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Rules Question: Swarm Tactics


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#1 drkjedi35

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 10:30 AM

I know this may be a little early to be asking rules questions, but I'm going to do it anyway. 

Swarm Tactics reads "At the start of the Combat Phase, choose 1 friendly ship at Range 1. Until the end of this phase, treat the chosen ship as if its pilot skill were equal to your pilot skill."

My question is:

My squad includes Wedge, Luke, and Biggs. Wedge and Luke both have Swarm Tactics (ST).  At the beginning of the Combat Phase, can I use Wedge's ST to make Luke a 9 PS, and then Luke's ST to make Biggs a 9 PS?  Just wondering if you can chain them together like this.  I would think so, but I'm curious what the official ruling would be.

Roy



#2 R5Don4

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 11:05 AM

 Nice combo.  Hopefully that doesn't fall in the "abusive" category the rules vaguely forbid.


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#3 Manchu

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 11:44 AM

Seems a question of timing.  So, are all uses of Swam Tactics (and/or the class of special effects that it is in) considered to activate simultaneously during the start of the combat phase?  If so, then you could not chain like that because when Luke activated his Swam Tactics with regard to Biggs, Luke was not PS9 at that time.  But if Swarm Tactics is activated ship by ship in order then I would say that you can chain Swarm Tactics all other things being equal.  I'd further say it wouldn't be abusive either because the "cost" of that chaining tactic would be flying three of your ships in tight formation -- and isn't that kind of the point of Swarm Tactics in the first place?  But given that the rule says, "at the start of the combat phase" it seems likely to me that it is simultaneous rather than staggered.



#4 Hrathen

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 12:05 PM

Manchu said:

Seems a question of timing.  So, are all uses of Swam Tactics (and/or the class of special effects that it is in) considered to activate simultaneously during the start of the combat phase?  If so, then you could not chain like that because when Luke activated his Swam Tactics with regard to Biggs, Luke was not PS9 at that time.  But if Swarm Tactics is activated ship by ship in order then I would say that you can chain Swarm Tactics all other things being equal.  I'd further say it wouldn't be abusive either because the "cost" of that chaining tactic would be flying three of your ships in tight formation -- and isn't that kind of the point of Swarm Tactics in the first place?  But given that the rule says, "at the start of the combat phase" it seems likely to me that it is simultaneous rather than staggered.

Basically correct, but not exactly.  All actions happen after you move.  Swarm Tactics can only target a ship with lower skill (so it has to have moved already).  You can then give that ship your piloting skill.  But the ship doesn't do anything with the new piloting skill until the combat phase where the ship gets to attack sooner than it would with its "natural" skill.

So if you used Luke and a Swarm Tactics to change the skill of a rookie pilot, and then used Wedge and his Swarm Tactics to change the skill of the some rookie pilot, when the combat phase came arround the rookie's skill would only be the same as Wedges (Luke's skill being over written)

 


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#5 Manchu

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 12:52 PM

Hrathen said:

ll actions happen after you move.  Swarm Tactics can only target a ship with lower skill (so it has to have moved already).  You can then give that ship your piloting skill.  But the ship doesn't do anything with the new piloting skill until the combat phase where the ship gets to attack sooner than it would with its "natural" skill.

As I understand it, each side has one movement phase and then one combat phase rather than a series of phases for each individual ship.  Therefore the movement phase has nothing to do with Swarm Tactics (except for positioning ships to qualify for it) because the text of the rule says it applies "at the start of the Combat Phase" which always comes after the movement phase, yes?  In that case, all that matters is whether character abilities activate in order or simultaneously.  Since the attribute by which they are ordered is being affected by the ability in question, and given the wording of the rule, it stands to reason that the ability activates simultaneously.  In effect, you could not use Wedge's Swam Tactics ability and then use Luke's.  You would be using them at the same time.

 



#6 drkjedi35

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 01:08 PM

Hrathen said:

 

 

Basically correct, but not exactly.  All actions happen after you move.  Swarm Tactics can only target a ship with lower skill (so it has to have moved already).  You can then give that ship your piloting skill.  But the ship doesn't do anything with the new piloting skill until the combat phase where the ship gets to attack sooner than it would with its "natural" skill.

 

 

 

Per the card (which takes precedence over the rule book), Swarm Tactics states "At the start of the Combat Phase, choose 1 Friendly ship at Range 1.  Until the end of this phase, treat the chosen ship as if its pilot skill were equal to your pilot skill."

