A Comedy of Errors

The intro…

Welcome to this week’s blog!

Again it’s huge and so AGAIN I’ll keep the intro super duper short.

Two weeks in a row! Is that considered cheating?

Following last week’s…. ummm… interesting introduction to 2.5 I immediately binned that list and decided to take in some wisdom from external sources.

Being back in work I’d managed to do some serious catching up on my podcast listening (while driving, I’m not just sitting and listening to podcasts, I promise!) and get some information on what people think is good and what better players than myself think will work.

The general feeling is that more bodies is pretty good and that obviously, given the game balance at the moment, named pilots are much better than generics.

Also, having a mix of ship types can help with reducing the risks in scenario selection variance. ‘Mixed arms’ is a phrase I’ve heard Dee and Ryan talk about on various Fly Better podcast episodes (meaning you have different ship chassis or pilots to cover different ‘jobs’ within a list) and while it’s not generally something I purposely looked at under 2.0 I can certainly see how it would be a big benefit in 2.5.

You want an example? Ok. Also, please bear in mind that list building is NOT my forte and that I reserve the right to totally trash this opinion later.

Since sitting on objectives to claim them is a thing (Assault at the Satellite Arrays) and big and medium base ships count as 2 ships. Makes sense to have one of those. Even better if they have a stop on the dial.

Claiming objectives at the cost of an action is also a thing (Scramble the Transmissions and Salvage Mission) so having a high ship count helps to claim multiple objectives on your side of the board early without leaving all your ships defenceless. This also means that ships with passive or stackable mods (any Force user, Naboo N1’s with free evade, a Moldy Crow HWK-290, Howlrunner, you get the idea) are good because spending their action to claim the objective doesn’t necessarily mean they’re defenceless if jumped on.

In Salvage Mission your ships pick up objectives and carry them. Sounds like a job for high speed, high agility ships right? Especially if they can shoot backwards while being chased.

With all that in mind I started to think about planning a list. Then in the middle of that process I got the email that I’d been waiting (slightly longer than I’d hoped) for:

Yay! I’ll have new toys to play with!

Considering that I’m still more partial to Rebels than any other faction plus having seen pictures of how ridiculously big the ship looks on the board I thought I’d start with the Gauntlet (even though the Razorcrest was very tempting!)

After a little bit of ‘count to 20’ and perhaps a bit more strategic thought than I’d put into last week’s upgrades, this is what I managed to muster.

Ezra Bridger (Gauntlet Fighter) (7)
Compassion (1)
Leia Organa (7)
Cluster Mines (5)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Nightbrother (0)
Swivel Wing (0)

Ship total: 7 Half Points: 3 Threshold: 5

“Dutch” Vander (4)
Enduring (2)
Ion Cannon Turret (5)
Ion Missiles (2)
R3 Astromech (3)

Ship total: 4 Half Points: 2 Threshold: 4

Netrem Pollard (4)
Trajectory Simulator (6)
Proton Bombs (4)
Delayed Fuses (1)
Stabilized S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 4 Half Points: 2 Threshold: 4

Derek Klivian (2)
Vectored Cannons (RZ-1) (0)

Ship total: 2 Half Points: 1 Threshold: 2

Arvel Crynyd (3)
Shield Upgrade (6)
Vectored Cannons (RZ-1) (0)

Ship total: 3 Half Points: 1 Threshold: 2

Total: 20

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://yasb.app/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v9ZhZ20Z520X417WW46WWW316W92WWW448W449WY27X456W138W101W4WWWY464XW114WWWW69W236W313Y461X371Y51X165W371&sn=Gauntlet%20Beef&obs=

GAUNTLET BABY!

Right, let’s break this down. Two cheap, fast, agile ships to run in and claim objectives early and (hopefully) be hard to kill. Vectored Cannons was added to be able to fire backwards if being chased.

Two beefy small base ships. One with area control options (Netrem with Trajoectory Sim) and one with ion control (Dutch with Ion Cannon and Ion Missiles). I consider Netrem’s pilot ability pretty much as blank but Dutch’s can come in handy throwing locks out to other ships (see the passive/stackable mods comment from earlier).

