Monday, 20 February 2017

Wave 27's Klingon Return with a Twist


Again due to availability I only managed to snag one of the three releases from Wave 27 of Attack Wing.

It turned out to be the re-release of the Wave Zero IKS Gr'oth which fans will immediately know was Koloth's ship as seen in The Trouble with Tribbles and Trials and Tribble-ations. As such this is a pack that not only provides some additions for your Klingon fleet but also a firm link with its episodic origin. Just for reference the other two released were a repaint of the USS Enterprise-E which we have already reviewed and the Xindi Insectoid Fighter Orassin which I am desperate to get hold of so I can finally use my Xindi Weapon Zero properly!

As a repaint re-release this one's a bit of a downer to be fair because there have been so many D7's, K't'inga's and Romulan cruiser versions of this model that in later waves the paint jobs have been pretty decent anyway. Here the solid silver (should have been grey) base coat is overlaid with golden raised panelling right across the hull top and bottom which does make the Gr'oth look a little like it's been pimped out. That said the finish is pretty clean and there's no bleed or run off between the two contrasting colours. The model itself is decent enough too with the bridge module and the engines on the correct way round.

But I'm actually not going to linger over the ship for too long this time because I do want to focus more on the pack. She sets out with a three dice attack, one for defence, three hull points and two shields. The standard actions available are Evade, Target Lock and Battle Stations plus slots for single Tech, Weapon and Crew upgrades. For the 18 point cost you also get the unique action that allows you to roll an additional die if you're being attacked at range one. Given that range one also offers your opponent additional attack dice this is a nice trade off giving you a minor advantage to ward off damage. The standard version of the D7 has just one shield point, loses the unique action and also removes the Tech upgrade slot for a 16 point costing.

Movement is the basic full speed of four with a full range of bank and right angle turns at ranges two and three. There is also the Come About at range three that will incur the Auxiliary Power Token if utilised. Very standard indeed across most of the ships in the game these days.


As only could come with the Gr'oth we have Koloth costing four points and with a skill of seven. Certainly not one to dismiss since his unique action forces any enemy ship that attacks to re-roll one dice of your choice. It's a very useful trick to attempt to reduce damage but there's always the possibility it could backfire. Koloth also has the opening to field an Elite Action. The second choice in the set is Krell, the Klingon from A Private Little War. A snip at two points, Krell carries a skill of four and has a rather useful action to re-roll one of your Battle Station results. As with Koloth there's that risk it won't work out but a good theme for the captains in the set that they can offer a chance to change fortunes. For some reason the generic captain uses a shot of Kor from Errand of Mercy. No unique action, no cost and a single point skill if you've overloaded on upgrades.

We have two Crew options with Koloth's right hand man, Korax being the lone Klingon entry. A three-pointer, Scotty's antagoniser Korax can be discarded to remove any two Crew upgrades of your choice on an enemy ship as long as it's within range two and has no active shields. I seem to be seeing a pattern with this pack, don't you? Everything appears to be revolving around reducing the abilities of your opponent particularly at their most vulnerable moment - certainly a pack for the opportunist!


However, the real jewel in the Gr'oth pack is Cyrano Jones (three point cost). A solus Independent (Crew) card, Jones is what makes this a brilliant addition to Attack Wing. If you choose to use him your ship card (the one with the ship stats on it) begins the game with a Tribble Token beside it. Fortunately there's a handy reference card to tell you what else happens because in the End Phase of each round you add another Tribble Token to your ship card no matter how many are already on it. One to three Tribbles is pretty cool because it adds an attack die or defence die to your roll unless you've got a Klingon Captain or Crew. Four or five have no effect whatsoever but six or more means you roll one less attack or defence die as the fluffy little things begin to take over your ship! If you have a Klingon Captain or Crew it's TWO die!

It's a real beauty of a card because initially there is a real benefit to the Tribbles but that can wear off pretty quickly. If you're not cloaked and you have a ship within range two you can transfer as many Tribble Tokens to that vessel as you want except any you received that round. Truly this is one of the most unique and brilliant ideas to be included in the game - almost a mini-game within the main structure to see who ends up getting buried under Tribbles. Probably my favourite quirky feature of Attack Wing.

