-Review and photos by Scott Rubin
Star Trek Attack Wing has been going strong since its launch in 2013, with more than 31 waves of expansions released and counting, plus tons of other game elements like Organized Play kits, oversized ships, and more. Now, WizKids is taking the game into a new direction starting with the Star Trek Attack Wing Card Packs Wave 1! If you’re not super familiar with the game, you need a Starter to play and then you can build your fleets via single-ship, non-blind expansion packs. Each expansion comes with game elements to play the ship as a unique vessel or as a generic ship of its class, as well as a variety of upgrades in the form of Captains, Elite Talents, Tech, Weapons, Crew, etc. Because of the way you accumulate these cards and tokens, on the one hand it’s never a bad thing to get duplicates of expansions so you can equip cool upgrades to multiple ships, while on the other it can get expensive to do so. Well, that’s just one of the cool things about these new Card Packs – they’re much cheaper since there’s no ship, just the tokens and cards to play a ship you already have in a different way with more options for your fleets! But that’s not all. Let’s take a closer look.
First up, the Card Packs look a lot like the standard ship expansion packs, only smaller. The packaging consists of a sleek bubble on card format with the usual blue and black space background, WizKids, Star Trek, and Attack Wing logos, etc. At the bottom of each bubble is an insert declaring which ship the cards belong to, and you can always see the named vessel’s card inside. Meanwhile, the back of each Card Pack has a description of the ship from the show or movie in which it appeared, a list of the included contents, and a reference for which ship expansion pack you’ll need to get the most out of it. For example, to run the U.S.S. Grissom that’s included in the Oberth Class Card Pack you’ll need the previously released U.S.S. Pegasus expansion for the ship model and its maneuver dial. Now, you can use other elements from the pack interchangeably as normal in the game with other ships (Captain cards and Upgrades), but to run the actual ships you’ll need to have the models from another source.
Each Card Pack contains a new ship token (the tile that goes on the base) and cards to field either a unique vessel or a ship class that already exists in the game. The Federation Oberth Class pack offers the unique U.S.S. Grissom from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, the Klingon Raptor class from Star has the I.K.S. Ves Batlh and the Romulan Drone Ship the Prototype 02 (both from Star Trek: Enterprise), and the Cardassian ATR-4107 the Dreadnought from Star Trek: Voyager. As is standard with Attack Wing expansions the named vessels have a special ability and one more shield (and cost more points) than their generic counterparts. In all cases the generic class ship is the same as the one that came with the original expansion… with one important difference: these versions all cost fewer points! That brings us to another new direction seen in these Card Packs; it appears as though WizKids has recalculated costs across the board, even going so far as to lower the point costs on cards and ships that do the exact same thing that we’ve seen before. For example, the generic Raptor Class Klingon Starship now costs 11 points whereas the old one (with the exact same stats, upgrade options, and action bar) was 16. As any player can tell you, a 5 point difference is huge when a standard game is 100. Meanwhile, the generic Drone Ship and Oberth classes are even cheaper now at 6 points less!
Attack Wing players, check out the cards in these packs. Notice anything different? The last major innovation starting here is a re-vamp of wording and symbols on printed materials. There was clearly a strong effort made to cut down on verbiage and streamline these cards, often by using straightforward symbols and icons rather than phrases or even full sentences in some cases. For example, check out the Quantum Torpedoes from the ATR-4107 Card Pack vs. the original version in the Dreadnought expansion. Symbols have replaced the text for firing from front or rear arcs and the expenditure of a Target Lock, while the wording for the bonus hits is much streamlined. Oh, and for the same functionality with less penalty (only two Time Tokens instead of three) these new Quantum Torpedoes are still three points cheaper!
The Romulan Prototype 02 Drone Ship is incredibly agile and trades in the 01’s ability to regenerate shield or hull each round for removing time tokens from Tech upgrades by taking an Auxiliary Power token. Considering the ship has only green and white movement options it should be easy to clear those tokens making this a very powerful ability, and it’s not even an action! Unique captain Jhamel (Romulan/Independent) can be given an action to debuff a nearby opponent’s attack against her ship which combined with the Prototype’s 3 Agility makes it very hard to hit. All of the Tech upgrades in this pack are defensive in nature, making the ship faster, harder to hit, more agile, or tougher (and of course several utilize time tokens which ties into the 02’s special ability). The Weapon upgrades are interesting; Triphasic Emitters is part of a new trend whereby you can bring in another upgrade hidden under this one to be revealed and used sometime during the game, but in a limited fashion (in this case only once). Lastly the pack includes the Independent Tellarite Disruptor Banks, a torpedo-like secondary weapon that debuffs the agility of a ship it hits.
