X-Wing Wave 7 Review

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X-Wing Wave 7 Review
There Will Be Games

Seven waves on from the original phenomenon that is x-wing, it's getting harder and harder to differentiate the releases. The ships from the films are all long on the table. Every faction has a ship in every role, from waspish light fighters to heavy bombers. What is there here to make wave 7 unique and exciting?

Size, that's what. 

All these ships seem huge. The Hound's Tooth is an enormous, elongated, clumsy thing. Oddly endearing in its distinct colours and tooth decals, like a bumbling Rottweiler puppy. The TIE Punshier looks like someone stacked two TIE bombers on top of each other. The K-Wing suggests someone squeezed a Large ship into a standard size blister, just for a joke.

The other unifying factor is that two ships are for the new Scum & Villainy faction. Not surprising seeing as they have some catching up to do in terms of force selection. 

One is the only ship we haven't mentioned so far, the Kihraxz Fighter, belongs to this faction. Aside from having a name that sounds like a sneeze, there's little of  especial interest here. It looks, sounds and plays a lot like an X-Wing, only for the Scum faction. If Scum players want a medium fighter, now they have one.

It does have some nice upgrades, though. Glitterstim is particularly sweet, a one-shot card that allows you to change all your focus tokens to hits or evades, as you prefer. The Scum already have lots of fun, flavourful and flexible upgrades. Here's another: you can just imagine scum pilots slamming down illegal narcotics as they fly.

The other Scum ship is the Hound's Tooth, an extra-big big ship to give you an option besides the IG-88. The stats and dial are nothing to write home about, although having three crew slots allows for some fun combinations. The draw here is all about pilots and titles.

Bossk, the owner of the canonical Hound's Tooth, can swap critical hits for two normal hits. Not only is this super useful but it dovetails with several other upgrades. The Mangler Cannon, for instance, allows you to turn one of them straight back into a crit.

He goes alongside the Hound's Tooth title card. This lets you deploy a Z-95 in place of the freighter if the big ship gets destroyed. One Headhunter isn't the most useful ship but the upgrade only costs six points and is funny as hell. And there's the issue: Bossk, a cannon and that title will be the default payload every time this hits the table. Still, it's tremendously entertaining in spite of being predictable.

The Imperial TIE Punisher is not particularly interesting in itself. It's a slightly better version of the TIE Bomber. The real draw here is in the upgrade card Extra Munitions. For the 2 point cost of this one upgrade, a ship get to use its entire payload of bombs, missiles and torpedoes twice.

This is a very obvious sticking plaster for the limited value of these weapons. Clunky it may be, but it's also very effective. In addition it should encourage the use of specialist weapon-carrying ships - like the TIE Punisher for instance - over fighters armed with a single missile. That seems thematically appropriate.

You can get another copy of that card from the K-Wing expansion. Which is appropriate because the K-Wing is supposed to fill the same sort of a role as a heavy bomber. At first glance it looks a lot like a Y-Wing with some extra munition pod slots. And we all know how popular the sluggish, clumsy Y-Wing is in Rebel fleets.

However, the K-Wing has a brand new upgrade, called SLAM. SLAM changes everything. 

It allows the pilot to perform a second maneuver from the dial at the same speed as the one selected, right afterwards. The catch is that you can't attack that turn, but that feels like a minor detail. With SLAM you can move a heavy figher up to six distance in one round. Or four distance with two hard turns. The maneuver range is insane. It's just a shame that there's no equivalent of the K-turn on the dial. Not least because of the lost opportunities for alliteration.

I have mixed feelings about this. Mostly, it's great. It makes the ship highly unpredictable and encourages imaginative maneuver on the table. Anything that gets the "game" in X-Wing out of list planning and in to actual play has to be a good thing.

On the other hand, it can lead to torturous endgames with slower ships pointlessly pursuing a K-Wing round the table. This isn't good for the Rebels, since the limited maneuver dial of the K-Wing makes it hard not to fly off the table eventually. But it is a massive anti-climax.

This wave, on the whole, is not an anti-climax. Having strayed a long way from original trilogy ships, FFG deserve some credit for keeping these new designs fresh and fun. The K-Wing and Hound's Tooth feel pretty essential: the TIE Punisher and Kihraxz less so. The question is, if we're at a fifty-fifty success rate for releases with three new movies with new ships coming up, how long can they keep it up?


Matt Thrower
Head Writer

Matt has been writing about tabletop games professional since 2012, blogging since 2006 and playing them since he could talk.

