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One Year After X-Wing 2.0 – Where Are We Now?

One Year After X-Wing 2.0 – Where Are We Now?

The second edition of the X-Wing miniatures game had a bit of a rough start. The challenge of converting an armada of first edition fans to pick up and accept this new version appeared daunting. Fantasy Flight Games weathered the storm and came out the other side.

The largest hurdle was cost. With hindsight, the release of upgrade kits which afforded players an easier transition were in fact a success. The mix of unit dials was at times aggravating–only two X-Wings, really?–but overall they provided a bridge to the brave new world and allowed us to field a large fleet of ships right from the outset. Skepticism was mostly dashed and the quality of the new rule-set overtook the growing pains.

Of largest gain was a more balanced competitive scene. As big games are wont to do, the line began to outstrip the original vision. This caused the designers to stretch the mechanisms and incorporate new maneuvers such as boost and SLAM late in the first edition’s lifecycle. This continual evolution was fascinating from one angle as new toys continued to offer surprises and nuance, but it was hell on an audience that wanted classic ships such as the game’s namesake to remain competitive in the long haul. In this respect, 2.0 was a do-over.

XW_Fight

Adding new actions to existing ships and adjusting their maneuver dials has made a substantial difference. Ships like the original X and Y-Wing are once again a joy to play, and more importantly, can compete with the latest wave in tournament play. The variable point system where the cost of upgrades and ships were removed from the cardboard and instead placed in the app has been wildly successful as well. This allows for the game to thrive and for the design team to retain control over their beast for the long-haul.

Casual X-Wing 1.0 players were the most challenged. If you played in a friendly environment with a loose attitude, you likely struggled with the decision to purchase the upgrade kits. Yet those who have shifted over have found the experience rewarding. The new quick build cards offer an exceptional way to play X-Wing by cutting out much of the roster management before play. It is a shame these were not included in the upgrade kits but FFG have done a great job in keeping these available electronically on their website.

Additional changes such as including force powers and throwing charges on items and abilities really opened up the design space. The game is not only more balanced and tight, but it’s more exciting and fulfilling, even if you don’t want to min-max your build and carefully measure each point.

XW_Conversion

One of the big question marks with this line was in how they’d expand and take us into the next generation of X-Wing. Most thought we’d continue to see spacecraft from the most recent Star Wars flicks, our plastic addiction consisting of mainlining stylish First Order and Resistance ships. While partially true, no one expected the biggest curve ball of all–heading back to the prequels.

Many thought the Episodes I-III were off the table. That is not the case. With the latest waves we’ve seen Naboo fighters, Republic aces, and Sith villains. The Clone Wars has arrived and we’re celebrating.

The truth is, these ships are excellent. While they don’t fit in time-wise with your existing Empire and Rebellion miniatures, they certainly fit into the greater X-Wing culture shift of 2.0. They offer unique abilities and slick pilots you can add to your collection.

In some ways, Clone Wars-era releases have capped off the first arc of the second edition system. It’s taken the game to its logical conclusion and provided a strong transition for the line. Now things begin to get interesting as the future becomes more challenging and dominated by the unknown, looming as a large void at the edge of the rim.

XW_Cards

For those who have decided not to move forward, content with their current selection and OG ruleset, there is nothing to fret. While I believe the new edition is a marked improvement on one of the best tabletop miniatures games ever released, 1.0 is still an excellent experience rife with tension and breakneck tempo. The fans of X-Wing, while scattered across the stars and mired in their own edition wars, are here to stay as this game is built to last.

 

Image Credits: Fantasy Flight Games, Charlie Theel

In addition to Geek & Sundry, Charlie Theel writes for Ars Technica, Tabletop Gaming, Player Elimination, and co-hosts the gaming podcast Ding & Dent. You can find him on Twitter @CharlieTheel.

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