Monday, June 22, 2020

2 Rebellion 2 Rim: Basic Fleet Building

This is the article by Geek19 posted on his website - keep your eyes open for Part 3 by me soon! Let's start the RitR discussion by discussing how to build your own fleets for the game. This is one of those "involved" articles I tend to end up writing, so get comfy.
I think these guys are massing near Sullust...


Preface: The Rules-bellion in the Rim



This isn't a specific thing that I want to go into and have to keep referencing, but the main reason that Biggs and I are writing these is because RitR is FUN. My friend Jack tonight mentioned that he actually had fun running squad-medium/heavy against other squad lists in his campaign because it's more fun and you see weird and wacky combinations. Getting to play with your friends and make friendships and tease the other team for being Rebel Scum or Imperial Lapdogs is the enjoyable part. The true RitR were the friends we made along the way, etc etc.

In that spirit, let me introduce something.

The Golden Rule of Rebellion in the Rim: Don't be THAT guy. You know the one.

You're playing this campaign for fun with your friends. You can play seriously, and there's some good upgrades/abilities that are a bit powerful, but a lot of our advice is going to be presented as though you're not deliberately trying to break the game and crush your opponents in an unfun manner. I'll refer to this a few times below.
What not to do
I. Basic Building
The basics of the fleet building details are in the manual (p. 12), but the important bits:
A) Any amount of points on squadrons you want!
B) No uniques to start out with, with the exception of 2 maximum squadrons.
C) One upgrade total per ship.

Let's go over what these mean for you individually. The benefit of having as many squadrons as you want is that you can bring one TRCR90 and a bunch of YT2400s! See the Golden Rule. This idea is also bad because you're going to be upgrading your fleet with each battle you fight, so all you're doing is ensuring you're playing this fleet multiple times while each of your friends gets to upgrade and grow. This rule is mainly in place so you don't have to be concerned that if you want a squadron heavy fleet at the end you have to start at 67 and build up from there. If you want to play squadron heavy, play squadron heavy. Just don't overdo it.

No uniques is easy enough to understand. You're thematically some random task force commander trying to either rebel against the Empire or bring the Rebels to heel and earn the recognition to be choked out by Darth Vader for someday disappointing him promoted to leave the Outer Rim. Basically, you're not immediately Bail Organa or Mon Mothma; you're starting the pilot of your own TV series.
Not that kinda pilot...
Fun fact: task force titles (7th Fleet, hammerhead ones, Mon Cal Exodus fleets) ARE NOT UNIQUE and could be a very interesting way of thematically starting a fleet. I may try one of those methods in my next RitR campaign, in all honesty. The benefit of the campaign is that you can try a few new ships together and see how they work in tandem. Never really played MSU? Give it a try in RitR which has several fleets with the training wheels still on.

As for the one upgrade per ship; again, you're in the Outer Rim and need to make do with what you have. Space Dad isn't here to give you the fanciest and shiniest new pony, you had to go scrounge for this from some junkyard. You had to build this in a cave! With a box of scraps!

The related point to this is that we encourage you to both name your task force and the ships in it. Heck, the rules specifically state you're supposed to name your commander (p. 12). You're doing this for fun, so if you want to name him Commander Poop, I can't stop you, but lean into the theme and you'll have more fun with this, I promise. I know Biggs has spammed a few chats we've had with a running commentary on how his fleet has performed and what actions were taken and how they "encountered the enemy." Way more fun. Slight detour from Biggs!

Geek is right, naming your Commander, ships, fleet, and even squadrons can help add a narrative to the game that otherwise doesn't have much of one.  Suddenly it's not "Biggs playing Recruit Allies against Alan", it's Rear Admiral Darklighter of the 113th Star Destroyer Squadron, showing up with the Belicose, Redoubt and the 211th Support Flotilla - fighting off a Rebel incursion into Mandalorian space - the hated Shadow Group, who he has dealt with once before already.  While his forces aren't enough to damage Shadow Group's flagship, his fighters perform heroically to drive off the enemy ship's fighters, forcing the behemoth to retreat!

