Category Archives: Gaming

Unique T-65 X-wing Titles

DRAFT

There is an ongoing discussion about fixes for the X-wing (in the X-wing Miniatures game). I wrote another post about possible X-wing upgrades.

I now have another idea. The game is called X-wing and the X-wing ship could be a little special. I imagine and think that many of those T-65 were built by Incom, but later during the Galactic civil war (and perhaps even later on) X-wings were built in small shops, small batches, not always with the same original components available. Over the years X-wings were worn, damaged in battles, refitted for special missions, repaired with available parts, subjected to the forces of the Galaxy and adjusted to their pilots preferences.

In the game the concept Title can refer to a ship model (BTL-A4) or a unique individual ship (Millenium Falcon). In this way, there can be many unique X-wing titles, all corresponding to a unique X-wing with its history, flaws and upgrades.

Below I have created (by the X-wing game standards) many X-wing Titles. They are all Unique and they are not to be used with the T-70 X-wing (or any other X-wing that may come). I think it is fine that the X-wing is having many titles in ways no other ships have. The X-wing was the most common starfighter on the Rebel side, yet it has very few upgrade options in the game. The ships could survive many years while I imagine the Empire scrapped TIE fighters that didn’t match specifications to ensure a consistent pilot experience.

I have no information on how the X-wings were identified. I guess they all had some kind of build number, and in the below list they have the format “X-123”. It is not a model, it is a specific ship. If you have information on how the identical ships where named/numbered feel free to let me know!

All the titles are supposed to be good for its points. The X-wing needs a little fix, and these titles should work that way. Most of them have a positive squad cost, and many have a restriction, requirement or drawback. They cannot be thrown in without thought just to make your squad better.

The purpose is to make your X-wings a little better, but perhaps more to personalize them and to make them fit your play style or your current list better. And they should be a little more challenging and interesting to fly.

Some titles have a negative cost, but not for the purpose of being able to fit 5 identical X-wings into a swarm.

Several titles have a Pilot Skill must equal to 4 requirement: they are only for the rarely used 23p Red Squadron Pilot. These Titles may seem a little better, but its because the Red Squadron Pilot (without an Elite upgrade) is in a particularly bad place (I dont think the 4PS B/Y/Z95/X-T70 generics see much play either). These PS4 only upgrades often reflect some more experimental technology that requires much training to use, thus those titles are only available to specially trained (generic) pilots (not to famous named pilots).

X-Wing ID Restriction Cost Description
X-113 1 When attacking with Primary Weapon you may roll 1 extra red die. You cannot attack next round.
X-116 1 When attacking with Primary Weapon you may roll 1 extra red die. If you do so, in Deal Damage Step, ignore all Crits.
X-122 1 When attacking with Primary Weapon, if defender cancelled any Crits with Shield tokens, deal one stress token to defender.
X-17K -1 You can not equip an Astromech. This X-wing has 3 shields.
X-08X PS=4+ 1 This X-wing has a hull value of 2. Once per round when defending you may roll one extra green die.
X-14D Targeting Astromech 1 When you Spend a Target Lock you may keep it (instead of discarding it).
X-14K Targeting Astromech 1 You may acquire Target Lock on any ship in play regardless of range.
X-16F R2 Astromech 1 When executing a 4-K-turn, you may treat it as a speed 3, 4 or 5 K-turn.
X-19A R2 Astromech 1 When executing a 1-bank, you may treat it as a 1-turn the same direction.
X-222 R5 Astromech 0 At the End Phase, you may discard your Astromech to recover 1 shield.
X-291 1 Your action bar gains the Boost action icon. You cannot equip an Astromech.
X-2B7 0 Your action bar gains the Barrel roll icon. You can not equip an Astromech.
X-30P 2 When you equip this card, place 1 ordnance token on a Torpedo Upgrade card. When you are instructed to discard an Upgrade card, you may discard 1 ordnance token on that card instead.
X-370 PS=4+ 1 You must use a T-70 X-Wing maneuver dial
X-379 PS=4+ 1 You must use an A-wing maneuver dial. Your X-wing has 2 hull.
X-414 PS=4 0 Your action bar gains the Cloak Action
X-416 PS=4 1 Your action bar gains the Cloak Action. You may equip one Elite upgrade card.
X-441 PS=4 0 If your maneuver causes you to overlap X-442 and you are touching X-442 you may perform your action as if you did not overlap. You may equip one Elite upgrade card.
X-442 PS=4 0 If your maneuver causes you to overlap X-441 and you are touching X-441 you may perform your action as if you did not overlap. You may equip one Elite upgrade card.
X-460 PS=4 1 You may equip two missile upgrade cards. Get the cheapest one for free. You cannot equip a Torpedo. You may equip one Elite upgrade card.
X-465 PS=4 0 Your pilot skill is 5. You must equip one Elite upgrade card.
X-466 PS=4 1 Your pilot skill is 6. You must equip two different Elite upgrade cards.
X-484 PS=4 0 You may equip one Crew and one Elite upgrade card.
X-491 PS=4 1 Dual Card. You may equip on Elite upgrade card. You may flip this card during the end phase.
A) Your PS=0
B) Your PS=12
X-4X0 PS=4 0 You may equip one Illicit upgrade card and one Elite upgrade card.
X-502 PS=4+ 1 If your maneuver cases you to overlap a ship or an obstacle you may choose to instead execute another slower manuever with the same bearing (including 1-turn).
X-5LX 1 When you attack, the defender does not benefit from obstacles.

Upgrades for T-65 X-wing

In the X-wing game the original X-wing (T-65) is by many considered underpowered. The exception is Biggs Darklighter and to some extent Tarn Mison (with R7 Astromech) who are useful thanks to their Pilot ability. But the rebel aces (thematically) Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles are not worth their points.

It is interesting to compare the orginal X-wing (T-65) with the new T-70 X-wing. For 3 extra points you get:

  1. Shield upgrade (4p)
  2. Engine upgrade (4p)
  3. Better maneuver dial with Tallon Roll
  4. A tech upgrade (which can take Primed Thrusters for just 1p)

It is rare to spend 4p on a Shield upgrade, but it is very clear that a T-70 for 24p is much more value than a T-65 for 21p.

In practice the lowest cost for an X-wing is 22p (25p for a T-70) because it always makes sense to add Integrated Astromech and any (1p) Astromech. The thing with Integrated Astromech was that it improved the T-65, but it improved the T-70 as well, so it didn’t make the T-65 more viable.

At 25p it is possible to make a “swarm” of 4. For the T-65 you can still just include 4, possibly in a XXXXZ-squad (but then BBBBZ is usually more effective).

If you read X-wing forums you find that there is “demand” for a “fix” for the X-wing. Such a fix may never come, but arguments are:

  • The game is called X-wing: the title ship should not suck
  • Luke and Wedge should be good pilots (Darth Vader got a powerful fix)

Some complicating factors are:

  • Biggs (and Tarn) are already good, and could be too powerful with a fix
  • Any fix that also makes the T-70 more powerful may cause more problems that it solves
  • The maneuver dial can’t trivially be changed to be on par with the T-70 (so just a title or modification is not quite enough)
  • Integrated Astromech occupies the modification “slot” so a new modification (as well as otherwise potentially useful Guidance Chips or Vectored Thrusters) wont do
  • Since the two ship types are called “X-wing” and “T-70 X-wing” it requires some ugliness to address only the old T-65
  • From the very beginning, Wave 1, the X-wing was under powered compare to the Tie Fighter

So, we are looking for an Astromech, a Title or possibly a Torpedo, that wont be unbalanced with Y-wing, ARC-170, E-wing, T-70 or Biggs. It should make both the generic and named pilots viable. It would also be fun with something that promotes a swarm/squad of (just) X-wings.

The generics
For the generics I would like a fix that allows a swarm with 5 of them. That would ideally be a negative cost Title or Astromech, or possibly a Torpedo just like Chardaan Refit. This would increase the difference between T-65 and T-70, positioning the T-65 between the Z95 and the T-70. Thematically this could be “refurbished”, “old”, “ill maintained”, “original”, “refit” or something else.

