Sunday, July 29, 2018

Games as a Service

Keep on burning things.
Inspirobot will die in hot pursuit while sifting through my ashes.
Somewhere along the line, someone got the bright idea that tabletop games should also be like video games.  While this has allowed for new mechanics to develop out from under traditional systems, it has, to quote a famous author, been widely regarded as a bad move.  Despite this, soon after this was in fashion it was decided by someone somewhere that not only should tabletop games expand to include such mechanics based on popular MMO's such as World of Warcraft and CCG's such as Magic: The Gathering, but should also mimic the business model of those types of games.

Namely, one that requires continual payment on the part of the customer, if that customer wants to be an active part of the 'community'.

I've spoken on this topic at length so I will be brief and to the point this time.

I don't mind MMO mechanics in a game (4th Edition, we're looking at you).

I don't mind cards in a game but it's a turn off and I don't want to have to chase them.  Cards as an expansion such as the excellent Frostgrave: Ulterior Motives is how to do this: an optional, self-contained expansion to the game.  The CCG aspect of collectibility, however, should be right OUT.  Where this was tried, it didn't last long.

The most egregious, however, is the constant tinkering with units and rules as we're seeing emerge in the industry today.  While all the time and effort goes into artwork and presentation, all we are getting is a glitzy product that doesn't stand up once it's deployed.  Rules exploits, power creep and all sorts of other things immediately mar the playability of the game...and some of this stuff is pretty obvious.  Unless the designers are completely out of touch with the player base...

All of this means that designers must constantly tinker with their original design on the fly, which leads to some unhealthy development issues right off the bat.  Change the original design too much, and upcoming designs will interact strangely in the environment.  For as much as tabletop designers want the cash flow of the MMO model, they aren't adopting the habits of video game designers.

Most notably, checking for bugs.

Admittedly that doesn't matter when your bottom line is moving units, and I don't mean 'on the table'...and that's what we're always going to see in large corporations.  New unit this month?  You can bet the next ruleset will have 'updated' rules in which it costs less game resources or is in some other manner a no-brainer.  Of course this sells models...and that's what it's all about.

Of course, microtransactions were tested a few years ago.  You know, get a PDF for your phone for a few bucks that allows you to use models you bought the rules for LAST EDITION...or just gives you an advantage for some reason that isn't well thought out or tested for interaction.  We'll see if they yet make a comeback.

The endless treadmill of edition grinds is still here, it's just evening out to monthly updates instead of huge edition changes.  I want EXPANSIONS to games, not new versions every few years...right after I completed my rules collection for the last edition that was literally sold to me one month before the new edition comes out.  EVERY TIME.

Tabletop games are not a "SERVICE" in the same way that EA's Battlefront 2 is a "service".  It's not, it shouldn't be.  FAQ's on publication of new material is commendable.  Randomly updating rules and units every few weeks based on "player feedback" is not.  Look, sometimes, you shouldn't listen to the players...especially when they talk about "balance".  And if the players have to tell you after publication that something is obviously imbalanced...well I'm just not sure that something put through the paces with a minimal crew of cutthroat wargamers would be missed like that.

Is this what we have to look forward to from "AAA" companies who should be designing "state-of-the-art" games?  It shouldn't be, especially if the rules for my tabletop game cost as much as a subscription to an MMO for a year, and that's no hyperbole.  Take a look at how much GW wants for the updated edition of the Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game and remember there are two books to buy.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Nether War: Bastions of Evil

Dungeons & Dragons: The Nether War
Another day, another gold piece.
Nether Warriors!

Members and affiliates of the Zhentarim, honored acolytes and mendicants of the Cult of the Dragon, hear ye!

By the order of the dragonflight, you are to hold these bastions with your lives.  Halt the advance of the insolent Harpers, and crush the resistance of the accursed Emerald Enclave.  This is your charge!

Failure, as always, will result in a fate worse than death, etc.  Now earn your dread reputations and repudiate the worms who dare march against the dragons!  To arms!

