Thursday, November 21, 2019

Star Wars LCG Progression, Part 3

Alright, I've written up everything where I currently stand with the Dark Side part of things, so I figure it's a good time to write up everything Light Side.  I eventually do need to make a new Light Side deck, but I'll get there eventually.  As a reminder, I'm only working with Core Set, plus the first cycle, and the Edge of Darkness Deluxe Expansion.

So, let's look at a deck that, at one point, I am pretty sure was extremely strong in the meta (as in, during this point during the game's life, it was pretty strong).

RA Sleuth Scouts:
Total Cards: (50)

Rebel Alliance

Objective: (10)
2x The Defense of Yavin 4 (Core 8-1)
2x Renegade Squadron Mobilization (The Search for Skywalker 44-1)
2x Prepare for Evacuation (A Dark Time 49-1)
2x Raise the Stakes (Edge of Darkness 70-1)
2x Across the Anoat Sector (Edge of Darkness 74-1)

Unit: (28)
2x Red Two (Core 8-2)
2x Y-Wing (Core 8-3)
2x Renegade Squadron (The Search for Skywalker 44-2)
2x Renegade Squadron Operative (The Search for Skywalker 44-3)
2x Munitions Expert (The Search for Skywalker 44-4)
2x Renegade Squadron Escort (A Dark Time 49-2)
2x Renegade Squadron Escort (A Dark Time 49-3)
2x Action-series Bulk Transport (A Dark Time 49-4)
2x Blockade Runner (Edge of Darkness 70-2)
2x Cloud City Operative (Edge of Darkness 70-3)
2x Bothan Spy (Edge of Darkness 70-4)
2x Sleuth Scout (Edge of Darkness 74-2)
2x Sleuth Scout (Edge of Darkness 74-3)
2x Undercover Operative (Edge of Darkness 74-4)

Enhancement: (8)
2x Astromech Droid Upgrade (Core 8-4)
2x Hidden Outpost (Core 8-5)
2x Echo Caverns (The Search for Skywalker 44-5)
2x Smuggling Compartment (Edge of Darkness 70-5)

Event: (10)
2x Rebel Assault (Core 8-6)
2x Ion Cannon Burst (A Dark Time 49-5)
2x Swindled (Edge of Darkness 70-6)
2x Smuggler's Run (Edge of Darkness 74-5)
2x Over My Dead Body (Edge of Darkness 74-6)

Fate: (4)
2x Target of Opportunity (The Search for Skywalker 44-6)
2x Battle of Hoth (A Dark Time 49-6)

The object of this deck is to buff up those Sleuth Scouts with Raise the Stakes and Across the Anoat Sector to really hammer your opponent's objectives, and use a variety of cards, like Echo Caverns, to control what's available to defend them.  It's a deck I know did well, once upon a time, and it's a deck I've personally done well with, playing against Eric, as well as before.

For my second deck, I wanted to use at least a few of the Jedi objectives, and ended up with the following:

Jedi/RA Hoth Speeders
Total Cards: (50)


Objective: (10)
2x Hoth Operations (The Desolation of Hoth 38-1)
1x Echo Base Defense (The Desolation of Hoth 39-1)
1x Preparation for Battle (The Search for Skywalker 45-1)
2x Attack Pattern Delta (The Battle of Hoth 59-1)
2x A Hero's Resolve (Escape from Hoth 64-1)
2x Evacuation Procedure (Escape from Hoth 65-1)

