The Hot Topic – X Wing Hyperspace Trials (part 1)

The latest installment of FFG’s organised play has finally kicked off.  Love it or hate it Hyperspace Trials have started.   In this series of articles I take a look at the nitty gritty of the format, what is it and how is it helping shape X-Wing 2.0

WHAT IS THE HYPERSPACE FORMAT?

The Hyperspace format is simple.   The rules of the game are the same, it is just the pool of ships and upgrades you have to choose from to put together your list is limited.   Twice a year this list will be updated to include new ships and upgrades. This will tie in with the release of new 2nd edition content.

WHY ARE THERE HYPERSPACE TRIALS?

Upgrading a game to a new edition, especially one with a competitive scene as popular as X-Wing was always going to be a tough nut to crack.  Finding the balance of keeping your current player base happy as well as attracting new players to the game was going to be the biggest obstacle for the game developers to overcome.

So they came up with 4 ways to play the game : 

  • Extended : Use anything that you want within the rules
  • Hyperspace : A limited pool of ships
  • Quick Build : Prebuilt ships
  • Thematic : Special themed events with strict list building rules.

With the tournament scene being the back bone of X-Wing they had a problem.  Due to the conversion packs, newer players who had nothing to do with 1.0 might be at a disadvantage at the big tournaments.  Not having access to nearly as much resources to some will put you on the back foot right away.   So FFG made some changes. 

The first big one being the regional tier of organised play would now be refered to as Hyperspace Trials and that they would Hyperspace Format.   They also change the requirements for stores to be able to host them.  Being able to host at least 60 people was the only requirement to be considered.   (More on this in particular bit of info later on)

At its core this seems like a great addition to the game. It mixes up the meta, attracts new players and gives us more tournaments. 

THE RECEPTION

Mixed.  If I was to call the current opinion from the X-Wing Community on the Hyperspace Trials as X-Wings Brexit I am not sure many people would disagree with that statement

This has split the community in half.  Podcasts, Blogs, X-Wing Teams and Tabletops across the world are in disagreement as to whether this is a good thing or not.   Some people even out right refusing to play the format until it is in their eyes “fixed”

So let’s get to that Nitty Gritty that I promised. As I take a look at what needs to be fixed and what doesn’t. 

TOO MUCH X-WING

I touched on this briefly in my artilcle about my dreams of a #wildwestmeta a few months back.   Due to the restrictions for stores to be able to host a Hyperspace Trials being much more relaxed to the previous Regionals Model we have ended up with a plethora of tournaments over the course of the year.  In the first Season alone we have 18 in total.   Slap bang in the middle of that is a System Open, as well as all the local Wave Championships and other organised play.    

With some of the previous regionals reaching 120+ and being played over 2 days. You cannot blame stores who had the capacity, or the possibility of hiring somewhere to host an event of that size to want a piece of the Hyperspace Pie.  

However with all of this X-Wing to be played was it realistic to think that they would get those numbers?  Harlequins hosted the first of the Hyperspace Trials, the first tournament of the new era in the UK.  They hired a grand hall for the occasion, they have the draw of being a friendly bunch and having a number of top tier players in the X-Wing scene as regular attenders of their tournaments, and as well as being the first tournament of the season, bragging rites of getting the first one were to be had.   

Thirty seven people showed.  Which is a great number for a tournament, plenty of rounds of Swiss and a top cut. Everything people hope for.  But know where near the dizzy heights that maybe the stores were expecting.

I understand that stores may find this very dissapointing. They may even have been looking at these Hyperspace Events as a potential pay day and for that you cannot blame them. As well as being community hubs for the game they also need to make sure that they pay the bills each month.  

It is worth mentioning that at the time of writing Element games did advertise they have 70 confirmed for their event. The Games Shop in Aldershot are close to their capacity of 64. So the numbers may creep up, once the season is up and running.

The X-Wing community has sadly recently lost one of the big stores that would champion the OP scene. Plus with the world of retail in general in fairly uncertain times I would not be surprised if some stores will look at the Hyperspace Trials next year and decided not to apply and host one due to the ROI.

How will this affect the scene?  Bringing down the number Hyperspace Trials while bad for stores, would be good for the Trials themselves, less events and making them rare must attend occasions  will bolster the numbers in attendance naturally.   

The travelling X-Wing community still need to get a pass from the family, work and any other hobbies and interests to go to events. It is these numbers from die hard fans that help prop up the attendance figures of regionals previously.  At present there is just too much X-Wing in the calendar for stores to expect the large numbers of the previous edition at every Hyperspace Trial.   Some will get lucky due to location and timing, others may have to settle for a lot less than they were expecting.

I don’t think this needs to be fixed, just expectations should be adjusted.  The fall out from that? The landscape of the Hyperspace Trials back to something that people are more familiar with.

BUT I CAN’T FLY (INSERT FAVOURITE SHIP HERE)

This has probably been the one topic that people have been the most vocal about. Not being able to fly their favourite ships in the format.

I get that.  Having a favourite ship, or a huge collection and being told you’re not allowed to use it is frustrating.

At the minute this seasons pool is very small.   With the introduction of 2 new factions and the Resistance and FO being separate entities on their own FFG have had to think of Balance again.  This does unfortunately mean that the 3 biggest factions at the minute are being considered as being handicapped.

But I think they have done a good job of trying to get that balance right.  All factions having a similar style of ship in each category.

They have also chosen this ships as they are all (mostly) 2nd Edition releases.  Which helps to keep the playing field level for any newer players that want to take up the challenge of a Hyperspace Trial.  

You also need to remember that the pool of ships changes twice a year.   FFG will keep adding (and maybe subtracting) items to the pool as we move into each new season.   Which means that favourite ship of yours will be put into rotation eventually.   It is just a matter of holding on tight until that is possible.

Does this need fixing? I’m not sure it does. There a plans a foot all ready to keep the Hyperspace format wheels a turning. To keep Meta’s fresh and to help support the release of new waves and inclusion of newer players.

It does leave the veterans who disagree with this format however in a strange position of limbo. Missing out on a season of Hyperspace Trials.   Hopefully this will not alienate too many people. 

There is always the Extended Format tournaments to keep those competitive teeth sharp for the time being in the shape of Wave Championships and The System Open. Which will no doubt keep us busy while we patiently wait to pounce with our Lancers and HWKs.

THE META IS BORING

Some people are saying with a limited pool of ships, comes a limited meta and play style.   Personally I have found everyone of my Hyperspace format games to be great match ups, and I am also yet to face the same list twice.   (#wildwestmeta ftw).   I am however yet to enter a tournament. If the opposition are more focussed on the winning does the look of the Meta change.

This deserves to be looked into with a lot more investigation to do this any justice.   So keep an eye out for part 2 of The Hot Topic. Where I try to find out how the Meta is shaping up and if it is going to kill off the Hyperspace Trials before they have even been given any time to spread their wings.

So what do you think?  Am I barking up the wrong the tree, have I missed anything out?  Hate the format yourself?  Let me know why in the comments.

Love X-Wing, or tabletop gaming in general, then please do give the website a visit and a like on the usual social media channels.




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