News: Android Netrunner Data and Destiny Deluxe Expansion!

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Breaking news: Big Orbit Games learnt today at the UK Game Expo that Fantasy Flight Games’ next, and last, deluxe expansion for Android: Netrunner will be called Data and Destiny and that it comes with a nice surprise!

The set will feature the NBN corporation doing what they do, controlling the media and news in their usual style. But as anyone who plays Netrunner knows, there are four Corporation factions but only three Runners. So, who would herald the fourth deluxe expansion? The answer is none of them! Read on…

Data and Destiny will feature 3 Runner identities and each of them will be their own mini-faction! Not much was revealed about how they will work or what their abilities are, unfortunately, but we do know that one of the identities is not a person but rather a sentient virus program. This is a wonderful twist for the game’s last deluxe expansion and hopefully it will bring a whole new aspect to the game.

Sadly we were unable to get any photographs from the presentation, but look out for more information in the following weeks from FFG themselves.

Star Wars Armada: Rebel Fighter Squadrons Expansion Pack Review

Star Wars Armada Rebel Starfighter ShipsWe count 30 Rebel ships, Lord Vader, but they’re so small they’re avoiding our turbo lasers!” – Imperial Officer

Wave 1 introduces the first squadron expansions, with Rebel Fighter Squadrons expanding the Rebels snubfighter line-up to include:

  • A-wing Squadron
    • Tycho Celchu A-wing Squadron
  • B-wing Squadron
    • Keyan Farlander B-wing Squadron
  • X-wing Squadron
    • Wedge Antilles X-wing Squadron
  • Y-wing Squadron
    • “Dutch” Vander Y-wing Squadron

X-Wing: The X-Wings were already included in the Core Se,t but we get a new character squadron, Wedge Antilles, so I’ll start there. Coming in at a fair few points more than a normal X-Wing squadron, Wedge thankfully brings a lot for this extra cost. He keeps the Bomber and Escort rule and gains the ability of adding 2 blue dice to his attack pool against activated squadrons. Rolling 6 dice against other squadrons is deadly, even in the mirror, and he could easily take out other character squadrons in one salvo by denying the use of defense tokens with accuracy results. A nice little bit of synergy is with the Y-Wing character, “Dutch” Vander, whose ability causes a squadron to be switched to activated (more on him later). So use a Squadron dial, activate Wedge & Dutch, and pop an opposing character squadron in one turn. With double Brace tokens he has a good chance of survival, but combine him with his wingman and Wedge will be your sniping squadron.

A-Wing: A-Wings introduce us to the the new Counter ability. After being attacked, the squadron can shoot back (even if destroyed), making engaging squadrons beneficial in most situations. A single black dice against ships looks nice, until you remember that criticals don’t apply to them, so you really don’t want to be engaging ships with A-Wings (even if you want to try to recreate a certain infamous scene). They are however an exceptionally fast squadron at speed 5 and, with 3 blue dice against other squadrons, they fill the role of an interceptor perfectly. Tycho Celchu is the character pilot and he is allowed to move even if engaged, which fits in with how manoeuvrable the A-Wing is and will let him flee unfavourable engagements.

B-Wing: Now for the B-Wing, my personal favourite fighter. With 5 hull, blue and black anti-ship dice and Bomber, this squadron is designed for tackling the big boys, but the squadron is definitely a hybrid fighter-bomber as it can perform well in either role. A pair of these can easily put the hurt on ships late game and when you look at Keyan Farlander, who allows you to reroll any of your dice when attacking a ship, this squadron can do some serious damage in one turn. However this comes at the high cost of 20 points, which is steep for a single squadron with only double Brace and a slow speed of just 2. Combining Keyan with the new Nebulon-B title Yavaris, which allows him to attack twice in one turn, will be downright brutal and a ship-killing move. Right now with only X-Wings and TIE Fighters, squadrons have not been much of a hinderance to large ships, but now it has all changed with the B-Wings.

Y-Wing: Speaking of damaging ships, the last ship in this pack is the Y-Wing. In the stories, the B-Wing replaces the ageing Y-Wing in its role of anti-ship combat and this rings true in Armada. Having only 1 black dice against ships, still with Bomber, but now carrying the Heavy rule (They don’t prevent squadrons from disengaging), their damage potential isn’t as high as the B-Wing, especially their anti-squadron fire power which is a mere 2 blue dice. They do however come in 4 points cheaper and have an increased speed and hull so they can manoeuvre more easily with a bit more survivability. In the character slot we find “Dutch” Vander who brings an ability that sounds just like an ion cannon shot. When he damages a squadron they toggle to being activated, and if they already had activated they instead take 1 damage. A punishing ability if the opponent has flown in to tie you up, but otherwise its only a minor ability when used on its own, reflected by him only being 2 more points then a normal Y-Wing. However, as I wrote above, if you add Wedge in to the mix this becomes a nasty attack pattern.

Star Wars Armada Rebel Starfighter CardsSpeaking from a fluff perspective the Rebel Fighters really shine with their ethos of using small snubfighters to tackle the larger ships of the Imperial, as they simply didn’t have the resources to produce massive vessels. When you look through the stats of each squadron you see that they all threaten to damage any ship, including the A-Wing, who, even with just a single black dice, still has a 75% chance to inflict one damage. Over the course of a game, this begins to add up and chipping away at an opponent’s shields will take its toll.

Each expansion pack has 2 of each squadron so it’s enough to supplement your fleet, but I can already see the need to buy additional expansion packs. Having only two A-Wings seems a little low as it would be good to fly them in a larger group where they can bring their number to bear on unsuspecting squadrons, and Y-Wings need to be supported by further squadrons if you want them to survive contact with the enemy. I feel this pack will bring a much desired aspect to the game, squadrons will become much more important now and will have a much bigger influence on the game as a whole. Wave 1 is going to make a big impact on Star Wars Armada.

