Monday, February 11, 2019

Game Night: "Through the Desert", "Photosynthesis" and "5 Minute Dungeon"

Hey folks! I'm introducing a new series here called "Game Night" which will feature super-brief reviews of the games we play on our, well, you guessed it, weekly game night.

Last week we kicked things off with Through the Desert.


This venerable Reiner Knizia classic sees players staking claims across a vast desert using their five caravan leaders. Turns consist of taking two camels of any color from the common supply and then placing them on the board to expand your caravan trail, picking up points whenever you reach a water hole or an oasis. Bonus points can be earned for walling off large tracts of desert space and having the longest caravan in each of the five colors.

The game is deceptively deep. Since rival camels of the same color can't be placed next to each other it's pretty easy to get up in each other's grill. Recognizing immediate threats and expanding early to "draw a line in the sand", so to speak, is critical to success. Successful players will always be studying the board, looking for a few choice colors to specialize in since "longest caravan" end-game points can really effect the scores.

The game isn't perfect, though. The pastel, candy-colored camels might be adorable but a full board of them results in visual anarchy. Fiddly tweaks and rules based on number of players and first turn placements can easily be overlooked. Poor allocation of your caravan leaders can result in players quickly getting hemmed in, but, honestly, this just makes me want to play it again to apply what I've learned.


For being vibrant, charming and deceptively tactical, Through the Desert scores four pips out of six with a slight tilt down to the burning sands of the Sahara!


Next up: Photosynthesis!


In this one, players attempt to expand their species of tree in a highly-competitive forest. After starting out with few small saplings, players cast off seeds to expand their growth. A "sun" tile constantly moves around the board, tracking turn cycles and giving trees the solar energy required to grow from sapling to Ent!

Even though I liked Photosynthesis, he rules aren't particularly intuitive and, without any quick-reference guide to refer to, we all seemed to be asking the same questions over and over again. There's just something vague, nebulous and slightly unpolished about the game, making it feel kinda clunky. There also not a lot of different options to pursue, making each turn feel kinda "samey". Finally, some of the game's elements are thematically baffling. For example, the biggest victory points come from mulching your oldest trees; an action that seems to be at odds with the game's otherwise environmentally-friendly message!

On the plus side, competing for space in this increasingly-crowded arena is pretty intense and forward-thinking players will try to set up their trees to gather as much sun as possible, regardless of its position. There's also something supremely satisfying about growing the tallest tree in a clearing to net mondo radiant points while casting shade on your frustrated rivals! Also, let's face it, this has to be one of the prettiest games on the market right now.

For being pretty but kinda dim, Photosynthesis rates three pips outta six with a tilt up toward the top of dat dere redwood!


Finally we played several games of 5 Minute Dungeon.


As someone who typically hates these frantic, stressful, real-time games with the fire of a million suns, I actually didn't feel compelled to bite down on a cyanide capsule while playing this one.

After selecting a fantasy archetype to play (Barbarian, Thief, Wizard, Valkyrie...etc, etc) and arming yourself with your character's customized deck of cards, players choose a boss monster to fight, which dictates the game's difficulty level, I.E. the number of dungeon cards you have to clear through and how tough the final boss is. A five-minute timer is started and players now must work together to blow through all of the dungeon cards, which represent various events, traps, and adversaries.

In order to overcome these obstacles, players must table the requisite number and type of cards. For example, to get past the "Miniature T-Rex", the group has to come up with two melee, two ranged and two defense cards in order to kill it and move on. Fortunately, every character has a cool special ability that players can leverage to break the regular rules of the game and mitigate misfortune. The players win if they can maneuver their way through the dungeon deck and destroy the boss monster before time runs out.

Unlike the annoying Escape: The Curse of the Temple and the "barely qualifies as a game" Camelot by the usually-solid Tom Jolly, this one isn't a miserable exercise in anarchy. Whereas it it's super-easy to fudge and / or screw something up in those two aforementioned games, 5 Minute Dungeon, forces you to play all of your cards communally in the middle of the table. Not only does this prevent  oversights it also ensures that crusty ol' rules lawyers like myself feel reasonably appeased.

The game's customized decks are well thought out, with fighter types having more swords and shields and wizards equipped with an abundance of scrolls. This rewards players for picking a nice variety of different character types. The official timing ap also adds a lot to the game's appeal since it features a charming variety of narrator accents and /or  temperaments. A lot of interaction and table talk is required, which usually results in participants becoming increasingly monosyllabic as they scramble for specific solves. As expected, the art design is goofy as hell and, even though I'm not a fan, I will concede that it matches the game's ridiculous tone. 

The bottom line is that no-one had to twist my arm to get me to play the game several times. I found myself keen to try out new characters and take on new boss monsters. Dare I say it? Yes, I dare...5 Minute Dungeon is most likely the high water mark for this concept. The fact that I'm willing to play it again is arguably the highest possible praise I can give to it.


For being fun, frantic and not overstaying its welcome, 5 Minute Dungeon scores four pips outta six with a slight tip up to the surface world!


Awrite, guys...thanks for reading and expect a back-log of these to show up over the next little while.
Until then, take care and game on!

***

Hey, folks! If you enjoyed these reviews, please consider buying me a Coffee! Full disclosure: I probably won't use your donation to buy an actual hot beverage; most likely I'll use it to keep the lights on over my game table this winter!

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Star Wars Destiny Galactic Rumble - Part Two

Last update: February 5'th, 2019.

"...omgomgimsosorrysummerhappenedandthenihadtodoabunchoffreelancestuffandthenchristmas happenedandthenihadtodoapresentationandthenduringallofthisihadtodomynightjobsothisisthefirstchance ivehadinmonthstodoanewentryimsosorrythisissolateimsuchagarbagehuman!"  
 
Greeting, Star Warriors!

I had so much fun with my first Star Wars: Destiny tournament (deets right hur) that I couldn't wait to do another! 

My original plan was to run it exactly like the first one, I.E. with the same number of decks. But after placing two separate orders for singles and acquiring a gravity feed box of the new set, Legacies, things quickly shot into Hyperspace. By the time I was done, sixteen different decks were vying for galactic supremacy!

Naturally, with things changing so much, the card lists for each deck are also in flux. In fact, at one point I had to spin characters off from established decks to form brand new ones. Think of this as a flurry of mid-season trades! I'll try to do my best to keep you informed of these tweaks but I consider all of these decks to be works in progress and I'm constantly fiddling with them.

As you'll soon see, not only did the tournament double in size, the play-by-play for each match became increasingly detailed. As such, I've decided to make this a "living post" which I'll update every few days with the results of a new match. Not only will this spare me a nigh-insurmountable initial time investment it should make the post more approachable for visitors as well.

So, with all of that established..."Let's get ready to rumblllllllllllle!!!"

ROUND ONE - MATCH ONE

WONDER TWIN POWERS - ACTIVATE!

Characters: Luke Skywalker - Jedi Knight and Leia Organa - Born Leader

Battlefield: Moisture Farm - Tatooine

Supports: Launch Bay x 2, Strike Team, Outpost
Vehicles: n/a
Droids: C-3PO and R2-D2

Upgrades: Teamwork
Ability:  Fearless, Force Training, Coordination, Force Protection
Equipment:  Jedi Robes
Vehicle: n/a
Weapons: DH 17 Blaster Pistol, Lightsaber, Luke Skywalker's Lightsaber

Events: Daring Escape, Our Only Hope, Willpower, Block, Leadership, Dodge, Deflect, The Day Is Ours, Fierce Resolve, Defiance, Take Cover, Determination, Force Misdirection, Lightsaber Pull, Strategic Planning

*** VERSUS ***

SERVANTS OF THE DARK SIDE

Characters:  Servant of the Darkside and Darth Vader (Elite) - Sith Lord
Battlefield:  Separatist Base - Mustafar

Supports: Power Of The Darkside, Emperor's Favor
Vehicles: Darth Vader's TIE Advanced
Droids: n/a

Upgrades: Now I Am The Master
Abilities:  Force Choke, Force Throw, Immobilize
Equipment:  Sith Holocron
Vehicle: n/a
Weapons:   Lightsaber Pike, Vibroknife, Grand Inquisitor's Lightsaber

Events: Pulling The Strings, Dodge x 2, Force Strike x 2, Lightsaber Throw, Isolation x 2, Block x 2,  Abandon All Hope, No Disintegrations x 2, The Power Of The Force x 2, Your Skills Are Complete, It Will All Be Mine, Lightsaber Pull, Battle of the Wills

***


In quick succession, Luke got "Force Trained", Leia promoted "Teamwork" and Vader played with his "Holocron". "Force Strike" hit the table 2 times in a row, dealing a total of 6 Melee damage to Luke! Our boi responded by arming himself with his namesake"Lightsaber". The Bad Guys dropped "No Disintegrations", prompting a Discard. Luke remained "Fearless", giving him the ability to draw 2 new cards and get a Shield with every Activation. Vader swapped his "Holocron" out for "Force Choke". Ruh-roh.

Our favorite neophyte Jedi proceeded to tee up 6 points of Melee damage but Vader countered with a "Choke" Special, dealing 1 smack to Luke and turning one of his 3 Melee dice to a miss. Fortunately Leia's re-roll came to the rescue! She gave her bro back his power smash (#unfortunatewording) and then dialed up a "Teamwork" Special. But then mean ol' Papa Vader delivered 3 Melee damage of his own to Luke, dropping him down to 1 point shy of defeat.

Luke went on to pummel the Servant with 6 damage blowing out his target's lone Shield. The Servant bounced back, taking on 2 new replacement Shields. Knowing that his elimination was inevitable, Luke convinced his sis to take the 2 Shields provided by the "Teamwork" die. The Bad Guys Claimed the Battlefield, dealing a single point to Luke and knocking him right the fux out.

The Servants kicked off the next round with "Abandon All Hope", flushing all of Leia's resources down the space-loo. After recovering 2 back from her dice, she immediately constructed an "Outpost". Vader proceeded to clobber her Shields with 3 Melee damage. Leia Claimed, delivering a point of damage to her pops. The Servants finished the turn by gaining 1 Resource.

C-3PO shuffled onto the scene and the Servant generated 3 Melee damage. Noticing this, Leia  quickly put her Shields up. The Bad Guys dropped "Power of the Dark Side" and Leia took 2 hits after they rolled a Blank on the next turn. A Focus provided by the "Outpost" turned Leia's Character Die to 2 Ranged damage. In reply, the forces of evil chucked out "Power of the Force" to re-roll Vader's die. Leia dealt her Ranged damage to the Servant but thanks to those pesky Shields he was still kickin'.

To add insult to injury, Vader's activation forced Leia to discard "Co-Ordination". Done with this crappy round, she Claimed the Battlefield to put a point of damage on Vader. The Sith Lord responded by piling 2 more damage onto his "beloved" daughter.

Leia finally got her "Lightsaber", but this long-awaited moment was short-lived. After the Dark Side forced 3 Discards with a second "No Disintegrations", Vader pulled a Padme on his own daughter (#toosoon) via a lethal "Choke".

SERVANTS OF THE DARK SIDE WINS!

