Monday, 27 February 2017

Never Mix Electrics and Water: Attack Wing Wave 28


Three ships are out now for the 29th wave of Star Trek Attack Wing.

Two have graced shelves before and there's a new kid on the block to bolster the fledgling Xindi faction that's recently taken up station, initially with the Xindi Weapon Zero and more recently with the Xindi Insectoid Fighter, Orassin.

We won't be covering the USS Defiant repaint this time since we ran over that pack some time back - click HERE to read that review but we will kick off this time with a welcome return to the Borg Sphere 4270.

As a model this is a mighty fine piece of kit. Whether there was actually little if any repainting of it is questionable since it's repackaged exactly as it was previously even down to the promo leaflets. 

One thing first - it's mounted incorrectly and that bugs me to hell. Why it's not mounted through the small circle which should be top/bottom is beyond me but hey, it doesn't detract from the amazing finishing sculpture on the bodywork. In comparison to the Eaglemoss version this is incredibly finished. For note though it's clearly based on the First Contact design rather than the bodywork from Voyager and it shows. I really think the more segmented and raised and lowered sections works much more effectively than the green glow which characterised the Sphere's appearances in the TV show. 

What is most impressive here is that the Borg ball is different on every surface. There's no line of symmetry and it really is unique from every angle and on that point Wizkids have to be congratulated; it's a marvellously unique item and I'll be damned if any part of it repeats at any point. As usual with the Borg ships, the stats are utter madness; six for attack, zero agility, seven hull points and seven shields. 

For those of you doing the maths that means she bears a basic cost of 40 points which makes it one of the most expensive standard ships in the whole game. While she might pack a formidable punch there's not much resistance and I generally find a good sustained barrage from a few ships can bring down one cybernetic opponent at a time. Sphere 4270 carries the standard actions of Target Lock, Scan and Regenerate which certainly narks off more than one fleet. You can subsidise your actions with two Borg upgrades as well as single Tech, Crew and Weapon slots available.

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse though, the Sphere has a unique action which allows you to split your attack between two ships with at least one die being aimed at each vessel. It's not a disable action which means this is going to cause lots of problems for opponents time and time again. The generic version of the Sphere loses one shield point as well as a Borg upgrade and the Tech upgrade slot for a cost of 38 points. Still damn expensive. 

Where the Sphere excels even more - and I'm comparing it to other Borg ships in this respect is its amazing movement ability. Able to reach a forward speed of four and a reverse of three, it's one of the most agile craft produced with a full range of left and right turns at all forward speeds. Turns at speed four and the straight reverse three speed all incur the Auxiliary Power Token impediment. Note too that the Borg ships move at right angles either move/turn or turn/move depending on your choice of rules. Sphere 4270 really can play havoc in a game and I would be as bold as to say that it could probably do a fair wodge of damage all on its own without even a Scout Cube as backup.

To command your Sphere the first option is Tactical Drone. Costing three points he has a starting skill of four. Now Borg captains operate Drone tokens which can be traded for abilities and in the case of this gent you can spend one token to be able to re-roll any number of your attack dice just once. As you do spend those tokens the skill of your captain will gradually decrease. Neither Tactical Drone nor the zero point costing Drone have the option to field an Elite Action nor are there any included in the set.


Joining the Crew ranks this time we have Borg Seven of Nine costing four points. Sure to be a popular addition purely due to the character, Seven can be disabled to re-generate two Drone tokens to your Captain card. You can't go higher than the starting number but it means that this already near-impossible to beat craft has another avenue to rebuild itself and keep going. 

Borg Assimilation Tubules costs eight points and will let you do what the Borg do best - steal technology. Disabling the card and discarding a Drone token will allow you to pinch a Crew, Tech or Weapon upgrade from a ship within the sphere of range two. That upgrade will be disabled when it drops onto your Borg craft but the use of an Action will resolve that quickly. Any upgrade can be taken even if it exceeds the Borg ship's restrictions but you can't get your hands on a Species 8472 upgrade because, well, they're 'ard as nails. Definitely a good way to handicap your opponents even if you never re-enable it but it is worth taking something of value that might come in useful later on.

