Wednesday, April 27, 2016

May the Fourth

For those who live in the Twin Cities metro area, Fantasy Flight Games will be hosting a night of game demos with an X-Wing tournament on Wednesday, May 4th. Check it out.

May the Fourth (2016)


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Meet the Fleet, part 12


The VT-49 Decimator. An invention designed for the Massively Multiplayer Online RPG Star Wars Galaxies first expansion pack, entitled Jump to Lightspeed (2004). Word has it that they were trying to make "an evil Millennium Falcon".

I think the vessel looks suitably menacing, recalling both TIE Fighters with the front cockpit window and Star Destroyers with the sharp angular hull. A beast of a vessel.

We have yet to use it in a game, but it is ready for the next showdown (with Palpatine aboard, no less).

In other Meet the Fleet news, I ordered some engine glow stickers from eBay. I think they look great!


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Meet the Fleet, part 11


Luke Skywalker: [on first seeing the Millennium Falcon] What a piece of junk!
Han Solo: She'll make point five past lightspeed. She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid. I've made a lot of special modifications myself. 

Ahhh, yes. Now things are getting serious here on "Meet the Fleet". This is one of the finest miniatures I own, of any type. The wonderful Corellian Engineering Corporation YT-1300 Light Freighter. In particular, the Millennium Falcon. The sensor dish moves, people. The sensor dish moves.

I love this vessel. In the game, I don't think we've ever used it as anything other than Han flying the Falcon. Maybe someday Lando will take her out for a spin, or Chewie, but they just haven't yet.

I have a great deal of affection for this vessel. In fact, I am wearing a Falcon T-shirt right now. This vessel represents a free-wheelin' ability to fly through RPG space with a whole cast of miscreants in tow. Jump into the gun turrets! Here come some TIEs! Glorious. Simply glorious.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Chewie. We're home!

Just finished reading this blast from the past trilogy: collectively called the Han Solo Adventures by Brian Daley. Han Solo at Stars End (written in 1979), Han Solo's Revenge (1979), and Han Solo and the Lost Legacy (1980) pre-date anything else Star Wars not named Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker (1976) and Splinter of the Mind's Eye (1978).

Brian Daley would have been the only other game in town, besides Alan Dean Foster (who wrote one and ghost-wrote the other). 

What a great trilogy, especially for what it added to the canon at this early date: Z-95 Headhunter, Victory-class Star Destroyer, Marauder-class cruiser, the Corporate Sector Authority, Espos, houks, and more. Whole new areas of the galaxy explored and partially defined. Many new alien species, enough to know that you'd never meet them all, even if you were a dedicated space bum like Han.

All three books had a good amount of hijinks, fast paced action, and lots of twists and turns. I was surprised at how well they held up, description-of-technology-wise, being that they are almost 40 years old. 

As for hijinks: blowing up a secret Corporate Sector prison installation is pretty great. And when I say "blowing up", I really mean UP. Having to work with an undercover Corporate Sector agent and a bond company stooge while tracking down the roots of a slavery ring was pretty cool. Finding clues to an ancient treasure while helping out an old pal and evading perhaps the galaxy's best quick-draw artist also makes for a good tale.

The Millenium Falcon gets hot-rod upgraded, partially blown up, and mostly ripped apart. By the end of the trilogy Han needs some money for repairs, and thinks its a good idea to approach Jabba for a loan. All in all a very satisfying read. Better than the Lando trilogy (but Lando's odd tales still rate better than some of the bad Star Wars fare out there, past and present).

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Meet the Fleet, part 10


[Darth Vader steps out of his shuttle on the Death Star.]
Moff Jerjerrod: Welcome, Lord Vader. This is an unexpected pleasure. We are honored by your presence.
Darth Vader: You may dispense with the pleasantries, Commander. I am here to put you back on schedule.
Moff Jerjerrod: I assure you, Lord Vader, my men are working as fast they can.
Darth Vader: Perhaps I can find new ways to motivate them.
Moff Jerjerrod: I tell you that this station will be operational as planned.
Darth Vader: [stops and holds up his finger at Jerjerrod] The Emperor does not share your optimistic appraisal of the situation.
Moff Jerjerrod: But he asks the impossible! I need more men!
Darth Vader: Then perhaps you can tell him yourself when he arrives.
Moff Jerjerrod: [alarmed] The Emperor's coming here?
Darth Vader: That is correct, Commander, and he is most displeased with your apparent lack of progress.
Moff Jerjerrod: We shall double our efforts.
Darth Vader: I hope so, Commander, for your sake. The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am. [resumes walking]

The Sienar Fleet Systems Lambda-class T-4a shuttle. A beautiful ship, and this miniature has movable wings. What!? Awesome! Totally iconic, totally worth picking up for the collection. Nice job on this one, FFG.

We used this in a few games early on, but didn't think the ol' space cow was worth getting to know in a dogfighting game. Haven't tried the Emperor riding with the Royal Guard TIE/in escort, yet, but that could be cool.

Han: Keep your distance Chewie but don't look like you're trying to keep your distance.
Chewbacca: Ngyargh yargh.
Han: I don't casual.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Meet the Fleet, part 9


The last of the Rebel small-base ships. A couple of Z-95 Headhunters and the odd duck HWK-290, designed for a video game with low quality graphics (by today's standards). You can almost see the (few) polygons making up its strange shape. The pilot can't even look out the front window!

I mostly have these ships for the sake of completeness. I like the pair of Z-95s, but do not feel the need to get enough to run 100 points worth. Precursor to the good ol' Incom T-65.

