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gundamv

How to teach X-Wing to a new player

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My friend, who has never played X-Wing before, is interested in trying X-Wing.  I want to show him how to play and am wondering if anyone here has advice on how I should go about teaching him to play.  e.g. Should I start by going over the rules in sequential order?  Or should I start by playing an actual game against him and showing him how to play as I go along? 

 

Also, what are some good fleet builds to use to teach a new player how to play this game?  I prefer to use a Rebels vs. Imperials matchup for more fun.  I have most of the non-Epic ships up to Wave 4, with the exception of Imperial Aces (I do have the Regular TIE Interceptor and a Push the Limit card).

 

Any help you can give is appreciated.  Thanks.

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The small scenario in the starter can work well, and I had good luck giving opponents a Han Shoots First list that has Han with Gunner and some variety of 2 X-wings. It's a bit of an easy button against a lot of match-ups but teaches a lot and even if they go someplace really weird they can always shoot. Cuts down on a lot of frustration. Then just make sure you play some goofy lists to even things out a bit more. Setting up gives an opportunity to explain the basics and you can get into more as things come up, though hopefully preemptively. 

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Start with the core ships. Maybe give him Luke + R2D2 vs two Black Squadron pilots and some EPT. You want him to win, but also to have fun and it's hard to top that ship for theme. He uses the force to juke and R2D2 to recover, it's perfect. Once he gets the feel for that, go to two 50 point lists. Let him pick his team and a basic squad (maybe no upgrades or named pilots). Keep all of these games in a 2x2 to avoid too much empty flying around.

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A suggestion is to just start out using the quickstart rules.

 

For something using the full rules I like the suggestion I once read that I believe was called the "Secret Force."  It's two 50 point lists getting sent against each other:

 

Rebels:

Chewbacca + Gunner + 3 points of additional upgrades (but keep them relatively simple)

 

Empire:

Three TIE Fighters:  Howlrunner, Backstabber, and one other.

 

You let the newbie fly Chewie.  The reasons are the turret makes maneuver errors less painful.  Gunner helps make sure attack do something to keep the player engaged.  Chewie means the player doesn't need to worry about crits yet.  And the Falcon is tough enough the game will not end badly because of some dice fluke.

 

You fly the Imperials:  Teach the newbie the value of formation flying, dice modification, focused fire, firing arcs (especially via Backstabber), and possibly even how fickle the dice can be.

 

Some people HATE the idea of teaching a new player with the Falcon because "it is too easy to fly" but that is precisely the reason you do use it at least for a few games.  You can give a newbie that ship against a few TIEs and actually expect it to perform well to build the player's confidence.  After a few games you can park the Falcon and start going into more nuanced squadrons and play styles.

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A suggestion is to just start out using the quickstart rules.

 

For something using the full rules I like the suggestion I once read that I believe was called the "Secret Force."  It's two 50 point lists getting sent against each other:

 

Rebels:

Chewbacca + Gunner + 3 points of additional upgrades (but keep them relatively simple)

 

Empire:

Three TIE Fighters:  Howlrunner, Backstabber, and one other.

 

You let the newbie fly Chewie.  The reasons are the turret makes maneuver errors less painful.  Gunner helps make sure attack do something to keep the player engaged.  Chewie means the player doesn't need to worry about crits yet.  And the Falcon is tough enough the game will not end badly because of some dice fluke.

 

You fly the Imperials:  Teach the newbie the value of formation flying, dice modification, focused fire, firing arcs (especially via Backstabber), and possibly even how fickle the dice can be.

 

Some people HATE the idea of teaching a new player with the Falcon because "it is too easy to fly" but that is precisely the reason you do use it at least for a few games.  You can give a newbie that ship against a few TIEs and actually expect it to perform well to build the player's confidence.  After a few games you can park the Falcon and start going into more nuanced squadrons and play styles.

This is an awesome way to start somebody out!

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I'm of the opinion that X-Wings vs. TIE Fighters is still the way to go for the first game BUT, the setup you just described there with Chewie vs. the TIEs, that's the kind of thing that will hook a Star Wars fan and pull them in deep into the thematic side of the game. The only change I'd make is to fly Winged Gundark and Night Beast with Howlrunner just so you can say it's the escape from Cloud City. I'd totally run this setup as a second game for a new player.

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I always give new players a list that is better and stronger than mine so that, even with mistakes, they still win. With experience and skill, you should be able to keep it close.

