The Force Awakens X-Wing
There has been an awakening....
Have you felt it?
Fantasy Flight Games have graced us with a new core set for Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures, based in the new Force Awakens universe. This all new core set is completely stand alone, offering new players a good jumping in point to the game as well as veteran players more ships to add to the their collection. I'm here to go over the minutia of the core set and tell you what I thought of it all. If you're a beginning player and want to know how the game is played, I suggest you check out this video here from the publisher that offers a complete tutorial.
Included in the core set are three miniatures ( 1 T70 X-Wing and 2 TIE/fo Fighters), maneuver dials and action tokens, pilot, upgrade, new damage cards, attack and defense dice (3 each), a range ruler, and maneuver templates. As well as a rule booklet and a mission booklet containing 3 new missions. The new T-70 X-wing comes with 4 Pilot cards in the core set ranging from pilot skills 2-8. The new T-70 X-wing has a Primary Weapon value of 3, Agility value of 2, Hull value of 3, and a a Shield value of 3 (A slight upgrade from the previous generation's X-Wing's values with 3, 2, 3, 2). The Action Bar has a Focus, Target Lock, and Boost icons, the Boost being new to the X-Wing. The pilots with skills 2 and 4 have no abilities, but the 4, the Red Squadron Veteran can be equipped with an Elite Talent. The 5 Pilot, "Blue Ace" has the ability “When performing a boost action, you may use the [1 left] or [1 right] Turn template.”, and Poe Dameron the 8 Pilot reads “While attacking or defending, if you have a focus token, you may change 1 of your focus results to a hit or evade result.”. The biggest change comes from the X-Wing's all new maneuver, the Tallon Roll. To execute a Tallon Roll you Tallon Roll the player will take 3 Turn Maneuver Template as normal but you don't slide the rear guides into the template, instead you turn the ship 90º inwards to the turn.
The new TIE/fo Fighter's come with 6 unique pilot cards with 9 in total ranging from 1-7. The TIE/fo stats are Primary Weapon value of 2, Agility value of 3, Hull value of 3, and a a Shield value of 1 (Again, a slight upgrade from he previous generation TIE with 2, 3, 3, 0) The Action Bar has a Focus, Target Lock (new to this generation TIE), Barrel Roll, and Evade icons. The pilots 1-4 have no abilities, "Zeta Ace" Pilot Skill 5 has “When performing a barrel roll, you may use the Straight 2 template (instead of the Straight 1 template).”, "Epsilon Leader" (Pilot Skill 6) reads “At the start of the Combat phase, remove 1 stress token from each friendly ship at Range 1.”, and finally "Omega Ace" (Pilot Skill 7) “When attacking, you may spend a focus token and a target lock you have on the defender to change all of your results to Critical Hit results.”. The TIE/fo also has an all new maneuver, Segnor’s Loop. To execute a Segnor’s Loop a player will take the 2 Bank Maneuver Template and place their ships Front Guides into the end of the maneuver template.
The core set also comes with 5 upgrade cards. Proton Torpedo, two all new droids, a new Elite upgrade, Weird (When attacking or defending, if you are stressed, you may reroll 1 or more of your Focus results. ). The core set also debut an all new type of upgrade, Tech. The tech card included in the core set is Weapons Guidance (When attacking, you may spend a focus token to change 1 of your blank results to a Hit result.)
From this point on it's impossible for me to continue without giving my opinions. If you're looking for a fair and balanced review, this may not be it, I'm a fanboy of both Star Wars and the X-Wing miniature game so its hard not to gush sometimes. So fair bit of warning ahead.
Some rules have been tweaked from the previous generation. As this film deals with the new Star Wars film, the factions have been re-branded to fit in that world. Ie; The Rebellion is now the Resistance and the Empire are now The First Order. For the purposes of mixing generations the rules state that these are allied factions. Other changes have to do with very specific rules about timing, meant to address issues with organized play over the years. These changes are nothing new, more errata then 2ed edition and anyone following X-Wings organized play will already know them. Though its nice to see them added officially in a rulebook. The Core Set comes with 3 missions. Missions are my single favorite aspect of X-Wing. Skirmish's are great for casual games but missions are where I really enjoy the game personally. I was really happy to see that they included three new missions as opposed to re-use the three from the first core set. Each mission can be played right out of the box and is intended to in fact, but the also includes rules for scaling each mission to include older ships and more points. Mission F1: Ambush is a great little arcade like mission involving mine tokens along the field to blow up the First Order. A little one sided but a lot of fun. Mission F2: Raid is a mission where satellite tokens are used and the First Order is attempting to disable them by landing on them. I thought this mission was a lot of fun to play from both sides, adding an almost asymmetrical game play aspect. Mission F3: Rescue is a mission where a “Squadmate” token is used to represent a downed Resistance ship that needs to flee the edge of the board. While I appreciate the thought in the design I felt this mission was lacking a bit, maybe I just feel strange about having another ship represented by a token. Different, and good, but I likely wont replay this one.
