Saturday, 30 November 2013

Tribbles!

Look at the range of talent on display in this picture- astounding!
Today I'm going to examine a few of the other upgrades that come with the various Klingon Ships. First up, Sabotage:

Sabotage (Klingon/IKS GrOth Expansion)
ACTION: Discard this Upgrade to target a ship at Range 1-2 that is not Cloaked and has no Active Shields. Discard 1 (Weapons) or (Tech) Upgrade on the target ship.
Cost: 3

At some point I will probably write up a list that exclusively uses these kinds of upgrades. Is there a weapon or tech that you're particularly worried about? Nope, me neither. You MAY, at some point, get two points ahead with this if you can strip off photon torpedoes, but don't hold your breath. If the ship is not cloaked, and has no active shields- WHY NOT TARGET LOCK and BLOW IT UP? It makes no sense why they push these kinds of cards, but recently it would appear that the designers are exploring other space- which is good. 

It's not that these cards couldn't be good, they absolutely could be great IF they did something else. If they gave a passive ability, like a +1 hull or shields, or some kind of other passive buff like a reroll of one attack dice etc., then I could see them getting a lot more use than they do now. As it stands, they just aren't good enough to take up 3 pts that could be allocated elsewhere. 

I really like the idea of affecting your opponent's ship, but these are one time use cards, that only get used at the tail end of a ship's life. What happens if your opponent doesn't bring weapons or tech? That's a perfectly likely scenario in organized events. 

Let's look at another of these upgrades:

Korax (Klingon/IKS GrOth Expansion)
ACTION: If your ship is not cloaked, disable all your remaining Shields and target a ship at Range 1-2 that is not Cloaked and has no Active Shields. Discard Korax and any 2 (Crew) Upgrades of your choice on the target ship.
Cost: 3

NOOOOO!!!! Next upgrade!

Cyrano Jones (Independent/IKS GrOth Expansion)
You begin the game with one Tribble Token beside your Ship Card
Cost: 3

I probably should have looked at this card last week, but now that I've gone and done it, I have to go ahead and post the Tribble Info. 

Tribble Token (for the Crew: Cyrano Jones from the Klingon/I.K.S. Gr'Oth Expansion)

This card explains the rules for the Tribble Token and serves as a reference to remind players of its effect.

A Ship Card with at least 1 Tribble Token assigned to it follows special rules:

1) During the End Phase, add 1 Tribble Token to your Ship Card (reguardless of the number of Tribble Tokens it already has).

2) If your Ship has 1-3 Tribble Tokens, add +1 attack die whenever you attack and +1 defense whenever you defend. Ignore this rule if your Ship includes any Klingon Captains or Crew.

3) If your ship has 4-5 Tribble Tokens, there is no effect.

4) If your ship has 6 or more Tribble Tokens, roll 1 less attack die whenever you attack and 1 less defense dice whenever you defend. This penalty is doubled if your ship includes any Klingon Captains or Klingon Crew.

5) You gain the following Action:

Action: If your ship is not Cloaked, disable all of your remaining Shields and target a ship at range 1-2 that is not cloaked and has no Active Shields. Place any number of your Tribble Tokens beside the target ship's Ship Card. You cannot transfer any Tribble Token that you recieved this round.

Okay, so your ship gets a tribble, and then adds a tribble token every turn. The sweet spot is 1-3 tribbles, and you really don't want these on Klingon ships. 

Remember the problems with the other upgrades above? Yup, you get to make a soon to be dead ship tribbletastic. Of course, you've got to put up with tribbles for a few turns at least. 

This stuff is really fluffy and I really appreciate the effort. The effects are cool and very thematic. You really have to build around Tribbles in order to get the most out of them. With Tribbles increasing every turn, and you only getting a static increase, I don't see that they will ever be any good. This is not an upgrade that you want to include on any ship. Eventually, they're going to be terrible for your ship if you can't unload them. 

The in game effect, while fluffy and thematic, will likely frustrate those individuals looking to benefit from this card. You're going to find that you're waiting around a lot to unload them, and then they are going to die in a fire as the ship unloaded upon blows up because it was already pretty weak to begin with. 

Leave all of this at home.

Friday, 29 November 2013

D7 Upgrades! Another Review!

There's a lot going on in this picture, and very little of it is worth defending
 
So, again, you should take this advice with a grain of salt. I have played with some of the upgrades from the D7, but this is mostly a paper review. It's one of the only ships I don't own, and I think for good reason. I'd be interested in running a Tribbles List, since I think it looks fun, but I don't know that it's a particularly competitive strategy.
On with the show. Koloth is my favourite picture in the whole game. Take a look at his stats:

Koloth (Klingon/IKS GrOth Expansion) 
Captain Skill: 7
Each time an enemy ship attacks you, you may force that ship to re-roll 1 attack die of your choice.
Cost: 4
Elite Talent Upgrades: 1

He costs as much as Gowron. Right away, I can tell you that Koloth is not going to make a whole lot of lists. He's got an odd ability that reflects his surviveability. You probably won't get critted a whole lot, and he comes with an Elite Talent. If you are hard up for a third Klingon Captain, either because of your own internal restrictions or because of a tournament organizer's, Koloth wouldn't be bad. 

As an aside, I first ran Koloth in one of my games that came out of a draft. He was a later pick captain and I put him on the Enterprise D. He wasn't that great, but I would never have played with him had it not been a draft game. Take a look at my previous article on limited play- I think it affords a decent opportunity to use odd captains that you wouldn't normally use. 

Moving on, Krell is a captain that I think fills a niche quite nicely:

Krell (Klingon/IKS GrOth Expansion) 
Captain Skill: 4
When attacking, you may re-roll 1 of your (Battle Stations) results.
Cost: 2
Elite Talent Upgrades: 0

He's a pretty simple to use Captain, and would be great in a D7 or K'Tinga Swarm- although I think 4-5 ships really pushes the definition of a swarm. Rerolling battlestations results on a Klingon ship is a pretty big deal- since the Klingons can't take Battlestations as actions on any of their current ships. 

So, the two captains have their uses, although they are outclassed completely by Goworn and Martok. I don't see many scenarios, outside of restricted ones, where I'd rather have either of these loons over the two Klingon powerhouses of Martok and Gowron. Their low cost make them good options for a 3rd captain, but I still think that Nu'Daq has the advantage on both of them. Nu'Daq costs 3 pts, and automatically converts Battlestations into damage- which is strictly better than a reroll of the battlestations result. 