The named pilots
The named pilots suffer more from lack of repositioning (Boost or Barrel Roll). They are hardly helped by Push the Limit since they have few actions. Engine Upgrade or Vectored Thrusters are modfications and compete with Integrated Astromech. Luke Skywalker could need Veterans Instincts so then not even the Elite slot is available.

What should it be (good at)
There are two ideas about what the X-wing is (good at). The first is that it should be Jack of all Trades. The other is that it should be a jouster (because it is all it can do).

Jousting is about two (groups of) ships approching each other, firing and evading. As they pass each other they both U-turn and keep shooting. This continues until one (side) is dead. It is possible to make mathematical models or simultions (and people have) to decide jousting efficiency. It turns out Z-95 headhunter is best value, the B-wing sligtly less, and the X-wing falls behind.

As the B-wing has more other options (barrel roll, cannon, two torpedoes) it leaves the X-wing in a very bad place.

Fixes to the X-wing tend to fall in different categories:

  1. Lowering the cost to make it a better Jouster
  2. Making it more like the T-70 (boost)
  3. Adding defensive capabilities: evade or cloak
  4. Give it some other (unique) capability

While there are creative suggestions to improve the X-wing I hesitate about something that would be a more or less mandatory and exotic upgrade. I mean, if ALL X-wings played suddenly have Cloak, and they are played much, that changes the entire game. If X-wings more often than not would carry Proton Torpedoes that would not change the game much.

Upgrades I would like to see
Disclaimer: Star Wars lore is not my speciality.

** T-65 Standard Torpedo: 1p Torpedo. X-wing (Rebel Alliance) only. As Proton Torpedo.
At 1p it is not an autoinclude (like Chardaan Refit). It also requires a choice between offensive Guidance Chips and defensive Integrated Astromech. Finally, it does not help Biggs, but it does help generics as well as named pilots.

** T-65 Standard R2: -1p Astromech. X-wing (Rebel Alliance) only.
This would allow swarm of 5 T-65 X-wings.

** S-Foils: 0p, Title, Dual Card. X-wing (Rebel Alliance) only.
Side A: Cruise Position): When executing a maneuver you may treat it as +1-speed maneuver with the same bearing. Immediately after rolling attack dice, change one (if any) Crit to a Hit.
Side B: Attack Position): Immediately after rolling attack dice, if you rolled no Crits you may change one Hit to a Crit. 3 turns and 4 straight are red maneuvers.
You may flip this card before revealing your maneuver dial.
This would make the X-wing a little bit more interesting and challenging to fly. It would slightly compensate for lack of boost and repositioning capability, but at a cost. It would give it a slight edge compared to B/Y/Z95.

I like that S-foils always are both good and bad. I don’t want the cruise mode to essentially give it a boost and I don’t want the attack mode to be significantly more powerful than B-wing or T-70. Also, I want the change in attack efficiency to be effective regardless of range, focus and target lock.

** Overdrive: Torpedo, Dual Card. X-wing only.
Side A: Overdrive Compressor): 4p
Side B: Overdrive Pack): 1p (discard after use)
Both sides: Action: Perform a free Boost Action. Then receive one Focus token and one Stress token.

I would much like to see this for the Z95 Headhunter as well (as a Modification or Missile).

I have made the above cards available as a printable PDF File.

References
Below is a collection of links to fix suggestions elsewhere.

** T-65 X-wing starfighter: Add one shield, -3p, title (I presume)
My guess is that this is way too powerful.

** T-68 Prototype: If your pilot skill is 6 or higher and you are not stressed when you reveal a white 3 turn, you may perform a 3 tallon roll in the same direction, 2 or 3 points.
To me, this just makes it a worse T-70 and it does not help the generics.

** StealthX: Your action bar gains the [cloak] action icon. ? points
This would widen the use of the X-wing and it is a nice idea. It would be very good with Biggs though, completely unbalanced.

** Rogue One: When you perform a focus action any friendly x wing at range 1-2 may perform a free target lock action. Add EPT if you don’t have one. Unique 3p title, PS6 or better
I doubt anyone would pay 3p for it, otherwise it is a good idea.

** Rogue Squadron: Reduce cost of Astromechs and Torpedoes by 1p (min 0), Title 0p
Well, if it was 2 points it would be possible to fly 5 of them.

** Two unnamed titles: (Rebel Alliance / T-65 only)
1) When attacking, you may spend a target lock you have on an enemy ship at range 1 to perform an attack against that ship even if it is outside your firing arc.
2) At the start of the combat phase, if you have a target lock on an enemy ship, you may assign it one stress token.
While useful, I think it is weird to add a new capability to T-65 that T-70 cant have. The first one is thematically odd, and the second one would be very powerful, esp if not unique.

** XJ-5 Title: Add boost to the upgrade bar, add Tech slot, lose Astromech slot. Treat 3 forward and 2 banks as greens.
Since Integrated Astromech exist I think the loss of Astromech is too bad. I am also sceptical about adding the Tech slot. Green maneuvers are not that useful since it only has one red maneuver. Otherwise, adding maneuverability and removing something else makes sense.

** Engine Refit: Add the (Boost) and (Evade) actions to your action bar. Torpedo 2p.
The author intended it to be available also to the T-70 (which would add only Evade). The Rebels/Resistance are not having too many ships with evade actions so I could welcome that. However if all X-wings always add an Evade Action that could change quite much. Also this would be very good with Biggs.

** T-65b: Player may choose to take the (Boost) action. If this is done, subtract (X) from your attack skill for this turn. Title (I suppose)
This could work. It could also be an Astormech. (Should not be T-65b though, se below)

** Refurbished Astromech: -2 points. Your upgrade bar loses all upgrade icons besides [Astromech slot].
This would reduce the generic cost to 19 which is quite fine.

** Corran Horn and giving it Boost+Shield.
The first option does not help any current pilots, and the second option is still just worse than the T-70, but now for the same price.

** Free Proton Torpedo
Not such a bad idea?

** No name title: Title that when a R2 is equipped all 1,2 & 3 maneuvers are green.

** S-Foil: Take a weapons disabled token and evade token to make all moves white. Modification or Title.
Maybe a good idea!

** Some title: Enemy ships in arc at range 2-3 cannot perform boost or barrel roll actions.
I think a title that will be added to several ships, almost as a default/fix should do something with the ship itself, not with plenty of other ships at the board.

** Astromech: If an enemy ship within 1-2 and inside your arc performs a barrel roll or boost action you may perform a free barrel roll action.
Well, that is interesting. Perhaps better as a title.

** Lightened Payload: Torpedo, -1p.
This would obviously be useful.

** T-65C-A4: Your range 1 combat bonus extends to range 1-2, but at range 3 you roll one less red die. You may treat the 3 bank as a red segnors loop of the same direction. Title 1p

** T-65D: Replace your astromech slot with a system slot, title 1p.
Very expensive since Integrated Astromech is lost.

** S-Foils: Dual Card:
S-foils in cruise position: reduce your Primary attack value to 2. During the end step, you must perform a free boost action.
S-foils in attack position: When you declare an attack on a target you have locked, you may turn an eye into a hit.

Not sure how it would exactly work, but I can see it being useful and interesting.

** A -1p Astromech that does nothing

** Give it 4 attack dice

**** A fine post with several suggestions. ****

T-65B Model: Lore wise this was the sturdiest X-Wing. Due to its heavy armor, and early design, it was still slower than the Tie Fighters. It was very easy to learn and fly. T-65B Title Card increases Hull Value, and Shield Value by 1. Decreases cost by 1. Your 4 Straight becomes a red maneuver.

T-65D-A1 Model: This was an attempt to remove the Astromech from the X-Wing. They were trying to use computer in place of the Astromech to help the pilot. T-65D-A1 Title Card removes the Astromech Slot. Grants 1 Focus when in range 1 of an enemy ship.

T-65AC4 Model: This was perhaps the last T-65 Model. It was the superior model as it had increased engine power, increased Torpedo capacity, and armor. T-65AC4 Model Title Card decreases Torpedo or Missile Cost by 2. Grants the Boost Icon.

