-Review and photos by Scott Rubin
Last week we had the pleasure of sharing with fans everywhere an exclusive preview for the new Star Trek Tactics Series IV HeroClix set, specifically the Kelvin Timeline U.S.S. Enterprise (see that HERE). Now we’re back with a look at some boosters from the set itself as well as the Starter Set! For a quick background, WizKids unleashed the first Star Trek Tactics HeroClix set in 2012, bringing spaceships to the ‘Clix battlefield. At the time the first set was released it was groundbreaking, and since then the company has diversified into two different Star Trek games that share many high quality sculpts (Tactics HeroClix and Attack Wing). Fast forward seven years and we’ve got the fourth Tactics set, which is notable for featuring 28 unique sculpts, no duplicates in the expansion! You can get your hands on Tactics Series IV right now, and we’ve got a look at the Starter Set as well as “mini brick” of six boosters.
As with other, smaller HeroClix expansion sets the Tactics ships come in single boosters, though in box form instead of foil bags. A display box holds two “mini bricks” of six boosters offering you the chances to pull commons, uncommons, and rares. As noted above the set has 28 ships, and there isn’t a duplicated sculpt among them. Even better, many of the ships that utilize sculpts seen in previous Tactics sets (at least all of the ones I’ve seen so far) feature new paint jobs with metallic accents, a new smoky translucent look for cloaked vessels, and more. That’s a really nice added bonus especially for those us who have more than a few of the ships from Tactics I-III. Here’s what I pulled in my mini brick:
002 3rd Wing Attack Ship
004 U.S.S. Lakota
018 Azati Prime
019 I.R.W. Gal Gath’thong
022 U.S.S. Enterprise
028 I.R.W. Vrax
First off, I clearly got really lucky with this set of boosters, so please don’t expect that every set of six will include two rare ships. That said, I was super happy with this spread! Hitting each briefly we’ve got: the Dominion Jem’Hadar 3rd Wing Attack Ship (new metallic paint, sculpt first appeared as 5th Wing Patrol Ship 6 in Tactics II) and Federation U.S.S. Lakota (new metallic paint, sculpt first appeared as U.S.S. Excelsior in Tactics I) from Deep Space Nine, Xindi Aquatic Azati Prime (sculpt new to Tactics) from Enterprise, Romulan I.R.W. Gal Gath’thong (sculpt new to Tactics) from The Original Series, Federation U.S.S. Enterprise (sculpt new to Tactics) from the modern “Kelvin Timeline” movies, and Romulan I.R.W. Vrax (new metallic paint, sculpt first appeared as I.R.W. Valdore in Tactics II) based on the Valdore-class seen in Star Trek: Nemesis.
I’m biased since I love spaceships and especially those from Star Trek, but I think these ships look great. With the exception of the Gal Gath’thong (a historically “smooth” ship from the old series) these figures are sculpted with a lot of intricate detail that varies nicely from the curving lines of the Azati Prime and 3rd Wing Attack Ship to the deep cuts on the saucer sections of the Federation ships and the segmented “feather” decorations on the Vrax. Each ship looks like it warped right off the screen, and there’s a nice variation in size from the relatively tiny Attack Ship and Gal Gath’thong to the huge Enterprise and the Vrax with its impressive wingspan. Colors pop from the metallic paint jobs with red and blue details on the silver Federation ships, different shades of blue on the Azati Prime, Vrax’s two-tone green, and the purple and blue of the Dominion. Meanwhile, representing several cloaked ships in the set is the Gal Gath’thong with a dark gray translucent plastic filled with metallic flakes (previous cloaked vessels in Tactics were straight up clear plastic).
Tactics ships have always been 100% compatible with standard HeroClix, so go ahead and have the Enterprise take on Superman. From what I’ve seen the figures here in Tactics IV are possibly the most translatable yet, not appearing to be overcosted for what you get. These six ships have super team building-friendly point costs: 75/75/100/125/125/150. As you’d expect all ships have the Fly symbol, while the Azati Prime and Enterprise are Indomitable. The now familiar Star Trek team abilities are back, with Federation, Dominion, and Romulan Star Empire represented here. Required card text is light and restricted; only the Azati Prime and Enterprise have traits and only the Enterprise has a special power! On the dials you’ll see a lot of Running Shot and Sidestep for maneuvering through space and shooting, while Energy Explosion, Penetrating/Psychic Blast, and Precision Strike represent torpedoes, phasers, and disruptors. Shields and heavy plating are translated into damage reducers, with Super Senses and Stealth on the cloaking vessels. There’s even some brutal up close fighting with the Charge and Exploit Weakness of the Attack Ship representing ramming attacks!