So this is an action that can be taken at the beginning of the Combat Phase and NOT the Activation Phase.

 

Roy



#7 drkjedi35

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 01:59 PM

I agree with Manchu that whether or not it is simultaneous is the deciding factor.  I can see it going both ways.  In some games, the acting player (the player whos turn it is) gets to decide the order that each ship uses ST.  In that case, I could choose to use Wedge's ST, and then Luke's ST.  In other games, they would happen simultaneously.  In which case, Wedge could make Luke a 9 PS and Luke could make Biggs an 8 PS.

 

Roy



#8 Hrathen

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 02:29 PM

Manchu said:

As I understand it, each side has one movement phase and then one combat phase rather than a series of phases for each individual ship.  Therefore the movement phase has nothing to do with Swarm Tactics (except for positioning ships to qualify for it) because the text of the rule says it applies "at the start of the Combat Phase" which always comes after the movement phase, yes?  In that case, all that matters is whether character abilities activate in order or simultaneously.  Since the attribute by which they are ordered is being affected by the ability in question, and given the wording of the rule, it stands to reason that the ability activates simultaneously.  In effect, you could not use Wedge's Swam Tactics ability and then use Luke's.  You would be using them at the same time.

Actually there is one movement phase where all the individual ships go in order of there skill.  There is no, my movement phase, your movement phase.  After each ship moves it then can make an action.

After that phase comes the combat phase.  It goes in reverese order with best pilots shooting first.  Again there is no one player combat phase, other player combat phase.


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#9 Aahzmandius_Karrde

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 02:35 PM

drkjedi35 said:

 

So this is an action that can be taken at the beginning of the Combat Phase and NOT the Activation Phase.

 

 

You're right in intent, but I wouldn't call this an action.  Upgrade cards that provide an action have the "Action:" header before it.  Swarm Tactics simply provides a "Pilot Ability", as referenced on pg 8 in "Ship Card Anatomy".  Additionally pg 9 states: "Card abilities without the “ACTION:” header may be resolved when specified on the card and do not count as the ship’s action."

The only other thing I can see in the rules is on pg 16 under Initiative "If multiple abilities resolve at the same time, the player with initiative resolves his abilities first."

Since Initiative is somewhat tied into Pilot skill, I could see this as being a determining factor as well, though it looks like All the Imperial Swarm Tactics would occur before the Rebel if the Imps had the initiative.

 


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#10 Manchu

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 02:49 PM

Hrathen said:

After that phase comes the combat phase.  It goes in reverese order with best pilots shooting first.  Again there is no one player combat phase, other player combat phase.
Thanks for the clarification.  It seems to me that this doesn't change my analysis of how the ability in question works, however.  If there is only one combat phase per side or if there is (as you clarified) a single combat phase for both sides, the ability in question could be activated for every unit at the start of that phase.  And that seems likely because there is no "at the start of the Combat Phase" for individual units.



#11 Manchu

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 03:07 PM

Aahzmandius_Karrde said:

The only other thing I can see in the rules is on pg 16 under Initiative "If multiple abilities resolve at the same time, the player with initiative resolves his abilities first."

Since Initiative is somewhat tied into Pilot skill, I could see this as being a determining factor as well, though it looks like All the Imperial Swarm Tactics would occur before the Rebel if the Imps had the initiative.

Who or what "has" initiative?  Is it something that a player has or is it something that pilots have regardless of the controlling player?  From your quote of p. 16 and watching demos where FFG employees have said words to the effect of "the Empire has initiative by default" (IIRC), it seems that players rather than units have initiative.  In effect, I agree with your conclusion that the Swarm Tactics ability would be resolved on the part of all the units on the side that has initiative before the other side BUT the question at hand is how the Swam Tactics ability is resolved as between units under the control of one player.  So again, the operative question is:  is there anything in the rules to suggest that "at the start of the Combat Phase" is a different "moment" for each individual unit.  If so, the ability can be resolved on the part of one unit before another -- which means that you could (all other things being equal) chain the effects of Swarm Tactics as per the OP.



#12 R2D2

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 09:17 PM

Manchu said:

Aahzmandius_Karrde said:

The only other thing I can see in the rules is on pg 16 under Initiative "If multiple abilities resolve at the same time, the player with initiative resolves his abilities first."

 

Since Initiative is somewhat tied into Pilot skill, I could see this as being a determining factor as well, though it looks like All the Imperial Swarm Tactics would occur before the Rebel if the Imps had the initiative.

