Friday, July 10, 2015

More arrows

Another session of Archery :)
Some pictures, not too much to say this time...







Saturday, July 4, 2015

Memories of a Traveller

[Location: Observatory Hall, Orbital Cluster Philip Augustus, right above the Mediterranean.]
[Previously: At a Company reception, several underlings were talking about holiday destinations when a Big Boss arrived and not only interrupted the flow of the conversation but re-routed it into current politic affairs.]

[Big Boss monologuing] - The vote this weekend is critical, not only for the affected country itself but also for the Earth Union. The Union cannot afford to lose a member, any member; otherwise other countries of the Union will also be attack the same way and they will have also to leave the Union, making the Union weaker not stronger. It is not that the Union can expel a member, but a country can always left. The real problem is the current government. I really hope your country [Big Boss pointing to one of the underlings] is not going to vote for Permane. They are the same and then your country will be the next in the list...

[The pointed-to underling looks to Big Boss with a distant expression on the face]

[Big Boss first confused, then annoyed] What's the matter? you don't think so ?

[underling] It doesn't really matter. It is pointless.

[Big Boss, surprised] Pointless? What do you mean?

[underling] Five years and six and a half month for today, a real First Contact will take place. Two years and three months after that precise date our species will be on the brink of extinction.

[Big Boss, scoffing] You believe so?

[underling] No. I don't believe so. I know. I was there.

[Deathly silence]

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Arrow ? Not really

I got the impression that lately I only talk about x-wing in this blog which actually it is intended as a way for me to talk about anything that catches my attention or I have any interest on.
So, I will try to re-focus on other issues bzw. activities, such as for example archery.
I started with archery some years ago, actually several years ago. However in contrast to Oliver Queen I did not spent five years only shooting my bow in a "desert" island in the middle of the pacific; live has priorities and my time for archery comes and goes according to other things that happen in my life, such as my family :)
Anyway, I was going to my archery club on a more or less regular basis for a while, then I stopped, came back again, stopped and finally, last week, after around 18 to 24 months pause I came back.
It was a nice day, sunny but not too warm and I really enjoyed it; not only because of the weather but also because my body has not forgotten how to use the bow. What I mean is that shooting with a bow is similar to swimming or to use a bike; it involves muscular memory if such a term exist.
I was afraid that the very first arrow was going to go astray and that I will lose it or break it; however it hit the wall where target was not so far away for the target, which is a good thing :)
This is specially true with my bow as I have no aiming means whatsoever.
Originally my bow is a recurve bow, which should have an aiming help, but I found it too distracting and I never use it, as I also never used stabilizers my bow has nothing apart for the drawstring and the arrow support and pusher. It is what usually is called a "bare" bow, which is one of the closest thing to a traditional bow without being a traditional bow.
As you can imaging, a traditional bow is done in wood, shoots wood arrows and has nothing to help aiming and sometimes not even an arrow support; yes, you feel like Robin Hood with such a bow.
A recurve is done in parts; a central piece which in mine is metal and the upper and lower arms which are done with a composite material and usually uses alloy arrows or carbon fibre arrows.
So, here some pictures :)
First volley



Fly casually

or why I should stop playing x-wing competitively.

Background

Last weeks I have been reading the meta, tinkering and testing my dual phantom plus Soontir list for the regionals which had been the main focus of the last entries on this blog.
Regionals are gone now and everything seems quiet in the western front (actually there is a second regional at the end of this month, but that is another story).
Also this last week, my local group was considering to play a Epic Game. They wanted to go for 200 points each players, tournament style and four players.
Here, I was the calm voice saying things like: we have never done it before, we have limited experience with the CR90 corvette and all that energy stuff, maybe 120 points per person with a lot of time for the game will be better, we play quite and nicely, relax, checking the rules, discussing the game as it progresses and so on. So, I was the calm down voice.
What happened? Well...

