Monday, January 18, 2016

Using Objectives to Your Advantage - Part 3: Navigation

Time to discuss the final selection of objectives - Navigation.  The last two weeks we've talked about Assault (Red), and Defensive (Yellow), so only this is left to go.  These are probably the more difficult ones to plan around.  While Assault Objectives typically favor a specific fleet build more than another in a stand-up fight, Navigation Objectives are really a mixed bag that each make for very different games.

Dangerous Territory:

90 extra points are on the board, in the form of the 6 obstacles, all of which need to be overlapped in order to pick up a 15 point Victory Token.  Unlike normal though, this puts all obstacles out at Distance 5 of the player's edges.  As an added bonus, the Second Player does not suffer damage when overlapping obstacles.  For some thoughts on obstacle setup, check out this article.

Second Player:
There are a few things that can maximize the benefits for Dangerous Territory.  Large Base ships, such as the ISD or MC80 can use that base to overlap multiple obstacles at once.  General Dodonna also is a wonderful commander for the Rebels that chose this objective - you can chose the face-up damage card suffered by your opponents if they overlap Asteroids.  For Imperials, all of your ships are designed to point damage forward, making it a dangerous risk for your opponents to try and swoop your obstacles.

It goes without saying that you want the worst obstacles for your opponent to place, knowing that they will run them over.  Obviously the Station should be your first obstacle in this situation.

First Player:
It is important to go into this with ships that can eat a critical effect and effectively repair the damage on Turn 2.  A first turn engineering token and an Engineering Value 4 ship can at least clear the damage card (or two) from a critical, no matter what is flipped up.  Also, Engineering Value 4 can fix the 2 damage to shields suffered overlapping the Debris Field.

There are two ways this could go down - either as a brawl with the second player taking advantage of your opponent already having damage onboard, or as a slow engagement, engaging from extreme range.  Both need to be expected.  

Oddly enough, this is an objective that I just haven't seen picked very often by my groups, either by the Second Player or by the First Player.  I can't help but feel there is more to be seen by this objective - if you have stories, setups, or just a local group that uses this more often than mine, please share it in the comments below.

Intel Sweep:

Here is an objective that I haven't seen much after it was used to terrifying effect in the Game 5 Top Table of World's.  After placing obstacles, 5 objectives tokens are placed on the board - distance 5 of players edges / distance 3 of other objective tokens.  Each player chooses an objective ship (note that this is chosen before ships are deployed) - that ship and only that ship can pick up the tokens, and only when they reveal their command dial at distance 1 of a token.  If you have more objective tokens than the opponent - you increase your final score by 75.

Second Player:
Traditionally, this objective was a "Rebel" objective, used with a fast moving, smaller ship that could swing around the board and grab tokens.  With the lessons learned at Worlds, I think this objective has switched around to be more of a Big Guns objective - if you can set up your objective tokens and ships in such a way as to defend those tokens with your heavy guns, your opponent will either be forced to abandon going after the tokens, or sacrifice their objective ship trying to grab it before your own ship can get on scene.

While this is a Big Guns objective, that doesn't mean you necessarily want to assign a big gun to token collection.  Fast, cheep Corvettes - CR90s and Raiders - are your best option for objective ship as having them flying away from the battle isn't a dramatic loss of offensive firepower.

First Player:
While you don't get to place three tokens, you have the best chance with your first activation to "Sweep" up the 3rd token from your opponent.  If you can keep your objective ship alive long enough to grab and run, you can find yourself with a 75 point advantage right out of the starting gate.  Again, see World's for an example of using Intel Sweep as first player to your advantage.

Having big guns of your own that you could put on that 3rd objective token can mean eliminating your opponent's objective ship before it can complete the sweep, and at least forcing a 0 point objective if you don't think your own objective ship could survive a quick pickup of objective token 3.  If you are going after token 3 first, you can afford to use a heavier ship with some speed to it.  Admonition / Foresight or a GSD with engine techs can take that role and shine.

This objective is all about area denial, and making your opponent move a ship somewhere it doesn't want to be.  Since you can both set down 2 objective markers, those had better be yours - figuring out how and when you are going to get to that 3rd objective, and make sure that you can hold the enemy off of it until you can collect it is what this objective is all about.


The second player places all the obstacles, and can place them anywhere in the setup area.  The second player also places 6 objective tokens, placed at Range 1 of an obstacle and beyond Range 1 of all other tokens.  The objective tokens are mines, and blow up if a ship moves into Range 1 of them, dealing 2 Blue dice worth of damage directly to hull, with Critical Results causing the first card to be face up.

This is an objective that is frequently chosen in my area, with certain players having proprietary anti-specific build minefields that I am not allowed to see (until I play against them, and they use it against me that is.)  I've written up my own thoughts on the subject, which you may have already seen from the last two obstacle specific objectives.

