2018.07.23

PUBG camping bridge roadblock Erangel tactics meme strategies

Brutal heat has meant lots of tabletop and video gaming between surf and pool sessions.
XCOM

XCom 2 neural style transfer

I finished off my xcom campaign. It was pretty good, there's some story development though it's not particularly dense or novel.

XCom 2 EXO Suit project research

On the plus side, there are a bunch of unlockables that give you better equipment and more inventory. Some of them open up gameplay elements like mind/bot control - this is significant as it grants you totally new abilities and disposable units.

In the end, the combat does get a little stale. The main drag is that you're really incentivized to crawl through the map and aggro as few enemies as possible. Any more than a single clump of baddies can send your mission down the tubes (soldier panic makes things spiral out of control) and aside from the limited-turn missions, there's no reason to not advance as cautiously as possible.

XCom 2 viper coiling attacking

So there's no benefit to stealthing your way behind enemy lines before lighting the place up - it just means you'll have more dudes simultaneously coming down on you. In this way, the tactics are more about action selection than unit positioning and movement.

XCom 2 faceless church

Still, the amount of complexity in content as well as the visual variety makes the game well worth a playthrough.

Portraits


Birthday photo session.

Furniture

Living room table beer hall or picnic bench style

We swapped out the living room couch (now in the man cave) for a good-sized eating/gaming/conversing table.
PUBG

PUBG PlayerUnknowns Battlegrounds Sanhok elephant Paradise

The Lolbaters crew is getting a fair amount of PUBG in. Even the worst of us can get a kill or two per night, progress.
Destiny

Destiny 2 screenshot Brakion Genesis Mind

J and I are progressing through Destiny 2. We beat the easiest final boss in recent memory, hit the non-DLC level 20 cap, and have done a number of side quests and such.

Public events are kind of funny, they're very frequent and very repetitive. Rewards are mostly tokens that will let you grind up to region-specific gear. So, mehhh. Daily to-do lists are okay, it's kind of nice to have these as minor ways to alter your playstyle but not divert what you from the chosen task. The hard and very hard mission rotation is certainly fun the first few times, but it feels like the first game.

Of course, the game has all of the slick combat feel that made Halo a console staple.


And the environment design. may be some of the best I've ever seen. If they tile textures, it's pretty tough to tell.

Destiny 2 Cayde

Yet Halo gameplay had more momentum. Even with a paper-thin story, you knew you had to get to [objective] or drive the Warthog towards/away from something or get to the end of that stupid Library. Here you're just kind of wandering, completing disjoint missions with only the personal objective to level up your character. The universe-imperiling main plot is just so ho-hum that it's almost a relief that it resolves itself so quickly.

X-Wing epic match

Star Wars xwing miniatures corvette bomber awing

With Derrick gone at Shakacon, the Brogue Squadron had to do something. To start, the three of us replayed the Capture Imperial Officer mission: do some damage to a Lambda shuttle and then clear out any remaining TIEs. This is actually quite difficult (hence the replay) since the steady stream of reinforcements makes it hard to finish everyone off. Bizarrely, the twelve turn mission has a wing of TIE Interceptors arrive at turn eleven, making it a de-facto ten turn engagement.

This went surprisingly quick, so we started an Epic Battle. 300 point squads (3x normal) on a double-size chunk of space. I was to use the Corellian Corvette, so I built around that. Basically, my squadron is this:
(Full build supplied at the bottom of the post).

The strategy was to fly the corvette along the long side of the map and let the interceptors blunt the attack. The HWKs could stay behind the corvette (which, with a mod lets them add three defense dice for an obstructed shot) and do their buff thing. Should anyone get in behind the corvette, the HWKs could drop back and clean up.

Chase and Mark (hence referred to as Chark) had a pretty formidable build:
And now, a digression into nerdiness entitled How to Screw Up Having a Pretty Good Build.
How to Screw Up Having a Pretty Good Build


Chark placed debris so that it'd be difficult to maneuver the corvette, but at the end of astroid placement I had almost a straight shot down the near edge. Since the corvette has to touch my edge, I knew I had to start it at an angle and then just turn so that I kept my broadside to everything.

The HWKs could fly parallel, shielded by the corvette's obstruction (+3 defence dice). The A-wing, X-wing, and B-wing could move to intercept at their convenience (the benefit of a main ship that can shoot at range five).

