A quick note to everyone before I get started; I’m not a tournament X-Wing player, so I won’t be looking at this from a competitive standpoint. While I’m aware of the X-Wing tournament scene and shifting metas, I do not play in them and prefer to keep my games of X-Wing casual and at home among friends.
X-Wing first launched back in 2012, and it’s had a steady stream of expansions since then. For a new player trying to find their way by jumping in now it can be quite tough, especially if they want to be a competitive tournament player – the way various upgrade cards are sprinkled around the various ships from different factions means you’d probably end up spending a heck of a lot of money on several ships you don’t even want, just to get a couple of upgrade cards for the ships you have.
Also, because various things like point values and upgrades are printed on cards means it’s very difficult to update the cost of upgrades/ships and buff/nerf them appropriately (just look at how the Jumpmaster dominated the tournament scene for an extended period of time).
Fantasy Flight appear to be learning from these mistakes with X-Wing 2nd Edition. First of all, upgrade slots and point values will no longer be present on the cards. Instead, they’ll be handled by the (free) X-Wing App from FFG – that means that they can monitor how well they perform in the wider tournament scene and adjust costs/upgrade slots appropriately and (hopefully) keep everyone on the same page.
Secondly, much like Legion before it, upgrade cards for your faction will always be included with ships for that faction – no more having to buy a single ship from another faction for that one upgrade card you’re after (I mean, I still take issue with upgrades being on cards rather than in some sort of army list, but that’s the traditional wargamer in me talking – and besides, I’m a ‘filthy casual’, so I often play my games without the official cards).
I won’t go into an exhaustive list of changes to the game, as you can find that all out for yourself from these various articles from FFG:
2nd Edition FAQ:
https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/products/x-wing-second-edition/ (you’ll need to scroll down and click the ‘FAQ’ bar to expand it).
Scum and Villainy:
The bits I’ve read so far are very encouraging and hopefully won’t bog the game down too much. One of my favourite things about X-Wing is how quickly the game plays, and I’m hoping 2nd Edition doesn’t slow the game down – a dogfight is meant to feel tense and be over in mere moments, and I’d hate to see that (very thematic) feel of the game get buried under a ton of ‘analysis paralysis’.
I like the addition of the official Squad Builder app as well – being official means it should limit any mistakes or discrepancies between apps, and it was also announced on multiple platforms – something which the guys in my gaming group, who use a mixture of iOS and Android devices, are very pleased about.
So where does this announcement leave the ‘veteran’ X-Wing players? Well, to begin with, all ship models will be compatible with 2nd Edition, which is a relief. FFG has offered a bit of an olive branch to veteran players by announcing a series of ‘conversion kits’, which contain all the dials, pilot cards, upgrade cards, ship tokens and the like to make existing collections compatible.
Granted, these aren’t perfect – for instance, the Imperial one has enough dials for 3(!!) Decimators, but only 2 TIE Defenders – despite triple Defender lists being quite popular, while 3 Deci lists impossible to field in regular sized games – hopefully it’s just a typo and we’ll actually get 3 Defender dials in the conversion kit (the TIE Defender was my favourite ship from the old TIE Fighter PC game, and so I immediately bought 3 of them – I hope I don’t have to resort to ebay or trades to get the third dial I want – I’m certainly not buying a whole second conversion kit just for one dial). The fact that FFG are offering them at all though is a really positive thing, I feel.
I guess one good thing to take away is that the conversion kits also appear they could reasonably be split between a couple of players, so that could bring the cost down.
All-in-all, I’m very excited by this announcement as a casual player. Game editions have to change over time otherwise they stagnate. Having been on the receiving end of various edition changes over the years in other game systems, I can say that this is probably one of the better-handled ones – reasonably-priced conversion kits to make your existing collections usable (rather than completely invalidated) in the new edition; a decent time-frame before launch (it’s not due to release for another 4 and a half months at the time of writing); updates/refinements to some game mechanics and learnings from previous mistakes – as well as some lovely new updated sculpts for some of the older ships. I can’t wait to lock S-foils in attack position and accelerate to attack speed in a new edition of the game!