Second Player:
This is a great objective for blocking off areas of play, making a much narrower playing field, and almost a second edge.  Placing the "mines" and obstacles to make a line down the middle of the board can split it in two, or you can just play around with the opponent's side of the board, making them have to fly through an obstacle course to get to your ships.  The idea is to be creative and use the board to set up an advantageous engagement for you.  This is a good objective for you if you need to funnel the enemy into a specific kill zone for your forces, like with a Black dice heavy list.

This is the objective for I-Class ships - ISDs, VSDs, and GSDs all want to be able to keep their opponent directly in front of them while they get into Black dice range, and this is one of the best ways to do it.  You get to dare your opponent to flank you - and if they do they get some extra damage directly onto their hull.  Smaller, low hull ships like the CR90 and MC30c can be crippled right off the bat, and larger ships can suffer some serious damage.

Again, Dodonna is a good Rebel commander for this objective, as any critical results on the Minefield dice are chosen from four options.

Don't run into your own mines.

First Player:
This may be a good option for you if you have the hull to smash a path through a single mine or two, and the engineering value to repair afterwords.  It also does your opponent no favors if their list and your own list have the same general strategy - namely to charge head on and smash into each other.

This may in fact wind up being the objective that is least objectionable to your ships and strategy, but the danger is there is nothing you can actively do in this situation once it is chosen.  This objective gives your opponents all of the setup advantages - and no real way for you to mitigate them short of them making a mistake.  Not for the faint of heart.

Not much room for error in this when it comes to maneuvering, so you should be able to predict where your opponent is going to be multiple turns down the line.  You can probably even accurately predict the deployment position of your opponents too.

Superior Positions:

I love this objective when I build a 400 point no-bid list.  

For this objective, the first player must deploy all of their ships / squadrons first.  Also, during game play, any attack (ship or squadron) against a rear hull zone that does damage gives the attacker a victory token.

Second Player:
This is an objective that relies on two things - fast, maneuverable flanking ships, and a cloud of squadrons that can blot out the sun.  It gives probably the best advantage that you can physically get as the Second Player, complete deployment advantage, and for that reason alone I have run this objective in lists that may not have had squadron superiority guaranteed, and has lead to my group nicknaming the act of shooting a rear arc of an enemy ship "Butt Stuff".

Splitting your forces into dual pincers to ensure at least some of your ships get in behind the enemy is one good way to collect points.  Mon Mothma is an amazing commander for this objective - keeping enemies from getting a single hit across on your back arc from an evade is an amazing boost and cannot be understated.

There are a few things to worry about though if you do pick this objective - ships with large rear arcs that are also broadsiders - MC30c's in particular - can be hit in the rear arc relatively easily.

First Player:
As much as I really love this objective as second player, and take it frequently, I really don't like taking this objective as first player.  To consider it, I would need a list with a strong starfighter presence, as well as either the ability to slow-roll my initial movement and keep the enemy from being able to get around the rear at all, or an equally fast squad capable of flanking the enemy yourself.  The other key is being able to shoot them from long range - Red dice, and multiple Red dice so that they cannot all be evaded, is an important key.

Use the obstacles to limit where and how the second player can flank you, and be ready to set up defensively - you cannot be sure where the opponent will come from.  Set up far on one edge to deny them being able to flank effectively from both sides.

The advantage in squadron superiority is the key - being able to take even a non-bomber shot with a throwaway squadron gives you a 50/50 shot of free 15 points - Intel is also worth its weight in gold, to get as many shots on target as you can.  Each shot that strikes true give you 15, and very few squadrons are worth 15 points or more.  Consider that when deciding who and what to shoot.

And that's it for our update to objectives.  What should we cover next?  What objectives do you use, and what have you never actually seen played?  Don't forget to comment below!

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  1. I never play minefields, as no one seems to pick that when it is in my objective selection. Superior positions is very popular, and our local store tournament was recently won by a guy fielding ISD, GSD, Raider and a massive horde of TIEs. He racked up an insane amount of points from this objective.

    I quite like Dangerous Territory as both first and second player. As second player, I gain the advantage of being able to ignore obstacles which is nice. But the main benefit I enjoy is the element of predictability it gives to enemy movement. You know they want those objectives, and that's where I can park a heavy hitter to punish them if they do.

    However, in my first game I made a mistake and strung out my objectives in one game, and allowed my opponent to pick me off piecemeal. Won't make that error again with a black dice heavy Imperial fleet!

  2. Morning play my first tournament the other day and came 3rd! So fairly stoked about that. I played with Home 1 and 3 corvettes with TRC's shamelessly copied from zero's website.

    I have a question though about objectives, if I win the initiative can I look at the other players objectives before I decide to be 1st or 2nd player?

    1. Congratulations on the tournament showing!

      Sadly no, the objectives are hidden information until first or second player is declared.

  3. follow up story could possibly be list building and objectives that match the lists. An example would be a high bomber list with precision strike, hyperspace assault, and Superior Positions. I really enjoyed your objective cards articles.

  4. I've used superior positions to get deployment advantage a few times. Could be worth thinking about your approach though