We're playing Conquest at Mandalore.

The 113th Star Destroyer Squadron is linking up with the Cataclysm and it's group of hired mercenaries (Firesprays / Bossk) as well as a local system defense craft (Raider - Ally Token) to defend against a combined rebel assault, where the hated Shadow Group's flagship is finally dealt a decisive blow!

You tell me which is more memorable.  There is a narrative waiting in the game mode, you just need a little bit of effort to let it rise up naturally.
Thank you Rear Admiral Darklighter for your service, I'm sure you'll stay loyal to the Empire forever
Back to John! So how do you build a fleet? Take at least one ship that's going to want a few upgrades. There's nothing wrong with including a TRCR90 that's one and done, or a flotilla with one upgrade and then you're done with it. But don't just spam those, it's going to restrict your build. When you come in, have your starting 200 point build and have a plan for where you're going to go to get to 250. That plan may change as soon as you see your opponents' fleets, so flexibility is great. An easy example here is that if your points break down such that you're planning on adding Assault Concussion Missiles to your black dice ship but then your opponents have fleets opposing you with, say, 5 total Raiders amongst 3 players, Assault Proton Torpedoes looks a LOT better (waves at Ras, Broba, and Mad). Similarly, if you had a plan to go Y-wing heavy and 4-6 Interceptors show up on the table across from you, better start adding in X-wings. I've seen one ship fleets work, I've seen 3-4 ship fleets, there really is no "best" answer. Activation spam CAN be a thing, but "Stay gold, Ponyboy."
I honestly didn't expect an Outsiders joke here, but man, lookit that cast!
What other ships and upgrades should you choose? The thing about most of the map (which we'll detail at some point in this series) is that you shouldn't just consider what locations have what, but what the loser gets in each case. You can't know when you start the campaign if you're going to be coming in to any battle heavily scarred or understrength or if you're going to even win. With squadrons excepted, the most you can take if you lose and you're not understrength is a 6 point upgrade. Officers in a loss max out at 5 points. ECM is 7. Gunnery Team is 7. Engine Techs is 8. Think of any good turbolaser you normally use. Some thought should be taken based on what you think you're going to be able to get easily and what you need for your ship. Any ship that would want ECM at some point in its build may want to start with it because there's not easy access to it. But if it takes it, that ship may end up nigh-unkillable without heavy focusing down on it. It will come to you if you think dice modifications are more important to you than defensive retrofits. (Personally, I've learned to just accept that red dice over a significant amount of time will steady themselves out towards moderately good damage.) The special bits from wave 8 (red/blue beam and magnites) aren't on the map. If you're going to want them, you need to start with them.

Related to upgrades, the easiest thing to access and add to your fleets will be squadrons. I'm not saying "start out squadronless" so much as "prepare to add a few in as well just in case." You can play an entire RitR squadronless, but just keep that in mind when you or your teammates are trying to determine who's attacking and defending where.

There's a question to be asked of someone about whether or not wave 8 ships should be allowed in RitR. Starhawks are already beasts to take down in 400 point regular games. What if you have only half the fleet you normally would to fight them with? The games where you face them typically end up as trying to kill one or two other parts of their fleet and then running away. That's.... fine, but we don't recommend it. Leave the wave 8 ships at home for a start, guys, but feel free to use the Command Ship Upgrades (p. 26) at the Pivotals. This isn't "golden rule" so much as "more enjoyable for the campaign itself." I'm not going to insist you ban them, but I have yet to meet anyone who actually enjoys fighting them in RitR.

Does any of this change for larger starting fleets instead of 200 points? Most likely, but the thing we like about 200 points is that it moves FAST and remains important and fun. The smaller format makes the little things essential, and it gets into the nitty gritty. We recommend you stick with 200 points, but if you want 400, go for it. The issue with 400 points I see is that you can only add in ONE upgrade each time you battle, which means it could take a while before you get some of those fleets fully upgraded. I wouldn't personally want to play a 400 point fleet adding in only new upgrade each time I played, might get a bit boring quickly to me. Speaking of....

