Drew Ames
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My son John (age 8) and I finally got to play a 100-point game today (3/10/14). We've played a number of games before (and I've posted session reports), but that has always been with lower points. Our first experience with 100 points per squadron was mixed.

John was the Imperial player with these three ships:
1) TIE Advanced -- Darth Vader with Cluster Missiles and Swarm Tactics
2) TIE Interceptor -- Turr Phennir with Marksmanship
3) TIE Bomber -- Gamma Squadron Pilot with Advanced Proton Torpedoes, Concussion Missiles, Proton Bomb, Shield Upgrade

I know that a 3 ship Imperial list is a little odd, but this seemed like a good list with a fair offensive punch and good survivability.

I flew this list:
1) X-Wing -- Wedge Antilles with R2 Astromech, Marksmanship
2) A-Wing -- Tycho Celchu with Cluster Missiles, Elusiveness
3) YT-1300 -- Outer Rim Smuggler with Luke Skywalker and Nien Nunb

We played with asteroids and set a timer for one hour.

On our first turn I banked everyone to the left and started my A-Wing around to flank, so I used his boost action to cover a lot of ground. John moved his three ships straight ahead and boosted the Interceptor so he ended up with a V formation.

On the second turn, we were close enough that my YT-1300 could target lock the bomber, and visa-versa. The A-Wing was part way through the asteroids and my other two were setting up good entry vectors. John's bomber was clear, but Vader bumped into Phennir, so neither one could use an action. Wedge fired at Vader at range 2 and took a shield off. Phennir fired at Wedge and took two shields off. The YT fired at the bomber at range 3 and missed.

On the next turn the bomber landed on an asteroid (suffering one damage) and so did Vader (suffering no damage). John's interceptor ended up boosting out of the immediate action. My three guys were threading very carefully through the asteroids. John fired his advanced proton torpedoes and stripped two shields off the YT.

Here's what it looked like at the end of this turn:


You can't tell in the photo, but the bomber is also on an asteroid.

After that, the A-Wing k-turned and target locked (due to Tycho's special ability) and got a shot at Vader with cluster missiles. The net result of two attacks was one hit; it resulted in one shield lost. Wedge didn't have a shot, neither did the bomber, but the YT could fire on the bomber.

The first attack missed, so Luke got to shoot. The net result of Luke's attack was two regular hits and a critical hit! I was psyched . . . until I remembered that TIE Bombers have strenght-6 hulls. Oh well, Luke's attack took me halfway there.

Then the timer went off. If I'm remembering correctly, we played four or five turns. We were a little slow, but had a lot of fun.

So, what happened? Why weren't more ships dead?

I've got a couple of theories:

1) We played a little slowly. The next few rounds would have seen some more hull damage and a kill or two. We simply needed more time.

2) These were durable lists. The Imps had 15 hit points between hull and shields for the three ships. The Rebels had 19 hit points. What hits there were in the first few rounds only stripped off shields.

3) Not enough actions. John, especially had trouble. He collided two ships depriving them of actions, and then planted two ships on asteroids, depriving himself of actions for two turns each (getting onto the asteroid and then getting off). The best way to get more deadly is to use a focus or target lock or both during an attack. If you can't take actions, you can't build up a powerful attack.

4) What actions we did use often went to maneuver. Boosting and barrel rolling are awesome and fun, but as with number 3, the maneuver actions don't help modify attacks.

5) Did we use secondary weapons too early in the game? The secondary weapon attacks were less spectacular than we anticipated, but they did results in hits and crits -- to the shields.

6) Would we have had more action without the asteroids? I'm on the fence as to whether asteroids make the game better or not. They make for interesting tactical choices, but when we play without them we have much more maneuvering and more action.

As always thoughts and comments are welcome.

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Xander Fulton
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Lufbery wrote:
We played a little slowly. The next few rounds would have seen some more hull damage and a kill or two. We simply needed more time.


A..."little"...slowly might be a bit of an understatement. Your activities sounded about right for 4 turns into a match. USUALLY I'd expect to see more like 8-10 turns in a 1-hr match.
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Reuben Cronje
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I suspect the lack of things happening is also because you have a grand total of... seven attack dice per side, excluding one-shot secondary weapons. And of those, two of them are cluster missiles, which are themselves only three dice.

Now, I'm not going to suggest you copy internet lists, but look at what they might typically put out for damage:

2 x-wings, 2 b-wings: 12 dice
1 Han/Chewbacca, 2 x-wings: 9 dice
7 TIE swarm: 14 dice

Of course, the total number of dice is not everything, but these raw numbers should give some indication of why things may have lacked a punch. For the rebels especially, trying to punch through three defence dice when two of your ships only have 2-dice pea shooters is going to be especially tough.
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Cletus Van Damme

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Lufbery wrote:


So, what happened? Why weren't more ships dead?