22nd Century Klingons get a boost to their forces with the I.K.S. Ves Batlh, an inexpensive and surprisingly survivable vessel that reduces damage taken from an obstacle or minefield. Captain options include Duras, Son of Toral who can change his ship’s maneuver after a nearby enemy moves or the awesomely-named Klaang that really doesn’t like Independents (and gets a bonus when shooting at them). DNA Encoded Message is similar to the Drone Ship’s Triphasic Emitters but in this case lets you pack three Klingon Elite Talents and during the game assign one to its ship while discarding the others; at 5 points it’s not cheap, but it gives you a layer of flexibility that can catch your opponent unawares. Crewmember Kolos is a self-sacrificing sort, taking the hit if your Captain would be disabled or discarded, while Goroth gives you another Crew slot and can disable an enemy’s Captain when he and his buddy are discarded. On the Tech side Dispersive Armor cuts a stronger enemy’s Primary Weapon value to 4, while the Reactor Pit can be disabled to remove an Auxiliary Power token. Photon Torpedoes are pretty standard, though the Photon Detonation can be purchased as Tech or Weapon and is used in conjunction with Torpedoes to kill minefields! Finally this pack also has an Independent element, the Tellarite Bounty Hunter sacrificial Crew upgrade who’s super cheap and removes an Evade token from an enemy ship when he would be discarded.
The poor, ill-fated U.S.S. Grissom from Star Trek III is destined for destruction and has an ability for that, hurting the ship that takes it down either by killing a Crew upgrade or giving it Auxiliary Power. Captain J. T. Esteban is also a bit of a downer with an ability that keys off his ship being destroyed, but at least it lets two Crew members beam off the ship at the last minute and onto an ally vessel. The new William T. Riker Crew upgrade does the same thing the old one that came with the U.S.S. Pegasus did by supporting his Captain no matter what, and other Crew in this pack include another sacrificial lamb in David Marcus (can be discarded in place of another Crew or for an additional Evade), the Federation Helmsman whose action gives you a bonus white maneuver under Auxiliary Power, and the film-thematic Saavik who increases defensive capabilities when her ship is near a planet token. As for Tech, Comm Station gives you another Crew slot and can be disabled to share a Captain skill across ships, Close-Range Scan lets you place a second Scan token if that was your action and you disable a Shield, and Genesis Effect is another of these cool cards that hides something underneath it; in this case a Crew upgrade that joins the ship when in range of a planet token and the shields are dropped (a la Spock returning from the dead on the Genesis Planet!).
Last is the mighty engine of destruction, the Cardassian Dreadnought that while it can’t equip a Captain or an Admiral enjoys a Captain Skill of 12 (!) until it takes damage. Upgrades on this ship come in two flavors straight out of the Voyager episode. First there are Dominion cards including Shield Adaptation that lowers enemies’ attacks when this ship’s shields are down, Final Stage Targeting that forces you to fire only on Target Locked enemies but doesn’t let them Modify Defense Dice, and a whole series of powerful weapons like Plasma Wave, Quantum Torpedoes, Plasma Pulse, and Thoron Shock Emitter. Then there’s a trio of Independent upgrades; Captured is a non-slot card that adds the Independent faction to a ship but makes it easier to hit by enemies with its original faction, crewmember B’Elanna Torres re-rolls a single blank result when attacking (or changes a blank to a hit against Dominion ships), and the B’Elanna’s Codes Tech upgrade fields Time Tokens rather than your ship’s Weapons AND if you are to discard a Weapon upgrade you can instead discard this card!
All four of these Wave 1 Card Packs are available now, and can be purchased wherever you normally buy your Star Trek Attack Wing products for an MSRP of $10 each ($5 cheaper than a regular expansion). I highly recommend these packs if you already have their complementary ships (Dreadnought, U.S.S. Pegasus, I.K.S. Somraw, Prototype 01) as they give you different ways to field miniatures you already have. If you don’t have those ships but play any of these four factions (Cardassian/Dominion, Federation, Klingon, Romulan) I would urge you to take a look at the options these packs bring to see if they could benefit your fleets; you might even want to grab your respective faction’s Card Pack and the original expansion for the ship when you see all the cool stuff these things can do. Independent players aren’t forgotten with the inclusion of neat stuff in three of the four Card Packs, notably the ATR-4107. Lastly, I want to reiterate that it’s great to see WizKids continuing to tinker and refine an already fun game with the new wordings and symbols along with the recalculated point costs seen in these packs.
New to Star Trek Attack Wing and want more information? Head over to WizKids.com for the lowdown!
Review and photos by Scott Rubin
Review samples courtesy of WizKids Games