Before Setting Dials: A Guide to Community Resources

This article will be one of a series of articles geared towards helping newer players get ready for their first large tournament. The topics we cover will include: general tournament preparation, the pros and cons of net listing vs. taking a homebrewed list, how to stress test a homebrewed list to see if it’s tournament ready, a guide to community resources, and a guide to turn zero considerations.

The lists in this article, and the descriptions included, are a reflection of my personal knowledge, experiences, and preferences. Some of these resources I have had the opportunity to make use of, others I have not. I have no doubt that I have missed items in every single one of the following categories. If I have missed your contribution, I apologize. Unfortunately, time is a finite resource and I am unable to make use of the vast majority of the content created by this great community. I hope this article is received in the spirit that it is offered: as both a tribute to the hard work and generosity of this community, and as a basic guide to those who are looking for more X-Wing content to consume.

podcasts

Gold Squadron Podcast. Fronted by Dion Morales (possibly the hardest working content creator in X-Wing), this podcast is, in my mind at least, the CNN of X-Wing. They will cover all the X-Wing news in a family-friendly, drama free fashion.

Mynock Squadron Podcast. I expect it’s a toss up as to whether Gold Squadron or the Mynocks are the better known podcast in North America. The Mynocks tend to be more long winded, and they do chase after some drama for entertainment value. Expect Dee Yun to whinge on and on while interrupting Ryan as he tries to keep them on topic. They also strive to be family-friendly.

Radio TCX. Weekly X-Wing news in 20-30 minutes. Family-friendly.

OCX Radio. The tailgating podcast of the X-Wing world. They view themselves, and understandably so, as the podcast of the people. The alcohol flows freely, and the content becomes more blurred as the words become slurred.

Birmingham Barons. By far my favorite X-Wing podcast. The content is useful and concise, all while being entertaining. They manage to find the balance between having fun and staying close to being on topic. Family-friendly.

The Inland Empire Aces. I’ve only listened to a few of their episodes. They were good, but as they tended to only focus on the Empire, as their name suggests, I didn’t stick with them long.

Scum and Villiany Podcast. To the best of my knowledge, this is the longest running X-Wing podcast in the world. They release episodes infrequently, but the content is solid when it is released.

Carolina Krayts. These guys are, first and foremost, trolls. That being said, they have some of the best X-Wing players in North America on their podcast, and take a very data fueled, analytical approach to the game. Is that four hour episode pure X-Wing gold, are there just a few nuggets of solid content sprinkled through, or is it a four hour dumpster fire of an episode? The only way to find out is to listen and hope it isn’t just them playing Mario Kart the whole time. If nothing else, everyone should listen to their episodes in the “listener series”. The series was recorded during the 1st Edition days, but is still worth a listen for anyone who wants to “git gud” at this game.

186th Squadron Podcast. This cast is out of England, and features some truly top notch cast members and some excellent content. It loses some relevance for those of us who can’t easily reach Europe for tournaments, but is still very worthwhile listening.

Sith Takers Snap Shots. I’ve only recently discovered this podcast. The episodes are all approximately 15 minutes long and discuss one particular subject for that time. The few I’ve listened to have been fantastic.

Thule Squadron Radio. Broadcasting out of Iceland, this podcast is one I haven’t been able to take the time to get a good feel for.

Evergreen Squadron Radio. They bill themselves as an X-Wing podcast that serves the Pacific Northwest of America. I haven’t listened to any episodes since Second Edition came out, but my recollection is that they truly do strive to serve that community. A solid cast, but too focused on a region I won’t be getting to anytime soon to keep my attention. If you are in that area, or visit at times, I recommend you give them a listen.

512 Squadron Podcast. Out of Austin, Texas, this podcast releases episodes quite infrequently, but I always give them a listen when they do release one. They are entertaining and the content is good, but often a little dated by the time they get around to recording.

Liberty Squadron Podcast. I have actually only listened to two of Liberty Squadron’s podcasts, but if those episodes were any indication, this is a podcast I should be listening to every chance I get. They stay on topic, and the content is on point and very good.

