In X-Wing, players command squads of the galaxy’s most advanced starships, sending them into deadly dogfights amid asteroid fields or above the surfaces of those planets whose fates hang in the balance.
While the game’s Core Set introduces everything two players need to enjoy the game’s dramatic space battles, fans have enjoyed utilizing the game’s expansions to customize their squads, finding those ships that best suit their play styles. Now, four more X-Wing starships will soon arrive upon the game’s starry battlefields, and we asked lead developer James Kniffen why X-Wing fans everywhere will want to launch them into action!
Q: Tell us about the next four X-Wing starships.
James Kniffen (JK): Imperial fans will recognize the TIE bomber and its powerful proton bombs from The Empire Strikes Back. The TIE bomber also comes with four secondary weapon upgrade icons, making it extremely versatile. Meanwhile, the Lambda-class Shuttle arrives. Made famous by the Tydirium in Return of the Jedi, this shuttle provides a wide array of supportive abilities and some dark side firepower, and the model’s folding wings capture the ship’s iconic silhouette. Rebel fans have long expected the legendary B-wing, and they’ll get it. This is the first Rebel ship innately capable of barrel-rolling, and it can equip an Autoblaster cannon, the bane of all Imperial swarms. The HWK-290 is perhaps the biggest surprise of the bunch, though its lineage is deeply rooted in Star Wars canon. Most famously represented by Kyle Katarn’s Moldy Crow in the fan-favorite video game Star Wars: Dark Forces, the HWK-290 is a fantastic support ship that makes your whole squad better.
Q: What makes these ships exciting for players?
JK: Each of these upcoming ships rewards a steady hand and clever mind. Each can make a stunning impact on the field but also carries a notable weakness that smart players can exploit. The B-wing’s offensive capability is immense, and it has amazing low-speed agility. However, it’s also an easy target at long range, making it more dependent upon the help of wingmen. The Lambda-class shuttle is capable of destroying opposing starships with some very powerful attacks, but it also has the most limited maneuver dial in the game; if an agile ship can flank it, it’s in big trouble! With these starships, proper positioning and action management are absolutely vital, and you’ll find plenty of encouragement to attempt complex new flight patterns.
Q: Tell us about the new systems upgrade type.
JK: The systems upgrade sprang into existence as I researched the B-wing’s specifications, particularly its advanced fire-control system. The ship is an absolute masterpiece of technological innovation, but it was hard to convey that fact in the game by simply giving it better stats or more actions. As I researched other ships, I kept coming across notes about special sensors, computers, and other pieces of advanced technology. Armed with that knowledge, I could confidently create a new upgrade icon to encompass any sort of advanced technology that isn’t directly a weapon. Creating a new type of upgrade also opened a great deal of design space and more control over how to use it, so I created the “systems” upgrade icon and Fire-Control System upgrade card. The concept also transferred beautifully to the Lambda-class shuttle, another ship with advanced and expensive tech that deserves representation in the game!
Q: What was the most exciting part of working to bring these iconic starships to life in X-Wing?
JK: Each of these new ships is iconic for a special reason, and conveying those unique qualities was the most challenging and exciting aspect of development. These aren’t ships that are simply faster and stronger like the Millennium Falcon or Slave I; each one needed to stand out against the backdrop of devastating TIE interceptors and hulking YT-1300s. It took time to explore these unusual ships, identify their defining qualities, and turn those qualities into a thematic and original game experience. Any time I can create something that fits in perfectly with an existing game but that introduces new abilities, new tactics, and an all-new feel, I couldn’t be anything short of ecstatic.
~ Support Your Squad ~
Add strength to your squad with these four new expansions for X-Wing. The TIE Bomber Expansion Pack, Lambda-class Shuttle Expansion Pack, B-Wing Expansion Pack, and HWK-290 Expansion Pack are scheduled for release in the third quarter of 2013.
It’s already been a huge year for Pathfinder fans, with the popular Reign of Winter Adventure Path, the Ultimate Campaign hardcover, and the new format for Pathfinder Modules unveiled with The Dragon’s Demand super-module, but starting in August, the summer really explodes with a handful of huge product releases. Because things can get daunting running up to the big Gen Con release date, here’s a quick overview of important August Pathfinder releases to help you plan for a season of truly mythic scope!
~ Pathfinder RPG Mythic Adventures ~
The year’s major RPG rules hardcover release is Mythic Adventures, a comprehensive guide to infusing your campaigns with amazingly powerful potential. Mythic Adventures introduces six new mythic paths like the archmage, champion, and guardian that allow characters of all levels to experience an entirely new style of high adventure, granting them abilities far beyond those of mere mortals. With extensive support in the form of the Wrath of the Righteous Adventure Path, Pathfinder Society scenarios that grant limited access to mythic abilities, and sourcebooks weaving the mythic rules into the Pathfinder world of Golarion, Mythic Adventures sets a new standard for high-octane play, and is poised to be one of the major RPG releases of 2013.