T-65 Missile Conversion Card: There is reference in the books and in the internet that T-65’s used Torpedoes as their standard mission load out. They could be equipped with Missiles, if a mechanic spent enough time to do so. T-65 Missile Conversion Modification changes the Torpedo slot to Missiles. If using the T-65AC4 Title Card, this card costs 0

X-Wing Stutter Fire Card (X-Wing, and T-70 X Wing): Discard this card, to lower the Agility Value of your Target by 2 (no damage)

X-Wing Quad Fire Card (X-Wing, and T-70 X Wing): Discard this card to increase your attack value by 1 for this turn

Elite Pilot Talent called “Red Squadron” (X-Wing and T-70 X-Wing). If you have a Target Lock on your enemy, your other Ships may treat that Target Lock as their own (IE One Target Lock for all of your ships)

Those are all interesting ideas.

3 Astromechs that I came up with myself a little while ago. I dont like them much anymore.

10x Horton Salm

I will post ten different squads with Horton Salm. Work in progress.

Links Other Squads , X-Wing Wiki , My Pilot Browser

** Horton, Tycho and Jake ** (100)
1x Y-Wing Horton Salm (25), Twin Laser Turret (6), R5 Astromech (1), Shield Upgrade (4)
1x A-wing Tycho Celchu (26), A-wing test pilot (0),
 1x Push the Limit (3), Proton Rockets (3), Guidance Chip (0), Veteran Instincts (1)
1x A-wing Jake Farrel (24), A-wing test pilot (0),
 1x Push the Limit (3), Proton Rockets (3), Guidance Chip (0), Veteran Instincts (1)

My opponent, flying four different TIE fighters, did everything to kill Horton Salm right away and he went down the second round of combat firing only the round before. But that gave the A-wings a smooth start and I won in the end. R2-D2 could have been a better option than Shield Upgrade, but in my case I would hardly have been able to use it. R2-D6 + Veteran Instincts would be another option. You could also replace the A-wing Veteran instincts with Outmaneuver or Predator, and use less points on Horton Salm (I think that would generally be better, but the A-wings much benefit from highest skill). The Proton Rockets effectively cost 5p (since you use them instead of Chardaan refit), but they turned out to be very good on Jake and Tycho. The A-wings usually last a few rounds, frequently gets within range 1, and with Push The Limit you can easily roll 5 dice, reroll with target lock and then apply Guidance Chip + Focus.

** 3 old veterans ** (99)
1x Y-Wing Horton Salm (25), Twin Laser Turret (6), BTL-A4 (0)
1x X-Wing Wedge Antilles (29), BB-8 (2), Stay on Target (2), Integrated Astromech (0)
1x ARC-170 Norra Wexley (29), Weapons Engineer (3), Push the Limit (3)

These are three pilots with stronger than normal 3 dice attack capabilites. With high skills you can deal damage fast and all ships can sustain significant damage. Wedge with Stay on target, BB-8 and skill 9 typically has quite a few options if he makes a green straight 2 maneuver. Norra can use the two target locks defensively. There are of course options. An R2 droid on Horton can be useful… if he survives to use it. There are plenty of elite skills that can be useful for Wedge (you are never going wrong with Predator). It is also possible to replace the ARC-170 with a low skill B-wing and Heavy Laser Cannon, and equip Horton with R2-D6 and Swarm Tactics.

** BBB-Horton ** (99)
1x Y-Wing Horton Salm (25), Twin Laser Turret (6), BTL-A4 (0), R3 Astromech (2)
3x B-Wing Blue Squadron Pilot (22)

A squad design to make your opponent at least consider not targetting Horton first. Anyway, the R3 Astromech is a decent combo with Hortons special ability and BTL-A4.

** The Force is with Horton ** (99)
1x Y-Wing Horton Salm (25), Twin Laser Turret (6)
1x X-Wing Luke Skywalker (28), R7-T1 (3), Opportunist (4), Integrated Astromech (0)
1x X-Wing Wes Janson (29), Targeting Astromech (2), Stay on Target (2), Integrated Astromech (0)

I wanted to make something useful with old Rebel Alliance X-wings and came up with this squad. Horton usually attracts enough hatred anyway, so he gets no upgrade besides the turret. Both Luke and Wes have some repositioning ability with R7-T1 and Stay on Target to make them competetive against more modern ships. Stay on Target works nicely with Targeting Astromech. What turned out to be surprisingly useful was Opportunist – actually quite worth its 4 points. Wes Janson attacks first and even if he would not produce much damage he should leave the enemy quite vulnerable to Horton and Luke. I would probably replace R7-T1 with BB-8 (which is good with Opportunist) if I use this list again.

…6 to go…

X-wing squads

Links: Horton Salm Squads , X-Wing Wiki , My Pilot Browser

I will post (rebel/resistance) X-wing squads I have played here.

** Big Nien Numb Squad ** (100)
1x T70 X-Wing Nien Numb (29), Push the Limit (3), R3-A2 (2)
2x A-Wing Prototype Pilot (17), Chardaan Refit (-2)
3x Z-95 Bandit Squadron Pilot (12)

This worked very well. Nien Numb is good at handling out stress. I tried to replace Nien Numb with Wedge Antilles but was less lucky. The idea is to have a large squad with some edge. For 34p there are many options to replace Nien Numb.

** Angry Chewbacca ** (100)
1x YT-1300 Chewbacca (42), Recon Specialist (3), Jan Ors (2), Millenium Falcon (1), Push the Limit (3)
2x B-Wing Blue Squadron Pilot (22), Fire Control System (2)

This is the new (Hereos of the Resistance) Chewbacca, but the old Millenium Falcon. The idea is that Chewbacca can make green maneuvers, Push the Limit and get 2xFocus + 1xEvade, or 1xFocus + 2xEvade every round. When the B-wings die Chewbacca gets a bonus shot. First time I used this squad I had 4xZ95 instead of B-wings, but they were not enough of a threat to keep the fire away from Chewbacca (and you do want Millenium Falcon left in the end).

** Very Aggressive B-wings ** (99)
1x B-wing Keyan Farlander (29), Fire Control System (2), Expose (4), Experimental Interface (3)
1x B-wing Nera Dantels (26)
 Fire Control System (2), Proton Torpedo (4), Extra Munitions (2), Guidance Chip (0), Trick Shot (0)
1x X-wing Biggs Darklighter (25), Integrated Astromech (0), R3 Astromech (2)

Keyan Farlander can use Experimental Interface to be stressed and Exposed, and then use his stress as a focus. Thanks to Biggs, enemy can’t fire at Keyan. Nera is a royal pain (save your torpedoes until you have nobody in your primary firing arc). Admittedly I flew this squad with the R4-D6 astromech, which sucked, because it does not cancel criticals, and did not help Biggs at all.

** Wedge and his crack team ** (100)
1x X-wing Wedge Antilles (29), Integrated Astromech (0), BB-8 (2), Adaptability (0)
1x A-wing Tycho Celchu (26), Chardaan Refit (-2), A-Wing Test Pilot (0), Push the Limit (3), Wired (1)
1x A-wing Jake Farrell (24), Chardaan Refit (-2), A-Wing Test Pilot (0), Adaptability (0), Trick Shot (0)
1x Z95 Airen Cracken (19)

I got this squad from my oppenent who wanted me to fly a good Wedge squad. The core idea is that 4 ships with 8 skill is very powerful in itself. And Airen helping Wedge to get two actions make Wedge a very hard hitter. While I like the idea, Wedge is not that good for the price and I would have wanted Push the Limit on Jake also.

** An odd squad ** (97+)
1x ARC-170 Braylen Stramm (25), Alliance Overhaul (0), Tactician (2), R3-A2 (2)
1x T70 X-Wing Jess Pava (25), Integrated Astromech (0), R2 Astromech (1), Pattern Analyzer (2)
2x A-wing Green Squadron (19)
 Chardaan Refit (-2), A-Wing Test Pilot (0), Push the Limit (3), Trick Shot (0)

Four competent ships, all with the same skill (3) allowing them to move and shoot in any order. Jess leads the way, the others staying within range 1, maximizing his special ability. At 97 points, there is room to replace Jess’s R2 and/or Trick Shot with something else. Braylen can deliver 1-2 stress which is a powerful and flexible weapon.