And then the big one – Ezra in the Gauntlet. A large base ship to potentially cover multiple objectives AND count as 2 ships in the Satellite Array scenario. Leia plus Contraband means it can stop multiple turns in a row if needed. Nightbrother and Ezra’s Force point mean it has passive mods if actions are needed to claim objectives or while red stopping. The Swivel Wing config plus Cluster mines means it could speed over an objective (claim it if needed), then next turn rotate and then drop clusters to block off an opponent. Compassion could mean saving another ship from dying but it’s really just there because I had a spare point. It’s also got a fair amount of hull so is less likely to give up points cheaply.

That all makes sense in my head but is it any good? And can I even use it properly? Well, let’s see shall we?

The batrep… (JARGON ALERT!!)

So with a list picked I now had to pack it all. Or did I…?

I actually decided to print the list on YASB rather than dig out all the pilots and upgrades listed because: 1 – I was a little short on time to actually do it, 2 – if I’m going to be juggling between different lists each week I’m not sure I can be bothered to dig out a whole new bunch of cards every week and 3 – while I’ve gone as upgrade crazy as last week, it’s still 22 cards to get out, line up, read (when required) and put away again. It’s a lots of space and effort and unless I’m getting multiple reps in with the same list, I feel that I might lean more towards doing this in future.

So with my handy sheet of paper and skip in my step (just kidding, I’m still limping!) I headed off to Firestorm Games.

It turned out that there were 6 of us in attendance. Perfect, even numbers! After a little of the always awkward ‘who’s playing who’ decisions I was to be playing Mark Hall in what was going to be his first ever game of 2.5!

Mark had brought an iteration of the list he had taken to the Sith Taker Open last month:

Zertik Strom (3)
Fire-Control System (2)
Hull Upgrade (4)

Ship total: 3 Half Points: 1 Threshold: 3

Maarek Stele (5)
Outmaneuver (6)
Trick Shot (4)
Fire-Control System (2)
Ion Missiles (2)
Hull Upgrade (4)

Ship total: 5 Half Points: 2 Threshold: 3

Darth Vader (8)
Brilliant Evasion (2)
Shattering Shot (3)
Fire-Control System (2)
Mag-Pulse Warheads (5)
Shield Upgrade (6)
Hull Upgrade (4)

Ship total: 8 Half Points: 4 Threshold: 3

“Howlrunner” (4)
Elusive (2)
Hull Upgrade (4)

Ship total: 4 Half Points: 2 Threshold: 2

Total: 20

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://yasb.app/?f=Galactic%20Empire&d=v9ZhZ20Z176XW113WW164Y174X126W133W113W101W164WY173X199W419WW113W311W165W164Y217X119WWW164W&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

This guy loves his x1 TIE Advanced’s! Three high initiative ships could be a problem for me, especially with Mark’s list having rerolls for days between the x1’s ship ability and Howlrunner. Still, my higher ship count and having a couple of beefy ships means that maybe I can win by outlasting him. Depending on the scenario, of course…

With new rules I guess it’s time to update the Pre-Flight checks!
Scenario – Salvage Mission
Target/Objective Priority – Ok, this is my first go at this scenario but I feel my squad has the tools for it. Ideally I want the two A-Wings to claim an objective each and then get the heck out of the way. The beefier ships will then go and punch something and try to pick up another box.
Objective Deployment – right, I’m not sure how relevant this is going to be week to week because after 2 games with 5 objectives to place, they’ve been looking pretty similar. Still, I’ll place ‘my’ objective as close to my side of the board as I can while the one I place on Mark’s side will go as close to me as I can make it.
Obstacles – totally blocking objectives with obstacles feels like the right thing to do but since you’ve only got to be in range 1 to pick up I’m no longer sure how relevant it actually is? There’s a good chance I’m wrong though and I will vaguely place an obstacle near-ish to an objective
Deployment – this is important though, more so than in 2.0 I think. Being that all my ships will be placed before Mark places his high initiative ships I have to have some sort of plan. The goal is claim at least 2 in turn 1 and maybe gun for the middle.