After Wave 0, the captains can be ranked as follows:

Martok (because extra actions are fantastic)
Gowron (only if you're running 100% klingon ships)
Nu'Daq
Krell
Koloth

Let me know if you agree.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

USS Excelsior Preview!

She's a Beaut!
Okay so we're back with yet another preview. I know the ship has been up for some time on Board Game Geek, but I figured I'd wait and space this out a bit, instead of blowing all these previews in one go.

The Excelsior is a fantastic ship, although don't expect the ability to go off every turn, unless you're using something like Engage or Transwarp Drive. It has a 180 Degree arc with a rear torpedo arc as well. This is definitely a ship that is crying out for good torpedoes.

That's CAPTAIN Sulu to you!
Is Sulu any good? No, not really. It's a really flavourful idea, but I don't see it working very well. The cost to use it is too high, and unless torpedoes are huge in your area, I wouldn't bother with Captain Sulu. Plus, you will lose out on taking crew Sulu- an upgrade that is waaaaay better than this.

This guy looks like such a jerk...
The big thing about Captain Styles is that you can use him in conjunction with the Sideboard to get a Cloaking Device onto the Enterprise D. Meh. I'm not sold on Styles' ability, and evidently neither are the designers given the cost of this guy.

This thing is so good it hurts. Your torpedo ships just got a heck of a lot better. If they can survive the first round of fire, the enemy cloaks will be down, and you should be able to get to Range 2-3 using this bad boy. Unleash your Torpedoes from your rear arc and you'll be laughing. Anything that lets you manipulate the movement phase is amazeballs- for this price, I expect to see this upgrade a lot.

Of the crew upgrades, Valtane is the top. Valtane is the mini-spock. If you don't feel like spending 5 points on Spock, but figure that you'll be doing some scanning... you should.... PROBABLY STILL TAKE SPOCK- but if Spock won't fit, Valtane is coming to the rescue. Part of why Spock is still better than Valtane has to do with rerolls- Suppose you're attacking with the Enterprise D. You have a Target lock on your opponent. You roll a crit, a battlestationns and two blanks. With Spock, you'll grab those two blanks and even if they turn out to be battlestations, you'll turn them all into hits. He can seriously turn around an attack. Valtane- not so much. His ability is great on a secondary ship, but for two more points, Spock is just sooooo much more efficient.

For the rest of the upgrades, I wouldn't expect to see them get too much play in standard federation builds. Lojur and Rand are very odd cards, and I'll have to see them in action before I give my opinion on them. Feint is... okay... I guess... It's a super scan at range 2-3, but doesn't give you a scan token, so you can't use any of the fun Scanning Crew. Positron Beam is really less good than the Ferengi EM Pulse since it needs to be used in the planning phase, and not as an action - see- screwing with your opponent 101.

Will I buy? Absolutely, but I buy all the Federation stuff. I'm on the fence of the long term playability of most of this stuff outside of the Transwarp Drive. Remember that the Drive isn't unique, so you'll be able to equip it on multiple ships.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

the D7! A Review


All Grown Up!

The D7, and its upgrades, are a pretty weak lot. I still haven't picked up this expansion because I can't see anything from it that is particularly useful. So there's the confession out of the way- I haven't played with a D7. I don't own a D7. I much prefer my klingons to be Cloaked and have 5 attack dice. I've heard some people have run a D7 swarm but I can't bring myself to look upon the upgrades with anything but a hearty "meh".
Here are the stats for the D7

I.K.S. Gr'oth (D7-Class)/ Klingon Battlecruiser (D7 Class)
Front Firing Arc: 90° Rear Firing Arc: NA
A: 3
E: 1
H: 3
S: 2(1)
Each time you defend against a ship at Range 1, roll 1 extra defense die.
Actions: Evasive Maneuvers, Target Lock, Battle Stations
Upgrades: Tech, Weapons, Crew
Points: 18 (16)

Here's the long and short of it- I don't think it's particularly good. Sure, you can cram 6 of them into a list, but you'll still, at best, have 18 shots at one target- I can get that amount of attack dice out of a three ship list using the Klingon Attack Build that I described yesterday- AND I can get cloak at the same time. Sure, I'll have 2 extra hull points across 3 more ships with the D7s, but I hardly think that will be the game changer. 

If you bump it down to 5 D7s, and add in some Captains, you have a bit more of an argument in favour of the D7. Essentially, you'll be at 80 points for ships, which is always a good number. You can take Donatra for 5 points, and Gowron for 4 pts and still have 11 pts left over for a Martok. You can get some pretty decent firepower- 23 shots at one target. But therein lies the worst problem- a 3 ship list has a significantly easier time attacking one target than does a 5 ship list. Sure, it can be done, in a modified triangle formation, but you'll be losing 1-2 ships / turn as your 4 hull/shield points get stripped off of you asap. 

The D7 maneuvers like all of the Klingon Ships in Wave 1- well. Like I said above, Manuvering 5 of them is going to get tricky, and a crafty opponent should be able to get out of your arcs. 
Ultimately, the biggest argument against a swarm D7 list is that it's the biggest glass cannon in the game. With no cloak, your ships will be hammered well before they can respond with their own firepower- especially the 1 skill captain'ed ships. While the Klingon Attack Build that I profiled yesterday has less firepower, it has more surviveability, which is ultimately why I think it is a better build- and a more popular one.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

R.I.S. Vo- Reader Idea and Klingon Attack Build with Romulan Flavour


Possibly really great with the RIS Vo
Paulsk wrote:

"RIS Vo (16) with Ferengi EM Pulse (4+1) for 21. It can evade every turn while alternating using and enabling the EM Pulse and never breaking cloak, while also using a level 1 captain to move first and try to force enemy ships to bump it. Worth it?

(and hopefully in the future a non-exclusive debuff upgrade of similar power is released, hopefully for the Romulans themselves)"

I've been known to overlook good strategies before. This ship would get 7 defense dice AND get an evade every single turn that it wasn't bumping into things. The movement dial is also crazy. What's not to like? The Vo should be looked at as a support ship, and this list will use it as such.