I've got a couple of theories:



Your lists don't have very much offensive power. Aside from your missiles you have 2 ships per side with 2 attack. It sounds like you could focus fire better too. You have a 360 firing arc ship that should be shooting at whatever Wedge is going to shoot at.

You're right that actions are key. The more you can avoid bumping other ships the better you'll be.

Its never too early to use your secondary weapons. Better to use them early then to wait and risk getting blown up before you can fire them.

Asteroids add some fun complexity to the game but if you're having trouble avoiding them try only using 3 at first then gradually progress to 6 when you get better at maneuvering.
 
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Jeff Dunford
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4-5 rounds in an hour is 12-15 minutes per round on average. It should be closer to 6 minutes per round, especially with only 3 ships per side (e.g. 7-TIE swarms tend to take a little longer). Also, even for experienced players, 75 minutes is recommended for 100-point squadrons, so I'd up the time limit to 75-90 minutes, at least until you get a few more matches under your belts.

If you really want to speed up the matches, try Heavy Laser Cannons (B-wings/Firespray).
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Seraph TC
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I suspect part of the problem is that there were a few mistakes.

Lufbery wrote:
but Vader bumped into Phennir, so neither one could use an action.


Not true. In this instance, Phennir should have already taken his action (lower PS so moves/takes actions first), and would have been free to take his bonus boost/barrel roll after his attack - only the ship that *causes* the overlap skips it's 'perform action' step, and Phennir's bonus action happens during the 'Combat' step.

Lufbery wrote:
Wedge fired at Vader at range 2 and took a shield off. Phennir fired at Wedge and took two shields off. The YT fired at the bomber at range 3 and missed.


Focus fire wherever possible to remove specific targets!

Lufbery wrote:

On the next turn the bomber landed on an asteroid (suffering one damage) and so did Vader (suffering no damage). John's interceptor ended up boosting out of the immediate action. My three guys were threading very carefully through the asteroids. John fired his advanced proton torpedoes and stripped two shields off the YT.


In this instance, if both Vader and the Bomber were overlapping an obstacle in the 'Combat' step, neither would have been able to attack at all. I think you might have misunderstood the collision/obstacle rules (completely normal - especially the first time! My friends and I made all of these mistakes at first!).

Lufbery wrote:

1) We played a little slowly. The next few rounds would have seen some more hull damage and a kill or two. We simply needed more time.


I'd generally agree with what others have posted. Until you get more familiar with the larger point values, allow yourself a little more play time if possible.

Lufbery wrote:

2) These were durable lists. The Imps had 15 hit points between hull and shields for the three ships. The Rebels had 19 hit points. What hits there were in the first few rounds only stripped off shields.


The problem is less with the durability, and more with the lack of offensive punch. Take a look at some lists dotted around the various forums for examples of good offensive output.

Lufbery wrote:

3) Not enough actions. John, especially had trouble. He collided two ships depriving them of actions, and then planted two ships on asteroids, depriving himself of actions for two turns each (getting onto the asteroid and then getting off).


As I mentioned above - are you resolving collisions correctly? With regards to obstacles:

When moving, if any part of the template crosses an obstacle, or the ship overlaps with the obstacle roll a damage dice and skip this ships 'perform action' step. If you're overlapping an obstacle during the 'Combat' phase, then that ship cannot attack.

(If the template crosses the obstacle, and you land on the obstacle you only roll the attack dice *once*).

The next turn, you are free to move/take actions as normal. You *don't* lose your action or roll damage when moving off of the obstacle *unless* the template partially crosses it again, or you fail to clear it completely with your movement.

With regards to ships, as I said before, only the ship that *causes* the overlap skips it's 'Perform Action' step. If a ship is in contact with another ship in the 'Combat' step it cannot declare that other ship as the target of an attack, but *can* declare other targets as normal.

Lufbery wrote:

6) Would we have had more action without the asteroids? I'm on the fence as to whether asteroids make the game better or not. They make for interesting tactical choices, but when we play without them we have much more maneuvering and more action.


Obstacles definitely make the game more tactical - it sounds like maybe you've gotten used to jousting a little too much, which is normal when you've got no obstacles to take advantage of.

Don't forget that when being shot through an obstacle, you get a bonus defence dice. It's worth thinking about this when building lists - TIE's can especially take advantage of this (particularly Interceptors!).

It's really satisfying when you start using your boost/barrel roll actions to put yourself into a position with a clear shot on an opponent, whilst being outside their fire arc, and forcing other ships to shoot you through obstacles! (Even more so when they're shooting at you from range 3!)

