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Herowannabe

New X-Wing 101 Article: I am their Father

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I've recently started taking my 10 year old son to tournaments. We got into the game when I bought him the FO core set for his birthday. (It's easier to justify my hobby purchases when I explain to my wife how I play with my kids).  

I agree with the article. Don't start kids (or anybody) with turreted ships. Make them learn to fly. They can learn card combos later. We started by flying without actions and upgrades, then moved into the more complicated rules. My 7 year old still can't handle more than a single ship (but he has less interest than my 10 yr old).

We have been playing a lot of Heros of the Aturi Cluster. They love that campaign and it works great for players of various skill levels because it is a Co-op game.

As for the store tournaments - I started him small. We go to the less competitive events where everyone is friendly. He does get tired and lose focus near the end of his later games. I also set him up with simpler lists - no Tie swarms for him. (Kanan/Biggs is what he is running right now).  You need to gauge the players at the tournament. Will they be patient with kids? Will your kid be annoying? For the most part they guys I play with were awesome with him. They cut him some slack due to his age but not too much. He pulled the same guy in the final round in both tournaments and I think that they both had fun. He only had one negative opponent. That player was having a bad day and really didn't enjoy getting squashed by a 10 year old (and got a bit pissy about it).

If you don't play with your kids then you will never get that moment of pride when you don't pull your punches and your kids tables you.

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33 minutes ago, Ironlord said:

Yup - Horton Salm, to be precise, as the Y-Wing pilot who both entered and exited the DS2's superstructure.

I thought we see Horton's face in the movie? Isn't there another Y-Wing that follows them? Or is that the X-Wing pilot's face we see?

Man, if that's the case we need a Rebel Y-Wing fix - the only good Rebel Y-Wing pilot is now not canon? Well, Dutch is ok, but like Biggs, he dies as soon as he shows up.

Edited by Kieransi

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We see his face - but earlier - "Gray Leader standing by" - not during the actual superstructure entry.

 

So - Horton Salm still exists in both 'verses (newcanon and Legends) - name included - but the Y-Wing that breaks off after Lando's "Split up and head back to the surface" instruction, is no longer piloted by him but by Norra.

Edited by Ironlord

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2 hours ago, Kieransi said:

Although it is an actual Star Wars quote... the movies really aren't meant for kids. I think that this game has about the same target audience as the movie: somewhat nerdy people, mostly male, ages 12 and up. Sadly though, with the sheer number of expansions coming out, the game has gotten increasingly difficult to learn... I have tried to teach this game to many of my friends who are much younger than I, and almost all of them younger than about age 16 seem to have very little ability to build squads, fly ships, even remember to use all the cards on the table! The sheer nerdiness required means that I also struggle to get any of my friends who are female to play this game either... I'm not intentionally gender/age stereotyping, it's just that of the thirty or so people I know who play this game, only one is female and only two are younger than age 18. I really love the game, but I do wish that it was easier to teach new people and a little more accessible. I really appreciate what this article was trying to accomplish!

Yeah, I can't say that demographic is any different than any other nerdy game I play.  My wife should be the prefect player, but she hates games in general.

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I'm the X-Wing dad in SoCal. My kids are now 13, 11, and 7. The 13 and 11 year old play consistently at Leagues and tournys ranging from the FLGS event Tournies on up to Regionals. While we all would love to attend Nationals and Worlds, my work schedule makes that impossible. Too far away and sold out long before I know id I'm going to be available for travel. The 7 year old is still (IMHO) too young for anything more than just fun at home games. When she turns 9 or 10 we will see what happens. 

So, when I got my kids into the game it was first on their own asking. If they have no interest in it then it will be a bad experience...a chore...and not worth investing the Time, Talent, and Treasure into. I initiated them with basic ships; Academy TIEs and Re Squad X-Wings. I started by making them read and understand the basic rules. You have to have that foundation set so they know the flow of the game. We played a few fun games together so they could see the flow of events and see how the rules act on the game itself. Then came the homework.

