ADVANCED LOOK: WizKids Games Star Trek HeroClix Tactics
Clix game takes to the stars with Trek's Federation and Klingons...
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2011 was a year of new licenses for WizKids, with the HeroClix lineup adding Street Fighter, Gears of War, Lord of the Rings, and a revamped Halo. Even more exciting for science-fiction fans and spaceship aficionados, WizKids released two Star Trek board games: Expeditions and Fleet Captains. Then came the big announcement that Star Trek would be coming to HeroClix! Due out in February is the new starship combat game Star Trek HeroClix: Tactics! Today we’ve got an exclusive look at some of these great new game pieces.
One of the best things about HeroClix for me is that the game elements double as collectible, displayable figures. Tactics brings that same quality to Star Trek, a license that’s been severely under-represented in recent years when it comes to small-scale spaceship toys. Long after the Micro Machines line ended, collectors were primarily left with importing toys from Japan or settling for ornaments or brief offerings like the Matchbox or Johnny Lightning vessels. Of a similar size to the Micro Machines, the standard of small-scale spaceships, Tactics ships are a great way to collect the coolest elements in Star Trek!
Not exactly a HeroClix expansion, Tactics is instead its own game that’s 100% compatible with the standard HeroClix core rules system making it easy to pick up and play. Other Star Trek miniatures games have been incredibly complicated, with intricate rules and equations. Tactics instead offers a fast-paced combat experience as perfected by the HeroClix system. Just like any character from DC, Marvel, etc., each Starfleet or Klingon (more races may come later) ship is attached to a clicking base with information on the top as well as progressing statistics and powers on the dial inside. All of the symbols and colors are the same as in HeroClix, and the powers work in the same ways. Of course, since the game is not yet officially available we’ll have to wait until the actual rulebook comes out to get the full picture.
Star Trek Tactics will come in two distinct products. The first is a four-ship Starter Pack (Enterprise-A, Rhode Island, Rotarran, Bortas) that includes rules, powers and abilities card, maps, and dice. To really build up your Federation and Klingon Empire forces though you’ll need to hit your local comic book or game store to find the countertop displays. Each display contains twelve single-booster boxes, blind packed so each one will be a surprise. There are 28 ships in the set, with the usual breakdown of Commons, Uncommons, and Rares.
In my countertop display, which may or may not be representative of the average, there was the following breakdown:
001 Common U.S.S. Defiant
002 Common I.K.S. Somraw
003 Common U.S.S. Yeager
004 Common U.S.S. Equinox
005 Common I.K.S. Ch’Tang
007 Common I.K.S. Korinar
011 Uncommon I.K.S. Klothos
013 Uncommon I.K.S. Maht-H’a
016 Uncommon I.K.S. T’Ong
020 Uncommon U.S.S. Hood
021 Rare I.K.S. Kronos One
026 Rare U.S.S. Reliant
All of the ships in Star Trek Tactics come from either the Federation or the Klingon Empire, but beyond that they span the entire series from the Enterprise-A (in the Starter Set) to the Enterprise-E (a Rare ship in the booster set). Likewise the Klingons are represented by the earliest Raptor-class Somraw from the show Enterprise, various Birds of Prey, Vor’Cha-class attack cruisers, and more. The ships revealed thus far are all repaints of those included in last year’s Fleet Captains game (which came unpainted). As usual with Star Trek products, and indeed from the property itself, there are multiple ships in the same class, which translates to shared sculpts.
The ships themselves are about two inches long and not really in scale with each other (again, similar to the Micro Machines of yesteryear). The sculpts are very good with intricate, fine details including the radiating pattern on the saucer section of the Hood, the rows of escape pod hatches on the Yeager, phaser banks on many of the Federation ships, and of course the deeply layered patterning on the Klingon vessels!
Even better, and truly outstanding when compared with the Fleet Captains miniatures, are the paint jobs on the Tactics ships. The calm grays and blues of the Federation are accented by tons of details accurate to the shows and movies with blue and red on nacelles, differently colored deflector dishes, orange sensor pallets, yellow logos, and more. The artists even went the extra mile to include the name and registry on every single ship, in some cases so small you practically need a magnifying glass to read them! Meanwhile on the Klingon side the ships feature a range of base colors in different shades of green and gray with details in brown (wing structures on the Birds of Prey), yellow (patterns on the Maht-H’a), red (impulse engines and on the Birds of Prey bridge outlines and underside “plumage”), and blue (details on the Somraw).
