I Don’t Know …Fly Casual

Let me start by first saying thanks to Ned, Aaron, Liz, Guy, and the fine folks at the Scum and Villainy podcast for their contributions to the Shaken Pilot Drinking Fund.

Now, let’s talk a little bit about what Fly Casual means, because a bunch of you nerfherders on the galactic holonet seem to have some misconceptions about it.

Fly Casual does not mean “Bro, you gotta let me cheat.” Mistakes are mistakes. Missed opportunities are missed opportunities. In a tournament setting, there is nothing wrong with holding your opponent to the rules. (More on this at the end.)

What Fly Casual does mean is that you keep in mind a basic fact about how X-Wing is played …that it involves tiny plastic spaceship models being moved around with cardboard templates, often in a very small, cluttered area.

Ships should be placed with a reasonable amount of precision. Yet, the very nature of the components means that things will sometimes be imprecise, especially as bumps start happening. Fly Casual means everyone is expected to try their best, and also that you shouldn’t get too bent out of shape when your opponent accidentally nudges one of your ships because his hands are shaking from the DTs.

And speaking of the DTs, let’s take a break to talk about my favorite kind of prize support:

Here we’ve got two drinks made possible by those lovely people I thanked up top. (The lovely people are Ned and Liz; everyone else I thanked is butt tugly.) First, Airen Cracken’s Kraken Mojito. Guaranteed to spice up your night. Just have a drink, and give someone close to you some free action.

And then the Tatooine Sunrise. It’s tequila and Sanpellegrino blood orange soda. Red Ace swizzle stick optional. This shouldn’t be confused with my personal favorite, the Tatooine Sunset, which is made by purchasing a Sanpellegrino regular orange soda during Tuesday night x-wing at your favorite FLGS, drinking a bit, and then topping it off by pouring tequila directly into the can.


Where was I? Something, something fly casual. I’ve been to a lot of tournaments, and have a bit of a reputation for going to damn near everything in the area (and in NoVa, that’s a ton of stores). The number of people I’ve seen clearly cheating by manipulating ship placement is somewhere between 0 and 1. The number of people I’ve seen simply being careless — but not seeming like they’re trying to get an advantage — is somewhere between 1 and 2. Literally every other person I’ve gone up against has attempted to do the best they can while working within the limitations of little plastic spaceships, cardboard templates, and clumsy human fleshpaws.

And speaking of clumsy human fleshpaws, here’s another picture from the Lego X-Wing Cantina. Just imagine trying to move ships with Lego hands.

Yes, that’s IG-88C. Yes, that’s Gonk. Yes, that’s Airen Cracken holding a teddy bear.

The one area where I think there may be some genuine unsportsmanlike conduct going on is in regards to taking too much time. I don’t want to say stalling for time though, because I can’t see into anyone else’s heart. Except the Howard brothers. Their hearts are full of rot and termites. Everyone else though, I don’t know if there’s any intention to stall or not. All I know is that sometimes I think people are taking too long.

If on average, you take longer than 3 minutes to set your dials, you’re taking too long. 2 minutes is pretty reasonable for most rounds and most squads. Some squads obviously take a little longer than the average, and some rounds will present particularly tricky options. And that’s why I said on average you shouldn’t take longer than 3 minutes.

Here’s the thing though, taking too long even when you’re genuinely trying to decide on a maneuver is also unsporting in my book. You’re essentially using your idiocy to gain an advantage over your opponent. The only ways being stupid should help you out is if you’ve brought a wacky list no one knows how to fly against because it’s too stupid for them to have thought about (Latts, Kavil, Palob anyone?), or because you’ve picked moves that are too stupid for your opponent to think you’d actually execute (4K onto a rock!). But, grinding down the clock because you need to check for a fifth time to see if your Lambda Shuttle has a white 1 hard turn, that’s not okay.

Yet, Fly Casual means I don’t think we should have an official time limit on the planning phase, or introduce chess clocks to tournaments. Fly Casual means we solve this problem by setting a standard, and the standard is to just try your best within the limits of your alcohol-addled meat-based brain. It also means to give your opponent not only a relatively fun experience (within the bounds of his crappy dice rolls), but also a fair chance to win or make the next cut that isn’t hampered by your own ineptitude.

And now here’s another picture:


My final thoughts on Fly Casual have to do with missed opportunities and stupid mistakes. You are well without your rights to hold your opponents to their mistakes. Missed opportunities are explicitly addressed in the rules. But speaking of the rules, let’s see what it actually says:

“If a player forgets to use an effect during the timing specified by that effect, he or she cannot retroactively use it without the consent of his or her opponent.”

The rule here is interesting because it says both that you can hold your opponent to the mistake, and that you can let them fix it. The key point here though is that Fly Casual does not require you to let your opponent fix a mistake.

The rule of thumb I go by is that you can always retroactively take an opportunity so long as you have not received any new information that could reasonably impact your decision making. New information would be something like seeing an opponent’s dial, learning where precisely a ship lands, or seeing the result of a dice roll.

Can you get R2-D2’s shield regen midway through a round? I’d allow it. You’d take the shield regardless of what else happens in the round, so your decision is the same no matter what new information you’ve received.

Can you take a Focus action at the start of combat with a ship that took no actions? Sure, go for it! Focus is just the default action choice. (TL and Evade tend to be based a bit more on seeing ships’ positions though, so unless it’s clear from the build and play of the game that a different action has become the default for a ship, I’d only allow a Focus.)

Can you choose to un-spend an evade token when your opponent starts to activate gunner? I think so. You’re making the change based on information you forgot — you’re not changing because you didn’t think they’d use gunner.

So, can un-spend a token when your opponent announces that the Luke (crew) shot will be on a different target? I think not. They’ve revealed a secret tactical decision that you didn’t know about before, and this new information locks in the choices that have been made.

You can’t decide to barrel roll a ship or move in a different order once you’ve realized you’re going to bump. But, you can take back a focus action to flip down your console fire.

The important thing here though is just that these are the allowances I would make in a game. The rules don’t require you to make them, and I don’t think you should be accused of not flying casual if you don’t allow your opponent’s the same latitude. I think it makes the game more enjoyable when we give people these little corrections, but it’s still on you to get your shit straight to begin with. Be nice to each other, but don’t blame other people for your mistakes.


No more Lego X-Wing pictures. For now.



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