Tier 2 - Bastions of Evil

Graypeak Mine
Graypeak Mine
Even though most of the iron lodes in the Graypeak mountains are mostly mined-out, some scant veins still persist.  This large cavern complex has veins in it's lower levels, and the upper section is a base for the Cult and their allies.
  1. Scenario 1
    • Standard Attack Wing, 120 Legion Points
  2. Scenario 2
    • D&D Miniatures, 100 point Skirmish
      • Contested Ground 
        • Use any terrain piece with a base as the objective, or a scatter objective and treat the area 4" around it as the objective.
  3. Scenario 3
    • Standard Attack Wing, 120 Legion Points
When this base is cleared, the Evil player may add a 20% bonus to his available Legion Points in his next Attack Wing scenario.

A bailey keep that is ostensibly a way station for weary travelers, visitors today may be alarmed at the number of Zhentarim mercenaries who've taken up residence here.  The Zhents use Newfort for stockpiling supplies and freight shipping to and from other parts of the Frontier.
  1. Scenario 1
    • D&D Miniatures, 100 point Skirmish
      • Misty Ruins
  2. Scenario 2
    • Standard Attack Wing, 120 Legion Points
  3. Scenario 3
    • D&D Miniatures, 100 point Skirmish
      • Marked For Death
        • Both forces choose a Commander as the target.
When this base is cleared, the Good player may add 20 points of soldiers to his next skirmish free of cost.

Shining Falls Keep
Shining Falls Keep
The Zhents, having been active in this area for some time, secured a small stone tower near Shining Falls to act as base to coordinate with their Cult employers.  The tower now serves as a mustering point for conflicts all over the Savage Frontier.
  1. Scenario 1
    • Standard Attack Wing, 120 Legion Points
  2. Scenario 2
    • D&D Miniatures, 100 point Skirmish
      • Tide of Battle
  3. Scenario 3
    • Standard Attack Wing, 120 Legion Points
When this base is cleared, the Good player may choose to take the first or second turn in the next scenario, either Attack Wing or Miniatures Skirmish.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Rogue Star Wars: Jedi Temple Heist

Bothawui, where rebels yell.
Planet Bothawui, remote polar region.
Buru Brothers Shipping & Handling, Inc. arrived on Bothawui with somewhat noble intentions.  Based in the infamous Cloak of the Sith, on a planet called Roon, Urdaaghr Buru and his family have skirted Imperial law their entire lives.  With the outbreak of the Galactic Civil War, the company has been having frequent meetings with the rebel Spynet.  However, negotiations have gone sour.

It seems the Spynet thinks that the Buru Brothers OWE them something...duty or what-not.  The whole thing ended with everyone walking away, but Urdaaghr was more than miffed.  They had braved the Imperial patrols and come all this way, for what?  Not to be pretty much slapped in the face!

Unfortunately for the rebels, the murderous aqualish knows a little bit more than they'd like about their operations on Bothawui.  At a remote ruin that is supposedly an "ancient Jedi temple" is an Alliance safehouse, lightly guarded.  Supposedly, weapons and other trade goods are stockpiled there, ripe for the taking.  And so, Buru Brothers Shipping & Handling, Inc. got right to work doing what they do best...stealing.

Rogue Stars by Osprey Publishing

Rogue Star Wars Campaign 
Bothawui Scum Attack on Rebels; Steal Valuables Mission

Buru Brothers Shipping & Handling vs Rebel Tech-Partisans

Complication: I thought you had it!
Both players lose 1 piece of equipment chosen by the opponent.  I took this to mean Equipment exclusively, that is, Equipment bought from the Equipment list.  The Rebels lost their medikit, and the Scum had no equipment to take!

For the Steal Valuables mission, we needed to make use of six tokens.  The book called for three "Yes" and three "No" tokens, but I didn't have anything readily on hand to use.  I had a sheet of cardboard chits though, and figured it's a good a time as any to use them.

I have no idea where that sheet of chits came from or where I got them, but one side was yellow and one side was white.  Instead of marking them "Yes" and "No", I simply wrote "!" and "?" on them.  Might as well get some mileage out of them.  I'm sure we can use them for plenty of games.

Making Tokens
Blank Token Sheet.  No idea where it came from.
De-blanked tokens, white face.

Once the tokens were made, they were placed on the field.  We realized that with mission parameters this pretty much pushed everyone to the edges without any other rules.  Scum gained the initiative, and began to advance.