Who or what "has" initiative?  Is it something that a player has or is it something that pilots have regardless of the controlling player?  From your quote of p. 16 and watching demos where FFG employees have said words to the effect of "the Empire has initiative by default" (IIRC), it seems that players rather than units have initiative.  In effect, I agree with your conclusion that the Swarm Tactics ability would be resolved on the part of all the units on the side that has initiative before the other side BUT the question at hand is how the Swam Tactics ability is resolved as between units under the control of one player.  So again, the operative question is:  is there anything in the rules to suggest that "at the start of the Combat Phase" is a different "moment" for each individual unit.  If so, the ability can be resolved on the part of one unit before another -- which means that you could (all other things being equal) chain the effects of Swarm Tactics as per the OP.

 

 

The Player who has the lowest point cost has initiative, unless these are equal. In that case empire has initiative.

I would guess that the answer to the OP is that this cant be done. I would assume that when it refers to the pilot skill, this actually means the unmodified pilot skill as shown on the pilot card, but FFG may think differently! Not sure how they would rule on this in tournaments. perhaps someone tried it at GenCon and could elaborate? I think as a house rule, I wouldnt allow it, as it doesnt make much sense logically to me. If luke enhances another ship then this ship has a modifier for this round, but not actually a higher pilot skill in and of itself. How could a pilot who is only a skill 9 (for example) due to his proximity to another pilot be able to pass on this skill (it isnt really HIS skill… its a buffer from luke)



#13 Aahzmandius_Karrde

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 10:25 PM

 Actually there's no need to house rule it, this is a perfect use case for the "Resolving Rule Disputes" on pg 13.  Unfortuneatly that doesn't answer the tournament question.


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#14 Kordos

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 10:27 PM

R2D2 said:

. I would assume that when it refers to the pilot skill, this actually means the unmodified pilot skill as shown on the pilot card, 

 

I would assume the same, many game systems I play use the modified skill/value/roll etc when refering back to something 



#15 Manchu

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 04:28 AM

TBH, R2D2, that was a rhetorical question.

R2D2 said:

How could a pilot who is only a skill 9 (for example) due to his proximity to another pilot be able to pass on this skill (it isnt really HIS skill… its a buffer from luke)

When you think about it, it makes quite a lot of sense. Wingmen don't just support flight leaders; flight leaders actually lead their flights. We're talking pilots who train and work together to follow each other's leads. You have to think about how these abstract rules might reflect what pilots are actually doing when flying starfighters.  Luke is getting a buff by following Wedge's lead not because Wedge is zapping him with some magic power, like casting a spell or using the Force. So Biggs should be able to take that same cue from Wedge by watching Luke. It's like a school of fish. So the chaining OP mentions could indeed make sense and like I said it's not really abusive: there is a cost associated with this benefit -- in order to chain, you've got to bunch up.

Now, I don't think you can actually do that because of the flow of "time" in the game. Which brings us to …

R2D2 said:

I would guess that the answer to the OP is that this cant be done. I would assume that when it refers to the pilot skill, this actually means the unmodified pilot skill as shown on the pilot card

But what's your support for that assumption? Why does it refer to the PS on the card instead of the PS as modified by Swarm Tactics?

Kordos said:

many game systems I play use the modified skill/value/roll etc when refering back to something 

I assume you meant "unmodified" there, else your point is contradictory.  More importantly, we can't really deduce anything relevant to the rules of this game from the rules of other games.  The answer has to be in the rules for X-Wing.

To me, this is not a question of house ruling.  The rules as written cover the situation completely.  Given that "at the start of the Combat Phase" cannot refer to something different for every pilot, Swarm Tactics would resolve on the part of every pilot simultaneously.  That means that while Wedge is conferring his PS9 to Luke, Luke is conferring his PS8 to BIggs.



#16 R2D2

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 04:53 AM

Manchu

 

So you agree for different reasons? You are saying that as it is simultaneous, lukes ps 9 (from wedge) cannot be tranferred to biggs, but that his ps8 can… so in answer to the op, it doesnt work as he suggested? yet you are arguing against the reasons given?

 

Im happy with that! :)



#17 Stunami

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 05:09 AM

drkjedi35 said:

I know this may be a little early to be asking rules questions, but I'm going to do it anyway. 

Swarm Tactics reads "At the start of the Combat Phase, choose 1 friendly ship at Range 1. Until the end of this phase, treat the chosen ship as if its pilot skill were equal to your pilot skill."