** Another Odd Squad ** (100)
1x ARC-170 Braylen Stramm (25), Alliance Overhaul (0), Tactician (2), R3-A2 (2)
1x X-wing T70 Jess Pava (25), Integrated Astromech (0), Targeting Astromech (2), Pattern Analyzer (2)
1x X-wing Tarn Mison (23), Integrated Astromech (0), R7 Astromech (2)
1x Tie Fighter Zeb Orrelios (13), Sabine’s Masterpiece (1), Hot Shot Blaster (3)

Another squad of four ships with skill 3. Tarn Mison with R7 is not bad and Jess Pava needs wingmen.

** Acrobatic X-wings ** (100)
1x T70 X-wing Ello Asty (30)
 Integrated Astromech (0), R2 Astromech (1), Push the Limit (3), Primed Thrusters (1)
1x T70 X-wing Snap Wexley (28), Integrated Astromech (0), Targeting Astromech (2),
 Pattern Analyzer (2), Proton Torpedoes (4), Adaptability (0)
1x T70 X-wing Blue Ace (27), Integrated Astromech (0), BB-8 (2)

These three X-wings are all capable of moving in very acrobatic ways, and still come out with focus and/or target lock.

** Alpha Strike ** (100)
1x A-wing Tycho Celchu (26), A-wing test pilot (0),
 Concussion Missiles (4), Push the Limit (3), Swarm Tactics (2), Guidance Chip (0)
1x Z-95 Airen Cracken (19), Concussion Missiles (4), Push The Limit (3), Guidance Chip (0)
1x Z-95 Lieutenant Blount (17), Assault Missiles (5), Guidance Chip (0), Veteran Instincts (2)
1x Z-95 Bandit Squadron Pilot (12), Concussion Missiles (4), Guidance Chip (0)

Tycho, Airen and Bandit should all shot with Target Lock+Focus at skill 8. Blount has no focus, but he cant miss. I lost with this squad but it was a funny game. In hindsight I would have been better off with Ion Pulse Missiles on Lieutenant Blount.

** Big Bad Boys ** (100)
1x YT-1300 Chewbacca (42), Millenium Falcon (1), Jan Ors (2), Kyle Katarn (3), Push the Limit (3)
1x YT-2400 Leebo (34), Outrider (5), Heavy Laser Cannon (7), Recon Specialist (3), Trick Shot (0)

This is the old Chewbacca and the old Millenium Falcon. You can typically get focus+evade on both ships every round. Chewbacca can even get 2 evade plus focus or target lock. My idea is to fly defensively, constantly making green maneuvers with Chewbacca, and you will make damage anyway. Your problem can be that your enemy will do everything to kill Leebo first and stay close enough to him to avoid his laser. It could be better to replace Heavy Laser Cannon with Mangler Cannon and add Stealth Device or a 3p Elite.

** X-wing swarm ** (100)
1x T70 X-wing Jess Pava (25), Targeting Astromech (2), Primed Thrusters (1)
1x T70 X-wing Blue Squadron Novice (24), R2 Astromech (1)
1x X-wing Tarn Mison (23), R7 Astromech (2)
1x X-wing Rookie Pilot (21), R2 Astromech (1)
 + Integrated Astromech (0) on all

You just can’t squeeze 5 X-wings into a 100p squad. 4 X-wings can be done, but the options are quite limited. This squads takes full advantage of Jess’s pilot ability. Tarn Mison with R7 is surprisingly good. You may prefer Pattern Analyzer (and a 1p Astromech) on Jess. The Rookie Pilot can use another Astromech as well (R5 comes to mind). It is not the easiest swarm to fly as you have two different skills and two different (although similar) maneuver dials: all 4 pilots different.

** The A-wing Aces Squad ** (99)
1x A-wing Tycho Celchu (26), Trick Shot (0)
1x A-wing Jake Farrell (24), Adaptability (0)
1x A-wing Arvel Crynyd (23)
1x A-wing Gemmer Sojan (22)
 + Chardaan Refit (-2), A-Wing Test Pilot (0), Push the Limit (3) on all

You can argue about a lot of things but this is the definite A-wing Aces Squad. You can of course put Veteran Instincts on Jake and Adaptability on Tycho for 100 points.

** BBB-Etahn ** (98)
1x E-wing Etahn A’baht (32)
3x B-wing Blue Squadron Pilot (22)

The idea here is simply to make good use of Etahns’ special ability. Also, with Barrel Roll, Etahn is quite capable of staying in formation with (or just behind) the slow B-wings. Possible upgrades for Etahn: Swarm Tactics, Elusiveness, Veteran Instincts, Wingman, Calculation, Crack Shot, Juke, Snap Shot, Trick Shot) R2-D6 (allows Trick Shot + 1p Elite), Collision Detector (free). When I played this squad I used Fire Control System but that is not good: Etahn fires first, gets Target Lock, then 3 B-wings fire and typically they want to fire at the same enemy until destroyed – Target Lock wasted. For the same reason I would not equip R3-A2.

** Basic T70s ** (100)
3x T70 X-wing Blue Squadron Pilot (24)
 Integrated Astromech (0), Targeting Astromech (2), Primed Thrusters (1)
1x Z95 Airen Cracken (19), Trick Shot (0)
 or
1x A-wing Green Squadron (19)
 Chardaan Refit (-2), A-Wing Test Pilot (0), Adaptability (0), Intimidation (2)

The A-wing could use Elusiveness, Expert Handling or Juke instead depending on your preference. Adaptability gives it the same skill as the X-wings for easy maneuvering. The squad does not require much presentation. However, compared to the naked 24p Blue Squadron Pilot, the 3-card-3-p upgrades makes a lot of difference.

** K-wing support ** (100)
1x K-wing Warden Squadron Pilot (23), Sabine Wren (2), Advanced SLAM (2)
 Ion Bombs (2), Conner Net (4), Extra Munitions (2)
1x E-wing Etahn A’bath (32), Fire Control System (2), R2 Astromech (1), Push The Limit (3)
1x X-wing Garven Dreis (26), R2 Astromech (1), Integrated Astromech (0)

This one lost big time. I need more practice with the K-wing wanted to try out pilots I never used before.

** 6-6-6 ** (100)
1x ARC-170 Shara Bay (28), Weapons Engineer (3), Alliance Overhaul (0), Trick Shot (0)
1x B-wing Ibtisam (28), Advanced Sensors (3), Cool Hand (1)
1x K-wing Esege Tuketu (28), Twin Laser Turret (6), Recon Specialist (3)

Another squad that lost. The 6-6-6 PS is a gamble and turned out a bit unlucky twice. The idea here is very simply to have 3 aggressive ships that can take a lot of damage, and share Focus and Target Locks. Ibtisam with Advanced Sensors is quite unpredictable and Twin Laser Turret is usually good. Perhaps I need more practice with the K-wing or with this squad, or perhaps everything is a little too expensive and none of the ships reach their full potential.

** Mixed swarm ** (100)
1x Tie Fighter Sabine Wren (15), Crack Shot (1)
4x A-wing Prototype Pilot (17), Chardaan Refit (-2)
2x Z-95 Bandit Squadron Pilot (12)

If you want a swarm of 6-7 ships you don’t have so many options. Also, you may not own 8 Headhunters or 6 A-wings. I think the extra cost for the A-wings are worth it, but if you want to make it to 7 ships you need to add Headhunters. I was not happy with Sabines performance; she ended up first blocking and then being blocked by my own ships all the time. Fly the A-wings (same dial and skill) in one swarm and the Headhunters in their own little swarm. If you use Sabine, have a plan so she stays behind the others. If you have another A-wing you can use it instead of Sabine. If you have another Z95 you get 4p for upgrades: vectored thrusters for 2 Headhunters come to mind but there are other options (a missile, a shield upgrade, 2x autothrusters).