Rogue Stars and Star Wars Miniatures - Setup
Scum have a rough start, immediately slipping and falling.  Other people just stood there like morons.
Unfortunately, the snow made things rough.  A TN 8 terrain check may not sound like much...but with everyone running everywhere it quickly became apparent that it was going to be a problem.  A lot of stress and not much ground was covered as warriors immediately slipped and had to spend an action getting up.

Rogue Stars and Star Wars Miniatures - Rebel Advance
Let's go out here where there isn't any cover and play in the muddy snow.
The Rebels have it slightly easier, but manage to get caught in the snow in the open.  The melting snow and muddy grass is hard to run in...not solid at all.  The Rebel Pathfinder will have an easier time with his Agile trait.

Rogue Stars and Star Wars Miniatures - Steal the Initiative
Moving in the snow is difficult and hazardous.  Get more done with solid Reactions.
The Scum had activated all six of their models before it was realized that the initiative could be stolen before that.  Six or more Stress markers on the enemy team and you've got a good chance.  At the point, the game quickly picked up in pace as the initiative began to get stolen back and forth at breakneck speeds.

Also there were a lot of reactions.  Like...a LOT.  That's part of the game, and even if you don't have the initiative you can get a lot done.  Look at the picture of the board above at the end of what you might consider the first "turn".  The Rebels reacted more than the Scum acted.  Get used to it...this is why the Rebels didn't realize they could steal the initiative earlier.

Rebel Commando and Duros Technician Advance
"There's one over there...and over there...and over there!"
The Rebel advance team consisting of a commando and the medic arrive in cover as they move toward the objectives.  As the Rebel team creeps forward, the Scum start to use their reactions to get further into the map, and steal the initiative back quickly.  It's not long before they make an egress into the central area of the ruins.

Whiphid Tracker is obviously drunk.
Except Whiphid Tracker.  Whiphid Tracker doesn't care what your problem is.
The Scum manage to retain the initiative most of the time, despite not being able to accomplish much other than ratting about in the snow.

Aqualish Spy is Stressed.
Everyone is alarmed, even though the enemy has not yet been encountered.
The Duros Scoundrel actually takes the first shot, nailing the Rebel Commando that advanced earlier.  It knocks him prone, and the Rebels use reactions to move him back into cover for the Duros Technician to use First Aid...even though he doesn't have a medikit.  The Commando is Stunned, which puts him in danger of going Out-of-Action anytime he attempts anything.  First Aid can fix this condition, so they huddle behind the stones as the scum continue their advance.

The Scum advance on the Rebel positions.
Make 'em keep their heads down...
The Aqualish Spy and Duros Scoundrel on the Scum side pin down the Duros Technician and Rebel Commando as the rest of the team advances on the East flank.

Boss Buru always gets his goods.
I like to steal things before my boss gets here.
On that side of the table, the Aqualish Technician (Buru) and his brother (Aqualish Assassin) move toward the objectives.  The Kel Dor Bounty Hunter working for the Buru Brothers moves to grab an objective.

Rebel Commando down!
Want me to show you a trick to take your mind off that pain?
First Aid was performed on the downed Rebel Commando, who was not yet out of action.  He remained pinned though...actions were precious and weren't allotted to his recovery.  This kept him down and wounded behind that rock for most of the game.

Rebels Approach the Objectives...
Folks are having a hard time in the snow.
At least until the Scum moved up and finished the job.  The Commando raced out into the open with his rifle, hoping to stave off the Scum from reaching the objective.  Brave, but foolish...he was rewarded with another laser blast.

Rebel Commandos and Laser Rifles
What accuracy with that laser rifle!
The Bothan Commando finally reached the center area after a long struggle across the snow.  From that position, he was able to use a reaction to take the Whiphid Tracker out of action with a single shot.  The Rebels stole the initiative soon after and the Bothan was able to take out the Duros Scoundrel with another well-placed shot!

Rogue Star Wars Steal Valuables Objectives.
Agility and Speed really paid off here.
Soon, more actions were floating toward the Rebels, unlike in the early game.  The lead the Scum had was soon squandered after every objective they reached was fake.  The Rebel Pathfinder with the Speed and Agility traits really shined in the late game as he was able to move faster and with smaller chance for error.

