Ever since Fantasy Flight announced the brand new Force Awakens version of the X-Wing Miniatures core set, the obvious question begs to be asked: What’s the difference?
Mechanically, almost nothing has changed. The game remains the same as ever, and the two core sets have been designed to co-exist with one another. The biggest change in mechanics is the new damage card deck, which will be expounded upon further below. In addition, there are a few slight rules changes, which are likely not even noticeable to most players as they only applied to a few highly contextual circumstances.
The first rules change dictates that target locks can be reacquired on a ship, even if you already have a lock on them. This allows for certain pilots with target lock-related special abilities (such as the Y-Wing’s Dutch Vander) to be more effective. The second rules revision involves changing the moment where you “check stress,” and moves it into the activation phase, which is also relevant for a few pilots whose special abilities involve unique stress-related situations.
Aside from that, there are no changes in the rules, but there are plenty of changes that are visual, as well as in the ships! The new X-Wings and TIEs, after all, are new, and thus upgraded versions of the old ones. We’ve taken pictures and organized them into a list that details every major change in The Force Awakens X-Wing core set.
NOTE: Both of the X-Wing Core Sets are 100% compatible with every single X-Wing expansion that’s currently released. Although the Force Awakens Core Set is a new release, it’s still the same game as before, and simply acts as another jumping-on point for new players. For anyone that wants to get into the game, they could start with either the new set or the old one.
The boxes are nearly identical. The newer version goes for a blue motif in its logo and general aesthetics, which is in line with the new T-70, which has a cyan color scheme. There’s the obvious difference in art, as well as the big fat reminder that the new set is, indeed, Force Awakens merchandise. Other than that, the boxes are one in the same. Also, the miniatures should be displayed in the old box like they are in the new one, but I lose the container for that. Whoops.
The new T-70 model feels a tiny bit more detailed and high quality than the original, but only by a very small margin. The T-70 adopts a new cyan color scheme, along with giant engines and thinner, streamlined wings. The detail is immaculate on both of the models.
The blaster cannons on the T-70 are a big thicker than on the original, but overall everything looks very nice on both models. The detailing around the droid is a bit more intricate on the T-70, making the blank, plain droid a bit more noticeable than on the T-65.
We see that the T-70’s engines are spread further apart, with the central portion of the ship also being a bit smaller. Excellent detailing on both.
Save for the other color differentes, the TIE/fo fighter looks nearly identical to the original model, though there are some tiny differences. Although hard to see here, the blasters at the base of the windshield are a tiny bit bigger on the TIE/fo, and the wing panels are just a tiny bit thicker.
The back “hole” of the ship is bigger and much more noticeable on the TIE/fo.
The wing panel detail is much finer on the TIE/fo. Not sure if this because of the movie, or if Fantasy Flight just decided to make the models more detailed.
All of the TIEs together in one big happy TIE Fighter family.
The new TIE pilots follow the same pattern as the old ones – two generic pilots with a skill of 1, 3, and 4. The TIEs are noticeably better though, with a target lock action, and one shield. Furthermore, the generic TIE/fos each get upgrade slots, which the lower two TIEs are deprived of. This is paid for in cost; each TIE/fo pilot costs three points more than its corresponding pilot in the old set.
The aces also follow the same model. Once again, both of the lower TIE/fo aces get upgrade slots, where as the TIEs don’t. Incidentally, each pilot’s special ability fall into the same general areas – the level five pilots have maneuver abilities, the sixes deal with tokens, and the sevens have abilities that augment their offensive capability.
Like the TIEs, the X-Wings also follow the model of the old set. Also like the TIEs, the newer T-70s have more room for upgrades. And once again like the TIEs, the new X-Wings cost more, costing three more points than their T-65 counterparts. Luke and Poe’s special abilities utilize focus, albeit in totally different ways. The secondary aces’ abilities are markedly different.