 
Wow, rough match for the Twins. Their deck really benefits from getting "Launch Bay" and / or "Strike Team" out early, so it was probably short-sighted to spend my early Resources on Luke's saber.

I always knew that Elite Vader could be vicious and this match certainly proved that!

***

Next up: "We Do Need Their Scum", a semi-finalist from the the first Tournament, goes up against a re-constituted and re-jiggered "Millennial Falcon". How will a heavily-armed Fett and Bossk fare against wunderkind Rey, traitor-riffic Finn and a new mystery ally?

Tune in next week to find out!

***

ROUND ONE- MATCH TWO

MILLENNIAL FALCON

Characters: Rey - Force Prodigy, Finn - First Order Defector, Max Kanata – Pirate Queen
Battlefield: Starship Graveyard

Supports: It Binds All Things, Awakening
Support - Vehicles: Quadjumper
Support - Droids: BB-8
Support – Location: Maz’s Vault

Upgrades: n/a
Abilities: Second Chance x 2, Force Heal, Force Training
Equipment: Jedi Robes
Vehicle: n/a
Weapons: Rey's Staff, Rey's Lightsaber

Events: Draw Attention, Take Cover, Riposte, Heroism, Defensive Stance, Draw Attention, Deflect x 1, Unpredictable, Dodge, Block x 2, Mind Trick, Willpower, Negotiate, Use The Force, Flank, Daring Escape, Let The Wookiee Win.

*** VERSUS ***

WE DO NEED THEIR SCUM

Characters: Boba Fett (Elite) - Deadly Mercenary and Bossk - Wookiee Slayer
Battlefield:  Mos Eisley - Spaceport

Supports:  Weapon Cache, My Kind Of Scum, Black Market, Infamous, Hutt Ties, Underworld Connections
Vehicles: Z 95 Headhunter, Hound's Tooth, Slave-1
Droids: n/a

Upgrades: Prized Possession
Abilities:  Deadly, Hunter Instinct, Jetpack
Equipment: Mandalorian Armor, Cable Launcher
Vehicle: n/a
Weapons: Thermal Detonator x 2, Hidden Blaster, Relby VE 10 Mortar Gun, Flame Thrower, Wrist Rockets

Events: He Doesn't Like You, Threaten, Entangle, Subdue, Go For The Kill, Take Flight, Relentless, Pursuit x 2, Evade

***


Rey dons “Jedi Robes” and gets 2 bonus Shields since this happened on turn 1. She then Activates, as per her Special Ability. The bounty hunters pay 2 Resources for the “Hound’s Tooth”. Maz Activates, turning her and Rey’s Focus into a 3 point Melee attack. The hunters respond with “Take Flight” for free. Bossk Activates, rolling 1 Ranged damage. 3 damage is delivered to Fett, but 1 is soaked up by a Shield. The Millennials Claim the Battlefield. Before the round ends, the hunters pay 1 Resource to get 2, thanks to the “Hound’s Tooth”. Then they deliver 2 Melee and 1 Ranged damage to Maz. Oh, and Bossk gets his “Relby”. 

Maz Activates, resolving her Focus to magically transform Finn’s blank into 2 Ranged, which goes on Fett. Boba retaliates by rolling double Specials and Maz takes 2 more damage.  Finn plays “Draw Attention” to divert 2 of her wounds but not long after the Millennials are forced to Claim. Bossk gets a last minute single smack in on Maz before the rounds ends.

The Millennials play a much-needed “Second Chance” on the already-bloodied Maz. Bossk activates his “Hunter’s Instinct”. Finn also gets his own “Second Chance”! Bossk Activates, shifting 1 Damage from Finn to Rey and on the following turn 2 more Ranged damage is piled onto her. After Maz Activates she resolves both her and Rey’s Focus, setting up 1 Melee from Finn with a +2 assist from Rey. Fett counters this with “He Doesn't Like You”, removing 1 of his own blanks to take out Finn’s Melee die. Out of options, the Millennials are forced to Claim. The hunters pile on, playing “Weapons Cache" and then discarding “Threaten” to re-roll 4 dice. Fett gets another Special, resolving both it and the “Hound’s Tooth” die to deal a whopping 4 damage to Rey!

The good guys lead with “Maz’s Vault” while the bounty hunters bring in a “Z-95 Headhunter”.  Bossk activates, methodically shifting 1 Damage from Finn to Rey. He then resolves the “Hunters Instinct” Special, leaving our favorite Force prodigy with only 2 Health remaining. Maz Activates and gets a Focus which she uses to give Rey 1 Melee. She then resolves Finn’s 2 Ranged on Fett with a +1 assist from Rey. Fett strikes back with 2 Ranged damage on Rey, eliminating her. Tapped out, the Millennials are forced to Claim and the bounty hunters go on a tear. Fett’s 1 Resource powers Bossk’s 3 Melee on Maz and then a 2 value Disrupt is resolved. Bossk then drops a punishing 4 damage on Maz. Knocked out, she discards “Second Chance” to come back with 5 health.

Butt Hole Eyes...er, Maz, rolls and resolves 1 Focus to turn Finn’s die to a 2 Ranged result, which he promptly uses to blast Fett. “Hunter’s Instinct” is played on Maz for 2 points of damage. Fresh out of options, the Millennials are once again forced to Claim the Battlefield. Fett uses 4 Melee to knock out Maz for a second time and then proceeds to whack Finn upside the head for 1 Ranged.

Finn picks up “Rey’s Lightsaber”. In quick succession, the bad guys deploy “Underworld Connections”, “Deadly” on Fett and then “Hutt Ties”. The good guys respond with 2 Ranged damage to Boba. Again, the Millennials must prematurely Claim, putting “Jedi Robes” back on top of their deck. Before the round ends, Finn gets rawked by a brutal 4 points of Ranged damage from Fett and the “Cache”. Another single Damage comes from Fett’s Special and 2 more from “Hunter’s Instinct”. Yeesh.

Finn applies “Jedi Robes” like a giant body-sized band-aid. Bossk gets a “Thermal Detonator”. Finn polishes off Fett with 1 Ranged Damage. Bossk “Entangles” Finn for 1 Ranged Damage. Finn’s all out of tricks so he’s forced to Claim. Bossk goes HAM on Finn with 3 Ranged damage, killing him. “Second Chance” kicks in and he comes back with 5 health but then Bossk resolves a “Thermal Detonator” special for 3 points, “Hunter’s Instinct” for 2 and the “Headhunter” for 1.

Winner:  We Do Need Their Scum


***
At first I was concerned that I’d stumbled upon a game-breaking combo that recycled an infinite loop of “Second Chances”. Mercifully I noticed that these cards are meant to be discarded from play after they’re activated.

Maz’s ability to daisy-chain dice resolutions together is great and all, but Finn and Rey just weren't generating much damage. To mitigate this I swapped in a “Hidden Blaster” for "Riposte" with “What's a Padawan?” and another “Hidden Blaster” for a “Dodge” with the bounty hunters.

Hopefully that’ll improve their odds in a future match.

*** 

Next up: a Sith powerhouse faces off against Han and his 62%-more-thematically-appropriate partner!

***

ROUND ONE - MATCH THREE

THE EMPEROR’S NEW GROOVE

Characters: Palpatine – Galactic Emperor, Royal Guard
Battlefield: Emperor’s Throne Room

Supports: Emperor’s Favor, Power of the Dark Side
Support - Vehicles: n/a
Support - Droids: n/a
Support – Location: n/a

Upgrades: Dark Counsel
Abilities: Force Lightning, Temptation, Force Illusion, Force Rend
Equipment: Sith Holocron
Vehicle: n/a
Weapons: Vibroknife, Infantry Grenades

Events: Deflect, Power of the Force, Feel Your Anger x 2, Manipulate x 2, Doubt x 2, Indomitable, Snare, Boundless Ambition, Overconfidence, Momentum Shift, Block, Pulling the Strings, Nowhere to Run, The Price of Failure, Dodge, As I Have Foreseen, Intimidate.

*** VERSUS ***

BEST BUDZ

Characters: Han Solo - Scoundrel and Chewbacca – Loyal Friend
Battlefield:  Outer Rim Outpost – Nal Hutta

Supports: n/a
Vehicles: Millennium Falcon
Droids: n/a

Upgrades: Life Debt, Ammo Belt
Abilities:  Roguish Charm
Equipment: Quickdraw Holster
Vehicle: n/a
Weapons: DL-44 Heavy Blaster Pistol, Bowcaster 

Events: Battle Rage, Shoot First x 2, Let The Wookiee Win, Close Quarters Assault x 2, Scruffy Looking Nerf Herder x 2, Impulsive x 2, Cheat, Quick Draw, Block, Disarm, Never Tell Me The Odds, Against The Odds, Hyperspace Jump, Scramble, Smuggling, Dodge, Smuggler’s Run, Sabotage, “Fair” Trade.

***


The Emperor kicks things off, dealing 3 Ranged to Han and then 2 damage to Chewie for his special ability. Han pays 1 Resource to plow the Guard for 3 Ranged damage and, in response, the Royal Guard gets 1 Shield. The round ends after Chewbacca takes on a “Life Debt” and the bad guys Claim the Battlefield.

After Palpatine gets "UNLIMITED POWAAAAH!!!" with “Force Lightning” he rolls 4 Ranged (requiring a cost-prohibitive 1 Resource) and 2 Discards. Han pays a Resource to blast the Guard again. The Emperor resolves the Discards and the good guys are forced to chuck out “Smuggler’s Run” and – EEP! – “Bowcaster”. Our favorite walking carpet then takes 2 points of damage from the Emperor’s special ability. The bad guys then turf “As I Have Foreseen” to re-roll. This time the Emperor gets 2 Ranged and a blank. The good guys Claim, Chewie turns his own die to the Special, flips Palpy’s die to 4 Ranged and then hammers the Guard, killing him. Since the Emperor can't resolve the die’s cost, he’s forced to end the turn.

The good guys play “Cheat”, swapping an “Ammo Belt” for the “Bowcaster” while the Emperor incongruously scores some “Infantry Grenades”. Han picks up a Resource. The Emperor rolls a 2 Discard result, so after Han and Chewie both take a point of damage, they're forced to throw out “Sabotage” and “Disarm”. The Furry One gets a “Quick Draw”-augmented “Bowcaster” so he Activates immediately. The Emperor resolves his Grenade Special, delivering 2 damage to both of his enemies. He then piles 2 more Ranged damage onto the wookiee. Chewbacca fires back, using his “Bowcaster’s” Special to smack the Emperor for a point. After Palpy Claims the Battlefield, Han and Chewie polish off the round by picking up a Resource.

Han gets his “DL-44 Blaster Pistol” and, thanks to the Ambush keyword, he also snags a Shield and then Activates. The Emperor spends 2 Resources for "Dodge", which returns a whopping 6 Ranged damage. Ouch! The Emperor then discards “Price of Failure” to re-roll. Chewbacca resolves his Special, inflicting 1 damage on the Emperor. Palp then makes the wookiee’s hair stand on end with 3 Ranged damage! Han loses a Shield and takes a damage from the Emperor’s relentless Special Ability. The good guys Claim and since the Emperor can’t pay for the cost for his 4 Ranged “Force Lightning”, the round ends.