II: Upgrading Your Fleets
So you start with one upgrade per ship and 2 unique squadrons. And maybe a few different generic squadrons too. In that 200 to 250 upgrade suite, you should be thinking of what you're going to be adding. (It generally won't be ships, so what you start with is what you're sticking with, usually). An MC30 with Ordnance Experts can add on 2-3 upgrades relatively easily, that's only a few battles! But if you're trying to fill every slot on your Starhawk, that's about 6-8 battles you have to go through. Not impossible, but you're going to need to prioritize what slots you need first and where you'll need to fight to get it.

The only way of getting unique ANYTHING (Fleet commands, ace squadrons, officers, named boarding teams, etc) is by playing a green objective battle (which I'll get to later in this series). So if your build depends entirely on having a specific upgrade/squadron, start considering where you'll be fighting to get those at. Because each planet only lets you take the upgrades it lists, you'll need to be hopping all over the map (and potentially gaining conditions too!). It's one upgrade (or set of squadrons) per battle, so prioritize what's important. The ability to see your ships improving turn after turn and watching them get better at their jobs/develop into the standard ships you'd put into a 400 point list is enjoyable as all get out. In my current campaign, I've watched my generic MC30 develop into the veteran Admonition with APTs and it's just been so fun seeing that ship become the beast I know it can be. It's like watching your child grow up... and then destroy Imperial larges to save the galaxy.

The related part as mentioned above is upgrading your builds towards countering your opponents. If you see a lot of crit effects across the table, Damage Control Officer is a smart choice. Reserve Hangar Decks have been serving Biggs well in his campaign, allowing him to get double use out of his TIE fighters and forcing his opponent to keep trying to kill them. As all that matters in these battles is wins and losses, everything you can do to shift those points towards you is important and helpful. How many points do you think Jyn Erso can get or flip for you in those battles?
Thank you Ted for writing my joke for me
III: Abilities and their Breakdown
The meat of your commander and how things go is going to be the commander abilities and what they mean for your fleet. The easy example is a Rieekan fleet, a Mothma fleet, and a Madine fleet all will fly and play slightly differently, even if everything else is the same. Demolisher is going to be Demolisher no matter how you build it, but running it under Tagge versus running it under Darth Vader.... you get the gist.

Each ability has an XP cost attached to it. You need that much XP to get that ability, which, also makes it feel like a campaign and growing and improving. Your commander starts with 1 tier-1 ability of your choice, which will then alter how your fleet is growing and building and improving. You can only have 4 tiers worth of experience; 4 tier 1 levels, 2 tier 2s, a tier 2 and 2 tier 1s, 1 tier 3 and 1 tier 1, however you add the numbers to get 4. If you want to get a fancy RANKED abiity, you need to start at tier 1 and then upgrade it using more XP. You can't purchase the same ability twice. I've taken the liberty of writing all the abilities below in the following format:

Ability name-tier (Prerequisites to get/XP needed): Description
Thoughts on the ability itself
Again, would you wear some eye protection?!
Engineering Abilities
Master Engineer 1-1 (3 XP): After fleets are deployed you may gain 1 ENGR token. When you resolve a ENGR command, if you spent a ENGR token you gain 1 additional engineering point. If you spent a ENGR dial, the first Repair Hull effect you resolve costs 2 engineering points.
This tier is setting up for a way to just tank through damage. I'd think these abilities would pair well with a MCEF fleet or a Task Force Antilles one, just allowing you to tank through them all. The tier 1 ability is also good if you plan on powering Shields to Max for multiple turns.

Master Engineer 2-2 (tier 1, 3 XP): After fleets are deployed each friendly ship may gain 1 ENGR token. When a friendly ship resolves a ENGR command, if it spent a ENGR token, it gains 1 additional engineering point. If it spent a ENGR dial, the first Repair Hull effect it resolves costs 2 engineering points.
We're getting there. Charmander is cute, and Charmeleon is cool, but you know who's way better? Charizard.

