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ayedubbleyoo

So much about lists, so little about flying...

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Posted (edited)

I've always thought this is a strange thing about X-Wing... seems 90% of discussion is about lists and maybe 10% is about tactics and ideas about flying. 

There are one or two articles about things like rock placement and turn zero, but not much talk about it on the forum and in the community. A few of the podcasts have started up theory episodes, which is great.

Has anyone noticed this, or it bothered them? And what are your questions about strategy?

Edited by ayedubbleyoo

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+1

This is a really good point. I for one get very fixated on the list building side of the game, over half the lists I create never actually get flown!

As far as actual flying goes, I tend to fly everything in formation as much as possible so wouldn't be massively helpful in that discussion.

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Posted (edited)

It’s easier to blame your losses on list matchups than admit you made a tactical mistake.

It’s also easier and usually more fun to talk about toys than how to use them properly. I’ve seen in many a hobby of mine over the years, the chatter is more about the fun stuff involved and less about the skill/training/practice/tactics etc. People in paintball talked about the finer points of technology even though they all do the same thing - project a spherical ball at approximately 280-300 FPS (venue speed limit varying). This means that, by laws of physics, they all shot the same. Did we talk about tactics? Nope.... it was all about how many shots you got off a tank with X or why Y is more reliable....

Lists are our equipment in xwing. So we talk about that and not the stuff that matters as much.

Edited by ScummyRebel

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Mh...think so, too. 

For me personally I have to play the game to become better in it. I read lots of blogposts and listened to many podcasts where they talked/wrote about tactics and stuff with nearly no learning success. For example: I read/listened to so much content how to avoid a joust against a swarm or anything you don't want to joust. As I faced my first Tie swarm I didn't know what to do because I actually never did it by myself.

I think it depends on what learning style you have. Therefore I want to share list ideas and have some nice chats with an awesome community.

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1 minute ago, svelok said:

Typing out a list is easy, typing out a strategy is hard.

This. Also, there are only so many discussions you can have about flying. The concepts don't change except how you fly specific new ships because they introduce new dials. List building is an ever changing ever growing activity. It's what gives the game variability.

I see a lot of discussion about how to fly the new ships, but everything that can be said about the older ships has probably been said.

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I think a reason list building is brought up more because it is an easier topic to have a discussion about on a text based forum than actual flying. To get truly in-depth with a discussion about flying tactics, I feel visual aids are necessary. Now, that could be just me, but if I’m talking about round to round tactics, it helps me to see the variables laid out visually. And while images can definitely provide the visualization, they also take time and effort. Something you might not have a lot of to spend on basically a power point presentation. Some people do, but I completely understand why some don’t.

Another aspect I think contributes to this is that building a list is the start of an idea, where I think things are most fun. You put things together and you feel like the possibilities are endless. I’ve felt this in other creative endeavors, like writing. Starting out, it feels like anything could happen. When you start working on it (in this case, developing tactics), you get into what is actually possible and what’s not. That can be less exciting to talk about, though not devoid of enjoyment.

Anyway, just some thoughts on the matter.

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I think this is largely because X-wing is a tactical game, and the "right choice" is extremely dependent on the board state, and reading the board state is also nebulous. I've been talking with one of my people a lot lately regarding strategy and tactics and how to play, and what I always come to is "we need to play a game against each other, but each turn we should talk about the options". This exercise is extremely time consuming, but the more you do it, the more effective it is because the lessons learned start to translate to other lists and situations.

Its really hard to do this online. There have been a number of "what would you dial in this instance" but that is of limited value without the rest of the game being discussed, and logistically that isn't really viable. 

I find X-Wing is actually very similar to billiards in that you can't really learn strategy from reading a book (though you can try!) but you can do exercises alone that can help you get better at the game:

1: Scatter some obstacles in a pattern that could happen in a game. Set up your ships, and then pick an area on the board to build a killbox or formation fly to engage in. These first three turns of positioning are important, and making sure you know how to place your ships in setup and get from point A to point B without screwing up is key. After you do this, leave the obstacles alone, set up again, and pick a new area on the board and go there. 

2: Choose 3 different ships of different initiatives and weave through an asteroid field. One of the most common things that I see (and sometimes do myself) is failure to consider initiative order when moving. Work up to 6 ships, one of each initiative and fly them around the board. Combine this with exercise 1 for even better results.