Han generates an insane 6 damage but Palpatine is ready for him. He flops “Overconfidence”, forcing the smuggler to re-roll, getting 2 Disrupt and 1 Resource, the latter of which is lost. Vicious! As a consolation prize, Han resolves the 2 Disrupt. The Emperor rolls 2 Ranged on 2 dice and the good guys play “Let the Wookiee Win”, delivering 2 damage to Palp. Then Chewie takes 4 Ranged damage right in his furry mush. With that, he’s knocked out and Han mourns by Claiming the Battlefield.

Han gets another “DL-44” so now he’s like an interstellar version of Chow Yun Fat. This gives him another Shield and he Activates. The Emperor plays “Indomitable” and gets 3 Shields! Han plays “Against the Odds”, producing 2 Ranged damage. Next up, Palpy plays “Intimidate” and Han loses his Shield. Our favorite scruffy-looking nerf-herder then discards “Close Quarters Assault” to re-roll his “DL-44” die and ends up smoking the Emperor for 4 points, 3 of which is soaked up by Shields. The Emperor then pays 1 Resource to drop a nasty 4 Ranged lightning blast on Han, who immediately Claims. The Emperor collects 2 Shields and the round ends.

Monsieur Solo Activates. The Emperor plays “Doubt” on Han’s 3 Ranged roll but he gets the same result. He pays 1 Resource and Palpy takes a net of 1 damage. Han then jettisons “Block” to re-roll one of his blank dice but gets a duplicate result. The Emperor plays the appropriately-named “Feel Your Anger” which turfs one of Han’s blanks but also a Supply die. Han then discards “’Fair’ Trade” to re-roll but he only gets 1 Supply. “Emperors Favor” hits the table. Han resolves his 1 Supply and then claims on his next Action. The Emperor picks up 2 Shields then delivers 2 Ranged to Han, finishing him off.

Winner: The Emperor’s New Groove


***

As expected, the Emperor is a freakin’ brute. This deck is basically the polar opposite of “We Do Need Their Scum” which has a shit-ton of Supports and Upgrades. But this one also works. Like really, really well.

It works because that be-helmeted, red-fabric-swaddled meat-shield the Royal Guard can soak up lots of damage while the 15-health Emperor gets established. It works because the bad guys have some pretty hardcore dice manipulation. But it works mainly because Palp is probably gonna light you up with 4-5 damage...every...SINGLE...TURN

Even though the Emperor won, I thought that Han and Chewie acquitted themselves rather nicely, mainly because their relative speed is a big threat to this deck. Next time out I’ll trim “Best Budz” down a bit more and table an elite Chewie.

***

Next up: an octogenarian Jedi and his fledgling apprentice, er...padawan take on the whole Empire by themselves!

***

ROUND ONE - MATCH FOUR

IMPERIAL WAR MACHINE

Characters: Ciena Ree - Adept Pilot, General Veers - Field Commander, Veteran Stormtrooper
Battlefield: Imperial Academy

Supports: Imperial HQ,  E-Web Emplacement, Armored Support, Attrition, Tech Team
Vehicles: Speeder Bike Scout, AT-ST, AT-DP
Droids: Interrogation Droid, Probe Droid

Upgrade: n/a
Abilities: Imperial Discipline, Promotion
Equipment: Plastoid Armor
Vehicle: 74-Z Speeder Bike
Weapons: Infantry Grenades, T7 Ion Disruptor Rifle, EMP Grenades

Events: Take Prisoner, Tactical Mastery, Imperial Envoy, First Strike, Occupation, Flanking Maneuver, Covering Fire, Probe, Firepower, Imperial Backing,  Imperial War Machine, Imperial Might, Pinned Down

*** VERSUS ***

"WHAT'S A PADAWAN?"

Characters: Luke Skywalker (Elite) - Unlikely Hero and Obi-Wan Kenobi - Mysterious Hermit
Battlefield: Obi-Wan's Hut

Supports: It Binds All Things, Your Eyes Can Deceive You, Perseverance  
Vehicles: n/a
Droids: R2-D2

Upgrades: Journals of Ben Kenobi
Abilities: Force Focus,  Akashi Training x 2, One With The Force, Inner Strength, Psychometry
Equipment: n/a
Vehicle: n/a
Weapons: Hidden Blaster, Lightsaber, Hunting Rifle x 2, Heirloom Lightsaber, Shoto Lightsaber

Events: Heightened Awareness, Invigorate, Guard, Distraction, Force Vision, Voices Cry Out, Rejuvenate, Noble Sacrifice, Alter, Mislead, Bestow, Krayt Dragon Howl, Mind Trick

***


“What's a Padawan?” starts, paying 2 Resources to play “Force Focus” on Luke. The Imperials bring in an “Interrogation Droid”, which later forces a Discard of “Heightened Awareness”.  Ben uses a Focus to turn 1 of Luke's dice to a 2-Ranged side. Luke then uses his own “Force Focus” to turn his other die to a 2 Ranged result! He then heaps all 4 points of damage on Ciena! “What’s A Padawan?” go on to Claim the Battlefield and Luke gets a Shield. The Imperials end the turn with Veers giving Ciena a badly-needed Shield.

After a flurry of activations, the “Interrogation Droid” forces the good guys to turf “Mislead” while “What’s A Padawan?” collect 2 Resources. Veers gets a “Promotion” and draws a card. “One With The Force” is played on Obi-Wan (natch). Once again, Ben’s Focus transforms Luke’s die into a 2 Ranged result and on the following turn this damage strikes Ciena, who loses 1 Shield and takes 1 damage. The good guys Claim and Ben gets a Shield. The villains play “Imperial HQ”, pick up 1 Resource and assault Luke with 3 points of damage. He takes a net of 2 thanks to his Shields and the round ends.

The Veteran Stormtrooper picks up some “Infantry Grenades”. Ben executes his now-trademarked stunt of using a Focus to turn 1 of Luke's dice to 2 Ranged. Luke returns the favor, using “Force Focus” to spin Ben’s “One With The Force” die to a 3-Ranged result! 4 Resources are spent to bring “Tactical Mastery” onto the table. 1 Shield is placed on the Trooper and 1 Ranged damage goes to Luke. “What’s A Padawan?” clobber Ciena with 4 more Ranged damage, knocking her out! 2 more points are delivered to Veers, so he loses a Shield and takes 1 point. The Imperials collect 1 Resource. The good guys Claim and Luke gets a Shield. Fresh out of options, the Imperials end the turn.

Luke ignites his “Lightsaber”. The Stormtrooper inexplicably gets dressed up in a second set of “Plastoid Armor”, giving him 10 Health. When the villains table “Imperial Envoy” 2 “Makashi Trainings” are revealed. Since this is an Upgrade, nothing is lost. Luke delivers 1 Ranged damage to Veers and then picks up a Shield. Ben Claims, giving 1 Shield to Luke. The Impies use their “HQ” to make the 2 Ranged “Infantry Grenades” side free to play and then plaster Luke for 3 points of damage. After his Shields are reduced, he ends up taking 1 damage. The turn ends after the villains collect a single Resource.

“What's A Padawan?” plays “R2-D2” for 1 Resource. For 2 Resources, “Imperial Might” hits the table, hammering Ben for a blistering 5 points of damage! The “Interrogation Droid” forces the good guys to Discard “Makashi Training”. Once again, Ben uses a Focus to switch one of Luke’s die to 2 Ranged. The Imperial spend 2 Resources to play “Imperial Backing” and later “Tech Team” comes down for free. The good guys direct a punishing 5 damage on Veers! Veers uses a Focus to turn the “Infantry Grenade” to its Special. The good guys spend 1 Resource for 3 melee damage on Veers, knocking him out of commission! The “Infantry Grenades” go ‘splody, dealing 2 damage to both Luke and Ben. Luke collects a Resource. The Imperials Claim but the Trooper can't get a Shield ‘cuz he’s not Blue. *beep, boop* Luke finishes the turn by picking up 1 Shield.

“Tech Team” lowers the cost of the “AT-DP” by two Resources. Ben gets “Makashi Training”. The “Interrogation Droid” forces the good guys to jettison “Bestow”. Luke uses a Focus to turn 1 of his dice to 2 Ranged. The Impies discard “Firepower” to reroll the Trooper’s 1 Ranged result and his blank. Luke does a 2 Resource Power Action which delivers a whopping 4 damage to the Trooper. The embattled bucket-head strikes back at Ben for 1 damage. The Trooper is then brutalized for another 3 damage before he’s forced to Claim. “What’s a Padawan?” polish off the round by dealing 1 more Ranged damage to the Trooper and collecting 2 Resources.

“Armored Support” is played for free, thanks to the Imperial’s “Tech Team”. The villains pay 1 Resource for 3 damage on Ben but thanks to his Shields, he only takes one. Luke’s “Lightsaber” Special does 2 damage to the Trooper. “Imperial HQ” resolves, covering the cost of 3 Ranged damage on Ben...he’s eliminated! “Makashi Training” is played on Luke for free. Monsieur Skywalker then proceeds to use a Focus result to turn 1 of his own Character Die to 2 Ranged. Next turn he takes a Power Action, spends 2 Resources to deal 3 Ranged damage to the Trooper and he’s K.O.’ed!

“WHAT'S A PADAWAN?” wins!


***

The Imperials rolled a lot of blanks so, honestly, I don’t know if the solution is to add more Weapons and Vehicles to the deck. Cheaper options, more Resource generation or the ability to retrieve cards would be equally-attractive additions. Sadly, the “Disruptor Rifle” and the “AT-ST” arrived in hand waaaaaaaay too late in the game.

As for Luke and Ben, their synergy is pretty obvious. Not only can Ben soak up a crap-ton of damage, his ability to consistently customize Luke’s dice is pretty sweet. The deck also seems to generate Resources reasonably well, which, in turn, often translates into some pretty potent Power Attacks.

***

Next up: a fledgling Rebel deck gets a baptism by fire in battle against the last tournament’s champion!

***

ROUND ONE - MATCH FIVE

THE DORK SIDE

Characters: Kylo Ren - Vader's Disciple, Captain Phasma - Elite Trooper, Nightsister

Battlefield:  Frozen Wastes - Starkiller Base

Supports:  Power Of The Darkside
Vehicles: First Order TIE Fighter
Droids: n/a

Upgrades: Lure of Power, Force Stasis, Immobilize, Mind Probe
Abilities: n/a
Equipment: n/a
Vehicle: n/a
Weapons: Kylo Ren's Lightsaber, Captain Phasma's Blaster, F-11 D rifle

Events: Feel Your Anger, Firepower, Isolation, Closing The Net, Pulling The Strings, Enrage x 2, The Power Of The Force, Parry, Drop Your Weapon, Kill Them All, As You Command, Ruthless Tactics, New Orders, Decisive Blow, Leadership, Undying Loyalty x 2, Tactical Mastery, Subjugate, Clash.