As previously noted, each ship’s base looks just like any other HeroClix figure with the wing symbol for flying movement, fist symbol for attack, shield symbol for defense, starburst symbol for damage, a number for range, and lightning bolt symbols for number of targets. Needless to say, all of the vessels are flyers, and ranges among my ships go from 5 on the Maht-H’a to 8 on several vessels (with only the Defiant, Somraw, and Klothos having dual targeting). Indomitable, preventing pushing damage, seems to be pretty well represented in this set and appears on the Equinox, Maht-H’a, Hood, and Kronos One. Tactics introduces new Team Abilities which appear on most of the ships thus far (the U.S.S. Reliant is a notable exception and makes sense since it was commandeered by Khan and his Augments); Federation grants a bonus to defense when attacked by a ship with action tokens, and Klingon Empire buffs all remaining ships temporarily when one is destroyed. Meanwhile, the Tactics ships utilize the same keywords system adding Federation, Klingon, Flagship, and Augment while utilizing the traditional Soldier, Warrior, Scientist, Spy, etc. Finally, team building is a snap with standardized point costs. All of the ships revealed thus far clock in at either 50, 75, 100, 125, or 150 points!
In terms of powers, the Tactics ships use the exact same ones that appear in any HeroClix game with flavor text on their cards to explain their specific uses. For example, Kronos One uses “Prepare for Boarding!” (Charge) to get in close while the Yeager’s maneuverability is described by “Up and Over!” (Leap/Climb). Speed powers include lots of what you’d expect in Running Shot (“Full Speed on Target”) and Stealth (“Cloaked”) with some Hypersonic Speed (“Warp Speed Tactics”), Phasing/Teleport (“Long-Range Infiltration”), Leap/Climb, Charge, and even a little Plasticity (“Graviton Anchors”).
Attack powers include feature Energy Explosion (“Proton Torpedoes”) and Penetrating/Psychic Blast (“Disruptor Strike”) plus a smattering of Steal Energy (“Outpost Raiders”), Smoke Cloud (“Cloaking Field”), Blades/Claws/Fangs (“Bat’leths at the Ready”), Quake (“Set up Multiple Boarding Parties, Riker”), Pulse Wave (“I Spit My Last Breath at Thee”), and Poison (“Destroy All Life”).
Defensively many of the ships have Toughness (“Deflector Shields”) or Invulnerability (“Ablative Armor”) while cloaked vessels often have Super Senses (“Cloaking Device”); other powers include Energy Shield/Deflection (“Angle Deflectors!”), Combat Reflexes (“Prepare for Boarding!”), Willpower (“We Are Klingons!”), Regeneration (“Cryogenic Rejuvenation”), Barrier (“Extend Shields”), and even a little Mastermind (“Protect the Chancellor!”)! Damage tracks see some Perplex (“X.O. Worf’s Tactics”), Shape Change (“Let’s Not Be Where They’re Firing, Okay?”), Exploit Weakness (“Merciless”), Outwit (“Breaking the Prime Directive”), Ranged Combat Expert (“Target Critical Systems!”), Enhancement (“General Martok’s Orders”), and even a little Close Combat Expert (“Augmented Boarding Party”). Out of twelve ships here only one has a Special Power (U.S.S. Hood with a powerful Support ability) while two have Traits (I.K.S. Kronos One that grants itself or an adjacent Klingon the Masters of Evil Team Ability feature and the awesomely named “Ceti Eels” on the U.S.S. Reliant that allows a free use of Mind Control!).
Star Trek Tactics is going to appeal to a lot of different groups, from HeroClix players looking for something new to fans of tabletop spaceship combat games, collectors of small-scale Star Trek ships, and more. The Federation and Klingon vessels look great whether they’re fighting on a map or assembled in fleets on your shelf, and it’ll be a challenge to collect them all. Each single-ship blind booster will retail for approximately $4.99, and should be available in comic book and game stores on February 1st. Stores also have the opportunity to purchase an “organized play” kit for Tactics including a limited edition ship and maps! For more information check out heroclix.com.
Review and Photos by Scott Rubin
Review Samples Courtesy of WizKids Games