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XWD16: The Value of Battlefield Intelligence - Initiative and the Cards that Break It

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Posted (edited)

Good evening! At risk of further saturating the blogosphere, my friend @NaKoaLani and I recently started an X-Wing blog focused on game analysis and player improvement. We're both United States Air Force aviators that enjoy playing X-Wing. We see a lot of parallels between how we focus our training and improve our skills at work and improving at this game. We're using the blog as a way to hopefully help other players analyze their games and improve and as a way to hold ourselves accountable to our own improvement.

We are by no means X-Wing experts, so we're all in this learning thing together. We've got one article and an introduction up, with more in writing!

https://xwingdebrief.wordpress.com/

XWD1: Introductions!
https://xwingdebrief.wordpress.com/2019/05/28/an-introduction-of-sorts/

XWD2: The Debrief
https://xwingdebrief.wordpress.com/2019/05/29/the-debrief/

XWD3: Tactical Objectives
https://xwingdebrief.wordpress.com/2019/05/31/tactical-objectives/

XWD4: Error Types
https://xwingdebrief.wordpress.com/2019/05/31/error-types/

XWD5: SITREPs and the Mnemonic Device
https://xwingdebrief.wordpress.com/2019/06/03/sitreps-and-the-mnemonic-device/

XWD6: Heuristics, Cognitive Biases, and How Your Brain Fails You
https://xwingdebrief.wordpress.com/2019/06/14/decision-making-heuristics-cognitive-biases-and-how-your-brain-fails-you/

XWD7: Centers of Gravity
https://xwingdebrief.wordpress.com/2019/06/22/centers-of-gravity/

XWD8: Resource Management: When DROID goes to Hyperspace
https://xwingdebrief.wordpress.com/2019/06/28/resource-management-when-droid-engages-hyperspace/

XWD9: Debrief 1: NaKoaLani's RAC/Rexlar vs DROID's Grievous Swarm
https://xwingdebrief.wordpress.com/2019/07/04/debrief-1-nakoalani-v-droid-rac-rex-vs-grievous-swarm/

XWD10: Hangar 1: TIE/SF Space Superiority Fighter
https://xwingdebrief.wordpress.com/2019/07/19/the-hangar-1-tie-sf-space-superiority-fighter/

XWD11: DROID's Vassal League Failures
https://xwingdebrief.wordpress.com/2019/08/05/droids-vassal-league-failures/

XWD12: Acquisition Strategy: The TIE/ba Baron Interceptor
https://xwingdebrief.wordpress.com/2019/08/06/acquisition-strategy-the-tie-ba-baron-interceptor/

XWD13: Rise of the First Order - High-Low Mix
https://xwingdebrief.wordpress.com/2019/08/11/rise-of-the-first-order-high-low-mix/

XWD14: Sizing, Maneuvering, and Shooting the Gap
https://xwingdebrief.wordpress.com/2019/08/11/sizing-maneuvering-and-how-to-shoot-the-gap/

XWD15: Debrief 2: NKL's Vader/Inqs/AP v DROID's FO ST Salad
https://xwingdebrief.wordpress.com/2019/08/23/debrief-2-nakoalani-v-droid-vader-inqs-ap-v-fo-salad/

XWD16: The Value of Battlefield Intelligence - Initiative and the Cards that Break It
https://xwingdebrief.wordpress.com/2019/08/28/the-value-of-battlefield-intelligence-initiative-and-the-cards-that-break-it/

DROID

Edited by dsul413

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I do like what you have started with your blog. Also,  do look forward to reading more from you. Some of the ideas you have stated i have put into practice in other table top games and it worked quite well there as well. 

 By the way, Thanks for your service.

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3 hours ago, dsul413 said:

Good evening! At risk of further saturating the blogosphere, my friend and I recently started an X-Wing blog focused on game analysis and player improvement. We're both United States Air Force aviators that enjoy playing X-Wing. We see a lot of parallels between how we focus our training and improve our skills at work and improving at this game. We're using the blog as a way to hopefully help other players analyze their games and improve and as a way to hold ourselves accountable to our own improvement.