Stay on Target. An iteration of this podcast was one of the first podcasts I started listening to when I first started playing X-Wing. The cast has changed around some, but it’s still a podcast I listen to every time they release an episode which, granted, isn’t very often. Family-friendly.

Back to Dials. Another long running podcast with an infrequent release schedule. They are on their second or third restart as a podcast. The content they release is always good. Family-friendly.

Hornet Squadron. This is one of the few podcasts on this list I have never actually listened to. What can I say, but time is finite?

Renegade Squadron Podcast. Ditto for this Australian podcast. I did start one, ’cause who doesn’t love an Australian accent? But the episode was recorded pre-points change and I was listening in a post-points change world, so I gave up listening fairly quickly. We’ll see what they have to offer in the future.

HitHitCrit Podcast. This podcast is out of Cape Town, South Africa. I haven’t yet had the time to listen to any of their Second Edition content, but from my memories of the episodes I listened to during First Edition, they put out a solid podcast.

Lack of Focus Podcast. Several of the Nova Squadron guys are on this cast. The little I’ve listened to this cast, it seems to follow the old Nova Squadron pattern of long, detailed bat-reps.

Cloud City Radio.

The Salt Mines Podcast.

Sea to Sky Squadron Podcast.

Millenium Condor. I haven’t listened to this one as it’s mostly in French, and I’m an ignorant American who can’t speak any foreign languages.

South Wookiees Squadron Podcast. Also haven’t listened to this one. It’s in Portuguese? Spanish? See above for “Ignorant American” disclaimer.

These next two actually cater specifically to a more casual set of players, but are quite good so I thought I would include them.

Hell of a Pilot. Another podcast out of the land down under, they are always entertaining, and often feature a “lore” segment covering some aspect of the Star Wars universe in detail, and have a X-Wing based audio drama.

Shuttle Tydirium. Formerly competitive players, these guys got burned out on the competitive scene and now work tirelessly to create and promote alternative formats for the casual player. They also have created an entertaining X-Wing based audio drama.

youtube

Gold Squadron: YouTube. Twitch. The Premier X-Wing stream of the United States, Dion sets the standard for professionalism, and travels ALL OVER the country to stream. He also has created several interesting video series including X-Wing Mind Games, and a Quick Tips series.

First Earth: YouTube. Twitch. They are the most prolific streamer of X-Wing content in Europe, and have brought us coverage of some of the largest X-Wing events in the world.

Back to Dials: YouTube. Twitch. Back to Dials streams primarily the Colorado X-Wing community, but also produces some incredibly instructional videos like their video on how to fly medium bases.

Birmingham Barons: YouTube. Twitch. I’ve only watched a few of the B-Ham Barons streams, and they’ve been decent. Perfectly adequate, but without the bells and whistles of a Gold Squadron, First Earth, or VTTV.

VTTV: YouTube. Twitch. Canada’s excellent stream. They stream all of FFG’s competitive games, and do it well. However, they rely more on volunteers for commentary so, compared to Gold Squadron or First Earth, the commentary can be a bit hit or miss as a few of the commentators are not caught up with 2nd Edition content.

Sith Takers: YouTube. Twitch? I haven’t watched anything from the Sith Takers. I’m not even positive that the Twitch link is completely accurate. But I’ve heard good things about this British program.

Echo Base X-Wing: YouTube. Twitch. This is a very interesting and informative concept. They take recorded games and break them down turn by turn to provide insight into the minds of some of the games top players.

X-Wing Selbsthilegruppe: Twitch. YouTube. A stream based out of Hanover, Germany.

Firestorm Squadron: YouTube. Another set of videos from the excellent players out of England.

Weekend Warlords: YouTube. Twitch.

Game Chief: YouTube. They produce content for multiple different game systems, but do have some X-Wing content.

Arch Alliance: YouTube. Twitch. We are just getting started on our streaming journey. No bells and whistles yet, but they’re coming….

X-Wing Battle Report Archive. A searchable streamed game archive. Search by ship from your favorite faction, by game type, and by format.

nonstream

Hairy Nick. X-Wing content from a guy with big hair, a big beard, and an Australian accent. What’s not to love?

