-Review and photos by Scott Rubin
If you’ve been checking out all of our recent Star Trek Attack Wing reveals and reviews but still haven’t given the game a try, now is your big chance. That’s because WizKids is about to release a brand new entry product for the game that provides you with everything you need to play plus four ships in the two most popular factions with the Star Trek Attack Wing Federation vs. Klingons Starter Set! This big box will catapult your tabletop to the distant future of Gene Roddenberry’s great work, though while the game covers Trek of all eras this starter brings you ships specifically from The Next Generation. Today we’re going to boldly go take a look at the new set and break down its contents so you can decide if you’re ready to go where no one has gone before!
At first glance the new starter looks a lot like the old one. It’s packaged in the same style window box with blue star field background, U.S.S. Enterprise-D image on the front cover, and lots of familiar fonts and iconography. As with the recently released Faction Packs, however, this box is also emblazoned with the specific logos of the Federation and Klingon Empire to represent the ships within it. Through the window at the bottom of the front panel you can see the four included ships. Flip the box around to see a description of Star Trek Attack Wing, some sample cards from the set, a simplified example of gameplay, and a full list of its components.
Speaking of components, inside the starter you’ll find a ton of game pieces. Besides the ships (we’ll get to those in a minute), there are the game’s unique red attack and green defense dice, damage cards, mission objective tokens, range ruler, maneuver templates, rule book, quick start instructions, every kind of token you need to play in general and specifically for the included ships, maneuver dials, ship, captain, and upgrade cards, and more. All of the cardboard components and cards are strong and crisp, with great printed artwork and graphics.
While the initial Star Trek Attack Wing Starter Set was a lot of fun for multiple new players with its three ships from three different factions, this one has both more miniatures and a tighter focus. The Federation gets new versions of the U.S.S. Enterprise-D (Galaxy Class) and U.S.S. Sutherland (Nebula Class), while the Klingons add to their ranks the I.K.S. Vorn (K’vort Class) and K’mpec’s Attack Cruiser (Vor’cha Class). All of these sculpts have been in the game, and indeed WizKids’ other Star Trek games, for a while now, but they still look really nice with tons of small details and the distinctive shapes we love from their appearances on the shows and beyond. The Enterprise is dominated by its huge saucer section while the Sutherland brackets its own with underslung engineering hull and warp nacelles and top-mounted triangular module; both ships have intricately sculpted phaser arrays, bridge modules, escape pod hatches, deflector dishes, and more. Meanwhile the Klingon vessels have predatory shapes with the familiar Bird of Prey lines of the Vorn with wing-mounted disruptors held low, and K’mpec’s Attack Cruiser’s blunt forward section and sweeping wings. All of the ships in this set feature the new metallic paint schemes as seen on recent Attack Wing releases. The Federation ships have a burnished silver finish with blue, red, black, white, and gold accents, while the Klingon vessels appear in various shades of metallic green with red highlights. Like all Attack Wing miniatures each of these comes with a rectangular base, two lengths of posts, and a double-sided tile to represent which version of the ship you’re playing.
As in the previous version of Attack Wing you and your opponent will begin by setting a point total for your game. Each player then selects a ship or ships and decides whether to play it as a generic class vessel or the higher cost named version. Next, add a Captain to your force; both factions here come with multiple captain options, all named characters with special abilities. On the Federation side these include the 8 skill Jean-Luc Picard who can give out Battle Stations tokens to his ship and nearby allies, 6 skill William T. Riker who protects his crew or those on an ally’s ship, and 4 skill Data who can shut down an enemy’s cloak. The Klingon options are 6 skill Duras who can utilize Romulan Elite Talents and brings surprises, the surprisingly defensive 5 skill K’mpec, and the unique 4 skill double-sided Lursa/B’Etor card that you can flip each round for an offensive or defensive buff. Once you pick your Captain you add his or her icon to the base of your ship.
Finally, add Upgrade cards (which type you can play are determined by the ship and captain) until you meet the point total for the game or get as close as you can. 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 130 points, and the Starter rule book offers pre-made teams of 39/42 points to get you started. For example, the Federation force consists of the Enterprise-D that’s so tough it lowers the strength of attacks against it, Captain Jean-Luc Picard, the Miles O’Brien Crew Upgrade (to get your disabled Weapons or Tech back in action), the Photon Torpedoes Weapon Upgrade for heavier firepower, and the Exocomp Tech Upgrade for repairing damage. Meanwhile the pre-built Klingon force is K’mpec aboard his Attack Cruiser (that can supply Battle Stations tokens to nearby allies) plus the Worf Crew Upgrade (makes his ship hit harder when it’s cloaked) and the Today Is a Good Day to Die Elite Talent that for one turn converts all regular hits into critical hits!
Of course there’s plenty more content (and two more ships!) for bigger games outside of the sample scenario. The U.S.S. Sutherland is also defensive, canceling one regular hit against it when defending, while the I.K.S. Vorn gets bonus attack dice when firing on its enemies at close and medium ranges. Other upgrade cards include the Make It So Elite Talent allowing a ship to perform two actions instead of one, the good doctor Beverly Crusher who re-activates or resurrects a previously used Crew upgrade, Geordi La Forge who can coax a bit more (or less) speed out of your chosen maneuver at the last second, the gambler’s Blood Oath Elite Talent that pits opposing captains in a roll-off game of death, a powerful Disruptor Cannon Weapon Upgrade, Klingon Crew Upgrades like the Bekk who can convert a hit into a critical hit and Toral who converts a Battle Stations roll into an evasion, and more.
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 Planning for movement. For each ship in your fleet (one if you’re playing the Starter’s suggested roster) 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, its captain, and its upgrades. 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.
As you can see the basics of Star Trek Attack Wing are very straightforward, while the huge diversity of ships, Captains, and Upgrades make each session unique the game infinitely replayable. Even in this box you can play around with different builds on the four ships and the included elements, perfecting your Federation and Klingon fleets. Then of course there are years’ worth of Attack Wing expansions to collect, mixing and matching ships and cards and delving into the many other factions of the game. You can even go for the “fleet in a box” options with the new Faction Packs. 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 and come with expansions. 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.
This new, updated, and expanded Star Trek Attack Wing Federation vs. Klingons Starter Set hits stores in just one week, beaming into your local comic book or game store on December 27th. It has an MSRP of $44.99, which gets you all of the content we’ve been looking at including the four ships with the new metallic finishes that look great and everything you need to play the game no matter what other expansions you eventually add to your fleets. Attack Wing is a super fun game that’s perfect for fans of Star Trek as well as anyone interested in fleet engagements with customizable capital ships. This winter we’re also getting Star Trek Deep Cuts Unpainted Miniatures, sculpts from the Attack Wing line that you can paint and detail as you like, so look for those coming soon. 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