– Review and photos by Scott Rubin.
While we talk a lot about HeroClix here on Figures.com, WizKids makes a bunch of other really great games too. My favorite among those is of course Star Trek Attack Wing which combines awesome Star Trek miniature ships with a fun board game experience that’s fully customizable and easy to learn. Players assemble fleets of ships (named or generic) with Captains and Upgrade cards like Crew, Technology, Weapons, and more, and fly around the battlefield using the FlightPath system. Even better, the game features content, art, and screenshots from many different eras of Trek from The Original Series to the classic films, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise.
Today we’ll be taking a look at the latest batch of Star Trek Attack Wing releases in Wave 31 featuring reprinted game content with new metallic and translucent paint schemes on the ship miniatures: Federation U.S.S. Enterprise (Refit) Expansion Pack, Dominion 4th Division Battleship Expansion Pack, and Dominion 5th Wing Patrol Ship Expansion Pack! And if you aren’t yet playing the game we’ll give you a refresher on how you can jump right in with the Star Trek Attack Wing Starter Set.
As you can tell by the number 31 on this wave, WizKids has been putting quite a lot of expansions for Star Trek Attack Wing. Each pack includes one ship, its base and cards, and a sizable amount of Captains, Upgrades, tokens, and more. Even if you haven’t played yet you’ve almost certainly seen these expansions at your local comic book or game store, with each release in a small clamshell package with the ship right at the front so you can get a really nice look at it. Below the vessel is its name and the symbol of its faction, while the back of the package has a description of the ship and a brief rundown of the included components (which in many of the expansions is quite a lot!).
The three ships here in Wave 31 all feature sculpts that first appeared in the Star Trek Tactics HeroClix sets, and while the first Attack Wing versions of these had (approximately) the same original paint jobs these have cool, all new decos. Most ships are about 2 ½ inches long, though the relatively small-scale Patrol Ship is about 1 ½ inches. Notably both Jem’Hadar vessels are very wide with large wingspans. Speaking of sizes, scale in Attack Wing depends on which ships you’re comparing. The sculpts themselves are very detailed, featuring deeply cut lines dividing ship sections and tons of small elements like nacelles, deflector dishes, etc. You’ve really got to look at these minis up close to appreciate all of the details, and there’s a great contrast in this wave between the straight lines and circular saucer of the Enterprise compared with the organic, curved shapes and aggressive, blade-like structures on the Jem’Hadar ships.
So what’s actually new about these ships in Wave 31? Well, let’s compare with the originals. The first Enterprise Refit came out in Wave 6 and had a relatively bland overall pale blue paint job with some nice highlights in other colors. This new Enterprise blows that one away with a stunning, highly reflective silver color and accents in blues, yellow, and red. In fact, the reflectivity makes it a little hard to photograph and it looks a lot better in real life! There’s also a dark wash that really pops on the deeply sculpted lines especially on the saucer section. As always with Federation vessels, the Enterprise lacks any registry markings so you can play it as the unique ship or a generic one. Meanwhile, both Jem’Hadar ships originally had flat paint jobs in dark purples and blues while these new ones are shiny metallic purple with all sorts of additional details in different colors. Again, all of these new metallic ships look really great in person, much better even than in these photos.
Of course, in addition to the ship itself each expansion has a ton of game materials, tokens, and more. Each ship’s base has a double-sided tile to denote if it’s the unique ship or a generic “class” vessel, and you’ll see on the relevant cards what bonus features the specific vessel offers (almost always for a higher point cost). For example, the generic Constitution Refit Class ship is 22 points with a Primary Weapon Value of 3, 1 Agility, 4 Hull, and 3 Shields, and can carry three Crew and one Weapon Upgrade while the U.S.S. Enterprise adds another Crew, another Shield, and an action letting you disable Shield in return for an attack bonus all for only two more points!
