Friday, 8 May 2015

Big Space Nine Attacks!

Let's welcome back Dan Adams to give us the heads up on one of the Attack Wing oversize pieces - the instantly recognisable Deep Space Nine. Needless to say, I want.

When Wizkids announced that they would be giving out a giant sized Deep Space Nine to each winner of their “Dominion War” Organised Play Event, it was inevitable that the model would be available at retail. 

Although the amount of original models has grown since the game debuted, a good majority of Attack Wing ships are made from the same moulds used in the earlier Heroclix lines. The cost of setting up the production process, and the availability of the prize version on the secondary market meant that Wizkids would be foolish not to bring out the station at retail.

So, what comes in the box? 

For a start, we get the station itself, faithfully reproduced in plastic. The model is big. The station is 33cm across, and about 20cm high.

The detail is gorgeous, from docking pylons down to the windows on the habitat ring. The paint job, while not as popular as the prize ship version, is still very respectable. If anyone is massively unhappy with the paint job, they will repaint it. My only complaint is that where the docking pylons have been glued into place a tiny speck of glue is visible. 

Due to the thing’s overall size it’s very difficult to transport to tournaments. However, as a model in its own right, it’s highly respectable and is something that I would display, regardless of if I used it in my games or not.

So, what else comes in the box? Well, we get a manoeuvre dial. Unlike the prize Deep Space Nine, you can move this station and therefore it’s tournament legal. In the suggested tournament format, none of your ships can exceed 50 points. However, as Deep Space Nine has a base cost greater than, you can put up to 8 points of upgrades on there. This development is a tad limiting. But “dreadnought” builds have been a problem.

How does it move? Like a one-legged Targ with heavy shopping. Its highest speed is two forwards, which is a red manoeuvre. Effectively it's saying that you have to use auxiliary power to move the station. In the pilot episode, Kira has O’Brien move the station closer to what they would discover was the Bajoran Wormhole. The move is stressful, and requires familiar Starfleet Technical Jiggery Pokery, polarities to be reversed, power to be diverted and so forth. So effectively this is authentic

Even the moves are different. Normally, a ship “leapfrogs” the template. Deep Space Nine crawls along it by putting your chosen manoeuvre between it and another template, moving the chosen template, and pushing Deep Space Nine along the gap. I’ve probably failed to explain it, but it means that the station just makes a 1 forward, not 1 + the size of its base. 

It has a brand new move, the rotate mechanic, and the template is included in the pack. Effectively, the station can rotate 45 or 90 degrees. Finally, as one would expect from a space “station” you can choose to remain exactly where you are which is a green manoeuvre. 

In a combat situation, the station can fire range 1-3 from each of the docking pylons in a 90 degree arc or at range 1-2 it can also fire 360 degrees from the base of the model.

You’ll note from the above illustration of the manoeuvre dial, that it has four factions’ logos. This means that you can play as Deep Space Nine, which is dual faction between the Bajorans and Federation, fitting nicely into canon. We also have the Dominion logo, signalling that you can indeed use the model as Terok Nor. The fourth logo is independent. There are no independent ship cards or base in the box, but the prize version of Deep Space Nine came with an independent version of the base, effectively the generic version with no special powers. So, if you own both the prize and retail versions, you can use the dial on the independent version of the station. 

Where this version differs (for the better) from the oversized Borg Cube is that this station comes with a nice little selection of a captain and crew cards, as opposed to just the one Locutus card and one ship card in the Borg model. . 

So, what do the cards do? 

Firstly, you have Deep Space Nine. The station has a defensive capability you disable up to two shields in order to get a defence dice for each. Terok Nor is more aggressive. Effectively it gains the full 360 fire arc at range 1-3, for one less attack die. So, the Dominion version is guaranteed to be able to shoot from any angle. 

If you have participated at your local gaming store’s OP1 or OP6 of the Dominion War you should have been given a cardboard Deep Space Nine token, along with 2 ship cards as participation prizes. You are allowed to use that version of the ship card with the model, giving you the ability to fire torpedoes without disabling them. 

The crew of Deep Space Nine are represented, along with a couple of guests with eight special cards. 