A second Borg upgrade with the Sphere is Borg Ablative Hull Armour.  Pricey at a whopping ten points you hope this is a game-changer (or finisher). It's actually not and instead is a rather useful defensive option, converting all an opponent's Critical Damage results into Damage with all the resulting damage cards being placed under the Hull Armour card. Might seem rather good but after you have four damage cards under there the upgrade must be discarded and normal damage resumes. In essence you're adding a further four points to your hull or your shields. Not that this needs much more back up but if this is your additional defensive option, imagine if you mirrored your attacking stance. Oh, hang on...

Already a familiar feature to those with the Borg Tactical Cube 138, the Borg Tractor Beam locks you onto a ship at range one with a cost of seven points to assign it to your ship. It might not seem very worthy at the face value of the card which is why Tractor Beam has its own set of instructions.  The attacked ship has two shield tokens disabled nor can it raise shields or cloak while in the hold of the Borg beam. Worst of all perhaps it can only move at a maximum of speed two. However, if the targetted craft manages to get outside of range one (target range) then it breaks the link. Problem is that by that time, the Borg ship may well have initiated the Weapon upgrade Cutting Beam.

Combining it with Borg Tractor Beam this is a 15 point upgrade because the cutting can't be done without first locking on. Working at range one, this TEN dice attack (yes, read it and weep) is truly one of the most brutal moves in the entire game and almost certainly will spell the end for a few ships. The card (costing eight points) does need to be disabled but I don't suspect you'll have much use for it very often considering the firepower already at your disposal. I'd think this would be excellent to use against capital ships and starbases perhaps.


Last up and acting as the only Tech card in the pack is an eight point Feedback Pulse. Take note because aside from Seven of Nine all the add-ons for this ship cost a minimum of seven points. The Borg might be a damn hard faction to beat but if you're playing standard 40 or 50 point ship games you really won't get much - if any - chances to bolt on extras.

Feedback Pulse provides a one-off opportunity to declare half of your damage taken under attack is cancelled out. Now you can only declare that before the dice are rolled so there's an element of pure chance in here. If it's a success the half you've cancelled gets assigned to the attacker (but not Critical Damage) and it does drop an Auxiliary Power Token next to your craft.  It's one of those cards which seems like a damn good idea at the time but you just know it'll backfire and leave you wasting eight points for a badly rolled result. The fact you call it before the dice are rolled is a massive chance but one that could really help. If you're stupidly lucky.

Operation Fort Knox replays events from the mid-season five feature-length story Dark Frontier with the Federation attempting to steal a transwarp coil. A 70 point Borg Sphere takes on a 60 point Federation ship in this one in a straight two player set up. The Federation ship will need to get up close and personal to the Sphere (range two maximum) to beam an away team over (disable shields and captain and number of crew upgrades you choose) to the Sphere. In the End Phase you get to roll one attack die for every crewmember on the Sphere. For each Damage or Critical Damage rolled you gain a Mission Token. Two of these means you've completed the objective and need to exit the board via your starting area. The Borg simply need to eliminate the Federation pest. Seems all very straight forward but unless you pick the right Federation vessel this looks horribly one-sided.


Perhaps as equally big a draw in Wave 28 is the only new ship to be released in this trio, the Calindra. The third Xindi craft to join Attack Wing, the Aquatic Cruiser is not a ship to be taken lightly, rocking in with a respectable 28 points base cost.

The model itself is nicely finished with a metallic blue scheme and golden and steel highlights. Given the scale the shape and the finer detail here do get a little lost and comparing it to the larger and more adventurous Eaglemoss model from the Starships Collection it's quickly evident that this has been severely simplified especially when it comes to the rather fine wingtips and some of the rear tail fin lines. That said it's still very clearly an Aquatic Cruiser even from a distance because the Xindi craft all have such immediately recognisable silhouettes. I do like this craft replica a lot because of the delicate finishing touches and the choice not to overload the paint scheme as we've seen from the ton of Klingon D7 and K't'inga cruisers that have raised and lowered panelling all painted to the nines. Basic and plain is good enough for me. 