Kel Dor Bounty Hunter on Objective
Here's looking at you, bothan kid.
Soon after this, the Rebels had most of the objectives locked down.  The 'real' objectives.  The Rebel Commander found one at the beginning of the game and simply stayed there in case his rifle was needed.  The sheer clownery of the Scum kept them from securing the further objectives...bad luck for the Buru Brothers.

Rogue Star Wars Rebel Victory
Every objective you touch shall turn to "?".
In the end, the Rebels carried the day after the Scum decided to retreat after losing half their team.  With the number of objectives in Rebel hands, it was best to call it a day.  According to the Objectives section of the mission, both teams score 6xp each.  It is pretty much a draw, but the Rebels get to keep the gear they were stashing here.  Alarmed that their cache is compromised, they begin moving it to a more secure location.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Storm King's Thunder: Prepare to Die Edition [Part 6]

Storm King's Thunder: Prepare to Die Edition
* Updated 7/27/2018 *
WARNING:  Spoilers ahead for Storm King's Thunder.

View Campaign Page.

6.1 Into the Maelstrom

The party flies the airship back to Triboar, where they enlist Darz to keep watch over it while they are gone.  The dragon cultists bid the party farewell, and remind them to visit Klauth in the near future.  The party spends some time in Triboar doing inventory, collating what they know, and deciding on exactly what to do next.

When the adventurers are prepared, they gather and use the Conch.  They are teleported to a strange area, filled with bio-luminescent creatures and other sea life.  The party notices a large glyph carved into the stone, and hear singing coming from up a large spiral staircase.

The adventurers follow the stairs, and see several giants of different types listening to two storm giant females perform music, one playing a strange crab-organ and the other with powerful, melodic singing.  Starman and Berry perform for them, and the adventurers are brought before the storm giants.  There are several giants in attendance, one from every major type:  hill, stone, frost, fire and addition to more storm giant guards. 

The eldest sister, Mirran, informs the adventurers that her youngest sister, Serissa, is in charge...but is far too busy to meet with them.  She has them escorted to quarters sized for 'small folk', where they take a short rest.  Soon, Mirran returns and tells the party Serissa will see them and leads them back to the entry room.

There, the party finds several of the giant lords they saw earlier.  After some hesitancy, the giants attack the unsuspecting group.  Soon, most of the party is beaten and left for dead floating face down in a pool of seawater, presumably for the crabs.


Two of the party, Starman and Ikki Popp...are air genasi.  They could breathe underwater, and Starman used healing spells to stabilize those who had been wounded to near death.  After laying low for a moment and pretending to float in the water as corpses, the giants left back up the spiral staircase.  The adventurers then crawled out of the pool, heaving and panting from pain and lack of breath...unsure of their next move.

6.2 Court of the Storm Giants

The party attempts to find a place to recuperate after fishing themselves out of the drink.  They explore the immediate surroundings, and find only guest quarters - both human and giant sized - and a storage area.  Unsure of what to do next, they send Briar up the stairs after the giants while Starman explored the grate at the bottom of the pool.

Briar found the cloud giant talking to the stone giant just outside the stairwell, and returned to the lower level to report this.  Starman found a giant drain with five grates such as the one he found and slipped through.  In several of the grates were similar pools, but the entire drain area was underwater.  Also, there was wildlife in all the grates...giant crabs, but mostly killer whales.  One of them sees Starman, and briefly calls to him.  Shortly thereafter, he returns to the party, taking a moment to marvel at the vortex at the top of the massive drain.

The party decided they would brave the water and killer whales rather than the giants above.  Softhands grabbed a barrel of dried fish from the storage area, and the party dove below and swam through the grates.  Softhands broke the barrel up, and the party fed it to the more friendly-seeming of the trio of killer whales.  The party swam through that grate from the drain area and up to the top of the pool.

Once out of the water, Berry spoke with the killer whale and got some crucial information.  The whale actually belongs to Serissa, and what seems to be her private study is found nearby.  The party resolves to try to rest amidst Serissa's knick-knacks, but is interrupted by the Princess herself.

What follows next is a flurry of action.  The Princess, curious, talks to the 'small folk' (as she calls the adventurers) as her guards and advisors flit around.  The players meet her uncle, Uthor and her advisor Imryth.  When Starman offers to speak to the departed spirit of Queen Neri, Serissa decides to bring them to the throne room.

