Monday, 16 December 2013

X-Wing and the fattening side of the force

Last weekend I attended my first X-Wing tournament, it was at York Garrison and was run by my SST co-host Barry.  Aside from the 9am start, I had been looking forward to this for some time as X-Wing is a game that I am actually pretty good at and I’d almost certainly be playing people that I’d not played against before in any system.


As I had made some of the boards for the club that were still at my house, Barry came round to collect them Friday night and we squeezed in a couple of practice games.  I’d built what I thought was a reasonably solid Imperial list a while back that I had fully intended to take to the tournament so used it in the first practice game.  Suffice to say, I dispatched Barry’s rebel scum without too many problems making my record with that list seven wins and no losses.


The only ship that has causes me significant problems in the local group is the Hawk and its filthy focus shenanigans.  As I knew at least one person would be taking the dirty Hawk/mouldy crow/recon specialist combo (shame on you Ben!), I wanted to try and find a counter that would help dispatch that quicker.  As the format of the tournament was you picked your ships and could switch around cards between games (100 point games), I wanted to find the counter using my previous selection of ships so I could use either list.


My ship selection was a Firespray (pilot skill 3), 2 TIE Fighters (pilot skills 3 & 1) and 2 TIE Interceptors(both pilot skill 4) with no upgrades at all (I think I was the only player not to use upgrades).  The only counter for the Hawk I could see in those ships was Dark Curse, the pilot skill 6 TIE that you can’t spend focus or re-roll dice when attacking.  To accommodate that choice I had to adjust my list to Firespray (pilot skill 3), 2 TIE Fighters (pilot skills 6 & 3) and 2 TIE Interceptors (pilot skills 3 & 1).


I decided to try this list against Barry in the other practice game however he decided not to take the Hawk in that game so didn’t get to test the effectiveness of the counter.  Barry took what looked like a more competitive list including the Falcon and proceeded to absolutely rape me.  It left me with a lot to think about because, although it had failed dismally in that game, I did see potential in the revised list.


Come Saturday morning, I got up nice and early and headed to the bus stop to get there in plenty of time to help Barry set up for the day.  After waiting 55 minutes for a bus that is supposed to run every 10 minutes (thanks a lot First Bus!), I got to the building with 2 minutes to spare.  One of the great things about X-Wing is that it takes no time at all to set up and clear away so everything was ready to go when I arrived.


In the first round, I had requested a grudge match against Sean Gill (@apostlegillus on twitter) as, barring a Malifaux demo ages ago, I’ve not got to play against him and wanted to.  Gill being the fun guy that he is took a very different list to others, taking Han in the Falcon and Luke in an X-Wing, both with a ton of upgrades (that’s right, 2 ships in a 100 point game!).  I decided to go with my revised list which I ended up using in every game.  Having not played a game against that sort of list before I was having to really think about how to play it, getting rid of the 60 point Falcon seemed like a good place to start.  I targeted the Falcon early on and got very lucky with my dice rolls, getting rid of it quicker than either of us expected.  With 5 ships left to target Luke, he soon fell resulting in a 100-0 win to me.


In the 2nd game I was playing Julian who, along with his son Patrick, are the reason the club wooden spoon is called the Roberts award.  I had never played Julian before so didn’t really know what to expect.  I don’t really remember the details of that game, only that he destroyed 1 TIE and we called it with him having 1 ship left (there was 6 minutes remaining and food was being served).  I think it ended something like 76-12 to me.


In game 3 I played Tom, a guy that is fairly new to the club who had 2 flawless victories to his name at that point in the day.  To say that my trousers were on brown alert would be an understatement!  He was using the filthy Hawk combo, the Falcon (Lando I think) and a B-Wing.  I immediately threw everything at the Hawk and took it off the board reasonably quickly.  He managed to take out a couple of my ships before I chipped away enough damage to remove his other 2 ships.  I think that one ended up 100-36 in my favour, a somewhat surprising result for all involved.


In game 4 I was put against club leader Ben using more rebel scum, again with the filthy Hawk combo (with an X, an A and a B too).  I have played against Ben before and we have regularly discussed the combo possibilities in the game so this one would be a little different.  I wanted targeted the Hawk straight away but Ben did a great job making it difficult to target.  For the whole game I ended up chipping away at shields but not being able to sustain fire on one target.  Between that and my inability to roll more hits than Ben had evades, it was not going to be my game.  I don’t remember the final score from this one (possibly 100-0?) but it definitely went in Ben’s favour.


In game 5 I was against Josh, a friend of Tom’s that had not been to the club before.  He had not played the game much before but you would not have guessed it.  He was using a TIE swarm, my first Imperial opponent of the day.  Long story short, he started very aggressively, I spent the game rolling blanks and got thoroughly batter.  My dice rolling was by far the worst I’ve ever done, to the point it was actually quite comical, but I’m not sure how much it affected the outcome of the game.  I may have been able to destroy a ship or two rather than losing 100-0 (which is what happened),but defeat would have almost certainly still come.


I ended up finished 3rd and playing against some really nice people that I’ve not played against before so all in all a good day.


Only one real issue with the day arose and that was with the food.  Garrison is lucky enough to have a fully on-site canteen that does great food at decent prices, the only issue is though it’s not ideal if you’re on a diet.  Since starting a diet I have been very strict about my food intake, carefully counting every calorie but the reality hit that sometimes that is not always possible.  The canteen does food that gamers will like and unfortunately the average gamer tends not to be a health freak.


As it is clearly an issue going to a tournament while on a diet, I will be taking a selection of healthy options (fruit, low calories snacks, etc) to Vappa for people in Malifool Fat Camp as an alternative to the chocolate and crisps that will no doubt be included in the provided lunches.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

I blame the Soop

This week has been a bit of a strange one for me, on many different levels.

Last Wednesday I had a Malifaux 2nd edition demo with replacement henchman Chris.  Having previously been the henchman, I really made him work for it but he stepped up and did a great job.  That was the first time I’d looked at Malifaux in roughly 6 months and was pleasantly surprised by the subtle changes that have occurred during that time.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still not as good as the game it was and I’m not going to rush back any time soon but it has improved since the final beta version.

On Friday we recorded our long awaited m2e episode of Soulstone Train, this is something that we’d been putting off for some time.  For a while, I had in my head an idea of how that episode would be structured which is pretty different to how episodes are normally planned.  As we were going back to our roots in a way, I thought it appropriate to obtain some Dragon Soop for the occasion (pay close attention, that becomes important later!).  We started recording the episode and it was much more civilised than expected until something rather unexpected happened.  I found myself agreeing to play in the Vapnartak (not Varpartnik!) Malifaux tournament in February.  Going into that recording I had absolutely no intention of entering that tournament so I can come to just one conclusion, it was the Soop!

That brings us to the bizarre conclusion to the week, me going on a diet.  Those who know me know that I like food and I like drink, neither of which are overly good for you in the quantities that I consume.  It is worth noting that I am not an average gamer, I regularly see my feet without the need to breathe in and regularly participate in a violent blood sport (in my case, ice hockey).  Due to a damaged ankle I have not played a massive part in the hockey season so far and have been piling on the pounds.  As I needed to lose weight anyway, I have signed up for the Malifools fat camp challenge to try and lose my excess weight before Vappa (which also coincides with the toughest part of the hockey season.).  I tend to lose weight pretty easily so hopefully by Vappa I’ll be rocking a 6 pack (totally not happening!).