I stupidly didn't realize the corvette (placed first) starting in the corner would mean nobody could start inward of it. Not only could I no longer place interceptors on its aft, I had two additional ships to keep from smashing with my corvette - mind you I was very unfamiliar with how the big ship movement template worked.


So with my corvette in the corner, the TIE swarm took position opposite it. This is kind of what I had hoped for - squeeze them through the asteroid into a B-wing proton bomb. Of course my B-wing was now quite some distance from the kill box.

The HWKs went in their expected place. Then Chark put their bombers and target lock shuttle in the middle of the play area, which was really the other side of the play area that we'd actually use. These ships were conspicuously aligned with a gap in the debris. The unused play area got the Emperor's shuttle and a couple other midrange TIEs. Having no option, I placed my A/B/X-wings in front of the corvette.


The TIE swarm advanced and the missile boat looked to be plotting a diagonal course through the debris. I straightened out the big girl and moved Janson's X-wing toward what would clearly be the first torpedoer to get in range. The A-wing slid forward, unsure if it'd try to disrupt the swarm or, more likely, block and expose the missile boat.

Another bonehead mistake, I moved my B-wing straight forward. A two-bank maneuver would have left it aimed directly for the next logical position of the TIE swarm. That would mean I could launch a proton bomb and deal a face up damage card to everything within range one of it. It would either be very bloody for the TIEs or they'd have to break off their attack. What's more, since the B-wing moved after the TIEs, I wouldn't even have to waste a bomb if they decided to bail on their advance.

But I didn't do that. Too worried about corvette movement.


The B-wing was going to do no good against the TIEs, any move toward them would give them to option to (likely) kill it before it got any of its four ordnance out. I decided to roll with my self-punch and swing the B-wing around toward the bombers - its pilot's ability was to fire missiles in any direction, so it'd have an immediate shot on most of the few places the missile boat could end up.

Janson in his X-wing had a very good idea where his attacking arc had to be to relieve a bomber of its target lock, so he turned left.

I considered moving the A-wing into the gap that the missile boat was shooting for, but was worried about the possibility of it coming under fire from that entire group. Instead I veered the A-wing toward the shuttle. This left it exposed to a number of attackers, though most were obstructed and/or at range three. But Chase's unbelievable dice rolling made my little interceptor the first casualty of the engagement.

I expected the TIEs to swing toward the corvette and head off my B-wing, but they appeared to be trying to get in behind the big ship - out of its secondary weapons arc.

Time for yet another stupid mistake. I took a target lock on Howlrunner - the TIE that buffs all the others. That's good, but I took my second target lock on a TIE that was, well, out of range of the corvette fore section. This meant instead of three missile attacks and a primary weapon attack, I got one of each. Taking a target lock on a TIE in range could have very likely spared me some pain down the road. And thanks to Palpatine, Howlrunner survived with one hull remaining (and a fully functional special ability).

The TIEs then got their shots in and plinked down the corvette shields, in spite of a reinforced aft section. Yeah, Chase rolling + Howlrunner is deadly.

Oh, stupid mistake number - uh who's counting - I completely ignored my upgrade card that would let me spend some of my copious energy to restore a shield at end of round. This would have a massive impact on how things played out since a shield restore takes all remaining energy (which could otherwise buff attacks). The obvious correct action here would be to take a shield back and then reinforce the aft next turn.


Looks like I'm missing a slide so I faked it. The combined attacks of the corvette, X-wing, and B-wing took out the missile boat. This was a huge relief the missile boat and bomber seemed like this most significant threats. The B-wing also tossed a bomb forward into the path of the shuttle and a few other craft, face up hull damage is very nice.

The TIE bomber, lambda shuttle, and TIE/SF took my X-wing out before R2 even had a chance to restore any shields. The corvette finally destroyed Howlrunner, but the remaining TIEs took down the just-regenerated corvette shields and dealt it two damage cards that would reduce energy gained by one. Yikes, how costly was that shield restore mistake?


With the missile boat out of the picture, I needed to get some corvette shots on this TIE swarm. So I turned the corvette inward along with its support HWKs that were finally able to use their secondary weapons to do some damage.

My B-wing k-turned around the bomber but didn't even get a chance to shoot it because the corvette did it with its first attack. The TIE swarm had taken my aft section down to only a couple hull points, but at least the bombers were out of the picture.