My question is:

My squad includes Wedge, Luke, and Biggs. Wedge and Luke both have Swarm Tactics (ST).  At the beginning of the Combat Phase, can I use Wedge's ST to make Luke a 9 PS, and then Luke's ST to make Biggs a 9 PS?  Just wondering if you can chain them together like this.  I would think so, but I'm curious what the official ruling would be.

Roy

I agree this comes to timing, and can see it either way.

On one hand, if multiple effects trigger simultaneously, I would think the acting player would choose what order to resolve them in, so that you could "daisy chain" PS for the Combat Round.

On the other, if they are indeed to happen "simultaneously," it can be argued that the pilots do not get their new PS until the effects are resolved, and thus, as other have said, cannot give something they don't yet have.  I'd like to see a Dev chime in on that for tournament's sake, but personally I'd err on the side of caution and say they cannot daisy chain it.



#18 Manchu

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 05:34 AM

R2D2 said:


So you agree for different reasons? You are saying that as it is simultaneous, lukes ps 9 (from wedge) cannot be tranferred to biggs, but that his ps8 can… so in answer to the op, it doesnt work as he suggested? yet you are arguing against the reasons given?

Haha, yes, I certainly agree with my own initial position (third post ITT). I object to your assumption only because it wasn't based on an argument -- which is to say, you said you thought Swarm Tactics referred to the PS printed on the resolving pilot's card but didn't say why. (Perhaps you just assumed my earlier argument about simultaneous resolution?) And I object to Kordos's argument because it's not based on the rules of this game.

 

Stunami said:

 

On one hand, if multiple effects trigger simultaneously, I would think the acting player would choose what order to resolve them in, so that you could "daisy chain" PS for the Combat Round.

 

I think the language of the ability does not leave room for any consideration of resolution order. Swarm Tactics is resolved by every pilot "at the start of the Combat Phase" so they would use their PS "at the start of the Combat Phase." Since no pilot has modified any other's PS via Swam Tactics "at the start of the Combat Phase" (or more precisely, since it is all going on at the same time) every pilot will use the PS printed on their card.

 

Stunami said:

 but personally I'd err on the side of caution and say they cannot daisy chain it.

Hmm, depends on what you mean by cautious.  So let's set aside chaining for a minute:  the Swarm Tactics ability is a trade-off mechanic.  You get to trade off having two of your fighters spaced out for using the higher of the two fighters' PS.  If we allow for chaining, does the benefit of the trade off significantly outweigh the cost, relative to the cost-benefit ratio when we're just talking about two ships?  It seems to me, without testing it obviously, that the trade off is still pretty fair.

 



#19 DavicusPrime

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 05:41 AM

Stunami said:

drkjedi35 said:

 

I know this may be a little early to be asking rules questions, but I'm going to do it anyway. 

Swarm Tactics reads "At the start of the Combat Phase, choose 1 friendly ship at Range 1. Until the end of this phase, treat the chosen ship as if its pilot skill were equal to your pilot skill."

My question is:

My squad includes Wedge, Luke, and Biggs. Wedge and Luke both have Swarm Tactics (ST).  At the beginning of the Combat Phase, can I use Wedge's ST to make Luke a 9 PS, and then Luke's ST to make Biggs a 9 PS?  Just wondering if you can chain them together like this.  I would think so, but I'm curious what the official ruling would be.

Roy

 

 

I agree this comes to timing, and can see it either way.

On one hand, if multiple effects trigger simultaneously, I would think the acting player would choose what order to resolve them in, so that you could "daisy chain" PS for the Combat Round.

On the other, if they are indeed to happen "simultaneously," it can be argued that the pilots do not get their new PS until the effects are resolved, and thus, as other have said, cannot give something they don't yet have.  I'd like to see a Dev chime in on that for tournament's sake, but personally I'd err on the side of caution and say they cannot daisy chain it.

Stunami said:

…I'd like to see a Dev chime in on that for tournament's sake, but personally I'd err on the side of caution and say they cannot daisy chain it.

This is exactly how I'm thinking.  My intuition says treat it as simultaneous.  The sequential daisy chain thing just doesn't feel right…  "I've got a bad feeling about this"

-DavicusPrime



#20 Manchu

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 05:58 AM

But if chaining is possible, is that really so bad?  I mean, is that a possible game-breaker?  I have yet to play my first game.  But Stunami's report mentioned that Imps solve things with dice rather than synergies.  Maybe chaining Swarm Tactics would give them an edge that is otherwise lacking, according to Stunami's first impressions.  On paper, it looks to me that its costs balances its benefit.






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