Who Shot First? A Brief Interview With X-Wing Designer Frank Brooks

One thing I like about Worlds is getting to hobnob with some of the top players. However, it’s also nice to get a chance to speak with other non-playing members of the community, like the designers. 

I took this opportunity to speak with the very friendly and approachable Frank Brooks, who is one of the X-Wing designers. I asked him about the state of the game and how they manage it. 


DB416: Is FFG happy with the meta and is there still something you’re looking to change?

FRANK: The Deadeye change was pretty needed because honestly before there were so many ships that were out of the game. You couldn’t run X-wings, you couldn’t run B-wings. They would just get too pummeled by those Deadeye Scouts as they would show up and you’re dead. I think we’re able to arrive at the meta we had because we’re able to do that change.


Also, this felt especially turbulent because of how little time people had to respond to it. I honestly thought that there would be more Gamma Squadron Veterans because they’re still able to do the Deadeye thing to a degree.

It does require an amount of synergy and play-through that I think a lot of people haven’t had the chance to actually interact as yet.

Defenders are kind of the easier thing to do out of the Imperial Veterans pack. They’re much more straight forward. You go fast, you shoot them, you know? Obviously some of the vulnerability in the Defenders is their predictability. You’re probably going to 4-K. You’re probably going to 3-turn. Doing those small maneuvers is actually riskier, you’re not getting as much economy out of it.

A lot of players fall into the same cycles of how you’re going to go. Once people get into the general pattern of behaviour with Defenders we might actually start to see much more counter play as people know “like he’s probably going to do this” but I know his other move is this. Defenders would start falling off a bit.

DB416: What is the process to how you guys go about making changes to the game?

FRANK: Deadeye is a great example of this. That’s the kind of change you don’t make lightly. You don’t want to correct it and over-correct it and make that card too bad or screw over the Contracted Scouts so they’re bad too.

We went through maybe 5 different options; like you could make it unique instead, but that just means you run one of these and that doesn’t really fix the problem.

You could instead make it where Contracted Scout just doesn’t have an EPT (elite pilot talent) that just means that you’ll run the other three with it and they’re also making some other fun bumpmaster stuff like intimidation on them and other kinds of things like that just not in it either. That wasn’t what you really needed to do. You over corrected for that and made that ship not as good.

So, we tried out various options and had a lot of our play testers run through all the different options. It was the least intrusive to the card text too.

Obviously you could change the card itself in various ways, for example different cost. They’re innumerable ways that you could attempt to fix this.  We felt that this change was similar to other hard errata types like adding limited to Tactician where it’s just extra text on the card that added the restriction, but is not too hard to remember. It’s just this card can’t be used everywhere.


Deadeye wasn’t a terribly difficult change to make as we did it. There’s still plenty of other ways, like K4 security droid, to get those target locks to still throw down those torpedoes, but it requires a little more minutia and a little more fine control over the ship to really pull off the same maneuvers that you could very easily do earlier and roll up and do some damage.  



DB416: Who shot first? Han or Greedo?

FRANK: It certainly depends on when you’re talking. I guess, there’s not necessarily a definite answer. There’s a perhaps more accurate answer, a time sensitive answer, and I’ll leave it at that.



DB416: Who is Rey’s father?

FRANK: That’s a  good question. I feel like I probably shouldn’t answer this for numerous reasons, not that I know anything necessarily, but being an FFG representative I probably can’t even postulate due to any consideration to what I may or may not know.


4 thoughts on “Who Shot First? A Brief Interview With X-Wing Designer Frank Brooks”

  1. Cool/ Always nice to get some inside perspective.

    Glad to see that they do look carefully at the meta, and actually think about what to do to stop it from getting dominated by any one or two builds.

  2. Your Freudian misspelling of “hobnob” certainly adds a layer of nuance to spending time with the top players.


    Anyways, those were some good notes from Frank. It’s always nice to talk to those guys and hear about how the game ends up in certain ways, and what needs to be done to correct it.

    To anyone reading this that winds up at FFG for Worlds, or any other event, do approach these folks and hit them with a few questions. They’re always happy to jaw about their games.

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