We roll for turn 0 initiative and Mark is first player.

We place objectives, then obstacles and finally ships and area ready to get started:

Turn 1

Now the first thing you might notice here is that I’ve already ‘screwed up’. Having said I want each A-Wing to pick up an objective, I’ve placed both together. Sigh.

I set both A-Wing a 3 straight and I internally debate what to do on the other side of the board. Who is going to pick up that objective? Hmm…. I set Netrem and Ezra straight moves while Dutch will 3 bank to threaten the middle.

Mark’s set up means that he could feasibly control 3 objectives this turn. Oops.

Slightly surprisingly, that’s not how it goes.

ROAD 1st Player – Mark

Mark banks in with Zertik and Maarek, ignoring the closest objective. I have to assume that Mark didn’t fancy jousting the Gauntlet! Howlrunner moves across Mark’s board edge, picking up the corner objective while Vader gently rolls forwards. Interesting.

On my side, my mistakes are clear already. Aside from the A-Wing situation I already mentioned, I move Netrem 4 forwards. Which is red. Meaning he can’t pick up the objective. Annoyingly, with their positions what they are, this means that Ezra has to collect it, denying him from collecting the one further up the board although, to be fair, I wasn’t really expecting it to still be there.

Ezra collects while on the other side Hobbie picks up the objective while Arvel just stays a little out in front with a cheeky boost. I had thought about smashing forwards at Howlrunner but since she’s facing sideways I’ve no chance of catching up to knock the crate off her so I set up and angle for the middle.

Dutch banks in and just focuses because there’s not a lot else to do!

End of turn score: 2 (me) – 1 (Mark)

Turn 2

Right then, a decent start. I’m not behind, at least! But what to do next?

Well, quite royally screw things up is one of the answers. More on that in a minute.

Mark’s bank in has thrown me. I get why he doesn’t want to joust but is he just giving up that top left objective? With the rock being where it is he can’t hard turn in to it either. My choice of picking up the objective with Ezra means that the Gauntlet can’t hammer up and grab it so it’s going to have to wait, for now at least.

I predict that Mark’s going for the middle so it’s perhaps time to think about shooting things. I set Netrem a 1 bank right, Ezra will do the same. Dutch will 2 bank left to straighten up while the A-Wings. Hmmm… what will they do?

Hobbie has the cargo and will want to stay well clear. I plan to systems phase boost him left and then hard turn left to go and hide. And Arvel? Well, here comes the screw up. On multiple levels.

In my defence, I have NEVER played a ship with a systems phase reposition before.

I decide that after his systems phase boost he will go straight, putting him near the objective and maybe able to nick it before Mark gets it.

ROAD 1st Player – Me

Alright then, let’s get this over with….

I already mentioned that I printed my list rather than finding, bringing and laying out millions of cards. One of the major drawbacks of this is the assumption that I actually know things. It turns out that I do not know as many things as I thought.

Read reader, I am about to both cheat and massively screw up IN THE SAME TURN.

I systems phase reposition both my A-Wings with boosts to the left. WHITE BOOSTS. This is not correct. The boosts should be red. Red boosts. Stress ones.

Oh, but I’m not done yet!

Hobbie 3 hard turns left (which is white) and takes a focus. He should not be able to take that focus.

THEN! Oh boy, then….

Arvel reveals a 4 straight. Now, if we’re looking for a small positive here, it’s blue so at least any further actions aren’t cheating.

But further actions will not be happening. Because where does a 4 straight from my newly ‘boosted into’ position put Arvel?

How long have I been playing this game?! Surely a simple boost into straight move shouldn’t be a far out as this?!? It’s not even like I only just clipped it a little bit, HE’S SMACK BANG IN THE MIDDLE OF THE THING!

Arvel takes an auto damage and then ANOTHER one from the roll. I deserve that. No debates there.

