Posts Tagged ‘Star Wars’

It’s big, it’s ugly, it’s influential, and it needs a special base, Jabba the Hutt has arrived in X-Wing , and he brought his C-ROC Cruiser with him!

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At long last the Scum and Villainy faction get an Epic ship, and it comes absolutely packed with content. So packed, in fact, I don’t think I could cover everything in the release in one reasonably sized review, so forgive me if I miss something, or don’t give it enough attention.

The expansion is, really, two fold. The obvious component is the C-ROC Cruiser itself, but it is also flanked by an M3-A Interceptor. The M3-A is the same as it’s previous release, with a cool new paint job, representing the new pilot Quinn Jast. The C-ROC on the other hand is obviously a brand new model. Reminiscent of Jabba’s Sail Barge, and with all of its battle damage and weathering, it’s a great model, and it feels like it belongs in the Star Wars universe. The guns turn, too. Bonus points.

In gameplay, the C-ROC is a single-section epic ship, like the Rebel Transport, though a bit more focused on firepower. With ten hull and four shields, it actually has fewer hit points than something like the Imperial Decimator, but it also has the Recover action, as well as the Reinforce, Target Lock and Jam actions. In terms of upgrades, it can take two Crew, one Hardpoint, one Team and three Cargo. The C-ROC can become one of three ships, depending on what title you equip to it. The Broken Horn allows the ship to deflect more damage, the Insatiable Worrt helps the ship keep generating energy as it regenerates shields, and Merchant One gains the vessel an extra Crew and Team upgrade slot, at the cost of one Cargo slot.

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In terms of upgrades that can only be used in Huge ships, there’s six different cards, one of which can only be used on the C-ROC Cruiser itself. The Heavy Laser Turret is similar to the Heavy Laser Cannon in standard play, throwing four dice at an enemy, and Quick-Release Cargo Locks are also useable by the GR-75 Rebel Transport, allowing you to change up the layout of the battlefield by dumping some debris is everyone’s way.

Every huge expansion before this one seems to have brought along something important for standard play, and the C-ROC is no exception. The Rebels got the Stressbot, R3-A2 and damage avoider C-3PO, the Empire has Agent Kallus and the Meta-shaking Emperor Palpatine, and if Scum and Villainy needed any boosts, they just recruited Cikatro Vizago and Jabba the Hutt.

Vizago is a crew upgrade worth zero points. Equipping him allows you to swap around Cargo or Illicit upgrades during a battle, for upgrades you didn’t actually equip during the building of your squad. I’ll admit, when this was first announced, I though that this new concept of actually bringing in components from outside the game would completely break the way things worked. The ability to just bring all the cards you have and swap them out as the game goes on just seemed ridiculous. Since then, however, I’ve had the chance to play a reasonably high-level player who was using this  upgrade, and whilst it did make some fun shenanigans happen, it didn’t ruin the game at all. Bonus points.

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Jabba is suitably over the top and potentially game changing. He costs five points, and takes up two crew slots, like Palpatine, meaning that only one ship in standard play, The Hound’s Tooth, can equip him. When you do, you place one Illicit token on every Illicit upgrade you have across your entire squad, and any time you are instructed to discard that card, you may instead discard the token, essentially turning a one-shot Upgrade into a two-time use. Two Rigged Cargo Chutes will drastically change what a map looks like, two Burnout Slams make you incredibly predictable, and two  “Hot Shot” Blasters essentially make any ship into a little turret.

As I mentioned before, the M3-A Interceptor gets a boost in this expansion, including four new Unique Pilots.

When Genesis Red acquires a target lock, he also gets the same amount of Focus and Evade tokens as the ship he locked. Quinn Jast can turn off his weapons for a round to regenerate a spent Missile or Torpedo, meaning that in theory they become infinite. Inaldra can spend shields to re-roll any amount of dice, and if Sunny Bounder rolls any dice and all of the results match, he adds another of the same result. Costing the same as the cheapest generic pilot without a pilot skill, I can see him becoming a solid “Eh, why not?” choice.

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As well as new pilots, the M3-A also receives a new title in the form of the “Light Scyk” Interceptor. This upgrade reduces the cost of the M3-A by two points, making it one of three cheapest ships in the game, alongside the Z-95 Headhunter and the TIE Fighter. It also makes all of your Bank Manoeuvres into Green Manoeuvres, but at the cost of not being able to take any Modification Upgrades and the fact that all damage cards the ship receives will be dealt face up. Of course, with only one shield and two hull, it tends to blow up as soon as it is touched anyway, so it won’t be a major concern. Six copies of this upgrade are included, meaning you won’t need to buy more than one C-ROC to run a swarm of little exploding Interceptors.

