Saturday, 9 November 2013

Captain Kirk- First Look

He's not THAT good
Today I want to talk about one of the Captains that is amazing on paper, and then is quite disappointing in practice. Part of that comes from comparisons with Captain Picard, but part of that comes from his extraordinary price tag, and weird rules.
Captain James T. Kirk is worded as follows:

James T. Kirk (Federation/USS Enterprise Expansion) 
Captain Skill: 9
Any Federation (Captain) Upgrades you purchase for Kirk cost exactly 3 Squadron Points and are placed face down beside his card. Each Upgrade remains face down until you decide to use it, and then it is turned face up for the rest of the game.
Cost: 6
Elite Talent Upgrades: 2

He's the only captain in the game with two elite talent upgrades. Obviously, if you're taking Kirk, you're thinking of using his ability. The ONLY reason to take Captain Kirk over, say, another skill 9 captain, is to exploit his ability. Keep in mind that Kirk is going to run you 12 points if run properly (14 if on a non-federation ship). That's a LOT of points. He has to be integral to your build to get the most out of him.

So, you've decided to run Kirk. I'm not going to give you many reasons why you should or shouldn't, that's really got a lot to do with what you're trying to do with your build. He works best, IMO, in two ship lists- you're already going to be foregoing efficiency in terms of ships, so you might as well try to get efficiencies elsewhere. Elite Talents become very good in the hands of Captain Kirk- but only Federation talents. I think Kirk would get a lot more play if he allowed you to at least keep any talent you select for him secret- but that's not the way it's worded. Only your Federation upgrades remain secret. If you take non-aligned or klingon/romulan talents, they are placed face up next to Kirk. 

Which upgrades should you purchase for Kirk?

Cheat Death is a pretty clear choice for what the designers thought would be great for Kirk. He was clearly meant to have an upside down Cheat Death and upon his ship blowing up you turn over the card and announce "I don't believe in the no win scenario". That is absolutely what happens in most games in which Kirk makes an appearance. It's not bad, but after the first game you lose out on the surprise factor. Most people aren't surprised nowadays when you flip over Cheat Death. It's a 3 pt hull point bubble on Kirk and I don't think it's particularly good. You could make it good with Scotty or Obrien repairing shield points, but that's a really costly strategy that is geared towards mitigating your losses- when you should be gearing your list towards enhancing your strengths. 

Kirk will usually only get one action (maybe you're running command tokens in which case he'll potentially have two actions per turn) and you need to make sure that the upgrades you are taking work with what you're trying to do. If you've got him on an agile ship, consider taking Engage (although you lose out on his point reduction ability). 

Corbomite Manuever is an insurance policy against messing up your move action- You're typically moving last, so you'll know if you're going to be blasted to bits before you use the action. That being said, if you lose your action, you can't corbomite, so it can be a bit of a wash. 

Cochrane Deceleration Maneuver allows you to make one of the most ridiculous maneuvers in the game- a turn around 1. Combine this with Engage, and you you open up a LOT of options in the movement phase. I still think this is a weird card that needs a lot more testing on my part before I can endorse its use. 

The Attack Patterns are mostly weak, mainly because you typically won't have that many defense dice to reroll, and you probably don't need to put a warp core breach on your opponent's ship- see: overkill. 

Normally, I don't like elite talent skills. I think they're generally overcosted for what they do, with a few exceptions. In a later post, I'll take a look at some other ways of running Kirk, but this gives you a nice overview and allows me to discuss Kirk in upcoming articles without having to take a detour. 

1 comment:

  1. Feint certainly doesn't help any for him - but Rand's ability has some potential, and there's something be said for combos with both the Admiral's Orders Strike Force card (there's that bonus action you want for him) and the Flagship Resource cards. Picard is still a better first choice, but Kirk's a fine second - if you're running a two-ship fleet anyway, having both of them virtually guaranteed to shoot first seems like a good thing.