*** VERSUS ***

WE’RE REBELS, WE REBEL

Characters: Poe Dameron –More Than A Pilot, Rebel Trooper, Admiral Ackbar – Perceptive Tactician

Battlefield:  Rebel War Room – Yavin IV

Supports:  Air Superiority, Resistance HQ
Vehicles: Y-Wing, Black One, T-47 Airspeeder, Z-95 Headhunter
Droids: Astromech

Upgrades: Wingman
Abilities:  Natural Pilot, Tactical Aptitude
Equipment: n/a
Vehicle: n/a
Weapons: IQA-11 Blaster Rifle, A-280 Rifle

Events: It’s A Trap!, Surgical Strike, Strike Briefing, Logistics, Natural Talent, Hit and Run, Rebel Assault, Strategic Planning, Suppression, Logistics, Leadership, Reckless Reentry, Deploy Squadron, Field Medic, Air Superiority, Honor Guard, Defensive Position, Direct Hit.

***


“Force Stasis” is played on Kylo but he completely whiffs on his Activation. But, then again, so do Poe and Phasma! Ackbar uses his 2 Focus result to change Poe and the Rebel Trooper’s dice to 2 Ranged each. 4 Ranged damage is then delivered to Phasma. Kylo resolves his Special on the Rebel Trooper, revealing a “Y-Wing”, so that’s 3 damage! After the Rebels Claim the Battlefield, Phasma picks up a Shield and the round ends.

The Rebels lead by launching a “Y-Wing”. The bad guys respond by giving Phasma an “F-11D Blaster Rifle”. “Hit and Run” is played on Poe and on their next turn the Rebels spring “It’s A Trap!” for 1 Resource, selecting Ranged results. Poe, the Rebel Trooper and the “Y-Wing” all turn their dice to their  2 Ranged damage sides! Kyle-O resolves his “Stasis” Special on the Rebel Trooper who loses his Ranged die and takes 1 damage. 4 more damage is piled onto Phasma’s chrome dome. Her Shield soaks up 1 so she takes a net of 3. Hux then uses his Focus to turn Phasma’s “Rifle” to +2 Ranged and Kylo’s die to its 2 Melee side. The Rebels respond with “Logistics”, so they get 2 Resources from Ackbar’s 1 Resource die. The Dork Side plays “Enrage” for 1-Resource and once again the Rebels Claim. The Rebel Trooper gets plowed with 4 damage, killing him! The Dork Side then pay 1 Resource to resolve Kylo’s 2 Melee damage on Ackbar. Yowza!

Poe gets armed with an “A-280 Rifle” and then an “Airspeeder” takes wing. Once again, Hux uses his Focus to turn Phasma’s die to 2 Ranged and the “Rifle” die to a +2. On their very next turn Ackbar eats all 4 damage and then Mr. Ren drops an additional 1 Melee on the Admiral. The Rebs discard “Leadership” to re-roll 4 dice and then the bad guys spend 1 Resources to play “Power Of The Dark Side”. Next action, Poe does 3 Ranged Damage to Phasma...defeating her! Hux inherits her “F-11D”. The “Y-Wing” resolves its Special, dealing a combined 4 hits to either Characters and / or Resources. The Dork Side opts to lose 2 Resources and take 2 Shields from Kylo. The villains then Claim. Ackbar finishes up the round by collecting 1 Resource and 1 Shield.

Hux stumbles across “Phasma’s Blaster” in the armory. In true action hero fashion, Poe adds an “IQA-11 Blaster Rifle” to his free hand. In a familiar play, Hux employs his Focus to turn his “F-11D” die to +2 Ranged and “Phasma’s Rifle” to 2 Ranged. After spending the required 2 Resources, all of this damage is then piled on Ackbar, eliminating him! Kylo adds insult to injury, resolving 1 Disrupt and delivering 1 Melee to Poe. The Rebels discard “Suppression” to re-roll all of their dice and the Dork Side Claim the Battlefield. Poe and company finish up the round by collecting 2 Resources and using this to play “Direct Hit” on Kylo Ren for a total of 4 damage with an additional 2 coming from the “Airspeeder”.

The Rebels pay 1 Resource for “Air Superiority”. Hux then uses his Special to resolve “Firepower” for free, spending 1 more Resource to deliver 3 Ranged damage for a total of 4 on Poe! The good guys then pay 1 Resource to play “Field Medic” on their wounded ace pilot. The “F-11D Rifle” Special resolves for 2 more damage on Poe. The Rebels respond by tabling “Honor Guard” but then Kylo uses his Special to hit Poe again for a single smack. Poe responds with a vicious 4 damage back to Kylo, taking him out...and not in a “let’s go to brunch” kinda way. The Rebels then apply another point to Hux who promptly Claims. The Rebels finish up the round by giving a Shield to Poe and discarding “Defensive Position” to re-roll a bunch of craptacular dice. The new results are marginally better. First they resolve 2 Ranged damage on Hux from the “Speeder” and then 4 points of hurt from the “Y-Wing”. The bad guys decide to split this up by turfing 2 Resources and the dealing 2 damage to Hux. They finish the turn by picking up 1 Resource.

The Dork Side kicks off the new turn with “Tactical Mastery”, giving them 2 more Actions. Hux Activates then spends 1 Resource to do 5 Ranged Damage on Poe, knocking him out!

THE DORK SIDE Wins!      



***

Clearly this Rebel Deck isn’t fully baked yet. Poe is an animal and he’s nicely assisted by Ackbar, but they just don’t have enough Weapons and Vehicles to put up a proper fight. Especially against The Dork Side; a deck that’s been aging to perfection like a fine wine since the game first launched.

With the upcoming addition of “Legacies” and a bunch of single Upgrades I’m about to buy, I should have plenty of options to build a proper Rebel / Resistance deck. Heck, I might even be able to build two of them!

Stay tuned, Star Warriors!

***

Next up: two bros who lift face off against a kiwi and an asthmatic. The results are just as weird and wild as you might expect.

***

ROUND ONE - MATCH SIX

QUI-GONE GYM & OBI-BRAWN KENOBI

Characters: Obi-Wan Kenobi - Jedi Master & Qui-Gon Jinn - Ataru Master

Battlefield:  Jedi Temple - Coruscant

Supports:  Defensive Teaching, Jedi Council 
Vehicles: ETA-2 Interceptor, Delta-7 Interceptor
Droids: R2-D2

Upgrades: Protective Mentor
Abilities: Makashi Training, Inner Strength, Coordination, Force Protection
Equipment: Hush-98 Comlink
Vehicle: n/a
Weapons: Lightsaber, Shoto Lightsaber

Events: Ancient Wisdom, High Ground, Unbreakable, Synchronicity, Overconfidence, Riposte x 2, Secret Mission, Strength Through Weakness, Investigate, Ataru Strike, Caution, Defensive Stance x 2, Concentrate, Swiftness, Lightsaber Training.

*** VERSUS ***

THE KIWI & THE ASTHMATIC 

Characters: General Grievous - Jedi Hunter & Jango Fett - Lethal Mercenary

Battlefield:  Separatist Base - Mustafar

Supports:  Black Market, Bubble Shield, Outpost, Backup Muscle
Vehicles: Fang Fighter
Droids: n/a

Upgrades: Prized Possession
Abilities:  On the Hunt
Equipment: Armor Plating x 2, Supply Pack, Jetpack, Mandalorian Armor, Ascension Gun
Vehicle: n/a
Weapons: Vibrosword, BD-1 Cutter Vibro-Ax, Vibroknife, Thermal Detonator, Verpine Sniper Rifle, 
IQA-11 Blaster Rifle, LL-30 Blaster Pistol

Events: Lying In Wait, Coercion, Suppression, QuickDraw, Recon, Tactical Mastery, Battle Fatigue, Armed to the Teeth, Only Business Matters, Loose Ends. 

***


The villains spend 2 Resources to equip Grievous with a “Vibroknife”. Obi-Wan Activates, giving Qui-Gon a Shield. This activates Liam, er...Qui-Gon’s special ability to deal  1 damage to Jango. Fett opts to use his own special ability to Activate. The Jedi play “Defensive Stance”, giving Obi-Wan 2 Shields. After  Qui-Gon plows Grievous for 3 Ranged damage, Obi-Wan performs a “Riposte”, smoking Fett for one damage for each of his 3 Shields. The bad guys Claim the Battlefield and ding Obi-Wan for a point of hurt. For their final action, Obi-Wan uses “Concentrate” to dial up a 3 Melee die result which he then delivers to Fett’s shiny metal face.

Fett dons (more) “Armour Plating” and Grievous goes “On The Hunt”.  After “R2-D2” arrives on the scene, Obi-Wan Activates which gives Qui-Gon  a Shield. After Jango Activates in response to this, the villains chuck out “Backup Muscle” to reroll 3 dice. On their very next action, Grievous spends 1 Resource to deliver 4 damage to Obi-Wan. “R2” generates 1 Resource, which the good guys then use to rock Jango for 3 more Melee damage. His “Armour Plating” soaks up most of this, resulting in a net damage of 1. Grievous resolves a Disrupt, forcing the Jedi to throw out “Swiftness”. Fett nails Obi-Wan with 2 Ranged damage and then Qui-Gon returns the favor, tagging Jango with 1 Melee. The villains Claim, delivering a point of hurt to Obi-Wan and the good guys pass, ending the round.

Like the walking Swiss army knife he is, Grievous suddenly produces an “LL-30 Blaster Pistol”. Obi-Wan Activates, giving Qui-Gon a Shield which he, in turn, uses to snipe Fett for one damage...eliminating him! After Grievous discards “Coercion” to reroll 3 dice the villains strike back, plowing Obi-Wan for 4 Melee damage. Unbowed, the Jedi returns the favor, delivering 3 right back to Grievous! This vicious slug-fest abruptly ends when Obi takes 1 final Ranged hit and gets knocked out. So uncivilized! Once again, it’s “R2” to the rescue! He uses a Focus to turn Qui-Gon’s die to 2 Melee which the Jedi Master then uses to smoke Grievous. All the asthmatic android can do in response is generate one measly Resource. Qui-Gon Jinn Claims, Grievous takes another damage and the round ends.

Qui-Gon fires up a “Lightsaber” and Grievous pays 1 Resource to draw his “Vibrosword”.  This reveals a minor error: the mechanical menace was supposed to get a free Ambush action for his “LL-30”. To make amends, Grievous resolves his “On The Hunt” special to turn his “Blaster” die to 1 Ranged and then zaps Qui-Gon.  The Jedi plays “Force Protection” on himself right before he takes a whopping 4 Melee damage. Grievous gets 1 Resource just as Qui-Gon reconciles his “Lightsaber” special on his foe. In a last ditch effort, Grievous pays 2 Resources to play an “Outpost” but it’s way too little / too late. Qui-Gon delivers the coup de grâce to Grievous in the form of 2 Melee damage, ending the match.


Winner: QUI-GONE GYM & OBI-BRAWN KENOBI!

***

Wow, this one was the equivalent of four hockey goons meeting at centre ice of beating the shit out of each other.   

Admittedly, this new Grievous / Jango deck is pretty anemic, mainly because the lion’s share of my best Upgrade cards are in my Bossk / Boba deck. Needless to say, I need to find some kind of hook or engine for this deck other than “two heavily armed goons try to murder you”. At the very least it needs a Slave-I and Grievous’ Big Wheel! 

