Monday, July 3, 2017

Checking it Twice: First Steps and Initial Thoughts

Well, in our last post, I talked about why I was creating this whole checklist and what I hoped to accomplish from this.  For this to be of ANY worth to ANYONE, we'll need this to be short enough to memorize.  To turn this math style, I'm hoping to end up with something like SOH-CAH-TOA, where through repeated use and incantation, it helps you figure out how to use it correctly.
"You're in a triangle, Feeny!"
So I'm going to break down the game into 3 phases; 3 times I'm going to bring the checklist into play.  There are actually several times and several spots where the game can change; each battle is a matter of inches in range/out of range, dice rolls that do or don't kill the ships you need dead, etc.  Biggs is writing some good stuff over at Steel Squadron about all those different phases, and I'd be a fool not to recommend you read them all.  For us, though, we're going to hit:

1) Deployment
2) Start of Turn/Ship Phase
3) Individual Activations

Deployment is important because I can't tell you the number of times I've deployed something at the wrong speed or angled wrong, making it unable to affect the game until well later than it should (looking at YOU, Assault Frigate....) and usually resulting in a loss for me.  There's a LOT to cover in deployment, and I know for sure that we NEED more articles on the subject.  It's in progress, haha (I actually think Eric had mentioned that he was going to write some things soon on it).

But deployment isn't just ships and speeds and laying out obstacles; it's making sure that your ships aren't going to ram each other, that you're set to take advantage of whatever objective you actually chose, there's flying in formation if you're doing that, there's sweeping around if you're planning for that, there's a lot.  How do you plan on deploying obstacles? How do you plan on making the most of whatever your opponent just put down? And with what he has left, what do you plan on doing to stay alive from THAT?

Deployment has a lot to cover in it, but the checklist for not forgetting stuff? That's an entirely different idea, which I'll get into.
"Put that X-wing down.  X-wings are for closers!"
As for the start of the turn and the ship phase each turn, there's a lot going on THERE, too.  Your commander might affect things (Garm or Tagge are the easy examples, but if you want to USE Ackbar's ability or Leia's, you're going to be structuring your turn to do so) and if you're going to be collecting tokens or maneuvering certain ships in certain ways (my flotilla is taking a hard left, let's say), you want to make sure that your further ships aren't ending up there in that same spot or running over your own ships.  Having a plan for the turn is a good step towards both confidence and competence.

Having a plan for the turn will let you understand what outcome you're expecting and what likely will be the next thing you do, and will keep you (again, the point of this) from making a potentially dumb mistake that results in you losing a ship you didn't need to.  Each turn you're going to be asking yourself how you plan on getting a win out of this game.  Turn 1 you're setting up your attack to get what you need, but there's a lot of other ways of winning.  We'll talk about this, but right now I want to leave this somewhat vague.  I need another game or two (I just created this idea about a week ago, haha!) to ensure that I've got everything I'll need to flesh this idea out and make it work.  I KNOW I need one for the start of the turn, but what exactly it entails is going to need a bit of time to make it work.

Relatedly, I know a lot of people in our meta trigger things (Pelta commands, let's say) at the start of the turn, during the Command Phase.  Technically, this is not right.  You want to do this during the (correct) Ship Phase.  But looking at the start of the turn, you need to have a general plan for what you're going to activate and how, and assigning dials properly to take advantage of what's going to happen on the turn.  If you have a list of 4 Gladiators, you can't have ALL of them with a Concentrate Fire command on top if they're all in black dice range: one of your opponent's ships is going to move away.
I can tell you right now that I am not entertained by 4 Gladiators.
And the last part that I want to make the checklist for is each individual activation you have on your turn.  An activation is commonly meant a ship's activation, but this part is also going to refer to using your squadrons, too.  Some parts of this step may mean pushing your squadrons with your ships, some of it may refer to delaying other ship activations, and some of it may be opening up with everything you've got onto your target, but it's going to be (I think) the hardest part, as this is going to be the one used most often.  EVERY time it flips back to your turn, you'll want to run through these points and ensure that you're activating the right ship for you at that time.  It's going to have to be the quickest to get through, too, because while your opponent will (and probably should) give you some time to ensure you've got the start of your turn planned, he is not going to indulge in you needing 2 minutes every time you flip towards your turn.  That would drive EVERYONE crazy, and take an extra 10 minutes each turn if you only had 5 ships.  That's insane and is not what we're going to do here.

So I've got a good working idea of how I want this all to go, but I want another game or two in before I hit these ALL.  What I now plan on doing (uh-oh, John's changed his plans: it's gonna get longer....) is doing a breakdown on each one of these parts of the turn and what our checklist part for that "phase" is going to entail.  It'd be an explanation of why I'm putting things in and why I'm not.  First up is going to be deployment, as I don't necessarily need another game to talk that one out and what we'll end up needing there to have there.  Lucky for you all, because I need these checklists short, the articles are going to be short.  Well, SHORTER than my usual ones, like one where I wrote 5 million words on using a bomber group correctly.
Fowl Language is great.
The last point I'll make for these before we launch into everything is that for every one of these points, they're going to seem dumb.  You might be saying to yourself "THAT'S on here? What kind of idiot forgets to do that?" Well, the answer would be THIS kind of idiot, your author.  I have forgotten several of these things and lost games because of it.  You may think that you don't need this and don't need to go over them all, but seriously, all it takes is one game to go from Worlds Winner to Worlds Participant.  Taking away every chance you have of a dumb mistake is a great way to tend more towards that first one than the second one.  As I said, first we'll talk deployment, and I might spend part of my 4th writing that all up.  We'll see.

1 comment:

  1. It takes brass balls to win at Armada.

    You literally cracked me up working my favorite film into an Armada article. Bravo.