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charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #211913 05 Oct 2015 14:38
In the middle of my own review of these ships right now. Agree for the most part, but we've found the K-Wing to not be nearly as effective as the Punisher, mostly because it seems difficult to fully take advantage of the SLAM. I think it has potential but requires a skilled player. A TIE Punisher is much more forgiving in its movement.
Matt Thrower's Avatar
Matt Thrower replied the topic: #211927 05 Oct 2015 16:25
You're absolutely right in what you say. I have just always felt that x-wing is all about lists and models. What you choose to do in between is of limited consequence. That's what I love about the K-Wing: it might be hard to use and of limited power, but I love that it allows surprise and creativity on the table.
KingPut's Avatar
KingPut replied the topic: #212020 06 Oct 2015 17:24
Since I'm flying Scum I was pretty excited about 7 but I think I want to borrow Malloc's or one of the other guy in our groups Hound Tooth (giant stapler) and fly it before I buy it. I'd like to try a Hound Tooth and Kihraxz build.

On a separate note when is FFG or somebody going to get the Road Warrior license and do a X-wing, Wings of War game with it?
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #212021 06 Oct 2015 17:26

KingPut wrote: On a separate note when is FFG or somebody going to get the Road Warrior license and do a X-wing, Wings of War game with it?


Seriously.
Deleted's Avatar
Deleted replied the topic: #212022 06 Oct 2015 17:59
If it has one of those Armada-style fighter stands on the cars, so you can jump your dudes from one car to the next, I am SO in.

RE: X-Wing, I despise this whole "let's invent ships to make people spend money, then put power creep cards in the packs!" philosophy. I've never heard of a K-Wing, or any of the others for that matter, so the way I see it, it's a cash-in to keep the brand alive. That's fucked up, IMHO.
Michael Barnes's Avatar
Michael Barnes replied the topic: #212027 06 Oct 2015 19:13
They actually haven't invented any ships so far, I believe everything has provenance either in the films or in the EU. Yes, even K-Wings.
Disgustipater's Avatar
Disgustipater replied the topic: #212029 06 Oct 2015 19:48

SuperflyTNT wrote: RE: X-Wing, I despise this whole "let's invent ships to make people spend money, then put power creep cards in the packs!" philosophy. I've never heard of a K-Wing, or any of the others for that matter, so the way I see it, it's a cash-in to keep the brand alive. That's fucked up, IMHO.


Assuming they did invent new ships (as Michael said, they didn't), why is it fucked up? Even if I played a game for a franchise I actually liked (like Star Trek), I wouldn't care if they made up ships to keep the game fresh and alive. Why wouldn't you want the game to always give you more options? If you don't like those options, then skip that ship. I cannot understand the mentality that some people have that they will not buy ships that didn't appear in the movies. Is it just super nerd rage about canon?

As for the power cards, I don't think they do that as much as they did before. A lot of cards come in multiples, in more than one ship. And if this is something that bothers you enough to pass on them, you obviously aren't playing in tournaments, which means you can just print the cards out yourself. The Epic ships had cards I wanted, as well as the new core set that I wasn't about to purchase. Just print them out; problem solved.
Deleted's Avatar
Deleted replied the topic: #212038 06 Oct 2015 22:51
No, I really don't need 7 waves' (28?) different ship models to have fun with a game like this. It's a money pit to begin with, one I partook in for far too long.

Just my opinion.
Deleted's Avatar
Deleted replied the topic: #212039 06 Oct 2015 22:55

Michael Barnes wrote: They actually haven't invented any ships so far, I believe everything has provenance either in the films or in the EU. Yes, even K-Wings.


starwars.wikia.com/wiki/BTL-S8_K-wing_assault_starfighter

This fucking thing was invented for a cutscene. That's bullshit. At best, this is taking the most obscure shit that very few people have ever seen, let alone know shit about. C'mon.

I don't care about canon or whatever but this is them cashing in on OCD sufferers. At this point the cards mean way more than the ships.
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #212040 06 Oct 2015 23:01
Business is business.
Disgustipater's Avatar
Disgustipater replied the topic: #212042 06 Oct 2015 23:30
I have purchased every single ship they've released with the exception of the Epic ships and the new core set. I've decided to stop after Wave 8 because, like you, I am content with what I have and feel I don't need more to enjoy the game. However, I don't begrudge them the continuous releases. I'm not buying them, so why should it bother me? That's rhetorical, I guess.
Michael Barnes's Avatar
Michael Barnes replied the topic: #212043 06 Oct 2015 23:38
I've fallen off the wagon myself, now I'm behind...not really playing it regularly these days but I'm still happy to have everything up to the first S&V wave. It's just gotten to be too much to keep up with, frankly...but I like seeing the EU/non film ships like the Outrider, the HWK-290 and so forth. I really want the Rebels stuff, so I may break fast with that. But yeah, I think you can totally enjoy the hell out of the game with just the classic A/B/X/Y-Wings, the Falcon, the shuttle, Slave-1 and a pile of assorted TIEs.
VonTush's Avatar
VonTush replied the topic: #212048 07 Oct 2015 01:02
The Imperial Raider was designed by FFG for X-Wing.

