Welcome to this week’s blog – and HAPPY NEW YEAR!
2023 is upon us and I am back from my little break that I (usually) take from the blog when I’m off work.
Is there much to talk about? Well, you could say that…
I’d like to again put out the form for anyone interested in being involved in the XTC for Wales. If you want some more back info on this then check out the intro for this blog post where I go into detail but to keep this one short, just check out this link and fill out the form if you’re interested!
And so, with the return of the blog comes an exciting announcement. Are you ready? Ok, here goes…
In 2023 we are holding the Welsh Open in Firestorm Games in Cardiff!
With official OP past Worlds still somewhere up in the air we decided to bite the bullet and organise something ourselves! It’s going to be a TWO DAY event with 5 rounds of play on the Saturday and a cut on Sunday as well as other events for those who didn’t make cut.
It’s happening on the 24th and 25th of June 2023 and tickets are…. ALREADY ON SALE!!!! It’s £25 for both days (bit of a bargain if you ask me!) and we while we are working on prizing (but no spoilers for you just yet!) we can tell you that there will be PLENTY of shiny things being dished out right through from top tables to the bottom. We will be posting out details via the Facebook event page closer to the time but can I ask that if you are thinking of coming PLEASE book your tickets as early as you can. It really helps us with budgeting for prizes and the sooner we know, the more we can get!
Firestorm are currently allocating us 72 tickets but do have the capacity to go significantly higher. We can break 72, right?
We are really excited to get this event up and running and we’d LOVE to make it a really amazing weekend but there is one thing that we need to make that happen – YOU! So if you’re free and can make it we would LOVE to see you in Cardiff. Maybe you could be Pencampwr Cymru*!
*unofficially, of course! Unless AMG is reading an you want to make it an official Nationals level event? Contact me if you do!
Since we’re talking about events it would be remiss of me to not mention an event being run by fellow Exile the lovely Mr Steve Boulton in Gloucester! It’s on Sunday the 29th of January in Atlas Tabletop Gaming and you can find more information on the Facebook event page or just go ahead and buy your ticket from here!
Looking a little further ahead, the Firestorm Womp Rats are holding a tournament in Cardiff on Saturday the 18th of March in Firestorm Games in Cardiff (perfect if you want to scope the place out before the Welsh Open!). You can check details on the Facebook event page here or just go directly to book a ticket here! I can tell you that the top prize here is a free ticket to the Welsh Open! (or a refund on the one you’ve already bought! Nudge nudge!).
Since we’re looking at months ahead I will also mention that we’re doing an event in Newport too! It’s the last Saturday in April so it’s a bit of a way off yet but I just want to put it on people’s radars!
I think that’s all for the moment. On to the next section….
Yes, it’s that time again! The end of January marks the close of the first quarter of 2023 so it’s time to start peddling my wares!
On the back of some conversations that Dan Eicher (my amazing designer guy!) and I had back in the autumn we both got a little carried away playing around with ideas from a certain movie.
Long story short, here’s your first sneak peek at this quarter’s alt art cards…
Yes, in a massive blast from the past, my childhood comes to life with Spaceballs themed gifts! There’s also going to be a random card from the Welsh XTC Empire list from last year for some of the higher tiers.
If you fancy getting your hands on these or just supporting the blog in general you can sin up to be a Patron by clicking here and selecting a tier. Of course there’s no obligation to do it at all and I appreciate that times are tight right now for a lot of people.
For those who already support me, thank you so, so much. I appreciate it more than you could know!
Alright, that’s enough of that, let’s get on with it!
The…batrep?!? (JARGON ALERT!!)
So since it’s been Christmas, have I actually played a game? Well, yes! Sort of.
In 2022 we had tried to arrange some sort of event every other month. We did a few tournaments but every so often our super enthusiastic TO Mark Hall likes to do ‘a special’.
We did one in 2021, one being a sort of race between two epic ships moving along 3 boards laid out in a line while starfighters shot either the big ships or each other. Then in March 2022 we did another. This was a bit more of a free for all but players on the same team could confer with each other and it also had portals teleporting ships to other parts of the board.
Both were MASSIVE amounts of fun.
Since that awkward week between Christmas and New Year was coming up, Mark had in mind to do something equally wacky and entertaining on the Wednesday. If, in a haze of turkey sandwiches and mince pies, we could work out which day we were actually on, of course.
