Sunday, 24 November 2019

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

On with the concluding part of the Animated Series Faction Pack and as promised, let's turn our attention to the Klingon and Romulan elements that make up a good portion of this set. (PART ONE HERE)

The three D7s included alongside the tiny USS Enterprise are intended to be used for the Klingon and Romulan craft represented and are identical, carrying the silver base coat, the yellowed, feather detail on the wings and engines that are the correct alignment versus some of the earlier waves. 

Annoyingly there’s no difference to the Romulan variant because all three also carry the Klingon crest on their bellies meaning that they will probably end up,doing double duty when picked out of storage. The IKS Klothos and the IKS Devisor both offer three in attack, one defence, three hull and two shields plus slots for up to a Crew, Weapon and Tech upgrade. This is however the only real similarities between these two named Klingon craft as the Klothos is capable of cloaking and the Subspace Echo sidestep alongside Evade and Target Lock whereas the Devisor lines up Battle Stations with the Evade and Target Lock features. 

The Klothos’ cloaking ability is fairly key to the game as well since it is entwined with the ship’s unique ability. When attacking and if cloaked, the D7 Class ship can add in an extra attack die OR if it's not within the primary arc of the ship it's attacking one Battle Station result can be converted into a Critical Damage and any others can be changed to Damage.

Once more an unusual card with lots of repeat and varied ways to put it into action. This one does trump a lot of the existing D7s thanks to the features and the reduced cost. The Devisor's unique action will require some keen attention to the game - if the enemy performed a three or greater speed maneouver in the round then she gets to add a Critical Damage hit to the rolled attack result. I would think that this would be likely in a retreat scenario or perhaps once the battle has become more close quarters. As a repeat though it does assist in guaranteeing at least one hit to defend against every dice roll.

Generically both ships - and their Romulan counterpart all move with a top speed of four and a full range of banks and turns at speeds two and three plus an always welcome but red 180 turn at speed three. Banks and forward moves at speeds one and two will counter this as they are green. 

It's fair to say that the D7s have a surprisingly agile maneouver ability given their rather clunky form but with a combination of 180s, cloaks and these impressive Unique Actions, these are two ships that might be hard to deal with.

Who better to have lined up for the captaincy than two Star Trek legends in cartoon form with Kor and Koloth. The former carries the greater Captain Skill of eight and costs five points to equip to your ship. Functioning as a way to maintain the cloak and also fire, Kor incurs two Time Tokens (not three unusually) meaning you keep stealthy and you also get to add an extra attack die into the mix on that round. Oh - and that's not all Kor does because if this card is on a Klingon ship (and why the heck wouldn't it be?) then add in a Damage result too... Is Kor potentially the most lethal Klingon captain in the game with this Action?

Koloth (skill of seven and cost of four) also uses that two Time Token feature, disabling himself for two rounds which in turn disables a Captain or Crew card on the opponent's ship when attacking and if that's not possible then they'll have to take on an Auxiliary Power Token. Both captains can field the useful but usually expensive Elite Actions however there might not be a lot of opponents left after using these cards initially.

The minimal Crew requirements of the Klothos and the Devisor are realised in their inclusion of just two new personnel. Three point Kali works at range one and will be a card for later use in the game. A one use discard, Kali allows you to flip a Damage card on the opposing ship over to the Critical Damage side (your choice which card) and forces you to resolve the script. Of course, there is a high chance of this being a game winner, knocking an enemy out in one swift dice roll...

Kaz is much more operational than curveball offence. For two points you can ditch him off rather than using a more effective and useful Crew upgrade on this vessel or one at range one. I'm still not a fan of these kinds of cards. While they defend your better abilities they are a waste of points where you could use this space for a stronger card.

Devoid of Tech options, the Animated Series pack does have two Weapon cards to bolster the arsenal aboard your starship. Magnetic Pulse carries the same dice attack as the primary weapon value of the ship it's attached to and costs a meaty five points to equip.

By disabling one of your Shield tokens and targeting a ship at range two or three you can roll an additional two attack dice. Weirdly it specifies that these dice can only be added if it's armed on a D7 - however, it doesn't say if there's a way to use it on something that's not a D7... That aside this one allows Critical Damage to ignore Shields and be converted to Damage which does affect Hull points instead. Crafty move and linked with some of the other Klingon features here it's another combo waiting to happen.

