Being the incredibly STAR WARS month that May is, our good friends at Fantasy Flight Games ended April with an announcement: “Something big is coming!” No one knew exactly what it was and excitement sharpened. We all had our theories. Then they dropped it. Come May 1, the big reveal was STAR WARS: X-WING THE MINIATURES GAME: SECOND EDITION.

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Well, first of all, that’s a lot of colons. Second of all, this announcement was met with a fair amount of trepidation from the community at large. One of the biggest complaints was “so many of us have sank incredible amounts of money into the first edition, what happens to us?” Luckily, FFG had our backs.

Strap in for a battle because I’m here to look at the pros, cons, and everything in-between of STAR WARS: X-WING SECOND EDITION.

A Look Back at STAR WARS: X-WING

STAR WARS: X-WING was first released back in 2012, starting small with a core-set including one Rebel X-wing and two Imperial Tie fighters. Released alongside it was the first wave of expansion packs which included X-wings, Y-wings, Tie fighters and Darth Vader’s Tie Advanced. It was a nice and easily learned game, even as more and more expansion packs were released. Eventually, the game took shape as we know today and is barely recognizable.

STAR WARS: X-WING
Look how (non) cluttered that table-top is! Image courtesy of Fantasy Flight Games and Lucasfilm.

There is still a sizable tournament scene. However, to a casual observer, it would barely look like STAR WARS. The current tournament “must-have” lists are full of ships only die-hard fans would recognize as explicitly Star Wars and with all of the cards and phases and rules, it seems daunting.

Compounding that, STAR WARS: X-WING has a massive FAQ that you either have to print out, or memorize. They have reprinted many of the cards that were “fixed” but after awhile it can be frustrating to remember every single rule change or card errata.

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Building a squadron of fighters in STAR WARS: X-WING (if playing a standard game) is where you start. Each player chooses a faction from the Rebels, Imperials, or Scum (the pirates). After that, you have an allotment of 100 points to fill out with ships and upgrades. Each ship has certain slots that can be loaded with upgrades, like how heftier ships can carry crew and munitions. Smaller ships can still be fitted with munitions but may be faster and more maneuverable.

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Each pilot, ship, and upgrade has a point cost so it’s important to build your squad strategically. Play then takes place over a series of repeating phases and rounds. While there are scenarios and objectives, the most common tournament play is a straight dogfight to the death.

This brings us to STAR WARS: X-WING SECOND EDITION. In an effort to specifically curtail the frustration listed above, FFG has gone back to the drawing board. FFG has replaced all of the complicated card errata and replaced them with an intriguing idea.

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Since STAR WARS: X-WING’s inception, point costs on cards have been a constant. The only thing changed was the text and effects itself. One of my favorite new features of STAR WARS: X-WING SECOND EDITION is that they now will only change the point costs on cards. But wait, Andy! Won’t that be even harder to keep up with? Well… no, actually.

STAR WARS: X-WING
The fancy new app! Image courtesy of Fantasy Flight Games and Lucasfilm.

For those of us starting with the first edition, building squads were a hassle. Remembering all the cards, ships, and pilots got to be somewhat stressful. Luckily, some brave souls stepped in and created third party “Squad Building Apps” for Android and iPhones. These allowed you to build your squads without all of that mess of laying everything out in front of you.

Thankfully, FFG saw this and created a (free) app that will launch alongside SECOND EDITION. No longer will the point values be printed on the cards. This app will receive constant updates and keep the game fresh, with the updated point totals.

Trimming The Fat

One of the biggest changes happening to STAR WARS: X-WING with the SECOND EDITION will be the mass fixing of maneuver dials. Ships in the game all move by having players secretly select a maneuver on their cardboard dial. This includes bearing, speed and direction. Many of the older ships weren’t able to keep up with the newer and faster ships, their dials not able to be updated. With their new dials, the older ships can now keep up and still be viable, rather than languishing on the shelves, unused.

STAR WARS: X-WING
Can you hear the sound effects? Image courtesy of Fantasy Flight Games and Lucasfilm.

Another change I’m absolutely looking forward to is the differentiation of factions from one another. If I’m flying Imperial ships, besides aesthetics, the abilities of my fighters should be different from a player flying Rebel or Scum ships. Even with all of the information out, FFG hasn’t divulged how they plan to do this.

Smaller changes include making named characters — like Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader (among others) who can use the Force — have more varied abilities. These characters’ abilities will have limited use, but be incredibly powerful. Other abilities and munitions will now also come with a set amount of uses. Before, each ship could only fire missiles, or drop a bomb once without another very specific upgrade.

Returning And New Players

As a returning player, my immediate worry was that all of my old ships would immediately be invalid in this new edition. Along with the new Core Set and a small list of expansions, there will be “Conversion Kits” for each faction.

STAR WARS: X-WING
A preview of a Conversion Kit for the Galactic Empire. Image courtesy of Fantasy Flight Games and Lucasfilm.

These kits contain everything needed to upgrade older ships to the new game. I had originally thought it was going to be 1 of every ship in the box so I’d need to buy at least 3 of each. Luckily, not the case. Each kit contains enough supplies to convert upwards of 3-4 ships per type. So there are no worries about having to buy multiples just to feel caught up. What works for me might not work for you, though. If you have a bigger collection you just might have to shell out for another extra kit.

When it is released, the core set includes three fighters to get you started. As with all FFG products, buying two Core Sets is practically a must. These also include the dice, movement tiles, range rulers, dials and all tokens and cards to play the ships. The first wave of expansions release alongside as well, so there are some other options for you to customize your fleets as well.

Passing The Test

Like any new hobby, STAR WARS: X-WING can be daunting for those just starting. Between the ship customization and the constant barrage of new updates, it must look nigh impenetrable. However, for those willing to dig under the surface, it’s an incredibly fun and satisfying dog-fighting game. Having been both a mini-gaming fan and STAR WARS fan myself, it scratches both of those itches.

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I personally think it’ll help revitalize a somewhat stale game while drawing in new blood. Whether or not you’re a fan of STAR WARS or just mini-games, it’s worth taking a look. Maybe you’ll find something for you when STAR WARS: X-WING releases in early September.

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