~ Pathfinder Adventure Card Game ~
This year, Pathfinder steps beyond the GM screen to enter a new product category with the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, a major new product line with bimonthly releases that bring the adventure and excitement of Paizo’s popular Adventure Paths to a quick-play cooperative card game format. It all gets started in August with the Rise of the Runelords Base Set, a huge box featuring more than 500 cards depicting characters, scenarios, treasures, and monsters inspired by Pathfinder’s most popular campaign ever. Players develop their characters over numerous scenarios, advancing in power each time they play and carrying over benefits from game to game. The first Adventure Deck, pitting the players against the villainous goblins of “Burnt Offerings,” is included in the Rise of the Runelords Base Set. Other $19.99 Adventure Decks will follow on a bi-monthly basis starting in October.
~ The Wrath of the Righteous Adventure Path ~
From the very beginning of the Pathfinder Adventure Path, players have been demanding a campaign where they take on the role of straight-up “good guys.” In August’s Wrath of the Righteous Adventure Path, it’s time for true heroes to take the spotlight when a horde of demons seeping from the evil Worldwound in the northern regions of the Inner Sea begins to spill out of the tainted hellscape of their realm, threatening the civilized lands of Golarion. It’ll take all the power the heroes can muster to push back the demonic horde, so the campaign makes healthy use of Paizo’s new Mythic Adventures hardcover, granting the player characters awesome new mythic abilities with each adventure and containing tons of tips and examples of how to weave mythic play into Pathfinder campaigns. With six monthly volumes running through the end of the year, extensive in-store and convention gaming support through the Pathfinder Society’s “Year of the Demon” storyline, and numerous product tie-ins like August’s Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Demons Revisited and Pathfinder Player Companion: Demon Hunter’s Handbook, the Wrath of the Righteous puts heroes to a test of heroism they will not soon forget!
~ And That’s Not All! ~
In addition to the exciting releases listed above, Paizo has a ton of other great products coming out in the summer, from the Skull & Shackles set of Pathfinder Battles pre-painted miniatures produced in collaboration with WizKids to the Pathfinder: Dark Waters Rising hardcover compilation of the first six issues of Dynamite’s critically acclaimed Pathfinder comic series to new Pathfinder Modules, Map Packs, Flip-Mats, and more! This August looks to be a great one for Pathfinder players. Plan carefully to make sure you don’t miss a single release!
Earlier this year, Privateer Press announced LEVEL 7 [OMEGA PROTOCOL], the next game set in the terrifying world of LEVEL 7. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the components and mechanics of the new game and which new aspects of the setting it explores.
In LEVEL 7 [ESCAPE] players take on the roll of escaped test subjects frantically trying to find their way out of the Subterra Bravo facility. The actions of these escapees destabilize the relationship between the human and alien elements in the base. By the end of the story the situation is completely out of the government’s control.
The government had planned for this contingency, however, and that’s where the LEVEL 7 [OMEGA PROTOCOL] story picks up. In this new game players take on the roll of either a highly trained commando team sent to pacify the situation or as the overseer in control of the enemy forces trying to stop the commandos.
Much like the alien creatures in LEVEL 7 [ESCAPE] are drawn to a player’s fear, both sides in this confrontation are tied together by their use of the adrenaline system. During a commandos turn he can perform a variety of actions, like moving, attacking, and opening doors. Each of these actions has an associated adrenaline cost. A commando increases his adrenaline for each action by taking adrenaline tokens but can gain only a set amount of tokens each turn. This adrenaline is then passed to the overseer who uses it as fuel for activating his abilities and figures. The system creates a situation where skill and luck can allow the commandos to limit the amount of actions the overseer can perform during his turn.
The commandos each have a military specialty and plenty of training and equipment to get the job done. These aspects are represented in character creation when the players select cards from both a personal and common deck of kit cards. These kits make the different commandos stand apart from each other and add plenty of replayablity to the game. During gameplay, kit cards grant a wide range of abilities to commandos, allowing them to do things like deploy drones or use abilities that improve the performance of the entire team.
Stance cards are another aspect of the game that makes each commando a little different. Each commando chooses which stance cards he will use at the beginning of every round. They determine some of the commando’s abilities, his movement and defense stats and how many adrenaline tokens he can gain in a turn.
The commandos must work together to accomplish a series of missions and stop the insurrection. They are not only working against the overseer player, but also against a clock counting down to the Crisis Point. When the Crisis Point is triggered, the danger level increases, and the overseer has a much greater chance of winning.
The overseer spends each of the nine missions attempting to destroy the commandos. He controls distribution of the map elements and the movements of the inhuman creatures that have overrun the facility.
During the setup of a mission the overseer determines what will be in each room and which doors the commandos will have to breach. During the game, the overseer has access to a force of dangerous creatures he will place on the map when the commandos explore new rooms. A few of these creatures will be familiar to players of LEVEL 7 [ESCAPE], but there are new threats that Dr. Cronos has kept hidden as his own contingency plan.
The overseer’s dashboard is a collection of abilities determined by the mission. He spends adrenaline tokens on these abilities to spawn new threats on the map and improve the capabilities of his creatures. Each ability has a cool-down period that restricts how it functions for a specific amount of time. The overseer must manage the number of adrenaline tokens he spends each turn and be careful he doesn’t use an ability too early.
LEVEL 7 [OMEGA PROTOCOL] is a tactical miniatures-based board game for 2-6 players releasing this fall. Fearlessly enter the belly of the beast as part of a highly trained team of operatives and work together to neutralize all threats or take control of the swarms of creatures inhabiting Subterra Bravo and ensure the human intruders know true terror before they meet their grisly fate.