Title: Star Trek: Attack Wing
Release Date: August 2103
Publisher: WizKids Games
Recommended Age: 14 and older
Playing Time: 30 minutes (or more)
Pros: Cool look, fast game, hobby shop support
Cons: A little complicated, plays better if you buy more
Star Trek: Attack Wing is yet another game set in the Star Trek universe. Unlike Star Trek Catan, Attack Wing is set in the Next Generation universe, and is focused around a more exciting topic: space battles. As a miniatures game, a player is expected to buy more than just what’s in the box, which is merely just a “starter kit.” It contains the minimum necessary for a playable game, but fans may as well buy a booster pack or two right away.
Pick a ship
The Star Trek: Attack Wing starter set comes with three ships, representing the Federation, the Klingons, and the Romulans (I guess they really needed a third faction). Unless you’ve got two friends, you’ll be playing a ship versus ship game. In addition to a ship, you also have to choose a captain and other things, if you use the optional point system. Naturally the Federation is represented by Picard (and possibly crew members), with the other factions somewhat less famously represented. The starter set is balanced, however, any ship has a fair chance against any other.
Players generally start on opposite sides of the Star Trek: Attack Wing “board” (i.e., wherever you’re playing). Players secretly determine what their ship is going to do, subject to the maneuverability and auxiliary power of the ship–it’s the same movement system used by Fantasy Flight Games in their air combat games. It’s an ok system, but every turn you’re reaching for a movement board, and, strangely enough, there’s no option to simply “not move”–while fighter planes must keep moving, it really seems like space ships should have an easier time of it. I can forgive the 2-dimensional combat, but I’m sure Picard called out “all stop” once or twice, and I’d like to as well.
After the move, and after combat orders are given, if an enemy ship is in a firing arc, the player can fire his weapons. Again, with only one enemy ship, players are somewhat motivated to sit and blast away at each other, but with several ships in play, planning a move that avoids being shot at while also allowing an attack becomes a bit more important.
In a word, “Fire!”
To attack, a ship rolls special 8-sided dice, marked with various symbols. The diamond shaped results are hits; the explosion symbol is a critical hit (special damage), the circled symbol is “battle stations”, which counts as a hit if the player’s ship is on battle stations (as opposed to evade, scan, cloak, or other options). The defending ship rolls defensive dice, cancelling hits based on “evade” symbols (as shown); a battle stations roll on defense also cancels hits. Each hit will cancel a shield, past which the ship takes hull damage. Compared to the movement system, it’s simple enough.
A ship that takes enough hits to match its hull (usually four or five) is destroyed, and critical hits generated an extra effect. The Klingon ship pictured has 3 hits, one of which is a critical; two more hits (the yellow grid is hull rating) will destroy the ship.
Very basic, ship-on-ship action
Overall, Star Trek: Attack Wing works, but “out of the box” is definitely lacking. It’s ship on ship combat, with few real options to do anything beyond move in close and blast away. You can try to outmaneuver your one opponent, but generally you’re as likely to set up a shot as give up a shot, making it not much of an option. An older game, Star Fleet Battles, also covers Star Trek space combat, and just does a better job of creating a game that feels like Star Trek. That said, Star Trek: Attack Wing does look better, and probably is a more interesting game once you get more ships and other pieces to play with. Luckily, WizKids is already cranking out additional ships to buy, and you can get special ships if you play (and you should play!) games at your local participating hobby shop.
Product Page [Wizkids]