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Subject: The 4,000 Pound Hutt in the Room (or We’re Out of Ships, is X-Wing Over?) rss

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glen.
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This is originally appeared at Couple vs. Cardboard. A site about games and the awesome and awkward meta-game of playing games with your favorite person (your spouse). More awesome and awkward posts here: http://couplevscardboard.com/the-4000-pound-hutt-in-the-room...

Last Friday, Fantasy Flight announced the upcoming release of Wave 4 of the immensely popular Star Wars: X-Wing.

Yes: Wave 4. Four amazing, awesome new ships.

Are you not awesome-tained?

Well, I mean, it’s possible you’re not.

Why?

Because we finally have to confront the 4,000 pound Hutt in the room: we’re out of ships.

That’s right. If you’re been paying attention, we ran out of possible dogfighter-size ships from the canon Star Wars universe. That is to say, there are no more ships from the movies.

Now this has been hugely controversial on the forums for a long time now. Most folks divided into two camps: the Purists and the Expanded Universers. The first believing the game should only, ever deal with stuff seen in the movies, the latter believing they should definitely include the books and movies and video games. The Expanded Universers fill the forums with lists of pilots and ships most have never heard of, begging their inclusion into the game, the latter usually shrug them off as inconsequential flavor text.

The writing has been on the wall for a while as to where Fantasy Flight would likely land on the Expanded Universe. The bulk of the named pilots, of course, being folks featured in a number of sources mostly outside the movies. Even frameworks for many ship mechanics come from the Expanded Universe or prequels. For example, why does the Y-Wing have an ion cannon? The answer for many has been, “who cares, this game is awesome!”. But the EUers could site chapter and verse of what novel Dutch first ionized a TIE Fighter.

Come Wave 3, the first ship entirely from the Expanded Universe was launched: the Moldy Crow herself, the HWK-290. Some folks chose not to buy it because it didn’t appear in the movies, and fortunately for them, while it included a couple fun meta cards, fails to really be a game-changer. That is most certainly not the case for these coming Wave 4 ships. Given just what we know right now its unquestioning this is going to be a huge change to the meta.

Naturally, some threads on BGG and the like have had objections. Some folks saying they’re planning on not buying anymore.

My cards on the table, I have enjoyed FFG's usage of the EU so far. I love that they included so many powerful female pilots that I could show off to my nieces (Howlrunner, Ibitsam, Kath Scarlett, Jan Ors). I love getting to know heroes from the comics (Sontiir Fel, Ten Numb and Ibitsam for example). I've read a novel or two and enjoyed them. Also, I'm a theme geek, so I devour any fluff, story and drama you offer in a game and feel like the Expanded Universe does that. I will, however, likely have to learn to love the design on both of the Imperial ships as they don't grab me right off the bat.

Prior, there was no shortage of suggestions as to where Fantasy Flight should take Wave 4. For example, doing planetary battles, adding Sail Barges and Snowspeeders and AT-ATs; others suggested adding in Clone Wars and Prequel ships. Additionally, folks like myself have suggested near-canon ships, like ships of the bounty hunters from Empire Strikes Back. But a bigger question needs to be asked: what is X-Wing?

X-Wing is a game about dogfighting in space. Yes, it has smuggling freighters, transport vessels and bombers, but at it’s heart, it’s a game about fast-paced interstellar combat: dogfighting in space.

I think if we survey the current meta, which at the time of this post is everything up to Wave 3, we run the risk of convoluting the main idea if we introduce a lot of other ideas either because we think they’re cool or because they’re in or not in movies.

Conversely, were they were to introduce a number of fighters which support the main idea of dogfighting in space, this strengthens and supports it to sustain potential changes like those mentioned in above.

I think that winds up being the theme of Wave 4: strengthen the dogfighting aspect of X-Wing. The Z-95 Headhunter offers the Rebels a shot at a new, inexpensive fighter; while the TIE Defender offers the Empire a new tank of sorts. The TIE Phantom with tiny number of hit points, but firepower like the game has yet to see (not to mention a cloaking device which is currently a huge X-factor); and the E-Wing which adds a ton of diversity in a small package at a huge cost.