Master Engineer 3-3 (tier 2, 4 XP): After fleets are deployed each friendly ship may gain 1 ENGR token. When a friendly ship resolves a ENGR command, if it spent a ENGR token, it gains 1 additional engineering point. If it spent a ENGR dial, the first Repair Hull effect it resolves costs 2 engineering points and for each Recover Shields effect it resolves, it may also move 1 shield.
This is the max tier and it's super solid. Let's do the breakdown here on something with Engineering 3. The ship starts with the token, and at one point it repairs for dial and token. That's its base 3 points, plus 2 from the token, plus 1 more from the ability for a grand total of 6. 2 points for the first repair hull, 2 points each for 2 shields regenerated, and a free moved shield. So if we were getting shot in the side and back, we put a whole bunch of points back into the shields on that side, doing a much better job of keeping it alive than we thought possible. You can take the example with whatever ship you want, but Engineering 4 with the token is 7 total points. 2 (and maybe 3 for a second hull?) and a shield restored and another moved. Peltas get tanky as HECK here. If you're going tank, this is the end goal.

Repair Expert-1 (2 XP): During the Refit and Expand Fleets step of the Management Phase, you may remove 1 additional scar token from a ship or squadron in your fleet.
This is helpful if you've been having trouble getting bases established, if one of your sides is trouncing the other or you don't have significant amounts of bases because you've been prioritizing other tokens. I'd classify this as a later build on ability; one your'e adding in to counter your opponents' plans.
Everything I did, I did for the Rebellion
Espionage Abilities
Infiltrator 1-1 (2 XP): After deploying fleets, if your flagship's size class is small, you may pick your flagship up and redeploy it within your deployment zone.
Corvus! For everyone! You're taking this ability to get towards tier 3 though, in all honesty, but the redeploy does let you protect your flagship a bit better for sure.

Infiltrator 2-2 (tier 1, 3 XP): After deploying fleets, you may pick 1 friendly ship up with a size class of medium or small and redeploy it within your deployment zone.
The stepstool in between 1 and 3, but I can definitely foresee situations where you getting to redeploy your Vic or AF is super helpful.

Infiltrator 3-3 (tier 2, 4 XP): After deploying fleets, you may pick 1 friendly, non-huge ship up and redeploy it within your deployment zone. At the start of the first round, up to 2 friendly ships may perform a speed-1 maneuver.
This goes great with red dice ships that you want to be attacking with early, or black dice ships to get them into firing range faster. This also helps with any of the green objectives that require getting into range of the station in the middle, too.

Concealment 1-1 (2 XP): While you are defending at distance 1 of an obstacle, during the Spend Defense tokens step, you may discard a defense token to cancel 1 die.
The arguably fair version of Captain Brunson! It's a combination of Admonition and Brunson, and it is delightful at ensuring your flagship stays alive, especially when you're being attacked at close and those evades aren't as useful as you want them to be.

Concealment 2-2 (tier 1, 3 XP): While a friendly ship is defending at distance 1 of an obstacle, during the Spend Defense tokens step, it may discard a defense token to cancel 1 die.
What if EVERYONE had John Cena tier 1 powers?

Concealment 3-3 (tier 2, 3 XP): While a friendly ship is defending at distance 1 of an obstacle, during the Spend Defense tokens step, it may discard up to 2 defense tokens. For each token it discards, cancel 1 die.
I can never die! Pair with Walex for extra fun.
Remember to make the pew-pew noises
Gunnery Abilities
Master Gunner 1-1 (3 XP): After fleets are deployed, you may gain 1 CF token. When you resolve a CF command by spending a CF token only, you may treat that command as if you spent a command dial.
It's baby Ravager, but I know there's been times I mistime WHEN to CF and this helps. Also helps with powering up fleet commands.

Master Gunner 2-2 (tier 1, 3 XP): After fleets are deployed, each friendly ship may gain 1 CF token. When a friendly ship resolves a CF command by spending a CF token only, that ship may treat that command as if it spent a command dial.
Baby Ravager for everyone! But let's get to that tier 3!