We are by no means X-Wing experts, so we're all in this learning thing together. We've got one article and an introduction up, with more in writing!

https://xwingdebrief.wordpress.com/

DROID


Tighter budget mean less time flying up there and more time, "flying," down here? lol

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4 hours ago, dsul413 said:

Good evening! At risk of further saturating the blogosphere, my friend and I recently started an X-Wing blog focused on game analysis and player improvement.

I love it! I tried to do something similar with my battle report how-to that I follow, but those are some great inputs!

  • Identifying and explicitly stating the alibis is important. Sometimes there is nothing noteworthy, but sometimes the whole game changes because of a stupid bump;
  • I only mention the blue plan and don't even try to guess the red plan - I only go through their critical capabilitites and the resulting target priority;
  • my timeline reconstruction is still too detailed;
  • I mention DFPs and CFs, or at least don't show at all how I get to the IFs. Maybe that's a good addition;
  • The IFs are kind of in my conclusion/lessons.

So, thanks a lot for this, I'll adapt parts of that.

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Posted (edited)

looks good and well presented.

It's essentially a different, structured, viewpoint on a common refrain; when it all went wrong, the last mistake is always* "I didn't roll enough good results on my dice".

That's never the mistake which cost you the game, though. What did that was whichever choice which required you to roll those dice in the first place (or lost you the range or tokens which would have let you 'fettle' them)

Disregarding errors in squad-selection (where you can definitely lose the game, especially if you find yourself in a scissors-paper-stone matchup, but can rarely win it), the most common mistake is in the manoeuvre-to-contact for the first engagement (including the choice of first target).

 

 

In the specific game shown, I agree that turn in was a questionable move.

Personally, I'd have considered a bank turn in instead or the turn before (maybe with an en-masse barrel roll if needed). Vultures often can't afford to bank once within shooting range but lining up on that big gap at a 45' angle would allow you to have used your straight moves (which are many and generally low difficult) for the move-to-contact.

As a rule, if your last move before the shooting starts is a hard turn, you're at the short end of the manoeuvring stick, since turn moves are generally slow for their speed number, often higher difficulty than a comparable straight or bank**, and generally have a much more restrictive set of speed options (only 3 speeds exist and very few ships have all 3 without at least one being red)

A big part of actual dogfights is energy management (be it kinetic - speed - or potential - altitude - energy). Since we mere board gamers can switch from speed 1 to speed 5 at whim from turn to turn, that doesn't translate directly, but there are similarities; the aim is to do the 'fiddly moves' and barrel rolls safely away from the enemy whilst lining up your initial engagement, before shots are exchanged, allowing you to move into the engagement with the easy moves at the centre of your dial - meaning less need to stress yourself or waste actions repositioning, and meaning that you have more valid options for engagement move, making it harder for your opponent to predict exactly where you'll be attacking their ships from.

 

 

 

* if anyone mentions proximity mines here I will concede the point, argue that in this case blanks are 'good results', then mentally hit them with a pointed stick.

** okay, okay, not vulture droids. But they do have a white bank move and before the shooting starts that's all you needed.

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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8 hours ago, NukeWash said:


Tighter budget mean less time flying up there and more time, "flying," down here? lol

Luckily I fly a small plane that doesn't take that much gas and has a solid maintenance rate, so we fly plenty! That is actually true for my fighter brethren though...

7 hours ago, GreenDragoon said:

I love it! I tried to do something similar with my battle report how-to that I follow, but those are some great inputs!

  • Identifying and explicitly stating the alibis is important. Sometimes there is nothing noteworthy, but sometimes the whole game changes because of a stupid bump;
  • I only mention the blue plan and don't even try to guess the red plan - I only go through their critical capabilitites and the resulting target priority;
  • my timeline reconstruction is still too detailed;
  • I mention DFPs and CFs, or at least don't show at all how I get to the IFs. Maybe that's a good addition;
  • The IFs are kind of in my conclusion/lessons.

So, thanks a lot for this, I'll adapt parts of that.

Your battle report setup is really solid. I like how you've broken up the board to standardize how you comment on the game, and you've streamlined the process to make sure you get the pertinent information out early. While I've got the process in place, I haven't standardized reporting at all. My buddy and I will have to look at how we want to present future games for sure.

