Welcome to the Dice and Cardboard Briefing Room, pilot! In this series I'll write about a pilot or upgrade that I've been experimenting with or enjoying.
This week's subject is...who's that?
It's -3PO! I prefer to focus these articles on pilots and upgrades that aren't well-known meta-monsters or even generally considered "good," and the C-3PO Crew upgrade is not, for the most part, an exception to that rule. However, -3PO is a pillar of the Star Wars story, appearing in nearly every on-screen installment of the saga, and he certainly has his uses in X-Wing. I also feel that the game developers really did him justice, giving him fun and thematic abilities that are varied for each stage of his journey through the lifes of our non-robotic heroes. We get a different version of -3PO in X-Wing for each Star Wars trilogy, so this article is a 3(PO)-for-1!
C-3PO Crew (Republic)
Since he's relatively bright, shiny, and new during the Clone Wars, Republic C-3Po has a relatively simple, droid-y ability that leans into defense since, well, when have you ever seen C-3PO attack? Simple doesn't mean it isn't powerful, though. He adds the Calculate action to the action bar of any ship that he occupies, then allows the Calculate action to yield two tokens. Having two green tokens is a great way to counteract jamming, as only one can be removed by a Jam action, and also gives you the option to spend one on an attack and save the other for defense. This also means that you can spend your first calculate token on an attack and still be "calculating" when you defend in order to use that valuable reroll. The calculate-enabled reroll seems like it simulates -3PO's uncanny ability to "accidentally" trip and fall out of harm's way or take a blaster bolt that neatly pops the switched-out battle droid head off of his body.
C-3PO pairs reasonably well with R2-D2 in the BTL-B Y-Wing. Since R2's ability says, "gain 1 calculate token" you're free to take a Calculate action during the Activation Phase and not worry about only being able to use the action once per round. If you can get R2 a lock by another means then you have a nice pool of green tokens to use as you see fit. If you don't have enough points left for one of the more popular Jedi crew then C-3Po can be a viable budget passenger for R2.
Another possible use of -3PO is in the crew slot of a LAAT gunship with Multi-Missile Pods. His Calculate action enables the use of the missiles and, if you only spend one calculate on the attack then you have one left over to reroll and possibly convert the LAAT's single green die on defense. Is it the best use of a LAAT's upgrade slots? Probably not. Does it work? Sure!
C-3PO Crew - Rebel
This -3PO keeps his added Calculate action and multiple token-gaining ability but adds a wonderfully thematic and fun ability to the top part of the card. Never tell me the odds!
So, efficiency benefits of having multiple green tokens available when needed aside(ships carrying -3PO love to be coordinated to get those tokens on top of another action), his ability can be fun to use and occasionally beneficial on ships that roll only a single defense die like the YT-1300, VCX-100 (Aleksandr Kallus pilot gets to roll greens occasionally), and ARC-170. Just always guess "1" and you have a 3/8 chance of getting two evades! There is, of course, the unfortunate possibility that you spend the token to guess and then roll a focus which you now cannot convert. The ability was carefully written to prevent you from just guessing "0" and adding an evade when you roll a blank or focus.
C-3PO Crew - Resistance
It is as a member of Leia Organa's Resistance that C-3PO really comes into his own, adding a red Coordinate action and the ability to gain a calculate token after a Calculate action OR the new Coordinate. Instead of trying to tell us the odds, our new self-assured -3PO can now coordinate a friendly ship with Calculate on its action bar from anywhere on the board. This comes thematically from his role as Leia's spymaster, collecting intelligence from droid "operatives" all over the galaxy. So much fun!
C-3PO is often used in the crew slot of Rose Tico's Transport Pod. His ability allows you to Coordinate another ship then gain a calculate token. You can then save that for defense to keep Rose alive or to double-modify Rose's shot using her ability. Fun and efficient!
My favorite use of Resistance -3PO, though is for that top part of his ability. R1-J5 in the Fireball and BB-8 in the Transport Pod already have Calculate on their action bars and can therefore be coordinated by C-3PO anywhere on the board, but you can also add another Resistance droid crew like GA-97 or PZ-4C0 to a Resistance Transport or Scavenged YT-1300. I'd sure like to be able to coordinate Rey while my support ship stays nice and safe behind a screen of fighters.
That's it, 3x3PO! He may not be the most popular crew upgrade, but we love him and he's a good clean fun part of the game and certainly has his uses. How do you use C-3PO in your squads?