A Whole New World

The intro…

Welcome to this week’s blog!

I’ll keep the intro REALLY short this week since this has actually turned out to be a rather massive post. Sorry!

I will just take a second to champion a few people who are doing INCREDIBLE things relating to the awful situation happening in Ukraine at the moment. Louis Leong (of the 186th Squadron and XTC Team Malaysia captain) has just used some pieces of his incredible tournament prize kits to raise £1000 and Kei Taniguchi (Fully Modded Lighting) is running a raffle to fundraise too:

Despite these ‘difficult’ times in X-Wing (I mean, compared to an actual war happening, not even close but you know what I mean), the community continues to show how awesome it is. Nice work people, nice work.

get on with it
Ok, ok !

Unless you’ve been living under an ‘Ayer’s Rock-sized’ rock for the last 6-7 months, you are probably aware that X-Wing has new rules.

New rules and new points and new scenarios and new ships and a new card pack and, well, you get the idea. There’s lot’s of new stuff.

In case you’ve not seen it or don’t know where to find it, it’s worth me just quickly putting a link here for the AMG X-Wing page which has all the new info you’ll need.

I was due to attend my first casual night since the rules had released and there was a little bit of discussion in our Messenger group as to who would be there and what list(s) should be brought. Those of us who were going all agreed that 2.5 needed to be tried out and while I kept a 2.0 list packed just in case, I wholeheartedly agreed that we should give it a go.

So, with absolutely no idea of what I was doing, only the general information about what’s good or bad about 2.0 and the scenario to be randomly selected, it was time to pick a list!

YASB & me

Now, having seen TONS of lists being talked about over the week or so before I had to put one together myself I realised that I had no idea what my list would actually need to do.

Now yes, I’m sure that I could have had some conversations with people more knowledgeable and strategically minded than myself (and who maybe even had actually played it!) about what things I might need and what roles should be filled but since this was to be my very first game of 2.5, against someone else who was also having their first game of 2.5 I figured that it’s only fair that I bodge my way through it myself.

I’m mostly a creature of habit and so the list being Rebel wasn’t really in doubt (it actually was a little since a loaded Oicunn and 6 TIE Fighters was quite tempting).

After finding that my most recent favourite list (Luke, Leia and Ahsoka wasn’t legal (those 3 pilots come in at 21 points) while my most recent Dash list was sort of legal (in Extended, but not in standard), coming in at exactly 20 but would also be buffed to an extent given that I had points free on all pilots but that Dash loses a crew slot. Sad.

No, it’s time to make something new.

Now, in a way, this was actually easier than 2.0 squad building since counting to 20 without considering upgrades is much simpler than building to 200 for pilots and their toys.

However, once I had picked some pilots I wanted to fly, picking what goes on them was more complicated without knowledge or experience of what they actually would need to do.

So, where to start? Well, there are some things that are always good – big orange numbers and big purple numbers. Force users are pretty expensive in 2.5 points where i6 pilots seem to be cheaper.

Considering her 8 health, i6 and great ability, Hera seems a no-brainer.

I was anticipating picking up my pre-ordered Pride of Mandalore pack (spoilers, I didn’t get it but someone else did so I managed to borrow some bits) and was excited to fly Rebel Fangs so in went Fenn Rau. Another i6, 2 talent slots and Fangs look cool.

That’s 12 points. Here I could pick from 2 average-ish 4 point ships or another ‘good’ one and a filler. Since I’ve already got 2 i6’s (and this will be more a learning experience than anything else), I go all out and pick X-Wing Wedge at 6 points. I dust off a Z-95 for Blount to fly to round off the squad at exactly 20 points.

Hera Syndulla (B-Wing) (6)
Stabilized S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 6 Half Points: 3 Threshold: 4

Fenn Rau (Rebel Fang) (6)
Ship total: 6 Half Points: 3 Threshold: 2

Wedge Antilles (6)
Servomotor S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 6 Half Points: 3 Threshold: 3

Lieutenant Blount (2)
Ship total: 2 Half Points: 1 Threshold: 2

Total: 20

But what about upgrades? What will be useful? What will I need?

