Since the release of X-wing back in 2012, the game have evolved way beyond its starting point. Some for the better, some not so much. With the newly announced relaunch of X-Wing, it will hopefully benefit from this accumulated experience, to create a even better game and design. Here is The Academys predictions about X-Wing Second Edition prior to launch.
The importance of manoeuvrability
Turrets are gone! Well, they’re still there, but now they’re limited to one or two arcs and functions similarly to the mobile arc on the Shadow Caster from First Edition. Which means arc dodgers can finally fully live up to their moniker and completely avoid fire from turreted ships. And by the look of things, most ships will have one or more options for re-positioning, so the term “arc-dodger” may become a bit watered, but for both turreted ships and those wanting to avoid the multiply arcs and possibly get a shot their chosen maneuver becomes even more important than in First Edition. Especially considering that barrel rolls are more limited in their options, so you must carefully navigate obstacles and other ships to allow for pin-point positioning. And only a few ships (A-wings and TIE Interceptors) will have the option to both
With the removal of 360 degree shooting, a feature that really took hold with the introduction of wave 7 in First Edition, many new players (and forgetful veterans) will have to learn how to read their opponents to maneuver their ships into advantageous positions in order to block or fire at them. Not that this was ever not the case, but the care-free “auto-aim” nature of turrets will no longer reward a less optimal maneuver choice. However, a perfect shot will now (as it always is) feel satisfying, as you get a sensation of outsmarting your opponent. The new edition is bound to reward players who carefully plan ahead (not like yours truly, who is more of a “let’s do this and see what happens”-kinda guy) and don’t mind using a turn or two to set up that perfect kill-box. I think many – as myself – are looking forward to genuine skillful dog-fights, rather than two turret ships circling each other, with the player with most luck eventually coming out on top.
Many ships’ re-positioning actions can be linked to or are linked from another action or are simply red actions, making stress-clearing maneuvers (that are now blue) more regular, with many ships gaining one or two additional blue maneuvers. In most cases these are usually banks or straight and blue turns are featured primarily on interceptor-type ships. This gives players more opportunities from the get-go, without resorting to upgrades that improve maneuver difficulty and can save those slots for other interesting upgrades or leave the points for a… first player bid(?) or a better pilot. Combine this with Segnor’s Loop and Tallon Rolls for older ships and flying your fleet looks to a lot more fun in Second Edition.
The power of the Force
AN entirely new concept in X-wing is the ability for a few pilots to use the Force. Force tokens (
The introduction of regenerating Force points allow for some – along with Charges (
The return of iconic ships and pilots
The game round in Second Edition features a new phase called “System Phase”, in which players activate effects such as de-cloaking and employ devices. “Device” is the upgrade slot for bombs and mines and may feature new upgrades in the future. Bombs and mines are all dropped in the System Phase, occurs between Planning and Activation, which means players have perfect knowledge of the placement of bombs and can attempt to avoid them with their ships. They otherwise functions as their First Edition counterparts, which mean you can still place a mine directly on a lower Initiative ship, you just have to think a round ahead and position your bomber accordingly.
With bombs and mines being less unpredictable and secondary weapons like Twin Laser Turret and Harpoon Missiles out of the way, we might see a return of some of the ships partially being kept out of the game, due to those upgrades. Pilots like Soontir Fel, who was particularly weak to bombs (plus Sabine) could maneuver his way back into the game, especially now that turrets are fixed to mobile arcs. B-wings will no longer perish to 4x TLT and their dials have received a facelift, so some of the ships that makes X-wing a Star Wars game will possibly find their way back. And speaking of iconic Star Wars ships, there are none that fit that description as much as X-wings and TIE Fighters. The developers claim everything has been balanced in accordance to TIE Fighters, but as the X-wing has gotten another hull point, a far better dial and re-positioning options, I hardly see a fair fight between two TIEs and one X-wing as we were introduced to in the Quick Play rules of our First Edition Core Set. Hopefully the developers knows what they’re doing and TIEs aren’t as bad as they look on paper – especially with the re-work of Evade tokens – and the renowned TIE swarm will make it’s return to the competitive stage. The developers does seem to have put some effort into creating pilots, that will complement swarm tactics, with Howlrunner now working on herself and Iden Versio being able to negate the first killing blow, which could’ve well targeted Wampa as he will be stronger, as long as he hasn’t been targeted that round. There are other upgrades that could help out a swarm, but requires a different ships than a TIE Fighter. Admiral Sloane can discourage a ship from destroying one of her allies, as they would then be doubly stressed. Every friendly ship firing at that ship (or another stressed enemy) will then have an offensive advantage. With only a portion of the Imperial pilots and upgrades revealed, we can probably expect to see more pilots, that will work well flying in formation with their allies.
Two other important characters, who’ve been left out in the cold for a while as Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, who both seems to have received a boost to their power level. Mechanically Luke’s ability works exactly is it did in First Edition, in that he will always have at least one Force token to change one
Heroes and Villains (reader discretion)
A perfect adversary to these two would of course be Darth Vader. His TIE Advanced now has a build in Advanced Targeting Computer, leaving the System slot open to Advanced Sensors or Fire Control System and his ability allows him to always be Focused and Locked onto an enemy, as long as he doesn’t use too many of his Force tokens on re-positioning. His large Force pool makes him rather versatile and his high Initiative can really augment the Sense Force Talent. The TIE Advanced also gains the 1
The levelling of the playing field
Even if, after Second Edition is released, there are ships that are overpriced or too powerful, with upgrade combinations, that makes them ridiculously efficient, the whole point of the squad builder app is to rectify such blunders. And there most likely will be some blunders from FFG, because it is impossible to make a perfect game at the scale X-wing is now. Even with testing, it is difficult for the developers to predict the creativity of the X-wing community hive-mind, so now we players are the final test group and the developers can use our feedback to re-balance a new pilot or card dynamically. Gone are the days of inelegant cost reduction upgrades or fixes for one issue, that causes another issue and needs another fix. Well, it’s probably naive to think all these problems will disappear, but the ability to alter costs of pilots and upgrades and add or remove upgrade slots will make it easier to battle super-efficient pilots such as Miranda or Contracted Scout.
It is a very positive thing, though, as you don’t have to know every new entry in the FAQ (which can focus on rule clarification) but the changes will be apparent immediately when booting up the app for some list building. This makes the changes transition into the game much more smoothly. And with the re-balance of the dials, cost, upgrades etc. of ships, it’s more than likely that we will see the most diverse X-wing tournament scene ever. So far none of the upgrades in Second Edition seem game-breaking and a must-have like Push the Limit or Veteran Instincts, but add different flavor to pilots, so you can tailor a list to your play style.
Another exciting aspect to the official squad builder app is the options in creating different tournament formats, banning ships, upgrades or pilots or alter the default point cost. It will be interesting to see what this means for Organized Play, as the developers has said that quarter kits and season kits are longer longer supported, but there instead will be different themed events. Although pure speculation, it’s not hard to imagine that some of these tournament formats will include only the most recently released ships as a way to push sales of new expansions. We will see if this comes to pass eventually, but the positive will most likely out-weigh the negative of such a business model. In any case, this customization should make lives easier for tournament organizers, as they can create formats without having to write extensive lists of allowed ships or upgrades.