While in the court of the storm giants, the party sits with Serissa and her advisors as the body of the Queen is retrieved.  Uthor and Imryth, the advisors to the queen, caution against trusting the 'small folk', and Imryth becomes heated.  However, no one in the party that was listening could speak giant.

The Queen's body is brought forth, and Starman works his magic.  They ask the Queen who killed her, and about Imryth.  During this exchange, Imryth is questioned by the adventurers.  She becomes agitated and, eventually, the subject of a zone of truth cast by Berry.  Flustered, she snatches the Korolnor Scepter from around Serissa's neck and teleports away.  Stunned by this development, Uthor and his guards can only watch in astonishment.  Serissa, for her part, is distraught from hearing her dead mother speak.

Serissa gives the adventurers a wooden coin with a golden goose upon it, seemingly in line with something the dead Queen Neri had said.  Serissa charges the players to find her missing father, for it has something to do with the coin.  Serissa teleports the party back to Triboar, where they can begin their search for the origin of the wooden coin.

Return to Storm King's Thunder: Prepare to Die Edition?

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Nether War: Bastions of Good

Dungeons & Dragons: The Nether War
A tyranny of dragons approaches!
Nether Warriors!

Herein lie the details for the Tier 2 Bastions of the forces of good in the North.  Each has three scenarios, as compared to the 2 scenarios of Tier 1 Outposts.  These are slightly more complex, and each is more delineated than the Tier 1 scenario sets.

In particular, this is where we will see other material referenced and modified for our purposes.

Some scenario sets favor Attack Wing, others favor D&D Miniatures.  A balance of scenarios has been selected to provide a fun and engaging campaign.  Experience points are not tracked, only wins / losses and sometimes other specific scenario criteria.

Tier 2 - Bastions of Good

High Forest
High Forest
A druidic circle near the heart of the High Forest serves as a meeting place between the Harpers and the Enclave.
  1. Scenario 1
    • Standard Attack Wing, 120 Legion Points
  2. Scenario 2
    • D&D Miniatures, 100 Point Skirmish
      • The Good force must include at least 20 points of animals and beasts.
  3. Scenario 3
    • D&D Miniatures, 100 Point Skirmish
      • The Good player must select at least two commanders, one each for the Harpers and the Enclave.
When this base is cleared, the Evil player may add 20 points of animals and beasts to his next skirmish free of cost.

A small, walled city that was destroyed during the Spellplague.  After rumors of blue fire were quelled by the Order of Blue Fire, the Harpers quickly setup a small settlement within the walls to manage the campaign in the north.
  1. Scenario 1
    • Standard Attack Wing, 120 Legion Points
      • Players deploy 50-75 points worth of units at the beginning of the game.  Starting on the 3rd turn, at the beginning of each player's turn they may deploy one unit from their legion at the edge of the board.  Place the model touching the table edge and place their dial during the planning phase.
  2. Scenario 2
    • Standard Attack Wing, 120 Legion Points
  3. Scenario 3
    • D&D Miniatures, 100 Point Skirmish
      • The broken outer wall of Deadsnows runs the length of the board.  This can be any acceptable wall with at least three openings.
When this base is cleared, the Evil player may add a 20% bonus to his available Legion Points in his next Attack Wing scenario.

Far Forest
The Emerald Enclave has established a mustering ground on the eastern edge of the Far Forest, in a difficult to reach area due to natural hazards.
  1. Scenario 1
    • Standard Attack Wing, 120 Legion Points
      • Only dragons deploy on the first turn of the game.  Starting on the 2nd turn, at the beginning of each player's turn they may deploy one unit from their legion at the edge of the board.  Place the model touching the table edge and place their dial during the planning phase.
  2. Scenario 2
    • Standard Attack Wing, 120 Legion Points
      • Use the Set-Up and Special Rules from Adventure #1.  Objectives are standard, and the winner acquires choice of one campaign artifact from any in possession at the end of the scenario.
  3. Scenario 3
    • D&D Miniatures, 100 Point Skirmish
When this base is cleared, the Evil player may re-deploy up to two units after his opponent is finished deploying in the next scenario, either Attack Wing or Miniatures Skirmish.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Time Stands Still (at the Iron Seer's Hill)

Forever.  You got to respect it.
Inspirobot knows how long this will take.
It might surprise you to learn that I actually try to have my writing schedule set up a fairly long way into the future.  I have a schedule, and I try to make my deadlines...though that seldom ever actually happens.  In this way, the site will have a rhyme and a reason; moreover, as time goes on we might be able to make use of the resources we're building here.

