Note: This post was originally part of my battle report for the Wave IX tournament at ibuywargames, Woking (You can find the full report here). It was a lengthy post, so I decided to cut this. In the interests of my own evaluation process, I have decided to include this as a separate post (selfish, I know). Subsequently, you might recognise some of the text below.
Whilst getting to grips with how to fly an A-Wing Crack-Swarm (you can read about my thoughts on formation flying here), I came across the latest Mynock Squadron Podcast, Firespray and Pray (you can find it here, jump to 32:00) and Ryan Farmer has given each of his A-wings in the swarm different callsigns: Dragon, Mynock, Raptor, Tackle and Tex (each inspired by the different Mynocks). He has painted them individually and kept stats on each of them. Ryan addresses the concept of confirmation bias, fully acknowledging that he may well be ‘setting them up for positions of success and failure’.
Ryan has even created personalised cards for each ship with a justification of their names.
I could go for Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy. This doesn’t fit, not to mention the embedded racism and xenophobia. Well, there’s the Ghostbusters: Venkman, Spengler, Stanz, Zeddemore and Slimer. I have the lego kit for this, thus making it easier to remember who is who for the first few games, but I have no Slimer.
Then there’s the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Leo, Raph, Michelangelo, Donatello and Kasey. I’m actually tempted to go with this, but I’m not fully committed.
I started to think about mythical beasts and went down two routes
•Beasts of the ground: Black Dog, Hydra, manticore, Wendigo (this one is awesome by the way, possessing humans and turning them into canonballs), Orthros, Cerberus
•Winged Beasts: Phoenix, Griffin, Sprite, Wraith, Roc, – drop Sprite for Shade
I began searching for creatures from Star Wars (both Canon and Legends) that would lend themselves to a squadron of A-Wings, it went a little like this:
In the end, it was when I was searching for Starbird, that I came across this:
Then it suddenly seemed straight forward:
It might seem like I’m making more work for myself, but actually, I think it’s an important psychological step when getting to grips with various formations of a swarm. I have to add: as an experiment, I kept a log of which ships performed which actions and exploded (or not) as a way of evaluating my performance and getting to know my list. It was only when writing this report that I assigned each ship (previously denoted by my target locks A-E) with the titles above.
Does it make a difference? Here are some observations from my first tournament using this list:
- Game one (matched against 2x Tie Defenders and a Tie Bomber) I didn’t forget to use Crack Shot, but I didn’t get to use them on Phoenix (A), Inferno (B) or Flare (E).
- It was Phoenix (A) who turned the wrong way in the penultimate round against the jumpmasters in game two.
- Game three (matched against 4 Baffaloes) Phoenix (A) went down against Baffaloes, along with Blaze (D), it was Inferno (B), Flame (C) and Flare (E) that held out and won the game.
- Phoenix (A) exploded with the direct hit in game four (matched against thee T-65s).
- Inferno (B) died without using Crack Shot in two separate games.
- Flame (C) was the only one to land on a rock all throughout four games.
Did you notice the same pattern? Phoenix. She’s mentioned a lot.
It could simply be a reflection of how I move my ships. For instance, if Phoenix (A) is placed first and given an upfront position, she is more likely to see the action, right? Flame (C) and Blaze (D) might well be mentioned less as a result of simply being the Green Squadron equivalent of fodder. Maybe.
What I’m interested in now is what if my personification of the ships leads me to make different decisions about placement and strategy.
We’ll just have to see.