Netrem and Ezra’s moves go off without a hitch though. Netrem 1 banks and rolls left into a linked lock (on Zertik) before Ezra’s 1 bank slides in behind and he takes a focus.

Zertik shuffles forwards and, smelling the blood in the water, locks Arvel.

Dutch 2 banks in and starts his nonsense, locking Maarek, using his pilot ability to give Ezra a lock on him too and then taking a second lock (with R3) onto Zertik.

Mark then brings Maarek forwards and claims the objective, Howlrunner speeds up to Vader and evades while the Dark Lord shuffles 1 forwards and locks poor, poor Arvel.

Oh boy, here we go.

In a totally unexpected (and highly undeserved) turn of events, being parked entirely on the potato rock actually benefits me and both Vader AND Maarek fail to do ANY damage to Arvel. Quite unbelievable!

In response Dutch tries to Ion Maarek but fails (he does nick a shield though) and between Ezra and Netrem I only manage to take 1 shield from Zertik.

Low damage output from us both this round but I certainly got lucky not losing Arvel.

End of turn score: 2 – 2

Total score: 4 – 3

Turn 3

Ok, not exactly an amazing round of scoring there but given the mistakes I’m making I’ll certainly take it.

What to do next though?

Arvel is going to eat rock AGAIN so just needs to get out of the way. I set him a 4 straight and will think about it later. Hobbie will 3 straight to make sure he isn’t chased down for his crate.

What about the other three then? Well, if I flip Leia, Ezra can stay where he is since I think Mark’s expecting him to come forwards. That also allows Netrem to do one of his red hard turns. I decide to set him a left turn so he can head towards the unclaimed objective. And Dutch? Well, assuming that all of Mark’s ships will pile forwards, I decide to set him a red (but actually white with Leia) 4 straight with the intention of ioning something.

Seems good. Let’s do this.

ROAD 1st Player – Mark

Right then, systems phase. And guess what? I inadvertently cheat some more!

Not just once, but THREE TIMES! THREE!!!!

WHEN WILL IT END???

Right, this first one was debated (in a very friendly, ‘I’m not sure actually’ way) as neither of us was sure. It turns out that we were wrong. But I was twice as wrong.

I decided to try and systems phase barrel roll Arvel off the rock.

Let that sink in for a moment. Allow the nasty stench of stupid to waft across your face. That’s it, that’s the face pull I’m looking for.

Right first things first, the Vectored Cannons upgrade allows for systems phase BOOST. Not roll, JUST boost. Only Boost. Not roll. This was not the debated point. This was me suffering from ‘no card in front of me’ syndrome again.

Secondly, and this was the questioned/debated point, you CANNOT boost or roll if the template overlaps an obstacle. Ok, cool. Now I know. It hadn’t dawned on me up to that point that I’d never had to reposition in the systems phase before and clearly had some things to learn.

Anyway, we’re playing casual and I went ahead and did it. He takes the auto damage but doesn’t take a second (which, given all teh cheating involved, seems very unfair). Not that any of this matters, more on that in a moment.

I also turned Hobbie’s arc to the rear, obviously omitting the stress because I’ve not learned just how stupid I’ve been yet.

I activate Leia at the start of activation and we start moving.

Mark moves Zertik right of the way with a 5-K (JARGON ALERT!!). Nice and simple.

My i3’s go next. I start nice and easy with Netrem’s hard left turn, picking up the crate with his action. Cool. Arvel goes next, going 4 straight (technically clearing his theoretical stress from the illegal roll off the rock) and boosts right, looking to get as far as possible from danger. Hobbie goes 3 straight (which again, clears the theoritical stress and so feels slightly less like cheating in retrospect) and focuses.

Dutch hits the throttle and smashes 4 straight. He’s still got a lock and since Ezra and Netrem still have theirs too, he goes for a focus.

Feels like it’s time for more cheating by now, right? Ok then, let’s have it.

Ezra does a red (but white with Leia) stop and takes a focus.