As you can see the Constitution Refit is a sturdy, versatile ship that can be highly customized via Crew members. Meanwhile, the 5th Wing Patrol Ship is tough and agile with the generic Jem’Hadar Attack Ship packing one each of Crew, Tech, and Weapon Upgrades while the named version adds another Weapon and an Action trading defensive capability for boosted offense. Finally the Jem’Hadar Battleship is a ponderous monster costing 34 points for 6 Primary Attack Value, 0 Agility, 7 Hull, and 4 Shields with one Tech, two Weapon, and two Crew Upgrades; the named version is 36 points with one more Shield, one more Weapon Upgrade slot, and a special ability buffing a nearby ally each round!
Captains and Upgrades take the game another step further, giving you endless customization options balancing special features with point costs, faction compatibility, etc. Every ship includes at least one named Captain as well as a generic, 0 point cost 1 Skill Captain. Here the Battleship comes with a 7 Skill Weyoun and 5 Skill Gelnon, the Patrol Ship a 6 Skill Weyoun and 3 Skill Luaran, and Enterprise an 8 Skill James T. Kirk, 6 Skill Mr. Spock, and 3 Skill Will Decker – all of the above have unique special abilities or Actions and some allow you to add Elite Talents to their ships. Upgrades are super fun and cover everything from classic Enterprise crewmembers as seen in the feature films to Photon Torpedoes and Polaron Beams, a Suicide Attack and Self-Destruct Sequence, and much more. Each Upgrade card has its own faction and point cost for building your unique fleet, and while the range of options in each expansion is good once you start collecting multiple ships the combinations and combos are unlimited.
In addition to the ships and cards, the expansions also include missions printed on LCARS-themed cards, and sometimes additional terrain markers. Two cards give you the mission overview including number of players and elements you’ll need to play, set up (including any special tokens), and special rules to complete it. This movie Enterprise lets you play the finale of the first feature film itself with “V’Ger.” Utilizing a unique V’Ger token in the expansion, this mission for one challenges you to communicate with the approaching entity before it destroys the Earth, all the while avoiding Klingons. The Patrol Ship lets two player reenact the “First Battle of Chin’Toka” with the Jem’Hadar attempting to destroy the allies who are fighting Orbital Weapons Platforms. Lastly the Battleship challenges two players to “Collect Technical Data” in a heavily asymmetric mission featuring a 40 point Federation ship attempting to scan an 80 point Dominion ship and surviving to escape!
To play Star Trek Attack Wing you’ll need at least one copy of the Starter Set, and with it you can play two or three person games (or exponentially more with multiple sets and expansions). You’ll recognize the game immediately on store shelves with its bright blue box decorated with the U.S.S. Enterprise-D from The Next Generation and a window at the bottom through which you can see the three included ships.
Flip the box around to see a lot of the game’s components, a description of the system, and some graphics on how to play it. Even that sneak peek didn’t quite prepare me for the huge amount of pieces in the set. Of course there are the ships and their bases along with multiple cards for each, three captain cards and tokens for each, a stack of upgrade cards for each faction, unique Attack Wing dice, damage cards, mission objective tokens, range ruler, maneuver templates, rule book, quick start instructions, and a variety of tokens and chits for use in the game. All of the cardboard components and cards are heavy-duty with great printed artwork and graphics.
The biggest draw for a lot of people (and what initially caught my eye) is the ships! All of the vessels we’ve seen thus far in the Attack Wing line are based on sculpts used in the Star Trek Fleet Captains and Star Trek Tactics HeroClix games, and that’s a very good thing. At around two inches long they’re solid and feature very good sculpts and paint jobs.
In the Starter you’ll find three vessels from three different “factions:” the Federation Galaxy Class U.S.S. Enterprise-D, Klingon Vor’cha Class I.K.S. Maht-H’a, and Romulan D’deridex Class I.R.W. Khazara. Each one packs lots of detail into a small package from the intricacies of the sculpted phaser strips on the Enterprise or the wing designs on the Khazara to the painted engine elements on the Maht-H’a or the myriad of tiny details on the D. All Attack Wing ships come with a rectangular base and two lengths of post (you can lower a ship mid-game to fit two next to each other without bumping); on the base is a double-sided token displaying the generic ship of the line version of the vessel or the named version. This token displays the ship’s stats as well its firing arc(s), available action types, and more.