3: Set up obstacles and "race" through them with a single ship. Your goal is to turn those corners as close to the obstacles as you can. Most of my current errors are going too fast or too slow on the previous turn, and now I can't do my preferred turn or bank into the obstacle field. Sometimes dialing in the 3 straight now allows you to do the 3 bank next turn, which is actually faster and better than doing the 4 straight and the 2 turn so that you don't hit the rock in front of you. Remember that getting from point A to point B is the sum of all your maneuvers, not just going really fast every turn.

 

None of these things care about ship builds or dice, and all of them will help you get better at the game.

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The issue with talking about flying is primarily too many variables. You end up talking in strokes so broad that they don't become particularly useful -- don't land on obstacles and don't bump into other ships. 

Some good points already about needing a picture of the board and right choices being dependent on the situation. 

If we compare X-wing to poker list building is talking about the odds and flying is like talking about how and when to bluff. You can learn the odds in poker easy enough but the rest of playing poker only comes from experience. 

 

 

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FFG managed to put more of an emphasis on flying which is great!  But tactics are difficult to type out, its probably a lot easier to tell you to put a particular list on the table.  Setup and general areas of engagement are pretty easy, but trying to tell you exactly what moves to get Guri with advanced Sensors into the center of the board on turn 3 depends on SO many things!  What's your opponents list?  Where did they deploy?  How fast was their first maneuver?  Their second?  Is Guri the flanker or the jouster, or purely a bait-and-switch move?  There's so many options!

I love list building, and can sort of see how some things fly well together.  But you really need to put Boba Fett with Lone Wolf on the table to see about when its best to do each different action:  Boost (rarely), TL (probably never), but how each of those works with where you are positioned in relation to the board and your opponent.  Not to mention figuring out how and when to utilize Lone Wolf to its best effect.

It seems the only thing people CAN agree on, is the bogeylists:  5Y, now-defunct-tripsilons, etc.  Because the strategy on those is simple.  Setup in the best manner to put the pointy end in the enemy and roll dice until you're tired.  

The recommendation to just fly and keep flying lists is probably the best one.

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30 minutes ago, ayedubbleyoo said:

I've always thought this is a strange thing about X-Wing... seems 90% of discussion is about lists and maybe 10% is about tactics and ideas about flying. 

There are one or two articles about things like rock placement and turn zero, but not much talk about it on the forum and in the community. A few of the podcasts have started up theory episodes, which is great.

Has anyone noticed this, or it bothered them? And what are your ques

What in particular about flying were you looking to discuss with the crew on these forums?   It seems like you actually need a topic to begin a discussion on.  For example, did you mean flying in formation (looking at banking, turning, appropriate spacing between ships, etc.), the act of moving little spaceships around a 3 x 3 mat (physical actions, picking up and putting down your ships, avoiding obstacles, etc.), optimum flying (how to always engage in bullseye, the most advantageous uses of barrel rolls, etc.), joust dynamics (when it's better to draw out enemies for engagements, what the most likely hit-to-blanks or hit-to-to focus rolls are at various ranges, etc.), obstacle use and placement...all of these seem to be aspects of 'flying', and just by looking at them, I can, off the top of my head, say that almost 90% of my experience on the forums involves talking about some or all of these aspects of the actual game.  I think, at the base of it all, actual discussion about flying is inextricable from discussion about aspects of the game that involve flying, which include lists, configurations, and theorycrafting. 

That's my opinion, anyway.

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I guess it all comes down to..... you can't book learn these things. Picking the right maneuver is only doable if you can see it... as in you can tell the difference before you put a 4 straight and a 5 straight template on the table. If you can tell where your ship is going to be after a particular movement without laying the template on the table, you are going to start winning more games because your movements are more accurate. 

Know how your ships fly and the strategy will come. It's really unexciting.

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Um, cuz it would be boring?

The only point of the game is to fly around and shoot the other guy.  Not much of an interesting story there.

Once we get missions/scenarios (hopefully), now you can spin a yarn about what you did (or didn't do) to succeed (or fail) at the mission.  There is a story worth telling that revolves around the way you flew your list.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, ayedubbleyoo said:

I've always thought this is a strange thing about X-Wing... seems 90% of discussion is about lists and maybe 10% is about tactics and ideas about flying. 