Not a single mention of the Twin Laser Turret? That was a huge meta buster and shift and the source of much handwringing and forum topics. That more so than SLAM is worth talking about.

Hanging around the Start Trek: Attack Wing forums for a while I find it amusing that the biggest negative used against ST:AW is being used here, that the game is more list building focused rather than tabletop resolution. With Star Trek, that's a stone cold fact and X-Wing is rolled out as the example of how to develop a game where if you show up with a competent and some knowledge of how to fly it, you'll be able to hold your own on the table. This is the first time I've heard that complaint used against X-Wing.

Also, I think I'm witness to another first in this thread. This is the first time I have ever seen the term powercreep used to describe something whose existence is to make something potentially viable that to be honest never really was viable to begin with. Releasing something that allows you to brush the dust off of something that wasn't seeing use is a bad thing?
charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #212057 07 Oct 2015 08:50
Yes, X-Wing has perhaps been the best game of its ilk concerning power creep. They have done a fantastic job.
Deleted's Avatar
Deleted replied the topic: #212074 07 Oct 2015 12:13
The cards make the older, shitty ships more viable, but they're packaged with another shitty (or samey) ship. That's my beef. To be honest, I don't really give a shit in any event; I jumped off the X-Wing wagon just after the Falcon's wave.

I'm just eternally irritated that they can't make a game, put out a bunch of waves, then just produce cards, or new mechanics without requiring 50$ a wave's investment.

It's just irritiating.
OldHippy's Avatar
OldHippy replied the topic: #212075 07 Oct 2015 12:17

SuperflyTNT wrote: No, I really don't need 7 waves' (28?) different ship models to have fun with a game like this. It's a money pit to begin with, one I partook in for far too long.


No, you don't need seven waves, but I get why people do it. I understand that desire. I also completely get why FFG would do this too. The money is the biggest reason obviously but what company doesn't want to make money? Criticizing them for that is silly. I bet a lot of the people over at FFG also have a blast making new ships and coming up with cards, paint schemes, crew and abilities. I think it would be difficult to stop once you get in there and there are probably a dozen designers in their office that all want to make a ship or two. So while they do indeed want money there is absolutely no reason to assume there isn't still love in these designs, there is no reason to assume that it's a heartless cash grab.

I have to admit that when it first came out I was excited at the prospect of new ships that they designed themselves... I still am to some degree. But I gave up on purchasing anything for this game after the first non trilogy ship was released. I think that was the Moldy Crow (HWK-290?) which I did buy but it was the only non original series ship I've ever bought for X-Wing. Basically I own everything from the original series, including the two big ships for 'cinematic' play. I love the game just like that. I don't need the third faction because really this type of game is best with two or four. Which is how we play it. It's a perfect game with just those initial ships and lets you have a ton of fun. If I wanted more there is more there to be had which is a nice option but one I won't be indulging in because I don't see any reason to go further. I got into this to play with Star Wars ships.. not cool looking ships I don't recognize. But in no way will I begrudge those who do or FFG for supplying it to them. It's a good business model.

Personally though, the only thing that appeals to me right now would be a designer series scenario book like they did for ToI and Descent. I don't know why that idea died so fast because it's one of the best things they've ever done and adds tons of life to a game at very little cost.
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #212078 07 Oct 2015 12:43
Books don't have the same ROI. Both sides of the sale have to be happy for business to occur.

There's people out there buying this stuff, so FFG is going to keep making it. You have to decide if you're a collector or a player.

I just dropped two bills on airplanes, so I can't exactly judge anyone on this subject at the moment.
Mr. White's Avatar
Mr. White replied the topic: #212082 07 Oct 2015 13:11
However, if I understand correctly, there are x-wing ships that have cards impacting other ships. Players may feel the need to buy a ship they may not want, just to get a card they do.

WoW/WoG planes aren't packaged with this issue.
VonTush's Avatar
VonTush replied the topic: #212084 07 Oct 2015 13:20
So ignore the minis if you want.