Unit: (31)
2x Wedge Antilles (The Desolation of Hoth 38-2)
2x Rogue Three (The Desolation of Hoth 38-3)
2x Snowspeeder (The Desolation of Hoth 38-4)
1x Wilderness Fighters (The Desolation of Hoth 39-2)
1x Wilderness Fighters (The Desolation of Hoth 39-3)
1x Wilderness Fighters (The Desolation of Hoth 39-4)
1x Hoth Scout (The Search for Skywalker 45-2)
1x AAC-1 Speeder Tank (The Search for Skywalker 45-3)
1x AAC-1 Speeder Tank (The Search for Skywalker 45-4)
1x Tauntaun (The Search for Skywalker 45-5)
2x Rogue Leader (The Battle of Hoth 59-2)
2x Rogue Two (The Battle of Hoth 59-3)
2x Snowspeeder (The Battle of Hoth 59-4)
2x Luke Skywalker (Escape from Hoth 64-2)
2x Snowspeeder (Escape from Hoth 64-3)
2x Tauntaun (Escape from Hoth 64-4)
2x Han Solo (Escape from Hoth 65-2)
2x Toryn Farr (Escape from Hoth 65-3)
2x Bright Hope (Escape from Hoth 65-4)

Enhancement: (8)
2x Hoth Survival Gear (The Desolation of Hoth 38-5)
1x Subzero Defenses (The Desolation of Hoth 39-5)
1x Subzero Defenses (The Desolation of Hoth 39-6)
2x Snowspeeder Launch Bay (The Battle of Hoth 59-5)
2x Buried Outpost (Escape from Hoth 65-5)

Event: (1)
1x Shelter from the Storm (The Search for Skywalker 45-6)

Fate: (10)
2x Target of Opportunity (The Desolation of Hoth 38-6)
2x Battle of Hoth (The Battle of Hoth 59-6)
2x Battle of Hoth (Escape from Hoth 64-5)
2x Heat of Battle (Escape from Hoth 64-6)
2x Battle of Hoth (Escape from Hoth 65-6)

The goal of this deck is to put out a bunch of Hoth objectives, gain advantages from that, and use the speeders and synergies between everything to push through the damage needed to win.  I've only managed one game with these guys, and I did win, after wearing my opponent down enough to get some opportunities, but I'd need to play it a few more times to see how I can improve this.

So that's where I'm currently at.  One deck I want to play a bit more, to tweak, and one deck that seems to be exactly where I want it.  So let's look at where I am with the Light Side objective sets.

A Message From Beyond
Embers of Hope
Knowledge and Defense
Self Preservation

Rebel Alliance:
Alderaan's Promise
Sensors are Placed

Smugglers and Spies:
Asteroid Sanctuary

Escape from Ord Mantell
Last Defense of Hoth
The Defense of Cloud City
Trust Me
Undercover Dealings
Wookiee Life Debt

Light Side Neutral:
Frozen Refuge
Hold the Line!
Opening Moves
To Arms!

So still, quite a few objective sets to use.  I'm going to play a game or two more with my speeder deck before I delve into these and make some new decks, however.  Hopefully I'll play soon, and start getting some new decks built!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Star Wars LCG Progression, Part 2

Well, it's been a bit since my last post on this, but I'm hoping to start playing this again with Eric, so I figured I'd finally sit down and get the next post up, and figure out a deck or two to build.  I focused on what I was playing with the Dark Side in my last post, so for this one, I'll look at the objectives I've not used yet, and build a deck using some.

As I've mentioned, I consider all of the Core Set objective sets 'played', as I played a decent number of games solely with them.  So I'm just considering the first deluxe and first cycle- so Edge of Darkness, and the Hoth Cycle.

Looking at the decks I put up in my last post, these are the objectives I've not used so far:
Imperial Navy:
A Dark Time for the Rebellion
Lord Vader's Command
The General's Imperative
Unstoppable Advance

Scum & Villainy:
Carbonite Transport
Hunt Them Down
Jabba's Orders
The Hunt for Han Solo
The Shadow of Nar Shaddaa

Serve the Emperor
The Ghosts of the Dark Side
The Killing Cold
Vader's Fist

DS Neutral:
Across the Jundland Wastes
Asteroid Pursuit
Endless Reserves
Sabotage in the Snow
Shadows on the Ice

So still quite a few.