First off I refused to let them fly a turret ship until I was comfortable with their level of piloting. If you give them a turret too soon it becomes a crutch and they wont learn to fly. I started by having them set a base onto a blank board and then selecting each template and putting a second base down where the movement ends. we examined the starting position vs the ending position. How many base-lengths did the ship move? How far up vs left/right for the turns? Its new facing? Then came target practice. They set a base anywhere on the table and a marker somewhere else. They then had to use the templates to get the base to land on the marker. This gave them a foundation of looking a move or 2 in advance of where they are vs where they want to be.

The we moved to multiple ships. How the moves interacted with each base. How far apart do you need to start to avoid a bump. How close to maintain support in the R1 zone. A solid week was used just getting the knack of formation flying down.

Then came obstacles. We tossed out obstacles in random locations then had them fly a base around the obstacles. Looking at what moves would land on the rock, what was a safe move, and even what move would take them across the rock, but far enough they would be off it so they can still shoot. W made it more fun by setting a few coins down between the rocks. If they could get the ship onto the coin without hitting an obstacle, they kept the money (that was an expensive week).

And finally, formation flying through obstacle. And all of that was done with just small bases. We then graduated to using actual ship dials...the TIE and X-Wing. How the dials constrained your selections and what moves would stress you vs clearing stress. And how different the ships would fly based on the available moves.

After the homework came the basic games. Basic ships with limited upgrades. X-Wings with R2 units. TIEs with and extra hull or shield. And finally the graduation to named pilots and the more advanced upgrades. By this time the kids were adept at building their own lists and confident in getting a new ship and being able to interpret the dial and the pros/cons of the various upgrades available. And still no turret ships. Those came along between 9 months and a year later. By then the kids were quite adept at flying their ships...even showing the ability to pocket the corner of the base right into nooks and crannies of the obstacles. The advancement to turrets was a graduation day and while they enjoyed the freedom the turret gave them, they rarely NEEDED it.

So now the kids enjoy the competitive aspect of the game, but also love the pick up games, fun games and scenarios, and creating the random odd-ball list just to see how it works. They have each come up with lists that fit their individual styles, they have each won minor Tournaments and consistently win games at top level events. But more importantly they have fun and they don't give up. While The Boy may exhibit occasional butt-hurt in his tone (give him a break...he just turned 11 and he's still a kid who wants to win) but the kids don't resign a game and have never dropped from an event, regardless of how badly they were doing. They understand the dice gods will just say "NO" on some days. They've learned good sportsmanship and honest play.

And as a dad I get that pride at the end of an event when other players...adults...come up to me and compliment the kids on their gameplay, sportsmanship, and skill at the game. They have each developed their own reputations among the SoCal community and long time players already know (and some have learned the hard way) that that little girl across the table knows her stuff and will not be going easy on you...but it will still be an enjoyable game.

As for X-Wing mom (She Who Must Be Obeyed)...She does not play. Has no interest in learning, and is fine with that. But she does love the fact the Daddy and Kids have "our thing" that we enjoy and spend our time together with. So its turned out to be a nice family bonding hobby too.

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Insert the whole "every kid is different, ymmv" disclaimer

My 7 year old son placed 12 out of 18 at his first store championship 2 weeks ago, going 2-2. His 2 losses were close games too. 

He actually pulled a 2nd place in a 13 person kit tournament last summer, his first tournament, I was 3rd that time, my best result at that point. 

The largest event he went to was the PTL Open, and he finished 39th out of 68. He unluckily drew me in his 5th game... Oh well, easy win on my way to 12th ;)

He was overjoyed to be on stream once, and won that game, but was totally crushed when he convinced his teacher to show the video in class and none of his friends "got it" :/

His 5 year old brother was better than he was last summer, but quickly decided x-wing was too competitive and not story driven enough for his tastes, so we play scenarios with him. He's more into Hogwarts Battles and really has the brain for that one, the oldest... Not so much! 

