Category: Blog

Just a random Blog Post that I didn’t think would fit anywhere else

Lockdown Games, a guide to playing with yourself in 2021

As January comes to a close, and the pandemic is still changing the face of gaming for a lot of us, Kris takes the time to share some of his survival tips for keeping his hobbies alive through 2020, and what plans he has moving forwards.

Continue reading “Lockdown Games, a guide to playing with yourself in 2021”

Guess Who’s Back!

Kris is back, tell a friend!

Hi all,

So I woke up today and thought I should probably have a shower and get ready for work…
Obviously that can wait as I sit her planning my triumphant return to pseudo journalism/blogging/reviewing stuff/adding to the random crap that fills the internet.

When I started this blog it was purely as a requirement to writing over on Bell of Lost Souls, I would hash out an article idea, blast through it on here, hit post and then re-read it a day later, edit it and put it in the queue for BoLS and then give myself a pat on the back.

Obviously the main content for this page has been X-Wing and since starting to write about it I have found myself as a guest and then co-host of the NOVA Squadron Radio Podcast (love you guys!) and that is one of the things I wanted to address in this article.

I still love X-Wing, I still think about new builds and look at the new reveals and have ideas but I don’t get to play anymore.  Between my move to Cold Lake, AB and my work schedual preventing me from traveling back to Calgary or any other places for event I felt that I am lacking in credentials to actually talk about and give advice to people about X-Wing.

This is what I passed on to the guys over at BoLS as I didn’t want to do this half assed, I only want to give you guys content that is helpful, informative and fun to read.

I’m getting there honest…
Whilst I have plans in motion to hopefully makes some changes in my life I wanted to jump back on the horse.  There is a lot going on in gaming at the moment and I want to be around to cover it.
I want to try to step up this blog in to something bigger, No Click Bait just Content.
This is not going to happen overnight and it may never be what I want it to be but as I type this out I honestly feel a little excited.  I am going to throw the training wheels away and whilst there will still be X-Wing content, I am hoping to add in more.

I play Armada, Imperial Assault, Malifaux, Warhammer, 40K, Epic, I could go on and on.  its not just Table Top, I want to bring in some of my other hobbies too, so maybe a bit of E-Sports coverage and stuff on the hobby aspects too.

Thats about it for my ranting but please come back, I promise there will be something new to read in a day or two and then we will see how far I can take this idea of mine!

X-Wing Breaking News: New Large ships on the Horizon!

Just going live on the FFG Website is there reveal of two new Large ships, so let’s take a quick look at what we know about the YT-2400 and the VT-49 Decimator!

Well all you X-Wing players thought that the two Huge ships, Wave 4 and the Rebel Aces set were enough to keep us satisfied for our space dogfighting fix.  FFG obviously disagreed and have just reviled two new Large ships.

Lets start off by looking at the predicted YT-2400 (Nice shout by Matt Taylor who predicted this ship coming out back in April, you can read his thought here)

The YT-2400 is an Expanded Universe ship that was retroactively added in to the Special Edition of A New Hope.  It made its appearance as the ship of choice for Dash Render in the Shadows of the Empire comic, novel and N64/PC game.

The pack seams to add new Obstacles as well as all of the usual new upgrades and pilot options.  It is interesting that these Debris Clouds are ruined TIE’s (the ones in the Decimator are Ruined Rebel Ships) and I am hoping for a mechanic to add them in play on destruction of a ship, maybe lasting for 1 round, but time will tell.

So lets look at what we know about the ship itself.  A two attack dice 360 turret, 2 evade dice, 5 Hull and 5 Shields makes this a nice balance between the YT-1300 and the Firespray.

Action bar has the usual Focus and Target Lock and the not so usual Barrel Roll.  As I recall the YT-2400 has the same type of construction as the B-Wing in that the whole ship can rotate around the cockpit which makes the Barrel Roll make sense and I am looking forward to it being standard on a Large Ship.

Upgrade wise Dash can take an Elite Pilot Talent in addition to the Cannon Upgrade, Missiles and 1 Crew Slot.

In my opinion this is a really nice choice especially at the points level it sits at.  The 2 Shot turret is nice and Balanced whilst the 2 Evade is extremely good on such a rugged ship although it sous miss out on Slave-1’s evade action.
Considering Dash is the highest Pilot Skill available we can also assume he is the most expensive and coming in at 36 points for Pilot Skill 7 is only 3 points more than a Bounty Hunter in the Firespray so I think it’s going to be extremely good value and will defiantly see play as even the lower Pilot Skill ships keep the same stat line unlike when you downgrade the YT-1300 to a Outer Rim Smuggler.

