X-Wing “2.0”? Behold the New Rulebook

x-wing-t70 copy

Did you know X-Wing just got a shiny new rulebook with a LOT of clarifications and updates?  Here’s what every starfighter pilot needs to know:

A guest editorial by “Troy”

The past few weeks have been awfully hectic for X-Wing. The Imperial Raider huge ship added a huge boost for the game’s Epic Play format, while simultaneously transforming the TIE Advanced, pretty universally regarded as the game’s weakest ship, into a significant force in the battle space, Wave 7 finally hit store shelves, bringing with it super bombers and super bombs and just this weekend the new “Force Awakens Starter Set” was released to select big box stores (and soon to friendly local game stores).

The new starter set brings with it a lot of new stuff. First Order TIE Fighters and Resistance T-70 X-Wings with improved stats and capabilities, new upgrades and upgrade type, a new damage deck…

With all these new pilots and ships and abilities to talk about, what might be the most significant thing in the new starter set can get looked over.

x-wing-rules-reference copy

It includes an updated rulebook.


Two of them, in fact. Conforming to FFG’s current practice, the new starter includes a short “Learn to Play” booklet that covers the basics of turn structure and dice rolling and the like, and a comprehensive “Rules Reference” book that is essentially an alphabetical glossary of every rule in the game and is the new, definitive resource for the rules of the game. And it has changes.

“Wait… Are you telling me that the rulebook I just got 2 weeks ago is now totally out of date and worthless? I thought FFG weren’t GW.”

Well, yes and no. The new rulebook does make a number of changes to the game, but virtually all of those changes are either fixing weird interactions that weren’t supposed to be there in the first place or dealing with odd corner cases that only effect a couple cards here and there. To the casual player the game should play exactly as it has these past 3 years. To super-detail minded rules guys like me or tournament players who require precise, comprehensive rules, the new rulebook fixes dozens of little problems that may have gotten under our skin, like little splinters that we just had to accept and live with and creates a much firmer foundation for the game to grow on.

What this article is going to do is go through the changes and highlight the ones that may have an actual impact on game play.

The Big Rules Changes

The biggest change is probably the change in how ships are activated. Previously, “Executing a Maneuver” was a single, specific step during a ship’s activation and abilities that triggered then would happen before any other steps, such as the “Check Pilot Stress” step, where stress tokens were added or removed based on maneuver difficulty. This created a few odd scenarios such as Night Beast performing a green maneuver but not being able to use his ability because it triggered before his stress was removed. The new rulebook reorganizes the activation phase so that actually moving the ship and dealing with stress is all part of the “Execute Maneuver” step. Off the top of my head I can think of 3 cards this affects. Night Beast can now use his ability to gain focus on the same maneuver he uses to clear a stress, a K-Wing with the Damaged Engine crit (make all turns red) will gain stress if it uses SLAM to execute a turn, and the Dauntless title can no longer allow you to make a green maneuver, overlap a ship, trigger Dauntless for an action and a stress and then clear the stress because you made a green maneuver. Now it is make a green maneuver, clear stress (if any) then trigger Dauntless, which gives you a stress you will keep for the round.

The second big change is in the combat sequence. There used to be a weird timing paradox that actually meant that turret upgrade weapons didn’t function. The actual problem is kinda complex and sounds really silly but basically turret secondary weapons only worked because the designers said “because we say so”. That has now been fixed. In the new rules you first choose the weapon you want to fire and then select a valid target for that weapon. Then you pay any costs associated with making the attack. After all that is done, the chosen target becomes the defender of the attack.

As indicated, this fixes turret weapons so that they actually work. It also allows Dark Curse to be targeted by weapons that require spending a focus token to fire, since he does not become the defender until after those costs are paid. On the surface, this change also seems to create a loophole regarding Biggs Darklighter’s special ability, allowing an attacker to circumvent his ability by careful weapon choice, but the FAQ for Biggs clearly squashes this notion and Biggs still works the same as he ever did.

A minor change is that you may now acquire a Target Lock on a ship you already have a TL on. The old Lock is discarded and you gain the new one. This is a minor change that really just makes life a little less complicated for Dutch and “Redline” because of their special abilities. It has no effect on anyone else.

Dice results and upgrade types are all given official names (Hits, Criticals, Focus, etc…) EPT upgrades are officially “Elite” upgrades, and the new upgrade type is called “Tech”.

The rules for Debris Clouds have been fully integrated into the obstacle rules, which clarifies a minor point of confusion of their exact effects.

If you somehow manage to overlap 2 obstacles with a single move, you now suffer the effects of both of them. Previously you only rolled for one of them.

That is most of the significant changes. There are some additional clarifications and terminology that shouldn’t really have any effect on game play but should make interpreting cards easier.


The new rulebook introduces a lot of minor changes and tweaks that should be totally invisible to most players but that create a much more stable game platform for the designers to use in creating new abilities that will actually function like they are meant to without needing excessive errata going forward. If you read this article and found it boring, you will probably never even notice the changes, if you found it full of interesting information, you probably already knew most of the issues the changes fixed and are delighted that FFG cleaned up and clarified the game.


So, yes. It is a new edition of X-Wing, but a new edition that is virtually indistinguishable from the old one.