There are one or two articles about things like rock placement and turn zero, but not much talk about it on the forum and in the community. A few of the podcasts have started up theory episodes, which is great.

Has anyone noticed this, or it bothered them? And what are your ques

this forum is largely full of casual players that bend away from knowing how to fly a tie swarm so that all your ships enter engagement at range 3. 

Edited by nikk whyte

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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, Micanthropyre said:

I think this is largely because X-wing is a tactical game, and the "right choice" is extremely dependent on the board state, and reading the board state is also nebulous. I've been talking with one of my people a lot lately regarding strategy and tactics and how to play, and what I always come to is "we need to play a game against each other, but each turn we should talk about the options". This exercise is extremely time consuming, but the more you do it, the more effective it is because the lessons learned start to translate to other lists and situations.

Nice thing here. I did something similar with some friends for practice. The point was to switch list for a game, to have a new eye and push you out of your confort zone.

You also gave me a idea. What if we took a picture of a game at a certain time, to analyze the board state and to figure out what would be the best moves in this specific situation ?

Edited by Ximatique

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3 minutes ago, Ximatique said:

Nice thing here. I did something similar with some friends for practice. The point was to switch list for a game, to have a new eye and push you out of your confort zone.

You also gave me a idea. What if we took a picture of a game at a certain time, to analyze the board state and to figure out what would be the best moves in this specific situation ?

Yeah, there have been a few of these, and they can be helpful. Almost what would be better would be for the forum to play both sides: have two "teams" of people, and each team discusses and submits maneuvers once a day for their side. Actions and actual playing would have to just be whoever is manipulating the board. The debates in those private forums would be stellar learning.

But again, it becomes more of a logistics problem than anything.

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33 minutes ago, Ryuneke said:

For me personally I have to play the game to become better in it. I read lots of blogposts and listened to many podcasts where they talked/wrote about tactics and stuff with nearly no learning success. For example: I read/listened to so much content how to avoid a joust against a swarm or anything you don't want to joust. As I faced my first Tie swarm I didn't know what to do because I actually never did it by myself.

Tactics, and why it's difficult to say definitively so simply. I'm using Ryuneke's example here.

VS a Howlrunner based TIE Swarm the common discussed elements are:

  • Make them turn into the rocks
  • Don't joust it
  • Try to hit it from multiple angles
  • Try not to be in range of all six at once
  • Kill Howlrunner first

I hit one this weekend, and I've had issues in the past. For reference I've got a Luke/Wedge/Dutch torp spam.

  • So first things first, I'm going to drag... oh crud, he brought clouds. TIE's don't care about flying through clouds. Dang it.
  • So, um.. I'm definitely not jousting that with my alpha list that doesn't move as fast or turn as well as... oh shoot, I'm going to end up jousting the TIE swarm somewhere.
  • I'll just flank and hit him multiple angles... Er... I have three ships to his six. Well, I can spare Luke. Hope this works.
  • Turn in slow into the clouds with Dutch and Wedge the same moment Luke comes in from above, getting range three on 4 of six TIEs... but Wedge and Dutch couldn't get locks on Howl... so... decision... go for an offense piece (Gideon?) an Academy? or Iden? I decided Iden because she's worth 40 points and because my opponent may save the charge token for Howlrunner later. Luke got a lock on Howlrunner anyway, so it may turn out.
  • Wedge swarm tactics Dutch, unload two torpedoes at Iden, force her to use the charge.
  • Luke launches a torpedo at Howlrunner, and Howl blanks out and dies.
  • Huh... that happened.
  • From there I disengaged as the TIEs roared in, avoiding all but one retaliatory shot and was able to regroup and come in again, once more picking off targets from the edges.

The advice breaks down a bit without actually seeing the map though... and with different rock positions you end up with different tactical requirements. So the tactical advice is at best a guideline you need to further adapt in play, and isn't an exact by the book play.

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30 minutes ago, Frimmel said:

The issue with talking about flying is primarily too many variables. You end up talking in strokes so broad that they don't become particularly useful -- don't land on obstacles and don't bump into other ships. 

Some good points already about needing a picture of the board and right choices being dependent on the situation. 

If we compare X-wing to poker list building is talking about the odds and flying is like talking about how and when to bluff. You can learn the odds in poker easy enough but the rest of playing poker only comes from experience. 

