Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Yavin It Large vs TwIGgy

By Yavin 4's Early Light!
It's All-Skype Fight Night!

Two weeks since the arrival of Stylus Jnr Mk II, which means two weeks of building X-Wing lists during the 3am feeds. I finally scrape together an hour to play, and Kasfunatu kindly obliged.

Not a problem, work will negate the option to play for a couple of weeks myself, and so it was good to get one last sortie in.

Yavin It Large

Despite the range of ships available (and when Kasfunatu hosts, the galaxy is your oyster), I'm keeping my lists deliberately restricted. Mostly to represent the few models I own (which of course encourages me to buy more), but also to get a handle on the game fundamentals before branching out.

So it's an X/Y list of named pilots - all of them the poor bastards that never made it back to Yavin 4.

I'm also trying to get the hang of synergies: Garven generates extra Focus for Dutch's R5-P9 to turn into shields (which worked pretty well last time); meanwhile Dutch gives out free Target Locks, so the X-Wings can let fly with their Proton Torpedoes.

(At the last minute I decided to splash the points and upgrade to Advanced Proton Torpedoes - I didn't look too closely at the card, just paid more points and assumed they were better. Let's remember that)

Porkins doesn't add anything to the other two, but he does synergise with himself a bit: his R5-D8 repairing the damage he can take when ignoring stress; added to the potential to ignore the stress from a Lightning Reflexes move.

As a final touch, I swapped Dutch's torpedoes for a Twin Laser Turret, because as a child, I remember the battery-operated toy that spun the turret around and made beeping noises (high level tactical thinking going on here)



I'd been dying to try out the paired robots, and when the second arrived that morning, it was a perfect opportunity.  

My limitation on myself is having to own the card/ship: yes with xwing builder it would be very easy to sneak in another upgrade card, but I'm being true to myself setting all out before each match. Additionally, it means I still have anticipation for the next Amazon delivery to arrive.

The other self imposed limitation is based on one of the features of xwing-builder... On the site, when you create and save a squadron, it will tell you if anyone else has built before; and if someone has, then I change mine. True, this is not a foolproof, all encompassing method for anything, but at least it feels like I am trying to create my own combos.

First game with the pairing, and I wanted to try out different options, so I went with PTL and advanced sensors on one.... I liked this... reveal, action, action+stress, move, (clear stress if green move revealed), and with IG's 9 green moves there is a lot to be said. 

Following the game, I checked out other options for the pairing of abilities. Ewing/Bwing/Phantom/Advanced X1 could all do something similar.. I will probably be coming back to that; especially as I can fly small ships better!


Phase 1 - The Joust

The two squadrons deploy in opposite corners. From bottom to top: Porkins, Dutch, Garven. On the opposite side, IG-88B and IG-88C.

One was going to go for the joust and the other to flank. That was the plan anyway!

My squadron actually holds formation for two turns - I'm claiming that as a victory right there. All three snubfighters sweep to the left, to face an oncoming IG-88B, while the sneaky booster IG-88C comes in at 10 o'clock.

Both IGs target poor Garven (he always gets picked on - I suspect his focus-sharing ability is a good one to be rid of early), but he gets away with the loss of one shield.

And now it's my turn to shoot! With everyone Target Locking IG-88B, it's time to give him a faceful of Proton Torpedoes...

Wait, what? Advanced Proton Torpedoes are only Range 1! That's not how torpedoes work - I've seen Hunt for Red Oktober!

So it looks like I'm out of range for my torpedoes (and not likely to get close enough, given the IGs Boost ability and higher Pilot Skill). I console myself by blasting away with conventional weapons, and strip off most of IG-88Bs shields.

If I had not used my one-shot glitterstim, he'd be down even further.

I execute a perfect formation turn to the left - look how straight that line is! Disregard the fact that I'm not pointing anywhere useful, and that both Dutch and Porkins landed on an asteroid - it's still a lovely straight line.

Fortunately IG-88C gets out of position too, so the only shots are IG-88B taking Garven's last shield.

I am still struggling with big ship movement, and judging where I will end up, and a boost + move, and I shot well past where I intended. 

Garven k-turns to get a bead on IG-88B, but the other two snubfighters aren't so organised: Dutch flies straight into a Debris Cloud, and Porkins bumps into the back of him.

IG-88B tries to take out Garven, but misses with both attempts. In the return fire, Garven gets in a lucky hit to seriously smash up the Aggressor. The last few shots from Dutch's Twin Laser Turret (ahh... 360 line of sight - it's very nice to meet you), take out IG-88B completely.

Yep, a lot of fluffy rolling with no focus or evade, and four hull points disappears very quickly. Eep!

One down, and all my ships left! This would be one of those winning positions I'm in the habit of letting slip, isn't it?

Phase 2 - The Melee

In the wake of my early lead, my formation goes somewhat haywire. I scatter in three directions, generally trying to clear stress or recover shields. My aim is to get close enough to IG-88C to use those damn Proton Torpedoes, but the large ship is just too damn manoeuvrable to reach.

While Dutch crawls in front of IG-88C, soaking up fire, Porkins flies behind and uses his Lightning Reflexes to sloop around the rear in an unexpected move.

As it transpired, that put IG-88C out of firing arc, and cost me a hull point when I tried to use Porkins' ability to negate the stress, but it was nonetheless an unexpected move.