None of the Wave 4 ships are quite the iconic ships we see in the movies. But I also don’t think they replace these iconic ships we love. Despite having a small footprint, I’d be surprised to see viable full Headhunter swarms unaccompanied by other ships (too little agility or HP to really be the same thing as a TIE Swarm). But man, could breath some life into currently neglected Rebel ships (A-Wings, Falcon builds). Most of the rest of the ships have huge point costs, meaning it’ll be hard to make entire fleets of them. But they’ll be really fun next to a bunch of TIEs or Slave-1 anchor. Basically, I’m saying they’re not taking the jobs of our dear friends the canonical ships, and they refresh a meta which runs the risk of stagnating.

I know I can’t convince the purists to change their minds. But I dig this newly introduced wave, and think Fantasy Flight’s respectful, careful inclusion of the Expanded Universe is a huge boon and update to our fantastic game.

May the Force be with you as you head into Store Championships.
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Xander Fulton
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Well, there's always a middle ground with the prequels, anyway.

The Old Republic surely build thousands, if not millions, of ARC-170s, V-Wings, Eta-2 Interceptors, V-19s, etc during the Clone Wars. These aren't going to all vanish at the moment of the Declaration of Empire. While the Republic/Empire quickly (-ish) transitioned to TIE Fighters as their primary starfighter, all those other ships would still be out there - in mothballs, pulled into service for local system defense, stolen by pirates/smugglers/privateers...

And the Rebels, hard pressed for resources...
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Michael Carter
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I don't play in tournaments and only play in a casual setting with a couple friends using the ships that I have. I am pretty content to just stop with Wave 3 minus the Moldy Crow. I don't really need a money pit game anyway.
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Michael Ptak
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Wave 4 offers new options for both factions. As an empire player I can tell you i've been wanting heavy Imperial fighters for a long while now because flying crunchy clouds of fighters or fragile aces is getting a little tiresome. And i dont need bounty hunter scum.
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Lance McMillan
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I choose to buy or not solely depending on whether the new ship(s) add something to the game, not because they have anything to do with "purist" or "EU" fluff. I don't give a rat's ass what the source material is for the design -- if they started mixing in ships from "Battlestar Galactica" or "Aliens" I'd be fine with it providing they made for an interesting/ challenging game. The moment the product line becomes a venue for milking cash from the fanboi crowd, rather than something which provides an exciting gaming experience, is the moment I stop supporting it.
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Creed Buhallin
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I think the number of "purists" is actually very low, and their impact is even less. These new ships are what they are because there weren't enough purists to make them fail. The Moldy Crow, TIE Defender, Phantom, Z-95, and E-wing all come from different source material. PC Shooters and dogfighters, console games, novels, comics... Every one of these sources was successful enough to make the ships recognizable today because fans DID accept them.

So I honestly don't especially care what the purists think. They're entitled to dislike it, of course, but their insistence on living in 1983 (don't get me wrong, it was a good year!) should not, and will not, have any impact on the game going forward.
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glen.
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Hey, everyone. Certainly didn't mean to conscript anyone into a war they didn't mean to be included in.

I certainly meant it as an observational piece to a phenomenon of folks who do care one way or another. And obviously do mean to speak to some of the specifics of the improvements Wave 4 will make to the game.

I can't imagine anyone was actually offended and I hope that clears it up a bit.

EDIT: also, I don't think I'm completely off the mark. Evidenced by this recent poll. Im not saying either "side" is everyone, but it is certainly two vocal groups.

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1120920/simple-poll-about-wa...
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Alejandro G.
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I personally feel they rushed into all the Waves too quickly.
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Rich Chamberlain
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I'm a "purist", and as a purist I gave a little cheer when I saw that Wave 4 is all EU ships because that meant I could save my money for one more TIE Bomber, A-Wing, and B-Wing I still need to get.

To clarify I play X-Wing at a causal level with no intention to play tournaments, and as such all I want to go recreate the film's action.
Further I've also read plenty of EU material and games and loved them all (especially Zahn) but that doesn't translate in to buying appeal.

I would be much happier with more Imperial Aces type packs; the existing models but with different paint jobs and new cards.

EDIT: BTW - great article!
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I play casually, and this is just one of many games in my collection. So with x-wing i am over budget for spending on 1 game, though i do not begrudge spending on it. The change to ships i don't recognise is just a good place to draw the line.
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I myself am quite satisfied with what I have. I doubt I will buy more with the exception of the large ships and the interceptor sets coming.
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Jörgen Olsson
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There are more ships out there in the EU, if they would add a Scum and Villainy faction.