I spent a lot of hours with this core set this weekend and here are my full thoughts. My first impression was that these ships maneuver a lot better. The subtle changes in green maneuvers and baring are excellent. I love these New Maneuvers. The New Maneuvers allow players to always be inaction if skilled enough to use them at the right time, no more is there those awkward rounds where you turn around and do nothing. At least not in my experience.
My thoughts on the new ships and factions are mixed. I have been reading a lot of forums online wherein people say these new ships kill the use for their Galactic Civil War counterparts. The new maneuvers are very powerful but I wouldn’t say broken. What might be though are some of the pilots. Omega Ace's ability to get 3, potentially 4 (or 5-6 with upgrade cards) critical hits is insanely powerful. This can potentially knock out one of the large size ships in the game in one hit if unlikely enough with the damage deck. Epsilon Leader's ability to remove stress from all neighboring ships as opposed to just one seems massive when compared to a similar ability in the previous generation. Meanwhile the Resistance pilots are all bland and fairly boring. Ironically enough, Poe Dameron, one of the stars of the new film itself is perhaps the most boring pilot in the game. Costing far too many points for an ability that calling useless would be putting it nicely. The missions are good, easily better than the missions in the first core set. I loved missions 1 and 2, playing each of them twice from both sides just to try them out. They also scale very well with the optional rules to 100 points. Mission 3 on the other hand was weird to me. Like I said, It might just be because they make you use some token to represent a downed ship running on impulse power, I would have much preferred to use some other type of miniature, but that’s me. The mission itself is an escort mission, fine but similar missions have been available, including an awesome one included with the Rebel Transport expansion. So while I can't say it was bad it didn’t impress me and I only played it once as a result. Mission 1 is a great arcade style skirmish with some more tactics and complexity than just “pew-pew”. But as I said earlier, it does feel a bit one sides. The tokens are all controlled by the Resistance and can overwhelm the First Order quickly, especially when you scale the mission to 100 points and add three more mine tokens. Maybe a more skilled Imperial player could turn the game in their favor but for me it was a 2/0. Mission is almost a perfect introduction mission. Its a great tutorial and chance to practice precise maneuverings, a skill needed to play the game in higher levels. Having to land on the satellite tokens to take them out means your movement has to be exact, and planned out before hand. It's also very asymmetrical in design, the First Order player is playing a game of exact movement, and the Resistance player is trying to tail them as fast as they can and knock them out. This one also scales amazingly well at 100 points and with a swarm of Imperial ships makes it more chaotic and quick.
One glaring issue and elephant in the room I feel is the size of the core set. While 3 ships are a great introduction to the game for new players, its not enough to fully experience the game. The full core set (or even two copies) would still not be enough for 100 point games. There are far too few upgrade cards and the ones they do have do not give a good representation of their importance to the game for new players.
So what are my final thought? Well as you can suspect, I was predisposed to like this core set. I own quite a lot of X-Wing and I am a very avid player of the game. I went into this core set wanting to see it from a few sides. 1) How does it stand up on it's own as a core set to a) the X-Wing Miniature’s Game? and b) A miniature game in general? 2) How does this incorporate into the preexisting game. On its own this is a nice core set. As I mentioned earlier I loved two out of three missions and they play great out of the box with the recommended ship list. The core set scales very well when incorporated with older ships. Yes these new ships are in the action faster but they're not necessarily stronger (with one massive exception that is Omega Ace, F_ that guy). My biggest complaint is that Fantasy Flight still went with the Three Ship core set system. I assume it's due to cost as they want the game to be affordable, but on it's own I don't think this offers the full experience that is X-Wing. That being said, I can easily recommend this as it's only a slight tweak and shine to what is already one of my favorite games of all time. If you've never experienced X-Wing before, this is a great time to start. Star Wars is in the air and the gaming hobby is more than happy to welcome you in with this still stunning miniatures game. May the force be with you, all of you.