I’m not going to focus on the ins and outs of which cards to fix and which stats and point costs to change in this article. Instead I am going to focus on how to logistically release a second edition and where I feel the general direction is going in terms of a potential second edition.
Ideas about a 2nd edition version of X wing have been a wash and there was a great interview with the designers on Gold Squadron podcast during worlds 2016 about what they would do if they were doing a 2nd edition of the rules. Of course they stated that they were not doing so, but then that means nothing as even if they were or had got it ready to roll out and it was the best thing ever, they would not be able to say so. Although what is the likelihood of it happening soon and how would I approach it?
In Warhammer 40K for many years GW worked on a four year rules cycle. A lot of other game systems work to a similar cycle of core rules and X wing was released in 2012 which puts it in a time frame that other companies would look at re-jigging the core mechanics.
Unlike a majority of other miniature games X-Wing models come with all their rules in their respective expansion box as well as additional upgrade cards and rule mechanics. With something like 40k it was possible to update the core rule book, even drastically to an extent without a massive need to produce new army books straight away. The new 8th edition will though be a total change, more forests will fall.
One of the draw backs to the way FFG currently fixes ships with titles or modifications is that it allows for only so much redesign space. For ships like the Tie Fo Special Forces and Arc-170 if they need a fix at some point it can’t be done via the title route as that is already an integral part of the ship design.
The soft fix
This could be carefully done with X-Wing by introducing a new core set with a new rule book with tweaks to stress mechanics, new damage deck, new dice even, without having to go through the whole range of ships and product and reprint cards and templates. The Force Awakens core set did this to a small degree with a new compilation of all the rules to date at the time and a new damage deck.
Revisiting the old core set and making a new version would allow the designers the opportunity to redo the rules on Biggs as they did state that the way he works is a big problem for their design process for every rebel ship and upgrade card. It could even include a fix for the T-65 as Biggs is also part of this issue as well as Wedge and Wes to a lesser extent.
This is the easiest way forward as it does not alienate existing players, (yeah you will get some moaning about picking up a new core set regardless), and saves a lot of time and money having to change a variety of upgrade cards and other stats.
You let everything go out of stock from FFG’s end and have new versions of ships with adjusted upgrade cards, pilot cards and ship bases. This would allow for adjustments like giving the HWK a primary attack value of 2 and adjusting the pilot skill or other pilot abilities, points costs and even actual stats on the ships and possibly dials. The physical models can stay the same but it allows for a complete overhaul of every ship in the game.
You can roll this out in two ways. So for example if they decided to make both Echo and Whisper have a native PS of 8 and 9 respectively and slap an EPT slot on the Shadow squadron pilot these new bits could be just rolled into the next batch of Tie phantom Expansions.
The knock on effect for the players is the need to buy at least one of the new batch for the appropriate upgrade cards, ship bases and pilot cards. To soften the blow FFG could always throw in a new pilot or two into the pack.
They could also release for a limited time span an Imperial X-Wing 2.0 upgrade pack covering all the Imperial ships to date, and likewise for each faction. This could contain all the new cardboard parts and cards to replace the obsolete ones in a player’s collection without the need to re-buy every ship that they own.
So an X-wing 2.0 which revisits all the ships and cards in the game could be a new core set plus an upgrade set for each faction with all the relevant upgrade and pilot cards to cardboard bits from ship bases to a few dials.
This is what I would personally do as it limits the player rage but still allows you to sell existing product to the existing player base and refresh the rule set entirely. There will always be player rage about buying new stuff to play the game from some quarters but getting the balance right of keeping the game fresh and accessible is the trick. Eventually you hit your player base ceiling and that necessitates new ways to generate revenue from the game in terms of releases as well as making new editions of the rule set or new factions.
It is possible that a total redesign could see a different movement template mechanic and a change in how the ships bases interact on the table. I think it would be a mistake to go for an overly complex system but it is not totally implausible that an alternative in house design movement set with other possiblealterations to game mechanics could be looked at.
The knock on effect of this would be a total re-release of the entire product range with new bases, new cards, new everything. You would lose some of the existing player base but that would naturally be weighed up against would they lose some anyway if the rules stayed the same and stagnate.
Currently nothing does seem to be on the cards in terms of an X-wing version 2.0. The game is still in a good place and FFG are obviously making the money they need or want from it. Despite some of the moaning about the pace of FAQs on some podcasts and blogs, comparatively to other game systems FFG are pretty quick and do engage with the community to fix the product. A core set tweak would still be a quick and painless adjustment which would add to the game if it made multiple stress more debilitating and added a few other minor mechanical tweaks. Possibly the biggest draw would be a fix to the T-65 X-wing which if that was contained within the new core set then it would take the edge off the requirement for purchasing it.