For many years I managed to play a half dozen different miniature games without needing cards to tell me what upgrades did. All I needed as a pen and paper to write down what I wanted to outfit minis with and a reference book telling me what those did. Today you can pop open any squad builder and have that reference book at your fingertips. If your not concerned over the minis then a pen and paper will be the only monetary investment you'll ever need again.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #212085 07 Oct 2015 13:29
That's correct. The most extreme example is the new Imperial epic ship, the Raider. It comes with a TIE Advanced and several cards that enhance that ship, widely considered to be the worst in the game. So, if you already own one or more TIE Advanceds, you have to invest another $100 for a ship designed for a format distinct from the regular game (Epic play) in order to make your 3-year-old $15 investment actually usable in the game. Yeah... no. Not doing that.

Incidentally, in addition to the unwillingness to further engage in the collectible model (the aforementioned Raider example is an extreme; most of the time you don't have to go that far off the cliff to enjoy your ships, but I've had enough), I've discovered I don't have the time or the dedication to keep up with the game, so I'm selling my collection. IIRC, it adds up like this:
2 copies of the base game
1 X-Wing
2 Y-Wings
2 A-Wings
2 B-Wings
Rebel Aces
2 E-Wings
1 HWK-290
2 Z-95s
1 Falcon
1 YT-2400
Rebel Transport (with additional X-Wing.)
3 TIE Fighters
1 TIE Advanced
2 TIE Interceptors
Imperial Aces
3 TIE Bombers
2 TIE Defenders
2 TIE Phantoms
1 Lambda Shuttle
1 Slave 1
1 VT-49 Decimator
Feel free to PM me about prices, etc. I'd like to group it into as large of shipments as possible. I also have a nice Hubble picture playmat.
/threadjack.
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #212089 07 Oct 2015 13:58

Jackwraith wrote: That's correct. The most extreme example is the new Imperial epic ship, the Raider. It comes with a TIE Advanced and several cards that enhance that ship, widely considered to be the worst in the game. So, if you already own one or more TIE Advanceds, you have to invest another $100 for a ship designed for a format distinct from the regular game (Epic play) in order to make your 3-year-old $15 investment actually usable in the game.


Or make a copy of the card.
VonTush's Avatar
VonTush replied the topic: #212092 07 Oct 2015 14:20
Insider tip to save you hundreds, nay thousands of dollars!
When you go to print from this builder, select "Full" under view and it prints out the entire text of the card.
xwing-builder.co.uk/build

Plus you get the luxury of not having to pull out and fuss with cards anymore...Unless those color images and flavor text really sets to XWing gaming mood.
Matt Thrower's Avatar
Matt Thrower replied the topic: #212102 07 Oct 2015 15:13

When you go to print from this builder, select "Full" under view and it prints out the entire text of the card.


This. Unless you're going to play in competitive tournament play, there's no need to get ships just for the cards. Hell, you can even proxy if you want to find out how a ship flies before you buy. Everything, even the maneuver dials, are public domain.

I am concerned about how far they're stretching this. But only because I'm worried they won't be able to keep it balanced and interesting. It's already starting to happen: more and more ships look like duplicates of one another, or get superseded by a slightly different model.

I thought Scum & Villainy might be the straw that breaks the camel's back, but it's so fun and thematic that it works. Now I'm thinking they should close after wave 8. The new Force Awakens set, however, suggests they're going to carry on and that's alarming.
VonTush's Avatar
VonTush replied the topic: #212108 07 Oct 2015 15:39
Eh...Nothing to be worried about.
The only limit is going to be the imagination on this. Even if a ship winds up with similar stats and movement dials the upgrade slots, actions and pilot skills can make it fly completely different and fill a different role.

The dirty secret is the this is a miniatures game and a miniatures game needs to be fluid, dynamic, reactive and proactive all at the same time. Otherwise, when a person or group stops buying, but continues to play favorite and patterns will develop...A meta within the group. As a collective a meta develops as well and this last wave shakes up the old meta and old stuff that may have been shelved due to the current meta state may find a role with new stuff or previously dominant lists may no longer be that.

Truth is the game isn't balanced, never has and never will be...That's what shapes the meta. It's just a matter of how good is the company at making predictions and addressing what has come before, in other words how well can they disguise the imbalances.
Michael Barnes's Avatar
Michael Barnes replied the topic: #212112 07 Oct 2015 15:53
I didn't know about that builder thing...now that is a hot tip. Speaking as somebody with no qualms about using proxies...I'm going to proxy the hell out of everything now.

Gosh, I gotta call up my friends that are all in on X-Wing for a game...I've got a couple that have EVERYTHING to stupid degrees, to the point where I almost thought about selling my lot and just using theirs. But I have this pipe dream that River and maybe Scarlett will be wanting to play sometime in the next three our four years. But all of this talk is making me want to play it TONIGHT.

I forgot that FFG created the Raider...but that's a pretty cool ship, so job well done.