Outrider (Dash Rendar)
Mist Hunter (Zuckuss)
Punishing One (Dengar)
IG-2000 (IG-88)
Virago (Prince Xizor)
Stinger (Guri)
Lady luck (Lando)
Pulsar skate (Mirax Terrik)

Then there are bigger stuff like Bossk's Hounds Tooth and the Wild Karrde.

The question is if people in general are interested in EU.
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Jeff Dunford
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For the "purists," feel free to skip the EU ships and just pick up packs like Imperial Aces - although even that has pilots and paint jobs that weren't in the Holy Trilogy. There will presumably be one or more Rebel packs analogous to Aces, and there's already the Tantive IV and Rebel Transport (with Porkins and Wes Janson) coming soon. In fact, it seems to me that FFG is going to great effort to keep the "there are only 3 canonical films" people happy, while also catering to those who want new and different ships without upsetting the competitive balance and keeping the iconic X-wings and TIE Fighters competitive.

As for me, I was largely unaware of the EU (outside of the video games from the '90s and their sequels), and I'm loving it. Even started reading the Thrawn Trilogy!
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Vayda
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iNano78 wrote:
For the "purists," feel free to skip the EU ships and just pick up packs like Imperial Aces - although even that has pilots and paint jobs that weren't in the Holy Trilogy. There will presumably be one or more Rebel packs analogous to Aces, and there's already the Tantive IV and Rebel Transport (with Porkins and Wes Janson) coming soon. In fact, it seems to me that FFG is going to great effort to keep the "there are only 3 canonical films" people happy, while also catering to those who want new and different ships without upsetting the competitive balance and keeping the iconic X-wings and TIE Fighters competitive.

As for me, I was largely unaware of the EU (outside of the video games from the '90s and their sequels), and I'm loving it. Even started reading the Thrawn Trilogy!

I liked Thrawn as a character a lot.

I'm not sure why there is so much anger. EU stuff has been in this game since the Core set release.
If the game was titled "Star Wars the OT movie fighter game" sure-- grumble away. But it isn't, and this game is just another part of the Star Wars EU.
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I guess being a Tie Fighter and X-wing player back in the good old PC days along with dark forces and the decipher star wars CCG the CANON movie only concept seems just awful. Star Wars is a rich universe and closing that all off just because it wasn't in the movies would be a terrible idea.

I mean from the canon perspective... we wouldn't even have the non EU ships we have the way we have them. The Y-wing is an excellent example, but think about the slave 1, when did it have a passenger? When did it use bombs in 4-6? Who are all these pilots that weren't identified in the movies?

Not going EU is just not an option. I do hope that if they ever go after eps 1-3 that they make it a separate game. But for waves 5-X I would like to see the remaining ships from the Tie Fighter series including the Tie Avenger, Assault Gunboat and Missile Boat. Additionally there are plenty of bounty hunter ships of which the pilots were in the original movies for many. Then you have shadows of the empire which adds several quality ships.

In the end, properly balanced it gives the game longevity. Otherwise I doubt it would be profitable much longer.
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I'm fine stopping where we are just for money's sake.

But if you think there's any chance that this game I going to just stop.... You're silly.
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Michael Carter
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Jetfire wrote:
I guess being a Tie Fighter and X-wing player back in the good old PC days along with dark forces and the decipher star wars CCG the CANON movie only concept seems just awful. Star Wars is a rich universe and closing that all off just because it wasn't in the movies would be a terrible idea.

I mean from the canon perspective... we wouldn't even have the non EU ships we have the way we have them. The Y-wing is an excellent example, but think about the slave 1, when did it have a passenger? When did it use bombs in 4-6? Who are all these pilots that weren't identified in the movies?

Not going EU is just not an option. I do hope that if they ever go after eps 1-3 that they make it a separate game. But for waves 5-X I would like to see the remaining ships from the Tie Fighter series including the Tie Avenger, Assault Gunboat and Missile Boat. Additionally there are plenty of bounty hunter ships of which the pilots were in the original movies for many. Then you have shadows of the empire which adds several quality ships.

In the end, properly balanced it gives the game longevity. Otherwise I doubt it would be profitable much longer.

I love the hate from the EU fans towards the "purists." The Slave 1 had a passenger and used bombs in Attack of the Clones.

I have read a lot of the EU and while a lot of it is garbage (zombie Sith? wtf?), some of it is quite good. I really enjoyed the Knights of the Old Republic comic book series from Dark Horse. It is probably my favorite comic book series that I've ever read. I have also played most of the Star Wars video games.