Several months back, I wrote about Edition Purges.  Around that time I drafted two more articles that I wouldn't get to for months because I was doing other things.  I guess I didn't realize that everything I had drafted would change from the time I wrote the drafts to the time I would actually publish.  So, the two follow ups to that post will be markedly different than their original form.

I'll start by saying that once, I looked forward to new editions.

Once.  When there was nearly a decade between editions.  I even supported the 4 year grind with Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000...that is to say, 2 years between full-on upgrading editions.  That's how it used to work - every four years, staggered like Winter and Summer olympics.  It's a big deal when you pretty much collect every army.

In those days, the rules were raw...but after four or five...eight (?!?!) editions you'd think they'd get it together.  The rules used to they just change for no apparent reason except monetary gain by the companies.  I'm not against that...I want to give my money to these people.  I'm even compelled to sometimes...but we can't incentivize this changing of rules.

This post was supposed to be about Fantasy Flight Games, and how they had been rolling out rules updates to X-Wing.  I was going to rant about how all the cardboard accessories they used had pretty much put them in a position that they couldn't really pivot out of, sort of like how all Magic cards have the same stats on them whether they were published in 1994 or 2018.  Changing any rules in a major way would see them asking players to throw out 90% of what they had collected.

I was going to talk about how updates are rolled out for X-Wing, as there had just been a FAQ update.  I was going to talk about how introducing new cards like Chardaan Refit have changed the meta in a low-impact way and yadda-yadda-yadda.  I was going to talk about how awesome that course of action is for customers and fans.

Of course, just a few weeks after my first drafts X-Wing 2.0 was announced.  Shortly after, we learned that the only thing we could carry over was the plastic ships, stands and dice.  ALL the cardboard and cards are now totally worthless, and looking at my collection that's literally MOST of what I bought from FFG.

You can imagine how stupid I felt - but this isn't about X-Wing or FFG.  It's about me and the games I get to play while I'm on this earth.  The move to X-Wing 2.0 jinked me off the X-Wing hype train...but I'm still going to play X-Wing.

Just not X-Wing 2.0.

I left this article on the draft board, and when it came time to write it for real I knew what I had to write about.  No matter how you slice it, this opinion comes off as greybeard grognard, and it probably is.  I've spent a lot of time thinking about how I wanted to react to this, but I already knew what I was going to do about it...I just didn't know how much I wanted to tell everyone, since your feelings are protected animals these days and anything I say can and will be used against me in the court of public opinion.

So instead, I'm going to talk about how the X-Wing 2.0 pretty well killed it in my area.  The casuals FFG gathered were driven away by the tournament scene 1000 miles away.  I'm going to talk about how we as a community need not be bothered with this any further, since we can play any game we want at any time.  I'm going to talk about how you kids need to be willing to play older editions if you're going to expect us to play your newer ones.

Firstly, I get why the change occurred.  It's just a little too drastic for my taste, this pivot away from what we already had in material investment with FFG.  Kind of like Primaris marines.  I don't think I can see it as anything other than a blatant grab for the wallets of the gamers who "they've got" through this investment - but this is just the sad state of the industry right now.  More and more companies are doing the edition grind, and it's just coming off as...bad.  Bad quality games churned out, over and over.

If the tournament scene is what drives these, then the games need to be designed for that from the beginning.  Instead what we get is half-assed in both directions.  It's not designed for tight tournament play.  We know this because it's expressly said that it's for casual play and because every wave there is a multitude of ridiculousness as holes in the design cycle became apparent.  When the casual players are informed all their crap is junk and the edition is changing, they are told it's because the tournaments got out of hand.'s a casual game...but it's governed by the fickleness of the tournament scene.  This is the essence of what we are told everytime and with every game, and it's just...plain doublespeak (which itself is an oxymoron).  Stop it.  Just.  Stop.  It.  I can't bring myself to support this edition grind anymore - which kinda makes me sad, since I have more available money now that I'm old.  I find myself spending that skrill on all kinds of random gaming stuff, instead of keeping up with my old favorite games.

