Are Smaller Expansion Waves a Good Thing?

Since the latest waves of X-Wing and Armada have recently been revealed, I took notice that there seems to be a newer trend with FFG’s waves, in that they are getting smaller.   X-Wing’s Wave 11 now has only 3 ships, and I don’t expect that this time it will get augmented by two “Mystery” ships, because there is no Summer Movie coming out for Star Wars, and it’s FAR too early for any Episode 8 ships to magically show up and be an addition to the wave.

No folks, it looks like this wave is only 3 ships.   Now sure, there are supplemental releases for X-Wing – there always have been.  We have a new Epic ship for Scum on the boat, and I’m sure there will eventually be an X-Wing fix or E-Wing fix… or even a Starviper fix… but that likely won’t show up until closer to the end of the year.   For now it’s just 3 ships.

And Armada has a small wave as well  While it may be technically a 3-ship release as well, because onf of the expansions has two copies of the same ship, it’s still just a 2-expansion wave.

This happened a year ago, with Armada’s Wave 3, which was just the two flotillas.   I remember being really upset, as was a good portion of the community.   It ended up working out though, because Wave 4 was also a 2 ship release and they ended up coming out on the same day, which made Waves 3 and 4 virtually the same, 4-ship wave.  But this time I seriously suspect that Wave 6 for Armada will be the only thing we get for awhile.   And I’m actually fine with it.

There is a long-term problem with making too many ships in each wave.  That problem is starting to show itself in X-Wing.  Look at the recent “Heroes of the Resistance” Pack for example:

Here is a pack chock full of re-released ships.  And before you say it… Yes I know that this is actually a new sculpt for the falcon.   The Dish is new, the engines are better… it is actually a superior model to the old one.  However to the layman, it’s still just another falcon.   And the T-70 X-Wing, while having a fresh paint job, was seriously not needed at all.  Well, it WAS needed, but should have come out in the Force Awakens Core Set IMO.  This marks the third separate release of a T-70 X-Wing.  And the worst part is – we’ve only had ONE movie with T-70s!   God forbid there are new T-70 pilots in Episode 8!

My point is – if FFG gives us every canon ship all at once, it uses up all the design space and we end up having nothing left for next year – and as a result we end up getting reprints.   Now I realize that might be fine with some people and maybe this is just a matter of opinion, but I would rather a smaller wave with more time put into it, to maximize the product’s impact the FIRST time around.

Look at the Force Awakens Core Set for example:

If there was more time allotted to this release, a lot of design goofs could have been prevented.   First off, there was no reason to make Poe a pilot skill 8, since after the movie came out he was known to be the BEST pilot in the Resistance and it’s borderline offensive to make him anything less than a 9.   Additionally, none of the other pilots in here have names.   I think it cheapens the game a bit to have cards like “Red Ace” in place of what should have been Snap Wexley, Jess Pava, and Ello Asty.  These pilots ended up being added to the game much later, over other T-70 releases, but wouldn’t it have been more proper to have them released sooner?

The problem is even worse for capital ships, in that there just aren’t very many available, and if Armada wants to survive and have longevity, it is taking the right steps with only 2 ships per wave.  I had expected the Quasar to come out, and rightly so, but right now they are already almost out of canon ships to release.   You can make arguments for a few Imperials Ships – like the Venator, which supposedly is still in limited service around the time on Episode 4, but that begins to cross that line of Original Triloigy towards the Clone Wars era – and for some legal reasons, FFG can’t do a Clone Wars era timeline, so if they want something from that era they have to find ways of pulling it into the Galactic Civil War timeline.   I don’t know the full details but it’s messy.

Either way, X-Wing has a TON of content right now, and even Armada has grown enough to be diverse and have a strong amount of ships.   Neither of these games NEEDS a huge wave in order to maintain interest.   Just a steady stream of updates, perhaps twice a year is all I need.   Smaller waves will ensure the games stay healthy for years to come.

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