Also included is a re-print of the “Heavy Scyk” Title, with its new wording. The old card is still legal, but this is a nice touch.

Also included is the ARC Caster, a dual card cannon that needs charging between shots, and can chain damage to multiple ships, including yourself if you don’t watch where you’re firing it.

Rounding out the new upgrades is the Pulsed Ray Shield, a Modification that allows you to receive an Ion token to regenerate a shield. It can be used by both the Scum and Rebel factions, but only by ships that have a shield value of one, presently meaning only the M3-A and the HWK-290, with only the HWK being available to the Rebellion.

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All in all, the C-ROC is a solid release. There’s nothing in it that will blow the game wide open, other than the fact that Scum and Villainy can actually compete properly at Epic level now,   but plenty that will add new experiences and combinations to the game. The M3-A is a great little ship, but in all my tournament games I have only ever faced it once. I expect that to change with this release, which is good. Old ships should be just as present on tables as new ones. As a pretty dedicated Rebel player, I can’t say that the C-ROC is an essential purchase, neither can I imagine it is for an Imperial player. For the die-hard Scum player however, the ability to bring your faction to 300 point games cannot be overlooked, and neither can many of the contents of this expansion, particularly Vizago and Jabba. If you can afford this big ugly lump, go for it, you won’t regret it.

In Return of the Jedi, Jabba’s slimy sound was made with a bowl of melted cheese/10


Ömer Ibrahim is a regular contributor to Suppressing Fire and you can check out his modelling work on Facebook and Instagram.

Half support vessel, half big guns, Phoenix Home has arrived in Star Wars: Armada. Another vessel first featured in Star Wars: Rebels, the Phoenix Home can be played one of two ways, both of which are equally valid, depending on your battle plans, and your personal playing style. 


The miniature itself isn’t too bad, but doesn’t look quite dirty enough for the “lived in” feel of the Star Wars universe. In Star Wars things are grubby, or worn, rather than hoovered and shiny like Star Trek. Perhaps it’s a symptom of being based on a cartoon ship, but Phoenix Home looks a little too much like a child’s toy, and not enough like a wargaming miniature…


…yes, I know that, but this just looks a little too much on the toy end of things. 

The two base load outs for the Pelta-class ship (that’s what the Phoenix Home is) are surprisingly diverse. For the main part ships in Star Wars: Armada either come as “the ship you want to use” or “the slightly shitter version of the ship you want to use, but, hey, it’s ten points cheaper”. Here, however, with only a four point difference, what you actually get are different styles of ship. The Assault Ship load out is…well, not exact an über heavy hitter, but it packs a reasonable amount of punch. 

The Command Ship load out, by contrast, forgoes firepower in favour of an increased Squadron statistic. So, with this in the thick of it, a good chunk of your Squadrons will become much more powerful. I love that Star Wars: Armada is focusing more on injecting some theme and narrative into a tabletop war game. It’s what the game was lacking at the start, and it’s much better for its inclusion. 

And, of course, there’s all the juicy upgrades that are so fun to tinker with. Fans of Rebels and The Clone Wars will be pleased to see Ahsoka Tano make her Armada debut. Her ability – to essentially switch one Command Token for another – isn’t particularly impressive, but at two points, it’s fun to add her to your force. “Shields to Maximum!” is a useful ploy to give your ships some shields back. The main drive, though, is on Fighter combat, with “All fighters, follow me!”, “Rapid Launch Bays” and “Fighter Coordination Team” offering some serious buffs to Squadrons. 

This is a great support vehicle for Rebel players, but looking forward, the buffs that it offers to narrative play and squadron heavy players is a welcome progression. Recommended. 

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Brad Harmer-Barnes is a games journalist and comedy writer from Kent, England, and has written for (among others) Miniature Wargames magazine, Fortress: Ameritrash, Emotionally14.com and Suppressing-Fire.Com, which he also edits. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @realbradhb


When comes to Star Wars: Armada, the massive dreadnoughts may be both the eye candy and the focus of play, but – much like the battles in the movies themselves, it’s the smaller, single-man fighters that can make the difference between victory and defeat. We’ve had all the usual suspects released in previous waves, so are these two new packs capable of offering something more, or is it time to get the barrel scrapers out?