** Poe Power X-wings ** (98)
1x T70 X-wing Poe Dameron (33),
 Autothrusters (2), Push the Limit (3), R5-P9 (3), Black One (1), Pattern Analyzer (2)
1x X-wing Garven Dreis (26), M9-G8 (3), Integrated Astromech (0)
1x X-wing Tarn Mison (23), R7 Astromech (2), Integrated Astromech (0)

I have seen that many people fly very powerful Poe (or Corran Horn) and my thought has always been that its a very sensitive squad with so many points on one pilot. In this squad Poe is 44 points so you can basically replace him with two X-wings or two B-wings. I have to admit that Poe did not disappoint. With Push the Limit Poe can almost always Focus, and with Poes special ability he can often keep that Focus and exchange it for a shield in the end of the turn. With Boost (and a green 3 straight maneuver) you can often stay quite far away from your enemy and with Autothrusters you are hard to hit at range 3. However, at least I can’t Push the Limit and fly green maneuvers all the time, and I did find use for Pattern Analyzer (which I typically don’t see in such Poe configurations). It does make sense to include Autothrusters (rather than Integrated Astromech) as they help to protect Poe when he needs to regenerate shields. Tarn Mison with R7 is very good on his own. Garven Dreis is there to give Poe extra focus if/when he needs it, and Garven is arguably the weakest link in this squad.

X-Wing Miniatures: An introduction

I have been playing X-Wing Miniatures for about a year. I think it is a very good game and I will share some findings, particularly with new players.

I have exclusively played the Rebel (and Resistance) side and I have only played causual games, no tournaments.

What to buy first
I have the same boring advice as everyone else: after your first Core set (the blue Force Awakens box), get a second starter set (the Original core set).

You want 6+6 dice, thus the second start set is good value.

Only if you already have friends that own the game and you just want a squad, and you want to build the strongest possible squad for as little money as possible perhaps you should not get a second (or even a first) core set.

Winning
Winning X-wing comes down to a few key factors:

  1. Flying well
  2. Some luck with dice
  3. A good squad

The dice luck is a good thing because it keeps the game interesting until the end!

When it comes to flying well and building a good squad I have some bad news: it is more about avoiding mistakes than to be brilliant! Bad decisions decide the outcome of the game much more often than good decisions.

If you are fighting a decently good opponent this is what will make you lose:

  • Flying off the board: lose your ship immediately.
  • Flying into asteroids (obstacles): you may get damage, you lose an action, and in worst case you even lose an attack. There are (rare) occations when running through an asteroid is a winner, but most of the time it happens by mistake and its a bad thing.
  • Flying into yourself: (blocking yourself) losing an action – if you occationally do it intentionally for a good reason – fine, but by mistake or because you have no option – not good.
  • Not flying as one squad: see below.

What it comes down to is that both squads are equally strong from the beginning. If you make the above mistakes you lose actions and shots and your ships die faster.

Squad Strength
You typically pay 100 points for your squad. You pay for:

  • Upgrade cards
  • Good maneuver dials
  • Special pilot abilites
  • Pilot skill (moving-after-shooting-first-advantage)
  • Actions (all ships have Focus, but you pay extra for Boost, Evade and Barrel roll)

This is all good! But at a fundamental level your squad has

  • a total number of attack dice per round,
  • a total of Hull + Shields (and Evade dice).

If your squad has more attack dice and can take more damage than your opponents’ squad, that is a good start! A player can of course try to compensate for lack of firepower and hull with upgrades, skills and maneuvers: but that makes the squad more sensitive to mistakes.

Also with squad building, it is much easier to make a mistake than to do something brilliant. Bad squad economy:

  • A ship with too many upgrades: some upgrades may be underutilized and when the ship dies they are all lost. Worst of all, unused torpedoes, missiles and bombs (these points are entirely wasted)
  • Multi-ship-combos: double point of failure means that if any ship goes down all ability/upgrade is lost. There are of course good combos, but if you don’t get time to use it until one ship is destroyed, it is bad economy.

There are a few other things that can make your squad very weak against very defensive opponents (like highly skilled Tie Interceptors with autothrusters).

  • Weak firepower: attack value of 3 is much better than 2 against ships that are hard to hit.
  • Poor meneuverability: Y-wings in particular may get very few (forward) shots in a dog fight.

The ironic thing here is that 2 attack dice is very fine against enemy ships with many shields and much hull. It is against ships with Evade + 3 Agility Dice + defensive upgrades (Autothrusters) (and no shields and little hull) that you really need high firepower to do any damage at all.

Flying as one squad
It is critical to fly your squad in a way that your ships support each other.

You and your opponent both have 100p. If you split your squad 50-50, and half the squad is engaging while the other half is not, you fight a 50 vs 100 battle. You will typically lose your 50p while your opponent keeps most of his 100p. So your remaining 50p will face 75p and you lose again. It does not mean that you should, or need to, fly all your ships in tight formation, but

  • If all your squad can take out isolated enemy ship, do it
  • If one or two of your ships gets away from battle, the rest are in trouble

If you have two (perhaps weaker and lower skill) ships fighting against one enemy:

  • even if the enemy gets first shot, and perhaps kills one of your ships, your other ship will still get a shot
  • a ship that is easy to hit (B-wing or Y-wing) will still not be hit if your opponent targets another ship
  • an A-wing (with an Evade token) will often not be shot at, because opponent shoots at anything else that is easier to hit

Evade tokens are very efficient against a single enemy ship, but two or three attacks the same round is much harder to survive.

Blocking
When you find yourself having lower pilot skill than your opponent you:

  1. Move first: making it hard to Target lock your opponents, and your opponent can pick actions, perhaps boosts or barrel rolls, knowing where your ships are.
  2. Shoot last: risking that your opponents kills you before you shoot back

Moving first has one advantage thought: you know where your enemy is when you move, so you should not need to fly into an opponent (losing an action). If you, on the other hand, can get in the way of (blocking) your opponent, he will lose his action. This can be very bad for him:

  • A lost evade action, which means you can hit a Tie fighter hard
  • A lost target lock, preventing a missile from being shot
  • A lost boost or barrel roll, preventing your opponent from getting in position, or getting out of the attack arc of some of your ships.

Kills count
This is quite obvious but I will mention it anyway. A ship can be in different health states:

  1. Undamaged
  2. Only lost shields
  3. Lost hull, but no criticals
  4. Got criticals
  5. Destroyed

An enemy ship in state 2-3 (and often 4) is equally dangerous to you as a ship with no damage at all. If the enemy squad has a total of 20 shields+hull, and you have produced 15 damage, dealt zero criticals and destroyed no ships, you have removed no threat at all. Only when you destroy a ship and it is taken off the board anything significant is achieved.

A good beginners’ squad
Unfortunately, a squad that is good to fly as a beginner is not the squad you want to buy first. The first squad that comes to mind is:

This is good for a beginner because:

  • Any ship is disposable
  • All ships have 3 attack dice
  • Integrated Astromech makes X-wing really good, and the R2 is disposable (requires a total of 28 damage to destroy squad)
  • Tallon roll is quite efficient to change bad positions into attack positions
  • All ships have the same maneuver dial
  • All ships have the same skill (move in any order)

The last two points help to avoid blocking yourself and makes the squad much easier to fly, especially for beginners.

I understand very well you find this suggestion very boring when there are so many cool ships out there!

A-Wings
A-Wings require the Push the Limit upgrade. You should most likely equip the Chardaan Refit and dont forget to consider the 0-point A-wing test pilot. You almost always make the Evade action and the A-wing will be hard to hit. When occationally hit, its shields will prevent it from getting criticals (as opposed to the Tie Interceptor). For 20p:

Dont worry about getting stressed: there are so many green maneuvers (to combine with a boost if needed). You can replace Trick Shot with Wired for 1p.

Weakness: without Evade you are easy to hit. If you run into another ship or an obstacle you miss your action (both of them, since you have Push the Limit) and your A-wing can die early.

B-Wings
B-wings are really cool, but they are not very easy to fly. The basic setup is:

For 24p it is a dangerous fighter. It is very tempting to start with a high-skill B-wing-pilot and add several upgrades, but it is usually not good. Your opponent will fear your B-wing and focus on killing it first. With one evade dice and a slow maneuver dial the B-wing is an easy target.