 

 

Agreed. A lot of flying tactics needs specific scenarios setup. And even then, it depends on your opponent and his tendencies. Some people bait and run, some just take math and say Im the favorite, some will just always try and get a shot and kturn, self bump, etc as long as they are rolling red dice - no hit and run tactics for them. And these people could all be flying the same list.

Topics before ships are on the table, like turn zero and list building, are just easier to discuss as a group.

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9 minutes ago, Ximatique said:

You also gave me a idea. What if we took a picture of a game at a certain time, to analyze the board state and to figure out what would be the best moves in this specific situation ?

I was thinking  about having discussions over certain timestamps in streamed games, but then I realized that while it gives good subject matter to discuss as you have context to have discussions about decisions you would make (obstacle and ship positions, point values, time left in game, etc.), I don't think it would be very kind to have 100 Monday morning quarterbacks tearing apart someone's decisions on the forum. 

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1 hour ago, ayedubbleyoo said:

I've always thought this is a strange thing about X-Wing... seems 90% of discussion is about lists and maybe 10% is about tactics and ideas about flying. 

There are one or two articles about things like rock placement and turn zero, but not much talk about it on the forum and in the community. A few of the podcasts have started up theory episodes, which is great.

Has anyone noticed this, or it bothered them? And what are your ques

Personally I'm very bothered that every. single. topic. eventually devolves down to list specifics, as if it was Xwing's version of Godwin's law. That's not to say that list discussions are not interesting, but they have their time and place.

There have been individual initiatives to bring more discussion on tactics, on approaches. But they all die down after some time. I really liked the puzzles.

A simple way to make discussions on tactics easier is to state clearly what list you have in mind for your answers. For example,when we talked about how to approach Tripsilons, I said I was thinking from the 5 Awings and then provided examples of what I want to do. Generally, just fix some variables and state them clearly. We can have great discussions when we all put our assumptions on the table.

Another example for discussing tactics was my try of a battle report thread. It worked quite well and helped me a lot. But that, too, takes a lot of effort to maintain and I had less games to play recently, so not too much to add.

I would but @Boom Owl's ship highlights in the same category of fruitful non-list threads.

@MidWestScrub's blog had a guestwriter on turn 0 who made some amazing points.

And so on.

 

But yes, discussing lists and discussing the very basics are easiest, so that's what most of real content (besides the whining..) will talk about.

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Tactics-wise, I am a bit generic, so list-building is always exciting for me--so much to discuss! Not only that, but the podcasts done by top-players (Mynocks and Barons especially) do such a good job on tactics. And what interesting tactics I do have for my lists, I don't want to discuss about them too often. Surprise is one of the few things guaranteed to go in my favor going into a match!

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1 hour ago, ayedubbleyoo said:

I've always thought this is a strange thing about X-Wing... seems 90% of discussion is about lists and maybe 10% is about tactics and ideas about flying. 

There are one or two articles about things like rock placement and turn zero, but not much talk about it on the forum and in the community. A few of the podcasts have started up theory episodes, which is great.

Has anyone noticed this, or it bothered them? And what are your ques

Massively agree.  I think it's a hangover from 1.0 when the list you took was a massive part of how well you did.  In Hyperspace we've seen it almost doesn't matter at all what list you fly so long as you fly it well.
 

That's a much harder conversation to have, though, and people are slow in transitioning away from a 'if only I'd played this instead I'd have done better' mentality.

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7 minutes ago, player3010587 said:

And what interesting tactics I do have for my lists, I don't want to discuss about them too often. Surprise is one of the few things guaranteed to go in my favor going into a match!

This is a serious constraint!

I've found that I'm hesitating myself when posting to a large community, but it's perfectly fine to share with an arbitrary "ingroup", other people who play the same list.

Humans are weird.

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If I had to guess, it's because flying is frankly kind of difficult to describe effectively in a text environment. In my experience, most in person tactics talk is flying because you can just move ships and obstacles around easily to illustrate your point. It's just a chore to have to describe ships, where they are relative to each-other, where obstacles are, how things are facing, where moves will end up, etc. If I had to guess, that's the most direct explanation. People are just too lazy to have to describe everything.

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All great replies, thanks!

I just sometimes find it hard to know how to improve or what I've done wrong, since most advice or discussion is about what list to take.

I agree with the points about how hard it is to discuss strategy though, of course it isn't easy.

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