The Rebel Fighter pack is led by the star of Star Wars: Rebels…the Ghost. Hera is the named pilot you get included, and she packs some pretty heavy guns, as well as a couple of extremely versatile abilities. Firstly, she has Rogue which allows the Ghost to move and attack during the squadron phase; but the Grit ability also allows the Ghost to move if it’s only engaged by a single squadron. The Ghost is built for big, heroic plays, which is exactly what you want to be ding with it. The cheaper version – the VCX-100 Freighter lacks the decent firepower of the Ghost, but it does have some nice…if more strategic and less combative abilities. 


Another vessel featured in Star Wars: Rebels is Ketsu Onyo in the Shadow Caster. Lacking the firepower of the Ghost, but featuring a few extra abilities, including the aforementioned Grit and Rogue, as well a being a Bomber. The cheaper version – the Lancer-Class Pursuit Craft is nice enough, but is just a Tesco Value Shadow Caster

The last ships included are the Z-95 Headhunters. Some people love Z-95s, but to me they’re just a cheaper, shoddier version of the X-Wing, and their debut in Star Wars: Armada has done little to change that opinion. At 7 points a squadron, you could use them to burn up some leftover points during squad building, but that’s about it. The only point of interest is that they possess the Swarm ability, which was previously only used by TIE Fighters and their ilk. How useful this ability will be to you depends on your playing style, but it could come in handy. 


The Imperial set similarly brings three new types of vehicle to Star Wars: Armada. The TIE Phantom originally appeared in the video game Star Wars: Rebel Assault II (nope, me neither) but has since develed a following among players of Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars: X-Wing. These possess the Cloak ability, which allows them to get in a bonus move at the end of the squadron phase, even if engaged. They also carry a decent amount of firepower; both anti-ship and anti-squadron. 

Another X-Wing favourite, the Lambda shuttle, is also now available. While far from a combative vessel, its use as an ECM plane role – which never really works in the scale X-Wing operates at, is considerably better handled here, allowing orders from ships to squadrons to be sent further and more efficiently than previously. 

Last but not least, and another X-Wing bad boy, the VT-49 Decimator has arrived, and it brings a serious shotgun blast of close range damage to the table. With the a heavy weapons at its disposal and the Rogue ability, this has the potential to be a serious Squadron destroyer – especially if they’re full of cheap and nasty Z-95s. 

While both of these sets are not as strong as the squadron releases we’ve seen in previous waves, they’re still definitely worth picking up. The Ghost and the Decimator are great fighters for more aggressive players, and the others definitely add flavour, if nothing else. Armada just keeps getting better and better. 

The Rebel Flighter Squardons II and Imperial Fighter Squadrons II packs are available now. A base set of Star Wars: Armada is required to use the contents. 

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Brad Harmer-Barnes is a games journalist and comedy writer from Kent, England, and has written for (among others) Miniature Wargames magazine, Fortress: Ameritrash, Emotionally14.com and Suppressing-Fire.Com, which he also edits. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @realbradhb


To celebrate the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, FFG released two new ships for X-Wing: The TIE Striker for the Imperial Faction, and for the Rebellion, the U-Wing. Being a predominantly Rebel player, let’s dive into the U-Wing!

As usual, the first thing I do is look at the physical model, and I’m glad to say that it meets the usual X-Wing standard. Like only a few releases before it, it has moving parts. The wings go from the forward “landing” position to the rear “attack” position in a very satisfying way, physically representing an in-game mechanic, as well as just looking really cool. The detail is as crisp as always, and the paintwork is nice, featuring the standard Rebel “used future” wear and tear. My only quibble is that it is a large-base ship, no longer than the K-Wing on its small base, and so looks a little diminutive on the table, but that’s really more of a game mechanic problem than a modelling one.

I’ve yet to see the ship itself make a massive mark on the game, but there’s plenty of promise in it. The expansion features four pilots, three of them unique, as well as fourteen upgrade cards, nine of them new as of this release. It boasts 3 Attack Dice, 1 Agility, 4 Hull and 4 Shields, and can take both the Focus and Target Lock actions. The dial is fair, with a nice range of motion. It cannot flip and turn around, but it can do a “0” manoeuvre, essentially not going anywhere for a round.
The highest skilled pilot is Cassian Andor, the only U-Wing pilot capable of taking Elite Pilot Talent upgrades, a 27 point, Pilot Skill 6 unique character. His special ability allows him to remove a stress token from any friendly ship, other than himself, at Range 1, at the start of the activation phase, making him a useful support in the current meta of ships handing out stress tokens.

Two other names pilots, Bodhi Rook and Heff Tobber are also included. Bodhi basically frees up the range that your squad can take target locks, by allowing them to use each other to lock on, meaning that you are not limited by only locking on to a ship close to you.

