Sunday, 26 July 2015

Admiral on the Bridge: Attack Wing's movie USS Enterprise

One of my must-haves for Attack Wing has finally been ticked off the list thanks to my amazing wife. Yes, she buys me Star Trek stuff.

As part of my Father's Day prezzie I was presented with the movie refit USS Enterprise from one of the early waves. I was, of course, completely controlled and did not flip out into a mad gaming moment at all. Honest.

As ships go for the WizKids game, she's pretty average in size with a fairly bland paint job. Quick and easy seems to have been the name of the game at this point so you're pushed to see a straight edge or in my case two straight nacelles since one is half-cock.

She did fit smoothly onto the stand however back in these dark beginnings of Attack Wing the card for the tokens was very thick which means that Kirk, Decker or Spock will find themselves getting damaged quickly due to the slot being a narrower width than the card. In later waves this hasn't been an issue at all.

I really have wanted this one for a while and hunted her out on the internet. I did win one on eBay which never arrived and may have forgotten to mention I'd purchased it to the wife who went ballistic. Understandable because she'd already got it hidden away for Father's Day, not that I knew. Did I feel stupid. Yep.

So to the expansion and once you've ripped open the box, dug out the cards it's time to see just what the first three movies can offer you. First up is James T himself as either your fleet admiral or the captain of the Enterprise. It's not the best upgrade of all time with Kirk allowing you to disable one upgrade on a ship at range one.

If you're not a fan of the main man, you can always choose Spock or the man-who-would-be-captain, Will Decker. The Vulcan fares little better than Kirk though, allowing you to perform a scan or target lock as a free action. Only Decker with sacrificing a shield for critical damage offers any kind of serious threat to your opposition. Somewhat disappointing in the command echelons is the Enterprise refit but surely it's better if we take a look over the crew...

Well we have seven options available to fill the maximum of four slots available here. Not only do you get the expected McCoy, Scotty, Uhura, Sulu and Chekov but also The Motion Picture's Ilia and The Wrath of Khan's Saavik as played by Kirstie Alley.

The good doctor allows you to open up two disabled upgrades - definitely useful in the throws of battle as is the Chief Engineer who can significantly reduce the number of auxiliary power tokens tacked onto your vessel. Again, a good one if you're pulling some red maneuvers to get out of trouble. Uhura adds two to your captain's skill level for the phase and the Chekov card can be disabled to allow you to re-roll any blank attack dice in a round. Sulu does provide the sensor echo advantage that only cloaked ships seem to have. It's again good to see the game makers thinking about the characters and how their traits fit the upgrades. Sulu, Scotty and McCoy are definitely useful given the average moving ability of the USS Enterprise and Chekov will help out if you're coming close to defeat. Uhura's skill to upgrade your captain's skill is always useful and can make the difference between surviving a combat round or finding you're removing your ship from the play area.

Ilia allows you to keep the ability to perform actions if you overlap another ship's base which is a bit weak but Saavik offers a slight tactical nuance by the opportunity to replace a battle stations or scan token with an evasive one. It certainly makes it apparent that this is a very defensive pack, offering Federation players a lot of options which will help keep them out of trouble but not necessarily put them in a stronger offensive position.

Interestingly the forward firing arc is a full 180 degrees which is very different to the later era ships. We do get the requisite photon torpedoes as well as a few handier upgrades which might offer more potential than the crew features. 

The Needs of the Many draws on The Wrath of Khan for its feature, sacrificing one of your crew with an SP of three or more to repair up to three shield points. Keeping that movie in mind though you can't sacrifice Spock. The second Elite Action available takes its lead from The Search for Spock allowing you to destroy your ship and hopefully inflict some serious damage on any ships within a range of one. It's a clever move that could prove decisive at a late point in the game especially since any ship in the blast radius can't defend.

Covering off the set is a one player scenario which takes on The Motion Picture from start to finish. Controlling both a trio of Klingon ships (you'll need Birds-of-Prey or D-7's) and the Enterprise you're mission is ultimately to communicate with V'Ger and stop it from reaching Earth. The twist is that the Klingons can attack and can't talk to the upgraded Earth satellite while the Enterprise can do the opposite - and don't forget to pick Spock up enroute.

The first time I took this one out was alongside the USS Prometheus and the USS Defiant against a Romulan fleet comprising of a D'deridex Class Warbird and the pretty lethal Scimitar. My reliance on the hi-tech weaponry of the Prometheus was misplaced and a kicking was had with the Enterprise the first victim. Y'see the issue is that if you get hit by anything big then she was always going to take damage quickly. Two attacks and the movie refit had gone the way of the dodo leaving a cloaked Defiant and a hastily retreating Prometheus to try and salvage something. They didn't.

The Enterprise is a great little ship with a lot of options packed into the expansion but it needs a lot of boosts to make it a viable ship within the Attack Wing game. I made the mistake of overloading the Prometheus, giving the Defiant some hardened upgrades and then leaving the Constitution Class ship open to the elements if you will and falling short of anything like 40 points of goodness. 

The 24 point cost means that if you are intending to give it a full 40 points then it might just stand a chance but it's certainly not a ship you can get away with having just to make up the numbers. You have to treat her with respect or you'll be a ship down within a few moves at the most. I speak from experience here. Potentially using her alongside two equally "low value" ships could offer better flexibility in a three-ship fleet but I sense I'll be altering my fleet arrangements for some time to find the "perfect" Federation formation.

Using the movie Enterprise within your fleet? What tactics do you use or suggest to make her effective? Drop us a note below!

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