Seems innocent, right? But what did I realise TWO DAY LATER WHILE WRITING THIS UP? Well, it’s this:

While a ship is towing a supply cache, it cannot execute advanced maneuvers, perform (SLAM) actions, or be coordinated.

Good Lord. A stop is an advanced manoeuvre. At this point Ezra should have dropped the cargo he had (with the position decided by Mark) and does a stress manoeuvre – white 2 straight.

But no, he stays where he is because neither of us can remember this rule.

Mark hard turns with Maarek and rolls right, facing down Ezra while Howlrunner just 1 hard turns in behind Vader and takes a lock on Dutch (see, I wasn’t the only one cheating!! Not that I realised at this point…).

Vader 1 banks but Mark seemed to have forgotten he was doing this and it bumps into the back of Maarek. He rolls and takes a damage.

This game is carngage.

And now we shoot.

Vader takes the range 3 shot onto Arvel. Since he has a lock from the previous turn he rolls 3 dice and converts to get 3 hits. Arvel blanks and dies. Feels totally justified.

Maarek fires at Ezra but can’t get any damage on before Howlrunner knocks a shield from Dutch.

Dutch responds by firing a range 1 Ion Turret shot at Vader and gets the damage and, crucially, the ion token on. Nice.

While I generally hate splitting fire, Ezra fires at Maarek since he already has a lock. He doesn’t need it, landing 3 natural hits and getting 1 past the green dice, taking his last shield.

With Netrem facing the wrong way and Arvel dead it’s only Hobbie left to shoot and, in typical A-Wing fashion, the 2 dice range 3 shot onto Zertik takes his last shield too. Cheeky.

Zertik takes a shot (at Dutch I think?) but fails to do any damage.

That turn felt ok.

End of turn score: 3 – 5

Total scores: 7 – 8

Turn 4

Oh.

While I picked up an additional crate, putting me one up on Mark’s 2, losing Arvel’s 3 points means I’m now down.

However, while I’ve lost a ship, my others are pretty much untouched while three of his are damaged. I need to leverage that, finish something off and get more points on the board.

Time for Netrem to shine. He will K-turn after dropping a Proton Bomb. Ezra will stop again with Contraband (STILL CHEATING!!!!) while Dutch will hard turn to keep his Ion Turret on target. Hobbie will…well it doesn’t matter. His goal is just to keep out of the way and tick over the points.

ROAD 1st Player – Me

Systems phase, I drop the Proton Bomb. Now look, I’m really not one to blow my own trumpet but man, this was perfectly executed. I mean, PERFECTLY (y’know, cheating aside).

Netrem does his 2-K and picks up a stress (I’m pretty s. Ezra stops and, having flipped his Contraband charge, takes a focus. Hobbie hard turns and boosts away. He wants nothing to do with this nonsense.

Zertik 2 banks back into the scrum and locks Ezra.

Dutch hard turns, wondering whether he might block Howlrunner (and whether that’s a really bad idea given the new R0 shooting rules) while taking a lock on Maarek and, with the ability, gives one to Neterm too (which he can do since it’s acquire a lock and not give a lock action). He keeps the second lock on Zertik. I forget why!

Maarek goes 1 straight, diving in at Ezra and locks him. Howlrunner 3 banks right, jumping right over Dutch and locks Ezra too (more cheating! And not me this time!!). Vader takes his ion 1 straight, takes a focus and then uses his ability to spend a Force to take a lock on…you guessed it… Ezra.

Mark really really wanted to kill a Gauntlet. He might get his wish.

But before we get to engagement, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you – Bomb perfection:

Hmmm…. I’m not sure that this picture quite does it justice.

How about this one…?

OH YEAH BABAAAAYYYYYYY!!

That’s a Proton Bomb auto crit onto 3 of Mark’s 4 ships an NO damage to my own.

As an added bonus, taking a crit means that both Maarek and Howlrunner have to drop their crates and I get to decide where they go! Yay!

Maarek’s goes in front of Ezra while Howlrunner’s goes in front of Dutch. Lovely.