Heff is a blocking pilot, with his low pilot skill, he wants enemy ships to bump into him, and after stopping them taking an action, he gets a free action himself, allowing him to get multiple actions per turn if you put him in the right place. Give him something like Engine Upgrade, and when a ship bumps into him, he can then boost away from them, waiting for the next ship to touch him. That will cause chaos against swarm players.

More of the cast of Rogue One show up in the form of Crew Upgrade cards. I won’t do a detailed break down of each one, but as a quick list:

Jyn Erso can collate multiple Focus tokens if multiple enemies are bearing down on her.

Cassian Andor can take a sneaky look at your opponent’s dial, and change plan accordingly.

Baze Malbus allows you to shoot at another target, if you miss your first.

Bistan lets you turn hits into critical hits.

Bodhi Rook has the same ability as his pilot card, allowing you to target lock all over the place.

Another upgrade of note is “Pivot Wing”, a free dual title card for the U-Wing that represents its mobile S-Foils. In “Landing” mode you can, after performing a 0 “stop” move, rotate the ship 180 degrees, essentially creating the tightest turn in the game. On the other hand, in “Attack” mode, you increase your agility by one, bringing its attack and defence level with something like an X-Wing. After moving, you may flip this card, so planning for the next round is essential. 

And then there’s “Expertise”. Expertise is a 4 point Elite Pilot Talent upgrade, and it has made a huge impact on the game, both in its effectiveness, and in the fact that people are planning whole ships and lists to counter it. It’s beauty is in its simplicity: As long as you are not stressed, when attacking, you may change all of your eyeball results to hits. That’s it, and in the right hands it’s brutal. If you read my review of Heroes of the Resistance you’ll have seen my list for Rey flying the Falcon. That list was getting me to between 10th and 8th in tournaments. I dropped Expertise on Rey, and instantly came 4th. The only lists that beat me were ones specifically built to counter how my list works. And you get two of these cards in the box!

Expertise aside, the U-Wing is a great little expansion, even if not a complete “must have”, even for Rebel players. It doesn’t capture the ship or the characters quite as lovingly as the aforementioned Heroes of the Resistance, but isn’t exactly inaccurate either. If you liked Rogue One, particularly the awesome space battle at the end, you’ll love moving this ship’s wings and doing K-2SO quotes.

Rebellions are built on Expertise/10

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Ömer Ibrahim is a regular contributor to Suppressing Fire and you can check out his modelling work at Can’t Sleep, Must Paint.


When the Scum and Villainy faction was announced for X-Wing, it announced the first time that ships crossed into different factions. The Rebel Y-Wing, Z-95 Headhunter and HWK-290 and the Imperial Firespray-31could now be played in the new faction as well as their original factions. Since then, no ships have crossed over…until now. With the release of Sabine’s TIE Fighter, an Imperial ship is available to the Rebel Alliance. 

Slight spoiler warning for those not up to speed with the Star Wars: Rebels series, some of the cards in here reveal some characters that turn up, so tread carefully from here on in.

The model is, as far as I can tell, the same TIE Fighter that was released way back in the first Core Set and Wave 1, but with Sabine’s cool yellow paint scheme.

Stats-wise it is, again, a standard TIE Fighter, with 2 attack, 3 defence, 3 hull and no shields. It is able to take Focus, Barrel Roll and Evade actions, just like the Imperial version.


Four pilots are included in the expansion, all of them Unique, meaning that the Rebels can field not more than 4 TIE Fighters.

The highest costed pilot is the one-time apprentice of Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano. Costing 17 points and having a pilot skill of 7, her interesting ability allows her, or a friendly ship at range one, to take an action at the start of the combat phase, at the cost of a Focus Token.

At 15 points, Sabine herself pilots a 15 point fighter with the same pilot skill and ability as her previous release, PS5 and able to take a Boost or Barrel Roll before taking a manoeuvre. 

The clone Captain Rex pops up for 14 points at PS4, and is the first Rebel to use the new “Condition” abilities. Basically speaking, after Captain Rex attacks someone, if that pilot attacks someone that isn’t Rex, they lose one attack dice. As long as Rex keeps attacking, this can stick around, so it could be a tricky card to use, but nasty if you get the hang of it.


Lastly, “Zeb” Orrelios has the cheapest TIE at 13 points, at PS3 and using the same ability to cancel Critical Hits before Hits as he had in the Ghost expansion. 

Five upgrades are included, four of them new, and each of those are Unique.


“Sabine’s Masterpiece” is a Rebel only title card that allows the ship to take Illicit and Crew upgrades, vastly changing how TIE Fighters behave.

