Wednesday, 13 June 2018

The Final Wave? Attack Wing's Ship Expansion 31

With the introduction of fleet packs, card packs and the revamping of the starter set for Attack Wing, it appears that Wave 31 was the last batch of individual ships released for the game.

All the major factions have now been covered with the Xindi completed in Wave 30. That left the last wave - 32 - to purely be filled out with repaints from earlier selections. This latest - and last -set of three was a pleasant surprise in one respect but a downer in another. Let's examine...

First up let's get the refit USS Enterprise out of the way. It's a reissue and repaint of the ship from Wave Six. For that review drop across to this entry for the full breakdown. The only difference here is the paint scheme with the refit starship painted up in silver. It's a more precise paint job all round in the silver and especially in the smaller detail around the warp nacelles and the deflector dish. The problem is that while the paintwork is a step up the model is exactly the same one as Wave Six which means the saucer and the warp engines are totally misaligned. For me it's one of those packs where you have to deal with a poor miniature to get to what is quite an exciting expansion with a great single player mission to try out.

Now with that sorted, let's get to the pair of ships I'm really excited about. The remaining two repaints from Wave 31 belong to the Dominion, the only faction I'm severely lacking in participants. So far I have the Dreadnought Missile, the generic Jem’Hadar ship in the Robinson expansion and. That's. It. Odd really since I adore Deep Space Nine.

Leading my foray into the Dominion fleet is the 5th Wing Patrol Ship. The pack is originally from Wave One and now features a rather swanky updated paint scheme. I'd go as far to say that this is possibly one of the best repaints in the history of Attack Wing. 

The Patrol Ship is exquisitely detailed on every surface and Wizkids have managed to include different coloured panelling right across the craft as well as a stunning metallic finish which really sets this little model off. More spectacular is that the ship panelling has ZERO bleed, the engines are both aligned perfectly to the hull and - well - screw me but this is nigh on flawless. Yes, I'm actually going to praise a Wizkids model to high heaven.

But don't just rush out to get this micro-size model without truly understanding how great this Attack Wing expansion is.

Based on the fourth season Deep Space Nine episode To the Death, the pack introduces a lot of cool Dominion features and characters to bolster - or start up - your ranks.

This is my second Jem'Hadar ship after the Robinson (although that wasn't specifcally a Dominion expansion) and attacks with three dice, defends with two, has three hull points and three shields. Your optional extra slots can take two Weapon, one Tech and one Crew upgrade alongside the standard Evade, Target Lock, Scan and Battle Station actions.

The 5th Wing Patrol Ship costs 22 points and as its unique action allows you to add an extra attack die in for the round at the cost of one defence die. Great way to "transfer" power from one part of the ship to another and keep yourself in the fight. The generic version loses a shield point, a weapon slot and that unique action to cost 20 points. 

Three Captain options sit in this pack with, as usual, one being the zero pointer. The four point costing Weyoun offers a skill of six plus the chance to disable him to stop a crew upgrade from itself being disabled. Useful to the max allowing quick double use of what could be a much needed upgrade. Luaran costs just two points and might be a stronger option even with the reduced captain skill of theee purely because she also decreases the cost of one of your Dominion upgrades by two points. This opens up the chance to use the spare credit from choosing her not Weyoun and those couple of points from the cheap upgrade to invest in more abilities for your Warship. 

For crew you are given three new cards in the form of Jem’Hadar soldiers which all cost five points each. Toman’Torax can only be used on Dominion ships and is discarded for the opportunity to remove a Crew card from an opponents ship at range one and active shields aren't an issue! Second up is Omet'Iklan who, I personally think is an essential upgrade for any Dominion ship since he can convert any rolled result (one die of...) into a Damage result. Dead handy considering how unlucky I can be on the dice with this game even if I've employed a cloaking device. Finally there's the word heavy card for Virak'Kara offering another Action possibility which is oddly similar (to begin with) to Toman'Torax. 

In fact I'd go as far as to say that if you had to choose between the two I would pick this one without a second thought because this time you can disable an enemy upgrade as well as disabling your own card before using your opponent's card's Action as a free Action during the round. It's a disable rather than a discard so there are multiple chances to use this during the game and I could see this being a real pain-in-the-ass card if you have some high powered Crew cards in play.

For Tech there are two cards in play with the expansion with the costly five point Suicide Attack and the two point Long Range Tachyon Scan. The first is an Action card which relies on you remembering to make a forward one manoeuver during the Activation Phase and place an Auxiliary Power Token on your ship. It's a lot to spend on one of those "Might Happen" cards that need specifics to take place and this one needs a lot of luck. It requires you to end up overlapping another ship's base  after having made the move and placing the token just so you destroy your own ship and roll eight dice to damage your opponent. It gets to defend but it seems a costly option for such a random moment in the game to come into play. 

The Long Range Tachyon Scan is more realistic as when you are attacking a ship at range three you can spend an in-play Scan token to force the enemy to roll two less defence die. There are a lot of ships out there you could really hurt that use a maximum of two at the best of times.

Finally there are two Weapon choices both costing five points. The ever-present Photon Torpedoes is available at all ranges and is back with the old spending of the Target Lock and being disabled to use the five attack dice in a single hit. Phased Polaron Beam is useful at range three and is another card to be disabled and is effective at range one to two.