In the lead up, the only indication Mark gave us was two words:
Now, I’ve seen posts about people playing this sort of thing before and it’s looked REALLY fun. I couldn’t wait to give it a go myself!
As we got closer, Mark outlined some of the rules and list building details. Now, I’d had some initial thoughts about what to fly based on some conversations we’d had in the group and on casual night. Steve and Alex Boulton had played a version of it before and Alex had found a hilarious way to play slightly disruptively with one ship while cruising away with another. Interesting theory.
After considering running two Alpha class star wings (SLAM and shoot sounds good!) and thinking about bringing as many 2 point TIE fighters as I could manage (just as well I didn’t, I’d missed the 2 ship limit rule!), I narrowed it down to 2 options.
One was Boba Fett. Double tapping seems good since I’m likely to have people in front and behind. We’re likely to be bunched up so rerolls are very likey. Add in Lone Wolf and some sort of bomb and that could be good.
Well, just for me (apparently!), Mark had allowed 10 points and extended ships. What would that mean…..?
THAT’S RIGHT! DASH RENDAR IS BACK BABAAAAYYYYYYY!!!
Is he the objectively correct choice? Probably not. Could I pass up this opportunity to put my beloved YT-2400 back on the table? When it came down to it (and I’d taken both ships along with me!) no, I could not.
Having not built Dash out in 2.5 I found myself lamenting the loss of the gunner slot but figured that since I’m running Dash this isn’t going to be hugely competitive anyway.
After some deliberation I ended up with this build:
Dash Rendar (10)
Trick Shot (4)
Magva Yarro (5)
Rigged Cargo Chute (4)
Overtuned Modulators (3)
Hull Upgrade (6)
Ship Cost: 10 Loadout: (22/22) Half Points: 5 Damage Threshold: 5
I’d have LOVED Bistan and Perceptive Copilot (like the good ol days!) but with no gunner slot I figured that this would let me do some nonsense like dropping rigged cargo on someone for the double whammy of trick shot plus outrider and have overtuned for mods that turn.
Is it any good? We’ll see I guess! I’m expecting to die which means I will get the Rigged and Overtuned charges back so I can likely do that trick more than once. Hopefully.
I turned up to Firestorm (a little later than intended!) to find that the table was set and we were almost ready to get started.
Here’s a quick shot of the basic rules we were using:
We counted up the total number of ships, put lock counters up to that amount into a bag and went around the table, picking out random numbers to assign to each ship we had brought.
We then placed ships onto the course in the order of the numbers we had drawn, 1 at the front, then 2, etc, right through to the highest number.
You can see in the middle of the board 2 piles of cards, one red and one blue. These are the power ups. You pick one up when you fly over or land on the corresponding icon on the board. You can’t collect a power up or use a portal until after you first cross the start line though!
You can also see a short cut section there. If you fly through it then at the end of each turn you’re in there you roll a red die and take a damage if you get a hit or crit. Risky!
We then placed a few obstacles (yay for Dash!) and started planning.
Now, my start position being 14th out of 16 ships wasn’t really ideal so I dialled in a 3 hard turn to start me off and see where I could go from there.
The answer was, not far.
We weren’t firing or taking any damage in the first two turns though so the impact would be minimal. Sort of.
A few things became apparent very quickly.
The front 3 ships had all sped off and two of them had teleported forwards at the first portal.
The Ghost, having deployed 4th, was slow rolling to deny people actions and shooting with it’s dorsal turrett.
Then further back Norra Wexley in a Y-Wing was also slow rolling, dumping bombs and shooting people with an ion cannon. Yes, this is where I was.
After turn two, things really started to get messy.
Now, did I mention that when you cross over the ‘force field’ (track lines) you roll for damage? and if your ship is totally outside then you take a damage and roll for another. Also, moving/rolling/boosting into ships, ramming them, causes them to move.
As you can perhaps imagine, a LOT of shenanigans happened next. What some of us didn’t foresee though was the number of bombs that were going to be dropped.
Baby Boba is ioned AND got bumped over the line by Rush but at least will get some points from those Thermals!
There were some brutal bumps going on and some heavy shots going on with points being racked up left and right.
What about Dash though? Well, with a couple of ships behind me, I decided to pull the move…
Range 2 obstructed Trick Shot with Outrider in play (one less agility for the defender) meaning that I was rolling 5 red dice at the Vulture’s 2 greens. I also had Overtuned Mods triggered so I had 3 calculates too.
I rolled 5 hits/crits out of hand. The Vulture was dead even if it rolled nattie evades.