I'd suggest lowering the number of obstacles to start with and practice maneuvering around them, then gradually increase the number.

Don't just think about avoiding obstacles - think about using them to your advantage, and how to move to deny that advantage to your opponent.

Hope some of this helps!
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The most basic thing that seems to be happening is slow play. Dials action and combat for that few ships should take 6 mins or so and far less for the first round or two where you are still closing range.

Second is lack of focus fire. Spread damage will not take out ships. Take targets of opportunity but remember to stay on target as best you can.

Third is hitting stuff. That's never good.

Given the teams the rebels should really have torn the imperials apart in an hour.
 
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Drew Ames
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Hi all,

Thanks for the thoughtful responses!

Upon reviewing things with John, he insists that we actually played seven rounds rather than 5. I think he's right. It's still slow, but less slow than I initially thought.

I'm certain that we were resolving collisions with ships and with obstacles correctly. I'm also certain that my write-up fudged the timing and compressed the action of a couple of turns into one. blush

We did mess up the turn order a couple of times though. I'll be printing it out the next time we play.

Otherwise, we'll be looking at and incorporating a number of the suggestions above the next time we play.

Obviously a lot of the fun of a game like this is making a bunch of mistakes and learning from them.

Thanks again.
 
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Lufbery wrote:
We were a little slow, but had a lot of fun.


At the end of the play session you can critique it all you want, but this is the sentence that matters. You guys are having fun playing and that's what is important. It's great that you can play and enjoy the game with your 8 year old son. If you guys are having fun there's no need to speed it up. The memory of playing the game together will last, not the memory of who won or had the best build.

It sounds like there might have been some rules mistakes regarding collisions and obstacles, but those were addressed already. Beyond that any other suggestion is not necessary, as both you and your son will pick up on the nuances of the game as you play more.

All the suggestions about list building, offensive firepower, maneuvering and focus fire, don't sweat it. Play what you want and fly them how you want and enjoy the time with your son.

Now if you (or your son) are looking to get into tournament play than absolutely take these suggestions as they are good. But for casual play at home, just have fun. I think that is what matters in the long run.

Best suggestion I can offer is allow more time to play!
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Drew Ames
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SeraphTC wrote:

The next turn, you are free to move/take actions as normal. You *don't* lose your action or roll damage when moving off of the obstacle *unless* the template partially crosses it again, or you fail to clear it completely with your movement.


Yes. This is what happened to both Vader and the Bomber. My write-up was imprecise.

The first turn that they hit, they both hit nose on. The second turn, their movement templates overlapped as they moved to get off. No actions for either one for two turns.

We'll see if he does better next game.

 
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Drew Ames
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OmegaDolphin wrote:
Lufbery wrote:
We were a little slow, but had a lot of fun.


At the end of the play session you can critique it all you want, but this is the sentence that matters.


Amen! He's a great little wargamer. Actually, he's not that little anymore. We play Wooden Ships & Iron Men too. I've posted a couple session reports on WS&IM games with him.

That's actually why the timing surprised me so much with this game. We recently tore through 19 or 20 turns in an hour and a half of WS&IM. The key difference, I think is that I know that game a lot better than this one. We looked up a lot of rules yesterday.

OmegaDolphin wrote:
Best suggestion I can offer is allow more time to play!


Agreed. Thanks for the kind words.
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Lufbery wrote:
Obviously a lot of the fun of a game like this is making a bunch of mistakes and learning from them.

You got it!
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Seraph TC
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Absolutely agree with what others have posted - the most important thing is to have fun! (Otherwise known as 'flying casual' )

With the title and tone of the write up I thought you guys might have had a little less fun this time, (which isn't good) and I thought it could have been due to a few common rule misinterpretations that can make all the difference to how X-wing plays, hence my previous post - I felt I could offer some constructive points/clarifications to help you increase your enjoyment of the game

Whatever mistakes you make or however long it takes you to play, as long as you enjoy the time spent then you're obviously doing something right!

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Drew Ames
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SeraphTC wrote:
Absolutely agree with what others have posted - the most important thing is to have fun! (Otherwise known as 'flying casual' )

With the title and tone of the write up I thought you guys might have had a little less fun this time, (which isn't good) and I thought it could have been due to a few common rule misinterpretations that can make all the difference to how X-wing plays ...


Your comments are very much appreciated!

I think for us, less running into stuff and more action will be more fun. Experience will take care of part of the problem.

I also think keeping track of the named pilots' abilities, elite pilot skills and upgrades is slowing us down too. That's where a lot of the depth of the game comes from, but it can be a lot to think about each turn.

All of this is an excuse for us to play more.
 
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