Captain Rex also appears as a Crew card, and with him equipped, if you miss your target you can assign yourself a Focus Token.

“Captured TIE” is another Rebel only card, a Modification that means that until you make an attack, pilots with a lower skill than you cannot target you.

Finally, EMP Device is an Illicit Upgrade that can be used to support the Captured TIE Mod. Instead of performing an attack, you can instead choose to discard the card to deal 2 Ion Tokens to every ship at Range 1. This isn’t an attack, so enemy ships still can’t target you, but you’re going to receive Ion Tokens too, being at Range 1 of yourself.

Cynics may see this as a cheap re-paint of an already released expansion, but I think there’s enough in here to have some real fun with. It’s too soon to see if it’ll have any great effect on the game as a whole, but I expect to see a lot of this ship playing support to bigger ships. I myself cannot wait to fly this with my Ghost and Phantom.

Grand Theft Autoblaster/10

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Ömer Ibrahim is a regular contributor to Suppressing Fire and you can check out his modelling work at Can’t Sleep, Must Paint.

The latest release for the Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game comes in the form of the Heroes of the Resistance expansion pack. Focused on re-releasing both the T-70 X-Wing and the YT-1300 (better known as the Millennium Falcon) as they are represented in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is this pack a cynical cash grab, or something useful for the game that players both want and will use?

 

Physically, the pack comprises of two models, twenty-eight cards, and all the stands, tokens, dials and assorted gubbins that you will need to add these to your game. 

The models are of previously released ships, but they differ in some substantial ways. The T-70 X-Wing is completely repainted to represent Poe Dameron’s “Black One” fighter, as well as having a re-modelled astromech droid that supposedly looks more like BB-8. Whilst the paintwork is really great (even if droves of people had done their own re-paints, making us all feel a bit redundant) I’m not sure that that little plastic lump does look any more like BB-8. The Millennium Falcon, on the other hand, is a masterpiece. More than just a re-release of the earlier model with a new satellite dish, this has been completely re-sculpted, using 3D references straight from Lucasfilm, rather than just screen grabs from the movie and creative licence. This probably makes this model the most accurate in the entirety of X-Wing. It’s also the first model to feature engine glow as standard, and whilst it’s not perfect, it’s a lovely touch.

So, they look like much… but do they have it where it counts, kid?
In short, yes. Of the twenty-eight cards included in the pack, twenty-four of them are new and exclusive to this release, and some of them are priceless. I won’t break down every single card here, but I’ll offer up some highlights: 


Poe Dameron

A new version of an already released pilot, this card bumps Poe in his T-70 X-Wing up from Pilot Skill 8 to 9 (where he should always have been) at a cost of two additional points. Everything else, including his powerful pilot ability are the same, he just seems a bit better now. At 33 points, he isn’t cheap, 4 points more than his contemporary, Wedge Antilles, but he seems to be well worth it.


Nien Nunb

Formerly a Crew upgrade card, now a fully-fledged T-70 pilot, the PS7 Sullustan is an expert at flipping himself around the battlefield without receiving stress, with his pilot ability: “When you receive a stress token, if there is an enemy ship inside your firing arc at Range 1, you may discard that stress token.” Initially not the most powerful skill, people have been using him for all sorts of shenanigans since the pack was released.

Han Solo

Returning to fly his beloved YT-1300, the new Han pilot card represents his ability to slip past Starkiller Base’s defence shields. Costing the same points and having the same pilot skill as the original version, his new ability basically allows him to start the game almost anywhere on the battlefield, making him a dangerous wildcard if played correctly.


Chewbacca

Much like Han Solo, Chewie is back with the same pilot skill and point cost as before, but with a new ability that, again, represents his role in The Force Awakens, though this time with heart breaking accuracy: “When another friendly ship at Range 1-3 is destroyed (but has not fled the battlefield), you may perform an attack.” Oh, god, Uncle Chewie! Who equipped the “Crying like a child” upgrade card into my eyes!

Rey

The undisputed MVP of this expansion is Rey, flying the Falcon. If the PS 8 heroine has someone in her front arc, she can re-roll up to two blank results, when either attacking or defending. This combo’s up beautifully with:
Finn (Crew).


If you equip Finn in one of the Falcon’s two crew slots, he adds one blank result to the roll, if you are attacking, or defending from, an opponent within your firing arc. Pair this with Rey’s ability to re-roll those blanks, and you’ve got a hart-hitting beast of a ship that still manages to accurately portray the action from the movie.