Crabbok. Crabbok covers all things FFG, and almost instantly when a new article comes out. He’s on top of his games.

I’m sure there are many more. But the ones I knew about, like The Cardboard Dungeon and Team Covenant, haven’t released anything new for X-Wing since the start of Second Edition.

blogs

Such an X-Wing Hipster. Possibly the best known X-Wing blog, Phil GC somehow manages to make the “bat-reps” of someone I’ve never met, in a meta I’ll never see, highly engrossing. I don’t typically enjoy the bat-rep style of X-Wing blogging, but I rarely miss one of Phil’s posts because they’re just so darn good.

Eruletho, Tales of the Silver Ace. This blog’s typical fare involves focusing an article at a time on building and flying a particular ship. The posts are always well thought out and interesting.

Deathrain’s Blog. This blog also tends towards infrequent releases. There doesn’t seem to be an overall trend, aside from writing on whatever topic interests the author. But the posts are definitely worth reading when they do come out.

Starfighter Mafia. Written by St. Louis’ Biophysical, this blog is one of a kind. I haven’t seen anything else in the X-Wing world that teaches the strategy of X-Wing quite the way this blog does. If you haven’t read these articles, start now, and if you have, well, going over them one more time isn’t going to hurt anything.

Blair Bunke’s Blog. Blair rarely releases articles, but they are well worth the wait when they do arrive.

Zombie Squadron. Part painting blog, part bat-rep, part general X-Wing discussion, all around good blog. Somehow England has a plethora of excellent blogs and this one, written by various members of the Zombie Squadron, is certainly no exception.

Nathan’s X-Wing Blog. A New Zealand blogger who seems to write primarily about ships and combos that he enjoys, he often highlights a ship and explores ways to efficiently get it on the table.

Friday Night X-Wing. This blog seems to be more for the non-“200-6” standard format players. It features custom senarios, and a ground assault fan created expansion.

What the Actual Zuck? A somewhat sporadic blog, this author has primarily written about flying the Scum faction, but his latest articles hint that there might be some Resistance content coming as well.

D20 Radio. They cover lots of different miniatures gaming, but there is some X-Wing content in there too.

Back to Dials. The Back to Dials Podcast doesn’t often release blogs, but when they do, they are excellent.

Tantum Imperium. Did the Empire do anything wrong? This blog would say no. Check it out for monthly thoughts on playing Empire and First Order squads.

Ramblings of a Wargamer. I’ve just recently discovered this one. It appears to be another blog out of England. Largely bat-reps, but some other content as well.

Fishy Wargaming. They cover lots of different tabletop games, X-Wing included.

Space Owls. I feel like I need to be smarter to really make good use of the information in this one. Probably if my ADD would let me focus on the content here, I could start heading towards not being such a scrub.

X-Wing Tavern Wars. A blog built around creating fast play missions for either solo or two player missions.

Bloglette Generator. Lots of discussion about various Scum lists, but has recently moved into covering Resistance as well.

Joust Me. A brand new blog from one of the members of Liberty Squadron.

Confessions of a Midwest Scrub. I like this one a lot. Good content. Excellent meme-picture-things. In all seriousness though, for newer players, aside from reading the current “Before Setting Dials” series, I recommend you read How to Lose a Game in Six Easy Steps. And, you know, the rest of our articles.

The following blogs have released Second Edition content, but it’s been a while. (Note this article was released March 2019).

Stay on the Leader. Nothing since November 2018.

It’s Getting Hoth in Here. Nothing since December 2018.

Taking the Sith. Nothing since December 2018.

X-Wing Puzzle Club. Nothing since December 2018.

Yes, More X-Wing. Nothing since early January 2019.

squad

Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0. This is probably the most widely used web-based squad builder of Second Edition. It is minimalist and efficient. If you are printing out a list for a tournament, you are likely using this site.

Launch Bay Next. This is my go-to squad builder. It’s an app, so no internet connection is required to use it. It can toggle between Extended and Hyperspace, and it allows you to enter in your collection information and will notify you if your squad has components you don’t own, and what releases those cards are found in. It allows multiple different ways to organize your lists, and lets you track win/loss ratios for each squad. It also has a tab for tournament results.