I am replacing my Imperial Navy/Sith capital ship deck with an Imperial Navy deck, and I see a bunch of walker cards, so I'm going to go with a Walker deck.

In the Core and first cycle, the following objectives seem to have Walkers and cards that work with Walkers:
The Endor Gambit- Two Walkers, and some cards that improve your Vehicles (shielding and focus removal).
Unstoppable Advance- Three big Walkers (with Shielding) and a cost reducer for them... and this one is Imperial Navy only.  Given that I am going to need to play IN to run all these walkers anyway... this is looking like a mono-affiliation deck.
The General's Imperative- A unit that buffs your Walkers (giving them another unit damage), two more Walkers with shielding.

Seems like I'm starting with two copies of each of these, and to make it even sweeter- two of them are objective sets I've not used.  Sweet!

Next, resources are going to be an issue, due to the high cost of some of the vehicles.  I'm already playing Imperial Navy, which has one of the best resource objective sets at this point- Imperial Command.  It's got Motti, after all.  So why not include two of those, as well.

For the last couple of slots, I'm a bit torn.  I want to include The Ultimate Power, as it provides good resources, and some crunch power for killing objectives.  I also want to include Sabotage in the Snow, since the Forward Command Posts provide resources AND buff my Walkers, who should be able to shields easy.  Another Hoth objective is nice, too, as it provides a bit of synergy with other cards.

Since I can't decide between them, I'll include them both for now, and go with 11 objective sets.  I'll trim after a few games.  So, that leave my Walker deck as follows:

Imperial Navy Walkers 
Total Cards: (55)

Imperial Navy

Objective: (11)
2x Imperial Command (Core 26-1)
2x The Ultimate Power (Core 28-1)
2x The Endor Gambit (Core 31-1)
2x The General's Imperative (Assault on Echo Base 56-1)
1x Sabotage in the Snow (Assault on Echo Base 58-1)
2x Unstoppable Advance (The Battle of Hoth 63-1)

Unit: (34)
2x Admiral Motti (Core 26-2)
2x Duty Officer (Core 26-3)
2x Heavy Stormtrooper Squad (Core 26-4)
2x Heavy Stormtrooper Squad (Core 26-5)
2x Grand Moff Tarkin (Core 28-2)
2x Superlaser Engineer (Core 28-3)
2x Stormtrooper Elite (Core 28-4)
2x AT-ST Commander (Core 31-2)
2x AT-ST (Core 31-3)
2x AT-ST (Core 31-4)
2x General Veers (Assault on Echo Base 56-2)
2x Blizzard Force AT-ST (Assault on Echo Base 56-3)
2x Blizzard Force AT-ST (Assault on Echo Base 56-4)
1x Snowtrooper (Assault on Echo Base 58-2)
1x Snowtrooper Vanguard (Assault on Echo Base 58-3)
2x AT-AT (The Battle of Hoth 63-2)
2x AT-AT (The Battle of Hoth 63-3)
2x AT-AT Assault Formation (The Battle of Hoth 63-4)

Enhancement: (12)
2x Orbital Bombardment (Core 26-6)
2x Control Room (Core 28-5)
2x Aft Armor Plating (Core 31-5)
2x Turbolaser Battery (Assault on Echo Base 56-5)
1x Forward Command Post (Assault on Echo Base 58-4)
1x Forward Command Post (Assault on Echo Base 58-5)
2x Orbital Resupply Station (The Battle of Hoth 63-5)

Event: (4)
2x Superlaser Blast (Core 28-6)
2x Aggressive Assault (The Battle of Hoth 63-6)

Fate: (5)
2x Target of Opportunity (Core 31-6)
2x Battle of Hoth (Assault on Echo Base 56-6)
1x Battle of Hoth (Assault on Echo Base 58-6)

I've got a lot of bodies, including 14 Walkers, but very little that I can do to surprise my opponent... four Events and five Fate cards might make a lot of the game predictable.  We'll see.  Like I said, I'll take it for a go in its current state.