Pick up individual components, models, cards and accessories for Star Wars Armada, along with sealed items at Big Orbit Cards: Star Wars Armada

Big Orbit are a hobby games retailer that specialises in the sale of individual trading cards and game components – Big Orbit also runs a Gaming venue in Evesham, Worcs, UK.

Star Wars Armada: Imperial Fighter Squadrons Expansion Pack Review

Star Wars Armada Imperial Starfighter ShipsEscorts, swarms, cannon fodder, the Imperial starfighters have many different terms but what you can’t deny is their effectiveness in their roles. The Imperial Fighter Squadrons Expansion pack brings with it four types of starfighter, three of them new entries to Armada:

  • TIE Advanced Squadron
    • Inc Darth Vader TIE Advanced Squadron
  • TIE Bomber Squadron
    • Inc Major Rhymer TIE Bomber Squadron
  • TIE Interceptor Squadron
    • Inc Soontir Fel TIE Interceptor Squadron
  • TIE Fighter Squadron
    • Inc “Mauler” Mithel TIE Fighter Squadron

TIE Advanced: Commonly known as Darth Vader’s personal fighter, the TIE Advanced, on paper, looks like a simple upgrade from the classic TIE fighter. Keeping the same movement and anti-squadron fire power, they boast an improved hull, a black dice vs ships and they’ve traded Swarm for the Escort ability. For the small 4 point increase, the Advanced brings a bit more to the field over a regular TIE. Utilising the Escort ability will be their primary role, flying alongside Bombers to keep them from harm. As I mentioned, Advanceds are known because Darth Vader piloted one in A New Hope and he appears here as the character pilot. With double Brace, 3 blue dice, 1 black anti-squadron die and 1 black anti-ship die you get a lot more punch from him, while his pseudo-Bomber ability means that his critical icons add 1 damage to the total. This means  that, against squadrons, he could potentially deal five damage in one shot, which is enough to insta-kill any squadron. However, this comes at a cost of 21 points, which is a bit steep for a sole anti-squadron ship. I can’t see the Advanced being used a huge amount, the same fate they’ve had in Star Wars X-Wing, as their all-round stats just don’t compare to the more specialised squadrons in most scenarios.

TIE Bomber: On to the squadrons they might be escorting, the TIE Bombers. A single black dice for both of its attacks looks lacklustre, but it has its namesake ability “Bomber” so against ships it can deal critical damage. They also have the Heavy rule, meaning that they don’t cause enemy squadrons to be engaged, which, when you add in their single black die, you can clearly see these squadrons should not be anywhere near opposing squadrons. At just 9 points they’re cheap and a swarm of these lumbering in late game could finish off ships easily. With a speed of 4, the Bomber is quite fast, faster then the Rebel Y-Wings and B-Wings who fill a similar role, and when you mix Major Rhymer’s character squadron into a swarm you get the added ability of being able to attack at close-medium range too. This dovetails beautifully in with escorting squadrons; the escorts move in to tie-up any surrounding flights, while the Bombers hang back and freely unload their bombs against the enemy ship.

TIE Interceptor: After all this talk of escorts and bombing, what about offence? That’s where the TIE Interceptors come in. At 11 points they’re only a small bump up from a TIE Fighter and they bring a deadly stat line to your fleet: they have a speed of 5, 4 blue dice against squadrons, the Swarm ability which grants them a reroll and, if that’s not enough, they also have Counter 2. When a squadron attacks them, even if the Interceptors are destroyed, you get to roll 2 blue dice back against the enemy. These fighters are a threat to any squadron and if left unchecked they could quickly ruin an opponent’s bombing run. Soontir Fel, the character pilot, adds a nasty ability to these already vicious fighters. If a squadron attacks someone else whilst engaged with Soontir, then they suffer a damage for not attacking him. Your opponent’s plans to deny you your Swarm rerolls or to take out the Bombers will need to be reconsidered if Soontir is in play flying as a wingman because that damage will soon add up. Additionally, weilding a Brace and Scatter defense token he won’t be easy to take out even if he is targeted. All this for just 18 points is fantastic and I will be happily fielding Soontir with accompanying Interceptors in the future.Star Wars Armada Imperial Starfighter CardsUnlike the Rebel Fighters, the synergy between these squadrons outside of the usual escorting roles doesn’t seem apparent, but there is something to be said about joining Soontir up with “Mauler” Mithel, the TIE Fighter character pilot. He has the same stats as a normal TIE Fighter, but its his ability that the 15 points pay for. After he moves, each squadron engaged with him automatically suffers one damage. That’s painful. Stick him to the side of Soontir, fly them in to an opposing swarm and watch your opponent try to prioritise who to take out first. Again, as seems to be standard for Imperial characters, Mithel has a Brace and a Scatter token to keep himself alive.

I won’t cover the iconic TIE Fighters because we learnt all about them from the Core Set and this expansion doesn’t add much to them, other then enabling you to fly an even larger swarm. Comparing this expansion to the Rebel Fighters, I feel that the Imperials come off marginally worse because the variant TIEs don’t add huge amounts over the original Fighters, but they are all still inexpensive which is the Imperial way. Mass-produced, cheaply made and thrown at the enemy en-mass is the classic strategy and that rings true in Star Wars Armada.

Pick up individual components, models, cards and accessories for Star Wars Armada, along with sealed items at Big Orbit Cards: Star Wars Armada

Big Orbit are a hobby games retailer that specialises in the sale of individual trading cards and game components – Big Orbit also runs a Gaming venue in Evesham, Worcs, UK.