In this latest guest post, Samuel Webb, an experienced news reporter and copywriter based in Coventry, discusses why some X-Wing Miniatures fans are unhappy with the company that they claim is ruining this beloved Star Wars tabletop skirmish game.
The X-Wing Miniatures Game was once the most popular game in the multi-billion-dollar world of wargaming. Released in 2012, it featured ship-to-ship dogfighting between the iconic craft of the Star Wars universe, including X-Wings, TIE fighters, and the beloved Millennium Falcon. The gameplay was widely praised for its secret movement dial mechanic, beautifully pre-painted miniatures, and fast-paced rules. The Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) Disney franchise sold like crazy and tournaments attracted hundreds of gamers. It was revamped with a second edition in 2018 that streamlined and improved the rules and added prequel and sequel factions like The Republic and First Order. In 2020, the Star Wars licence moved from FFG to Atomic Mass Games (AMG), another division of parent company Asmodee, the tabletop monolith behind games like Carcassone and Pandemic.
Now, many fans are furious with AMG, accusing the studio – which also oversees Disney stablemates Marvel Crisis Protocol and Star Wars’ Shatterpoint – of giving up on X-Wing despite a passionate fanbase that has invested heavily in the game and continues to organise events despite dwindling numbers. Players point to a slow-down of game-balancing points updates, sporadic or non-existent communication with fans, poor organised play support and a dearth of new miniature releases despite fresh Star Wars ships appearing in TV shows The Mandalorian, Ahsoka and Andor. A sweeping rules and gameplay overhaul, dubbed “X-Wing 2.5“, following the pandemic also sharply divided fans.
Despite repeated attempts, neither Asmodee nor AMG provided a comment for this article.
“Its soul is now dead and gone.”
Former world champion Oliver Pocknell says it is impossible to ignore AMG’s effect on the game’s popularity and is damning of their approach to play-testing and balance, claiming some ships and play styles are wildly overpowered.
The teacher from Brighton said: “Popularity wise, the game has been struggling. It’s not just down to AMG that these changes have happened, the game has been through the COVID years, but I can’t help but blame AMG for a large part of this. The biggest problem AMG face is their frankly terrible communication skills. They are damaging their reputation repeatedly by not communicating regularly or effectively. In the past few months we have had developers tell the community on stream: ‘If you don’t like our game, you can quit’.
“It is this mix of radio silence, combined with incompetence, that has caused so many players to feel frustrated and abandoned by this new version of the game that feels so very different to the game that they started and enjoyed.
“This was my biggest hobby and I’ve made some lifelong friends playing the game, but I have completely lost all motivation to play the game as it feels as if its soul is now dead and gone. I no longer want to play a game of X-Wing for fun anymore as it is just boring to me. The real shame is it feels like most of this could have been avoided with some proper communication.”
Dave Cook, an X-Wing player from Plymouth in the UK, said the lack of new ships is “pretty woeful”.
He added: “It’s hugely disappointing to see their other games churn out release after release while X-Wing got barely a trickle. Our community here has massively contracted, we have gone from about 20 regular weekly players to less than a handful. Many players have just drifted away. I have moved on to other games, namely Kill Team, Battletech and Adeptus Titanicus. I still love X-Wing but don’t feel AMG really wanted the game and that’s pretty apparent by how it’s been piloted.”
“It feels like they just don’t care.”
Walsall-based Liam Baker, one of the hosts of X-Wing podcast Sith Takers Snap Shots, says he has “zero confidence” in AMG’s ability to help the game thrive.
He said: “I personally feel like X-Wing is an unwanted game for them and it feels like they just don’t care. The support for the game has been poor. There isn’t an understanding of what the greater community wants and needs.
“We were treated respectfully and well by FFG. Our emails containing questions were replied to, promises of follow-up emails were acknowledged and fulfilled and we had communication regarding new projects and releases.
“My enthusiasm for the game has dwindled. I’ve lost a lot of trust in AMG over the recent months and that feeling has meant I haven’t bought any Marvel Crisis Protocol in a year, I haven’t picked up the Shatterpoint game and I’ll only buy X-Wing releases – which is a shame because we aren’t getting those.”
François Couret, a former French champion who lives near Brest in France, has been playing since late 2013 and says gamers are drifting away to other, “better-supported” games, like A Song Of Ice And Fire.
He said: “The X-Wing community in Brest has seen a clear decrease since the rules change. The monthly 12-20 people tournament has become a three or four times a year 6-12 people event. We also used to host a 45-person tournament once a year, but it has vanished. Support from AMG is, in my opinion, very poor. They didn’t really explain the rule changes, and the lack of ship releases will probably slowly kill the game. Overall, I think AMG turned an awesome game into a good game.”
“I think we are moving in the right way.”
Many X-Wing gamers are a bit more positive about the game’s future.
Joaquin Felipe Gonzalez Mendez, a UK-based Spanish Chilean, said: “Currently the game is in good health, the store championship season really helped a lot and we started to have new players at our Thursday night sessions. I was happy to see people that apparently left the game playing again this season. The only thing that I miss is new ships for Resistance and First Order, but I think that we are moving in the right way to grow again as a big community.”
Elliot Weights, who lives near Bristol, says his local X-Wing community is expanding.
He said: “Organised play is lacking, however (AMG) is a smaller team. It would be better […] if we had regular new products to shake things up. The comms have improved, they started out a bit shaky and now we get articles and regular updates via a Discord channel. For the size of their team, they are doing a great job.”
How About You?
Now I would like to know what you think. Have you played X-Wing yourself before? Do you think it’s going into decline? Is there still an active community behind it? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.
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