On to the shooting then.

Vader, Maarek and Howlrunner use a combination of locks, Fire Control System, the TIE Adv chassis ability and Force (just Vader for that one) and manage to do a grand total of… 5 damage to the Gauntlet. That…. could have been worse. It does include crit damage though so Ezra drop his crate with Mark opting to put it out behind the oversized Fang. Interesting. Mark had been hoping to do far more damage than that too.

In response I manage to do…. exactly ZERO more damage to Mark’s ships following the bomb. Eesh. At least I didn’t take all that much damage.

A very low scoring round.

End of turn scores: 2 – 0

Total Scores: 9 – 8

Turn 5

Now, we’ve only had 4 turns and neither of us has hit even half of the points target for a win BUT there’s actually only about 20-ish minutes left. And yes, we paused the timer when researching/debating the barrel roll issue.

CRAY-ZEE

Anyway, time to think about what the heck I’m going to do.

Mark is gunning HARD at the Gauntlet and I’ve failed to Ion Vader for a second time. Things are about to get REALLY interesting.

At this point it seems like both Mark and I manage to totally forget things about both our own lists AND each other’s. Comedy is about to ensue.

First things first, I can’t count. Somehow I’ve managed to (illegally) regen all of Leia’s charges and decide to leverage that again. I set Ezra a hard stop. He’s stressed but Leia makes it white and so it’s fine. I mean, it isn’t actually fine but in my planning, it is.

Netrem is easy. Systems phase Traj Sim a Proton Bomb and 1 straight.

Dutch is also easy – 2 straight and pick up the objecctive. Hobbie is bored and decides to come back in. Because why not, right?

Alright, let’s do this.

ROAD 1st Player – Mark (again)

In the systems phase I announce the trajectory Proton. Mark stops. He hadn’t seen it coming. He’s not even sure he knew it was there. This could be bad. For him, I mean. It could be awesome for me. Hobbie rotates his arc to front (should be red, of course but it won’t matter).

Mark moves Zertik 1 straight. I can’t quite recall the action.

My turn. Hobbie goes first, 2 hard turns (technically clearing the imaginary stress) and boosts in, wanting to shoot at someone.

Netrem goes next, going 1 straight and takes a focus, still having a lock from the previous turn.

Then it’s Ezra. He takes his (illegal) red stop, which is (illegally) white. He is stressed but I trigger the Nightbrother title to give him an evade. Maaaaybe it’ll help him survive.

Dutch goes last, taking his 2 straight and picking up the objective, meaning I’ve got 3 in tow.

Maarek takes a huge 3 hard turn to his right (towards the board edge), anticipating the Gauntlet coming at him. He rolls left to dodge Ezra’s arc.

Howlrunner goes 2 straight, landing DIRECTLY on the Proton Bomb. Nice. She focuses, put off from the roll right by Netrem’s advance.

Mark immediately regrets that decision though as Vader’s 1 straight bumps into her. He doesn’t take a damage but also can’t take an action. He does still have a lock on Ezra though.

Top down view this time because Maarek is hiding!

At this point I remember that one of Ezra’s crits was Loose Stabiliser and that a stop isn’t a straight move so Ezra takes an extra damage, leaving him on 5 health.

Eesh.

The bomb goes off, hitting Howlrunner with a Direct Hit, Vader with a Panicked Pilot and Zertik with something that I can’t recall but probably wasn’t massively relevant. Mark goes to pick up Howlrunner but I remind him that she has a Hull Upgrade and so isn’t dead just yet!

Vader shoots and lands the maximum 3 hits on Ezra. I roll blank and eyeball. I spend the evade but opt to keep the Force for offence. Risky. Ezra is now on 3 hull remaining.

Maarek doesn’t have a shot so Howlrunner goes next with a range 1 shot. This time Mark remembers the reroll but only comes up with 2 hits. Ezra’s greens come up the same as last time – blank and eyeball. This time I do spend the Force, just taking 1 hit.

Now it’s my turn.