The list is going to have to be able to exploit the EM Pulse. I don't think that means we have to add in another ship for redundancy, as I think two of these things is probably overkill. We still want to be able to win the game. We're going to need the remaining 79 points to be attack focused.

This could actually be a good time for a list with 3 Mirandas. One of them should be the Reliant, so we'd be at about 56 points. That means that we've spent 72 points on ship points, which is a bit light. Depending on which upgrades you want to take, you may want to consider bumping one of these ships up to a Defiant. I'm going to throw in the Defiant, for a bit of variety, and because I think it'll be able to survive a bit longer than the Mirandas, which are going to shoot their torpedoes and then die- they may not last very long to begin with.

I want to throw Sisko into the list, but he's going to pilot the Reliant. Put Sulu on the Defiant, and make it really hard to kill. This list isn't going to one shot anything, but the Vo should be handing out enough aux tokens that it really shouldn't matter, since cloaks are going to be down. The Mirandas and the Defiant are maneuverable enough that you should be able to get behind something pronto.

As you'll see, we have points left over for the Reliant, so you might as well go ahead. I'm going to put Terell on the Defiant, since we need the Mirandas to have a bit more staying power.
Secondary weapons are worthwhile here, because the Vo should vault ahead and make sure that one ship is target-lockable. If you can get Target locks up, then it's time to go to town.

The Defiant may actually not be that great in this list. You may want to substitute it out and instead use another Miranda with Donatra to boost the effectiveness of the other ships. I've taken Sisko to boost defense capabilities, but you may rather have Picard leading a small strikeforce- and his extra actions open up other possibilities that having three 1 skill captains may lack. Plus, he gets to shoot first, so you should be able to soften up some targets for the photon torpedoes.I'm going to forego Picard in this list, because everyone uses Picard! If you really wanted, you could swap out Sisko and put Picard on the Reliant... that may be a very good idea.

We have 4 points left over. How would you use them? Here's the list, take a look and let me know where you think we could improve it, and advise of any changes that you might make. It'll need playtesting, but it is a step in the right direction for the -at present- disliked Vo.

RIS Vo (21)
Ferengi EM Pulse
Miranda 18 (21)
Mini Photons
 
Reliant 20 (26)
Sisko
Mini Photons

Defiant 24 (28)
Terell
Sulu
96 points.

Of course, that list is fine if you're looking to get some use out of your Mirandas, Defiants and Photon Torpedoes. But what if we thought a bit more aggressive. Something... bigger.

Yes folks, it's a modified Klingon Attack Build. Here's what I'm thinking. Two Vorchas, 26 points a pop. That leaves us with enough points for a Ch'Tang. Here are the stats, because I've never reviewed it here.

 I.K.S. ChTang (B’Rel-Class)/ B’Rel-Class Klingon Starship (Dominion War Month 2 LE)
Front Firing Arc: 90° Rear Firing Arc: 90°
A: 4
E: 1
H: 3
S: 3 (2)
If you initiate and attack while cloaked, you may choose any number of your attack dice and re-roll them once.
Actions: Evade, Target Lock, Cloak, Sensor Echo
Upgrades: Tech, Weapon, Weapon, Crew
Points: 22 (20)

This thing is fantastic. I really like it, and think that it's too bad that this wasn't the ship that came out instead of the Koraga in Wave 2. That aside, if we throw this thing in, we'll have 5 points left over. What could we possibly do with 5 points in this list?

Donatra. Donatra will fly in the Ch'Tang and buff the crap out of the Vor'Chas. Here's what that list looks like:

RIS Vo (21)
Ferengi EM Pulse

Vorcha 26

Vorcha 26

I.K.S. Ch'Tang 27
Donatra

So, the rich keep getting richer, and there's a new way to play your Klingon Attack Build that's maybe a bit more effective, maybe not. let me know if you like it, hate it, or think it needs work.

Monday, 25 November 2013

The Klingon Attack Build


WHAT THE HELL WAS THIS??? Did they just want to save on makeup?

Today I want to take a look at the building blocks of the Klingon Attack Build, what it absolutely requires and the engine that makes it go. In my estimation, there's no real "essential" quality to the build, other than a very high average number of attack dice per ship, and cloak across all ships- the ships should be Klingon, but you could include a Valdore and not necessarily stray too far from the general build.
The build is based around a modified alpha attack- you want to aggressively take control of the game- YOUR strategy will be the one that needs to be countered, YOUR strategy will be the one that needs to be dealt with. If you tend towards a defensive or cautious play style, the Klingon Attack Build may not be for you. You are completely committed to offence, and you should generally take every action available to push that agenda- If you start playing defense or start altering your play style in the face of aggression, you are playing like a human and you've probably lost. 

First of all, you're going to want some Klingon ships. If you play Attack Wing competitively, or if you just play it for fun, you should go out and buy the Neg'Var. It is a fantastic ship, and the upgrades provide most of the moving parts for the build in the way of captains. Your attack build may not include the named ship, or even the generic ship, but you should have it as an option. 

You'll also want to include one or more of the Vor'cha. You don't need the named version- do not pay for defensive upgrades when you could use those points towards offensive upgrades. You need to pump every available upgrade point into upgrades that increase your offensive power- your defense will be taken care of by the innate cloak ability of your ships. 

My preferred Klingon Attack Build has two unnamed Vorchas, and one unnamed Neg'Var (Mainly because I wouldn't want to buy three starter sets to get my hands on a third Vor'cha). This puts us at 80 pts- which lines up nicely with an original maxim of mine- ensure that about 75% to 80% of your list is rooted in ship points. 

You have 20 pts left over, and you're going to need some captains. You'll want to consider any captain that gives multiple attack buffs out to ships. Since you're taking all Klingon ships, Gowron is an easy candidate. 

Gowron (Klingon/NeghVah Expansion)
Captain Skill: 7
Action: All other friendly Klingon ships within Range 1-2 of your ship gain +1 attack die this round.
Cost: 4
Elite Talent Upgrades: 0

Gowron takes up an action, and as I said above, you're going to rely upon cloak to keep your ships alive. You'll need Martok to ensure that Gowron can keep his cloak up every turn AND buff all of your ships. 