So that 28 point cost is just two points less than the mammoth Xindi Weapon Zero which shows how critical this cruiser is to this faction. An attacking roll of four hides a rather precarious defence of just one with a solid six for hull points and an average three points holding the shields in place. This is one of those ships that balances delicately among its own stats. Initially it looks great but the lack of an even spread of points across the plate could be deadly.



As with Federation craft, the Calindra offers Evade, Target Lock, Scan  and Battle Stations as your four built-in Actions as well as three Tech slots, a Weapons and a Crew slot too.  As always there's a unique action available with the Xindi ship being able to discard a blue Target Lock token in order to re-roll all your defence die. With just one to begin with this does provide a chance to at least pull something back if the dice didn't fall favourably. T


The generic cruiser loses a shield, the unique action and two Tech slots (replacing one with a Weapon upgrade option) for a combined 26 points. Movement for either is bog-standard with a top speed of four, full sets of banks and turns at ranges two and three. Range one contains forwards and the banks left and right while there's also a reverse with a speed of one. Both the sharp left/rights at speeds two and three plus that reverse will leave you with an Auxiliary Power Token to deal with.


As this is a new faction there's also a whole new set of captains to whack on your ship. Kiaphet Amman'Sor (catchy) has a skill of four and can field an Elite Action for a cost of three points. When defending, Amman'Sor adds a defence die to your roll which is more tha nuseful seeing as the cruiser only has one as its basic anyway! Great news for Xindi players is that he also adds an attack die to your roll for the round. It is classed as an Action so it will restrict your other abilities if you choose to use it however I can't see why you would select another commander for your ship with this on the table. Should you have a momentary breakdown and choose an alternative, Wizkids have also provided Aquatic Councilor for a cost of one point and with a captain skill of two. His ability is much more open to use than Amman'Sor's as he allows you to convert a Battle Station result into an Evade. Of course this is probably going to be done on just the one defence die!


There is of course the "freebie" zero pointer Xindi captain option in the pack if you'd rather max out your upgrade potential and starting these off we have Xindi Torpedoes. Using four attack dice at a range of two or three, this three point Weapon upgrade costs a Target Lock (in play) and results in the ship acquiring three Time Tokens to launch the barrage. Again there's a benefit to the Xindi if it's used on the Aquatic Cruiser as you'll be able to use five attack dice rather than "just" four. Again this is a no-brainer for me and you'd equip this with Amman'Sor to balance out some of your weaker stats.

The Crew slot option here is the duplicitous Raijin whom Archer and the NX-01 crew encountered in the third season of Enterprise. Employed by the Xindi to gather information on the humans, the Raijin here acts to limit the abilities of an opponent's ship at up to range three. Now that's a massive advantage and means you don't need to get very close to make this discard work. It also has the unique point of disabling a chosen upgrade - any as it doesn't specify - for two turns by placing two Time Tokens on the upgrade card. For four points this is a good long range ability that will keep you out of trouble and at arms length. So far, this is turning into one heck of a pack...

Continuing the link to Raijin, the Biometric Hologram is one of three Tech upgrades with the Calindra. Used by the Xindi's female infiltrator to display her findings, it offers the chance to roll two extra attack dice and be discarded. Plus if the attack (potentially seven dice if you couple it with Amman'Sor) has the chance to disable all Crew upgrades on the opponent's ship. Given its power and unique ability it's only available to the Xindi - which gives you at least three ships you could equip it on including this one (to date). I reckon the five point cost for such a huge assault is well worth the gamble but if you're playing a 40 point per-ship game you aren't going to have a lot of leeway with the 28 point starting score of the Calindra.