Don’t worry though, all you Imperial Players are getting a new toy as well!

The VT-49 Decimator is HUGE, look at it, it’s a beast!
Added to the Expanded Universe in Star Wars Galaxies: Jump to Lightspeed it was designed to give the Imps and Evil Millennium Falcon to play with and it looks like FFG have stood by this with the awesome 360 3 attack turret.  The rest of the stats are crazy, 0 Evade marks it as something of a brick but 4 Shields and 12 (yes 12…) Hull should keep it in the game for a while regardless.
Action wise, I am not overly sup prised by the lack of Evade and Barrel Roll on this bad boy but we do get Focus and Target Lock.  The card is stuffed with Upgrade Options though 3 of the 4 shown pilots have access to an Elite Pilot Talent with a Torpedo Slot, 3 Crew Slots and what I think is a Cannon Upgrade option but my like of HD monitor at work is letting me down on that last pic…
(OK, so now that I had the time to look at it, the last upgrade is form a Bomb, hence the included Bomb rules and the token…)
So no Dial reviles for either ship yet and lots of nice upgrade cards from the look of things.
I am looking forward to Mara Jade personally, but then I have always had a soft spot for a red head (don’t tell the wife…)

Lando looks like fun and I enjoy the small easter egg of his artwork and Han’s artwork being the two of them playing Sabac for the Falcon.
The Outrider Title looks like it may be a little overcosted by my gut instinct as the most popular cannon to use it with would be the Heavy Laser Cannon but then you have 0 shots at Range 1 and all of that for 12 points total but it may come in to play with some stand off list I have not had chance to formulate yet.
Mara Jade can add Stress to a large number of ships if you can get close enough and I think she may find a seat next to Vader on an Omicron Shuttle.  Whilst the Fleet Officer could do work in a cheap shuttle supporting Bombers or even in a Firespray list to add some Focus to your Target Locks.
Thanks for looking people and if you want to see more of my thought on X-Wing check out my Blog at The Dice Hate Me – Kris

Well I know there are lots of thing to be excited about already but these to Large Ships due late Q3 have just made me even happier to be an X-Wing player! Oh and is that “Ice Heart” sitting in a crew slot on one of those Decimators…

X-Wing: Wave IV – Z-95 Headhunter Review

Oh the Imperials have it so good with their 12 point Pilot Skill 1 Ship do they?  Let me introduce you to the new bottom of the Rebel Barrel…

Now this is the Rebel ship that I was most looking forward to seeing in Wave 4, so much so that I sort of talked about it already in my earlier article talking about potential new threats to the TIE swarm.

I really like what the Z-95 brings to the table.  Its a really nice looking Ship in my opinion and the pack is loaded with upgrades that you will want to get your hands on.

The Ships stats are fairly basic, 2’s across the board so compering it to the Tie Fighter it loses 1 Evade and 1 Hull but gains 2 shields.  Over all I would consider this a drop in Survivability as the Evade dice would help you against every attack where as the extra hit point overall only helps once. It is however, more resistant to Critical Hits just by having shields.

Upgrade and Ability wise it is fairly bare too, with just a Missile upgrade available and Target Lock and Focus for actions.

The Manoeuvre Dial again, is just OK.  Nothing too amazing but nothing that is glaringly bad.  It can get you where you need to be but it’s not doing it in style importantly it keeps all the 2’s and all the 3’s including the hard turns.

In addition to the nice and cheap Bandit Squadron Pilot shown above you get.

 So your basic 12 Bandit comes in at pilot skill 1, the Tala cost 13 points and is Pilot Skill 4 with a jump to 17 points for Blount at Pilot Skill 6 and finally Cracken at a mighty 19 points for Pilot Skill 8.  Astute readers will have noticed that if we keep the comparison to the TIE fighters going the 12 point option has 1 pilot Skill on the Academy Pilot and the 13 point option has 1 point of pilot skill on the Obsidian Squadron Pilot.  This means that if you do an 8 HeadHunter Swarm and face off against an equal number of ties you will be shooting first so this slightly off sets the lower survivability of each ship.

