You’ve taken your first steps into a larger world. After the announcement of 2nd edition,you’ve decided to finally try out X-Wing The Miniatures Game. Second Edition, or 2.0, has been announced for release on September 13th and your timing could not be better. Now is a great time to get in on the ground floor of a fast paced skirmish game with a welcoming community, beautifully prepainted models, a vibrant competitive scene, and a slick ruleset. Or are you a lost sheep, someone who saw all of the flaws and imbalances of 1.0 and walked away at some point in the past? Now might be the time to consider coming back to the fold. It may seem like an exciting, yet daunting task. Where do you start? Will you still be behind the long time players who have year’s worth of large collections? Will you feel lost without having played all of 1.0? Fret not, the simple answer to this is ‘No’, but Dialed In is here to delve into the subject and provide a comprehensive introductory guide to X-Wing 2.0. In the following articles we’ll go over which faction you should pick, how best to purchase your fleet to achieve maximum value, the exciting changes to the core mechanics, and how to start playing.
Part 1: Choosing Your Faction
The decision is made; you’re in. The first question is which of the 5 factions will you choose to play? If you have the available budget, you could easily pick more than one. However, this article will focus on choosing which single faction best fits your play style and expectations. The 5 factions include The Rebellion, Galactic Empire, Scum and Villainy, and from the sequel movies, First Order and Resistance. Upon release, only the Rebels, Imperials, and Scum and Villainy will be available, but we’ll still cover the First Order and Resistance at the end.
The game is balanced with the intense hope to make all of the factions viable. The meta will surely cycle some up and down, but nothing stays down for too long. X-wing 2.0 will have a web based app for erratas and points balancing that can be adjusted as needed. This isn’t like other table top games that will require you to buy a new codex down the line. So if your goal is to go compete in big tournaments, your faction choice shouldn’t hold you back. If you are getting into the game as a more casual gamer, this really isn’t a concern at all. The game scales really well from playing with your kids on your kitchen table to the high stakes games held at the World Championships at FFG’s headquarters.
Your choice may come down to which ships you think are the coolest and prettiest. This is not arbitrary, the game comes with amazing and detailed sculpts. Many of the minis have articulated parts too. The T-65 X-wing’s S-foils open and close, the Mandalorian Protectorate’s wings pivot, and the Lambda shuttle’s wings fold up for landing. You may have a favorite childhood memory of a classic toy or video game where you played as your favorite ship(mine personally was the PC game, Tie fighter. The Assault Gunboat was my jam). Half, if not more, of this enjoyment of this game is pushing your favorite ships around the mat. Picking your faction this way is a perfectly viable choice.
Play style might be your deciding factor as well. Faction identity is a real thing for X-wing. Rebels are team oriented and heroic, Imperials are grim and uniform, while scum feel like total rogues and mercenaries. Each faction specializes in different styles of gameplay and have a unique feel to them.
So let’s examine first with those scrappy terrorists, the Rebels. Do you love the original trilogy pilots like Luke Skywalker, Wedge Antilles, or Han Solo? Are more obscure pilots, like Jek “I can hold it’ Porkins, your thing? Or perhaps you’re a fan of the animated Rebels series and want to play games with the newer heroes like Kannan Jarrus or Sabine Wren? Then the Rebel Alliance is the faction for you. Strategically, rebels specialize in teamwork and sacrifice. Their ships tend to be a bit more shielded than the rest, as every astromech, pilot and fighter are precious resources to the desperate Rebellion.
Imperials are the exact opposite. Tie/Lns and their pilots are faceless goons to be thrown at their enemies. However, combined with the endless ranks of generic pilots, Imperials also have elite ace pilots to lead their ranks. Darth Vader, Marek Steele, and the Baron Soontir Fel viciously dart around engagements, while employing swarms of cheap Tie fighters to tie up enemy formations. Few shields are employed by the Empire. A common phrase among cockshure Tie pilots says it all, “No shields, all guts.” While rebels rely on the strength of their chassis and team oriented abilities to survive, Imperials have two different and distinct approaches to combat. They can either outnumber enemies into submission with swarms of cheap Ties, or they can rely on the cunning and speed of their elite pilots to outmaneuver and destroy the opposition.
Scum and Villainy is the wild card faction. A cobbled collection of smugglers, criminals, mandalorians, and bounty hunters make up these ragtag fleets. Armed with dirty tricks and the faction specific ‘illicit upgrade’ slot, these pilots all fly in unique and different ways. Uniformity and teamwork are not the goals in these squadrons. Scum players have the joy of building lists with disparate criminals and their ships to work towards a common goal. If you hate playing fair and you love Boba Fett, Fenn Rau, or any of the other famous bounty hunters, this is the faction for you.
The First Order and the Resistance have been announced to launch in wave 2, which will approximately(I’m guessing here based on previous release schedules) be available in the Spring of 2019. So if you had your heart set on having Kylo Ren or Poe Dameron(best pilot in the Resistance) zoom around your star map, you’ll sadly need to wait a while longer. However, if putting Rey or Hux on the table is your true Star Wars miniatures fantasy, here’s how these factions break down stylistically and thematically. These two factions work much like their original trilogy counterparts, but upgraded. Resistance ships have been improved, they fly the T-70 X-Wing, the successor of the titular t-65 model. The same can be said of the First Order’s craft. Their generic Ties have shields and targeting computers. Their Aces are even beefier; Kylo is a monster combination of Vader’s power with Soontir Fel’s agility. However, these improvements come with a cost in squad building. These factions are not built for swarms or large formations, but rather small wings of elite strike craft. These factions will be arriving with the FFG trademark ‘soon’ tagline, so they are a poor choice if you’re looking to jump directly into the game.
Personally, the choice was far too difficult for myself. If you put a blaster to my head, I would choose the Imperials. My favorite squads involved large swarms of tie fighters. Managing that many maneuvers is the perfect combination of thematic and challenging gameplay. I’m am lucky enough to try and play all three factions in Wave 1. They all look so much fun. Which faction speaks to your inner starfighter ace?
Next article we will discuss how best to purchase your fleets for maximum firepower, but until then,
Cheers and happy hunting.