Firstly we have another version Captain Sisko. Nicknamed “Hulk” Sisko by some of my friends, Sisko’s initiative rises one point each time he is hit ending in a maximum of , effectively becoming more dangerous with each point of damage that he takes. If that wasn’t enough, if Sisko’s ship is in arc of two or more ships, he gets an extra defence dice against them.

In tournament play, cloaking devices can’t be put on space stations, but if you are able to mix factions, you can put the Romulan upgrade T’Rul on a ship that uses a cloaking upgrade (instead of a cloak option on their action bar). T’Rul, portrayed by Martha Hackett appeared in the search as the Romulan official assigned to monitor Federation use of the Defiant’s Romulan cloak during the ship’s debut episode The Search. We never saw T’Rul again, but in the game she’s very useful. As well as giving you an extra tech slot, she lets you use your ship’s cloaking device upgrade without disabling it, thus making cloaks much more viable. If that wasn’t enough. Cloaked ships can choose to trade 3 attack dice in exchange for a free evade token. 

T’Kar is a Klingon Card, based on the Klingon mercenary portrayed by Tim Russ, that helps to capture the station during season two’s Invasive Procedures. Much like the episode, he allows you to discard one of an opposing ship’s crew, and disable the rest. The drawback is that he is highly situational (your opponent mustn’t be cloaked and cannot have any shields, you have to drop your shields) for the points value I don’t think he suits the Klingon style. 

Everyone’s favourite plain, simple tailor makes an appearance as a Dominion card. Garak is another card that has three great effects. Firstly, he can be disabled to get an extra evade result to a dice roll. Secondly, you don’t pay a faction penalty when assigning Garak to a non-Dominion ship. Thirdly, he brings an elite talent slot. Very good for four points. 

Garak’s regular lunchtime partner, Julian Bashir makes an appearance as well.. Effectively Bashir can take a disabled token from a Tech or Crew upgrade, allowing you to use its ability as a free action in that turn. 

Odo is part of the independent faction in this game. As a Star Trek purist, I would put him in the Bajoran faction, especially since there are no Bajoran upgrades in the pack. Odo allows you to decommission an upgrade on an enemy ship, and if that is a crew upgrade, you get to perform that as a free action, effectively letting Odo impersonate them. 

Odo’s foe, Quark, lives up to Ferengi values. He allows you to bring a weapon with a cost of five or less onto the field, meaning that instead of paying five points for something, you are just paying Quark’s base cost of 2. A nice ability in cross faction environments. 

Rounding off the pack, is the holographic crooner Vic Fontaine. Like Voyager’s Doctor, and the Equinox’s EMH, Vic counts as either a tech or a crew upgrade. If something is going to affect one of your crew, roll two defence dice, if your luck’s in, the crew effect is averted. I imagine the dice roll reflects Vic’s Vegas setting, while the crew protection represents the effect he has on morale. 

None of these cards are a must have, but they certainly have their uses depending on what builds interest you. 

So, how does it play in tournaments? Well, with eight hull and eight shields it can take a pounding, but not for as long as you might think. The station has no evasion die, so its hull and shields will be quickly worn down by enough good, sustained attacks.. The firepower is a tad disappointing, with just five die. Again, this is quite consistent with the fact that the station was originally a mining station. I would have included an ability along the lines of “Thoron Fields” that make the station’s arsenal more impressive, at least temporarily. 

That being said, the station can be used effectively. I’ve used it in a tournament, and despite facing ships that can easily tear the station apart, I won two out of my three matches. Opponents can often be intimidated by the huge station. Its base presents an obstacle to enemy ships too. The fact that it can choose to move, or remain where it is adds for an interesting dynamic. Scotty from the The Original SeriesEnterprise is an effective upgrade on this ship. Likewise, if you are using the Dominion, the named ability on Terok Nor allows you to overcome the limitations of the stations fire arcs. 

Overall, I do recommend this purchase. The £75 asking price may be high, but is still cheaper than the playmates toy from 1993 (currently going for £86 on eBay) and the AMT model (£131). Plus, my copy was from my local games retailer, who offered 10% of the asking price, and many other retailers offer similar discounts I understand. While nowhere near a sure bet in tournament play, it can wield entertaining results, in casual play the only limitations are what you apply to it. Although only Dominion and Federation have version of the station, crew from the “core five” are represented here, so there are respectable upgrades to be had. 

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