Reality

We prepared the teams, discussed strategies, met for the game, did the set up, took some pictures, set the dials for the first round and I managed to destroy the whole mood of the game and ruin the whole concept.
Rickbane and me we were playing imperials, Rombic and darth messenger were playing rebels. As more experienced player, messenger was in charge of the CR90 corvette and Rombic was playing the normal rebels ships, which included an Prototype A-wing (PS 1) and three other craft with PS 2.
The four ships were deployed in formation and he wanted to move them a 2 turn, all of them and made then focus. However, with all the talking and the fact that he was having another A-wing which was supposed to do a 3 turn, he put the two dials of the A-wings on a 3 turn, which will disrupt his formation.
When he was revealing the dials he was saying aloud his intentions, namely all 2 turns and focus, but the dial was showing a 3 turn. We pointed this to him, he turned the other A-wing dial and surprise it was also a 3 turn, however he just keep doing the intended 2 turn which was fine, we were playing casually and for fun, right ?

Not really...

He had moved already other two ships after the "misplaced" A-wing, I was still talking about something else or about this particular movement when something, I don't know what or why just snapped in me. I just turn to him and said something like:
sorry, you need to move back those two other ships and move the A-wing a 3 turn which is what is in the dial, so is the rule (yes, the rule, the tournament rule) and, by the way, I am serious about it.
Death silence for a second.
Mood completely spoiled and the whole idea of the game, learning and having fun gone; just because of me being a [please insert here appropriate insult].
Maybe it was the fact that I played a tournament the weekend before, that I am having some stress in my life at the moment or that I am completely out of my mind, but the truth is that I was completely out of line.

Yes, sure, a few minutes later, during the second round, a little voice in my head said to me what a moron I was and I apologized to him, and he was so nice not to hold a grudge about it and the rest of the game was (more or less) fine and that they win and destroy my two ships before the fourth round (I think this was karma coming back); but that is not the point, those are amendments which needed to be done after my performance.

My point
I am trying to learn from this and trying to learn to fly casually and no be a moron with/about this game. Hope you never encounter someone displaying out there a behaviour as stupid as the one I did.

Fly casually and see you around.



Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Regionals !

The first of the two regional tournament of The Hague was held this last Saturday at the Tabletop Kingdom.
I was there with my Soontir Fel, two Sigma phantoms list and even if I did not fare so well (22 out of 26) I enjoyed it.
There is a compressive article about the whole tournament, with lists, stats and all that here.
I played my first game against John and his Rear Admiral - Soontir list. It was a very interesting match up as so far I have used my list only against rebel two ships lists, never before against imperial two ships lists. However I did two critical errors in the very first turn that cripple my possibilities of doing anything. I placed my phantoms in the middle. John placed his Decimator also in the middle. Both Soontirs were facing each other on my left side of the board. My idea was to go with all my ships against his Soontir and take him out of the equation and than try not to lose any ship while trying to fight the admiral. I moved my phantoms something like 2 or 3 forward and they cloaked. He moved the admiral and boosted almost in front of my cloaked phantoms who where not able to fire on him. My Soontir went 4 forward and boosted to get a range 3 shoot on the admiral but with the idea of being more free and less obvious on the next round I did not push the limits for the usual evade+focus+stress (aka turtle Soontir). He moved his Soontir a slow 2 forwards and let him there. I fired on the Decimator without any success, John fired on Soontir also without success and then I opened my big, honest mouth and said to him something like: "You still have gunner, right?". He had forgotten about it ! So, he says thanks, pick the dices, rolls all impacts, I take the evil green dices and roll all "eyes". We both look to it, we realize that I have no focus and that my Soontir is just space dust. We stop for a second or two. It was unbelievable. The rest went hill down, down, down to a 100-0 victory for John (well deserved). He finished second of the best eight but unfortunately did not manage to get further.

The second game was against Erik B and his IG-88b and four binayre pirates.
Here I did a bit better. He placed his four pirates on my right facing his center, so rotated 90° with respect to me. His IG was on my left also facing his center. It was clear that he was going to join then and turn towards me, the only doubt was when they were going to turn. I assumed that the pirates were going to turn immediately on round 1 and that the IB will follow the round after. I moved my phantoms again like 3 or 4 forwards towards an asteroid that I have placed there as cover and cloaked. Soontir, this time was able to get undisturbed to the end of the battle field and started firing on the sides and rear of the pirates. There was a bit of clogging in that area as the pirates were blocking the IG and themselves on purpose to try to remain there. Soontir collided once before just doing a K-turn and approaching again from the other side. I managed to take out two pirates but in the fight with the IG, I also managed to get the two phantoms destroyed...