The newer upgrade cards are noticeably cheaper, perhaps to compensate for the higher costs of the new ships. Same as last time, the Force Awakens core set includes two astros, and one proton torpedo card. Instead of two ace pilot abilities however, one is replaced by Weapons Guidance, a different category of its own. The cards are quite different here – both ace cards modify attacks, but Marksmanship much more dramatically than Wired. Weapons Guidance essentially allows you to use focus for blanks, whereas Determination changes how you receive damage. The droids are also quite different; BB-8 gives you barrel rolls while R2 heals, and R5 can be ditched to help your movement, while R2-F2 increases agility. Overall, it seems like the cards in the older set are a bit more powerful.
The first set of damage cards are completely different from each other. While similar in name, the minor/major hull breach cards are quite different – the major hull breach converts all damage into critical hits, while the minor breach might penalize you for red maneuvers. Quite a big difference there. The other two old cards that were ditched in the new set deal with upgrade cards getting nullified. The new replacements, on the other hand, target your movement instead. Perhaps Fantasy Flight determined that nullifying entire cards was too overpowered?
The next is comprised of cards that are nearly identical to their predecessors, but with slight modifications. The Damaged Sensor Array cards have slightly different wording for the first condition, which could make a difference depending on the abilities of certain ships. Furthermore, damage is dealt on a normal and critical hit now. The Structural Damage is the same, save for adding the critical hit condition like the last card. Weapon Malfunction has been changed to Weapons Failure, and is essentially the same thing with different wording. Blinded Pilot is clarified in the new set, stipulating that the player can use their next attack to attack nobody in order to flip the card down.
Up next, we also have some cards that are almost identical, save for one or two words. The Major Explosion deals critical damage in place of the Minor Explosion’s single hit. Thrust Control Fire remains the same, save for the removal of the word “immediately,” which seems peculiar. Stunned Pilot is reworded to imply that the penalty only applies if you land on another ship (rather than passing through them), and Damaged Cockpit has some minor rewording as to when it goes into effect.
And finally, we have identical cards. These cards didn’t see any changes. There are still seven Direct Hits, and Damaged Engine and Console Fire remain the same as ever.
Tokens and Pieces
The Force Awakens core set reduced some token baggage, reducing target locks down to six, and cutting off three numbers for the marking tokens. There is one more focus token in the new set, and an equal amount of stress/critical hit tokens. The Force Awakens set comes with a handful more of shields, given that every ship now has them. The two that remain most likely correspond to the ship token that’s exclusive to missions. The dice and range marker are identical, but the new set has a token that the old one does not – the initiative token.
The missions are different in the new game – one of them includes more satellites, though the confirmation tokens remain the same. Instead of a Senator’s Shuttle, the new game comes with a more capable Squadmate, along with mines and damage tokens.
The asteroids are a little different, though they retain their general proportions. The Forcer Awakens asteroids are noticeably more irregularly shaped than the older ones.
The movement templates are indentical, save for the addition of some new moves in the Force Awakens set. The 2/3 templates for hard and soft turns both come with new maneuvers printed – the soft turns (Segnor’s Loop) turn the ship around, ultimately changing them by 225 degrees, and the hard turn special maneuver (Tallon Roll) allows a ship to put the side of its base against the end, allowing them to rotate 180 degrees. Of course, these special maneuvers can only be performed if they’re on the respective ship’s maneuver dial.
The ship tiles follow the same template as the old set, down to a tee. You’ll notice that the T-70s and TIE/fos have slightly different artwork on their tiles, to differentiate them from the old models.
Old on the left, new on the right. The maneuvers between the old and new ships are nearly identical. The T-70 gains Tallon Rolls, and a green 3 straight, whereas TIE/fos gain Segnor’s Loops, and green 2 turns. Note how the TIE/fo, in gaining the Segnor’s Loops, loses its 3 Kaiogran Turn.
Aside from the two changes in maneuvers and the difference between the Resistance/Rebellion logos, the dials look identical.
The TIE dials are also identical, save for the different logo and new maneuvers.
The Force Awakens core set comes with three books instead of the old core’s one. In addition to its Learn to Play book (which name has been changed from Rules of Play), it now has a Rules Reference guide, and a separate pamphlet for missions, which were previously included in the Rules of Play book.
So that’s it! In the end, both of the core sets are mostly equal, save for the ships, each version offering its own spin on the classic fighters. So, which core set would YOU go with? Sound off in the comments if you think one is better than the other!