Also, this removes a few unused objectives, leaving me with the following unused:
Imperial Navy:
A Dark Time for the Rebellion
Lord Vader's Command

Scum & Villainy:
Carbonite Transport
Hunt Them Down
Jabba's Orders
The Hunt for Han Solo
The Shadow of Nar Shaddaa

Serve the Emperor
The Ghosts of the Dark Side
The Killing Cold
Vader's Fist

DS Neutral:
Across the Jundland Wastes
Asteroid Pursuit
Endless Reserves
Shadows on the Ice

Next time, I'll write about what I'm doing with my Light Side decks.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Monthly Summary for October, 2019

I ended up missing posting about September, mainly because September was kind of a game-free month for me, mostly by choice.  Sometimes it's good to take a break from things, and get everything else in your life under control, you know? :)

Games Played
  • Doomtown: Reloaded - Two games against Joey.  We have been buying the new expansions as they come out, but haven't taken the opportunity to play the game at all, and finally decided to get it on the table.  I am trying to figure out Eagle Wardens, and won one and lost one... but my win likely came from him forgetting which starting posse he had, and having no income.  I don't feel like I have a great handle on the Eagle Wardens still, but hey, at least I got to play them some.
  • Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth - Two games with Mark and Rob, as we start a new campaign.  I am playing a... uhh.. healer, maybe?  It's been a while.  Anyway, two scenarios, and we are victorious in both.  Off to a good start!
  • Warmachine - Two games against Rob, both using my Cryx, both victories.  I'm working to expand my armies, and get to playing more.  This was my first 'real' game using Cryx in MkIII, and so far, I've been having a blast.  I really enjoy the Dark Host theme!
    Using Asphyxious1 into Old Witch3.  I fail to assassinate, then eventually win on scenario.
  • Zombicide: Invader - Two games with Rob and Mark.  I recently received this from Kickstarter, and was very eager to play.  Put it on the table, and had a blast!  We won the first mission handily, and then lost the second mission.  A big part of that is that I just mixed all the cards in, which had us get overwhelmed by the number of abominations, pretty badly.  I need to figure out the distributions, and tune the deck to be a bit more balanced and fun.  I'll get there.

  • Aeronautica Imperialis: Wings of Vengeance - Matt bought this, so we played it.  Seemed okay- a lot of dice rolling, and the normal aerial tactics were there, but only kind of.  Seems like a game that will be a lot more enjoyable with some scenarios/campaigns.
New Arrivals
  • MacArthur's Defeat: The Battle For Luzon - Recently arrived from Flying Pig Games, a magazine game dealing with WWII Pacific battles.  
  • Crowbar!: The Rangers at Pointe Du Hoc - Another one from Flying Pig Games, this one is a solitaire/co-operative game about the Rangers, as you can tell from the title.  I'm real excited about this one, and it came with an expansion- Vorwarts!  Once I clear my basement tables, this one could see play soon.
  • Oblivion - This is the new Warmachine/Hordes campaign from Privateer Press.  Looks VERY cool.  I am super excited to give this a shot.
Miniature Assembly/Painting
  • I actually started working on minis again, in heavy amounts.  I finished my unit of Bane Riders, finished the Retribution battle box, finished another Griffon, finished the repairs on my Minion models, and filed a bunch of new minis.
  • Honestly, I didn't get any reading done in October.  Maybe some rulebooks, but nothing worthy of note.
That's it for this month!  I'll work on getting back on schedule!

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Fall gaming retreat recap

I am out at my yearly gaming weekend with my friends, and wanted to write a bit about what I've been playing and doing here.  We are over in Deep Creek Lake, with a building full of boardgames, drinking, gaming, and having a blast.

A look at the building from the outside.
Pretty nice.

After we spent some time unpacking into the house, choosing our beds, getting groceries and alcohol, and getting ready, we set down and got to gaming.