Dutch only has Zertik in arc and so fires the Ion Turret at him. He rolls 2 paint and spends his focus. Mark’s greens blank out and Zertik takes his third damage card. Oof.

I’m home and dry. Mark doesn’t have any more shots and the Gauntlet lives!

I roll dice for Ezra’s shot at Howlrunner and Mark exclaims a revelation – Zertik has a Hull Upgrade! He’s alive!

Time to roll back, as we ALSO remember that ‘irrelevant’ crit from the Proton Bomb was a Structural Damage. Wow. This. Is. A. Mess!

Dutch still does 1 damage to Zertik but he’s now alive to fire at the Gauntlet and rolls maximum paint. Ezra’s greens fail him and the Gauntlet is dead.

Wow.

With 7 points for Ezra, Mark is now seriously outscoring me this turn, despite my owning 3 objectives while he has none.

But my i3’s haven’t fired yet.

Simultaneous fire means that Ezra can still shoot though and he fires at Zertik with his dying breath and once again rolls 3 hits out of hand. Zertik finally dies.

It’s Netrem’s turn to step and be the hero again. Despite having Vader locked (and thinking back I’m really not sure when exactly that happened!), he has a range 1 shot at a tokenless Howlrunner with 1 health left.

And boy does he nail the roll, getting 4 paint out of hand and spends the focus for 4 hits. Howl is dead no matter what the roll is. Zertik and Howlrunner both dead and I’ve got 3 objectives. That’s enough despite losing Ezra, right? Right?!?

Hobbie still has a shot and takes a 2 dice range 3 shot at Vader (since 1 health Maarek is juuuuust out of range) which does nothing and with that, the game is done.

But what’s the freaking score?!?

End of turn scores: 10 – 7

Total Scores: 19 – 15

The conclusion…

Well, that was an exciting finish, I’ll give it that!

I went from winning to losing and back again, all in the space of one turn!

The last turn confusion over Zertik having a Hull Upgrade certainly made for some interesting choices (and dice rolls!) after rolling back to just after Dutch’s Ion Turret roll. Obviously him NOT dying to Dutch meant that I lost 7 points of Gauntlet but thankfully simultaneous fire and good ol’ Netrem saved the day with some great dice.

Thoughts, then? Well I think I’ll split this into a couple of sections.

First off – the scenario itself.

Like the ‘Scramble the Transmissions’ scenario, spending an action to pick up the crate really does make for interesting choices.

I think that I made a mistake in turn 1 picking up the closest crate with Ezra and should have gone 3 straight with Netrem and used him instead, leaving Ezra to go for the one on Mark’s side of the board. Then again, I hadn’t predicted Mark not going for that one himself.

The choices are interesting and while it is a frustration spending an action to pick them up, getting hold of 2 early on meant that I could creep into a small lead which compensated for the mostly self inflicted loss of the A-Wing (but the less said about that, the better!).

Overall I found this one a little more fun than ‘Scramble the Transmissions’ because I feel it forces the engagement more. If I want Mark to not score points, I have to kill his ships and that, for me, is what the game of X-Wing is about.

Secondly, after two games of 2.5 now, I still have 2 particular gripes with it.

I had opted to print my list from YASB to remove the need for so many cards on the board. I still think it was worth it to save prep time and table space (plus I’ve since heard Dion suggest in on GSP) but it brought it’s own problems, as illustrated by my messing up Vectored Cannons and Mark’s choices in turn 5, with neither of us really knowing what either our own or each other’s list actually fully did. Mark forgetting about Hull Upgrade on Maarek and Howlrunner AND Zirtek was massively indicative of just how detached we both were with what was going on. Thinking back, I’m not sure he used the Elusive on Howlrunner either.

Upgrade bloat is an issue. I get that it’s not a huge issue, ‘first world problems’ and all that, but again the game was significantly slowed by both us taking a longer time to plan than we might have done a month ago, plus lots more time to get through an individual turn. Checking for triggers and abilities on top of the usual arcs and ranges seems to be adding more time than I’d have ever imagined it would.