 

That said, I usually recommend (and do myself) using familiar characters from the Star Wars universe. Luke and Wedge vs. Vader and a couple ties is VERY thematic, and if you build it right, it can be a LOT of fun. Try using 64 points as a basis. Also, consider using a smaller board (maybe 2x2, or 2.5x2.5) and less asteroids. Don't remove asteroids, just use fewer so that it's not quite so hard, but it's also not a boring joust session.

 

Fly well, but not too well against these friends, and you'll get them hooked. Make them feel like they're in the Star Wars universe and you'll win, even if you lose the match.

Edited by jkokura

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in my personal experience i recomend doing for your friend what the owner of my local game store did for me.

 

We played a very vanilla game meaning no upgrades or special pilots. I faced off against two tie fighters with one x-wing straight from the core set. there is a very good tutorial or overview if you will on you tube from fantasy flight on the game.

 

once your friend has established how to fly a very basic game like i did with steroids on the table then start playing with upgrades and all the fun stuff.

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Yeah i always recommend new players using falcons. Sometimes you will get the guy who just wants to play empire (silly him, eventually he will have every single ship haha, it's inevitable), but now they will get the decimator too.

 

The problem is that sometimes they will get defeated really hard when playing a more conventional list, and will go running tails back to the falcon before even learning how to play the other lists.

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Yea if they really love the movies and the characters, something named is pretty cool.  Personally, I don't think the pieces in this game reflect the movie characters that well.  >< 

 

I tend to like using 24 points no uniques to start.  Or if they can handle it, two of those 24 lists combined to 48.  It lets you focus on learning the rules of the game first.  

2 ties vs 2 Zs is a really good starting game.  Or you can give him an extra Z or Tie vs your two.  

Or 2 rookies with hull vs 4 ties.  Is a relatively straightforward match.  

 

Explain:

Each turn you get to move, take an action, and then shoot. 

Explain his available actions, explain yours when you do them.  

Explain how shooting works and what the numbers on the baseplates mean.  

4 asteroids optional.  (I like this as it stops them from thinking its a go-forward, then k-turn game.)  Don't explain how they work until someone hits one, just tell them to avoid them.  

Then explain range and bonuses.  

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Hey, thanks for the help.  I just taught my friend how to play.  I taught only the basics, namely:

* How to read a stat card

* Different phases of the game - move, action, shoot

* Basic strategy - when to use a target lock vs. when to use a focus token, pros and cons of using ships with higher or lower pilot skills

 

Then, I play a game: 2 Academy pilots vs. 2 Bandit squads.  My friend played the Bandits.  He won a close game and is pretty excited.  

 

I want to teach him more about the game.  The following topics were not yet covered:

*Asteroids

*Upgrade cards

*Ions (to be sure, I rarely use Ions myself)

*Large ships (and the interesting rules surrounding such ships in terms of arc, etc.)

*100 point games and ship synergy (e.g. Howlrunner)

*Actions other than Focus, Evade, Barrel Roll, and Target Lock

 

Which topic should I cover next?  And how should I go about teaching that topic?  I don't want to cover more than two or three new topics at a time, but obviously, some topics tend to go together (e.g. Large ship Falcon + Upgrade Cards)

Edited by gundamv

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Okay, now you have some really exciting things that you can teach this person. Keep them on Rebels for now, since they have pretty clearly defined ships: Imperials have slightly more finesse to them that're harder to master at first. I suggest giving him a Y-Wing with Ion gun and an A-Wing with PtL, just a Green of some sort is fine. We'll say...

 

Green Squadron Pilot

PtL

Concussion Missile

Munitions Failsafe

 

Grey Squadron Pilot

Ion Cannon Turret

 

Then you can match it against a few Imperial ships of whatever you choose. 51 points for both teams, which is enough for 2 TIE Interceptors (2 PTL Sabers with a Stealth Device or Hull Upgrade on one) or something equally fun. This'll give them a chance to learn Boost, you can easily use the asteroids (showing newbies how much the Interceptor can move is really cool) and you can explain rules about how to combo PtL with special attacks, like the missile. Then, IF the missile misses they still get a chance to use it. Aim to bring down the Y-Wing first, since the turret will harass your Interceptors, and it'll be a tense way to run the game.

Edited by LeoHowler

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Awesome!  So the 2 ties and 2 Zs worked for you eh?  

(They're easy to fudge so that the new player wins too lol).  

 

I think your next step is to play a 48 point list (two 24) again, same rules.  no uniques.

 

Ex.  2 ties and 1 saber PTL vs 2 Zs and Dagger B or Blue B with FCS.  Roll for initiative.  

Then do another list: Tie Advanced with Proton Rockets and RG with VI or Wingman, Rookie X with Hull upgrade and HWK with ICT and Moldy Crow.  

