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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What else have I been doing?

Can I just get it out of the way right now?  What else have I been doing?
Going boldly where no one has gone before!

Okay, that's out of my system.  While I was busy grinding away at the real job and school for all those months, I still had my Saturday gig going at the comic shop.  Because I had no time to hobby and because Uncle Sam kept taking my gamers away (last month sucked- half the group disappeared!), I decided to get into another game- Star Trek: Attack Wing.

I have always been a Star Trek nerd.  I prefer Star Trek over Star Wars.  I enjoy the technical aspects of
the show more than some of the plots.  I even have a Starfleet uniform as a Halloween costume.  All in all, this guy loves him some Star Trek.    So hearing that a miniatures game was coming out had me piqued a while ago.  

Well, I waited.  And I waited.  And then I waited some more.  The stuff just didn't come in.  Then, it takes a crazy turn.  My buddy (and closest gaming confidente) comes over one day and simply plops the X-Wing game onto the game table.  We played, I loved it, and then Attack Wing was released.  Yeah, I may have been a bit primed.

So I picked up everything I needed- the starter kit (only $40 and enough for three players to enjoy some pewpew), a couple of ships ($15 each), and I had enough to play a tournament-sized fleet.  Not very long after the release, the Organized Play event, Dominion War, was launched.

Now here's the deal, kiddies- if you love you some competitive games that require thought to play and genius to remember all the rules, Wizkids isn't for  you.  But if you love to collect and actually appreciate prize support and constant support- this company has your number.  The reason I bring this up is because the Dominion War event has given us sooooooooo much loot and actually made it worth the small price.  The players have to buy a single ship or give me $10 cash, and then they ALL get a participation prize and two lucky people get the prize models.  Plus terrain and special resources and so on and this game has some fun events.

I should warn you though- these models are terribad.  That is to say that Wizkids is already not known for the fine craftmanship that GW, Wyrd, PP, and Reaper are known for, but these models are even worse.  The Galaxy class (Picard's Enterprise) is so terrible that I'm almost tempted to replace the model itself with a Micromachine from back in the day.  Almost.  Then I have to remember that modelling is absent in THIS hobby.  It's just a fun little game.  

How does the game work?
Not too hard, actually.  First, you build your fleet to a set number of points (40 to start and 100 for tournaments).  Each ship model comes with a card that tells how many points it is worth.  Ships with names (like the 'USS Enterprise') come with special rules and cost a little more, while every ship has a 'generic' counterpart.  You add your captain to each ship, and each captain is worth a number of points depending on how skilled and what special rules he has.  Finally, you add weapon, tech, and crew upgrades to your ship, each allowing a special action, giving a special rule, or boosting a specific stat.  There are limits based on the ship and what/how many upgrades a ship can have, but it's pretty simple.
A very well-painted fleet found on Warseer

The game turn is three phases- Planning, Activation, and Combat.  During the Planning Phase, players secretly choose the manuevre they'd like their ships to move.  During the Activation Phase, the players take turn moving and performing an action with each of their ships.  The ship with the lowest-skilled captain reveals his manuevre and moves first, and then the next lowest, and so on.  Moving is done by placing a special template in front of the ship and then moving the ship to the other side of the template.  It's very simple.  After each ship moves, it may perform an action such as cloaking, target-locking, or scanning.  These are noted by placing tokens next to the ships.  Finally, in the combat phase, the players take turn attacking each other.  Starting with the ship with the highest-skilled captain and then moving to the next highest, and so on, the player rolls a number of red d8s based on his attack value and all modifiers- the symbols are easy to understand as 'hits, crits, battle stations, and blanks'.  A hit is a hit, a crit is a crit, battle stations can be converted with certain actions, and blanks are just misses.  The target ship's player then rolls a number of green d8s based on his agility value and all modifiers.  Again, the symbols are easy to read- 'evade, battle station, crits'.  An evade cancels a crit or hit, a battle stations can be converted with certain actions, and a blank is just a fail.  Any hits that 'get through' remove shield tokens from the ship card or, if there are no shields left, assigns damage cards to that ship.  A crit is a damage card that also has a special effect on it which can lead to extra damage or limited capabilities.  After every ship has completed all of these steps, both players may re-enable shields and then move on the next Planning Phase.

The trick in the game is to come up with the best combination of upgrades on the best ships and then using them wisely.  The 'Admiral' in our group demolished all of us with his Romulan fleet, using Picard as one of his captains (a very powerful upgrade) and making strong use of Muon tokens (they inhibit the target and damage them for acting).  There was little that any of us could do and he easily swept through us.  That doesn't mean that you have to collect everything to be able to do these 'killer combos'.  The game is actually relatively well-balanced (it's fast-paced, so stuff dies so fast that it feels brutal on both sides, usually).  But if you do feel the need to go out and purchase every ship and get every upgrade possible, it's cheap enough to do.  At only $15 each, and with only 12 additional ships out, it's not too hard to purchase.  That's the cost of a single model in some games we play...

Check it out.  I dig this game.  And even if you don't like Star Trek, check out Star Wars: X-Wing.  The two games are almost identical.  If you like the mechanics, go X-Wing.  If you like the fleet design, go Attack Wing.  But seriously, check it out.  You can find the website here:

Now, if I can find some time to maybe repaint these terribad models...