X-wings
If you read online sources it is widely thought that the X-wing is bad. It was true, but Integrated Astromech was released (for 0 points) and it improves the X-wing. Usually you should use the T70 (blue model from Force Awakens) rather than the T65 (the red model from original game). The X-wing is durable, rather maneuverable and has strong base attack: it may not be perfect for everything, but you can’t go very wrong. Suggested beginners configurations:

Y-wings
Y-wings need upgrade cards! Without extra equipment it is a waste of points. The obvious and very efficient option is to equip it with turret weapons: I am not too fond of torpedoes on the Y-wing because it can be hard to get firing opportunities. And as with the B-wing, your super-equipped-Y-wing will be primary target and it will quickly die. Try:

The above Y-wings can obviously benefit from a defensive astromech like R2-D2. Study the maneuver dial of the Y-wing and realise it is the same as the (T65) X-wing (just less green and more red).

Z95 Headhunter
At 12p, the Z95 can be used as a filler in a squad with 3 other ships. However, the A-wing Prototype Pilot with Chardaan Refit at 15p is often a better (superior maneuver dial + more actions + extra evade dice) option.

I have found that with the Headhunter, quantity is a quality of its own. This is not an easy beginners strategy – and who wants to start purchasing several of the worst ship in the game? Don’t get me wrong, I like the Z95 Headhunter much, but it is not the easiest ship to make good use of.

YT-1300 (Millenium Falcon)
The Millenium Falcon is very good – not the least for beginners. First, note that there is the old Millenium Falcon expansion pack, and the new Heroes of the Resistance expansion pack. You want the old one.

The Millenium Falcon is easy to fly well. Its 1-turn-maneuver allows you to navigate around obstacles. Its 3-strength-turret-weapon (you cant use Outer Rim Smuggler) is always dangerous against any opponent.

Note that the Millenium Falcon title is very good (few Rebel ships have evade). Since you will use it heavily you need the Han Solo pilot, the Luke Skywalker crew, or something else to make the attack deadly.

Other rebel ships
I think these above orginal ships are fine for the beginner. Other options are:

  • ARC-170, which I have too little experience with
  • E-wing, which is like a more expensive version of the X-wing, but few powerful ships make the squad more sensitive to mistakes and bad luck.
  • HWK-290 and U-wing, which are more about bringing support/crew to the rest of the squad. They are not so good fighters of themselves, so I would avoid them until you have more experience.
  • K-wing, which is expensive, easy to hit and I dont like bombs much.
  • YT-2400, but I think you are better off with YT-1300.

Upgrade cards and Pilot abilities
My general beginners advice is to focus on quantity before quality, similar ships with the same pilot skill (to make it easier to fly) and avoiding complicated upgrade combos and pilot abilities.

Torpedoes and Missiles are usually better avoided. They (most of the time) require a target lock. For X-wings and B-wings with 3 attack dice, it is almost as good to roll 3 dice and spend a target lock to reroll than it is to roll 4 dice with no rerolls. For A-wings missiles are 2 points extra (since you otherwise use Chardaan Refit). I would suggest:

I used to think that a problem with missiles and torpedoes is that you can load so few of them. The problem is often that you die before you fired them all (even if you just have one), and that you are so eager to fire them that you fire them at first possible opportunity without much effect. A single proton torpedo on a T70 X-wing to get a really nasty range 3 attack later in the game can work. But usually, you should not use your points for missiles and torpedoes.

Cannons can only be mounted on B-wings. But B-wings already have 3 attack dice, and if you make it too dangerous your opponent will quicky destroy it and your cannon is lost. I don’t generally recommend.

Turrets are more or less mandatory on Y-wings.

Upgrades that promote bad stuff like getting stress or flying on your own should be use with care. It can backfire and you can make bad decisions just to make use of an ability.

Combos with other ships like Wingman also makes it harder to fly: perhaps you are tempted to make a non-optimal move just to be able to use your skill. Biggs can be very good, but not if your opponent just kills him round 3 (or he is on his own).

There are better and worse abilities and upgrades, but I suggest:
1st consider to add another ship (or a more powerful ship)
2nd consider to add upgrades that always works (like Shield Upgrade)
3rd don’t add too many upgrades to any single ship

Focus on flying your squad right rather than building the perfect squad.

Note that the 15p A-wing is superior to a 12p Z95 + any 3p upgrade. The same way the T70 X-wing cost 3p more than the T65-xwing (for those 3p you get built in Shield Upgrade (4p) + Engine Upgrade (4p) + better maneuver dial and a tech upgrade slot).

Availability and Proxies
Compared to collectible card games like Magic The Gathering, X-wing Miniatures is very nice because everything is available. You don’t need to find used versions of old cards online for high prices just because you where not in the game a few years ago. Also, you know exactly what every expansion contains, so there is no luck or bad luck with booster packs.

Nevertheless, it is a quite expensive game. For casual play with friends I think proxying make sense. When it comes to upgrade cards, just print them! You don’t draw them from a deck so they dont have to look perfect. For example, C-3PO is a good Millenium Falcon crew, but you might not want to buy the Tantive IV expansion to get one card. If your friends are fine with it, go ahead.

Scenarios for Hedborough North

I created a scenario for the Hedborough North route for Train Simulator. Unfortunately, it can not be published to workshop. So I publish it here.

English Summer Rain
Diesel freight, shunting and train spotting in a 45 minute long scenario taking place in the picturesque Hedborough North industrial estate, a very rainy morning. Download: English Summer Rain

Scenarios for other routes
GNoSR
Granfield Branch

Scenarios for GNoSR

I found a beautiful little route for Train Simulator on Workshop: GNoSR. Unfortunately, since the route is not “Final” it is not possible to upload scenarios to it, to Workshop.

I created a scenario for GNoSR, and perhaps there will be more in the future. The scenario is downloadable as an .rwp-file, which is installed with the utilities.exe-program in the railworks folder. As always, please report any problems with the scenario, otherwise I can not fix it.

Scenario 1: Mixed Train to Heith
Drive a mixed train to Heith, stopping at all stations and picking up freight wagons along the way. Duration: 60 minutes. Download: Mixed Train To Heith.

Scenario 2: Petroleum Freight
Drive a heavy freight train with Marine Fuel from Heith to Portbyvie. Duration: 70 minutes. Download: Petroleum Freight.

Dependencies
There should be no additional dependencies or requirements apart from those of GNoSR (Woodhead Line, Western Lines of Scotland and Falmouth Branch). Please let me know if you have problems with this.

Other versions
I consider making other versions of the same scenario, perhaps with the Robinson O4, the Standard 2MT or the 3MT Jinty. But I may not bother if I get no interest whatsoever in the original.

UKTS
It seems the route and scenarios are available on UKTS. I personally find UKTS to be too much work and too many dependencies. My scenario is for the Steam version of the route, and I want people who just use Steam to have some fun with GNoSR.

Scenarios for other routes
Granfield Branch
Hedborough North

Problems with LMS 3F Jinty and Timetables

Update 2013-08-12
I contacted Meshtools and they quickly replied and gave me a workaround as well as an explaination. The problem has to do with the brakes of the Advanced LMS 3F. The easiest workaround is to hook up the locomotive to (fitted) stock from the beginning of the scenario – then the timetable is generated correctly.

I like the LMS 3F Jinty tank locomotive for Train Simulator 2013, and I wrote two scenarios for the Advanced version of it, and published to Steam. But the other day when I was writing a third scenario, I encountered weird problems with the Advanced version – the Standard version still works fine.

The problem is that the Advanced version produces a very bad timetable. That is, every move takes about 10x longer time than it should (comparing to the Standard version). It is impossible to make reasonable scenarios this way. My findings are:

  • The Advanced 3F performs normally when I drive it, just the timetable is weird
  • The “old” scenarios are not affected (I can both edit them and drive them)
  • Resetting the Game Cache (from within TS) does not help
  • Verify Integrity of Game Cache (from Steam) does not help
  • Reinstalling TS2013 completely does not help
  • The problem happens on several routes that I have tested
  • The problem happens to all ADV versions of LMS 3F, but to no STD versions
  • It is not possible to compensate by setting 750% performance
  • Using RW Tools to replace a STD version with an ADV version generates a corrupt scenario
  • The problem does not seem to affect the J94 ADV version (from the same author as LMS 3F), although I have not tried a single one of all the variants.