The answer was quite simply, I’ve no idea. And so, with no real plan or strategy, I just started throwing things on to see what happened.

I figure that Hera will take locks and can try to enable the other ships or leverage them herself. I start with FCS (JARGON ALERT!!). I throw on Proton Torps but they are so expensive that it limits what else she can do. I take them off and put Ion Torps on instead. Hmm…. Ion. My opponent can’t capture objective if they’re ioned (or dead!), right? I lean fully into it. Ion Missiles go on next, followed by Ion Cannon and Conner Nets. That could be funny.

What’s that? You can’t score objectives because you’re aimlessly drifting through space?

I’ve still got points to burn though and so I also add HLC (JARGON ALERT!!) and just because I can (and it’s in keeping with the Ion theme), Conner Nets too. Going from an idea suggested on a Facebook post somewhere I add the title, adding a gunner slot which I fill with Weapons System Officer, meaning Hera can get a lock back after she fires one of her many torps/missiles.

Ok, next up is Fenn. He isn’t quite as potent as his scummy alter-ego but i6 is good, right? I stick with the ion theme again with more Ion Torps. I like the look of Enduring and also the Mandalorian Optics (which I had to borrow since I didn’t get my pre-orders although someone else did!). There’s a point to spare so I pop Marksmanship on too.

Right, Wedge, what ca he have? My Wedge has a nasty habit of just dying so I deck him out with Hull Upgrade and R2 astromech. Torps are good but Protons are a bit pricey so I put Plasma Torps on and fill the last 3 points out with Enduring and Marksmanship.

Blount is easy, he’s got ZERO loadout points so he’s naked.

So there we have it:

Hera Syndulla (B-Wing) (6)
Fire-Control System (2)
Ion Cannon (6)
Heavy Laser Cannon (4)
Ion Torpedoes (4)
Ion Missiles (2)
Seismic Charges (3)
Stabilized S-Foils (0)
B6 Blade Wing Prototype (1)
Weapons Systems Officer (5)

Ship total: 6 Half Points: 3 Threshold: 4

Fenn Rau (Rebel Fang) (6)
Enduring (2)
Marksmanship (1)
Ion Torpedoes (4)
Mandalorian Optics (5)

Ship total: 6 Half Points: 3 Threshold: 2

Wedge Antilles (6)
Enduring (2)
Marksmanship (1)
Plasma Torpedoes (7)
R2 Astromech (6)
Hull Upgrade (4)
Servomotor S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 6 Half Points: 3 Threshold: 3

Lieutenant Blount (2)
Ship total: 2 Half Points: 1 Threshold: 2

Total: 20

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://yasb.app/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v9ZhZ20Z450XW113W11W10W135W101W71WW313W372W368Y501X456W125W135W446Y5X456W125W234W2W164W142Y55X&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

That. is. ridiculous.

Aside from taking up an enormous amount of table space with all these upgrade cards, I’m very VERY unlikely to use most of them and it’s a crazy amount of triggers to remember (especially on top of all the new stuff to learn). Still, this is a first try out and it’s certainly better than whatever my very first 2.0 or 1.0 lists were.

Right then, let’s see how it goes!

The batrep… (JARGON ALERT!!)

On arriving at Firestorm I found that there were 5 of us. Not ideal!

Still, Mark Hall (who has recently taken over as the ‘game champion’ at the store, meaning he’s the liaison/point of contact between the store and the players) was there, had printed off a copy of the new rules document and offered to watch/supervise/check rules while the rest of us played. Very decent of you sir!

After heading in to the store to register, I came out to find that I would be playing against ‘little’ Dylan (our resident 12 year old player) and that the randomly selected scenario would be ‘Scramble the Transmissions’.

To save you reading the document, that’s the one where you attempt to ‘control’ as many of the 5 satellites in the play area at the end of a turn as possible. You take control of a satellite by landing within range 1 of it and spending an action to place a marker on it. During the end phase you score 1 point for each satellite that’s under your control.

If you destroy an enemy ship, you score those points too.

First to 20 points within 75 minutes or 12 rounds wins.

DISCLAIMER!!!

Despite having the rules in front of us AND someone independent to score the game, WE MESSED IT UP!