My 3 year old just moves the ships around with the templates and rolls dice and is happy enough with that, for now. 

Whatever way works for your kids is the way to play. Though I'll never get tired of the conquering "Crack shot!" my oldest pulls on unsuspecting opponents, he puts so much heart into proclaiming them ;)

We started with both core sets, then added most wanted to get basic turrets and Dash to learn to deal with obstacles. As soon as they figured it out, I put them on non turrets. To the point that he got destroyed in a game once cause he kept trying to keep arc with Chewie instead of doing the move that allowed him actions and better position for next turn. 

If only my wife didn't hate x-wing... 

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9 hours ago, Herowannabe said:

Oh wow, yes they did. Not just the card, but the black and orange model too. Tsk tsk tsk. 

EDIT: 

swx_richard-greenway_101_poe.png

I get the concept of the article; but at least try and make the builds logical.  This particular Poe is a hodge-podge of upgrades that don't synergise at all.  Part of learning to play this game is making the most of your upgrades.  Personally, I think giving a new person a sub-par build like this degrades the experience.

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As far as the above opinion goes, I completely disagree.  Sure you can look at synergy as part of the game.  Or you can, in fact, not be so serious and be completely and still legitimately having just an equal amount of enjoyment.'

Not everybody needs to play this game the same way.  

Sometimes you put the proton torpedoes on the X-Wing, because that's what you do, and it's your own game, played as much in a worthwhile fashion as anyone else, for your own tastes.

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Mate, it's not the torps on Poe I think is the issue here.  It's adding an EPT like Wired, which only works when stressed and that Poe build, as it stands, will only stress by doing one of his 3 red moves.  So for a good portion on the game, your EPT is doing nothing.  Then there's pairing him with BB-8 who only works when not stressed.  So there is no synergy between his Astro upgrade and his EPT.  Or replace weapons guidance with PA so at least when he does do a red - to make use of Wired - he can still grab a focus to make use of his ability.  That build, as it stands are 4 separate upgrades that, at times, will all come into play; but together are a lot of "dead" points in that at any one time, half of them won't be coming into play.

I'm not saying you have to create the meta builds we see for people to get enjoyment, but the article could at least have tried to demonstrate how upgrades work together.  Give him Stay on Target, Targeting Astro and Pattern Analyzer for example  Is it necessarily competitive?  Probably not?  But it does demonstrate how synergy is important in this game.

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13 hours ago, Gilarius said:

For those advocating getting the Falcon to teach the game to kids, I really wouldn't. Using basic X-wings and Tie Fighters to learn how to manoeuvre is far better than allowing them a turret. Add the Falcon after they know the rest.

I disagree. Not to backpedal, but the wookiee gunship is... Actually really pretty good for kids getting into the game. Let me explain.

In Elite: Dangerous there are three types of weapons. Turreted, Gimballed, and Fixed. The lattermost does the most damage and can't be ECW'd and the foremost does the least damage, and can be ECW'd. The trick is, the turrets are really good at harassing targets. But they're not very accurate so nobody uses them. You know what a lot of Elite: Dangerous players DO use though?

Gimballed weapons, hell even I still use them depending on my ship. The wider arc allows me to focus more on flying than shooting, which gives me a very solid advantage. Three pips to weapons and I can slap pirates and ne'er-do-wells with my guns all day, even if they're just a little more agile than me.

Because let me tell you something.

Nothing is more frustrating than knowing somebody is handicapping themselves to let you win. "Flying dumber" or "Not using X ability". It sucks because you know they're not playing in any way to really challenge you. But you give a kid the iconic Falcon, with its 3 dice in all directions? Suddenly your kid is a real threat to you and your, presumably, TIEs. And this is cool, because it allows your kid to chase you down while you lead them on and genuinely have to outfly them so you can show them how it's done. Hell, if you beat them? There's one of two outcomes.