You can teach initiative. 

 

I prefer to teach upgrade cards, and asteroids, simply as a consequence of this list.  

You can teach asteroids as "don't land on it" "don't hit one"  and when you or he does, teach the rule.  Instead of teaching it at the beginning.  Simply tell him: "don't hit it", then teach it when it happens, a very strong visual lesson and highly negative feedback to reinforce the learning.  

 

The most important part is to REVIEW what he learned so its reinforced.  

 

--

 

Also, i recently bought a Litco Range ruler.  It has engraved on it a little +1 red reminder for R1 and a +1 green reminder for R3.  This is really good for helping the nubs remember the range rule.  

 

--

 

After those games, he should be ready to start looking at pilot cards and picking his own list and learning real strategy and what not.  

 

Feel free to also use Doomshuttle and a Saber or Royal.  

That can start teaching large ships.  

But you can start just going to real lists.  

 

We actually play 48s for fun because its a shorter game and you have to get better at your fundamental flying skills.  One of my favorite formats.  

And, hey.  Tie Advanced with Proton Rocket is viable?  Sign me up!  

HWK with ICT and Moldy Crow?  

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Ive been teaching my 7 yr old with a very basic Core games1 x vrs 2 ties he is starting to get basic mechanics of the game. Thats also how i taught my best friend to play.after a few more games im gpnna start ising some small upgrades with my son

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Some great info in this topic.  I've been playing and teaching games for a long time and I run a blog on teaching games called Tactical Thinking, if anyone is interested.  

 

http://klecser.wordpress.com

 

Its a tad disorganized because it is a free Wordpress account, but if you search for the tag "teaching games", you'll come up with a lot of stuff.   Most of it is targeted at gamers, not the general public.

 

Some key things above that I've never considered bad advice:

 

1.  For complex games, start with a base level of the game and then, after they get the basics, add in additional rules.  There is a real danger that if you teach all the rules all at once you inadvertently introduce misconceptions that they play incorrectly from that moment forward.  In education (I'm a teacher) we say that it is important to nail down "foundational" knowledge before you get to the complex stuff.

 

2. Be mindful of what the person is interested in.  Some players are interested in the tactics and strategy.  Some people are more interested in the fluff.  Some want a mix of both.  You can really kill interest in a game by making it about what you like, rather than what they like.  For someone who is really into Star Wars, starting them with named pilots could be important.

 

3.  People don't like to lose.  They like to experience success.  Go easy on a player when you first start teaching them a game and set up a situation where they can be victorious.  Some will argue that "they'll never learn if you aren't hard on them!"  That is true to a large extent, but timing matters.  There is a time to be soft and time to be hard, and being hard on them at the start can jeopardize their intent to even continue.  In my blog, I write extensively about the "Ego Trip" gamer, who is generally the worst type to be teaching.  They love winning so much that they will frequently (often subconciously) beat up on new players because it gives them a thrill to dominate someone on something.  This does not build community, nor does it encourage new players to enter the hobby.  Be mindful of your own biases when you teach games, because they can impact your (non)success.

 

4.  Leave the competitive game out of it when teaching.  You care about the "meta".  Most people in the world don't.  Are you eager to impart on the new player that X ship sucks?  It may be true, but the player will get a lot more out of figuring that out for themselves than just being told.  Ships that are suboptimal in a competitive environment can be perfectly viable in a casual environment.  It is not your job to decide for them how serious they should take the game.  Also, leave the meta language with your meta buddies.  One exception to this is if the new player would spend their funds in a manner that you don't perceive they'll get as much enjoyment out of it.  Of course, consider what they like about the fluff before you give advice.  If a person really loves Vader, and the Advanced, because they have childhood memories of the trench scene, maybe it isn't your place to discourage them from buying a ship they enjoy.

 

TL:DR  Some great advice above.  Check out klecser.wordpress.com if you'd like to read more tips about teaching games.

Edited by klecser

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My favorite training mission is one I like to call: "The Rematch"

 

Luke, Biggs, and Wedge - 82 points

 

Darth (Swarm Tactics, Hull Upgrade, Proton Rockets), Mauler Mithel (Outmaneuver, shield Upgrade), Backstabber (Shield Upgrade) - 81 points

 

Straight forward, fun, and I suppose if it starts going too badly, have the rebels cheat by having a modified YT-1300 swoop in at the last second :P.

 

Alternatively, I've put up a training mission with pre-loaded moves for the empire called "Rebel Training Simulator 1".  Offer to be his wingman, and blow the drones to pieces.