The other game happening behind me was ‘Chance Encounter’ where half points are scored on ships. Half points should NOT be scored on ships in this scenario but things got a little mixed up and we ended up scoring half points. I didn’t realise this until THE NEXT DAY. Oops.

As a result, the following game is NOT scored correctly. At all. It arguably shouldn’t have finished when/how it did and there’s no way to know what the score could/should/would have been.

I’ve still gone ahead with the batrep because actually the thought process in the planning phase is pretty different to 2.0 and still worth digging into. In my opinion, anyway!

Anyway, little Dylan has long been a fan of B-Wings and so I wasn’t overly surprised when I saw his list:

Netrem Pollard (4)
Elusive (2)
Heavy Laser Cannon (4)
Cluster Mines (5)
Stabilized S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 4 Half Points: 2 Threshold: 4

Braylen Stramm (5)
Elusive (2)
Trajectory Simulator (6)
Heavy Laser Cannon (4)
Thermal Detonators (5)
Stabilized S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 5 Half Points: 3 Threshold: 4

Ten Numb (5)
Elusive (2)
Trajectory Simulator (6)
Heavy Laser Cannon (4)
Thermal Detonators (5)
Stabilized S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 5 Half Points: 3 Threshold: 4

Fenn Rau (Rebel Fang) (6)
Elusive (2)
Marksmanship (1)
Adv. Proton Torpedoes (8)

Ship total: 6 Half Points: 3 Threshold: 2

Total: 20

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://yasb.app/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v9ZhZ20Z464X119WW10WWW316WW313Y73X119W114WW10WW339WW313Y74X119W114WW10WW339WW313Y501X119W125W134W&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

Interesting! The Trajectory Simulator and Thermal Detonators could make things a little interesting but I was hoping that my higher initiatives would mean that I could do some decent damage and maybe reduce the number of guns I’d be facing.

We took our first ROAD roll (JARGON ALERT!!) and I was to be first player in turn 1.

We placed the first satellite in the middle then took turns placing the other 4, followed by obstacles. Then we placed ships and were ready to begin.

Ok, this first part seems easy. Blount will take his objective, the i6’s will trundle forwards and take the other. No problem.

Dylan had a sort of similar thought but actually only rolled his B-Wings 1 forwards and did NOT claim the objective close by. His Fenn did though.

No shots, obviously.

End of turn 1 score: 2 (me) – 1 (little Dylan)

On to the next turn then and now a slight quandary. Trajectory Simulator. I’m semi expecting something to be thrown 5 forwards which means that any advance on the top right objective will come at a cost.

Given my position and the positions of Dylan’s B-Wings I opt to hard turn left and aim to snag the middle objective, wondering if a hard left turn and boost from Wedge will do it.

Dylan does NOT throw any bombs.

What’s more his B-Wings shuffle 1 forwards (except Braylen who banks towards his squad mates.

What’s more, Dylan opts to take mods rather than claim the objective. Puzzling.

Blount hard turns right and I make my first realisation about this scenario.

I had thought about rolling left to get to range 1 of the objective and then claim it. Except that isn’t how it works. I can roll OR claim the objective. Not both. Ah.

I take a focus and ponder my life choices.

Dylan moves his Fenn forwards and, since he’s also short of reaching the objective, he rolls and focuses, getting Blount in his sights.

My earlier revelation repeats itself as Wedge’s hard turn can’t be followed up with a boost and claim. Balls. He takes a lock on Fenn instead.

My Fenn 1 hards left and then rolls left, hoping to stay out of B-Wing range. I double check Hera’s dial. 3 straight. Will that fit now?! Oh man, I am making a real mess out of this.

The 3 straight fits and, despite having FCS and 2 types of ordnance, she takes a focus in case Wedge needs it.

This time, we shoot.

Dylan’s Fenn fires at Blount and opts to spend his focus for 3 hits. I roll greens and get 2 paint, spending the focus to just take 1. Nice.

My Fenn has no shot but Wedge takes his range 3 shot at Dylan’s Fenn, spends the lock and gets 3 hits. Dylan rolls exactly zero evades and his Fenn goes down to 1 health. Wow.