1: Your kid will truly think they're awful for losing with a turret I mean come on kid.
2: Your kid might actually think it's pretty awesome that he had such an advantage and you still outflew him, and he wants to be as good as you.

You know how cool it is for a kid to wanna be like you when you do something cool? My little brother for some reason looks up to me, I really don't know why. But it's cool when he points out he wants to do something as good as I do.

So to bring that back around to our firing arc here, you want your kid to run gimbals so they can figure out how to fly and shoot at the same time in a less stressful manner. Give yourself the more difficult stuff to run.

Trust me. You don't want a kid to deal with complicated stuff. There's a reason "Baby steps" is a tried and true term. Training wheels are never evil.

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Captain, while you make some interesting points, one bit you might have missed from my quote: I did say to add the Falcon to the game after getting the basics learnt!

I'm only talking about playing 2 to 3 games first. And I didn't use full 100pt lists either when I taught my kids (6 and 8 at the time), just 1 ship each to start with.

 

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1 hour ago, Captain Lackwit said:

I disagree. Not to backpedal, but the wookiee gunship is... Actually really pretty good for kids getting into the game. Let me explain.

In Elite: Dangerous there are three types of weapons. Turreted, Gimballed, and Fixed. The lattermost does the most damage and can't be ECW'd and the foremost does the least damage, and can be ECW'd. The trick is, the turrets are really good at harassing targets. But they're not very accurate so nobody uses them. You know what a lot of Elite: Dangerous players DO use though?

Gimballed weapons, hell even I still use them depending on my ship. The wider arc allows me to focus more on flying than shooting, which gives me a very solid advantage. Three pips to weapons and I can slap pirates and ne'er-do-wells with my guns all day, even if they're just a little more agile than me.

Because let me tell you something.

Nothing is more frustrating than knowing somebody is handicapping themselves to let you win. "Flying dumber" or "Not using X ability". It sucks because you know they're not playing in any way to really challenge you. But you give a kid the iconic Falcon, with its 3 dice in all directions? Suddenly your kid is a real threat to you and your, presumably, TIEs. And this is cool, because it allows your kid to chase you down while you lead them on and genuinely have to outfly them so you can show them how it's done. Hell, if you beat them? There's one of two outcomes.

1: Your kid will truly think they're awful for losing with a turret I mean come on kid.
2: Your kid might actually think it's pretty awesome that he had such an advantage and you still outflew him, and he wants to be as good as you.

You know how cool it is for a kid to wanna be like you when you do something cool? My little brother for some reason looks up to me, I really don't know why. But it's cool when he points out he wants to do something as good as I do.

So to bring that back around to our firing arc here, you want your kid to run gimbals so they can figure out how to fly and shoot at the same time in a less stressful manner. Give yourself the more difficult stuff to run.

Trust me. You don't want a kid to deal with complicated stuff. There's a reason "Baby steps" is a tried and true term. Training wheels are never evil.

 

Crawl > Walk > Run?

Forgive the Army training term, but it's the easiest way to describe the learning process.

Crawl- The Falcon is pretty ideal for this phase.  Someone learning will have a hard time enjoying themselves if they spend much of the game not getting to shoot because they misjudge maneuvers.  It also removes most of the temptation to arc dodge (there is still some value in using Barrel Rolls and Boosts against a turret, but you have to pull punches a lot less).  In other words, they get to play the complete game without having to have an unreasonable understanding.  The Falcon is also forgiving.  8 hull and 5 shields won't exactly evaporate because you parked it at range 1 of a pair of tie fighters, so they'll get more of a chance to see what to do or not to do without getting instantly boned.