Our first game was Quartermaster General.  This is a World War II game, and we had the following players: Matt as Germany, Dan as the UK, Scott as Japan, Mark as the USSR, myself as Italy, and Ben as the US.

The game uses different action decks for each player, meaning that, although I have plenty of options turn to turn, my overall capabilities are going to be somewhat limited to somewhat emulate what Italy actually did in WWII.

The game started with the UK and I getting into a brief sea war over the Mediterranean/North Sea section, as I tried to expand into Africa and eastward.
I was successful enough that I managed to gain a foothold, and started to look for options.  I decide to play Impero Italiano, which would give me additional victory points for either German or Italian armies in North Africa or the Middle East.  I make a few forays into the Balkans, but the USSR destroys every army I put there, and I decide to continue on.

I draw and play Italian East Africa, which gives me a way to spread out and start getting us some points.
The Italian high water mark.
I start contributing to the war in Southern Asia, killing the army in India, which puts a lot of pressure on the UK to rebuild it, or lose their entire foothold in the region.

I play Mare Nostrum, which gives me points for every Italian fleet on the board, and start getting some points.  The UK puts another fleet in the North Sea, and I try to destroy it, but he plays a response that saves it.  From there, he is able to destroy my fleet.  The USSR destroys more of my attempts to build an army, and I am pushed back further and further.
The Germans do their best to go after the USSR, but end up slowing down too.... and then it all falls apart.  Pushes from the USSR, US, and UK manage to basically destroy the Japanese pieces on the board, and then the UK and USSR manage to bottle Germany and I up in our own area.  A few turns later, the allies have 30 more victory points than the allies, and claim the sudden death victory.

Overall, I liked the game well enough- it was a nice quick (very abstract) treatment of World War II, and showcased, in a very general sense, the capabilities of each of the major powers of World War II.  Not a bad game at all.

I followed this by playing the new LCG from Fantasy Flight Games- Marvel Champions.  My brother and I bought this right before this retreat, and we were both excited to play.  We took a bunch of starter-ish decks, and played against the intro scenario- Rhino with the Bomb Threat.  I took Black Panther, my brother took Captain Marvel, Dan took Iron Man, and Ben took Spider-Man.
Back and forth the game went- we actually got off to a good start, and we all felt pretty good.  Over time though, various challenges presented themselves, and I faced setbacks that continually kept my board state less than ideal... but in the end, we won.  Re-reading the rules, we did get a few things wrong, but nothing that would've destroyed our experience, I think.

This is one that I really enjoyed- I can't wait for more releases to this system, and I can't wait for there to be enough cards for meaningful deck-building, and heck, more scenarios would be great (even though I haven't played the three included in the core set!).

My brother and I followed this with another card game- Star Trek Customizable Card Game- 2nd Edition.  We both whipped out a Borg deck (I was doing a mega-teaming, and he was doing... something a bit more flexible).  I actually got a pretty good start, using my dilemmas effectively to cut out his unique personnel, and start solving missions.  He concedes after a few turns of this, as I've set him back so far that he was going to have a hard time catching back up.
After this, we decided to head to bed, so we could get a nice early start on Saturday.

We woke up early, showered, ate, and got off to some light gaming with a game called Welcome To.... This game can play up to eighty (!?) apparently, and is a game where you are building a neighborhood, and getting points for accomplishing certain things, like building a lot of pools, park, neighborhoods, and so on.  I've never played it before, but it was quick, fun and I ended up in 3rd place with 47 points.  Scott won with 51, so I actually did pretty well!
My final neighborhood
Rob had brought a game that he was dying to play, and we ended up playing it off and on over the rest of the weekend- War Room.  This is game in the same vein as Axis & Allies (indeed, designed by the same guy), where you are playing the second World War, and attempting to do better than our historical counterparts did.  We managed to get six players, in two teams: Myself as the USSR, Rob as the US, Scott as the UK, Dan as Japan, Mark as Germany, and Ben as Italy.