Hera trades shots with Nettrem but does nothing while the return shot knocks 2 shields off. Braylen and Ten take shots at Wedge and take 1 shield from him. Blount has nobody to shoot at and so the turn is done.

Scores from this turn: 5 (me, 2 for objectives, 3 incorrect ones for halving Fenn) – 1 (Dylan)

Total scores: 7 – 2

At this point I feel good. I’m thinking that finishing Fenn might be a good but I also want to claim another objective. Hmmm….

I set Wedge a 2 bank, wanting to get into range 1 of the middle objective. I figure that a bomb is coming this time but I’m confident Hera can take it, she will 2 hard turn left and see how the land lies for rolling. Fenn will also 2 hard turn, looking to get options for lanes the next turn and maybe try to hurt something.

Blount…. well, He decides that the bottom left objective is his responsibility and 2 hard turns right, looking to loop back around. Eventually.

The bomb gets thrown, as predicted – 1 thermal detonator. What I hadn’t predicted was that the other 2 B-Wings would pivot right and head for the middle. Ah. Ten Numb plods forwards and claims the objective.

Blount hard turns and takes a focus. Wedge’s position isn’t great after that 2 bank, leaving him right in front of 2 B-Wings. Yikes. As tempted as I am to claim the objective, I need Wedge alive and he focuses.

Hera’s 2 hard turn won’t clear the bomb with a roll in either direction, leaving me to decide how to proceed. She rolls towards the B-Wings, right into range 1 of Ten Numb but putting Nettrem right in front of her and links it to a red lock on Nettrem.

Fenn hard turns, rolls left and focuses.

Dylan’s Fenn has decided that Blount’s objective looks shiny and wants it for himself, taking a 3 hard turn and keeping his stress.

The Thermal Detonator goes off and Hera picks up a strain.

Hmmm….

No shots for Dylan’s Fenn or my Wedge so Hera takes a range 1 primary shot at Nettrem, getting 2 hits on. She then spends the lock to fire the Ion Cannon (since HLC is range 2-3 and I juuust missed bullseye) and does 1 more but no ion tokens. Shame.

Fenn follows up and takes Nettrem’s last shield, halving him (which we incorrectly score points for in a minute…).

Dylan’s follow up shots are not as good as they could have been with Ten getting 1 shield from Hera while Braylen and Nettrem only do 1 more damage to Wedge between them.

Could have been worse.

Scores from this turn: 4 (me) – 2 (Dylan)

Total scores: 11 – 4

Looking good, I’m half way there.

Now, what to do next?

Blount is fairly easy. He’s going to continue to turn and if he doesn’t get initiative killed will try and take the kill shot on Fenn.

Hera will drop her Conner Net in the hopes that Ten Numb will chase down the bottom right objective. Based on that I also set Fenn a har right turn to clear stress and maybe get a solid shot onto Ten.

Wedge… hmmm…. I decide to bank him left. If the B-Wings aren’t too close he’ll claim the objective, if they are then he will boost away, angling towards the top left objective.

Dylan starts by 3 banking Nettrem right onto the middle objective and claiming it. Right. Braylen simply 1 banks to his left before Ten Numb hard turns to avoid the Conner Net Hera dropped. Ah. Blount hard turns and focuses. Again.

Hera banks to her right which neatly avoids the rock but she’s rather close to Ten Numb. I opt for safety first and focus. Wedge’s bank just clears Nettrem and avoids being blocked (which, on reflection might not have been too bad) but leaves him right in front of Nettrem’s arc. Thankfully he close foils and so he boosts and links to a focus. Fenn hard turns. Hmmm… He’s facing the Conner Net so staying put is NOT an option if I want to avoid it next turn. I have 2 choices, stay safe and roll right but get stuck behind the Conner Net OR roll left and get right in Ten’s face.

I chose violence. Roll left, linked focus.

Dylan’s Fenn turns, clearing stress and rather than claim the objective, he locks Blount.

This time I’ve got Hera AND Wedge with no shot. Not good. Fenn swings a haymaker at Ten and takes 3 shields from him. Not halved though.