Honourable Mentions:

Rey (Crew): She basically lets you save up Focus tokens and get them back later. Really useful crew that I keep coming back to. Feels like cheating.


Millennium Falcon (Title): New title allows you to basically use a “sloop” manoeuvre; recreating Rey’s flying in TFA, and making the Rey/Finn combo even more lethal.

Smuggling Compartment: For use on both the YT-1300 and the YT-2400 (my favourite ship), this upgrade allows you to utilise an Illicit upgrade, formerly exclusive to the Scum and Villainy faction.
So, is Heroes of the Resistance worth getting? Absolutely. The models are wonderful, the variety of upgrades and opportunities is almost in-exhaustive, and the fun to be had with the contents is boundless. Although this pack has given a very well needed boost to those, like me, playing with the Rebel/Resistance faction, there’s plenty of stuff in here to be utilised by every faction, unlike releases like the “Imperial Veterans”. 

My absolute favourite thing about this set is the love that has gone into it. Whilst it would be very easy to just make powerful cards that constantly win games, each character in this pack seems to represent the character that is portrayed on screen in The Force Awakens, and for me, playing “in universe” is very important. It’s why we all make laser noises when we play.

It’s True, All of It/10

As a bonus, here’s a 100 point squad I’ve been using, comprising mostly of the contents of this pack. It’s really fun, and it hits HARD.


Ömer Ibrahim is a regular contributor to Suppressing Fire and you can check out his modelling work at Can’t Sleep, Must Paint.

Most people consider 2016 to have been a pretty crappy year.  Whether it’s global politics not heading in the direction you would like, the deaths of many beloved celebrities, or that thing with the gorilla, it’s not been the best year ever.

What is has been, though, is a really strong year for tabletop gaming.  So, with that in mind, here are the best games to have come out in 2016.

BEST PRODUCTION VALUES

Mansions of Madness

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There have been some really great miniatures released this year – Zombicide: Black Plague has some amazing figures, cards, and miscellaneous play aids.  There has been some truly stellar artwork on cards (the Lord of the Rings: LCG artwork is always incredible). Mansions of Madness takes it this year, however, due to not only having incredible artwork on its box, in its rulebooks and on its cards, but due to the AI app (about which plenty has been written elsewhere, so there is no need to repeat it here) it also has its own sound effects, narration and music.

Truly staggering, beautiful and horrific, and easily the most immersive game released this year.

BEST CO-OP/SOLO GAME

Mansions of Madness

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Co-op games are easily my favourite types of game, and account for the vast majority of my collection. Marvel Legendary saw three expansions released this year – Civil War, Deadpool and Captain America – and they were all super fun, with the Deadpool pack being head and shoulders above the others. Zombicide: Black Plague was a fun, hack and slash co-op. Hostage Negotiator is one of the greatest solo experiences ever made.  However, this year it has to go to Mansions of Madness.  The AI acts as a GM, regulating hidden information, moving the bad guys, and keeping you guessing in ways that it is simply impossible for a traditional tabletop AI to do so.  Mansions of Madness is not just the best co-op/solo game of the year, it represents a huge leap forward for solo and co-op gaming as a sub-genre.

BEST FANTASY RELEASE

Zombicide: Black Plague

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There are two types of game that have to be extra special to make me sit up and pay attention – purely because they’re both ridiculously oversaturated markets – and that’s zombie games, and dungeon crawls.  Previously, I was struggling to find a better zombie game than Zombie Plague, and struggling to find a better dungeon crawl than Castle Ravenloft.  What Zombicide: Black Plague has managed to do is to create an identity all of its own by merging elements of both subgenres into an Army of Darkness-esque action romp.  Highly recommended.

BEST SCIENCE-FICTION RELEASE

Star Wars: Rebellion

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Star Wars: Rebellion may look like one of those facelift Risk variants that Hasbro craps out every Christmas, but what it actually is is a wargame custom made and built to feel like Star Wars.  Sure there are Star Destroyers, and ground troops, and territories, but it is a game about the smaller people who make the stories happen.  By keeping all the strategy of the mechanics focused on correctly using your handful of characters, it keeps the whole game character focused.  At no point does it feel like “I’m amassing by Star Destroyers over Nal Hutta”; it feels like “Governor Tarkin is taking command of the blockade over Nal Hutta.”.  You make a story as you play, and that is something I love so much.  Fantasy Flight Games have done nothing but truly great things with the Star Wars licence, but this is their crowing achievement so far.