5 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

 

In the specific game shown, I agree that turn in was a questionable move.

Personally, I'd have considered a bank turn in instead or the turn before (maybe with an en-masse barrel roll if needed). Vultures often can't afford to bank once within shooting range but lining up on that big gap at a 45' angle would allow you to have used your straight moves (which are many and generally low difficult) for the move-to-contact.

As a rule, if your last move before the shooting starts is a hard turn, you're at the short end of the manoeuvring stick, since turn moves are generally slow for their speed number, often higher difficulty than a comparable straight or bank**, and generally have a much more restrictive set of speed options (only 3 speeds exist and very few ships have all 3 without at least one being red)

A big part of actual dogfights is energy management (be it kinetic - speed - or potential - altitude - energy). Since we mere board gamers can switch from speed 1 to speed 5 at whim from turn to turn, that doesn't translate directly, but there are similarities; the aim is to do the 'fiddly moves' and barrel rolls safely away from the enemy whilst lining up your initial engagement, before shots are exchanged, allowing you to move into the engagement with the easy moves at the centre of your dial - meaning less need to stress yourself or waste actions repositioning, and meaning that you have more valid options for engagement move, making it harder for your opponent to predict exactly where you'll be attacking their ships from.

 

 

 

* if anyone mentions proximity mines here I will concede the point, argue that in this case blanks are 'good results', then mentally hit them with a pointed stick.

** okay, okay, not vulture droids. But they do have a white bank move and before the shooting starts that's all you needed.

I 100% agree. The hard turn in was to build space and let my opponent close distance a bit more into the open, ideally to allow all my ships to engage at once. I should  have banked in that turn with a barrel roll out and forward (to ensure clearance of the rock), allowing a 4 or 5 forward the following turn with all three shooters on target. That would have provided me more options the turn following as well.

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13 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

It's essentially a different, structured, viewpoint on a common refrain; when it all went wrong, the last mistake is always* "I didn't roll enough good results on my dice".

That's never the mistake which cost you the game, though. What did that was whichever choice which required you to roll those dice in the first place (or lost you the range or tokens which would have let you 'fettle' them

 

Strictly speaking, not rolling enough positive results is never a mistake, but it can in fact cost you the game.

I can minimize the chance of being hit, like putting Soontir at R3 and obstructed of a 2 dice attack, but the dice can end up getting Soontir killed. You did everything you could to minimize risk

That's the whole point of batreps: to objectively determine the source of your success or failure. To quote the best Captain: It is possible to commit no mistakes, and still lose.

 

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Might I suggest separating the Home page from the articles if/when you get time? Right now with just 3 articles it isn't that big a deal, but as you add more it is going to become a pain in the butt to track something down for re-read.

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3 minutes ago, Hiemfire said:

Might I suggest separating the Home page from the articles if/when you get time? Right now with just 3 articles it isn't that big a deal, but as you add more it is going to become a pain in the butt to track something down for re-read.

Absolutely! It's in the plan, we just haven't gotten to it yet. Thank you! I'm going to try to get it correctly organized this weekend.

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2 minutes ago, dsul413 said:

Absolutely! It's in the plan, we just haven't gotten to it yet. Thank you! I'm going to try to get it correctly organized this weekend.

Sweet. They're a good read so far. Looking forwards to more.

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6 hours ago, RebelRogue said:

This is probably my new favorite X-wing blog. Thank you.

 

On 5/31/2019 at 6:26 PM, LUZ_TAK said:

Awesome posts! Keep them coming.

You guys are too kind. Glad you enjoyed our first bit of work, we hope to keep you busy with new content!

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Posted (edited)

Article 4 is up! We're probably producing content a little faster now early on as we generate ideas, but you can expect some game breakdowns soon when Jonathan and I have a chance to play again (or I get permission to use someone else's game.)

https://xwingdebrief.wordpress.com/2019/06/03/sitreps-and-the-mnemonic-device/

Edited by dsul413

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14 hours ago, dsul413 said:

Article 4 is up! We're probably producing content a little faster now early on as we generate ideas, but you can expect some game breakdowns soon when Jonathan and I have a chance to play again (or I get permission to use someone else's game.)

https://xwingdebrief.wordpress.com/2019/06/03/sitreps-and-the-mnemonic-device/

Very nice!
I've never tried FACT, but I'm very familiar with METTT or rather our equivalent. Enemy has its analogue in threats, Troops in friendlies. Charges and abilities remind me of (very specific) means and methods, but are in the end included in troops. The mission, or the current win condition, is what I miss a bit in FACT. But I don't have a good idea how to add it.