I believe, since TS2013 is regularly updated via Steam, some kind of update/fix to TS2013 has somehow broken LMS 3F ADV. This update should have been released the last days of July or the first days of August. I think I checked the LMS 3F files in the filesystem, and none of them seemed to be updated during this time, so I believe it was TS2013 itself. Since the LMS 3F Manual clearly states that the AI is not capable of driving the Advanced version, it makes some sense that an update to TS2013 could generate problems with this loco (perhaps the Timetable generator simply fails to release the brakes).

I have been in contact with Railsimulator support. It has so far not resulted in anything. I am now simply trying to file a bug report. I consider to contact Meshtools directly.

It would be very interesting if someone else can confirm (or deny) this problem. Just put a LMS 3F Jinty ADV anywhere on any route, and schedule it to go a few miles. If it takes a few minutes it is ok. If it takes more than an hour, you also have the problem.

Scenario to Granfield Branch

I created a few scenarios for Falmouth Branch and Train Simulator 2013 that I have published to Steam Workshop. Then I came up with the not so bright idea to create a scenario for the Granfield Branch, but it can not be published to Steam Workshop because Granfield Branch is not on Steam anymore (I think it was available with a Class 111 a while ago). So I decided to publish it here, as an old Railworks package. I have no idea if you can use it with the UKTS version of Granfield Branch (which you can probably get from UKTS) or if it is only usable with the Steam version.

Scenario: Hall to Granfield

As always feedback on the scenario is appreciated.

Scenarios for other routes
GNoSR
Hedborough North

Train Simulator 2013 Scenario Editor Findings

With Steam Workshop it is quite easy to contribute scenarios for Train Simulator 2013 to the community. However, creating scenarios is not very easy. There is a Train Simulator 2013 Creator Manual – but it does not tell you everything you need to know. In this article, I write my own findings about creating scenarios.

Consider this work in progress. My experiences are mostly from Falmouth Branch.
Updates 2013-08-03: I have added some more findings after trying to make scenarios for Western Lines of Scotland.

Editor Crashing
The Scenario Editor crashes a lot. Get used to it. Save often. The easiest way to save is to click the little “play button” (that starts the simulation, but only if you click it twice), not the big “play button” that actually starts the scenario. Inside Timetable View there is also a save button. Use it.

Backup scenarios
It happens that scenarios get corrupted. I suggest, now and then, clone the scenario you are working with, so you have a few historical backups of it. When you are done, get rid of the backups. Sometimes I have found myself having to recreate a 30-40 step timetable for the player train, when I thought I was 99% done. It sucks. My suggestion is add -b1, -b2, -b3 to the end of the scenario name for each backup. That way you keep your backups in order.

Hidden errors
New 2013-08-03
Some errors in your scenario shows up not immediately, not when you save, but when you actually (re)load the scenario. This happens when you simulate, or when you actually test drive. And some errors/problems can actually go away: in particular, sometimes a red signal turns green the second time you try.

UKTS Assets
UKTS has provide Freeware Packs. Fantastic stuff! However, the assets (Wagons) are installed into Train Simulator in a not very nice way. On my computer, I have:

S:\Steam\steamapps\common\railworks\Assets>dir
 Volume in drive S is Steam
 Volume Serial Number is 3CCF-0E61

 Directory of S:\Steam\steamapps\common\railworks\Assets

05/11/2013  06:51 PM          .
05/11/2013  06:51 PM          ..
12/12/2012  07:36 PM          Castlerock
05/11/2013  06:51 PM          DT
12/12/2012  07:38 PM          EisenbahnwerkRW
12/12/2012  07:38 PM          G-TraX
12/12/2012  07:38 PM          GermanRailroadsRW
12/12/2012  07:38 PM          keithmross
12/12/2012  07:43 PM          Kuju
12/26/2012  10:29 PM          RSC
12/12/2012  07:47 PM          RSDL
12/12/2012  07:47 PM          SJCRW
12/12/2012  07:48 PM          vR_AddOn1
               0 File(s)              0 bytes
              13 Dir(s)  39,932,166,144 bytes free

Most of the “standard” assets included with the game goes to Kuju (for some reason). DCL from steam usually ends up in a subfolder in RSC (ex RSC/NorthEastCorridor), or as a separate folder (ex vR_AddOn1). UKTS Stuff ends up largely with your Kuju folder. The consequence is that the asset filter in the Scenario Editor can not separate most of UKTS FP stuff from the standard assets. And there are many UKTS assets, so if you install UKTS most of your assets under Kuju will not be available to most users on Steam. You have been warned.

Missing Marker Error
The Missing Marker error most often means that you have an instruction to drop or connect wagons to a train, and you have written the wrong wagon number in the instruction.

Train with initial speed
It has happened to me more than once, that the player train suddenly, after a save, has a non-zero initial speed. So, when the scenario starts, the train is running and braking. Very annoying. I have not found a way to fix it. I had to put a new train (loco) in place, and rewrite the timetable/instructions – perhaps there is a better way, but I don’t know.

Dependencies and Steam
Just having Assets visible from a DLC creates a dependency on that DLC, even if in the end you include nothing. I found that removing a dependency was a bit tricky. I had to remove the Asset source, and do another change to the scenario (I added a wagon to an empty siding) before saving, otherwise the removal of the source would not work.

Longer scenarios take much longer times
If you make a scenario twice as long, expect four times the building time. Everything gets more complicated. More test runs are needed. There will be more errors that need to be nailed out.

Up and down: platforms etc
Platforms and other track sections are often named Up or Down. Each route has an Up-direction (typically north) and a Down-direction (typically south). To avoid problems: Always use Up-tracks only for up-trains, and Down-tracks only for down-trains. There are reasons (practically or because of your story line) to make exceptions. Try to make sure everything works with Up-up and Down-down first, test it. Then, make your careful exceptions if you really have to. The errors that may result can be quite surprising and hard to track down otherwise.

Exchanging wagons with another train
You may want to build a scenario where one train (ex a Shunter) puts wagons somewhere, and another train picks them up. I am not talking about Relay-scenario – just standard scenarios. My findings:

  1. You may get consist warning – that is ok, just live with it
  2. It is fine to let the player pick up wagons left by an AI
  3. It is not fine to let the AI pick up wagons left by the player. There is a missing “marker”, so the AI will search for the wagons at the very end of the track section. If the wagons are not place (by player) just exactly outside the track section, then an AI collision critical error will occur.

Update 2013-08-03:Usually, if you want the player to pick up wagons that an AI train has dropped, you want the player to be around and see it (otherwise you can just cheat and put the wagons there in the first place). This creates timing/dependency-issues. Not impossible, but you have been warned.

AI Shunting
New: 2013-08-03
AI Trains can most often drop wagons that they had from the beginning, and most often connect wagons that were placed in position from the beginning. But do not expect an AI train to drop a few wagons and get back a few minutes later to pick them up: AI collision very likely. But the player usually does not look very closely at what the AI train does – sometimes you achieve 98% of the effect by having the same train just move back and forth with the same wagons.

The timetable
When you create a scenario, each active train gets a timetable. If you have no warnings or errors it means the timetable “works”. Now, the AI trains will drive very much based on the time table (and usually ignore the signals). Dont expect the the AI trains to be dynamically re-prioritized, re-routed, wait, or run ahead because of what the player does. Perhaps it happens in some situations – usually not.

Priority of a train determines the time table, but dont expect it to be used dynamically during the scenario.

If you want to delay/slow down a train, you have two ways:

  1. Change the performance percentage
  2. If it is a passenger train, give it a departure time of a passenger pickup instruction (by checking the timetable box) – it should obey the departure time regardless how much ahead of time it arrived

Setting the wait time or departure time for a normal stop instruction has very questionable effect.