We have the original version of Photon Torpedoes in play here with the Target Lock and disable ruling rather than the Time Tokens from later waves. This allows a four dice attack fore or aft at ranges two and three with the chance to convert a Battle Stations result into a Critical Damage. It's a decent payoff if you roll it right! For note though the Gr'oth does not have a rear firing arc. Your other Weapon option for a higher cost of four points versus Photon Torpedoes' three is Magnetic Pulse.

Again a four dice attack at ranges two and three it does require disabling both the card and one of your active shields. Rather than inflicting Critical Damage to the shields of your opponent this neat attack causes a point of Damage to the hull instead. Initially this won't make a big deal of difference and thinking about it long term I'm not sure if this really does have any impact on the game since it's not causing Critical Damage which would mean using the conditions from the Damage Deck. Odd one - good idea in principle but no real benefit I can see.

The single Elite Action included with the Gr'oth for Koloth to field is Sabotage. A discard for a three point cost (not too high at all), it will allow you to target a ship within range two with no active cloak or shields and remove one of its Weapon or Tech upgrades. A sneaky action if ever there was which does rely on your opponent being almost on their knees anyway. Removing an upgrade they have been favouring at that stage could spell the beginning of the end!


The final upgrade is a Tech card for five points titled Projected Stasis Field. A hefty cost for a discard card, it also relies on you being uncloaked and requires all your shields to be disabled. That's a big ask and places you in a very vulnerable situation so I'd definitely suggest having some of those cards that takes away your opponent's abilities to hand to save your skin.  Projected Stasis Field then lets you target a ship within range two which has to disable all its active shields and cannot attack for the round plus it has to roll two less attack dice.

It's a bold and brazen move but against a larger and more powerful opponent such a strategy might well be a saving grace. I'd be keen to use this against the 30+ point ships with a lot of shielding such as the Scimitar and maybe even your larger Federation craft. Game changer? Absolutely so I wouldn't let the cost put you off but it will require some set up to be in the right place at the right time.

The pack's mission is Assassination. A two player game involving the Planet Token. Each player - one a Klingon and the other Federation - have 70 points to use as they will. The Federation player starts with his captain(s) all planetside and a command skill of one. The Klingon player can then use his Crew upgrades to beam over to the ships or the planet and kill the captain. The other option is to destroy the Federation vessels before they can retrieve their command staff and escape.


Overall the Gr'oth is an excellent expansion pack - in fact I'd go as far as to say it's one of the best and most inventive uses of the game to date and a great thing Wizkids chose to bring it back in a later wave. The Tribbles concept especially makes this a winner and you could easily make a whole game scenario just from that one card. I also think the Assassination scenario is a stroke of genius and demonstrates some of the brilliant ideas that existed around the first few waves of the game. A shame that it went a bit stale but with the new Fleet Packs that are being speculated and a bit of a game refresh apparently in the offing very soon it might be that Attack Wing gets a second burst of life. For fans and players who missed the expansion back in the day it's a rare and very grateful opportunity to grab a cool Klingon expansion that offers a lot of fun. Wizkids' move to re-release and update (hmmm) these ships really has left me, for one less grumbly since I can actually get hold of some craft that have been unobtainable for a fair few months and bolster by upgrades with some neat additions.

On a side note I've heard very little at all about Frontiers or any indication of expansions coming in the future for that game. It may well be that for the time being Attack Wing is still the go to game that Wizkids are producing which is a bit disappointing given the hype that surrounded the launch of Frontiers a few months back. Note too that Wizkids have also been updating Tactics recently...

Yet Attack Wing still hangs in there and shows no signs of stopping with another wave slated for next month including a repaint of the USS Defiant and the much sought-after Borg Sphere 4270 (I NEED THIS) and the second new Xindi craft (Aquatics), the Calindra.

Still playing? Are you looking to add the Xindi to your game?


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