After the lunch break I played against Sjoerd and his Corran Horn - two B-wings list. This I managed to win by destroying the two B-wing even if my initial idea was to concentrate on Corran. He destroyed one of my phantoms, although. The game was very good and very funny. The best moments were on the final two rounds. First I cornered one of his B-wing between a phantom and Soontir and it escaped with only one hull left and in the round after, he cornered one of my phantoms between his Corran and one B-wing, but the phantom also managed to survive (even with Corran double tap). The critical moment came when I rolled only one hit on my 5 dices final attack against the wounded B-wing and he rolled a blank. It was a great game, with tension until the end.

After I played against Kim and his Firespray - IG88b list. This list was nice, well, not the dummy IG but the Firespray. A friend of my who was not able to participate in the tournament, when preparing for it, was talking about taking precisely that Firespray (Emon Azzameen) just to be able to drop bombs all over the place. The game was insane. I managed to "eat" all of his bombs, the three of them. It was funny, alas costly for me.
One moment of the fight against Kim's list
The final game was against Olivier and his YT-2400 - Han Solo list. The game was a bit weird as both of us were tired. I managed to get his YT-2400 within firing arc of all my three ships and it barely survived the attack. On the next round(s) I was able to finishing it off and I started trying to regroup to look for a way to corner Han Solo. However, he was determined to hunt down Soontir, which he managed at the end. So, it was a modified victory for me, 43 to 32.

It was a nice tournament.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Learning to Fly: Carnor Jax

TIE interceptors, there is no middle ground, either you love them or you hate them. I am in the first group :)
They are nice, quick, deadly and fragile; an interesting combo.
When people think about TIE interceptors, they usually think about almost-all-mighty Soontir Fel. I like him a lot. He is the best; so simple; no further discussions.
However, there are other named TIE interceptors there who are also very good and in the right hands can be even better than Soontir (yes, this is a contradiction of my previous statement, but the universe is a place full of contradictions :D ).
Once of those potential heroes of the Empire is Carnor Jax, a 26 points pilot with a PS of 8 and a nice special ability: "Enemy ships at Range 1 can't perform Evade or Focus Actions, nor spend Evade or Focus tokens" which will potentially cripple the options of his enemies. The key, of course, is to stay alive and at range 1 which being a very fragile interceptor maybe is easier said than done.
I have played with him only two or three times before, so I am still learning to fly with him. Last time it was a bit disappointing, this time was a bit better but still, I think that for the upcoming regionals I will take Soontir Fel. I feel better flying with him :)
Anyway, the lists.
My list was the usual stuff:

  • Sigma Squadron Pilot (34) x 2 - TIE Phantom (25), Recon Specialist (3), Sensor Jammer (4), Stygium Particle Accelerator (2)
  • Carnor Jax (31) - TIE Interceptor (26), Royal Guard TIE (0), Push the Limit (3), Autothrusters (2)

My regular opponent list was quite different of the usual two ships list he was flying lately (100 points total):

  • Keyan Farlander (37) B-Wing (29), Fire-Control System (2), Stay on Target (2), B-Wing/E2 (1), C-3PO (3) 
  • Etahn A’baht (40) E-Wing (32), R2-D2 (4), Stay on Target (2), Fire-Control System (2) 
  • Arvel Crynyd (23) A-Wing (23), A-Wing Test Pilot (0), Chardaan Refit (-2), Stay on Target (2)

My main problem with Carnor is that I forget to use his ability and that I am not flying him in an optimal way to be able to use it. Both issue are, of course, heavy related. You can not optimize for something you keep on forgetting :)

I was having initiative, so I placed the first big asteroid :)

Set Up
Set Up
Keyan Farlander, the B-Wing, has the ability to use stress token as focus tokens, so for him, being stressed is very good. My opponent loves Stay on Target to be able to correct his planned movement, so he was equipped with it instead of the more common Push the Limits. To try to put some more stress on the game, he took Debris Clouds, three of them, as obstacles. I continued using the three biggest rocks :)
I deployed my Sigmas behind the asteroid on my left with the idea to move right behind it and decloak left or right depending on my needs.
He placed his A-wing to my left, alone, and the other two ships close to the centre.
So, I decided to place Carnor on my left to try to go for the lonely A-wing to destroy it on round two or three with concentrated fire.