How long did FFG go into the production schedule knowing what they were going to be selling the equivalent of selling wooden nickels?  The answer is:  Quite Some Time.  At a guess, I'd say at minimum a year and a half - but maybe it was rushed.  Look at the packaging...pretty basic.  Either way, it's a rough call to make, to change the foundation like that.

It leaves one to wonder if the late stages of design in X-Wing 1.0 were deliberately created to unbalance the competitive meta and allow pretense for the change to 2.0.  That's one way to garner support for the change - appeal to tournament gamers, and as we've seen across the board it's quite effective.  Indeed, it leaves one with doubt.

The decision to change the basic engine so none of the paper was valid is total folly.  I just don't get it, and I'm not interested in the new game.  We've implemented tournament environment here that simply don't allow the kinds of hijinks we see in these published games.  No longer are we going to allow this kind of thing to disrupt our games, so there is no noticeable reason for this.  You'd understand if you were around for some of the original edition switches.

I'm starting to think I enjoy games that are no longer officially supported or out-of-print, because we can take the close-circuit system they provide and tailor it to exactly what we like.  Just because a game is no longer supported and fresh ruleset is out means nothing to me anymore.  A lot of gaming companies will not be directly supported with my money because when things go stale the knee-jerk reaction is to ask everyone to start over completely, in some cases actually asking everyone to replace their game components entirely.

I think that's absolutely egregious, and it's a trend that has to stop.  Better design, longer production cycles that are PLANNED's hard to believe that these huge companies do not have the resources or personnel to actually manage these projects.  It's as if they don't care about the game at all, and that makes it seem like they are only interested in what they can bilk.  I don't like feeling that way.

And if it's not for love of the games...

Yes I understand that it's a business, probably better than any clod whose mouth that remark falls out of.  I also understand design, tournaments, the community and a lot of the other factors.  Anyone who believes that this is really about the good of the game is not only misguided, but foolish and will soon be parted from what little money he has left.

I'm done with what this does to our communities, fracturing them and stopping all the games because no one can find anyone that plays "their edition".  Whatever that is.  The publishers may be making money with these production models, and that props up the idea that gaming is doing great.  They are making money, and in the holy writ of capitalism means that everything about everything is always good.

Obviously more people are playing games, since they are making so much money (especially in fiscal years where new editions are launched).  I don't know if I believe that.  Of course, they say it has nothing to do with rising prices and mandatory buy-ins created by changing the entire ruleset from the ground up.  No, no.

On the ground it seems like there are far less large clubs playing games and more tiny groups huddled in their own corners.  Two major FLGS for the entire state I live in simply removed X-Wing stuff to the back corner and went back to playing Magic.  I can't speak for the others, but when you've got a grand total of about five or six cool FLGS in your entire state that's quite a bit.  At least one of the others never did X-Wing to begin with, so there's that.

Now, none of this is to say I'm against new games.  You should see what's coming up for this blog.  I'm all about new games, this blog is pretty much about new games.  I'm just tired of having to buy the SAME material again and again.  Since I was about to praise them for NOT doing anything like this, FFG's decision to announce a 2.0 version really hit me where I lived.

I'm going to stay with X-Wing 1.0 quite comfortably.  Hit me up if you're selling out.  As far as new ships go - well, I've already got most of them...and any new ones I really want can be bought on Ebay without any cards or other trash FFG wants to sell me...and we'll just make our own cards and errata (if we need them) to go along with it.

From now on, Time Stands Still at the Iron Seer's Hill.

Editions won't change until we say they do.  I don't really care what edition it is anyway, as long as it's complete.  I'm starting to favor OOP games, since most things are dirt cheap.  Since there aren't any WAAC players here anymore, it's simply not going to be an issue.  What is going to be an issue is $200 buy-ins every edition for every game.

I'm not even bitter, despite what you might think after reading all this.  It's just hard to care.  I haven't played 40k since mid-6th edition, and it's been two editions in just a short time with talk of another on the horizon.  It's ridiculous.  It's hip to edition skip.

The Fate of us all
Lies deep in the dark,
When time stands still at the Iron Hill!
I stand alone...
no one's by my side!
I'll dare you!
Come out!
You coward!
Now it's me or you!

- Blind Guardian, "Time Stands Still (At The Iron Hill)