another) Reddit post.

The post itself was about how the person felt about the development of X-Wing from 1.0 through to 2.5 and what they felt the issues were/are.

Now, having played 1.0, 2.0 and 2.5, version 1 is probably my least favourite. Sorry 1.0 fans. But between 2.0 and 2.5? Well, there’s pro and cons to both.

I don’t miss bidding. I don’t miss chasing someone who is running away to preserve ship points.

The main thing I do miss though is list building. Which is ironic really since I’m not a very good list builder myself. What I think that 2.5 does worse than 2.0 is one of the main features that 2.0 had over 1.0. Granularity.

It’s been bandied about since 2.5 dropped and while I’m finally used to all other aspects of 2.5 like ROAD roll, range 0 shooting, red focus on bumping and scenarios, I still don’t think that the 20 point list building system is the best way to do it.

I’m fine with loadouts. That isn’t a problem. In fact, I think it’s a pretty good way to keep ships relatively balanced and prevent newer players (or silly players, like me) from overloading a single ship with ‘stuff’ and then having no points left for other ships. Like I used to with Dash and Jake back in the day.

I remember hearing the phrase ‘levers’ as being a way to have multiple avenues for rebalancing ships that are over/under powered.

It’s cool, I like loadout, it stays, that’s fine.

My issue is with 20 points.

Now, I get that it makes total sense from a game design point of view to have objectives be worth 1 point. It’s simple, it’s easy to remember. If lists come to 20 points and you want that to also be the threshold for winning a game then yes, 1 point per objective gives you the very real option of finding a balance between ‘kill everything’ to get 20 or ‘kill nothing’. Two extremes of course but both are technically possible.

The big issue this causes (and in my opinion, the biggest issue with the game right now) is obviously with the points for the ships and how they balance.

It’s all well and good to say that ‘there’s multiple levers to pull to balance’ and I get that it’s technically true. Ship little bit too good? Decrease loadout. Ship little bit too bad? Increase loadout. Fine. The issue is with the other lever.

Let’s take an example. Luke Skywalker.

Customisable Luke is currently 6 points and has 24 points of loadout. At this price has been seen in a previous meta but at the moment he isn’t seen at all. Why? Because the Standard Loadout Luke at 5 points is just better. It has torps and regen and crucially, that 1 point difference in cost is more valuable in terms of what else you can fit in the list than any upgrade custom Luke could take. Even considering that custom Luke has 24 loadout points (which is a huge amount).

But.

If you drop custom Luke to 5 points? Standard Loadout Luke disappears. Custom Luke is better value. You can drop Instinctive Aim and R2-D2, still have Proton Torps, take R3 astromech to basically cover the IA loss and still have 9 points left over. That’s Afterburners and Marksmanship.

With points as they are things become very black and white. Luke at 6, meh. Luke at 5, auto-include. And as much as I’m not a list builder, I don’t like that.

If you were to take things back to the 200 point system though, it becomes easier to (eventually, after some testing and adjustments, of course) put Battle of Yavin Luke at, say 54 points and customisable Luke at 56.

The same goes for other ships which are widely accepted as being above the curve. SoC Odd Ball, Sabine in a TIE Fighter, things like that.

Of course, that does then bring up the issue of building to exactly 200. Ir more to the point, purposely building to less than 200 to prevent your opponent getting those points.

Now, when bidding was abolished and ROAD brought in, I felt it was very over the top to have to roll for first player AND award your opponent any points that you failed to bring (i.e. if you bring a 19 point list, your opponent gets 1 point at the start of the game automatically). I think that in the 20 point format as it stands, it’s pointless (ba-dum-tss) but in a 200 point system I think it holds some value.

It should prevent people from bringing 180 point lists that only want to play for objectives and prevent their opponent from being able to score 20 points by simply not having them on the board.

Another happy by-product of this change would be that you very VERY seldomly would get draws. The chances of scoring the same number of points as your opponent with ships of differing vales as well as the 2 or 5 or 7 points you can’t fit into your list would be huge. Draws go away. For the most part, anyway. Intentional draws? Harder to say I think.

Of course all of this is a bit of a pipe dream since I can’t see AMG doing ANY of this having already ditched 200 points to go to 20. Again, I do see why they changed it but I feel that we, as players, can be trusted to count to 200 and count 10 for objective points and as far as I can tell, that’s the trickiest part of this.

Feel free to point out any major issues or anything that you see with this but while I’m generally fine with the game as it is, I do this this would be a bit better.

The conclusion…

Well, not a lot to say in this bit I think. It’s just been a bit of a meandering wander through my current thoughts on the game.

Don’t forget to get your Welsh Open ticket and I’ll see you back here next week!

The outro…

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