As for Obi and Qui-Gon, their synergy worked perfectly, as expected. Obi Activates, Qui-Gon gets a Shield and he then uses his special ability to spend a Shield to deal a point of damage. Nice!

***

Up next: a massive influx of new cards from the “Legacies” set results in a second chance for Poe Dameron and a rabid Attack Dawg being let off the chain!

***

ROUND ONE - MATCH SEVEN

ATTACK DAWG

Characters: Maul – Vengeful One, Mother Talzin – Nightsister Matriarch, Nightsister

Battlefield:  Sith Temple – Malachor

Supports:  Insidious
Vehicles: n/a
Droids: n/a

Upgrades: n/a
Title: Jedi Rival
Abilities: Immobilize
Equipment: Crystal Ball
Vehicle: n/a
Weapons: Maul’s Lightsaber, Grand Inquisitor’s Lightsaber, Lightsaber Pike

Events: Momentum Shift, Intimidate x 2, Consumed by the Dark Side x 2, Now You Will Die, Frighten x 2, Evade, Spell of Removal x 2, Double Strike, Witch Magick x 2, No Mercy, No Surrender x 2, Block, Take Cover, Dodge, Hidden Motive, Cornered Prey x 2.

*** VERSUS ***

HOT SHOTS – PART DEUX

Characters: Poe Dameron –More Than A Pilot, Temmin “Snap” Wexley, Admiral Ackbar – Perceptive Tactician

Battlefield:  Launch Deck – Home One

Supports:  Air Superiority, Resistance HQ
Vehicles: Y-Wing x 2, Black One, T-47 Airspeeder x 2, Z-95 Headhunter
Droids: Astromech

Upgrades: Wingman
Abilities:  Natural Pilot, Tactical Aptitude
Equipment: n/a
Vehicle: n/a
Weapons: DH-17 Blaster Pistol x 2, Poe Dameron’s Blaster

Events: It’s A Trap!, Surgical Strike, Strike Briefing, Logistics, Natural Talent x 2, Rebel Assault, Strategic Planning, Suppression, Reckless Reentry, Deploy Squadron, Targeting Computer, Attack Run, Refit, Aim.

***


Mother Talzin gets the potential to “Immobilize” and the good guys launch a “T-47 Airspeeder”. Maul plays “Hidden Motive”, declaring Ranged damage but the re-rolls don’t match. The Nightsister provides one Resource but then Snap Disrupts it! Mother Talzin activates, revealing a cost 2 “Astromech” so there’s no effect. Ackbar forces Mama Talzin to discard her “Witch Magick”.  The Nightsister responds by using her Focus to turn Maul’s die to 3 Melee and then Em Tee collects a Resource. Poe uses his Special to give Ackbar a Shield and then turns the “Speeder” die to 2 Ranged. The bad guys then spend a Resource to clobber Poe with 3 Melee! Yowtch! The “Speeder’s” 2 Ranged damage is then leveled at the Nightsister! After the villains Claim the Battlefield, the good guys opt to end the round.

The villains lead off by paying 1 Resource to “Frighten” their foes, so Ackbar discards one Shield and Snap chucks out 2. The Resistance pay 1 Resource to give Temmin a “DH-17 Blaster” and then Ackbar get the same weapon on the following turn. Maul delivers 2 Melee to Wexley. Mother Talzin Activates, drawing “Air Superiority” (cost 1) and turning the “Speeder” die to a blank! Mother Talzin follows this up by forcing her rivals to discard the “Astromech” and giving the Nightsister a Shield. The Resistance discard “Supression” to re-roll all of their dice and then Ackbar gives the beleaguered Snap a Shield. The Sith Claim, removing one Disrupt die to do 1 damage to Temmin. The heroes finish the round with Poe playing “Logistics” for 2 Resources and Ackbar doing 1 Ranged damage to the Nightsister who discards her Shield.

Mother Talzin gets her “Crystal Ball” for 1 Resource...look out, y’all! Ackbar displays his “Tactical Aptitude” and “Air Superiority” comes out next turn for 1 Resource. After a “Strike Briefing”, the Sith are forced to discard “Cornered Prey” and then “Air Superiority” is used to place a Shield on Snap. The Nightsister resolves a Discard, forcing the good guys to jettison “Natural Talent”. The villains then voluntarily throw out “Consumed by the Dark Side” to re-roll all of their dice. The heroes give no quarter, blasting the Nightsister for 3 Ranged damage! Maul prompts a Discard and the Resistance chuck out “Reckless Re-Entry”. Mother Talzin gets all matronly, giving 2 Shields to her Sistah. “Frighten” is played on their next turn, so Snap loses his Shields. The bad guys Claim, dropping one unblockable damage on Wexley but then Poe and company are fee to pile on. After using the “Airspeeder” Special to draw 2 new cards, they launch a “Y-Wing” with 3 Resources and then play “Wingman” on Snap. Sadly the “Y-Wing” whiffs on its Activation. Ackbar consoles the group by giving Temmin a Shield and then Poe delivers 2 Ranged damage to the Nightsister, who forfeits her 2 Shields. So ends the round!

The heroes pay 2 Resources for another “Airspeeder”. Ackbar Activates , using “Tactical Aptitude” to draw a card and seed “Attack Run” at the bottom of the deck. Mother Talzin removes the “Immobilize” die to turn the Speeder’s 2 Ranged die to a blank. She then uses a Focus to turn her die to 2 Ranged. Ackbar uses his own 2 Focus to flip the “Y-Wing’s” die to a Special and the “Speeder” to 2 Ranged.  “Intimidate” forces Snap to give up a Shield. The villains pay 2 Resources to play “Dodge”, removing all Ranged damage! The “Y-Wing” executes it’s Special, so Maul takes 3 damage and Mother Talzin takes 1. Mother returns the favor, hitting Snap for 2 Ranged. “Air Superiority” gives a Shield to Temmin but Maul bombs in and clobbers him with 2 Melee damage! Snap executes a Discard so the bad guys heave out “Spell of Removal”. Out of options, Maul and company Claim, giving Wexley a damage in the process. For 1 Resource Poe gets a “Targeting Computer” and then upgrades the Speeder die to 2 Ranged which is then delivered to the Nightsister...eliminating her and ending the round!

Ackbar Activates and uses “Tactical Aptitude” to draw a card and bury “Rebel Assault” at the bottom of the deck. The bad guys spend 1 Resource to knock Snap out with 3 Melee! Mother Talzin Activates and, as per her special ability, she draws a card which turns out to be “Poe’s Blaster”. Since the cost is even (2 Resources), there’s no effect. The Resistance pay 2 Resources to put a “Z-95 Headhunter” into the air. Mother Talzin collects 1 Resource and the villains pay 2 to play “No Mercy”. They discard “Momentum Shift”, adding +1 to their 2 Ranged attack on Poe. Ackbar forces a Discard so the villains throw away “Take Cover”. Once again, the Sith are out of options and are forced to prematurely Claim, giving the heroes an opportunity to run rampant. After Poe takes 1 damage, they use “Air Superiority” to give him a Shield and Ackbar adds another. They resolve the “Speeder’s” Special and draw 2 new cards while the “Y-Wing’s” Special inflicts 4 hits! The bad guys decide to divide the hurt equally between Maul and Mother Talzin. 4 more Ranged damage is then directly inflicted on the not-so-good Mother.

Maul pays 1 to do 3 Melee to Poe just as the pilot gets his “Blaster” for 2 Resources. After Em Tee activates, the Resistance draw “Surgical Strike”. Since it’s an odd number (1 Resource), the villains get to turn Ackbar’s Ranged 1 die to a blank. On their very next turn, the bad guys use “Immobilize” to turn Ackbar’s 1 Ranged “Blaster” result to a blank as well. Mother Talzin follows this up by using the Focus on her “Crystal Ball” to turn her own Character Die to 2 Ranged which later strikes Poe. They then play “Evade” to remove the Speeder’s 2 Ranged die. After this flurry of actions, the villains are once again tapped out and forced to Claim. The heroes discard “Refit” to re-roll all but the “Headhunter’s” die. They then resolve the second “Speeder’s” Special (try saying that five times real quick!) and draw 2 cards. Poe generates and then spends 1 Resource to “Aim”, adding +1 to the “Headhunter’s” 1 Ranged die, which then strikes Mother Talzin! They continue to pile on with Ackbar forcing a Discard of “Block” and then discarding “Strategic Planning” to re-roll 3 dice. Unfortunately the only useful thing they get is 1 more Ranged damage, which is applied to Maul.

The villains use “Witch Magick” to collect 1 Resource and then Maul heals 2 damage. They then play “Consumed by the Dark Side” which turns Poe’s “Blaster” die to a blank. Ackbar’s “Tactical Aptitude” helps him draw “Resistance HQ” and bury “Natural Pilot” at the bottom of the deck. Poe and Ackbar then combine for 2 Ranged damage on Maul. Maul plays “No Surrender” to re-roll his blank but he misses again! Ackbar gives Poe a badly-needed Shield. Maul discards “Intimidate” to re-roll...and then misses for a third time! The heroes pay 2 Resources to table “Resistance HQ”. Maul Claims, dealing one unblockable damage to Poe...killing him! The good guys retaliate by activating all of their ships. To maximize the results, they discard “It’s A Trap!” to re-roll the 2 “Speeder” and 1 “Y-Wing” dice. The “Speeder” forces a Discard: the “Grand Inquisitor’s Lightsaber”! Ouch! Since Maul has no cards left in hand, this triggers Ackbar’s special ability and he takes 2 damage. Finally, the “Y-Wing’s” special ability delivers the coup de grâce!


Winner: HOT SHOTS: PART DEUX!

***

Bad rolling really seemed to drag out this match. The bad guys definitely need more Dark Side Force powers to be competitive, particularly a “Lightsaber Pull” make sure Maul gets his signature weapon in hand early. It is in this deck; it just got buried at the bottom.

I’ll also be the first to admit that the deck has waaaaaay too many m’eh-level Events. Hopefully the thing will be more competitive after I procure a few more Dark Side upgrades. Also, is it also too late to ask for Maul’s Scimitar in the next set?

As for Poe and company, it’s a strong roster. And, let’s face it, I don’t care how Sith-y the competition is, when you come at them with an entire squadron of fighters and bombers they’re gonna get pasted.

***

Next up: Phasma gets her own second chance to prove herself against the gender-flipped Indiana Jones of the Star Wars universe! 