X-Wing 2nd Ed. Squad Designer. Available as a website or as an Android app, this squad builder seems very simple and easy to use.

X-Squad. I have no experience with this, as it is for Apple products.

FFG’s Official Squad Builder. The official squad builder comes in both the web-based flavor and the mobile-app based flavor. Some people seem to think it’s okay. Also, FFG will sometimes almost force you to use it for special events. It has… problems, especially in the mobile app. It’s much the same as the website, but has the unfortunate requirement of needing an internet connection to function properly.

tournament

Tabletop T.O. In my experience so far, this is my preferred tournament software. Users can register, and it will keep track of what tournaments they’ve been to, how they did, how their record compares to others, what lists they run, what factions they prefer, etc. Users can submit tournament results, get pairings, and check their standings right from their phone. It’s all free and very intuitive.

Best Coast Pairings. This is the software currently being used for the System Open series. I was pretty excited to start using it for the tournaments I run, until I found out that, while they keep all the same data as Tabletop T.O., they hide the information behind a pay-wall so I haven’t used it yet. Has the notable distinction of being app based for ease of use.

Cryodex. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of some of the other software, but from what I understand, if you’re going to be running multiple day event, this is still the go-to program.

Tome. FFG’s official tournament software. I’ve never used it, nor I do I know of anyone who does. I imagine it probably works, though.

simulators

Vassal. This is probably the most commonly used of the X-Wing simulators. I found it a bit difficult to learn to use, but it has the tools available to do about anything you could do on a real table. Gold Squadron has a tutorial video on how to download it here.

Fly Casual. This simulator is beautiful. It has 3D or 2D options. It’s very intuitive and easy to learn to use. Unfortunately, those aspects leave it vulnerable to crashing quite a bit, and, unlike Vassal, you have to wait more often for content updates to try out some combos. But even with those issues, this is more likely to be the place I go for a game when I can’t get to a real table.

TTS. An X-Wing simulator run in TableTop Simulator on Steam. I haven’t had the chance to use this one. Maybe it’s the best of them all? Or maybe not. You tell me.

rules

Rules Documents and Tournament Regulations. At the bottom of the page under the Support heading, click the appropriate tab for either Rules or Tournament Regulations.

FAQ. On FFG’s forums, under “X-Wing Rules Questions” you’ll find this forum thread with their official rulings. Inside you’ll find the death of Dash/Roark and the immensely confusing ruling on how Qi’ra crew interacts with Scum Han pilot, among other things.

Community Rules Committee. This is a group of judges and other community members that have come together to get answers to questions that FFG hasn’t yet taken the time to answer. Their document isn’t out yet, but you can submit questions here.

other

List Fortress. An online repository of Second Edition tournament results. Everything from eight person kit tournaments to System Opens with hundreds of participants. It shows the format, the number of people, what lists they were flying, and the number of wins and MOV (Margin of Victory). All data is voluntarily submitted, so there may be some holes in the information depending on how in depth the submission was.

Pink Brain Matter. This is a recently released site that analyzes data from List Fortress. It can tell you the percentage of Rebel lists in major tournaments since the recent points change, and the percentage of those lists that took certain pilots, etc.

Probability Calculator. This will allow you to enter in a ton of variables for numerous different attacks to see expected damage under various circumstances. For those of us who are math impaired, it’s a vital tool.

Infinite Arenas. This awesome site has a number of tools available, including an unofficial rules reference, a card browser, and printable maneuver reference cards for most Second Edition ships, among other things.

X-Wing Mapper. This fantastic tool will show you all the available final positions of any ship in any faction. Toggle variations for Afterburners, Advanced Sensors, Supernatural Reflexes, or any otherpossibilities, choose your maneuver and see all the different places your ship could end up.

If you are in the St. Louis area or coming to visit, reach out to Arch Alliance X-Wing on Facebook to find out where we are playing on any given night.

For more Arch Alliance content check out:

Our YouTube channel, Facebook page, and Biophysical’s Starfighter Mafia blog.

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