Lieutenant Blount has had a lot of chatter as his card text is fairly good in the right circumstance.
When attacking, the defender is hit by your attack, even if he does not suffer any damage.
The has quite a few interactions worth noting, firstly he pops Stealth Devices as the defender counts as being hit by an attack.  Secondly if you give him Ion Missiles they always do their one point of damage and inflict their two Ion tokens and his third interaction is with Assault Missiles where they will always pop to do the splash damage even if no damage is caused to the target.

Airen Cracken’s ability is also very nice.
After you perform an attack you may choose another friendly ship at Range 1.  That ship may perform 1 free action.
This is better than Squad Leader as it still allows Cracken his own action whilst still buffing your Squadron.  With Craken being pilot Skill 8 he should be attacking early in the turn giving the opportunity for early Target Lock/Focus attacks.

The two named pilots are the only access to an Elite Pilot Talent for the Z-95 though so their already higher cost can easily increase whilst not rely getting any more survivable.

In addition to the Ship it’s self and Pilot’s you get five rather nice upgrade cards.

First the two new Elite Pilot Skills that come in the pack are Decoy and Wingman both cost 2 Squad Points and are quite interesting.  Decoy is sort of like Swarm Tactics but has a range of Range band 1 or 2 rather than just Range 1, it does only swap Pilot Skill rather than passing it along the chain but this can be used to fire later in the phase if so desired.

Wingman is a little bit of a mixed bag too, removing Stress is good but removing it at the start of the combat phase is a little harder to take full advantage of as if you incurred it through movement you will still have lost your action.  It is handy with Cracken or other Attack based card text that pass on free actions and will keep your clear for movement the turn after though.

The other cards in the pack all relate to the Missile upgrade.

Assault Missiles we have seen before and are a solid choice not only against a Swarm but against a Biggs based list or anything else that revolves around being packed around a range band one focal point.

The Ion Pulse Missile is new and becomes the cheeps missile option at only 3 Squad Points.  Range Band 2-3 is fairly standard as is its 3 attack dice for an Ion Weapon.  It does however add two Ion tokens to a target allowing you to ion a Large ship in one shot. (Remember that the Ion tokens are wiped after one turn so it will not carry over on a small ship.)

Munitions Failsafe is an interesting Modification that interacts with both Missiles and Torpedoes and only costs 1 point.  If you miss with your attack than you do not discard the Ordinance card.  This (for me anyway) goes a long way toward balancing out the Ordinance as it can be expensive for a one shot weapon that does not always have the effect on the game you would hope. (Please don’t take it on Blount though….)  I can see it having the same effect on the game as the Gunner or Luke upgrade where people will try to let one hit through so that the effect does not kick in.  For this reason I like it most with either Assault Missiles or the Ion Pulse Missiles as they have effects that trigger off hits and so if they do let the one damage through than their effects still work.  Another nice interaction is with Flechette Torpedoes as they the only require an attack to be made and for the target to have 3 or less Hull so even if you miss and keep the Torpedo through Munitions Failsafe you still add the stress to the target.

How does all this fit together in a list then?
Well I am considering the two following builds;

Control List

Gold Squadron Pilot (25)
Y-Wing (18), Flechette Torpedo (2), Proton Torpedoes (4), Munitions Failsafe (1)

Gold Squadron Pilot (25)
Y-Wing (18), Flechette Torpedo (2), Proton Torpedoes (4), Munitions Failsafe (1)

Lieutenant Blount (20)
Z-95 Headhunter (17), Ion Pulse Missiles (3)

Bandit Squadron Pilot (15)
Z-95 Headhunter (12), Ion Pulse Missiles (3)

Bandit Squadron Pilot (15)
Z-95 Headhunter (12), Ion Pulse Missiles (3)

100 Points

This list is designed to give you an early advantage by controlling the movement of a priority target early allowing you to position to remove it in the subsequent turns.  Blount should be thrown in first and it could be worth taking Deadeye rather than one of the Munitions Failsafe’s to ensure that he can get his shot away on the required target. After that the Y’s add Stress with the Flechette’s and you can position to finish them next round with the Photon Torpedoes on to a ship that is where you want it to be with no action.