Martok (Klingon/NeghVah Expansion)
Captain Skill: 8
After you move, choose 1 friendly ship within Range 1-2 whose Captain has a lower Skill than Martok's. The chosed ship may immediately perform 1 free Action.
Cost: 5
Elite Talent Upgrades: 1

So you've got Martok and Gowron, and now have 11 pts left. At this point, I think you have to add in Donatra, even though some of the purists will stick up your nose at this. She's a romulan captain with one of the best abilities in the game- We're going to want maximum attack dice, and there's no better way to get 2 extra attack dice per turn without spending an action. She's going to run you 5 points. 

6 points left, and not a whole heck of a lot else to do. At this point, you can consider adding in Drex on Martok's ship, but he takes an action- it'll work really well on the first pass, but after that you'll be cloaking almost every turn and probably won't be able to take Drex. 

Perhaps you should take 4 of those points and add in Cloaked Mines on either Donatra or Gowron's Vorcha. Not a bad tactic, especially if your opponent commits to a joust. You could take Advanced Weapon system on the Neg'Var, but it costs a lot of points and will probably see 1-2 uses throughout the entire game. 

at 94 points, you have a build that can put out 19 shots per turn onto one target. Deploy in a TRIANGLE- that way you have overlapping arcs of fire. Don't deploy in the middle of the board- deploy on an edge, or across from your opponent if they have low skill captains and were forced to go first. Remember to prioritize targets properly- if you team up on one target, it SHOULD die. Try out the build, use a few different things with the remaining 6 points and let me know how you usually run the build.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Sunday Extras- My Repaints

The Repainted Enterprise D!
Ahoy all, today I'm going to describe my various repaints on some Attack Wing ships. First of all, these are the paints I use.

The paints!
I use citadel paints mostly, but I also like the game colour line. I mostly paint in acrylic, because that's what's easiest. I don't have pics in progress of my painting, since I did most of the repaints before I thought of starting the blog, but here's the process generally.

1. Wash the whole thing in Nuln Oil. Just use an old brush and wash the whole thing. Some people stop here, but I think Federation ships should be a bit brighter, so we move onto the next step.

2. You can then paint each panel using Russ Grey. Don't try to paint in between the raised window bits, just paint around them. This is more of an optional step, but will add some depth to the panels.

3. Paint over each panel in Space Wolves Grey (or the new equivalent that I don't know off the top of my head).

At the end of this three step process, you'll have deep dark grooves and well noted raised windows.

Let's break and look at another picture.

A bit too bright! Go to Warp!
So, after the above, I used my gel pens to paint in blue into the nacelles- I don't think these need a lot of shading to begin with, since these are generally glowing.

Following that, I use the fine point black pen to trace out the larger red area you see in the pictures. I thought that the original area was particularly small, so I just mapped out a larger area.

Once you've done that, paint in the new "bussard" area in red.

After the red dries, paint the more forward portion of it in Wild Rider red.

After that dries, you can pain the most forward portion Fire Dragon orange.

At that point, you'll have nacelles that look a lot like those in the pictures.

Time for another picture!

WINDOWS!
Finally, you can paint on the windows. I just use the pen to mark off rectangular windows on the panels. Do a random pattern so your eye isn't drawn to any one area.

That's how I've done my repaints. Now take a look at the rest!

It's tiny, but looks good repainted!
The Enterprise up above is completed with the same process as above, but there aren't any windows on the Enterprise A, so I left it clean.

How about the Defiant?

Wrong base!
I added in a dark grey onto some of the panels on the defiant.

Finally, this is the storage container that I keep all the bits for the game in. I keep the ships in the original container for now, but am going to be moving them to their own container shortly.

$4.00 at the Dollar store!
I'll finish off this article with another look at my Enterprise D. Next week, I'll take a look at the Klingon ships in Wave 0.

To Boldly Go...


Saturday, 23 November 2013

Independence Week- Chekov! (A departure!)

A... Nuclear... Vessel

Continuing on with our look at all things Reliant, today I want to examine Pavel Chekov and see whether this is a useful ability or not. He certainly is cost effective. From my understanding there are no, or relatively few, ways of getting rid of auxiliary tokens without just performing a green action.

So, if you've been playing a lot, you're probably finding that you aren't really getting a whole lot of auxiliary tokens to begin with. You can usually get to where you need to be without red turns and come abouts. That being said, there are always going to be instances where you need to have your arc facing another ship asap, and you're going to need to pull a red maneuver. 

This can usually be mitigated by performing a green maneuver on the following turn. Again, there aren't going to be too many situations where a green maneuver isn't going to be a good one following a red. 

For all the situations where you absolutely need to do a white post-red, and need an action as well, Chekov is there!

Pavel Chekov (Federation/USS Reliant Expansion)
Your ship can remove 1 Auxiliary Power Token after performing a White Maneuver.
Cost: 3

Your ship gets an extra ability for 3 points that most ships in the game do not have. Is it worth it? Would it be too good at 2 pts? I actually don't think Chekov would be insane at 2 pts. It would certainly allow for more maneuverability, but I still don't think you'd see him pop up in a lot of builds. He's got that veneer of situationality about it- he won't work every turn. It's 3 pts for an upgrade that may work twice in the game- which isn't so bad, but it's not amazing. 

Is there any ship that Chekov works particularly well on? He will work well on a ship with a lot of red maneuvers. I'd say that you should put him on the Galaxy, but I hate those red reverses, I think they're used MAYBE once a game, and are not that great. The other ship that could benefit from some better turning is the Galor Class starship. The Galor, with its 180 degree firing arc could benefit greatly from Chekov's ability, although you'd be paying a faction penalty. 

BUT WHAT IF YOU WERENT?

Behold, the Pavel Khardassian

Cardassian Galor Class
Khan
Pavel Chekov
Cloaked Mines

Get your Galor into position, go to Red and get some distance and drop a cloaked mine. Not a bad build of a single ship. Anyone had any really good experiences running Chekov?

Friday, 22 November 2013

Independence Week- Joachim!


Much less impressive than Khan

Rounding out our look at the independent faction, we turn to the two individuals who were helping Khan out with his dastardly plans: Following of Khan, and Joachim.