1st round
As planned my sigmas moved 4 forwards behind the rock and cloaked (I did a mistake here as I placed the dial on 3 straight but my opponent let me correct it)
All his ships moved 3 straight and focus, approaching the centre at a slow pace.
I hit the gas with Carnor and he went 5 forwards, boost to his right and focus.

1st round end of movement
Carnor was able to shred 1 shield from Arvel, who was not able to hit him with his return fire. The special ability of Carnor did not play any roll here due to his range limitation.

2nd round
It was clear to me that his other two ships were terribly close to the centre and that they will join there before Carnor could move there.
I just discovered that I do not have a picture of this round. Maybe the presence of other people talking to us distracted me and I forgot...
Anyway, the phantoms decloaked left (no surprise here) and one moved 3 forwards whereas the other did a 3 right bank, both of them did barrel roll in opposite directions to block the path of the A-wing.
The E-wing did a 3 right bank and focused. The A-wing did a 5 K-turn and the B-wing did a 2 right bank and focus.
Carnor avoided the centre and did a 4 straight with boost right.
There was heavy fired involved as my opponent targeted one of my phantoms with concentrated fire but luckily nothing happened.

3rd round
The phantoms moved to block. Number one did a 1 right turn and barrel roll right; the other one did a 3 right turn and focused.
The blockade was successful as the E-wing tried a 3 K-turn which made him to collide with my phantom. The A-wing went after Carnor with a 2 right bank and focus. The B-wing did a 2 right turn, avoided collision and barrel roll to the left to face the other phantom.
Carnor decided to hide to live another day and did a 1 left turn followed by a barrel roll to his right which left him behind the rock.
3rd round end of movement
The exchange of fire between the phantom and the B-wing went in my favour as the B-wing lost 3 shields and the phantom escaped undamaged.
Here I was able to fire with the phantom either at the B-wing or at the E-wing. I decided to fire at the B-wing even if it has a higher durability due to the regeneration of the E-wing due to R2-D2. I was not going to be able to kill it before it would be able to regenerate for sure one shield, at least two and with bad luck even three :)

4th round
Here I was having no idea what to do. My two phantoms were blocked in the middle of the fight, Carnor was lost behind a rock and without easy way to come back. I played with the idea of disengage totally, have Carnor fly to his right, out of business for a round, try to regroup and come back; but that will let my phantoms without clear flying options.
My opponent was facing similar problems with his forces.
Difficult to see the future was ;)

The phantom which had collided with the E-wing on the previous round did a 3 left turn and cloaked. The other phantom did a 2 right turn and also cloaked. Both of them were just buying time for the crowded fight to dissolve.
The E-wing did a 2 right turn and focused, right behind a phantom and outside his firing arc. The A-wing tried to go again after Carnor but this time went for the block with a 5 forwards. The B-wing did his 2 K-turn and Carnor trying to do a 3 left turn collided with the expecting A-wing.
This was perfectly done by my opponent !
At the beginning of the game, as we were looking to our lists, we were discussing that precisely this situation was the best for Arvel, that is, when he moves and uses his action for whatever (here it was a Target Lock) and then, his opponent collides with him, losing actions and being unable to return fire.
Great move :)
4th round end of movement
Arvel was able to hit Carnor and caused him 1 damage (luckily).

5th round
The phantom in front of the rock decloaked left, did 2 left turn and a left barrel roll which let him between the initial positions of the E-wing and the B-wing.
The other phantom decloaked to his right, did a 1 right turn and a barrel roll to the right, trying to close the gap so that the E-wing will be not able to fly away.
Here, my opponent revealed a 2 right turn as his idea was to impact with my phantoms but to stay behind them. After looking to the position of the ships he decided to Stay on Target for a 2 right bank. We place the template, look to the final position, blocked by the phantom on the left, start moving the E-wing backwards and, surprise!, it fits in between the phantom and it only overlaps the one on the left, letting the one on his right able to fire at point-blank. Both of us were without words. I took some pictures trying to get a close up of the final position as it will cost my opponent the E-wing.
The A-wing did a 1 right turn and collided with Carnor, whereas the B-wing did a 1 right bank by-passing the phantoms and the E-wing and barrel roll right. Carnor did a 3 left turn and collided with the asteroid also by a millimetre (Karma in action).
5th round end of movement
You can see the millimetre gap between the phantom on the right and the E-wing.
Close up
 And here the overlap (now touching) with the other phantom.

close up, other angle
The phantom fired 5 attack dice at the E-wing for 3 shields and 1 critical damage, damaged cockpit, reducing his PS to zero.