Concussion Missiles Sound Fun…

Bandit Squadron Pilot (16)
Z-95 Headhunter (12), Concussion Missiles (4)

Bandit Squadron Pilot (16)
Z-95 Headhunter (12), Concussion Missiles (4)

Bandit Squadron Pilot (16)
Z-95 Headhunter (12), Concussion Missiles (4)

Bandit Squadron Pilot (16)
Z-95 Headhunter (12), Concussion Missiles (4)

Tala Squadron Pilot (17)
Z-95 Headhunter (13), Concussion Missiles (4)

Tala Squadron Pilot (17)
Z-95 Headhunter (13), Concussion Missiles (4)

98 Points

This list is a Rebel Swarm with a twist, it should have the early damage at range band 3 to go toe to toe with another swarm whilst also retaining the advantage a swarm brings against a Falcon or Firespray list.  24 Attack dice at range band 3 from a secondary weapon (so no extra evade dice) and the 6 chances to automatically convert a Blank result in to a Hit is some worrying Alpha Damage and then you still have the number of targets to be able to chip away at people in the same way as a normal TIE swarm.  Remember that you don’t have the 3rd evade dice or the Evade action though so if you mess up that first pass and don’t down some enemy firepower it could get tricky.  You could spend the left over points to take Munition Failsafes or even down grade the Tala’s to Bandits or you could upgrade one Bandit to a Tala and fly them in two flights of 3 rather than in pairs.

That’s my take on the Z-95’s there are so many options for this cool little ship and I am looking forward to seeing if the 8 ship Rebel Swarm Becomes a thing (I honestly don’t think it will compete with a TIE swarm because of the lack of the Evade dice but we will see) What do you guys think?  Is there a place for even a loan Z-95 to bulk out some of the 3 ship Rebel Lists or what about replacing your Red Squadron Pilot with 2 Bandit’s for just 1 point more?

X-Wing: TIE Swarm Theory Part 1

TIE Swarm is such a generic term, it’s about time we got a bit more clarity on what constitutes a swarm and how/why they work.  This time I go large with some 8 TIE builds…

TIE Swarms, it’s Old School and yet it still works.

The reason I like to talk about the Swarm’s so much is because they have been around for longer than most other builds being that it primarily involves all Wave 1 ships.  This time I am going to be talking about the Swarmiest of Swarms the 8 TIE Swarm.

An 8 TIE Swarm facing off against a 6 TIE Swarm deployed in what I like to call the Brick Formation…

The 8 TIE swarm still has variant and is not a definitive build.  My personal preferred build is 4 Academy Pilots and 4 Obsidian Squadron Pilots as I fly them slightly differently to some other builds using them as two mini-swarms that converge for a volley or two and then move off again.

Another option is 7 Academy Pilots and one of the Named Pilots of 16 points or less. Dark Curse is a nice defensive option in this kind of list giving you a little extra resistance to damage but I would rather take one of the 15 point pilots and try to grab initiative as getting to place that first big asteroid somewhere can be quite powerful.  My 15 point Pilot of choice would be Winged Gundark as he give you a good offensive edge against fellow imperial list who are normally light on shields.

The premises of the 8 TIE swarm is all about quantity.  Not a lot in it does anything good there is a lot in it!
It works by overloading your opponent with targets and forcing them to spread the fire power they have across multiple ships.

Most opponents would be unwise to try an early head to head with this type of swarm.  The shear number of dice you will get to roll should ensure damage but you WILL lose some ships on your early pass.  The key is to ensure that you focus down the high threats while anything they shoot at is no more effective than any of your other ships.

As soon as one of your TIE’s is damaged break it off from your formation.  This forces the enemy to either focus it for the kill or ignore it and have wasted the firepower they have put in to it.  If they do go after the damaged TIE you should be able to gain the upper hand with positioning and if he only sends one ship off to chase, this is even better as the chasing ship will be isolated and let the rest of your swarm overpower his remaining ships.

Once you have used brute force to whittle down your opponent to just a couple of ships you can scatter the swarm and try to dog fight a little more.  It is important to remember that you want to break off with damaged ships and try to keep the focus on a different ship every time.  It is also worth trying to use blocking to control their movement, cutting off paths to ensure that their ships can only be in a couple of positions.

Crashing becomes a whole new game with this type of list as well, there are times where you will want to sacrifice a lot of actions to ensure that you get the most shots on a target but equally you need to stay off the asteroids as every round a ship fails to fire is a huge advantage to your opponent as an individual TIE with its two attack dice is going to struggle to do any serious damage.

Death by a thousand cuts is a very good way to describe this swarm configuration in action.

There is also a good amount of intimidation in facing this type of list, and it is one of the most effective against a Falcon list if you can fly it well enough to get the full swarm shooting at least once or twice and even Chewbacca is going down…

There are a lot of variations on deployment with this many TIE’s its well worth practicing a few opening plays to make sure you know where you can expect to be round 2 or 3…