Disruptor Blast can be equipped to either a Klingon or Romulan starship and costs three points. Attacking at ranges one or two with three dice, this card is disabled with three Time Tokens and allows two attacks on your target vessel.

While Magnetic Pulse indicated it should have a feature if/if not a D7, this one does manage to specify as D7s can convert one blank die result into a Battle Station during each attack. Another odd one but it will offer additional support should that defender decide to take a swipe.

Last up for the Klingons is their Elite Action, Worthy Opponent which provides, perhaps a little out of character for the formidable warriors, a chance to extend their survival in the game. It's only applicable if your ship is carrying a Damage card but it does mean that attacking Critical Damage, Damage and Battle Station results all get turned blank. Certainly a way for the Klingons to escape a pasting but only once since this one gets binned after use. I can see this getting a lot of mileage as, although situational it's not one that needs several different things to happen to function.

But let's not forget about those duplicitous Romulans. Their IRW Talon carries the same stats as its Klingon cousins and costs 14 points with space for a Tech, Crew and Weapon upgrade alongside Evade, Target Lock, Cloak and Sensor Echo.

In fact the Cloak is a key part of the Talon's distinctiveness allowing it to perform a bank or forward one or a Sensor Echo move before revealing its dial. Suddenly the Talon becomes able to dodge attacks or place itself in an optimal firing position in a blink of an eye. The generic version loses the Tech upgrade (not a bad idea since there's no Romulan Tech upgrade in the box) as well as a Shield point but comes in at a very affordable 11 points. 

Larus is the animated command option with this one with a skill of seven, the chance to equip an Elite Action and will cost you four points. He's just as useful as the Kor and Koloth as Sensor Echo (remember it's a Free Action on the Talon) can lead you to place a Battle Station token in play and it increases the ship's attack by one - and this doesn't specify it has to be the primary weapon. 

Joining Larus is the wiry Vendorian Spy, here in a Crew capacity and classed as a Romulan upgrade. Operating up to range two, Wizkids have duplicated the character from the series again - since it can mimic a Crew upgrade on a friendly ship within that sphere of influence. Costing four points there are no restrictions on use for the Vendorian Spy which does mean you can take full advantage of the best Romulan Crew upgrades there are to offer - twice and with no limit.

Two missions are also included with the rather superb Animated Series Faction Pack are The Practical Joker and Assault on Caleb IV

The Practical Joker pits a 60 point Federation player against a 60 point Romulan opponent in a straight two player set up with the winner being the last one standing. However, due to some "interference", instead of performing an Action, an attack die is rolled and the result indicates what the player will be doing. When any Crew or Captain abilities are used they incur two Time Tokens and finally each player has the chance to veto ONE attack per game.

Standard it may seem but this one could be decided more on pure chance than anything since you have no idea what will be coming with each Action roll - and that final big attack could be the one that gets cancelled.

Assault on Caleb IV goes a step further with the Federation player fielding a 50 point set up versus 80 from the Klingons. Using the objective tokens from the Starter Set, the odds are actually more in the Federation player's favour as the Constitution Class ship gains two attack dice by being in range one of the space station objective token. The derelict ship tokens represent sensor arrays and will give a Scan Action as a free Action if within range one and finally the Debris picture represents damaged parts of the space station under repair. As such this provides the chance to remove a Mission Token from that objective token to repair a shield on your ship. 

The Federation player needs to repel the attack while the Klingons are tasked with destroying the objective tokens and expand the Empire ever further. It's another neat twist and spin to what has proved to be an exciting and different Faction Pack. The Animated Series has proved to be a big, colourful Star Trek vault to unlock and the cards here are, in some respects, very closely linked in to their onscreen counterparts.

Some of the Captain and ship cards are ridiculously overpowered and give some of the most incredible options to try on your fleet especially if you happen to be playing as the Klingons - Kor and the Klothos have to be a couple of the most electric cards from any set - wonder how they would fare against the Gorn?

Of the two Faction Packs released at the end of 2019 this has to be my favourite. The Borg are a powerhouse where any upgrade just places them that step ahead of anyone else in the game. The Federaton, Klingon, Romulan - and that cheeky Harry Mudd Independent card - widen the playing field and could even provide a three-way battle straight out of the packet. Well worth getting if you have one pack to choose!

Have you tried out any good combinations of cards and ships from either of the recent Faction Pack releases? 

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