6th and final round
The E-wing moved first due to his PS 0 and did a 2 left bank, which been green gave him 1 shield back.
I was still with the idea that my phantoms were to move first, so both of them were suppose to try to (pre)follow the E-wing; therefore, the one on the left did a 1 right turn and focus, whereas the other did also a 1 right turn but collided with the E-wing which suddenly was were it was not supposed to be.
The A-wing did a 3 K-turn to get into position for another pass on the next round which will not take place. The B-wing did a 2 K-turn to engage the phantoms and Carnor did a 2 straight over the Debris cloud.
Here I was considering focussing on the B-wing instead of on the E-wing as the K-turn of the B-wing was the more obvious movement and I was afraid of collisions between my own ships on the narrow space behind the E-wing. Also, in case the E-wing collided with my ships under the wrong assumption that he was going to move after my sigmas will have left him behind them and outside of firing arc.
6th round end of movement
The final exchange of fire was enormous. Carnor removed the shield of the E-wing. The B-wing disabled the shields of the phantom on the left and damaged him once. However, the final fire of the other phantom did 4 damage to the poor E-wing, more than enough to reduce it to atoms.

End of the Game

Aftermath
This time I was more consistent in not forgetting my Sensor Jammer with the phantoms but still not really aware of the ability of Carnor. I have the impression that I lost the possibility to use it a few times during the game. This is very probably not correct but, still, it is my impression and impressions are very difficult to remove :(
As I said previously, for this Saturday regionals I will come back to Soontir I-am-the-best Fel and see how I fare there.
I will try to report afterwards, but being five games, one after each other with a very strict time limit, I am afraid that I will not be able to have such a complete picture overview of the games...

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Carnor Jax, maybe you are in, maybe you are out :)

Following some brain storming about phantom based list on the FFG forum  there was the suggestion to use Carnor Jax instead of Soontir Fel in the list I have been running those last weeks.
This time I gave it a try against basically the same Han Solo - Wedge Antilles duo I played last time.
My list:

  • Sigma Squadron Pilot (34) x 2 - TIE Phantom (25), Recon Specialist (3), Sensor Jammer (4), Stygium Particle Accelerator (2)
  • Carnor Jax (31) - TIE Interceptor (26), Royal Guard TIE (0), Push the Limit (3), Autothrusters (2)
My opponent:
  • Wedge Antilles (40) - X-Wing (29), R2-D2 (4),Predator (3), Engine Upgrade (4)
  • Han Solo (59) - YT-1300 (46), Stay on Target (2), C-3PO (3), Luke Skywalker (7), Millennium Falcon (1)
Both list are 99 points, so we roll for initiative again, but it only affected to see who was placing the first obstacle as all my ships will move before all the ships of my opponent.
I got it so I placed one of the big asteroids right in front of the centre of the deployment zone of my opponent to try to block his Falcon. After distributing all the obstacles I placed all my ships on my centre; he placed his on my right.
Set Up
I was afraid of the combination of Han Solo and Luke as it will allow my opponent to potentially roll his attack dices four times in his quest of destroying my ships, so I decided to go to the left to pass between the asteroids and maybe come back to the centre also between the asteroids. However I was not really seeing my flying paths today as I crossed my ships in funny ways all the game.
In the first round, one phantom did a 2 left bank and cloaked, no surprise here, however for no apparent reason with the other one I did a 3 left turn, almost colliding with the previous one, and of course cloak.
Carnor Jax did a 3 left bank and a boost forwards, no push the limits to keep the options open for the next round.
Han moved 3 forward and focused whereas Wedge went 4 forwards and boosted right. He got Carnor in firing range but his attack failed.
1st round, end of movement
 For the second round I decided to face Wedge and to try to take him out of the equation as last time.
One phantom decloaked right, did a 2 right turn and focused facing Wedge. The other phantom I was afraid was going to block Carnor so I decided to take him for a walk and decloaked right, turned 3 to the right and cloaked somewhere on my left side of the board.
Carnor did a 1 right turn, forward boost and evade, also facing Wedge.
Han approached by performing a 3 right bank and focused, whereas Wedge moved carefully 1 forward to avoid any potential collision and target lock the phantom.
My opponent had also considered to K-turn with Wedge but this was very dangerous as if a collision would have taken place, then there will be no K-turn, no actions and one stress as outcome of the bargain. However being in front of two of my ships was also not good either.
2nd round, end of movement
Han fired on the phantom and removed 1 shield. I have to say that this game I was forgetting all the time that my phantoms have Sensor Jammer and that was very annoying as several times we needed to back track the dice rolls. Also, its use against Han-Luke combo is questionable because if you avoid the damage of the first shoot totally, Luke will allow for a new attack with a soft focus. Along the game we realized that this second attack is very good if your Falcon is stressed (therefore no actions) or has taken other action than focus. In this case, your second attack is actually better than the first one because of the soft focus of Luke.
Wedge removed the second shield of the phantom but then Carnor was able to disable both shields of Wedge and the phantom was able to destroy it. Just like the previous game. For me it was so far, so good.
However, one of my ships was far away of the action and my positioning for hunting down the Falcon was not optimal. As I already say, my flying was erratic today.