Next there's a five point Subspace Vortex card. Also a discard (this pack is not forgiving on the disabling option by any means), this Tech option will give the chance to get you into or out of trouble in a flash by using your Action to perform an extra four, five or even six forward manoeuvre at the cost of an Auxiliary Power Token. A good one to have as back up but not an essential since the Xindi cruiser has a decent hull score (six) behind that less than spectacular shield total (three). There are other cards like this available for other factions so I doubt the additional five point cost to use on a non-Xindi ship will trouble many players.

Last up in the Tech trio is Trellium-D. The Vulcan madness-inducing rock was a key part of the Xindi arc and here it offers a bit more defence to your craft. As with Subspace Vortex there's a an additional cost - four points - if you use it on a non-Xindi ship and you can't have more than one equipped on a ship. Trellium-D has two Mission Tokens palced beside it and these can be used to cancel either a Damage or Critical Damage result. One token is used per result so there's an extra two hull or shield points saved for another day!

The last upgrade card in the pack is your new Elite Action and there's a ton of text here which means for five points it had better be worth the read. Retaliation does exactly what it says on the tin so when another ship in your fleet is destroyed you can make another attack with your Primary Weapon for one less die than usual (three in the case of the Calindra for example). If there's nothing to target then the attack is "stored" and noted with the addition of a Mission Token next to your ship. On your next attack you can then gain an additional three attack dice to use before discarding this card.


Only available for a Xindi ship with a Xindi captain you would hope there isn't a ship nearby so you could take advantage of the extra three dice next time around for one massive assault. In the case of the Calindra it means that you'll get another three dice to roll either way it will just depend if you get them alone or as part of a potential seven dice attack. I guess you could also combo this with some of the other effects in the pack such as Amman'Sor's additional dice which could even up you to eight on that next turn roll.

The Countdown scenario in the Calindra pack places the Aquatic ship alongside one other Federation ship at the least (max squad 160 points) against a 120 point Xindi force. Might have to wait a while to raise this since there are only three Xindi ships as yet available.

Set out as a standard two player game the Xindi ships are accompanied by an Objective Token representing Weapon Zero - although you could just use Weapon Zero of course. Mission Tokens are used to represent spacial anomalies each time a Xindi ship is destroyed and will cause ship damage if you get too close. These can be placed anywhere outside of range one of any other vessel.

To win the Xindi Weapon Zero has to make it right across the board while the Allied (Federation) player simply has to destroy it. I would honestly ignore some parts of this and just use Weapon Zero. I can't imagine anyone who has chosen to collect the Xindi fleet not having it. I, of course, will now be proved totally wrong but it doesn't seem right considering how far down the release schedule we are. It's a nice little play-out especially with the use of the spacial anomalies and I reckon that's something that I could drop into any other scenario so thanks for the idea Wizkids!

A decent wave. In fact a really good wave with a cracking new ship and a welcome return for the Sphere and Defiant which will make those of us who scoured eBay for them a lot happier considering we won't have to pay astronomically stupid prices. Kudos to Wizkids for these re-releases which might get newer players back and late adopters the chance to fill gaps. I'm very pleased to have the Sphere and even more pleased with the options now available through the Calindra which really is a mean machine. I've unintentionally warmed to the Xindi and while their time on the show was not the greatest, their appearance in Attack Wing has been well worth the wait. My concern is that with some of the heavy-powered upgrades these guys are a serious threat in the game and not one to be taken lightly. I'd be bricking it if I faced the Aquatics with Weapon Zero on the same side!

The next wave is another chance to tick some boxes with a long overdue repaint of the USS Excelsior (man have you seen the prices online for the original?!), a second opportunity to purchase Species 8472's Bioship Alpha (must get and try it with the Beta) and finally our third new Xindi ship in the shape of the spindly Reptilian Starship. Definitely another wave to watch!

Repaints caught your attention or staying clear of all these latest ships? What about the Xindi capabilities? Are they one of the forces of the game to be reckoned with?

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