AI Trains just stops in the middle of anywhere
New 2013-08-03
Sometimes AI Trains just stop (or do not start at all). It appears to happen if the Player does not follow timetable. Especially, if the Player is ahead of its timetable AI trains (in front of the player) may just stop (or creep extremely slowly). For Passenger player trains the best way to control the player timing is to use timetabled stops, and give the player some margin. For freight trains it is harder. The stop instruction, set at a long stop will give time in the timetable, but you might need to instruct the player explicitely: you may not proceed before 07:45, or to wait until another train has arrived/passed/departed.

Signals
AI trains often do not obey signals. They mostly obey the timetable.

The player has to obey signals, and the game aborts on passing a Danger Signal. There is a Game Setting to override this, but driving a train not obeying signals does not really make sense.

Each signal has a LUA script that decides it behaviour. I have not found a way to inspect or modify those scrips from the Scenario Editor. I have also not found a way to force a signal into a particular state, or change its initial state. As in all software there can be bugs in the LUA script and the behaviour of the signals. Sometimes a signal looks red, but generates no SPAD; I guess the state of the graphics element does not match the actual game state.

If you test your scenario and find SPADs that you can not get rid of, you can always at least notify the player about it with a message for each and every time (and require Game Settings to allow it).

However, signals often do not have super-complicated behaviour. They usually get red when you pass it forward. They often turn green if you pass it backwards. Otherwise it turns green when a train passes somewhere. Sometimes there are two routes to a signal, and just routing the player the right way helps. Sometimes you can manipulate a signal using an AI train (typically doing something illegal, but it does not care). Test in a little empty scenario to see how that particular signal behaves.

(It seems to me) The signals are not the result of a super complex state, but rather just what has happened around it.

(It seems to me) wagons placed anywhere do not affect signals. I also believe that locomotives (broken or working) do not necessarily cause a problem.

Update 2013-08-03: I am now sure that trains without drivers do not affect the timetable or dispatcher. Also, I do not believe they affect signals. However, the will give you static consists warning – that is nothing to worry about. So, one way to cheat a little is to add non-moving trains to create atmosphere without complicating your scenario. If the player drives by in 70km/h it does not matter much if that train in the siding moves slowly or not.

Via-routes and Waypoints
It is tempting to use Via-routes and Waypoints just to be clear to the game how you want things to run. Sometimes adding them helps – somethings getting rid of them also helps.

However, if you have a single track line with three stations: A-B-C. You want two trains to meet at B. I recommend you to use VIA-instructions to B (not waypoints) for both trains. This way you can verify that they have the same time at B. And usually, they refuse to meet at B unless you have VIA-instructions there.

Start and End positions for AI trains
If you have more than just a few AI trains, be careful that they have good starting and ending locations.

Portals are always good end locations, as the trains will disappear and not disturb anyone. But often you want to end it somewhere visible to the player, and often a portal is not available.

Sidings are tricky end locations, because the train may leave a red signal (into a platform, approach or shunt track). If the player is not going there, it should be less of a problem.

Platforms and other parts of the line are tricky start and end locations, because the train may end up blocking another train.

When troubleshooting a scenario, it is usally practical to remove a few AI trains to see if the problem goes away, and to see what timetable the player train really should have. One way to remove AI trains from the complete timetable is to just change their start time to something later (+3h). But this is when they can end up in the way of other trains. In the same way, it can be tempting to give a train running at the end of a scenario an end location just in the middle of the line. This will effectively make it very hard to delay other trains as suggested above.

Naming AI trains
Name all services in a sensible way. Be consistent. Direction and time are most important when troubleshooting. If you have many AI trains, write a little list on a paper with their name, start location and end location.

Test driving
You need to test drive your scenario. It takes much time to test drive a long scenario over and over again. When driving, keep structured notes:

  • Arrival/departure times
  • Problems with instructions: need more/less, better timing, spelling errors, references to wrong wagons or track sections, etc
  • Signal errors!
  • Stuff you want to add (people, wagons, boats, garbage, etc)
  • Things that are annoying

Do not quit at the first annoying thing, drive on and collect more information. But if you find serious routing or signalling problems, just abort and focus on that. Maybe in a test scenario to isolate the problem.

Instructions
Instructions and completion texts can be nice. It can be to much. And especially, the timing can be bad. A message does not stay for very long – keep them short – max 2 sentences. If you give critical information, make sure to not do it at a very busy moment, the player may just get rid of the message because he is busy with something.

It is unfortanate that text related to stops (with or without passengers) show up after the stop is complete, not in the beginning. When stopping, you know that you have a little while to relax and read.

It is unfortanate that it is not possible to see all historical/previous popups – or is it?

The Marshall instruction
New: 2013-08-03
The Marshall instruction leaves some problem solving to the player. Beware, the dispatcher/timetable has very little clue how long time it will take. If you do a Marshall in the beginning of a scenario, and the player is minutes ahead/after schedule, expect problems with signals and AI trains.

Load/Drop instructions
New 2013-08-03
Load/Drop instructions have a checkbox that decides if order of the wagons is important (Marshall has it too). Default is off. That means that you do not have to worry about what is forward/back and closest to the loco or anything (unless you check that box). Also, as a matter of fact, the player can usually drop (or pick up) any wagons anywhere most of the time, without getting an error. In practice, (as a player) it is often possible to cheat by just dropping your heavy load in the beginning of a scenario, and complete it with fewer wagons and no warnings. Be aware of it. You can also be lazy and just give a single wagon as drop/pick up instruction. When it comes to being lazy with AI trains, I am not so sure. I always test, and sometimes I give up.

Replacing a locomotive
So, you made a scenario for the Black 5, but you want to run it with the Robinson O4 instead? I don’t know how to do that in a simple way with the editor, unfortunately. However, there is something called RW Tools, that you can download, donate some money, and use. RW Tools has very many features, replacing rolling stock in a scenario is just one of them.

Update a scenario on Steam
I have not found a proper way to update a scenario on Steam. I set visibility to “friends only” (so it is still there for people who have it), and publish it again with a (v2) after the name. Then I post a link from the first version discussion board to the new version. There must be a better way…

Good pace
New 2013-08-03
What is the right pace for a scenario? 75% on all instructions? Well, that is often not so bad. In real life, train drivers (especially of freight trains) spend long time waiting and checking brakes, etc. If you tell your players to wait 15-20 minutes for an express train to pass (which is what you typically need on single track with signals not so close) there is a risk your players just think you waste their time. Just a few minutes waiting can be quite pretentious. But if the “slower players” are to have a chance, the faster players will have to accept to wait. And I have found, especially with steam locos, that different players get very different performance from their engine (read about Black 5 performance). For shunting scenarios some players find it too easy, while others need 15 minutes more. Short scenarios are a good idea – for many reasons.

LUA
With TS 2014 it was marketed that developers could now include a Lua Script in their scenarios. There IS a little button in the scenario editor tool, to open up and edit the Lua script. There IS nothing else I know of: no tutorial, no documentation, no manual. It is not that Lua itself is hard or need documentation – you simply need to know how you can interact with what parts of the simulator. I would like to interact with the AI trains (to override their timetable) and I would like to manipulate signals. The best you can do is to search the scenarios that ship with the simulator for .lua files, but changing weather and displaying alerts with a little picture in them, is not what I most want.

Timetable never resolving
Added 2014-01-15
When you change any instruction it takes a little while (a split second to a few seconds) for the timetable to recalculate. Sometimes it gets stuck/hung, and does not finish calculating (work progress icon just going round and round). This is bad. Don’t save. Don’t try to play. I have found that quite likely you have added some AI service that disturbs the timetable – perhaps a train in the Players’ path? Try removing consists, latest first, and perhaps the problems goes away. It is a little counter intuitive to not wait until the progress ends, but actually make more changes while it workds. But it has worked for me.

How to get started?
If you want to start creating scenarios, I suggest:

  1. Read the Creators Manual
  2. Choose a route that you know well
  3. Make short, simple scenarios
  4. Not so many AI trains, and test scenario without AI trains first
  5. Use as little DLC as possible (what comes with the route + Kuju/RailSimulator)
  6. Try to help the player (with instructions, etc): give correct information, dont complicate or make things extra difficult
  7. Details: description, duration, etc
  8. Test, if in doubt an extra time – scenarios that do not complete are annoying and disappointing