On the 3rd round, the wounded phantom did a 3 left bank and landed on an asteroid !
My idea was to disengage the Falcon and regroup for a second pass, but I fail miserably.
The other phantom turned 3 to the right and focused, still cloaked.
Carnor turned 2 left between the asteroids and boosted right.
Han advanced 2 forwards and focused.
3rd round, end of movement
Han was having a golden shoot on the phantom on the asteroid which he could not fail. The phantom was vaporized out of existence.

So far I had not been able to fire on the Falcon so I tried to bring my remaining two ships into attack positions.
The phantom turned 1 right and focused, whereas Carnor did a 3 K-turn.
Han performed a 2 right turn to confront the phantom and managed to remove one shield.
4th round, end of movement
On the fifth round, the phantom decloaked right and turned 1 left to block the Falcon. It also focused.
Carnor Jax moved 4 forwards, did a barrel roll to his right and boosted right but was not able to get the Falcon in his firing arc.
Han moved 4 forwards and collided with the phantom.
No shooting this round :(
5th round, end of movement
On the next round, the phantom turned 1 left and focused, whereas Carnor turned 2 right, boosted right and barrel roll left trying to point in the general direction of the Falcon. However, Han "stayed on target" and turned 1 right avoiding the collision with the phantom and moving outside of the firing arc of Carnor.
6th round
Han removed the last shield of the phantom and caused him one damage.

I do not have a picture of the last round, but basically the phantom turned 1 left trying to go after Han, Carnor did the same by turning 2 right and barrel roll right, and Han just moved 1 forward and fired on the phantom destroying it.

End of the game.

Aftermath
I was not able to fly well with Carnor. Maybe it was just today or maybe it is that I have been flying exclusively Soontir when I fly interceptors, but I was not able to get results out of Carnor. Yes, I destroyed Wedge, but I did that also with Soontir and also in the second round. Yes, Carnor helped with the negation of evades and focus but the thing is that I am not used to have to fly into range one of the enemy and also I was missing the extra focus from Soontir after a push the limits.
As we were playing and discussing the game at the same time, we realized that I was not able to surprise my opponent with the movement of Carnor, or the other way around, he was able to (more or less) predict his movement and this is the pitfall of any player on this game, when your opponent is able to rightly predict where are you going to move.
Was I disappointed with Carnor ? not really, maybe more with myself. I was really unable to deal with the Han - Luke combo and for some reason I was constantly forgetting the Sensor Jammers on the phantom. I think it was not one of my best days even if Wedge died again very soon in the game.
My opponent was thinking of using Wedge with something else, not a Han Solo build, but maybe two other small ships, maybe even another two X-wings. We will see... :) :)