ROUND ONE - MATCH EIGHT

BUCKET HEDZ

Characters: Captain Phasma – Ruthless Tactician, FN-2199 – Loyal Trooper, First Order Stormtrooper

Battlefield:  Frozen Wastes – Starkiller Base

Supports:  Backup Specialist
Vehicles: n/a
Droids: BB-9E, Droid Commandos

Upgrades: n/a
Abilities: n/a
Equipment: n/a
Vehicle: n/a
Weapons: Captain Phasma’s Blaster, Z6 Riot Control Baton, F-11D Rifle x 2, EMP Grenades

Events: Dodge, Undying Loyalty x 2, Take Cover, Endless Ranks, New Orders, Superior Position, Flank x 2, Target Practice x 2, Shrapnel Blast, Mobilize, Scorched Earth, Battle Fatigue, Drop Your Weapon, Subjugate, Strength in Numbers, Evade, Ruthless Tactics, Tactical Mastery, Parry

*** VERSUS ***

YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS

Characters: Doctor Aphra – Artifact Hunter, Bala-Tik – Gang Leader, Hired Gun

Battlefield:  Arid Wasteland - Geonosis

Supports:  Backup Muscle, Stolen Cache, Black Market
Vehicles: Ark Angel, Pirate Speeder Tank, Modified HWK-290
Droids: BT-1

Upgrades: Gang Up, Extortion
Abilities:  Bartering, Hunker Down
Equipment: Personal Shield
Vehicle: n/a
Weapons: DL-44 Heavy Blaster Pistol, Hidden Blaster x 2, Vibrocutlass, Scatterblaster

Events: “Fair” Trade, Quick Draw, Pickpocket, Free-For-All, Dive, Delve, Pilfered Goods, Persuade, Friends in Low Places, Ace in the Hole, Trickery, In Pursuit, Rumors.

***


The Young Entrepreneurs spend 2 Resources to blast off in the “Ark Angel”. The Troopers spend 2 Resources to do a combined 3 Ranged damage to Bala-Tik and then use their collective dice to replenish those Resources. A Focus is used to give the “Ark Angel” 1 Resource. After the Bucket Hedz claim, the young rogues play “’Fair’ Trade” for 0 Resources and then spend a Resource so the “Ark Angel” can upgrade it to 3! They then spend a Resource to do 3 Ranged damage to the Trooper; a net of 1 after Shields. Bala gives himself a Shield and the round ends.

“Undying Loyalty” heals the Trooper for a point. The Entrepreneurs play “Quick Draw” and then pay a whopping 4 Resources to give Aphra a “Vibrocutlass”. Later they discard “Stolen Goods” for a Resource. The Troopers indulge in some “Target Practice” to re-roll 3 red dice and then re-roll again. The Entrepreneurs pay 1 Resource to play “Pickpocket” and the Bucket Hedz lose “Endless Ranks”...ouch! They then draw a “DL-44”. Phasma puts 2 hits on Bala, one of which is blocked by a Shield. The villains pile on, tabling “Scorched Earth” for 2 Resources which leads to a punishing 5 Indirect Damage, 2 of which hits the Hired Gun and 3 to Aphra! With their final action they do an additional 1 Ranged damage to Bala, who then uses his Focus to turn Aphra’s “Cutlass” to 4 damage! The “Ark Angel” generates a single Resource. After the Hedz get  1 Resource from the Trooper they Claim, which causes the Entrepreneurs to lose a Resource. D’oh! The rogues force a single Discard (“Undying Loyalty”) and then deliver a nasty 4 points of pain to the Trooper before the round ends.

For 1 Resource, Phasma gets he signature “Blaster”. Aphra hones her skill of “Bartering” for 1 Resource. The First Order troops spend a Resource to deal a collective 5 damage to Bala...killing him! Aphra seeks revenge, Focusing her “Cutlass” for 4 damage to the Trooper, so he’s dead! The Hired Gun takes a retaliatory 1 Melee damage and  then spends 1 Resource to do 2 Ranged right back to Phasma. The slug-fest continues with the bad guys dealing 1 Ranged damage to the Gun! After this the Bucket Hedz Claim! Aphra hits her enemies with a Discard, so they’re forced to throw out “New Orders” and the round ends.

In a timely move, the First Order plays “Drop Your Weapon!” for 2 Resources and Aphra is forced to lose her “Cutlass”! The Hired Gun spends 1 Resource to do 2 Ranged damage to Phasma. The villains throw out “Ruthless Tactics” to re-roll 3 dice. “Indiana Jeanette” spends 1 Resource to do 2 more Ranged damage to Phasma. Unfazed, Chrome Dome resolves her Special, smoking the Hired Gun for 2 damage. See his commanding officer getting attacked, *a-hem* LOYAL trooper FN-2199 steps in to give her a Shield. The Entrepreneurs generate 2 Indirect Damage and FN, like a good l’il soldier, takes both hits. FN battles back, striking the Hired Gun for 1 Melee. Aphra discovers a single Resource lying around amidst all the chaos. Phasma fires back, hitting the Gun for 1 Ranged damage. The Young Entrepreneurs claim, the Bucket Hedz pass and the round ends!

Aphra draws a “Hidden Blaster” for 2 Resources and she Activates so Phasma loses a Shield! The villains play tit for tat, spending 2 Resources to give FN an “F-11D Rifle”. After Aphra collects 2 Shields, FN drops 2 Ranged damage on the Hired Gun...taking him out too! Phasma then uses a Focus to wring 1 Resource from her other die. The Resource-fest continues with Aphra generating 2 and Phasma getting 1. Aphra then braces herself, collecting 2 Shields for a max of 3. The villains pay 1 Resource to deal 2 Melee to Aphra...leaving her with 1 Shield. Our interstellar Lara Croft then Claims the Battlefield and the bad guys pass to end the round!

The “Doctor” gets the drop on her enemies, drawing her “DL-44” and Activating with the Ambush. The Bucket Hedz do their own quick reaction with “Tactical Mastery”, allowing both FN and Phasma to Activate! The villains play “Flank”, forcing Aphra to remove her Focus. She collects 3 Resources on her turn, which ain’t gonna do her much good.  Phasma  rolls out her Special, dealing 2 damage to Aphra, one of which is blocked by a Shield. Aphra pays 1 Resouce to call in some “Backup Muscle” while the Hedz discard “Parry” to re-roll 3 dice. Terrified by all the potential hurt staring her in the face, Aphra plays “Dive!” for 2 resources to remove 3 of the Ranged dice pointed at her. This card’s Ambush ability then gives “Backup Muscle” an opportunity to blast Phasma for 1 Ranged damage! The villains claim and the round ends.

Aphra spends 2 Resources to call in a “Modified HWK-290”.  It Activates on her next turn, doing 2 damage to Aphra but letting her draw a card. She then pays 1 Resource to do a punishing 4 Indirect Damage from the “HWK”. 1 Shield comes off Phasma and FN takes the remaining 3. Phasma then uses a Focus to turn her “Blaster” to 1 Resource and picks up another from her own Character Die next turn. Aphra continues the valiant fight, delivering 4 Ranged damage to Phasma. The villains spend 3 Resources to “Mobilize” and the “Backup Muscle” smacks Phasma again. The Hedz then pay 4 Resources to bring in some “Droid Commandos” while FN delivers 1 Ranged damage to Aphra. The “Arc Angel” fires back, dealing 1 Range to Phasma - killing her! Next “Free for All” is played, which results in 2 dice being removed and 2 damage on FN! In a last ditch effort to prevent a win from slipping away, the bad guys throw out “Evade” to re-roll 3 dice. Now fresh out of tricks, Aphra Claims! FN generates 1 Resource which the Hedz then use to bring in “BB-9E” for 2. They then hit Aphra with 2 Discards: “Extortion” and *GASP* the “Pirate Speeder Tank”. As if that wasn’t crippling enough, “BB-9E” rolls a Discard as well, forcing Aphra to throw out “Friends in Low Places”. And with that, the round ends.

“Backup Muscle” delivers its third and final damage to FN and then it’s discarded. FN plays “Back Up Specialist” for 1 Resource. Aphra plays “Persuade” for free, turning FN’s die to miss! The “Ark Angel” rolls up 2 Indirect Damage but then “Target Practice” hits the table and the villains re-roll all of their dice twice! That 2 Indirect damage targets FN, but he still has 1 Health left! The loyal trooper then Pays 1 Resource to rock Aphra for a brutal 5 damage, defeating her.


BUCKET HEDZ WIN...BARELY!

***

What a crazy match! Honestly, this one could have gone either way. For first time designs, I think both are fairly solid and I’m curious as to how the Bucket Hedz will fare in Round Two.

*** 

And that concludes Round One, folks, so here are the random match-ups for Round Two:

THE EMPEROR’S NEW GROOVE vs. WE DO NEED THEIR SCUM

THE DORK SIDE vs. QUI-GONE GYM & OBI-BRAWN KENOBI

SERVANTS OF THE DARK SIDE vs. “WHAT’S A PADAWAN?”

HOT SHOTS PART DEUX vs. BUCKET HEDZ

So, pop by again soon to see the top tier decks battle it out in the quest for galactic supremacy! Place your bets, folks!

***

ROUND  TWO – MATCH ONE

THE EMPEROR’S NEW GROOVE  vs. WE DO NEED THEIR SCUM


To off-set TENG’s character total of 30, the Scum start with a “Pre-emptive Strike” Plot card, which deals 2 damage to the Imperials even before the match begins. The hunters then spend 2 Resources to launch the “Z-95 Headhunter”. Palp plays “Pulling the Strings” on himself and follows this up with “Manipulate”, turning both the Royal Guard and Fett’s dice to blanks. The fringers respond with 2 Disrupts to the Emperor’s Resource pool and Palpy strikes back by shocking Fett with 2 Ranged damage and then using his special ability to zap Bossk for 2 more. The Scum tap out by Claiming the Battlefield and the Emperor passes, ending the round.

The Imperials table “Power of the Dark Side” for 2 Resources while the “Headhunter” spends 1 Resource to blast the Royal Guard for 2 Ranged damage. Palpatine lights up Fett for 2 more Ranged damage and then electrifies Bossk for 2 more. Fett retaliates, nailing the Royal Guard for 2 Ranged damage. The Guard returns the favor, clipping Fett with 1 Melee. The grudge match continues with Fett delivering 2 Melee to Palp’s meat shield. The Emperor Claims, Bossk collects a Resource and the round ends.

Bossk pays 3 Resources to ready his “Relby”. The Emperor rolls a miss but then uses “Power of the Dark Side” to re-roll, getting 1 Resource, triggering Palp’s ability and dealing 1 damage each to Fett and Bossk. As if that wasn’t vicious enough, The Emperor figures out how to “Force Rend” for 3 Resources. Next up, Palpatine forces Fett to have a “Doubt” about his Special. Unfortunately, the resulting re-roll turns up 2 Ranged which is immediately delivered to the Royal Guard, killing him! Whoopsie! Bossk collects a Resource, the Emperor Claims and the round ends.

Fett dons his “Wrist Rockets” for 3 Resources. The Emperor then plays “Nowhere to Run”, turning his own die to 3 Ranged and his “Rend” die to +2 Ranged. Ruh, roh! Fortunately for the hunters, they’ve got “Evade” for 1 Resource, which kicks back Palp’s character die. The Emperor assuages his frustration by activating “Power of the Dark Side” and re-rolling his “Rend” die to get a Special. Unfortunately he doesn’t have any Resources to take advantage of this, so he’s forced to Claim. The bounty hunters go on a tear with Bossk getting a Resource and Fett using his Special to nail the Emperor for 2 damage. They then spend 1 Resource to pile on a whopping 7 more Damage!