The shuttle turned in and the TIE/SF also opened up on the corvette fore section. With a lot of dice and a lot of luck, they blasted through the front side shields and had it down to three hull. Ouch.

Chark made a slight mistake here - their shuttle (still with a handful of shield tokens) had nowhere to go. It was boxed in by its comrades (and terrible maneuverability) such that the corvette simply needed to move far enough forward to smash it.


My next move was pretty straightforward - ram the corvette into the shuttle and get the insta-kill. I rolled my B-wing around the debris cloud and blasted a TIE. The corvette and HWK did the same. What used to be a significant imperial force appeared to be dwindling. Still, my corvette was on its last legs and HWKs are glorified support ships.

Palpatine's transport finally entered the fray and took a few shots at the B-wing. The corvette got a few lucky hits on it because it decided to jam the B-wing instead of focus.

And, finally, the remainder of the TIE swarm crippled the corvette aft section and dropped the fore section down to a single hull point - which, of course, is the minimum number of hull points required to launch another three-attack salvo.


I turned the corvette so that the TIEs would have to avoid it, they'd also have no shot on the fore section (attacking the crippled aft would do nothing). This left me with three shots on Palpatine's transport, which had turned in to finish the corvette fore section.

The real coup was using my B-wing's final proton bomb to do faceup damage to itself, the nearby TIE, and Palpatine's transport. Luck was beginning to balance out, as Palpatine's damage card was a weapons failure - no attack that turn!


Palpatine's transport was in a bit of a pickle, one of its upgrades required it to move forward before executing its maneuver. So with a one-bank and a stop maneuver, it came to rest on a debris field and earned a total of three stress tokens.

This round was pretty straightforward. Palpatine's transport had taken enough of a pummeling that I was able to finish it off before it shot back, but one of the remaining TIEs struck a final blow to the corvette.


What remained was two undamaged HWKs and a B-wing against two TIE fighters. With 360-degree firing arcs, the HWKs had an easy task. Somehow, in spite of myself, I managed to pull out a victory.
Aturi

Star Wars xwing miniatures interceptor

With a full strength squad we're back in the Aturi Cluster. We eked out a win in a scenario where you protect an alliance operative escaping in a damaged HWK. It's a nostalgic mission objective. It also provided more positive marks for the campaign balance since both Chase and Mark were blown up.

The current mission is pretty fun - players hide in asteroids and spring a trap on some imperials coming to investigate a shuttle. It's probably on the easier side of things since we emphasized AOE loadouts and the baddies have to weave their way through asteroids.

I think we have enough gameplay under our belt to have some thoughtful commentary:
Full epic build

Corvette Fore PS4 84
Pilot Corvette Fore 50
Title Tantive IV 4
Crew Han Solo 2
Team Gunnery Team 4
Crew Weapons Engineer 3
Hardpoint Homing Missiles 5
Hardpoint Proton Torpedoes 4
Team Sensor Team 4
Team Ordnance Experts 5
Cargo EM Emitter 3
Modification None 0
Corvette Aft PS4 54
Pilot Corvette Aft 40
Title None 0
Crew WED-15 Repair Droid 2
Hardpoint Homing Missiles 5
Team Engineering Team 4
Cargo Backup Shield Generator 3
Modification None 0
B-Wing PS5 + 2 42
Pilot Nera Dantels 26
Title None 0
Elite Talent Veteran Instincts 1
System Trajectory Simulator 1
Cannon None 0
Torpedo Extra Munitions 2
Torpedo Proton Torpedos 4
Modification B-Wing/E2 1
Crew Sabine Wren 2
Bomb Proton Bombs 5
A-Wing PS5 22
Pilot Gemmer Sojan 22
Title A-Wing Test Pilot 0
Missile Chardaan Refit -2
Elite Talent Intimidation 2
Modification None 0
HWK PS4 26
Pilot Roark Garnet 19
Title None 0
Turret Ion Cannon Turret 5
Crew Tactician 2
Modification None 0
HWK PS8 32
Pilot Jan Ors 25
Title None 0
Elite Talent Trick Shot 0
Turret Dual laser turret 6
Crew Dash Rendar 2
Modification None 0
X-Wing PS8 + 2 38
Pilot Wes Janson 29
Title None 0
Elite Talent Veteran Instincts 1
Torpedo None 0
Astromech R2-D2 4
Modification Shield Upgrade 4