Follower of Khan is almost nothing to write home about, except that she costs 1 point for something that costs one point in every other faction. I've never seen Follower of Khan in any build. I've never seen any of these cards in any build- AND THEY COST 1 pt. Imagine if any other card cost 1 pt? How good would Sulu be if he cost 1 pt? Heck, Chekov would be busted if he cost 1 pt. The fact that these guys cost 1 pt is an indication that the playtesters didn't think much of these cards. They're so bad, that the have to cost the absolute minimum pts, but not zero, because they'd be pretty darn good at 0 pts. 

You know what, there may be an argument here about looking at how many crew slots you have left over, and throwing these dudes into your remaining crew slots for 3 pts. Even then, they take an action and just remove opposing crew members- how many of those do you see that aren't named Data, Sulu or "tactical officer"? 

So okay, the Follower of Khan is pretty terrible. So is Klag, so is Bochra, at the very least, Follower of Khan isn't unique, so she's strictly better than Klag, but only in combo with Khan, who is quite bad on any ship without battlestations. 

The brain power expended in trying to come up with the silver lining on Follower of Khan is too much. Don't use her. She's weaksauce. 

Moving on, Joachim! He is as follows:

Joachim (Independent/USS Reliant Expansion)
Each time you inflict a [CRITICAL] on an enemy ship's Hull, you may draw 2 Damage Cards (instead of 1) and choose which one to place beside the enemy's Ship Card, discard the unused Damage Card.
Cost: 4

On first glance, not terrible. In order to cost 4 pts, you have to run him with Khan, who turns hits into crits with battlestations. Combo anyone?

You will get to choose which cirt card of the two you want to put onto the opposing ship. This can be great if you pull Warp Core Breach or those damage cards that throw two damage on the opposing ship. The relative power of each of these damage cards is pretty flat, with the exception of Warp Core Breach. It's a nifty ability that doesn't require a an action. Is it worth 4 pts? It does seem overkill on Khan's ability. Joachim is a bit of a bullseye- your ship is going to be targeted quite heavily. You're going to want to balance out your relative threat against your other ships, or go balls to the wall with a big nasty ship. Decide what your build needs and go for it. 

One neat use of the Miranda, Khan and Joachim could be as follows:

USS Reliant
Khan Singh
Joachim
Quantum Torpedoes

Don't use the regular photons with Khan- he can already use his ability to do what they do. Use Quantum Torpedoes and get more Oomph!

This thing costs quite a lot of points, so be sure that it's something that can fit into your list, but it doesn't need to fly straight at a ship to be useful, and you can still take other actions such as Target Lock (needed for those torpedoes) or scan. 

Give it a go and let me know how it goes!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

R.I.S. Vo- What's going on here!!!


A great picture... of the neck of the ship...

Interrupting our Regularly Scheduled Independent Article is a look at the newly spoiled R.I.S. Vo. We're getting deeper and deeper into the Romulan line and it looks like the developers are pushing a Swarm or Monster mentality with these things. I'm getting a little concerned that the design team may not have known exactly what to do with the Romulans. The Federation is clearly supposed to have the best captains and is generally supposed to have the best defensive upgrades, the Klingons are supposed to be the heavy hitters, and that leaves the Romulans to have- the smallest ships? The craziest tricks? I don't know. I'm looking at the Vo and am not particularly impressed.
Why didn't they use a picture of the whole ship??? Ah well, the art department continues to astound.

The movement dial is fantastic. Take look at that thing in the picture above. A white come about is nothing to scoff at. These things were made to maneuver around the board effectively. 

The rest of the details of the ship are less than impressive. Agility 3 is a good combo with the 4 extra cloak dice, so it'll be difficult to blow to smithereens. Throw Sulu on the ship and you can get that up to 9 agility. It's not going anywhere anytime soon. 

But why would you want a near invincible ship? To drop one cloaked mine? I can see it becoming useful in a scenario where a ship needs to make ferry runs, or transport a resource to a part of the board. If capture the flag ever becomes a scenario, this ship makes a great flag runner. I'm just not convinced that this space wasn't already covered by the science vessel. I understand the desire to reuse the sculpt, and can see how this ship is somewhat better than the science vessel, but I didn't buy a science vessel to begin with, and I'm not convinced that this is a must buy either. 


I'm not sure what the theme evokes here- some kind of cowardice?


The captain is a high skill romulan captain, that has a mini corbomite maneuver for when the going gets tough. It's encouraging to see elite skills get some love. The problem is the elite skills are mostly going to be more useful than this ability, if you've built your list properly. If you're convinced that a ship is going to attack yours, and you have a counter attack on this guy, why wouldn't you just use your counter attack and get some more damage in? It's REALLY situational. 


The Northern Lights becomes Death

Massacre isn't THAT good. See Attack Pattern Delta. There's a potential for 3 damage with some of the damage cards, but I still don't see 3 pts as being worth it for this card- AND you have to discard it. Not the best use of three points, especially with counter attack floating around. 

There's no good pic of Selok. Here's her profile:

Selok: Unique Crew, 5 points
Action: Discard Selok to target a ship a Range 1. That ship cannot attack your ship this round

Nope. That's not good. 5 pt crew members should be insanely good. See: Spock. This should be 3 pts. You have to discard it, and you're not guaranteed that the opposing ship was ever going to attack yours in the first place... or maybe you were, and now you get to make sure that doesn't happen- for 5 pts. I don't see this making a lot of lists in the foreseeable future. 



This picture is a bit too... nonchalant



For two points, this isn't half bad. You could equip one of those already terrible 1pt romulan crew members and use them to inflict a crit outside of the attack phase. Would you pay 3pts for an insta-crit? It's interesting and may have its uses. While normally these kinds of upgrades are overkill, it's the good kind of overkill- it actually kills. 

So there you go. Not so hot. The Explosives though are probably enough to justify the price tag, but you can always proxy them and try them out in a build before you commit the $15 it costs for the expansion. You'll almost never use Selok or Massacre, but that 7 skill captain might be good backup for Toreth and Donatra. 

One list of the top of my head is as follows:

Valdore
Donatra

4 Scout Vessels, 1 Cloaked Mine on each. 

I think that's about 100pts. You get 4 cloaked mines that can be dropped almost anywhere given the great maneuverability of these ships, and Donatra ensures that you're getting 12 shots a turn. It's not bad- it's probably about as good as this gets, until there's a scenario calling for an unkillable ship.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Independence Week- GENKHAN!