BEST HORROR RELEASE

Mansions of Madness

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I’ve long maintained that while a boardgame can do tense, it’s virtually impossible for it to be truly scary – that’s the realm of RPGs, LARPs and video games.  You can’t quiet buy into the story on the same level that you can with those other mediums.  Even Space Hulk – the pinnacle of tension on the tabletop – is never truly scary in the way the true classics of the genre are. Mansions of Madness has bucked that trend.  Now things are hidden.  Things are surprising and startling.  You fear darkness.  You fear the unknown.  Mansions of Madness is an essential purchase for the dedicated horror gamer.


Brad Harmer-Barnes is a games journalist and comedy writer from Kent, England, and has written for (among others) Miniature Wargames magazine, Fortress: Ameritrash, Emotionally14.com and Suppressing-Fire.Com, which he also edits.  You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @realbradhb


When FFG release a new wave of ships for the X-Wing Miniatures Game, they often get known for what new things they bring to the game as a whole. I’m pretty sure that Wave 9 will be known as “The Era of the Firing Arc”, with two ships being the first small ships to have a rear firing arc, one aiming to actually be in your opponent’s firing arc, and one that features an all-new “mobile firing arc”.

The first ship I’ll be focusing on is the ARC-170 Starfighter, for the Rebel Alliance faction.

The ARC-170 is a movie-canon ship, it can be seen accompanying Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Battle of Coruscant at the beginning of Revenge of the Sith. As such, this marks the first real Clone Wars-Era ship to be released for X-Wing. (Yes, I know you can see the Falcon for a few seconds in Attack of the Clones, and that versions of Z-95 Headhunters and Y-Wings turn up in The Clone Wars series, but the versions of those in X-Wing are of the later, Galactic Civil War Versions. Stop nit-picking, I can’t hear you, this is a written article, I’m technically in the past, so now you’re just talking to your screen for no reason, you weirdo.) Originally used by the Clone Troopers that would transform into the Galactic Empire’s Stormtroopers, these ships have been “adapted” and pressed into service by the Rebellion. Whether or not this opens up the door for future Clone Wars releases like the Jedi Interceptors or even whole new factions like the Trade Federation is up for debate, but for now, it’s nice to look backwards at some older technology, instead of focusing on all he souped-up ships of The Force Awakens.


Physically, the model is beautiful; possibly even my favourite release to date. It’s pretty big, for a small-based ship, just narrower than the K-Wing, and about the same length. True to its age, the paintwork makes it look completely battered, with mismatched panels on the wings, scratch marks on the entire body and the Rebel Firebird hastily slapped on one side. The S-Foils are very reminiscent of the classic X-Wing, modelled fully open so that you can actually see straight through the ship. The general level of detail is wonderful, making it perfect for custom paint jobs and modifications.

So, that’s how it looks, but how does a ship older than the already outdated Y-Wing fly?

Really, really well.


The basic ship has a fair dial, a little more manoeuvrable than a Y-Wing, but not as fast or flashy as an X-Wing. Its basic stat line of 2 Attack and 1 Defence aren’t spectacular, but they get the job done, and are built to be modified, and it’s 6 Hull and 3 Shields should help it soak up the damage that it can’t evade. It also features a rear firing arc, meaning it can shoot anything that decides to chase it, albeit only with it’s primary weapon. 

Interestingly, it has no generic pilots, meaning that whatever size of game you are playing, you can never run more than four of the ship. Whilst some may not like the idea of not having a cheap, generic version to use, I think that it keeps with the theme of the ship. There aren’t many of these relics left flying, and only a few people know how to use them. The Squad Point cost of these pilots are 25, 26, 28 and 29, putting it in at the mid-to-top level of fighter costs. In terms of upgrades, these are the first ship to be able to take both an Astromech Droid and a Crew Member, opening up some wicked combos, and allowing C-3PO and R2-D2 to fly together for only the second time in the game. Which is nice.

The four named pilots vary in quality, but there are two that are making the most noise in the community.


Shara Bey is Poe Dameron’s mother. Poe Dameron flies possibly the most advanced Starfighter in the galaxy, the T-70 X-Wing, but his mum pilots a chugging old mini-van of an ARC-170. If there were a Poe crew card in the game, the teen comedy would write itself. Miss Bey’s pilot ability basically lets friendly ships use her target lock as their own, freeing up the actions of other pilots and making her a tasty support piece. Dameron’s mum has got it going on.

The other well-received pilot is Norra Wexley (Snap Wexley’s mum, from Aftermath – Ed). If she has a target lock on an enemy ship, she can spend it to add one focus result to her roll. Whilst this may not sound too fantastic, it pairs up quite nicely with some of the upgrades available through this pack.