This game is interesting in that you plot all your moves for the turn ahead of time (although you can cancel the moves when they are about to execute).  Combat is more interesting than Axis & Allies, as each individual unit can usually choose one of two ways to fight (either offensively or defensively, usually).

I didn't take notes for this one, but basically what happened was that the British fleets on the board got mauled on the first turn, putting us on the back foot.  We struck back, but not hard enough, and everywhere around the globe, the Axis made great advances, expelling the UK from Northern Africa and the Middle East, cleaning out China, and finally landing in Australia.  On my western border, Germany stalled a turn before attacking me, and when he did, he basically decimated the forces facing him.  We had a brief moment where we managed to make some progress, as we finally destroyed most of the German ships in the Atlantic ocean, and other allied units landed in Karelia to help me out... but it wasn't going to be enough- I was in trouble, as we were all over the map.  They accepted our surrender, and that was the game.

During some breaks, we did play other games.

First among these was Rising Sun, a game I own and backed on Kickstarter, but rarely play.  Dan had brought it, so we set up and started playing, with me choosing the Turtle Clan (who get moving strongholds who contribute to battles!).  Dan, Rob, and Scott also played, but I don't recall who was playing as which clan.

Normally, I'm really lousy at this game, but for some reason, this time playing went really well.  I had a moderately cohesive strategy (get Ronin, get things that give me money at the start of the war phase, focus on different provinces each time).

I ended up with 44 points, which I believe was my highest score ever.  It was good enough for 2nd place, which I know was my best placement.  Dan finished first, with well over 80 points.  Ouch!

From here, my brother wanted to try out Arkham Horror, 3rd Edition, by Fantasy Flight Games.  I had played the previous edition, and enjoyed it, but it was a bit long for my tastes, and really really clunky at times.  This version was played by Matt, myself, Rob, and Scott, and we were involved in dealing with a gang war in town.  I played Agnes Baker, focused on ward actions (removing doom tokens from the map), but I ended up being a very strong fighter by the end of the game, and used that to start killing monsters.  Unfortunately, the foes were too great for the rest of my team (aside form Scott, playing Jenny Barnes), and they managed to get two of us down.  We got in position to win on the following turn, but then spawned monsters who pinned us down, and we ended up losing.  Still, very close!
At this point, it was getting pretty late, so we broke out some lighter games.  The first one we went with was Hail Hydra, a Marvel themed game with hidden roles, villains, and super powers.  I don't remember who I chose, and it was a bit late by this point, but I'm pretty sure the heroes were narrowly defeated by the villains, coming down to the final boss, with us just narrowly unable to defeat him.  I think?  Probably should have written that down.

Next up was Goodcritters, a game which I also played once on Sunday, right before my brother and I left to come home.  This is a game where a bunch of animals are deciding how to distribute loot, with the boss (the one in charge of creating the loot piles, and then some backstabbing, negotiation, and so on.  Ended up being a really good time, both times we played, although I did not win either time.
Ben and I played a quick game of Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn, the card game from Plaid Hat Games, which uses dice as its core resource mechanic.  We each played one of the deluxe expansions starters, with me taking the Music Magic, but I lost, sadly.  I did misread one of my summons, which may have helped keep me in the game longer, but I think long term I was going to lose, anyway.  Sigh :(.

The final game I ended up playing was Warhammer Underworlds.  I got into a three player game with Matt and Dan- I took the new Sylvaneth warband from the Beastgrave box, Matt took the Beastmen from it, and Dan took the Profiteers, I think they are called.  It was a three player free-for-all, with Dan in the middle, which was pretty brutal for him to start, but he managed to do enough each turn to stay alive, and actually ended up winning!
And that was basically it!  I played a bunch of games, had a good time, and came home.  I will say, I honestly could have brought nothing, and ended up playing the exact same games, which is a tad annoying (ie, why do I bring anything at all?), but that's my only (minor) complaint.  Otherwise, I had a great time, and I think everyone else did as well.