I know that’s likely this will go down over time as we all get used to the changes (plus my using new ships and unfamiliar upgrades certainly contributed) but there’s no denying that even the small added mechanics (ROAD rolls, checking objective ranges, checking and adding turn scores) are seconds here and there that add up.

Which brings me to the second gripe. We went to time, we didn’t hit the 20 point target but we STILL took 75 minutes and ONLY got 5 turns.

Compared to my playing of what I consider ‘peak’ X-Wing (where I know my list inside out, I’m confident in my triggers and have a plan), this version of X-Wing really feels a bit cumbersome and clunky so far. I’m hoping, no, confident, that will get better in time.

While I know that all this will improve with experience, after over 4 1/2 years of playing it just feels a little frustrating to go ‘backwards’ like this in terms of how natural the game feels. I’m looking forward to getting back to a more natural pace at some point.

Alright, negatives done, on to the positives.

This game was pretty fun. Mistakes aside (oh dear Lord those mistakes…), I felt that I had a plan with this list that could adapt to any scenario (although that still remains to be proven!) and that in turn helped me to have some direction. Leveraging different tools like bombs and Ion was cool and getting the Gauntlet on the table was really, really great.

I knew that simply grabbing 2 objectives and running wasn’t going to be enough and even in the turn where I picked up a third, losing Arvel (mostly of my own doing) handed over 3 points and put Mark ahead. That said, the dying A-Wing was the only ship of mine that was damaged while Mark’s were all bleeding to some extent. The lack of half point scoring for this scenario was hurting me, especially with all of his ships having 3 agility.

Certainly the puzzle of how to accumulate points faster than my opponent is going to be an interesting one to unpick. The time it’ll take to come up with a solution is extended by there being 4 different scenarios and one list needing to work in all of them. Then again, the two I’ve played so far do feel quite similar.

On a broader note, I cannot for the life of me understand why it feels so hard to keep on top of everything. It’s not like it’s massively more complicated compared to 2.0 X-Wing. Between forgetting triggers (Howlrunner), miscounting token recharges (Leia), messing up scenario rules (not dropping on stop) and general rules of play (stress for Vectored Cannons, rolling off a rock), this game was a judge’s nightmare. It’s a good job we weren’t being streamed. I can just imagine all the comments now…

And I just don’t know what to put it down to. Honestly, I just don’t understand. I’d also note that once the game was done we both felt quite mentally drained and we weren’t the only ones to feel that way. I’m sincerely hoping that the mental fatigue and brain farts on rules will subside with more reps. I mean, this is only my second game of 2.5 after all (and Mark’s first).

Current feels

Speaking of which, on one of the other tables Luke (playing his first game of 2.5) and little Dylan (playing his 2nd) played Chance Encounter and, after going to time ended up like this:

Yes, that’s Vader vs Fenn and yes, they did mutually destroy each other and yes, the game was a draw (at 21 points each). Is that a satisfying conclusion to the game? Neither player really thought so.

I’ve heard it said (and thought myself) that 2.5 isn’t especially new player friendly. From keeping track of stuff to scoring points and getting half points (but only sometimes), it just feels like a lot to take in. Then again, how much of this feeling is down to my having to un-learn stuff rather than learning the new system from scratch? It’s impossible to say.

I also found this post from Firecast Focus interesting:

Slowly but surely people are coming around to 2.5. And I think, given time, I might be one of them.

On a totally different note, all the extra details involved in 2.5 (1st player each turn, how many points and how they were scored each turn) makes note taking for batreps pretty important to make and awkward to keep and overall pretty hard work! It also appears to be leading to longer blogs since it feels like the details matter (at the moment, at least) and I’m still processing thoughts on the changes which leads to long conclusions. It’s definitely still worth it though, especially in these early games where I’m finding my feet with the new rules and it could be important to recall details on what happened in order to develop and improve.

I just hope that next week I make no mistakes! Although looking back over this game, I’d simply settle for fewer!

The outro…

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