All three of these vessels can also be flown by the Scum & Villainy faction. A good faction for the ugly HWK, I'd say. After a "Meet the Fleet" break of a few days, we'll dive into the large ships (then the huge ships). First up: the wonderful Lambda-class shuttle.

Meet the Fleet, part 8


Programming Note: I have so many more "Meet the Fleet" entries to get through that I am going to be spamming them over the next few weeks.

Oddballs. Prototypes. Test beds. Fruits of the Imperial Weapons Research labs.

TIE/D. TIE Defender. Three awesome solar panels. The big bad TIE space superiority fighter. Tough guy.

TIE/ph. TIE Phantom. Small ship with a cloaking device. Scary! Looks cool. Kind of like an inverse of the Defender.

TIE/ad. TIE Advanced x1 and the precursor, TIE Advanced Prototype v1. Flown, in my mind, only by Vader. I resist the idea that these craft ever formed full squadrons. I guess I could say the v1 model  (in ones or twos) may have been entrusted to Vader's select Inquisitors. I think (from examining film stills from the trench run) that Vader's TIE is the white one. The blue one came with the Raider-class corvette.

As for more, I am tempted to pick up one more TIE Defender. I'm good on the other stuff.

Rebel Armada

The Rebel fleet is massing near Sullust.

I might have a miniature collection problem.

Here is the fleet, based around an MC80 crusier. Two MC30c frigates and an Assault Frigate add to the backbone of the fleet, while a pair of Nebulon-Bs and a trio of CR90s round out the capital ships.

The squadron support is provided by the four X-wing squadrons from the base game plus one copy of the Rebel Fighter Squadrons expansion (two more of each: X-wings, A-wings, B-wings, Y-wings) and the Rebel half of the Rogues and Villains expansion (Han Solo in Millennium Falcon, Dash Rendar in Outrider, Jan Ors in Moldy Crow, and someone named Nym in something named Havoc).

I really didn't like the look-and-feel of the Assault Frigate Mk. II (seems like a space dolphin, or something), but I was won over by the hordes of people claiming it is a great game piece. The shape is growing on me, no doubt. I love having a bunch of these ships at two different scales (X-Wing and Armada).

Thursday, April 7, 2016

A Little Inspiration

In case you needed something to put you in the mood for Rebellion-era Star Wars adventure, here's the trailer for Rogue One.


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Imperial Armada


I was able to resist buying into Star Wars: Armada until I saw the Imperial-class Star Destroyer's painted blue engines. 

Then I could not resist. My Imperial fleet came together quickly. I have a similarly sized fleet for the Rebel Alliance, which I will show off next.

As miniatures games go, this one is inexpensive. At least comparatively. Or so I tell myself. (I have been divesting myself of some older miniatures via eBay lately).

This fleet is centered around the Star Destroyers: one Imperial-class, a trio of Victory-class, a Gladiator-class (originally from a 1985 episode of the Star Wars Droids cartoon). Those five are backed by a pair of Raider-class corvettes.

For squadrons, we have the core set contributing six TIE Fighter squadrons, further bolstered by one Imperial Fighter Squadrons pack (two more of each: TIE Fighter, TIE Interceptor, TIE Bomber, and TIE Advanced), another pair of TIE Fighters from eBay, and one Rogues and Villains pack (Boba Fett, Bossk, Dengar, IG-88).

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Meet the Fleet, part 7


Koensayr BTL-S3 Y-wing attack starfighter. One of my favorite Star Wars craft. One of my olden days RPG characters, Derl "Seven" Sevla, was a Y-wing pilot. In the memorable words of the WEG Star Wars Sourcebook:

"The Rebel Alliance has lost more of its rugged Y-wing fighter-bombers than any other spacecraft. This undesireable record is not due to any deficiency in the vehicle, but to the simple fact that the Rebels have flown more Y-wings into battle than any other starfighter. They bore the brunt of all of the Alliance's early space battles. No longer as fast, maneuverable, or heavily armed as other starfighters, the Y-wing remains a potent craft able to endure and deliver tremendous punishment."

I got all four of these beauties in Y-wing expansion packs. I am patiently waiting for the announcement of a Rebel Veterans expansion, which I hope will include an alternate paint scheme Y-wing (and X-wing), along with a bunch of cool new options.

I think this ship (in the FFG X-wing Miniatures Game) was designed a bit wrong from the get-go. None of the pilots have an Elite Pilot Talent slot, and there is no accommodation made for carrying a crew member. I would suggest that FFG think about redesigning the Y-wing completely; re-issuing the two unique pilots that came with this pack and adding a method for making the 2-seat BTL-S3 a playable ship. Some fans think this would encroach on the design space of the HWK-290. I say I don't care. The HWK is dumb. There are many canon instances of cool passengers riding in the second seat of the Y-wing.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Meet the Fleet, part 6


TIE/sa. TIE Bomber. Dupe. This is the heavy hitter of the fleet, delivering torpedoes and bombs to the enemies of the Galactic Empire. An Imperial-class star destroyer has a full squadron on board, ready to rain terror.

I have a third of that, a full flight of the craft. Not terribly interested in getting any more. I got all four in TIE Bomber expansion packs. I am curious about the modifications included in the upcoming Imperial Aces set, as they allow for the conversion from TIE Bomber to TIE Shuttle. That sounds cool.

Haven't flown them all that much in the game, but I love how sturdy they look. This flight is begging to zero in on the engine nacelles of the CR90...