When preparing to play Star Trek Attack Wing from the Starter Set, set a point total for your game. Each player then selects a ship and decides whether to play it as a generic class vessel or the higher cost named version. Next, add a Captain to your force; each of the three ships comes with three potential Captains ranging from a no-cost generic leader to ever more expensive named characters like Riker, Picard, Toreth, and Nu’Daq who have special abilities. Once you pick your Captain you add his or her tokens to the base of your ship. Finally, add Upgrade cards (which type you can play are determined by your Captain’s card) until you approach or meet the point total for the game. As you’d expect, the more expensive ships, Captains, and Upgrades provide you with more options and cool stuff to do in the game. A standard Attack Wing game is 80 or 100 points, and the Starter rule book offers pre-made teams of 40 points to get you started. For example, the Federation force consists of the Enterprise-D with the ability to fire in any direction, Captain Jean-Luc Picard who can perform an additional free Action per turn, the Geordi La Forge Upgrade (hindering targeted ships after you’ve Scanned them), and the Miles O’Brien Upgrade (discard to disable an Upgrade on another ship)!
To play the game, mark out a roughly 3×3 foot square and set up on either side; there is no map! Each player puts out his or her ship and puts the Captain and Upgrade cards along with the ship’s cards and HeroClix maneuver dial in view. Off to the side you’ll need all of the tokens, maneuver templates, range ruler, damage cards, and dice. Games are played in turns and phases, starting with movement. For each ship in your fleet (one if you’re playing from the Starter) rotate its HeroClix dial to the maneuver you want to perform, then place it face-down. In order of ascending Captain skill ranking of all ships on the board reveal the dial, find the appropriate maneuver template, and use it to slide the ship to its new position. After moving, each ship may perform one Action, the options being determined by the specific ship. Possibilities include Evasive Maneuvers to help dodge attacks, Acquire a Target Lock to make it easier to hit in your attack, Cloak to activate that system, etc.
After all ships are moved and given actions in this manner it’s time to attack! This time you go in descending order of Captain skill, the most skilled going first. If an opposing ship is in range and firing arc you roll to make your attack, trying to get hit and critical hit symbols. Meanwhile, the targeted ship rolls defense and tries to get evade symbols. Lots of things can affect these rolls, from the Actions you each took this round to Captain abilities and Upgrades. Damage dealt applies first to any active Shields, then directly to hull points and are represented by damage cards placed by your ship’s card. When you take standard damage the cards remain face down; critical hit damage on the other hand makes you flip the damage card to see additional effects that can really make life difficult! The game continues thusly until one player’s ship is destroyed and the remaining player walks away the victor.
That, at least in a nutshell, is the gameplay experience. As noted, the specific ships, Captains, and Upgrades make each game unique and prevent it from getting stale. It’s a lot of fun, especially if you’re a Star Trek fan and can appreciate all of the references to elements from the films and shows. But that’s not all. The Starter Set rule book even has additional ways to play with optional obstacles you can add to make the game play area more interesting, and Missions! These special scenarios recreate scenes, stories, and locations from Star Trek. The Starter includes two missions (“A New Source of Dilithium” and “The Chase”), both fully developed storyline events for three players with rules on building your force, placement of obstacles and objectives, and special rules on how to win.
The Star Trek Attack Wing Starter Set and Wave 31 (Enterprise Refit, 4th Division Battleship, and 5th Wing Patrol Ship) are all currently available, and you should be able to find them at your local comic book or game store. As explained above the Starter has everything you need to play, while the expansions let you build your fleets with your favorite ships and incredible levels of customization and combinations of Captains and Upgrades along with fun game options with Missions. For lots more information on the game, available expansions, Organized Play events, and how to find a participating venue near you head over to the WizKids Games Star Trek Attack Wing hub.
Review and photos by Scott Rubin.
Review samples courtesy of WizKids Games.