Nice. I’ve not crossed the start line but I’m off the mark on points!
While most of us were stuck behind the start line a few had managed to get out in front and had teleported to the opposite side of the board…
While being in front sounds good it seemed to be bringing it’s own challenges with Alex Boulton taking shots without being able to reply and there just generally being less things to shoot at meaning it was harder to score points.
Meanwhile, back at the start line…
Yes, absolute chaos and carnage!
No, Dash hasn’t crossed the start line yet!
Yes, that Silencer is facing backwards! (only because the stupid pointy bits were in the way though!).
Skip forwards a few turns and a LOT has happened. Flora’s Boba has died and her Vulture has died for the second time. Darth Vader has decided to k-turn (JARGON ALERT!!) to shoot things rather than continue flying around the course.
And me? Well…
I’ve almost made it to the first corner but the approach has been, umm, a little bit brutal…
I’ve regained a shield from a blue pickup item but it’s only the Hull Upgrade that kept me alive. Not for long though I suspect…
With the store closing earlier than normal (Christmas opening hours!) we were going to get more more turn. In the battle of the Alex’s at the front, Boulton had shot ahead by rolling hit on a portal and crossed the start line to actually score some lap points. Alex Jensterle with baby Ani in the N-1 got ever so close to getting a lap but didn’t quite make it:
We called time at the end of this turn but unfortunately Dash wasn’t still on board for it…
Well, that was awesome!
First and foremost the whole experience was a HUGE amount of fun. Playing mass games like this always brings a very different feel than a normal game of X-Wing and that shared experience of something funny/unlikely/brilliant/terrible happening increases exponentially with a big group compared to when it’s just two people playing (one of whom likely benefited from said event while the other didn’t).
If your play group doesn’t do anything like this then I HIGHLY recommend trying to arrange something like it. It’s a truly fun and entertaining experience and it’s great to take a break from the usual 1 vs 1 format every now and then.
So how did the game finish for me? Actually, I won’t start there, I’ll instead look at the game format/rules first and then come back to that.
I spoke to Mark after the game was done and said something along the lines of ‘we’ll have to do that again!’ and his response suggested that he’d rather not. It seems that managing 10 players, moving order, shooting order, scoring and all of the stuff we had done had been rather taxing as a TO and hadn’t quite turned out as he’d expected.
For example, the combination of using 3 boards together to make the course and allowing up to 2 ships per player actually meant that only ONE SHIP completed even ONE lap of the track in the 5 hours we were playing.
Not only that but a few ships hadn’t even made it over the start line before being blown up and for me Dash didn’t even make it to the first corner. In FIVE HOURS.
How could that be sped up? I’m not quite sure. Clearly the luck of the starting grid position made a difference and the fact that a big chunky VCX deployed 4th and slow rolled while other ships sped off had an impact.
The intentional bumping (including boosts and rolls) I actually LOVED. And the ‘crossing the force field’ added an extra element of fun.
The down side here is of course the time it takes to do these moves in an already congested area.
I loved the portals (adding the random risk element) and the item boxes (picking up power ups). Perhaps in future you could add turrets, any ship gets fired at when it comes into range 2 or 3, maybe with 3 red dice and one eyeball to hit conversion. It might help thin the field and spread ships out a bit more.
The course could do with being shorter, especially if someone is planning to purposely clog the field, allowing ships to lap faster and gain more points.
That said, the only player to cross the finish line didn’t actually win the game…
I don’t want any of this to come over as any kind of criticism of Mark at all. The game was great fun and we all massively appreciate the effort he put in to put it on for us.
I guess everything in the last few paragraphs would be pointers or advice for people who are considering doing this themselves. There are some other existing rules knocking about somewhere though I don’t have any links or them.
In terms of Dash’s suitability to the game, well, he wasn’t great but also wasn’t terrible. Playing him again did make me fondly remember getting those Trick Shot 5 dice, no extra greed die for the target shots. Good times…
In the end, with all scores added up I managed to come fourth and win myself £5 of store credit. Unexpected but very welcome!
The event was won by Flora (who has only been playing 6 months or so) who, despite having her ships killed repeatedly, had the wisdom to bring bombs and a Firespray with VTG. Smart move.
I think that’s about it for this slightly unusual start to 2023’s blogs. I hope it inspires someone to go find/make up an alternative format and have lots of fun with friends! I’m off to start looking for a list for the Sith Taker Open!
See ya next week!
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