Thursday, 21 November 2019

Drawn Out Game? Attack Wing: The Animated Series Faction Pack, Part I

If the Borg weren't exciting enough for you then this should get those fires burning.

Wizkids have already pulled the unexpected with the Kelvin Timeline pack just over a year ago but now they're gone and spun in another brilliant move to keep the game alive with a foot into the little explored/mined Animated Series from the mid-1970's.

Featuring the USS Enterprise, Starfleet are fairly heavily outnumbered with three opponents included here in the form of two Klingon and one Romulan D7 Battlecruisers. 

Packaged as resplendently as ever, the Faction Pack also comes with the usual array of tokens, dials, stands, upgrade cards and missions to be able to launch a new group of ships into the game straight from the box (as long as you have the Starter Set!).

Starting out, let's tackle the USS Enterprise. Costing two points less than the "regular" version, this ship still carries up to four Crew ]and a Weapon slot plus the standard Actions of Evade, Target Lock, Scan and Battle Stations. It also has three dice for attack, one for defence and four hull and three shield points which again matches the previous version. 

Aside from the point difference of 20 here to the 22 of the original the Enterprise can repair up to three shields as it's Unique Action. This will keep you going for a much longer game through the ability to rebuild the ship. 

The generic Constitution version removes two Crew slots and a shield point plus that Unique Action for a 16 point cost. Without the features of the legendary starship though, this one does seem little more than cannon fodder.

As for movement, it's fitting given the ship's point in the timeline that she tops out at speed four with full banks and turns at speeds two and three. One's forward and banks plus forward and banks at two offer green maneuvers. At least for the sacrifice of speed she can turn a bit however there s a noticable absence of reverse so you'll only be boldly going forward. 

Captaining the USS Enterprise in animated form can be either James T Kirk or the first commander of the legendary starship, Robert April. Both cost five points, bear a skill factor of eight and have the chance to field an Elite Action.

Usefully, Kirk lets you place a Scan or Battle Stations token next to your ship and perform the Action on a Crew card as a freebie. The chance to play a Battle Stations and then something else does take some pressure off your ship and brings in even more defense than just one die.

Robert April can be fielded as an Admiral as well as a Captain. As a further benefit, April will up his skill to nine if he's put in command of a Constitution Class starship. April will also take one for the team so to speak, allowing you to transfer any Time Tokens on one of your Crew upgrades aboard his vessel to be transferred to him. As part of the Action, you can then use April to "activate" that Crew member's Action. The chance to transfer Time Tokens is very useful. Double-hitting with a decent Crew upgrade in less turns than expected could well spin the game around and means the chance to utilise a feature potentially while n opponent is still within range.

Five new Crew cards will help fill out those four slots on the USS Enterprise. Stalwarts Spock (four points), Christine Chapel (three points) and Montgomery Scott (three points) are joined by their animated buddies, M'Ress (three points) and Arex (two points) with Sulu and Uhura oddly absent from this line up.

Spock provides a storming opportunity to cripple the enemy by spending an in-play Scan token attached to your ship so that an attack cannot be defended against nor can you be stopped from attacking. It's one more element to make the seemingly underpowered Enterprise a real force to be reckoned with in this game.

Scott does what you would expect with his card being disabled to repair up to one Hull and one Shield point on your ship, again increasing your chances of survival. Chapel is well worth using in conjunction with virtually any Crew upgrade that needs disabling since she can herself either be disabled or Time Token-ed to remove either a Disabled Token or all Time Tokens from your chosen card. I love the point that there's no specification that it's like for like or which you have to do with this - it all depends on your strategy - do you need that upgrade next go or are you prepared to wait?

Then we have two classic Animated Series characters. M'Ress is another that could line up nicely with Chapel as she can remove a Disabled Token from a Crew card when there's a Scan in play. This isn't specified as an Action either nor does it lead to discard or disable meaning that you can utilise her again and again. 

Arex is perhaps not quite as useful but still could be effective if you're moving later in the Phase. He gets disabled to allow you to change the type of move you're performing as long as it's at the same speed as the one you revealed on flipping your Maneuver Dial.  It is also specified to be a white or green move to qualify.

Arex will at least provide a chance to get yourself out of the way and could be well used in conjunction with Chapel or M'Ress should you end up in a critical situation.

Along with these more than welcome Crew additions, the set offers up one Weapon upgrade (twice!). Full Power Phaser Barrage costs a hefty five points and is good to use at ranges two and three. Taking the Enterprise as the base ship, this card would mean that it would roll five dice in attack just to begin with. If there are two uncancelled Damage and/or Critical Damage you get to roll another THREE attack dice to add to your already decent roll. 

Hold up - because not only does this give you a potential eight dice attack from a Constitution Class ship but it's only limited by Time Tokens and NOT a disposal. In three turns this could be active again. Now, if you could add in a Target Lock for a re-roll...?

Even if you don't use this card with a Constitution Class vessel, the uncancelled element will still operate and the enemy ship will also receive an Auxiliary Power Token which in turn will have effects on future rounds. This is a behemoth of a card - who wouldn't add this one?!

The first of two Elite Actions is Legacy of the Name which can only be attached to a Unique Named ship and can effect an Evade or Battle Stations as a Free Action with the penalty of three Time Tokens. If it's the Enterprise (and there's no specific version) then ANY Action can be completed as a Free Action which would mean that this could be very effectively used alongside Full Power Phaser Barrage by activating a Target Lock and all for the cost of three points to your fleet!

One more thing with this pack...Harcourt Fenton Mudd. Ok...this is a long winded one so here we go. Costing thee points and effective only at range one, Mudd gets disabled so that you can use his Love Crystal feature. This means that you can place a Crystal Token onto two Crew upgrades on an enemy ship.

Cleverly mixing in the Mudd element from The Animated Series, Mudd's reference card details that if one of those upgrades marked with the Crystals are disabled, the person who placed the token gets to disable another Crew upgrade of their choice - the same applies in the case of Crew upgrades discarded or disabled with Time Tokens utilising those features on another Crew card. 

With no faction penalty for equipping him, Mudd is a fine nightmare of a card to add to your ship since his actions will inflict double the trouble and prove just as annoying as the original character was in his three classic appearances (yes, I'm including The Animated Series).

With the second half of this pack review we'll be focusing on the Romulan and Klingon options plus overall impressions of how the pack plays out.

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