Understandably rocked by this storm, Palpatine summons a “Force Illusion” to protect himself while the “Z-95 Headhunter” delivers 1 Resource for the Scum. The Emperor discards “The Price of Failure” to re-roll both of his dice and then Bossk digs out a “Thermal Detonator” for 3 Resources. Palpy zaps Fett for 2 Ranged damage and then uses his special ability to fricassee Bossk for 2 more. On his next action, he uses “Power of the Dark Side” to re-roll his “Rend” die. In a last gasp attack, Fett deals 2 Melee damage to Palpatine just as the Sith Lord finishes him off with 2 “Rend” damage. To celebrate, he plays “Boundless Ambition” for 1 Resource and re-fills his hand. Bossk lands the “Thermal Detonator” Special, so the Emperor uses “Force Illusion” to nullify the damage by chucking out three cards! He responds with “Dark Counsel” for 1 Resource. Sensing that the momentum is slipping away, Bossk discards “Relentless Pursuit” to re-roll 2 dice and gets 2 blanks again! Next action they throw out “My Kind of Scum” to re-roll yet again. Palpatine gathers 1 Resource from his “Dark Counsel” die. Bossk initiates 2 Disrupts, the Emperor Claims and the round ends.

Palpatine produces a “Vibroknife” and then Activates thanks to the weapon’s Ambush trait. Bossk plays “Threaten” for 1 Resource, hissing out some choice expletives before kicking Palp’s character die back to him and replenishing the spent Resource on his next Action. Once again, the Emperor uses “Power of the Dark Side” to re-roll his “Rend” die but the results aren’t much better. He consoles himself by poking Bossk for 1 Melee with the “Vibroknife”. The Trandoshan responds by running over to his “Weapon Cache” for 2 Resources. Palpy Claims and the round ends with Bossk delivering 1 Ranged damage to the Sith Lord.

Reading the aurebesh on the wall, Bossk looks to flee by strapping on a “Jet Pack”. Unfortunately, before he can get airborne, Palpatine fries him for 3 Ranged damage and another 2 for his special ability. This instantly turns the notorious bounty hunter into the equivalent of a newt that escaped from its tank three weeks ago and you just found it underneath the radiator.     


(DECISIVE) WINNER: THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE!

***      

Wow. Just...wow.

Okay, granted, the Scum didn’t get a lot of their ships, weapons and equipment out and their luck was pretty shaky, but I really didn’t expect the Emperor and his red-garbed flunky to absolutely annihilate them in six rounds.     

Palpatine’s got a decent set up. While the Royal Guard is soaking up damage, he’s single-handedly delivering 2-5 damage every round and getting more powerful with each passing turn. That formidable 15 life points is also pretty daunting to go up against.

***

ROUND TWO - MATCH TWO

THE DORK SIDE vs. QUI GONE GYM & OBI-BRAWN KENOBI


Kylo Ren ignites a “Crossguard Lightsaber” for 2 Resources, dealing 1 damage to Obi-Wan. “Protective Mentor” Qui-Gon spends 1 Resource to discover some “Ancient Wisdom”, drawing 2 cards in the process. Obi-Wan Activates, giving Qui-Gon a Shield which, in turn, translates to the First Order Trooper taking a point of hurt. Kylo uses a die result to Shield the Trooper. Obi-Wan takes 2 Ranged Damage, 1 of which is blocked by “Protective Mentor”! The Jedi follow this up by delivering 2 Melee Damage to the Trooper, destroying his Shields! The Dork Side Claims the Battlefield and they deploy “BB-9E” for free!

The First Order show off their “Tactical Mastery” for 1 Resource while Obi-Wan borrows Asoka’s “Shoto Lightsaber”. After he Activates, Qui-Gon gets a Shield which translates into 1 Damage to the Trooper! Kylo discards “Enrage” to re-roll both of his dice while Qui-Gon takes two Shields. Between Hux and the Trooper, the villains spend 1 Resource to deliver 3 Ranged damage to Obi-Wan. “Protective Mentor” Qui-Gon blocks 2 of it and with their next Action they discard “High Ground” to re-roll. 2 Shields are placed on the Trooper, the Jedi throw out “Unbreakable” to re-roll again, the Dork Side Claim and finally Obi-Wan ends the round by giving his mentor a Shield.

A “Delta Interceptor” takes to the skies for 3 Resources. Obi-Wan Activates, giving 1 Shield to Qui-Gon who, in turn, hits the Trooper for 1 point which is blocked by Shields. The First Order goons then spend 1 Resource to play “Isolation”, removing Obi-Wan’s 3 Melee die! The “Delta’s” Focus result turns the “Shoto Saber” die to +2 Melee. The villains avoid an impending strike with “Parry”, which kicks Qui-Gon’s 2 Melee die back to him! The Jedi Claim but the Dorks ain’t done! The Trooper deals 2 Ranged damage to Qui-Gon, trashing his Shields. They then discard “Undying Loyalty” to re-roll 3 dice. Hux uses his 2 Focus to change the “Crossguard Saber” die to +2 Melee and this results in 4 damage from Kylo and “BB-9E” to Obi-Wan!   

Obi-Wan Activates and gets a Shield. “BB-9E” resolves his Special, re-rolling a single Shield to replace Obi’s 3 Melee die. Jedi Master and pupil then combine to deal 3 Melee to the Trooper, 1 of which is blocked by a Shield. As soon as Obi-Wan picks up his own Shield, he gets smoked for 2 Ranged damage. The Jedi Claim and then launch the “ETA Interceptor” for 2 Resources. The “Crossguard Lightsaber” Special inflicts 2 more damage on Kenobi, Hux zaps him for 1 Ranged damage and then Kylo spends 1 Resource to do 2 more, eliminating him!

The Trooper blasts Qui-Gon in his bearded mush for 2 Ranged damage.  The Jedi retaliate, eliminating one of their foes by paying 1 Resource to paste the Trooper with 3 Ranged damage from the “Delta”. “Synchronicity” hits the table, nailing Ben Swolo for 2 Damage and then Qui-Gon piles on for 2 Melee. After the wannabe Sith slinks off and collects 1 Resource, Qui-Gon picks up a Shield. Kylo rallies, spending 4 Resources to prime up his invasive “Mind Probe”. Qui-Gon braces himself by playing “Defensive Teachings” for free. “BB-9E” forces the Jedi to Discard “Overconfidence”. The bad guys then voluntarily chuck out “Power of the Force” to re-roll 2 dice. After Qui-Gon Claims, Kylo gathers 1 Resource to fuel “Pulling the Strings” on his next Action. He draws 3 cards from the Jedi’s deck, buries “Crafted Lightsaber” and “Makashi Training” at the bottom and then plops “Jedi Council” on top. What an asshole!

Qui-Gon performs “Force Protection” on himself. The villains spend 3 Resources to open up a “Detention Center” which then Activates to remove Qui-Gon’s character die! The Jedi Master discards “Riposte” to re-roll 3 dice. Hux then uses 2 Focus to give Kylo his “Mind Probe” Special and 1 Resource on the “Crossguard Saber”. Qui Gon gets 1 Shield and then uses his special ability to transfer 1 damage to Monsieur Ren. Kylo resolves his lethal “Mind Probe” special so Qui Gon is forced to take 3 damage; one for every car he holds. The Jedi Master then resolves a Discard, forcing the villains to throw out “Immobilize”. After this Kylo gathers up a Resource and Qui Gon Claims. The round ends as the First Order uses their remaining Resource to do 2 Melee damage to Qui Gon!

For 2 Resources, Qui-Gon embraces “Coordination”. Kylo gets his “Mind Probe” special again and this time he causes a crippling 4 points of damage! The Jedi Master goes on a “Secret Mission” for 0 Resources. He guesses “Red”, draws and discards an “F-11 Rifle” and, since he was right, he gains 1 Resource. In the final play of the game, Kylo spends a Resource to deal 2 Melee damage to Qui-Gon, defeating him.


THE DORK SIDE WINS...WITH AUTHORITAH!

***

I seriously thought this one would be a lot closer. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan work nicely in tandem with one another, but they just couldn’t generate enough raw damage (or damage mitigation) to be competitive.

Conversely, it looks like the new Dork Side deck is even stronger. Phasma was a decent partner for Kylo, but Hux’s ability to lower the cost of Red Events and customize Kylo’s results with a 2-point Focus just makes him a superior choice.

From where I’m standing, The Dork Side’s got a pretty good shot at repeating their championship win!

***

ROUND TWO - MATCH THREE

SERVANTS OF THE DARK SIDE vs. “WHAT’S A PADAWAN?”


The villains get the initiative and spend 2 Resources to play “Makashi Training” on Vader. For the same amount, Luke gets buffed with “Force Focus.” Vader Activates, and his special ability forces the Jedi to chuck out “Noble Sacrifice.” Later he resolves a punishing 5 Melee damage on his L’il Boi. Luke returns the favor, blasting Pops right in the grill for 4 Ranged damage! The good guys Claim, activating the Sith Temple’s Special Ability to force a Discard. After Vader Shields himself the Round ends. 

The villains spend 1 Resource to play “Emperor’s Favor” to increase their hand size. Vader Activates, forcing the heroes to throw out “Bestow.” Later they spend 1 Resource to table “Dark Scheme”, which results in an “Heirloom Lightsaber” being discarded. Ouch! Luke generates a Resource but then Vader takes two of them away. Ben and Luke pair up to deliver 2 Melee damage to Vader, knocking out his one remaining Shield. Vader then deals 3 Melee damage back to the kid. Meanwhile, Ben chooses the worst possible time to make a diary entry, scribbling in his “Journals of Kenobi” for 1 Resource. Luke fires back at Dad for 1 Ranged damage. After the Servants Claim, the good guys are crushed when the random discard turns out to be a “Lightsaber”! This ends the round.

The Sith add to their momentum, giving Vader “Force Choke” for 2 Resources. After Luke gets “Rejuvenated” he uses a “Force Focus” Special to turn a Shield into 2 Ranged and then reveals “Adapt” to flip the Servant’s die to a blank. The villains console themselves by collecting 2 Resources. Luke performs his Power Action, spending 2 Resources to deal a total of 4 Ranged damage to Vader! The Empire strikes back with “Force Strike”, using 1 Resource to alter one of Vader’s dice to 3 Melee, which is then used to clobber Luke for a total of 4 points! The bad guys claim and their rivals are forced to discard “Adapt.” The heroes end the round when Luke produces 1 Resource and then immediately spends it on “Perseverance.”

Round four kicks off with the Servant generating 1 Resource. Luke uses his “Force Focus” special to turn his own Character Die to 2 Ranged. The Sith then spend a whopping 4 Resources to launch “Vader’s TIE”! Pity Luke then spends 2 Resources to perform his Power Action, dealing 3 Ranged damage to his poor, ol’, broken-down asthmatic Dad, eliminating him before he can go on a final joy-ride! The TIE (which presumably went to some random stormtrooper in an estate sale) promptly deals 2 Ranged to Luke, knocking him out as well! Ben Claims the Battlefield and the Servant Discards a “Block”, ending the round.