That being said, I'm still not interested in EU ships. The Moldy Crow and all of the EU ships in Wave 4 just aren't as iconic as the OT ships. In fact, they are butt ugly. They look as bad as the awful prototypes that were used in the design process for the OT.

I have already invested ~$150 into the game. That's more than enough for one game when I don't desire to play a lifestyle game. I have 84 other games that I am just as interested in playing.
 
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I support the expansion into the EU as a way to extend the game (even though I got into it recently). I love seeing the ships from the XWing and TIE FIghter video games--I played those so much that all of those ships (Z95, TIE Defender, Assault Gunboat) feel like canon anyway. I also like the prospect of new cards with repaints (like the Imperial Aces pack)--keeps it interesting, especially considering most of us buy more than one of each ship anyway.
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Andy M
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iNano78 wrote:
For the "purists," feel free to skip the EU ships and just pick up packs like Imperial Aces

thanks! i thought i had to buy them, but appreciate the clarification.
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Jeff Dunford
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moss_icon wrote:
iNano78 wrote:
For the "purists," feel free to skip the EU ships and just pick up packs like Imperial Aces

thanks! i thought i had to buy them, but appreciate the clarification.

You're welcome. Glad I could be of assistance.
 
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Michael Carter
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I want scenarios. There are already plenty of ships.
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Mike Ricotta
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IF wave 5 is capital ships I'll start playing
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Creed Buhallin
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thesmallman wrote:
EDIT: also, I don't think I'm completely off the mark. Evidenced by this recent poll. Im not saying either "side" is everyone, but it is certainly two vocal groups.

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1120920/simple-poll-about-wa...
I'm sorry, but what point are you drawing from the poll?

You divide the community into "purists" and "Expanded Universers". The purist response there is around 7%. There isn't even a real response for "Expanded Univsersers", because "I'm buying them just because they weren't in the movies" is a silly answer.

Are there purists out there? Yes, there are. But they're a very small portion of the community - honestly, even less than I would have thought. The vast majority of players aren't "purists" or "Expanded Universers" - they're Star Wars fans, who enjoy playing a very well put-together game in a universe they love. They love seeing the ships they saw on screen, and they love seeing the ships they read about, and they love seeing the ships they flew in that video game, and they love seeing the ships that grew the universe they love. Whole lots of love going on there.

It's important to understand that the purist position IS that X-wing does indeed need to die now. If they want to dislike non-screen ships that's their personal preference. But when that preference means that a game I love should go away, well... Let's just say I disagree strenuously with that minority view.
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Michael Carter
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Buhallin wrote:
thesmallman wrote:
EDIT: also, I don't think I'm completely off the mark. Evidenced by this recent poll. Im not saying either "side" is everyone, but it is certainly two vocal groups.

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1120920/simple-poll-about-wa...
I'm sorry, but what point are you drawing from the poll?

You divide the community into "purists" and "Expanded Universers". The purist response there is around 7%. There isn't even a real response for "Expanded Univsersers", because "I'm buying them just because they weren't in the movies" is a silly answer.

Are there purists out there? Yes, there are. But they're a very small portion of the community - honestly, even less than I would have thought. The vast majority of players aren't "purists" or "Expanded Universers" - they're Star Wars fans, who enjoy playing a very well put-together game in a universe they love. They love seeing the ships they saw on screen, and they love seeing the ships they read about, and they love seeing the ships they flew in that video game, and they love seeing the ships that grew the universe they love. Whole lots of love going on there.

It's important to understand that the purist position IS that X-wing does indeed need to die now. If they want to dislike non-screen ships that's their personal preference. But when that preference means that a game I love should go away, well... Let's just say I disagree strenuously with that minority view.

Purists want the game to go away, huh? I guess I'm not the purist that I thought I was.
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Frankly, I love the 4-6 film setting but I'll buy any ship I think looks cool.

I'm also happy with any other franchises being brought on board.

I'm really close to gettin ST:AW started and I'd love to have original BSG, Hoth Ground assualt and Spelljammer (D+D) settings put out. Even better if they all can interact (the only thing holding me back from diving into ST:AW).

Basically, if it's cool... canon doesn't matter to me. Great models and a functional/balanced game do.

Drew1365 wrote:
Personally, I wouldn't mind slowing down the releases a bit so my wallet can catch up. cool

FTFY
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