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I'm looking to teach a few people at my college's game club the ropes for X-Wing mini as I don't own the YT-1300 though I made a slight reversal of Steven-O's list and am looking for feedback on it.

NEWBS LIST

Boba Fett (Thematic and forgiving with maneuvers for newbies)

Determination (No need to let a bad crit ruin everything)

Ion Cannon (Options never hurt)

Seismic Charge (Just to give them that great feling of me 'accidentally' falling for a bomb bait)

Gunner (Like the OP said they wanna hit something)

Slave 1 (Thematic)

 

It's a tough ship that's forgiving thanks to Boba and has plenty of options between the Ion, Bomb, and Gunner.

 

TRAINER LIST (me)

Wedge Antilles

Rookie Pilot (X-Wing)

 

With Wedge at PS9 the newb will learn about the turn order for moving/ shooting and with two very famous Star Wars characters it should attract anyone familiar with the lore.  While it is 2v1 and the Firespray is not AS easy to fly a the Falcon with Boba at the helm and the bility to take one of the X-wings out temporarily with Ion I think that it seems pretty in favor of Boba in this matchup.

 

Like Klecser said a few posts back, keep it simple and try to stack the odds in their favor without them realizing it.

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I'm looking to teach a few people at my college's game club the ropes for X-Wing mini as I don't own the YT-1300 though I made a slight reversal of Steven-O's list and am looking for feedback on it.

NEWBS LIST

Boba Fett (Thematic and forgiving with maneuvers for newbies)

Determination (No need to let a bad crit ruin everything)

Ion Cannon (Options never hurt)

Seismic Charge (Just to give them that great feling of me 'accidentally' falling for a bomb bait)

Gunner (Like the OP said they wanna hit something)

Slave 1 (Thematic)

 

It's a tough ship that's forgiving thanks to Boba and has plenty of options between the Ion, Bomb, and Gunner.

 

TRAINER LIST (me)

Wedge Antilles

Rookie Pilot (X-Wing)

 

With Wedge at PS9 the newb will learn about the turn order for moving/ shooting and with two very famous Star Wars characters it should attract anyone familiar with the lore.  While it is 2v1 and the Firespray is not AS easy to fly a the Falcon with Boba at the helm and the bility to take one of the X-wings out temporarily with Ion I think that it seems pretty in favor of Boba in this matchup.

 

Like Klecser said a few posts back, keep it simple and try to stack the odds in their favor without them realizing it.

 

Sounds fun, but not as simple as I'd make it.  

 

I'd consider dropping the Ion Cannon.  Secondary Weapons don't get extra R3 green dice?  You can't fire out of the rear arc?  What does that red number mean?  What about those dashed numbers?  What does Ion do?  Its a one WHITE?  

Wait, you get extra dice for Range?  You cancel damage?  

If you need to balance numbers, give them a hull, be just fine.  

 

Same thing with the Seismic.  But less so.  

 

I do like just having Determination... but I'd leave it underneath the cards, and tell them not to worry about it.  

 

--

 

Your choice is also definitely for the Star Wars coolness.  Which is fine, but you might note the bias.  

It sounds fun though.  I wouldn't mind. =) 

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My favorite training mission is one I like to call: "The Rematch"

 

Luke, Biggs, and Wedge - 82 points

 

Darth (Swarm Tactics, Hull Upgrade, Proton Rockets), Mauler Mithel (Outmaneuver, shield Upgrade), Backstabber (Shield Upgrade) - 81 points

 

Straight forward, fun, and I suppose if it starts going too badly, have the rebels cheat by having a modified YT-1300 swoop in at the last second :P.

 

Alternatively, I've put up a training mission with pre-loaded moves for the empire called "Rebel Training Simulator 1".  Offer to be his wingman, and blow the drones to pieces.

 

I think I might try this sometime.  My friend really likes the X-Wing's good all-around stats, so I think he'll like the Luke, Wedge, Biggs build.  For me, I've been itching to try Vader anyways, but never had the opportunity to do so back when I was playing in a meta-heavy venue.

 

Interestingly enough, this friend I am playing with is not even into Star Wars and thinks that the game is a lot of fun.  I think that is a mark of a truly great game - when even persons who are not big fans of a game's subject matter can enjoy the game.  Of course, knowing the fluff enables me to enjoy the game even more, as I understand the story behind certain ships and pilots.  :)

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Here is what I did a couple weeks ago to introduce a new player.

I gave him Soontir + PtL + TC, vs Luke + R2-D2. No asteroids. Full range modifiers, just 2 ships on each side. After about 15-20 minutes he was good to go and we played a full game. He has played 40k in the past, and is a smart guy.

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