This time the damage inflicted by the three attack dice ignore shields and go straight for the hull which could open up some Critical Damage cards earlier than you might expect.

Taking its lead from the sixth season of Deep Space Nine, players can try out their skills at The First Battle of Chin'Toka placing a Federation, Klingon and Romulan fleet up against a Dominion opponent. Each side has 150 points to spend but the Dominion player must equip Suicide Attack and take control of four Orbital Weapons Platforms which are placed around the planet token. The Dominion player has to either destroy the opposing fleet or perform a successful Suicide Attack to win. The Federation player needs to destroy the four platforms. 

This looks like a killer scenario with a lot of possibilities and a cool additional piece in play from the Orbital Weapons Platforms. Also loving the combination of the allied fleet putting three different races into play with different abilities.

Next; the Dominion Fourth Division Battleship model is a beauty. Wizkids have perfected the paint scheme on this one with aplomb. The purple/grey finish is glorious with the panels all finely marked and a really impressive, worn finish right over the whole hull. Given the scale of the ship, you might expect there to be a dodgy edge or a panel line that doesn't line up but this Battleship is almost verging on a mini work of art given the scale and precision. These repaints have really brought life into the range and expressed just how much improvement has gone on within the development of the waves.

The Fourth Division Battleship is a behemoth of a ship and one that will strike fear into the heart of many opponents. Landing with a solid six dice for attack, none for defence, seven hull points and five shield points, there's a lot of firepower on offer out of the box for your 36 points. The upgrade bar is jammed full with the chance to stack up to three Weapon, one Tech and two Crew abilities on the craft. If there's a friendly ship within Range one to two (must be a Jem'Hadar ship) then they can have a free Action  each round they are within the catchment area. 

Should you want to use one of the inbuilt Actions on the Battlecruiser, there are Scan, Target Lock and Battle Stations on offer too. The generic version loses one Shield point, the unique action and a Weapon slot. Now considering that it's a juggernaut this has the worst movement options of any ship I've seen. 

It can manage a top speed of five with only banking turns available at speeds one to four and full 90 degree turns at speed three but that will incur the cost of an Auxiliary Power Token. Overpowered and lumbering might be the final word on how this thing works up.

There's a second Weyoun in this pack costing five points for a steady Captain Skill of seven and the Elite Action slot. Weyoun here opens up two extra Crew slots each of which have a reduced cost by one point as long as they are Dominion upgrades. 

Galnon costs three points with a Captain Skill of five. He lets you launch a two dice attack during the Action stage of the round as long as the opponent craft is within range one. That craft will incur damage as usual with the additional benefit that Galnon allows you to place a Battle Stations token on your ship if one of the dice you roll shows the corresponding Battle Stations symbol. There is also the standard zero points costing Captain should you want to spend your points in other ways.

As with the fighter there are three Crew upgrades packed into the expansion but this time there are varied costs to the Jem'Hadar soldiers. Least expensive at two points is Ixtana'Rax. An elder warrior in the series, his Action is to flip over all Critical Damage cards assigned to your ship and disable the Crew card into the deal. Fairly useful for reanimating your ship if those cards have taken away manoeuvrability or abilities. 

Kudak'Etan costs four points and allows you to disable all the Crew upgrades on an enemy ship at range one even if that craft is cloaked or has active shields. A close quarters advantage that can have a long term effect on an enemy ship. Last but not least we have Ikat'Ika who costs five points and is a Discard upgrade. This one forces an enemy ship to re-roll any dice you want it to when you're under attack. It's only for one ship and a one time only use which does make a lot of sense given the power it wields. If you want to use this on a non-Dominion ship it's going to cost an extra five points.

You'll have to scour other packs for more upgrade options because the Battleship only comes with one Tech upgrade, Shroud. Brilliantly it allows you to discard this card rather than the one you're using and therefore giving you a second use of the ability. I can see this coming into its own with Ikat'Ika or Toman'Torax from the fighter.

The Weapon upgrades are the exact same as the Fifth Wing Patrol Ship with the exception that Phased Polaron Beam uses four attack dice instead of the three in effect on the fighter. 

Finally there's the Ketracel-White Elite Action card for two points that is discarded so you can reactivate any disabled Crew upgrades. Dead useful again because you can max out on your equipped cards before doing a single move to re-enable them all. 

Included here we have the Collect Technical Data mission which is a slight spin on the Deep Space Nine episode Valiant. It's a one on one battle although the Dominion player has 80 points available to the Federation player's 20. Now, if you've collected the later wings you'll have the Valiant pack and can play the story "as was". The Federation player has to equip Scan on their ship and if it is within range one or two of the Battleship it can perform a Scan action and place a Mission Token on the Federation ship card. 

Three of these collected means the full data has been collected - but will you choose to get the data and escape or destroy the Battleship? Each Mission Token collected means one attack die can be re-rolled by the Federation player upping the chances of Dominion defeat.

I'm loving the two Dominion packs in this (final) ship wave and they offer some real devastating options that I'm glad I've had a second chance to get hold of. Just need to keep my eyes peeled for some Cardassian ships now to bulk out the fleet and offer some proper opponents for Deep Space Nine and the Defiant.

What do you think to the latest Attack Wing updates?

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