Nice ability, in the last two games it has been done to me, and pretty neat.

My efforts to close to Advanced Proton Torpedo range continued with my X-Wing bumping into the back of IG-88C - not a great thing when he has a Seismic Charge to deploy.

Rather disappointing in fact. I did think the Y was probably out of range, but it did a meager 1 damage only. Not sure I'd buy again for 2pts.

Sure enough, Porkins lost another hull point in the explosion - luckily his little astromech was working overtime on hull repairs, or he'd have had the ignominy of being shot down while still having full shields.

Then finally - a breakthrough! I get Porkins within a whisker of IG-88C and have a Target Lock for my torpedoes. Kas points out that, without a Focus token, the torpedoes are something of a waste (which is true - this doesn't happen with regular Proton Torpedoes, damnit!).

Yes, I was all for letting Stylus have a shot where he could turn three blanks to eyes, when nothing to turn eyes to hits - but it would have been unsporting to let him take that shot.

I still want to fire them anyway - just to use the damn things - but settle for a point-black shot that takes away most of IG-88Cs shields. The Twin Laser Turret also mops up, and the Aggressor is looking less than healthy.

IG-88C fights back with a sloop around to get a bead on Porkins, dealing a critical hit. I hit the afterburners to get the X-Wing to a safe distance to effect repairs, but the wardroid is giving chase. He unleashes a barrage of fire that no amount of shields or astromech repairs can withstand. Porkins is roasted.

Plus ça change.

Phase 3 - The Chase

I only managed one screengrab for this part of the battle, as childcare duties called me away, and I returned to finish the battle whilst cradling a little co-pilot.

With Porkins gone, Dutch and his Y-Wing made a run for it - racing for time to regenerate shields while sniping away with the Twin Laser Turret.

IG-88C gave chase and the two ships blasted away at each other - at one point, both were down to a single pip of hull.

It was, in fact a race to see who could turn the slowest (since you wanted the enemy ship to slip past and get in arc). Dutch had the advantage here, being on the outside track with the smaller craft (and kudos to Kasfunatu for pointing out that I was about to take a manoeuvre that would fly me off the table - it's difficult to judge the far end of the table via Skype).

IG-88C wasn't about to get rear-shotted, and so slooped around to face the Y-Wing at close range. With Veteran Instincts, he got to shoot first - four blanks. He used Target Lock to re-roll - four more blanks.

That about summed up my rolling in this game. To be fair, I'd probably used several games worth of dice luck in Saturday's Frostgrave, so I can't really complain.

I wasn't about to refuse such a generous turn of luck - it was too close for the laser turret, so Dutch opened fire with his main guns and blew away IG-88C.

Yep, three whiffs on the evade too.

And what remained of IG-88B & IG-88C went off to the pub.

Back At The Cantina

What a battle! That might be my favourite so far (and not just because I finally won at X-Wing). I like how the named pilots can back each other up, and how the astromechs, and various other upgrades, can make the fighters pretty hardy.

Yes, damn fine game. Nice synergistic list too from the rebels; even nicer given the theme.

What I did not like were those sodding Advanced Proton Torpedoes. Regular kind from now on, please. If I'd had them in this battle, it could have been devastating, since I was frequently at Range 2 with a Target Lock to spend. As it was, all my torpedoes got shot down unfired.

The Twin Laser Turret, on the other hand, is a must-have. I'm glad it makes Y-Wings combative - I really like the look of the ships themselves, but was afraid they'd been overtaken, meta-wise, by nimbler craft (that's another thing I like about this game - it seems to keep everything playable, even back to Wave 1).

It is a great choice, and whether the designers look to make old ships more versatile or the players come up with the combo: either way, it is great to see and have the options.

It was an interesting challenge against a double IG-88 list - that's clearly how they're supposed to be played, and they really can be loaded up with nasty tricks. But the Aggressor seems unlike any other kind of Large Ship - fast, fragile and manoeuvrable. It doesn't seem able to stand up to a shoot-out with smaller craft (although crappy dice may have something to do with that).

Yep, they lost, but I'd like to take that list for a spin again at some point. I do need some big ship flying practice, and no better way to do that than having two of them!

I'm Yavin a good time - don't stop me now!

The Midi-Chlorian Count

And he's a bonus feature: some random Star Wars trivia that I need to bounce out of my head and onto the page for your reading pleasure. Today on The Midi-Chlorian Count, we look at a Hey, It's That Guy - Porkins!

A higher Pilot Skill than Red or Gold Leaders, let's not forget

If Jek Porkins is remembered at all, it is as a heavy-set X-Wing pilot with an unnecessarily silly name and a flying ability so poor he got shot down before the TIE Fighters even showed up.

In fact, he was played by an actor with the even more unlikely handle of William Hootkins. 

Being a solid character actor, Hootkins subsequently appeared in another Lucasfilm production starring Harrison Ford.

"Top. Men."

As well as classic sci-fi space opera, Flash Gordon, as the cowardly lab assistant to Topol.

"Stop running! We only have fourteen hours to save the Earth!"

And finally, he appeared as the corrupt Lt Eckhardt in Batman (alongside another Star Wars alumnus, Billy Dee Williams!)

It should have been Detective Bullock, but they decided even he wasn't that much of an asshole.

(Biggs was in Batman too, but who gives a stuff - he's no Hey, It's That Guy guy)

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