Dylan’s Fenn takes the range 1 shot at Blount, spending the lock and puts a hit and a crit onto him. It’s not a Direct! He lives! The return shot fails to kill Fenn though as Concordia Face Off saves his skin.

Ten takes a shot at Hera and puts 2 hits on, scoring half (incor.. look, you know by know, right??). Braylen’s got nothing to shoot at but Nettrem takes a shot at Wedge and puts a crit through (Hull Breach -yuck). He’s halved too. Balls.

Scores from this turn: 2 (me) – 9 (Dylan)

Total scores: 13 – 13

What a swing in scores! I know a chunk shouldn’t have legally counted but man, that’s put me right on the back foot.

I’m also not doing great for position here.

I decide to set Blount a 4-k (JARGON ALERT!!) since he moves first and so can’t claim back the objective if Fenn takes it and there’s no point not trying to shoot him since he’s pretty likely to get the initiative kill.

I want to dive Wedge in at the top left objective but the rock placement is problematic. He needs to boost around but is stressed so it has to be a 2 straight. Hera wants to shoot so she will do a 2-K. What about Fenn? Hmmm….

In the end I opt for a hard turn left to try and take Dylan’s top right objective since I need to get some more scores in.

This time though, I did NOT predict bombs.

Braylen and Ten both drop Thermals.

Nettrem jets after Wedge and takes a lock on him. Braylen gets right out of town with a 4 straight before Ten Numb does a….1 Talon ?!?!? (JARGON ALERT!!)

Blount takes his 4-K before Fenn does a Talon Roll himself. Another face off!

Wedge keeps his foils closed, goes 2 straight and links a boost to a focus while Hera takes the 2-K.

Fenn takes his 2 hard turn, lands neatly on the objective and now I have a choice. Take the objective or barrel roll and link to a focus? High risk or low risk?

Having missed lots of triggers and not played that well so far, I think you can guess – I take the objective.

Dylan’s Fenn shoots first but fails to take out Blount. There’s still hope! Hera shoots at Ten but doesn’t do enough damage to score any points. I’ve got Wedge AND Fenn facing nothing so no shots there.

Braylen doesn’t have a shot so it’s Ten next and he rolls all paint at Fenn and spends his stress for 4 hits. Fenn rolls 3 greens and gets…. 3 eyeballs. With no tokens to spend, he dies in 1 shot. Ouch.

Blount may yet claim some redemption for me here and rolls a single crit at Fenn. Dylan’s dice blank out giving hope for a second but Concordia triggers and saves him again and he lives.

Nettrem takes a pot shot at Wedge but at this point it doesn’t matter. Ten killing my Fenn scores Dylan 6 points plus the 2 objectives he still has and takes him over the 20 points needed.

Scores this turn: 3 (me) – 9 (Dylan)

Total Scores: 16 – 21

The conclusion…

A very interesting start to 2.5!

Now of course, as I already mentioned (many times over), we did score the game incorrectly and while we can theorise all we want, there’s no way to say whether the overall outcome of the game game would have been the same or not given that both of us could/would have made different choices during the game with different information. Still, I think that I experienced enough of the game to get a feel for how 2.5 works.

In terms of this particular game, I feel like I made some poor choices overall. Leaving Fenn where he was is the obvious one but I think I made deeper strategic errors than that. My list is quite offensive (no, not like that) and when putting it together my thought had been to leverage the high initiative to blow things up.

Once I knew the scenario I feel that my strategy should have been to control 2 of the satellites and then start taking opposing ships off the board but I actually got caught up in trying to capture objectives, taking unnecessary risks and awful positioning choices which often left me with ships not shooting.

I think that as I get reps in and see/read about what other players are doing I’ll get a better idea of what my plans should be.

So how do I feel about scenario X-Wing? Well, let me tell you some thoughts I’ve had/things I’ve noticed first.

Please remember though that I have just played the 1 game so far and it was the Scramble the Transmissions scenario. I’ve not tried the others yet.

First, it’s long, but short. For now.