 

Walk- In this phase, the Wookie Gunship or ARC 170 are probably the best contenders.  Their firing arcs matter, but they get an extra 90 degrees of firing arcs which gives more maneuvering freedom than traditional primary arc only ships.  They're also both reasonably forgiving, but not quite as much as the falcon.  The only reason I would say the ARC has more of an edge as a Walk phase ship is that you definitely want to be focusing on upgrades and synergy and many of the ARC pilot abilities can offer interesting combos with various crew and droids whereas, at least now, the wookie gunship looks a fair bit weaker in this area.

 

Run- At this point, they should be playing full sized games with whatever upgrades look good and, more importantly, start helping them asses what the role of each ship in the fleet should be and why that ship is there as opposed to the other available options.  Basically, the point where the core rules are understood and the person needs to start developing the critical thinking skills necessary to adequately asses performance, refine their approach, and generally continue to improve their skills as a player.

Edited by MasterShake2

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12 hours ago, MasterShake2 said:

 

Crawl > Walk > Run?

Forgive the Army training term, but it's the easiest way to describe the learning process.

Crawl- The Falcon is pretty ideal for this phase.  Someone learning will have a hard time enjoying themselves if they spend much of the game not getting to shoot because they misjudge maneuvers.  It also removes most of the temptation to arc dodge (there is still some value in using Barrel Rolls and Boosts against a turret, but you have to pull punches a lot less).  In other words, they get to play the complete game without having to have an unreasonable understanding.  The Falcon is also forgiving.  8 hull and 5 shields won't exactly evaporate because you parked it at range 1 of a pair of tie fighters, so they'll get more of a chance to see what to do or not to do without getting instantly boned.

 

Walk- In this phase, the Wookie Gunship or ARC 170 are probably the best contenders.  Their firing arcs matter, but they get an extra 90 degrees of firing arcs which gives more maneuvering freedom than traditional primary arc only ships.  They're also both reasonably forgiving, but not quite as much as the falcon.  The only reason I would say the ARC has more of an edge as a Walk phase ship is that you definitely want to be focusing on upgrades and synergy and many of the ARC pilot abilities can offer interesting combos with various crew and droids whereas, at least now, the wookie gunship looks a fair bit weaker in this area.

 

Run- At this point, they should be playing full sized games with whatever upgrades look good and, more importantly, start helping them asses what the role of each ship in the fleet should be and why that ship is there as opposed to the other available options.  Basically, the point where the core rules are understood and the person needs to start developing the critical thinking skills necessary to adequately asses performance, refine their approach, and generally continue to improve their skills as a player.

No need to ask forgiveness on that, my dad's a Marine and I'm quite enthusiastic about the military. (I understand some folks ain't.)
 

Yeah. That all sounds pretty solid. I don't really have anything to add, because you've covered it all very nicely.

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19 hours ago, Dr Zoidberg said:

Mate, it's not the torps on Poe I think is the issue here.  It's adding an EPT like Wired, which only works when stressed and that Poe build, as it stands, will only stress by doing one of his 3 red moves.  So for a good portion on the game, your EPT is doing nothing.  Then there's pairing him with BB-8 who only works when not stressed.  So there is no synergy between his Astro upgrade and his EPT.  Or replace weapons guidance with PA so at least when he does do a red - to make use of Wired - he can still grab a focus to make use of his ability.  That build, as it stands are 4 separate upgrades that, at times, will all come into play; but together are a lot of "dead" points in that at any one time, half of them won't be coming into play.

I'm not saying you have to create the meta builds we see for people to get enjoyment, but the article could at least have tried to demonstrate how upgrades work together.  Give him Stay on Target, Targeting Astro and Pattern Analyzer for example  Is it necessarily competitive?  Probably not?  But it does demonstrate how synergy is important in this game.

This is a "toolbox" Poe instead of a "synergy" poe. The idea is that you can use BB-8 if you're not stressed, but when you do end up stressed, you aren't completely screwed. I'm not saying it's a great build, but I see the rationale behind it, especially for new players.

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