Master Gunner 3-3 (tier 2, 4 XP): After fleets are deployed, each friendly ship may gain 1 CF token. When a friendly ship resolves a CF command by spending a CF token only, that ship may treat that command as if it spent a command dial. When a friendly ship resolves the CF command, if it spent a CF dial, the die it adds to the attack pool may be of any color.
Why yes, that DOES mean throwing a black dice at long range from your hammerhead combined with the APT on it you have equipped. It's Sato without the squadron requirement, which makes it VERY fun to play. You can't add in the dial and token together, but you can throw black dice at long range, or use the token to reroll that black dice you just threw.

Ambush Gunner 1-1 (3 XP): While you are attacking at distance 1-2 of an obstacle or friendly ship, your attacks cannot be obstructed.
Baby Jaina's Light. Note it's if YOUR attacks from your flagship are near the obstacle, not if they are near one.

Ambush Gunner 2-2 (tier 1, 3 XP): While a friendly ship is attacking at distance 1-2 of an obstacle or friendly ship, its attacks cannot be obstructed.
Upgrade for everyone! Solid plan to just use the obstacles to shield your small boys

Ion Technician-2 (3 XP): While a friendly ship is attacking, it may add 1 blue die to its attack pool. If it does, remove 1 die from the attack pool.
This is a very powerful ability. It's DTT without the modification or exhaust parts of the card. So long as you have the range to attack (AKA long is fine) you can use this ability. Which means you can lob a bunch of red dice, pull 1 out, and use the blue you added in to Leading Shots the rest. You can also even just use it to steady out your damage or chase that accuracy. And this is "attacking." Not attacking a ship. So, flak the heck out of those squadrons.

Ordnance Expert-2 (3 XP): While a friendly ship is attacking, it may add 1 black die to its attack pool. If it does, remove 1 die from the attack pool.
Chase them black dice crits. It's Ion Technician (entry immediately above) but for black dice. As stated there, this is "attacking." Not attacking a ship. So, flak the heck out of those squadrons.
I have a clipboard and I'm not afraid to use it!
Logistics Abilities
Ready Defender-1 (2 XP): You do not gain the "Low Fuel" condition card after you declare you will defend at a location in an area with no friendly base sticker.
If you're usually defending and your opponents are chasing you all over the map, this is helpful. Especially if you're having trouble establishing bases. Again, I'd call this a later build ability; one your'e adding in to counter your opponents' plans.

Independent Raider-1 (2 XP): You do not gain the "Low Fuel" condition card after you declare an assault at a location in an area with no friendly base sticker that is adjacent to an area with a friendly base sticker.
See Ready Defender one entry above. This is the attacker version of that, but that causes new wrinkles for your opponent. You can strike ANYWHERE, which means they have to be willing to defend anywhere. You can attack somewhere they don't have a base, giving them the Low Fuel condition.

Additional Support-2 (3 XP): One of your fleet's ships with a (Fleet Support) icon in its upgrade bar gains 1 additional (Fleet Support) icon in its upgrade bar.
This pairs well when you want your flotilla to both comms net a token or two over along with being a bomber command center, or when you want to bring both jamming fields and slicer tools, etc. Make that flotilla a real pain for your opponent.

Command Staff-2 (3 XP): You gain 1 additional (Officer) icon in your upgrade bar.
This is your flagship only, but this does mean you can get 3 officers on Phoenix Home. Live out every crazy dream you've ever wanted on your ships. Lando and Walex on Admo, Tua and Intel Officer on your Onager, enjoy.