In addition to the booster set, Star Trek HeroClix players can pick up the Tactics Series IV Starter Set. It pits the Federation against the Romulans with four ships: U.S.S. Enterprise and U.S.S. Hood on one side and I.R.W. Vorta Vor and I.R.W. Algeron on the other. The set also comes with everything you need to learn and play HeroClix, notably the new rulebook and Powers and Abilities Card! There’s also the requisite tokens and objects, plus a pair of generic dice.
Of course you can’t play HeroClix without maps, and you’ll find not one but TWO double-sided maps here. The battlefields include the Battle of Chin’toka from Deep Space Nine, the Briar Patch from Star Trek: Insurrection, the Caretaker’s Array from Voyager, and the Mutara Nebula from Wrath of Khan. Each offers a unique outdoor theater of war, ranging from the huge construct taking up half the map on the Caretaker’s Array and a ring of hindering terrain Orbital Weapons Platforms around the planet to special rules-heavy Nebula (ships within it gain a defense bonus to being shot but suffer a penalty to range) and the Briar Patch (ships attacking from or being attacked in Metreon Particle squares suffer unavoidable damage rolling a 6 on a d6).
The big draw here, of course, are the ships. The film series U.S.S. Enterprise uses the sculpt first seen in the debut Tactics set on the U.S.S. Enterprise-A, but trades in the pale blue paint for metallic silver and hot blue, red, and yellow accents. Similarly the U.S.S. Hood (sculpt from Tactics I U.S.S. Excelsior) is silver with dark blue and red details, and it’s actually a different paint scheme than what you’ll see on the Tactics IV U.S.S. Lakota. On the Romulan front the I.R.W. Vorta Vor is the fully painted version of the booster set’s Gal Gath’thong (sculpt new to Tactics IV); here it’s a retro chrome with black and white portholes, orange nacelle tips, and the iconic feathered bird decoration on the ventral surface. Lastly the I.R.W. Algeron is the result of Romulans getting ship designs from the Klingons, and so uses the sculpt first seen on Tactics I’s Klothos, Gr’oth, and more. The Romulan version still has a green color scheme but adds a metallic twist that looks classic and yet distinctive from the Klingon ships.
Perfect for a Starter Set, both forces here add up to 200 points even, and none of the ships have traits or special powers. The ships are straightforward to learn and play, but that doesn’t mean they’re boring. They’re all flyers with a 7 range (number of targets vary), and only the Algeron is Indomitable. All of the ships have their respective factions’ team abilities except, oddly, the Hood. The Enterprise, Hood, and Algeron are mobile shooters with Sidestep, Running Shot, and Hypersonic Speed appearing on their dials along with Penetrating/Psychic Blast, Energy Explosion, and Precision Strike. Defenses include damage reducers and Willpower on the Federation ships while the Algeron is protected by Super Senses and Energy Shield/Deflection. Interestingly both the Enterprise and Algeron have some Probability Control, while the Hood changes things up with late-dial Telekinesis and Support. Meanwhile, the Vorta Vor has a different power set with some Stealth, Incapacitate, and Outwit.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this look at the Star Trek Tactics: Series IV Starter Set and a selection of boosters from WizKids Games. If you’ve been collecting the previous Tactics expansions you’re definitely going to want to get in on this one, and it’s also great for Star Trek fans who are newer to the game as well as players looking for something a little different on their teams. The ships look really great and distinct from previous sets, and they’re easy to add to teams. The Starter set particularly is solid for teaching/learning with its foursome of straightforward figures, and the maps are super cool! In addition to the booster set and Starter, there’s also a release day organized play kit offering alternate cards for two ships in the set, giving you different ways to play them (a first for HeroClix). You can get Tactics Series IV wherever HeroClix is sold, and as always head to the WizKids Info Network to find a participating venue near you. Good luck with your pulls and live long and prosper!
-Review and photos by Scott Rubin
-Review samples courtesy of WizKids Games