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Both the new “Learn to Play” book and the new “Rules Reference” book are available to download from FFGs X-wing page

X-Wing Learn to Play (pdf, September 4, 2015)

X-Wing Rules Reference (pdf, September 4, 2015)


Troy plays X-Wing at JAC Games in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.  Come on by any Friday night and bring your squadron with you X-Wing pilots!


  • JJ

    I’m really excited about the minor fixes that they seem to have incorporated into the 2.0. It’s really refreshing to see a company that is obviously trying to improve their game rather than making you re-purchase your army because of all the changes. Can FFG put out an update for all the games I play?

    • Agent OfBolas

      What’s more, FFG care about old models – and they are bringing updates for them if they are not in line with the rest… totally opposite to GW…

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        Kind of.

        FFG creates updated rules for old ships but they also make you buy products to access those rules (e.g. you want to fix the Advanced, then you need to buy the Raider).

        Those fixes also make people want to buy more of the original product, so it doubly serves their interest.

  • ZeeLobby

    Its nice to see the gaming systems outside of GWs control get more polished with each update.

  • Looks pretty cool. i may pick up a new starter.

  • Michael Gerardi

    I just played my first game of X-Wing last night, and I can’t say enough good things about it! This is going to be my replacement table top game. And yes, there was a lot of interesting information, and no, nothing that would have affected my play, but I’m glad FFG has cleaned up minor issues without GW-ing the entire ruleset.

    • Agent OfBolas

      It’s best game I’ve ever played in my 18 year experience with wargameing. Rules are clear, miniatures are beauties, FFG is fixing any issue – just because they are playing this game – an mandatory weekly tournament for all employees 😉

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        Miniatures are beautiful?

        I *really* love X-Wing but that is overselling what amounts to a bunch of mass produced, pre-painted models.

        • izmerul

          hum the level of the prepainted is better than 95% of what normal people are able to / have time to / or care to do.

          I’m with agent on that one. they are beautiful. (not the most amazing plastic awesomeness … but beautiful nonetheless)

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            I’d like to think if you painted the exact same model the exact same way for months on end, you would make that one model look pretty OK, even if you began as a terrible painter.

            Plus, most of the paint schemes are really simple. Spray one color, wash with black or brown, paint a small strip of a color. If 40k were held to such standards, then most people would have a painted army. 🙂

          • izmerul

            “I’d like to think if you painted the exact same model the exact same way for months on end”

            I’m not sure where you’re going with that … why would someone paint the same model over and over again?

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            Sorry, what I meant was that these models are pained by people who work in a factory. So they get pretty good at what they do because they paint it over and over again (compared to the average 40k/Warmachine/AoS/etc. player who maybe sees the exact same model posed the exact same way a handful of times).

          • izmerul

            uhm … didn’t think they were hand-painted. it’s not a machine job?

        • SwervinNinja

          Take one look at the Star Trek Attack Wing minis, and then tell me X-wing miniatures are being oversold.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            The only difference is the lack of a wash but that makes sense for Star Trek. All of their ships look pristine until battle damaged. Star Wars ships always look dirty and lived in.

      • izmerul

        mandatory weekly tournament? That’s just slavery …

  • Michel Beaulieu

    there were no issues with turrets. Just issues with people trying to find loopholes like in 40k.

    • John Bower

      Was going to say I never found any issues with turrets; and I’ve so far played 3 tournaments at my local shop. Nobody brought any issues up and turrets are rather useful. Heck the Autoblaster one helped me shut down the Tie Phantom and Decimator build.

      • Spacefrisian

        3 is a charm right? So i guess i dont need to repeat the no issue on turret thing right (snap just did that)

    • Agent OfBolas

      There is a thing that counters TLT pretty nice. I love it, I use it – it pwns.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      Fixing the rules so they work correctly is a good thing. Don’t knock FFG for doing what was right for the game. Power Gamers are apart of the community just as much as we are. 🙂

      • izmerul

        power gamers … just the sound of it makes me feel icky. IT’S A GAME… I know they’re part of the community but MAN do I wish they weren’t

        • Red_Five_Standing_By

          Every game has them. Literally every game. Even when you remove them, someone always become “too power gamery” for the group.

  • William Bellamy

    The biggest change I noticed was you can no longer reroll a rerolled die. I remember the first game I encountered a guy who had the falcon, Han, and the mercenary gunner so he would fire at me a third time if he missed the first two.

    • ForgottenLore

      That isn’t a change. It has always been the case that any given die could not be rerolled more than once.

      Old rulebook, page 12. Last sentence in the box “modifying dice results” (in the paragraph highlighted “Important” in red.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      Always been there, mate.

      As ForgottenLore said, Gunner is a wholly additional attack that is predicated upon missing your first attack.

  • Erik Setzer

    And if you want to see the new rules without buying the new box, you can just go to this page and download the rulebook, the quick-play booklet, huge ship rules, and FAQ without paying a dime:


    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      But the new models are so cool and I wants them!

      • Erik Setzer

        Oh yeah, I’m planning to get them later myself, but some people might not be aware they don’t have to pay for the new revision of the rules.

        • Red_Five_Standing_By

          Very true. Free is free!

  • Corsair6

    Well written article. I really enjoy the tweaks to the system. The one area that I have not seen addressed yet is the two damage decks (especially in a tournament setting).