Tuesday, 28 January 2014


Full Speed... ahead!

We're continuing our look at Wave 2 ships, and today we'll be looking at the Excelsior. It's an old ship, but a very good one that is "newish" enough to float around with the ST:TNG crowd and not seem completely silly. With the amount of Sulu popping up in federation lists you'd think that Time Travel is pretty much a standard occurrence, and that Sulu is basically a man lost in time.
Anyway, here are the stats for the Excelsior:

U.S.S. Excelsior (Excelsior Class)/ Federation Starship (Excelsior Class)
Front Firing Arc: 180° Rear Firing Arc: 90°
A: 3
E: 1
H: 5
S: 4 (3)
After you move, if no enemy ships are within Range 1 of your ship, you may perform a [Sensor] Action a a free Action.
Actions: Evasive Maneuvers, Target Lock, Sensors, Battle Stations
Upgrades: Tech, Weapons, Crew, Crew, Crew
Points: 26 (24)
Pretty standard Federation load out. You've got three attacks, 5 hulls and 4 shields. It's actually quite a good spread for a ship of 26 points. It also feels thematically correct, which is a big plus. When you play the excelsior, you're playing a pretty good, but dated, model of ship. Not bad work on the part of the design team. 

The Excelsior special ability is really where the ship shines. I wouldn't necessarily want to run this as a generic ship, but I really like the special ability. You just need to keep it free of other ships and you get a free scan action! So, as I've said before, free actions are pretty much the holy grail of Attack Wing. There's a point where there's too much of a good thing, (a point at which, say, you'll have a bunch of free actions and nothing to do), but if you're in that position you're usually doing quite well. What the Excelsior does is essentially set up a great way to get Spock or other scanning crew members, without having to expend your action. At the same time, you can take another more useful action, such as Target Lock or Battlestations. 

As per usual, the big problem with Federation ships is that they yearn to be equipped with good captains, crew and weapons in order to compete with the much easier to play Klingons and Romulans. Since they are at a disadvantage cloak-wise, the Federation ships typically need far more utility than the "Cloak and shoot" style of the Klingons. Unfortunately, that makes 3 ship builds very difficult to pull off. The Excelsior is a great ship to have leading a 3 ship Federation charge. You actually don't need to bog it down with too many upgrades (Spock is definitely on the list though), and you can still lay down some serious firepower. If you have a way to boost your attack, such as Scotty, the Excelsior becomes a beast. A captain with Engage is only okay on the Excelsior, since the maneuver dial isn't as great as say, the Enterprise - D for sheer speed. With two other ships, captained by Donatra and Terell, you have a decent 3 ship force that can put a hole into any Klingon Fleet. 

Take it for a spin. It definitely is more of an intermediate ship, but I think it's definitely a step in the right direction for the Federation.


  1. Both the named and generic versions are pretty good values for a Fed fleet, although they really want at least the 4-attack, 3-point photon upgrade to get the most out of that rear arc. Having a tech slot on a relatively tough Fed hull is also nice - opens up some crossfactioning potential that's hard to get in the fleet otherwise.

  2. I find that the rear arc is usually a red herring on 24-30pt models- You really want to get the most out of your ship, but then you're moving into two ship builds, and there are just better options.

    1. Not for Feds - you aren't going to win many games with 3 attack dice on your primaries, so the cheap photons are buying you both an attack boost and an extra 90 degrees of arc that helps let you break away and shoot against enemies with Come About options on their dials. Bargain price for 3 points, even with the onerous action costs. At 27 points apiece with small torps, generic Excelsiors are still perfectly viable components in a 3-ship fleet, just like naked Vor'chas are at 26.

      It would be nice to have a good in-faction fore-and-aft weapon upgrade that didn't require a target lock, but I don't see one coming. Some really interesting possibilities for photon fleets in the OP6 prize ship kit - Kira's global target lock action could really help out there, and she's only 4 points crossfaction.