Khan Noonien HAIR!!!

Day two of Khan!

So I figured I’d just go ahead and get another Khan out of the way. You probably don’t have access to Khan because like me you weren’t able to get to GenCon to get your GenKhan (See what I did there?). Okay, here he is:

 Khan Singh (Independent/*PROMO*http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/images/smilies/a-team.gif
Captain Skill: 6
You do not pay a faction penalty when assigning Khan or any [ELITE TALENT] upgrade to your ship. If any Captain in play has a higher Skill Number than Khan, Khan's Skill Number equals that Captain's Skill Number.
Cost: 4
Elite Talent Upgrades: 1

GenKhan costs 4 pts to put on any ship in the game. That’s a two point savings over Regular Khan. GenKhan is also crying out for an off faction elite talent to be attached to him. It’s going to really depend on your build, but this Khan can be put on ships that don’t require Battlestations, so I’d look to a big klingon ship to throw him on.

With this Khan on a big klingon ship, I’d probably look towards Once More Unto the Breach, or even something like I stab at thee, which would be a nice threat deterrent. A Neg’Var is going to be a good choice for Khan, as would a Vor’Cha.

For his other special ability, you may want to consider running a high skill Captain such as Martok or Picard, to ensure that your Khan gets the most oomph out of his cards. Captain skill for Khan is a relative concept- he’s going to be moving and shooting last and first respectively, so you don’t have too much to worry about in the skill department.

My issue with GenKhan is twofold:

There isn’t a standout elite talent that I’m DYING to play with Khan. Martok won’t work with GenKhan, and you’ll only really have one action- and most of the elite talents require an action to activate.

Secondly, GenKhan is a promo card. This subject is going to rear its ugly head over and over again, but I am on the fence about whether this card should be allowed in tournament play. As I’ve stated before, I would encourage most tournament organizers to allow this card to be played in proxied form. I don’t think it’s an amazing captain, so you probably will see it played rarely, but there’s just no reason to have these kinds of one offs available only to those who are willing to pay a high price on Ebay for the card, or those lucky enough to get to GenCon to obtain one. This should be how all prize specific card upgrades are run- if you don’t have one, you can proxy it. You probably shouldn't allow proxied ships in your tournaments, since everything on the table should be played as is, but I’d be fine with allowing my opponent to play Defense Condition One at their leisure, even if they didn't win a Ch’Tang.

There’s not a lot to say about GenKhan- I don’t really recommend the purchase as I don’t see that he brings a lot to a list besides skill insurance, and I’d really rather pay some extra points for Captains that open up different action possibilities.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Independence Week- Khan Singh!

Smell the cheese!!!


Today we’re going to delve into the strange world of the independent faction, starting with Khan Singh. Khan Singh comes from the Reliant Expansion. Go watch the Wrath of Khan for a detailed look at why Khan Singh is a badass.

Khan Singh’s profile is as follows:

Khan Singh (Independent/USS Reliant Expansion) http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/images/smilies/a-team.gif
Captain Skill: 8
You may use any Upgrades without paying a faction penalty. During an attack, if you spend a [BATTLESTATIONS] Token, each of your [BATTLESTATIONS] results become a [CRITICAL] instead of a [DAMAGE].
Cost: 5
Elite Talent Upgrades: 1

First things first, don’t take Khan on a ship that can’t get access to a battlestations token. He won’t work on Klingon ships, but he’ll work great on Federation ships such as the Enterprise D, the TOS Enterprise and the Reliant.

Remember that you have to pay a faction penalty for putting Khan onto a factioned ship- Khan costs 6 points to put on any ship in the game currently.

Khan lets you change the battlestations action into a crit machine- you’ll probably be facing 0-2 battlestations results on dice per turn. You really want Khan on a Klingon ship but too bad really.

Are there any particularly good elite talents for Khan? Well, he’s going to pay the base cost for any of these things. He comes with Superior Intellect, which is as follows:

Superior Intellect (Independent/USS Reliant Expansion)
Action: Discard this card to target a ship at Range 1-2 that is not Cloaked and has no Active Shields. Steal 1 faceup Upgrade Card of your choice from that ship, even if the Upgrade exceeds your ship's restriction.
Cost: 5

Like I’ve said with other upgrades like this, either on this site or on the various forums, these kinds of upgrades are pretty weak and are generally overkill. Rare is the ship with no cloak and no active shields that is not prepared to die, but superior intellect actually lets you steal from a dying ship. You can’t steal Captains, but you can steal everything else. It’s a great way to hose a two ship build, but if you’re at the point where you’re using Superior Intellect- you’re probably winning.

I Stab at Thee is pretty interesting, and well costed. Combo it up with a ship with Suicide Attack, and you’ve got a great 11+ attack bomb. I wouldn’t want to pay the cost to throw away a ship like this, but if there were a way to get a battlestations token on a Suicide Attack ship… well… that may be something worth looking into- here’s looking at you- Gul Dukat.

So here’s my advice- leave Khan at home unless you’re running a Federation ship that you want to have a high skill captain and you’ve already taken Picard. If you’re looking to run a second big Federation ship, Khan’s your man. Otherwise, his main skill is going to be lost on most other ships. The Koranak is a big ship that looks really good for Khan. If you want to run Khan in a non-Federation list, the Koranak may be the ship for you.

Monday, 18 November 2013

New This Month- Admiral's Orders!

She's almost always wrong- HOW IS SHE STILL AN ADMIRAL!!!


Okay, go here.

http://wizkidsgames.com/blog/2013/11/14/star-trek-attack-wing-organized-play-admirals-orders/

Take... a... look... at... that!

So, first things first, the use of Admiral's Orders have to be approved by your tournament organizer before they can be used. Check with your tournament organizer before the event- you know- actually talk to that person that runs your events and find out if this is going to be kosher.

Like I've said before, I don't approve of house rules, but these are approved fixes for some problems that may or may not be plaguing your group.

I think these may have been a fix a bit too far in one direction, but we'll have to see. Don't jump to conclusions quite yet. I think we've got to take a step back and take a bit more of a critical look at the Organized Play events, and their goals.

