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Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Star Trek Attack Wing: A board-game review

Hello space fans! Today's post is all about Star Trek Attack Wing, a game I recently received as a birthday present! The game took some getting used to, but once I was familiar with the rules, I had a lot of fun!

Star Trek Attack Wing works within the same system as other "attack wing" games and runs on the HeroClix mechanic, published by WizKids. Basically, these games involve a set of miniatures with special abilities and it is up to the players to accomplish some objective and/or defeat the other players.

In this game, each player is in charge of a spaceship, or faction, from either the Federation, the Klingon Empire, or the Romulan Empire. That being said, the player will then be able to earn captains, crew, other ships, and special abilities based on whatever faction they've chosen.

The Quick Start rules are pretty simple. The objective is to destroy the other ships. You do this by moving your ship to locations which more effectively overcome the limitations of your ship's range and firing arc.

Each ship model is perched on a little stand, with information below including your ship's maneuverability, firing range, and spread of weapon effectiveness. The most interesting aspect of the game involves the FlightPath maneuvering system. Each spaceship has a limited number of ways it can move. For example: the Federation ship can reverse, whereas the Klingon ships cannot. The Klingons are a more aggressive species and thus their ships have more aggressive abilities.

To move your ship, you select how you want your ship to move by turning a dial to the right location. Then, you pick out the piece of cardboard (curved or straight with the distance you've chosen to travel) which matches your selection, and you move your ship along it. It is very interesting because it standardizes movement and can allow ships to pass right by each other. Since each player chooses their move secretly, you never quite know how good of a choice your move will be beforehand.

Some people have mocked Star Trek combat in the shows/movies because it is not as fluid or fast-paced as other science fiction combat. This is because the combat in the Star Trek universe is best imagined as submarine combat, where your enemy could be anywhere and the strategy is often slow, and all about out-maneuvering your opponent.

The FlightPath system captures this quite well and my friend and I really enjoyed trying to out-maneuver the other. One of us thought we had a good move, and the other would slip past us, we thought we would escape but instead we moved deeper into the trap. It was fantastic fun!

After trying out the Quick Start rules, my friend and I wanted to play the advanced game. This was easier said than done. The advanced rule-book is close to 40 pages long, and there were many aspects which were unfamiliar even to our nerdy selves. It took us probably an hour of straight reading just to become familiar with the rules. Now, when it comes to most things, especially new games, my friend and I can move quite slowly and methodically just to make sure we understand everything beforehand, but still, it is a serious obstacle to the interested, but novice, attack wing gamer.

Finally, we had figured everything out and we gave it a try. The advanced rules give you access to a Captain, Crew, and special weapons and abilities. Each turn is more complex, adding benefits, conditions, and more strategy. For example, in the simple game, all we could do was move and shoot, but in the advanced game, I could scan an area, my friend could cloak, I would lock onto a target giving me greater chances of success, and we could fire secondary weapons.

For added difficulty, we set up a couple of in-game obstacles such as an alien ship, an alien planet, and an asteroid field. These were simply in the way to make the board a little more interesting than a clear table.

Trekkies, or Trekkers will especially find the game fun as everything is described within the Star Trek universe. Raising shields, loading photon torpedoes, cloaking, going to Red Alert, my friend and I found we were shouting orders like the best commanders in Starfleet on each turn!

In an epic showdown, my friend cloaked his ship and moved around the back of the planet. Now, you cannot actually hide the ship, but cloaking means it is more difficult for me to target him and he gets extra, secret, maneuverability which makes the cloak a very effective device. My friend swung around the side of the planet and just as he thought he would take me by surprise, I pulled full reverse on the ship, swinging around bringing our ships face-to-face. In what would have made Captain Kirk or Commander Riker proud, we fired all of our weapons, the Klingon ship was destroyed and my Federation ship lived, barely, to fight another day. The game moved slowly at first but built up to an amazingly fast and fun final combat!

Star Trek Attack Wing is a game with a lot of room for add-ons. The Quick Start rules are simple enough and fun for the truly novice gamer, and while the advanced rules are quite complex, they provide a more dynamic and strategic gaming experience. Plus, we only played with the Starter set. There are other sets, for other factions and ships, and a player may be able to find themselves acting more like a Commodore or Admiral, commanding entire legions of ships. There are additional rules for completing Missions which allow for a more in-depth gaming experience and seemed like a lot of fun! If any of this sounds like fun to you, I suggest you go try it out! If you've ever wanted to try your hand at commanding a starship, this is a good start!

Thanks for reading!

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