Command Bridge-2 (4 XP): One medium or large ship in your fleet that does not have a (Fleet Command) icon in its upgrade bar gains 1 additional (Fleet Command) icon in its upgrade bar.
This is one of my favorite abilities, as it's not Flag Bridge with its 1 and done effect. This is Chimaera or Pelta levels, where you can power it every turn. IF is cool in a 200 point game, but in a PIVOTAL? Hoo buddy, you can get some bananas things going with this ability. And for everyone's reference, Mygeeto is the only way to get a Fleet Command. Base it and win the base defense there or play Volatile Cargo for it.
You wish your hair was this majestic
Navigation Abilities
Master Navigator 1-1 (3 XP): After fleets are deployed, you may gain 1 NAV token. When you resolve a NAV command, you may increase the last yaw value at your current speed by 1 or change your speed by an additional 1.
This effect is in addition to the base navigation effect from the token or dial. So a token can change your speed by 2 or change it by 1 and adjust the last adjustable yaw joint. A dial can change you by 2 and give you a click where you want it or change your speed by 1 and give you 2 clicks of adjustment (one of which must be at the last joint). If we get crazy with dial and token, that's potentially a +/-3 speed change (dial for 1, token for 1, and the ability for 1) and a click where desired, or a 2 speed change (dial and token) and 2 clicks added in (one last joint from the ability and one from the dial). It's Madine/Ozzel-light for your flagship.

Master Navigator 2-2 (tier 1, 4 XP): After fleets are deployed, each friendly ship may gain 1 NAV token. When a friendly ship resolves a NAV command, it may increase the last yaw value at its current speed by 1 or change its speed by an additional 1.
The ability extends to everyone. But what if we could make it even better?

Master Navigator 2-2 (tier 1, 4 XP): After fleets are deployed, each friendly ship may gain 1 NAV token. When a friendly ship resolves a NAV command, it may increase 1 additional yaw value by 1 or change its speed by an additional 1.
The ability is extended to let you change any yaw. Dang near Madine and Ozzel perfection. Get exactly where you need to when you need to.

Rockhopper 1-1 (2 XP) Once per game, you can ignore the effects of overlapping an obstacle.
Baby Jaina's, or Chart Officer more accurately. This ability seems like it would pair well with some of the other upgrades or allow you to do a few things that AREN'T navigate when you need to shoot something dead or command squads or repair or whatever. Not the first upgrade I'd take unless you have a plan that involves your flagship running into a rock or rift at least once.

Rockhopper 2-2 (tier 1, 3 XP) Once per game, one friendly ship can ignore the effects of overlapping an obstacle.
The ability extends to you saving a friend. Have a plan for this, I feel, and I can see it doing some good work for you.
Cut to the left, I'll take the leader
Squadron Tactics Abilities
Master Coordinator 1-1 (3 XP): After fleets are deployed you may gain 1 SQD token. When you resolve a SQD command, if you spent a SQD token you may activate 1 additional squadron.
The Liberty title for your flagship, without it needing to be the Liberty.

Master Coordinator 2-2 (tier 1, 3 XP): After fleets are deployed, each friendly ship may gain 1 SQD token. When a friendly ship resolves a SQD command, if it spent a SQD token it may activate 1 additional squadron.
Extend it to everyone! Flotillas can push 4 squadrons at once, and I've seen this do good work on Expanded Hangar Bays Raiders/Hammerheads. You want a combat flotilla, that's the trick right there.

Master Coordinator 3-3 (tier 2, 4 XP): After fleets are deployed, each friendly ship may gain 1 SQD token. When a friendly ship resolves a SQD command, the squadron it activates can be at close-long range. If that ship spent a SQD token, it may activate 1 additional squadron.
Free boosted comms for everyone! Not a bad choice, but you need a reason to take this over Fighter Group Leader (below).

Rapid Deployment-1 (2 XP): While deploying fleets, your fleet's squadrons can be placed at distance 1-3 of a friendly ship.
When you really want to get that alpha, deploy on the line and launch them turn 1. You can get some MEAN attacks going with this.

Fighter Group Leader-2 (4 XP): When a friendly ship resolves a SQD command, each squadron that ship activates may reroll 1 die while attacking until the end of its activation.
What if I smushed Bomber Command Center and Toryn Farr into one ability? And still allowed Swarm and/or Toryn/Woldar to trigger too? This is a VERY powerful ability, and you can make some powerful squadron builds with this one and Master Coordinator 2 (above). Watch out for squadron fleets with this ability.

And that's the end of our basic fleet building discussion! Coming up next from Biggs: teamwork!

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