Obviously, the OP events are there to promote the game. They are also, from what I can see, scenario based, but not too ham fisted. In OP1, you could still just blow up DS9 and avoid that quagmire all together. In OP2, you simply jousted at each other. In OP3, you can avoid the planet entirely. That being said, these scenarios are geared towards fluff and fun, over pure competitiveness.

If the purpose of the OP events were Hard-Core-Competition, then they would be constant, straight-up death matches. You can disagree with me, but it's fairly clear that the OP events are meant to evoke battles from the show in a fun and fluffy way. What is fluff? Fluff is the stuff outside the game that makes the game as flavourful as it is- it's the flavour text on a magic the gathering card, it's everything that isn't rules in a Warhammer 40k Codex, and it's the entirety of the Television Show that Attack Wing is based upon.

That being said, the Organized play events are still quite competitive, but each one is a bit different and there are scenario aspects that don't just involve flying ships at each other and shooting at those ships.

So, these Admiral's Orders encourage certain builds over others, which I think is a bit of a step in the wrong direction. Supposedly, they will change from month to month- Hopefully they aren't always about based on the number of ships you have in your fleet etc.,

One issue to begin with, is that you can use multiple orders in your fleet. For January, you could take a Two Ship, Faction Pure list and use both Strike Force AND United Force and run a 105 pt list that's pretty nuts with upgrades etc., Three ship lists are still going to be prevalent, because they're very good. You could also just run faction pure ships and take United Force, and get a 3 ship 110 list, which may also be very good as well!

Why wouldn't you run a two ship list with those parameters?

You're going to have to have a good reason not to take advantage of these upgrades, and it could lead to very samey builds if these things become any more good than these first ones.

Should Tournament Organizers allow these Order to be used? Is your local group always using the same lists over and over again?  Each Organizer will have to decide for themselves, but if you're finding your games are stagnating, give these a whirl.

Anyone that reacted - OP - immediately upon release is pulling a chicken little- Play with the cards first, and then decide whether they are overpowered. Repeat for everything and we'll have a much better time overall.


Sunday, 17 November 2013

Tutorial: Make Your Own Attack Wing Board/Carry Case

Attack Wing is a fantastic game by its own right. If you’re a Star Trek fan, there is nothing greater than immersing yourself in that universe by taking command of your own fleet and engaging your enemy. The ability to play the game on any 3’x3’ square is great, but playing on your kitchen table can get tiresome. There are options to purchase vinyl or other surfaces to play on, but they can cost you over $50, and are not without their flaws. Today I hope to show you an affordable, fast, and fun method to paint your very own space scene, such as the one below!

... the final frontier!
NOTE: while I do have a bit of a background in the arts, I had never attempted anything like this before. Let me assure you, you do not need to be ‘artsy’ to make a fantastic looking scene with minimal practice!

To complete this project, the following materials will be required:
  • Two 2'x4' wood panels. I used MDF from Home Depot for ~$5 each. Thickness isn't important, but you want it thick enough to not deflect too much. Also, the thicker it is the more expensive it gets ...
  • Glossy Spray Paint. The more colours the better, but Black and White are essential. I'd advise a couple cans of glossy black. While you don't need expensive spray paint, the cheaper cans will have a less even spray.
  • A circular object for your planet(s).If you are making multiple planets, you will need multiple circular objects. I picked up a pot lid of a decent diameter from a thrift shop for cheap. The lid of a spray paint can is convenient for your moon(s). You can also use a penny for smaller celestial bodies!
  • Scrap magazine pages.
  • Painters tape.
  • Mask and rubber gloves.

Clear up a space you can spray paint in. Wind can be an issue, so using a garage space would be ideal. You also want good ventilation - you know, for health reasons and stuff.

MAKE IT SO:

Step 1: Place the two 2’x4’ wood panels flush against each other, such that you have a 4’x4’ board. You place them together so your space scene won’t be inconsistent. You’ll now want to measure out your 3’x3’ play area so that it is centered in the two boards. Use painters tape to outline the play area – we want this border to not be painted on, making it easy to identify the border of your play area.

Step 2: Choose the colours you want for your planet(s) and moon(s). You’ll need at least two colours, and complimentary ones work best – I used red and yellow for some, blue and green and purple for others. Mentally map out where you want the planet(s) and moon(s) to be located. Starting with the planet, spray the colours you want on top of one another in the general area you want the planet to be. You want the area covered with paint to be larger than the circular object you’re using for your planet.

Note: This is not my photo. I didn't have the foresight to take 'in progress' pics! Credit at end of article.
Step 3: With the paint still wet, you want to take a magazine page and place it flat on top of the spray painted areas. You can crumple up the magazine page in advance or leave it flat – it’ll just affect the pattern created. Pull the page off and the colours should have mixed in an interesting pattern. You can do this numerous times, adding more paint as you go along, until you are satisfied with the result. It may not look fantastic right now, but it’ll all come together…

Again, not my photo ...
 Step 4: Repeat the above process for as many planets and moons you’d like. I’d recommend not creating too many celestial bodies – sometimes less is more!


Step 5: Using black spray paint, we want to paint a ‘dark side’ of the planet. Use your circular object to get an idea of where the final placement and size of the planet will be, then freehand paint a curved line on one side of the planet. Repeat the process for each planet/moon, but make sure to place the dark side on the same side for each planet/moon to make it appear as if they have a common light source, like a nearby star.


Step 6: Repeat the same process using white paint, on the opposite side of the planet. This will be the light side of the planet!

Step 7: Now the circular objects to shape your planet and moon come out. Place the circular objects firmly over your spray painted areas, ensuring it includes some of the dark side and some of the light side of your planet.

Step 8: Paint everything black, ensuring you get all around the circular objects representing your celestial bodies. If you don’t want an all-black space background, start with some blue, red, and yellow, and lightly paint different sections of your board. This is best done by holding the spray paint can a little further away from the board. Then fill in the rest of the board with black, overlapping the coloured sections of space.


Step 9: Now we can make some stars. With your rubber gloves on, simply spray a decent amount of white paint on your fingertips and ‘flick’ it over the board. Try to distribute the stars evenly, unless you want a darker region of space. Don’t worry about making mistakes; you can always paint over them with black. If you’d like to add ‘comets’, this can be easily done by turning the spray paint can upside down, placing the nozzle on the board, and gently tap the top of the can.

