Is it just me, or is the tidal wave of X-Wing news getting steeper than ever?
Fantasy Flight used the occasion of Gencon to unleash a veritable flood of X-Wing announcements on us. “Force Awakens” conversion kits for 2.2? Expected, but awesome! A new TFA A-Wing? Less expected, but more awesome! Scum and Villainy TIE Fighters? Uh… sure, why not? A promise of future “Clone Wars”-era stuff with two more factions? Bring it on! And we get the complete rules reference dropped? Great—now we can settle all manner of speculative rules arguments and start parsing for those tiny advantages that’ll drive everyone around us nuts! Or maybe that’s just me.
Admittedly none of that is as cool as a freaking Super Star Destroyer. But it’s still a lot of cool stuff! It’s so much stuff that I’ll delay any more talk of points or the relative value of bullseying. Let’s dig in!
WAVE II ANNOUNCEMENT
Hm. We’ve already had a Wave II. This is our second Wave II. Can we call it 2.2? I realize software versioning starts with X.0, and that FFG called it X-Wing 2.0 and locked that expectation in… but I feel as if it makes more sense to match the wave numbers here. Maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, 2.2 includes conversion packs for the Resistance and the First Order, re-releases of the T-70 and TIE/fo, and a few other goodies too—notably, the new version of the A-Wing. “Rebel favoritism!” I hear someone screaming. Not quite… these aren’t Rebels anymore, after all, what with the Resistance being its own faction. In fact, in 1.0 the First Order had notably more ships than the Resistance, even if you count the Millennium Falcon as a Resistance ship.
(What with every faction seemingly getting a TIE Fighter, we’re well on our way to every faction having a Millennium Falcon. “Coming soon: TK-421’s Millenium Falcon, a Falcon just for the Empire based on the thirty minutes the legendary ship spent parked in the Death Star hangar bay. Comes with three permanently attached tractor tokens!”)
Neo-A balances the scales between Resistance and First Order, and it gives the Resistance the second small-ship option it needed to stand alone.
2.0’s new rules, particularly for turrets, have opened up some new design space, and we see that in the spoiled A-Wing features: the Neo-A has its variable-geometry guns represented as a turret that can only use rear and front arcs. Lovely. That’s the sort of thing that just wasn’t possible in 1.0—you could have given the A-Wing its rear-shooting guns (Rebellion A-Wings were supposed to have that trick) as a rear firing arc, but you wouldn’t have been able to make it something to manage. Now they’re able to do that. I think it’ll give the Neo-A a nifty, unique playstyle where you weather the initial engagement, blow past the enemy and shoot out of your rear arc to get action advantage while the enemy K-turns, then disengage and do it again. We’ll see.
Other random thoughts:
- TFA remains very top-heavy, with lots of 5s and 6s, notably Poe Dameron and… the artist formerly known as Omega Leader? Wait, Kylo Ren got demoted? I didn’t see that coming. FFG, are you sure you wanna do that to a super-strong Sith with a history of temper tantrums?
- That said, Kylo with the new Force mechanic on that platform at Ini6—gosh, that would have carried a prohibitive points cost. It probably still will.
- Expect a stiff points cost for some of these ships—these are premium platforms. (Related note: if Rey (Falcon pilot) has the Force, I bet she can break Dash’s 100 point barrier.)
- The T-70 is even more “jack of all trades” than it was before.
- There are Falcon pilots in the conversion kit. As there should be.
- FFG came up with a wording for Targeting Synchronizer that makes sense. Hooray! The old one was a total mess. (What the heck is a “game effect”?)
- Names—beautiful names! Or at least not-completely generic names. Gone are “Red Ace” and “Epsilon Leader” and the like, and not a moment too soon.
“CLONE WARS” ANNOUNCEMENT
When FFG gets tired of reprinting existing ships and decides to make even more money, they’ll be drawing from the Clone Wars era, where the Confederacy of Independent Systems takes on the Galactic Republic (doubtlessly with some Scum and Villainy lurking around, too).
This makes sense for a couple of reasons. First, there’s a relative paucity of new Original Trilogy material right now. The “Legends” mythos isn’t fertile ground anymore. “Rebels” is off the air (after being good for seven ships). The new TFA-era show isn’t online yet, and we’re a year and a half from the next TFA movie. If you need new material, the Clone Wars era is an untapped vein.
There are up- and downsides to having these as separate factions. On the one hand, splitting them out reduces the number of potential interactions. You don’t have to ensure that, say, a TFA crew option won’t break a Clone Wars ship. It also forestalls some anachronisms. Those might be fun, but they’re inevitably awkward, since the time range of the game is now fifty-five-ish years.
The challenge is ensuring that the new factions get enough care and feeding. They need a certain minimum number of ships to be an interesting alternative. Think about the Resistance: with a grand total of four ships in its fleet (even with the Falcon), there are only so many list designs it can support. If even a single one of those ships is weak, the effect on list design is crippling. Maybe dynamic balancing mitigates that risk. Maybe.
When FFG created the Scum and Villainy faction, they gave the faction *seven* chassis to use from day one—three entirely new ones and four retreads—in a wave all to themselves. Releasing two factions at once, with a limited available pool of retreads, is a sketchy proposition in comparison. It also implies that factions will go whole waves—perhaps even multiple waves—without getting new ships. I have to wonder at how that’ll work out.
SCUM TIE FIGHTER
I was just thinking the game needs more TIE Fighters. Counter-argument: …I mean, honestly, why not? One of the X-Wing books characterized TIE Fighter parts as being only slightly less common in the universe than hydrogen. We do have to consider that the 23-35 points region is getting pretty crowded for Scum (what with the Z-95, Scyk, Quadjumper, and even HWK competing in that region). But can any of them just flit across a rock? That’s what I thought. “Ooh, but the 5-ahead is red”—oh shut up, it’s not like any other Scum ships are doing 5-aheads.
5/6-ship Scum builds with tractors and ions and shenanigans look delightfully rude. I can’t wait to see someone win a tournament despite missing with every primary attack.
THE RULES REFERENCE
Don’t worry, I’ll have a whole lot to say about this on other occasions. For now, this settles some of our biggest outstanding arguments:
- If you’re instructed to perform an action, you *can* use it as a trigger to perform a linked action
- Failed actions don’t let you choose something else
- “In your arc” implies “at range 0-3”
- Fully execute” and “partially execute” don’t regard obstacles
Just a quick sampling!
Also: Reapers were everywhere in the upper tiers of Gencon, and deservedly so. What a nasty piece of work that is.