I had a look at the rulebooks & tokens in the new X-Wing: The Force Awakens Core Set. Time to examine the ships, starting with the new TIE/FO Fighters.
The core set comes with two of the new TIE/FO Fighters. The miniature itself appears to be identical to the old TIE Fighters, though the paint job is obviously different: white panels, black structure, red cockpit and a red accent on the roof.
It also seems to be a cleaner paint job than the old TIE Fighter without a dark wash.
Let me just say that they are very nice models. In my opinion, they will also mix nicely with old models in a black-and-grey squadron or swarm.
A New & Improved TIE Fighter
The new TIE/FO Fighter also is a better ship than the old TIE Fighter. The New Order apparently takes slightly more care of its pilots than the Empire.
Comparing the basic Pilot-Skill-1 pilots, we see the TIE/FO Fighter brings …
- One shield
- Target Lock
- The new tech-upgrade slot
- The ability to do Segnor Loops (first seen in the Scum & Villany’s IG-2000).
For all this, the TIE/FO Fighter costs 3 points more at the same pilot skill. That is not a lot of points for all this
Shields and maneuverability are nice, but it is the new Target Lock I find most intriguing. Obviously, the TIE/FO Fighter still cannot take missiles or rockets, but FFG based several pilot abilities of unique pilots in the TIE/FO Fighter’s Target Lock.
Also, as the First Order is a new (sub-)faction, the new pilot cards come with new backside artwork.
The TIE/FO Fighter Pilots
There are nine six different TIE/FO Fighter pilots included in the core set.
- The Epsilon Squadron Pilot is the cheapest, with a pilot skill of 1.
- The Zeta Squadron Pilot comes with a Pilot Skill of 3 for one additional point, mirroring the old TIE Fighter’s Obsidian Squadron Pilot.
Two copies each are included in the X-Wing: The Force Awakens Core Set.
- The Omega Squadron Pilot is the best non-unique pilot. His ability to take an Elite Talent makes him quite versatile. Parallels the old Black Squadron Pilot.
- „Zeta Ace“ is a unique pilot, who can also take an Elite Talent and may use the longer 2-movement (8 cm) for barrel rolls for extra maneuverability.
- „Epsilon Leader“ can remove stress from (all!) nearby ships at the start of the Combat phase (after actions). An extremely useful ability to have, both in a TIE/FO Fighter swarm or near pilot/ship-builds that build up stress.
- „Omega Ace“ finally draws on the TIE/FO Fighter’s Target Lock with a potentially devastating ability to score guaranteed critical hits. It will take some synergy with other ships and Elite Talents (e.g. Expose, Push the Limit) to pull off. If it works however, „Omega Ace“ can swing a battle in a single turn.
New Upgrade Cards
A total of five upgrade cards are in the new core set, two of which can be used by the TIE/FO Fighter.
- Weapons Guidance is the first Tech upgrade in the game – likely a new type of upgrade to define all Episode VII+ ships, similar to how Illicit Modifications define the Scum & Villainy faction. It adds another offensive use to a focus token. Interesting, but – at first glance – hardly overwhelming.
- Wired is a 1 point Elite talent. Being cheap as it is and the prevalence of stress in the game, I can see many, many good uses for this, though probably not with one of the TIE/FO Fighter pilots from the core set.
I like what they did with the new TIE/FO Fighters (and not just the mean black visuals). They are no longer quite as „swarm-friendly“ as basic TIE Fighters.
However, they are still cheap and open to a lot of potential trickery and synergy-builds, something I always enjoyed playing X-Wing.
Time to work on some squadron ideas …