- A new core set with rules adjustments as stated above but nothing radical. Hopefully including a fix for the T-65 X-Wing, an S Foil title card would be great.
- Updated Core set plus a revision to all the existing ships with the new adjusted pilot cards, upgrade cards and ship bases in a faction specific upgrade kit.
My money would be on a new revised core set first rather than a complete overhaul. With the Last Jedi coming out this Christmas perhaps another core set is on the cards.
What I think is going to happen
Looking at the trend of releases since wave eight, a lot more of the upgrade cards in an expansion pack make the ship purchased instantly playable and competitive without having to shell out on lots of different expansions. The Expansion packs are becoming more self-contained to an extent.
For example the seven recent Imperial releases:
Tie Fo Expansion Pack: Omega and Zeta Leader with Juke and Comms relay
Tie Advanced Proto type: If toting Baron of the Empire pilots with Homing missiles , deadeye and Guidance Chips it has everything you need. No Imperial player worth their salt at the time of this release did not already own auto thrusters and PTL for the Inquisitor.
Imperial Veterans: Everything you need to dust off your original Tie defender and run two X7s like Ryad and Vessery or Marek Steele with Predator. The bombers are quite good too.
Tie Fo/SF: The big exception to being self-contained as it includes Collision detector, 2 x Sensor cluster and Wired which do nothing for the Tie FO/SF. The two named pilots Backdraft and Quickdraw sit in that happy place of the EPT being a bonus on top of good a pilot ability. They just need something to boost that 2 Agility.
Tie Striker: Back to the old modification fixes coming out in the following waves. One reason to buy two strikers is to get a second light weight frame card to make the Tie FO/SF the new Imperial hotness. Everything else though is self-contained to run a Tie striker from the get go. Also has Swarm leader in it.
Upsilon Class Shuttle: 2x Targeting Synchroniser, 2 x Snap shot, 2 x Ion projector, 2 x Hyper wave comm scanner, 2 x Operations Specialist, Kylo and Hux Crew. Personally one less Ion projector and one Fire control system instead would be a better inclusion in the set but it’s reasonably playable with the box contents.
Tie Aggressor: Twin laser turret, light weight frame, Synced turret, unguided rockets and Intensity EPT. Really self-contained depending how you want to weaponise your aggressor. TLT and LWF for the win.
It’s not perfect but it looks like they are making it easier for newer players to pick up expansions and put them on the table in relatively competitive load outs. Clearly in terms of upgrade cards the Tie Fo/SF is the most disappointing one and either it or the Upsilon could have had a Fire control system or advanced sensors instead of some of the doubled up cards. A Tie FO/SF has light weight frame and Fire control stabled to it.
I feel that the ‘straight out of the box,’ card combinations will be the trend moving forwards but still leaving out obvious combinations like the Inquisitor with PTL and Auto thrusters to encourage newer players to delve into the back catalogue of older ships. I feel that the Tie Aggressor is a good indication of this as there was no overriding reason to put a twin laser turret in there other than making it table top competitive from opening the pack. FFG could have certainly sold more K-wings on the back of the Aggressor if they left it out and added a blaster or ion turret instead. The named pilots on the other hand require delving into your upgrade card collection or buying old expansions to make something useful.
Supply and Demand
This is an educated guess, but I imagine the monetary return on X-Wing is from selling large unit numbers, (like biscuits). I would hazard that the bigger the ship, the bigger the profit is in it as the actual price of manufacturing larger kits is not geometrically bigger in proportion to the size of the model. R & D obviously is a factor but I would wager there is a higher return from the Millennium Falcon expansion, (good box of chocolates?), than two X-wings. Proof in the pudding is from GW’s financial figures of recent years which despite losing sales volume and player base the profit margin from the model sales have offset the loss in sales by number, (luxury cars).
This is partially why FFG are investing a lot into Rune Wars. They have identified a gap in the market for a good rank and file fantasy game with good rules and affordable price point and have seemingly filled it. I’ve not played it but what I have seen and heard from those that have it is ticking the boxes. With X-Wing where it is they can keep it ticking over with two or three waves, an epic ship and veterans pack a year to generate the desired income whilst concentrating resources on Rune Wars which will be a big stepping stone for FFG as a company.
In my humble opinion there will be no X-Wing 2.0 in the foreseeable future outside of a new mildly revised core set. From both a game mechanic and financial perspective there is no need to rush into a reboot when the company is focusing on potentially lucrative new product lines.The current trend of slightly more complete upgrade card combinations in Expansions, (Tie Aggressor) as well as more pilot cards like we got in the Protectorate and Tie Striker will most likely be the pattern for releases for the next few years.