Step 10: The reveal! Take your circular objects off the board, revealing your planets and moons! Also, remove the painters tape to reveal the border of your play area. Now you have an awesome looking space scene, with a 1’ border around the outside for your cards and tokens!

My first attempt. I used an old tin pie-plate for the planet, hence its uneven and non-spherical shape!

My second attempt before removing painters tape.

With a bit of experimentation and imagination you can add lots of little features to this scene. . If you’re not happy with your first results, simply flip the boards and paint another one! To finish my board, I’m planning on putting a 1" wooden border along the bottom, and hinges on this border so it can swing open and shut and include storage space for your fleet inside the board!

If you'd rather not make your own board, I'm more than willing to take commissions for the cost of materials. It only takes about 30 minutes for me to complete a board now. Just leave your email and a note in the comments and I'll get back to you!

Playing on the new board!

Some helpful links:



Saturday, 16 November 2013

Cloaked Mines!!!


Not the best picture- Apologies!
Let's dive right into the big baddy of the Attack Wing Metagame - CAPTAIN SAR!

Ha. Nope. It's Cloaked Mines.

Okay, we need to talk first about the Attack Wing metagame and how it has evolved so far. It won't be long, because the game hasn't really been out for very long.

In the beginning, there was Wave 0, and missions were good. You opened the TOS Enterprise and played the Kobiyashi Maru... and the Federation Lost, and the Klingons won... and all was flavourful and good. Everyone was happy with the Mutara Nebula. Sure, there were those who played an X-wing style deathmatch, but most people saw the possibilities of the missions and wanted to explore. Things were good at the beginning.

Enter the first Organized Play Event. I may revisit OP1, but I think a lot has already been written on the subject, and I don't know of a lot of you that are still playing OP1. OP1 was an odd duck. Most people who were playtesting OP1 found that destroying Deep Space Nine was a fantastic tactic, opening up the playing field for maneuvering your ships to be able to destroy your opponent's ships- who may have just been caught off guard by a now destroyed deep space nine. Those who explored this idea all kind of came up with their build. In OP1, most ships were good, and player skill played a HUGE part in winning (because most players at OP events were new players, and those who had some experience with x-wing were at a great advantage).

OP events are one aspect of the competitive metagame, and OP2 was a pretty terrible way to follow up the fun of OP1. See, OP2 restricted movement. In a game of Attack Wing with restricted movement, the game becomes a joust. Sure, YOUR game may not have been a joust, but that's not the majority of games that were happening in OP2. This led to the proliferation of the Klingon Attack Build. Some people played OP2 with Wave 1 ships, but the big game changer, cloaked mines, didn't really have much opportunity to shine in OP2, what with the restricted movement. I can elaborate on this further, if any of you need me to do so.

Okay, so the impact of Wave 1 didn't really rear its ugly head until OP3. These things work together to create different metagames. The Wave 0 OP1 tournament had a different metagame than the Wave 0 OP2 tournament, which had a slightly different metagame than the Wave 1 OP2 tournmament. Scenarios play a big part in the metagame.

So Wave 1 OP3 is a big kettle of fish, and part of the issue is that the movement phase is so open, and into that gaping movement chasm steps the Cloaked Mine.

Cloaked Mines (Romulan/I.R.W. Praetus Expansion)
During the Planning Phase, you may discard this card to place a Minefield Token within Range 2 of your Ship (in any direction) but not within Range 2 of an enemy ship. If an enemy ship passes within Range 1 of the token, roll 3 attack dice (-1 if the target ship immediately performs a [Sensor] Action). Any [Hit] or [Critical] damages the target ship as normal. The affected ship does not roll any defense dice.
Cost: 3


Okay. First of all, cloaked mines have a number of FAQ rulings that can be found here:

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1031156/st-aw-preliminary-faq

Those are important because it's easy to think that you get hit twice in overlapping fields, but you don't. How they work is somewhat counter intuitive, so read up on that FAQ and understand it before you play against or with cloaked mines. Don't get caught by an unscrupulous opponent.

There are some people that think these things are overpowered. I think they are very efficient for what they do and that makes them very good, possibly overpowered. I've argued on various forums that they are not overpowered, but I can see the argument on the other side. There are ways to avoid minefields, and your maneuvering will be a very large factor in your success against a cloaked Minefield.

What's the maximum number of Mines that could be used in a game?

10 Mines. You take 5 Bird of Preys and throw 10 mines on them. That's a 100pt list. I think that's ridiculous and runs into a lot of problems, but god bless you, you could run it. Of course, you'd need to buy 10 copies of the Bird of Prey. For the most part, you don't want your mine fields to overlap, because you lose out on surface area for your mine field. I'm not too keen on doing the math tonight, but a 10 mine minefield will likely cover about half of the standard play area.
My issue with the above list is that you're paying 30 pts for, at the most, 3 attack dice per ship per turn for every ship in the minefield. Your ships are quite terrible, and will go down to a stiff breeze. Your strategy is entirely apparent- you intend on staying in the minefield. Your ships won't be in formation, because you'll need to lay the field down asap. You'll likely have the minefield down before your opponent can get to you, but there's a lot of game left to play now, and your ships aren't in formation. You'll be losing a ship per turn, and it's simply a game of cat and mouse. It'll be a very hard game, but it'll be winnable for a non-cloaked mines fleet.
10 Mines, 5 Bird of Preys is not an I Win button. The smaller the mine field, the more difficult it gets for your ships to stay entirely within the field. That opens up your ships to attacks at range 2 and 3. Is 5 Mines an I Win button? I still don't think so- if your opponent's plan is to create a linked minefield and stay in that minefield, he's limiting his movement to a very small area and you should be able to stay on the periphery and take pot-shots.

All of this is subject to time limits, but if your opponent is committed to either winning or tie-ing, perhaps you should consider the same kind of strategy. 

The thing to remember is that the cloaked mine shifts the metagame. In OP2, Klingon Attack Builds were tight formation, heavy attack, all cloaked and all business. Cloaked mines wreck that build. That isn't to say that the Klingon Attack Build is dead- because it isn't, but there needs to be more attention paid to the right time to cloak and the wrong time to cloak, when to move into the minefield, and when to avoid it.

I'll revisit the topic at a later date because this article is pretty long as is. Let me know if you think they're OP and give me some reasons!