Obi-Wan says “Hello, there!” as he gains a “Heightened Awareness” for 2 Resources and maxes out his 3 Shields. Later he exhausts “Perseverance” to re-roll his own Character Die and plays “Your Eyes Can Deceive You” to re-roll again. The Dark Side responds with the 2-Resource-cost “I Am Your Father” to resolve Obi’s Focus, which forces them to discard all of their cards! Paralyzed, Kenobi Claims, and the Sith throw out “Isolation.” Next up, the bad guys chuck out “Resilient” to re-roll both dice. The Servant promptly uses a Focus to change the TIE’s die to 2 Ranged, which then destroys an equal number of Ben’s Shields. And, with that, the round ends.

Kenobi exhausts “Perseverance” to re-roll his “Journals” die twice, but he turns up blanks both times. On his next turn he produces 1 Resource.  The Servant spends 2 Resources to play “Abandon All Hope”, which drains away all of the Jedi Knight’s Resources! Out of options, Ben Claims the Battlefield, forcing the Dark side to discard “It Will All Be Mine” and ending a pretty uneventful round.

Obi-Wan finally remembers that he owned a droid, bringing in “R2-D2” for 1 Resource. Later he discards “Battle of Wills” to re-roll both of his dice. The Servant then uses a Focus to turn the TIE’s die (Tie-dye?) to 3 Ranged. Anticipating the inevitable, R2 gives 1 Shield to Ben.  The Servant then spends a Resource to deliver 3 Ranged damage to the geriatric Jedi, two of which is soaked up by Shields.  Again, Kenobi is forced to Claim, resulting in the Servant discarding a “Block” before ending the round.

Then there was the play that broke the levee: Ben drops “One With The Force” on himself for 4 Resources. The Servant develops the power to “Force Rend” for 3 Resources and then plays “Pulling the Strings” to bury Kenobi’s next three cards on the bottom of the deck. The crazy ol’ wizard comes back with “It Binds All Things” for 1 Resource and then uses one more to heal a wound via “Rejuvenate.” The Servant braces himself, gaining 2 Shields from his dice. Ben then uses “Perseverance” to re-roll his “One With The Force” die, eventually getting a 3 Focus result which eventually results in 1 Resource from the “Journal”, 3 Melee for Obi-Wan and 1 Melee from R2. The Servant can’t do much in reply, simply collecting 1 Resource before Claiming, which forces the discard of “Riposte.” Kenobi then drops a 4 Melee hammer on the Servant, dealing a net 2 damage after his Shields break. The Jedi Master keeps piling on, collecting 1 Resource and then tapping “It Binds All Things” to play “Psychometry” for 2 Resources.

In a last ditch effort, the Servant plays “Resilient” on himself for 2 Resources. Ben drops “Alter” for 2 Resources, flipping his character Die to 3 Melee and his “One With The Force” die to 3 Ranged. Ruh, roh! The TIE manages to “PEW-PEW-PEW” the Jedi for 3 Ranged damage but then Obi unleashes a one-two punch of 3 Ranged and 3 Melee to clobber the Dark Side Servant!



WINNER: "WHAT'S A PADAWAN?"

***

I assumed the Servants would deal more damage, so I now stand corrected. Luke’s Power Action is not to be underestimated and “One With The Force” is a card beyond compare. Add in the Jedi’s ability to mitigate more hurt and heal incrementally and you have a pairing that’s pretty darned resilient as well.               

***

ROUND TWO: MATCH FOUR

HOT SHOTS PART DEUX  vs. BUCKET HEDZ



The villains use 2 Resources to equip their Trooper with an “F-11D Rifle.” The Resistance spend 2 to buy  an “Astromech” and later play  “Strike Briefing” for free. This creates a draw order of “Control Baton” and then “Target Practice” with “EMP Grenades” discarded!  Phasma produces 1 Resource, an act that’s ten times more productive than anything she’s ever done on-screen. The Rebe...er, Resistance table “Logistics”, increasing the “Astromech’s” 1 Resource die to 2. The bad guys spend a single Resource to power FN’s 3 Melee to Snap. This blows out his Shields and he takes 1 Damage. The Trooper resolves his “F-11D” Special and both Poe and Ackbar take a hit. On a subsequent turn he resolves his Character Die for an additional 1 Ranged. Admiral Fishface then uses a 2 Focus result to generate 2 Ranged damage from Poe and 1 from Snap. The Hedz “Claim the Battlefield”, kicking Poe’s die back to him. Snap deals 1 damage to the Trooper and, with that, the first round ends.

“Team Evil” uses 1 Resource to produce a “Backup Specialist”, which is later used to re-roll two of their crap dice. A clutch Focus from the “Astromech” results in Poe’s die being turned to 2 Ranged and Snap’s die to 1 Ranged.  The villains respond with a 2-Resource “Subjugate”, which, once again, punts Poe’s die back to him. After Ackbar’s 1 Discard prompts the turfing of “Flank”, Phasma continues to be her usual stellar self, producing a single Resource. Don’t spend it all in one place, guys! The heroes use 1 Resource to drop “Natural Talent”, letting Snap “pew, pew” the Trooper for 2 Ranged. FN’s aim is a little rusty, so he’s sent off for “Target Practice.” The “Hot Shots” Claim, returning the Trooper’s 2 Ranged die. The bad guys finish the round by delivering 2 Ranged and 1 Melee to the Snapster.

4 Resources may be a bit of an investment, but Poe gets the very handy “Natural Pilot” upgrade. Showing his “Undying Loyalty”, the Trooper heals 1 Damage. Once again, Ackbar’s 2 Focus transforms Poe’s die to 2 Ranged and “Natural Pilot” to +3! The villains are ready for this, spending 3 Resources for a well-timed “Dodge” that sends both dice packing! Phasma finally does something useful, sniping Snap for 2 Ranged damage. Temmin strikes back, using a Discard to force the loss of “Flank.” The First Order then exhaust “Backup Specialist” to re-roll FN’s die and the Rifle die. Poe and company Claim, eliminating FN’s Character Die. The villains still have some tricks up their sleeve, using the Trooper’s 1 Resource to drill Snap for 1 Ranged damage...knocking him out! Such a critical loss, right at the end of a round, is heart-breaking for the heroes! 

Things are looking up at the start of the new round with Poe getting his Blaster for 2 Resources. Totes jelly, Phasma gets her Blaster for the same cost. Given this NRA convention-level of guns being waved around, the Trooper “Takes Cover” and gets a Shield. The Resistance jettison “Rebel Assault” to re-roll 3 dice while the Trooper and FN conspire to hit Poe for 3 Ranged damage! In an attempt to rally, the “Astromech” uses a Focus to change the “Natural Pilot” die to +3 and Ackbar’s to 1 Ranged. FN rushes in and cracks Poe upside the head for 1 Melee. The ace pilot exacts brutal revenge, teaming up with Ackbar to crush the Trooper with 7 Ranged damage. Needless to say, he’s killed! Feeling accomplished, the “Hot Shots” Claim, kicking Phasma’s Character Die back to her. “Backup Specialist” is then tapped to re-roll a Rifle die, but the resulting miss signals the end of the round.

Round five starts with the heroes establishing a “Resistance HQ” for 2 Resources and the “F-11D Rifle” Special deals 2 Damage to Ackbar. Phasma continues to wake up, using her Special to smoke Poe for 2 Damage. The villains play “Battle Fatigue” for 1 Resource, removing Poe’s Character die! The good guys jettison “Strategic Planning” and then “Suppression” to re-roll twice. FN gives his commanding officer Phasma a Shield and then wings Poe for 1 Ranged. Once again the “Astromech” comes to the rescue, using a Focus to transform Poe’s Blaster die to 2 Ranged and “Natural Pilot” to a +3. Yikes! Out of tricks, the “Bucket Hedz” Claim, turfing Ackbar’s die in the process but then FN gets blasted for a total of 5 damage! The Resistance crew continue to pile on, using “Resistance HQ” to generate a Shield by discarding “Attack Run.” Their rivals refuse to pay a Resource so the card is refreshed. Poe and company chuck out “Natural Talent” to get another Shield. This signals the end of the round.

The heroes kick things off with “Refit”, launching a “T-47 Speeder” for just 1 Resource but it comes into play “Damaged.” In a key drop, the villains cough up a whopping 5 Resources to play “Endless Ranks”, bringing the Trooper back! The Resistance try to, um, resist by playing a “DH-17 Blaster” on Ackbar. Meanwhile, Poe keeps battling back, dealing a brutal 5 damage to FN. Phasma’s Special finally lands, delivering 2 Damage to Poe’s Shields and one to him. Ackbar then polishes off FN with 3 Ranged damage!

ERROR: The “F-11D Rifle” carried by the Trooper should have been re-deployed. As soon as I noticed this, I placed the card on Phasma, rolled the die and got a Special result, the damage for which I immediately put on Ackbar. 

The replacement Trooper snipes Poe for 1 Ranged damage. The “Bucket Hedz” Claim, giving the heroes a chance to go on a tear. They start with a “Discard” courtesy of the “Speeder”, forcing their rivals to randomly lose “Droid Commandos.” Ouch! They finish off a decent round with the “Astromech” and “Resistance HQ” giving Poe two badly-needed Shields.

For 2 Resources the Trooper equips an “EMP Grenade” while Ackbar becomes the ultimate “Wingman” for free (“Poe! Don’t that crazy chick a drink! IT’S A TRAP!”). The “T-47” blasts away, forcing the Discard of “Superior Position.” The villains initiate “Target Practice” to re-roll 2 dice. Poe Activates, dragging “Wingman” Ackbar along with him while readying the “T-47.” The Trooper deals 2 Ranged damage to Poe, blowing out his Shields and then collectively searing Ackbar for 5 damage. He’s eliminated! The “Hedz” pile on, with the Trooper hitting Poe for 1 Disrupt before Claiming. The slugfest continues as the ever-handy “Astromech” changes the “Natural Pilot” die to +3, resulting in a combined 7 Ranged damage on the Trooper from Poe and the “T-47”, eliminating him!  “Resistance HQ” is used to Discard “Reckless Re-Entry”, giving Poe a Shield. He does this two more times, chucking out “Air Superiority” and “Deploy Squad.”  He then spends 3 Resources to climb into a “Y-Wing”. The First Order crew discards “Drop Your Weapon!” to re-roll 2 dice. The “Y-Wing’s” Special resolves, draining away 1 Resource, 1 Shield and dealing 2 Damage to Phasma. Chrome Dome spends 1 Resource to deliver 4 Ranged damage to Poe, cracking his 3 Shields and causing a single point of Damage...just enough to knock him out!   


WINNER: BUCKET HEDZ

Even though the “Hot Shots” could virtually cherry pick their dice results thanks to the twin threat of Pablo Astrobar I.E. Ackbar and the "Astromech", they just couldn’t generate enough damage to deal with a re-constituted “Endless Ranks” Trooper! If that card hadn’t been pulled it might have resulted in a very different finale!

Awrite, on to the semi finals, which will feature the following tilts:

"WHAT'S A PADAWAN?" vs. THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE


BUCKET HEDZ vs. THE DORK SIDE

Stay tuned!


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