Tuesday, 5 November 2019

We Are Borg: Faction Pack Part Two

The first part of our look at the Borg Faction Pack checked out half of the ships, the captains, Crew and Elite Actions - so now let's analyse the two new pack vessels and the rest...

Trekking out into this new set are two updated Federation/Borg starships in the form of Assimilated Target Prime and USS Voyager.

Voyager is the more expensive of the pair so lets start out there. Costing a chewy 34 points, the Intrepid Class ship is one of those craft that seem to have been forgotten in the later waves of the game - but it's still awesome. Attacking with five dice, defending with two, hulled up with four points and raising six Shield points, Voyager can join a Borg or a Federation fleet with its dual allegiance although it doesn't field a Regeneration Action. This ship carries the expected Target Lock, Battle Stations, Scan and Evade you would find on a Federation ship plus can accommodate two Crew, one Weapon, one Tech and one Borg upgrade. 

For its Unique Action, Voyager can perform a Target Lock as a free action if a green maneuver is performed that round. There seem to be a lot of free actions bobbing about in this set with a fair few cards in the first half of our review providing this option.

The generic Intrepid Class ship (or Federation/Borg Starship...) loses a Crew slot and a Shield point but switches the Scan Action out for the Regeneration Action and is stripped of a unique action for 29 points - that's a big drop in cost to offer up a more Borg inspired starship. It also benefits from having no red speeds, punching to a top of five with bank turns at speeds one, two and three. Certainly this one can get around with hard left and rights at speeds two and three although there are no reverse moves available meaning you'll need to run and turn rather than being able to immediately able to change direction.

As for the model it's a straight silver respray of the Voyager from Wave Six with additional circuitry decals across the surface to display its assimilation. The finish overall seems a little grimier with an apparent dirt wash running into all the panel and shield grid lines. The detail shines through a little stronger against the silver hull with the lifeboat hatches and RCS thrusters in particular standing out.

Now second up is Assimilation Target Prime. The named version can play as either Mirror Universe or Borg and out of the box it's equipped with the Regeneration Action alongside Scan, Target Lock and Evade. Two Crew, one Weapon, one Tech and one Borg upgrade can be outfitted onto this craft which is definitely a more powerful version of the Galaxy Class with five Attack, five Hull and four Shield points although the one Defence stat is a little concerning and might mark this ship out for an early exit. The stats also outweigh the rather feeble Unique Action allowing you to equip anything to this ship and that the single Tech upgrade allowed will cost one point less. I wouldn't be adding this to a fleet for that ability - definitely the stats.

The generic version can be Federation or Borg with a loos of the usual Shield point and a Crew slot. As with Voyager it costs a lot less at only 24 points placing this also as a damn good option for any Borg or Federation fleet. The top speed of this one is a decent six although it will incur the dreaded Auxiliary Power Token as will the reverse one move and the hard turns at speed three.

The bank turns at speed one plus the forward speeds at one to three are green and for one I'd say this is a big step up from the truck that was the Starter Pack USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D. Shame that Assimilation Target Prime can't be a Federation starship but the generic version might just carry a little favour with the stronger firepower and Borg options.

Again this model's received a shiny new silver coat of paint with painted on Borg circuitry details top and bottom. On both this and Voyager the silver doesn't overpower the hull detail and the lifeboat hatches again standout against the hull. I think these two are a great couple of ships and a step up on earlier finishes but the Borg detailing should be added onto the hull not just painted. I can understand it's down to keeping costs low but there's a sense of disappointment once you get it out of the box to find it's not really much different to the originals.

We've covered the Captains and Crew already so let's load the tubes and discuss the Weapons. The Advanced Proton Beam (Borg faction only) costs three points and can be utilised on a full 360 degree arc at range one. Using the same number of dice as the equipped ship's primary weapon, this ignores Shields and goes straight for the hull, potentially inflicting Critical Damage in the process. Two Drone tokens will be used up and the card will be discarded but it does allow for a rather - cutting - attack early on. I do like this one a lot and it's a unique result for an attack.

Costing the same as the primary weapon of the ship it is equipped to is also the case with Bio-Molecular Torpedo. Able to be plugged into either a Borg or Federation starship, the Torpedo can be reused and attacks with the same number of dice as the carrying ship's primary weapon (same as its cost). Notably this one doesn't need to be discarded or disabled due to the token cost and if it hits then the opposing Captain and Crew onboard receive two Time Tokens each. If it's a Species 8472 ship then all of the cards on that craft are hit with the Time Tokens. 

I'd play this one if I had a captain with the maximum Drone Token amount just to use this as much as possible and close down your opposing fleet as soon as possible. 

There's a lone Tech upgrade with Integrated Borg Technology (Borg faction). The one point cost lets you drop another Borg upgrade onto your ship and with this pack there are five that can be packed onto your ship or fleet.

The five point Borg Multi-Adaptive Shields let you cancel a Damage result when defending and is only discarded when you run out of Shields. Best application for this has to be on one of the Borg craft without the ability to defend. Technological Distinctiveness (three points) is powered up with Mission Tokens which can be added once per round as your Action. These can be traded in to add attack dice to your turn. It doesn't specify if you have to use all in one go however the point that it rolls one extra for each Mission Token on the card does suggest this. Nor does it suggest discarding after use - potentially you could have a huge amount of tokens on here - and then add in a Target Lock...boom.

Assimilation Tubes gets discarded but for three points you do get to steal a Crew upgrade from an enemy ship up to range two and there are no restrictions to add it on to your own Borg vessel. Note this is one of those hugely situational cards requiring you to target a ship that has no Shields or a Cloak in operation.

Interlink Transceiver is a classic card for the under-defended Borg by increasing their defence by one - as long as they are within range one. Two points is a menial cost for this upgrade and I would have this onboard alongside the Integrated Borg Technology to add in another Borg option. 

Annoyingly these Borg upgrades are damn good and even a one point Distribution Nodes card is a winner. During Activation you can target a friendly ship at range one, deal a Damage point to that vessel so that one of the Hull points on the card carrying vessel is repaired.

The Borg Faction Pack comes with two new missions to play out as part of an Uneasy Alliance arc. Part One sees each player in this two player scenario picking a Federation ship and a Borg ship each. The Federation ship of each player is out to collect mission tokens from the planet while the Borg ships are there to try and prevent their opponent's Federation ship from getting within range two to complete scans (and thereby gain mission tokens). The winner either destroys their opponents ships or gets the most mission tokens when they are all collected.

Part Two follows a similar vein with each player once again fielding a Borg and a Federation ship. This time your objective is to collect Mission Tokens from the Objectives set around the board which are set as wrecked starships.

Again either destroy or conquer in order to find out who has been destroying these craft. For those with some background knowledge  you'll spot that both of these scenarios are loosely based around Scorpion!

Federation ships can collect tokens by rolling five defence die and achieving at least two Evade results. Borg ships can target the Federation ship of their opponent to steal away those tokens as long as a five defence die roll includes two Evade results.

The Borg Faction pack might not be the most impressive when it comes to new models but the cards, especially the captains and Borg upgrades are extremely useful. As always the Borg are ridiculously overpowered and under defended but you can at least face off Federation Borg versus Borg Borg with some level of fairness on the table. I tend to use the Borg more for practice in one player set ups and now there's a decent spread of options to set out.

Playing straight from the box the two missions are a little too samey although they do offer some new gameplay elements with the defence rolls and use of Objective tokens. In the deck there aren't any revolutionary new moves however the inclusion of Locutus outside of the oversize Cube will keep fans happy - perhaps more surprising is the choice to put three high skill captains in one pack. 

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