 

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On ‎6‎/‎1‎/‎2019 at 12:54 AM, dsul413 said:

Very interesting, and a good idea. Having a simple goal - whether it's "avoid getting jake kill-boxed" or "KILL MIRANDA DONI FIRST" - that's a bit more detailed than "win" is key to making good tactical choices.

On ‎6‎/‎1‎/‎2019 at 12:54 AM, dsul413 said:

"When two players joust, one of them is always wrong."

Absolutely true. The number of times I've called myself out on a debrief for not paying attention to a squad build and only realising in the aftermath that a given pilot was almost-but-not-quite the 'default standard' from the internet borders on the ridiculous. I usually realise this when (in 1st edition) they popped glitterstim after I've kill-boxed them, or something similarly unpleasant.

On ‎6‎/‎4‎/‎2019 at 5:55 AM, dsul413 said:

One of the key things to remember in planning, I find, is the order of activation. It's very easy to lose track, when setting a dial of who will already have moved and who will still be where they currently are. I always recommend setting dials from lowest to highest initiative in that order for that reason.

Plus, I like having swarms with common initiative values so you can chop and change order as required.

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I wanted to bring this thread back up to the front page as a reminder to other players that might not have seen it before. I found the debrief useful for a game I played last week... I ended up winning by a razor-thin margin, but it was a lot closer than I thought it should have been, so I went through the steps. I made a pair of tactical errors that were obvious within the turn I made them, and they weren't so crippling that I lost, but I used them as debrief focus points to start the root cause analysis for "how did we get here? We're smarter than this!"

Blackout got a shot in on his first R3 engagement, disengaged and got a R2 obstructed shot on the other part of his list, and then was chased by my opponent's entire list until Blackout died a number of turns later. I identified that my opponent was keyed in on killing Blackout even when that wasn't the optimal way to his win condition, and used that to my advantage, but he never got to shoot again. Working backwards, I realized that the root cause was not my decisions once engaged, but a failure to set up *AND TAKE* a second disengagement with Blackout in turn 4. I could have bugged out with Blackout, punished his list that chased the other direction, and then disengaged with my other forces. 

I don't typically fly silencers, so it was a really helpful framework to realize that my mistake was much earlier than where I actually got into trouble!

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One more thing about debrief focus points.

For some reason, the (podcast)community doesn't like bat reps. Maybe that is because the format of podcasts is not exactly ideal for an extremely visual game.

But even in written form, battle reports can turn out way too long, something that I do myself. That is where Debrief Focus Points come into play.

They are such a great tool to distill and share the most crucial errors and lessons of a game, without all the additional baggage.

And they allow podcasters to get to the point after a minimal bit of context. The downside is the required effort. I found that I need the play by play for myself to accurately remember the game, but of course I could only share the essence instead of the details.

Maybe a short form bat rep would be interesting.

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I think it's challenging to distill the narrative of a match down to the essential points - it's not something most people can just do on the fly - and most podcasts don't do the required prep work before hitting record to really make battle reports digestible. I really like the work the Echo Base team does with thoughtful analysis of games in video format, but even there it's often a 2 hour video that most people aren't going to have the time to wade through for the key information. TL:DR - editing is a lot of work and it's not where most content creators are devoting their efforts. I definitely appreciate the blogs like this one, Biophysical's and GreenDragoon's that put the effort in to push for depth over volume though.

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2 hours ago, Transmogrifier said:

I think it's challenging to distill the narrative of a match down to the essential points - it's not something most people can just do on the fly - and most podcasts don't do the required prep work before hitting record to really make battle reports digestible.

I agree, it's definitely a challenge for myself, too. It just strikes me as unfortunate that the reputation of battle reports is outright bad and not "valuable but hard to do properly".

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