As it happened, we hit the 20 missions points end condition at almost exactly when the 75 minute timer went off. Convenient! What’s telling though is that in those 75 minutes, we got 5 turns. Five. That’s not a lot of turns. At all. Now granted, a good amount of the time can be explained away by rules clarifications, trigger checking and decision making taking a little longer due to it all being a bit new. Then again, the game would still have ended at 20 points so rather than having got more turns in the 75 minutes, we’d have just finished the game sooner. Is that good or bad? I actually don’t know yet.

Either way, my feeling is that 5 turns is not quite enough X-Wing for me.

Second, lots of points, but pointless.

Back to those triggers I mentioned. Now I know I went WAAAAAY overboard on loading up Hera in my list but even then, I think I underestimated just how overboard I was going. Of the 9 upgrades I loaded her up with, I actively used precisely 2 of them – Conner Nets and Ion Cannon. Now I’ll go into more detail of why my list choices were poor later (spoiler, I don’t because the post is massive enough already. Maybe I’ll do more next week) on but aside from anything else, the lower number of turns we played meant that I simply didn’t get the chance to use most of my stuff.

And Hera wasn’t the only one, I also missed triggers on Fenn AND Wedge due to there simply being way too much stuff to remember or think about (without having lots of reps, of course) and some of it, namely Enduring and Mandalorian Optics, being new an unfamiliar. Sure I can spend out loads of points on upgrades but actually, how much point is there if I don’t get (or take) the opportunity to use them?

Now clearly this is more to do with my lack of direction and general inexperience in 2.5 list building but still, it feels like overkill for Hera to have 27 points to spend.

Third, choices matter, but maybe not how you think.

Clearly my choice to sit Fenn at range 1 of Ten Numb with no token so that I could claim the satellite point was a very bad one. I knew it was a bad one at the time but I decided to take the risk and prioritised taking the point instead of keeping him safe. Clearly it didn’t pay off as I gained the point but lost 6 when Fenn died.

I have to say that the risk of taking a satellite over getting mods or reposition makes this particular scenario a tricky one, especially given my list choices. Sure, Hera can pass tokens but she also wants to keep tokens for her own shot AND might want to snag a satellite. Action efficiency goes way down and no matter how high the initiative, a tokenless ship is vulnerable when purely relying on good green dice.

In-game choices are important but I think list building choices will matter more. Ships that can co-ordinate while also taking an action (like Ahsoka) can enable other ships to dive in and grab an objective while also having a mod. Looking back at the list I built here very much reminds me of the lists I used to build when I first started playing the game. I would literally turn up, open up a folder and pull out upgrades that caught my eye with no real strategy behind what I was doing.

Yes I may have had objectively good or decent upgrades on all my ships but it became apparent that I had little synergy and when combined with no overall strategy on how to approach the game (now that it isn’t simply ‘point guns at something and kill it’) left me with an overwhelming number of cards (and therefore triggers) to keep track of, most of which were simply wasted.

Will this improve with time, reps and advice? I certainly hope so!

Fourth, objectively correct choices?

As much as AMG have made these changes to make X-Wing ‘more interesting’ (a paraphrase of their goal, not my view), what I can see happening is that fairly quickly (since large parts of the X-Wing community are very active, intelligent, competitive and love a puzzle) is that there may be ‘objectively correct’ choices that are discovered, particularly in this early period before any points are changed.

Primarily the choice of what list to take (ones that suit each scenario but also ones that cover all 4) but also I can see that other options such as where best to place objectives/obstacles and where to set up your ships.

I’ve been catching up on podcasts and in GSP’s first thoughts on 2.5, Marcel Manzano talked about a Rebel list with Magva Yarro in a U-Wing, two B-Wings with Trajectory Simulator and bombs, Blount in a Z-95 and two A-Wings (one of which must be Derak Klivian since he’s 2 points). That’s 6 ships to cover stationary objectives, 2 fast ones to pick up the crate objectives and run away, a medium base to count for 2 on the ‘jamming’ scenario, 2 beefy jousting ships that will bomb you if you joust them back and just having 6 ships in general for ‘chance encounter’ is a good number of bodies. That’s been found within a week of the new rules coming out.

While that may not turn out to be ‘the’ build to rule them all, I can see how there are options that might make it possible to put a list like that together and say what you want about 2.0 but for at least the last 6 months (probably more like 18 actually, Nantex aside) there hasn’t necessarily been one single undefeatable list due to points eventually reaching a pretty good balance.