The main upgrade that will probably be given to every ARC-170 is “Alliance Overhaul”, a title card fit for only the ARC-170. Costing zero points, it allows any attacks from the front firing arc to roll an additional dice, and any attacks from the rear may change one focus result to a critical hit. Miss Wexley’s ability to generate focuses is suddenly more useful.

Other upgrades of note are “Tail Gunner”, which reduces the agility of the target when firing from the rear arc, “Vectored Thrusters”, which allows any small ship to take a barrel roll action, and the “R3 Astromech”, which enables you to cancel one focus result whilst attacking to give your ship an evade token. Again, very useful with Norra.


Another fun upgrade is the “Seismic Torpedo” which allows you do destroy and remove obstacles from the game, whilst possibly hurting anyone close to it. Changing the layout of the table is a big step for the game, and is sure to change the way people play.

All in all, the ARC-170 is a very strong release, and a wonderful addition to the sometimes under-appreciated Rebel faction. It adds lots of new aspects to the game, without overpowering anything that had come before, and that can only be a good thing.

Score: I’m Going To Buy Too Many Of These/10

Ömer Ibrahim is a regular contributor to Suppressing Fire and you can check out his modelling work at Can’t Sleep, Must Paint

Ömer Ibrahim – Suppressing Fire’s painter and modeller extraordinaire- has tasked himself with a new project: fitting a full lighting rig to Fantasy Flight Games’ Outrider model for their astonishingly popular wargame, X-Wing. Let’s see how he gets on:

You can follow Ömer on Twitter at @TheIronTurkOmer and follow his painting/modelling blog at: https://www.facebook.com/CantSleepMustPaint/ 

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With all the excitement in the air over the new trailer, movie, game, action figures, comics and virtually-everything-else-StarWars, my buddy Ömer (some of you may remember him from the seminal YouTube series Claymore Division) sat down to test out the new Hound’s Tooth, just recently released for Fantasy Flight Games’ X-Wing.  First, I took control of Bossk in a Scum & Villainy Faction, while Ömer took a Rebel Squadron, led by Wedge Antilles.

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In universe, the Hound’s Tooth is the ship of Trandoshan Bounty Hunter, Bossk.  Previously only seen in the Expanded Universe/Legends line, it was canonised when it was seen in the Clone Wars episode Bounty, originally aired in 2012.  In universe it’s 47 m long, 37 m wide and 16 m high, making it a pretty impressive looking piece on the battlefield.

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For the first game, we teamed Bossk up with two Y-Wing jobbers, named Wayne and Barry.

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Across the battlefield/pitch/playing area was a squadron of custom-painted X-Wings, led by Wedge Antilles.

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The Rebel squadron peels off, with one Z-95 heading to intercept the Y-Wings, and the rest heading towards the Hound’s Tooth.

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The Hound’s Tooth casually places a target lock on the lead X-Wing.

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The sheer size of the Hound’s Tooth allows Bossk to use it as a blocking tactic, stymieing the movement of the X-Wings.

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The X-Wings finally manoeuvre around the Hound’s Tooth, and try to stick a few shots up its tailpipe.

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Barry and Wayne head for the assist.

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The Hound’s Tooth, however, can get a shift on when it wants to, and manages to outpace the X-Wings.  Wayne (Or maybe Barry.  No one’s keeping track.) screens Bossk from the Rebels.

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Bossk loops around the asteroid to face up against the Rebels again.  The Hound’s Tooth has an unconventional firing-arc, in that in addition to the normal 90 degree arc at the front, the 180 degrees to the read is a secondary arc.  This makes him not as versatile as the Millenium Falcon, but at an advantage over something like the Slave I.

We’d been playing for about an hour and a half, by this point, and decided to switch over so that Ömer could have a play with the Hound’s Tooth.

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This time, Ömer took a similar squadron to what I had played recently, while I flew as an Imperial Squadon, led by…

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Bossk’s sometime-rival sometime-buddy, Boba Fett.

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The Empire’s finest scream to intercept the Scum & Villainy Y-Wings.

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Even compared to the inimitable Slave I, The Hound’s Tooth is an imposing piece on the battlefield.

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Once again, The Hound’s Tooth is great at blocking manoeuvres, even slowing down the Slave I, here.

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A shot showing the size between the Slave I and The Hound’s Tooth.

X-Wing: Miniatures Game: The Hound’s Tooth is available now from all good gaming retailers, priced £32.99.

Look out for more X-Wing posts here on www.suppressing-fire.com, and a review of The Hound’s Tooth and other X-Wing Miniatures in a future issue of Miniature Wargames magazine.