Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Attack Wing: Starfleet on Maneuvers

As you will recall from my first piece on the universe of Attack Wing I not only purchased the all-conquering Starter Pack but also the expansion pack featuring USS Voyager.

Definitely an apt pack to have kicked off my collection with seeing as this week marks the 20th anniversary of the franchise misplacing the Intrepid Class ship.

And not to peak too early I decided to hold back and look at the Voyager expansion as a separate article from that original post on the starter set in December. After all, for the amount of stuff you get in the pack you need a breather just to take it all in. Which turned out to be a good decision as I chose to invest in a few more ships in order to win at least one game. That means that we'll also be talking about the Wave Eight USS Enterprise NCC-1701-E.

First though, the smaller of the two. There are two big points as to why Voyager has to be a part of your collection and ultimately your fleet. First off its the upgrades; both the ablative armour and transphasic torpedoes are available for exclusive use with the ship and offer some much welcomed defensive and offensive capabilities. That's not to say that Voyager is any less of an asset than the Galaxy Class which graced the starter set but these two abilities do put more substance into the expansion as well as reflecting,  fairly accurately,  the enhancements that the ship gained during its time in the Delta Quadrant.  There are also the Sacrifice elite talent,  bio-neural circuitry and photon torpedoes which can be equipped on both Voyager and other vessels in your fleet.

The second key factor here is the one player bonus mission,  Endgame, which is included in the pack. For me getting an opponent at the drop of a hat isn't possible and while I can wait for my dad to drop round, there are times when you just want to test out some tactics and, y'know, kick the Borg's posterior. 

With this mission you can as it places you into conflict with three Borg Cubes and a Sphere as you attempt to destroy the Borg conduits.  Sounds easy?  It isn't and on the first couple of attempts I got utterly pasted by the Borg.... Seems like a recurring theme for me this defeat....  But you start thinking more about ways to avoid the worst of the conflict and how your super-duper upgrades can help you achieve the mission goal.  For the record on this one I'm still trying to work out ways of making it past the Borg wall without getting obliterated, ablative armour or not.

Ok,  let's talk about the ship herself. As with the other ship models, don't expect top drawer detail on the Intrepid Class vessel. Functional it is,  display worthy it isn't.  However it's stats do stand up against even the flagship standards of the Enterprise-D with only slight variances on shields. Notably she can run faster although there isn't the option for a full about which has come in handy a few times with the Enterprise. Add to that the absence of any red turns,  even the hard right and left,  and you can start to see the advantages. 

Lining the D up against Voyager their primary weapon level is the same and their combined shield and Hull score is also identical but Voyager rolls an extra die in defence. Certainly this is your tradeoff for that reduced maneuverability. 

Fans and players will be emphatic that there's no Neelix card in here - so no option to disable the cheese as your chosen action but we do get two captain options with Janeway and Chakotay with crew upgrades from Paris,  The Doctor,  Torres, Kim, Tuvok and Seven of Nine. Of those,  Seven and B'Elanna seem the most valuable,  providing you with more upgrade slots and also causing some issues for your opponents but they might end up being used down the line after you've exhausted the benefits of your Enterprise crews. 

Voyager was my opening impulse purchase and after Christmas it was joined by the Sovereign Class Enterprise-E among others that we'll come to in a later edition.

Model-wise it's not the best, at all. Very basic paint job, quite blocky and mine had a slightly wonky port nacelle however feature-wise she's loaded to the shuttlebay with some very, very useful upgrades. Oh, and the fact she sat slightly sideways on the pole as you can see here.

There's a full range of movement for the model (except a 180 degree spin) but you do get a reverse maneuver which has been key a couple of times to avoid a nasty phaser attack. The stats also show she's +1 on Hull, Shields and Primary weapon over the Galaxy Class and sacrifices -2 reverse for more flexibility in movement and less requirement to use auxiliary power.

The movie Picard has a slightly lower skill rating however his ability to give you an extra damage result certainly will assist on the front line. Admiral Heyes is the "generic" captain for the pack and Matthew Dougherty from Insurrection can be flipped either as your captain or Fleet Admiral. This is my first experience with an admiral pack (although I do want to grab the movie Enterprise/Kirk pack asap) and his action, allowing an extra defence die can come into play either across the fleet or just on his assigned vessel. Pretty useful especially with my abysmal track record but more on that as my experience blossoms.

Rounding out the crew of the E are Data, Geordi, Troi, Crusher and Riker (not a captain as per the D) with the two ladies replacing Worf and O'Brien. 

Your two weapon slots might well get one of three options - quantum torpedoes, photon torpedoes or the dorsal phaser array which do offer excellent tactical advantages as do the crew choices but can you have two Enterprise's on the same team when the rules specifically say you can't have crew with duplicate names as part of your faction. If that's the case then you're left with few options if you're points limiting. That said, the D and the E use a hefty amount of points just on the ship let alone adding any upgrades to pack that extra bit of firepower. In that case I then looked to use Voyager as that third ship to provide some needed upgrade point space but it still clocks in at 30. Mind, a Borg Tactical Cube clocks in at 46 so think yourself lucky. This leads me to the conclusion that a ship in the low 20's to help out which would lead me to the Defiant, Equinox, classic or refit Enterprise or the Reliant

These two have been great additions alongside the Enterprise-D in battle but having something a little nippier and smaller would be a godsend at times. Hunting some of those down after Christmas is turning into a bit of a mission and Wizkids aren't exactly forthcoming with precise information when you finally manage to get in contact with them. Is there a better one of the two? Maybe I would lean on Voyager more due to the ablative armour and transphasic torpedoes but after a few more plays I'm confident the Sovereign Class Enterprise will be a fitting flagship for the fleet.

Star Trek: Attack Wing is available now. Finding some of the earlier waves is like finding a needle in a haystack. Also this week we've learnt that waves 17 and 18 will include the Nebula Class and the Akira Class starships alongside some other unusual entries...

Have you started a fleet and how are you finding it? What's your combat preferences and do you have any good tips? Note them down and let's talk business!

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