So does a good 2.5 list auto-win you the game? Probably not but if you start off with a non-optimised list and a poorly planned turn 0, chances are that you’re going to have to work very hard to get a positive outcome.

Maybe I’m wrong. List building has never been my favourite part of the game and I’ve never claimed to be any good at it. I’m fairly certain that in 2.5 that’s still the case and so it’ll be interesting to see what builds crop up over the next few weeks, especially in the build up to the first big official 2.5 tournament at Adepticon at the end of the month.

Fifth, playing catch up?

We’ve all played games where our opponent totally outclasses us and the result was nowhere near close (we have all had that, right? Right?!) but I’d say the majority of my games, especially across 2.0, have been reasonably close. Looking back at some of my games at the Sith Taker Open a few weeks ago, several were really really close, being won or lost on the last roll of the dice.

I was on the losing end of it twice and the winning side once. All 3 were an exhilarating finish.

This game started off fairly evenly and ticked up when ships were getting hit (wrongly, I know! Trust me, it won’t happen again!) but I have to say that while I never begrudge losing, this irked me just a little. Not because I felt I deserved more (I mean, did you see what I did with Fenn?!) but more because I made one mistake (well, that’s debatable… one big one, at least) and the game was done. There was no way back, no shot at redemption, no defying the odds with Wedge or Hera (or even Blount?!) soloing the rest of Dylan’s list and clawing back the difference in points for a glorious, if unlikely, comeback victory. No, Fenn died, gave Dylan the points and that was that after 5 turns.

I don’t normally get much opportunity to watch streams but on Sunday evening I happened to see the notification that Hexiled Gaming was going live and decided to hop on and watch for a bit. I intermittently followed a game from start to finish (Sean S vs Colin I think) where once Colin had gone around 10 -3 ahead you could tell there was no real way back for Sean. That was after 3-ish turns and I think the game finished at 5 or 6. I can’t say I noticed what the timer was on but I’d be surprised of there was less than 20-ish minutes left on it.

One of the things I specifically remember AMG saying was that they wanted each game to come to a satisfying conclusion and in my (admittedly very limited) experience so far, I don’t know that I can say that that’s what I’m seeing. Perhaps I’ll feel differently after some more games.

So how do I feel about X-Wing 2.5?

Look, just like last week’s post, I think the tone of this conclusion perhaps isn’t portraying my feelings in a balanced way. Reading back it feels like I’m being pretty negative and pointing out flaws. While that’s true, it certainly isn’t all bad. It still feels enough like X-Wing for me to like it. Setting dials and rolling dice is familiar and good.

At just 1 game in, it’s hard to say much more than that. The objectives mean that the rest of the game (in terms of strategy or positioning or reading my opponent) feels different enough that I’m uncomfortable in it. Obviously that’s something that will improve with time and experience.

Unfamiliar choices (like does Fenn take the satellite or get out of range 1) are ones that I’ll need to make (or watch others make) in order to inform my own future choices and wider strategy on any given scenario.

It’s different and it’s new (well, new enough) and while that initially puts everyone on a level playing field, as with anything in life, those with the drive to put more time and effort in (plus those with natural strategic instincts which, incidentally, doesn’t include me) will quickly learn how to find success while the rest of us (very much including me) will bumble through and learn gradually what to do (or not to!) based on how often we can play.

Given that I would have considered myself a player of fairly average ability and a pretty good understanding of the game with 2.0, I now feel a bit like a n00b again and that isn’t a great feeling.

Mechanically, of course, this is the same X-Wing. You set dials, move ships and roll dice. It’s when you go deeper than that you start to see just how different 2.5 is. Dealing with mission objectives adds an extra layer to the game that I know will take me some time to adjust to.

I had set my expectation for 2.5 very low (I simply wanted to not hate it) and so far, it’s met that expectation. For now, that’ll do! Will I learn to love it more in future? Only time will tell I suppose. I sincerely hope that I do.

Now I just need to find a list that’s at least half decent and fun and then get some more games in!

The outro…

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