Red alert! Raise shields! WizKids has released a tactical space combat game worthy of the Star Trek franchise with Star Trek: Attack Wing. I had the opportunity to get a few games in with Daniel over at Big Easy Comics and we had a really fun time. For those of you familiar with the X-Wing miniatures game from Fantasy Flight Games, Attack Wing will certainly feel and play like the same game. As it should, as WizKids has licensed the "Flight Path" game rules from FFG. This is a great rules set that has been adapted to many genres, and focuses on dogfight style aerial combat, as evident in the WWI aerial combat game Wings of War. Fantasy Flight did an excellent job of translating those rules into the Star Wars universe. So how well did WizKids do?
Pretty darn good.
In the game, players assign maneuvers to their fleet, activate their ships in an ascending initiative order and perform an Action if able, and then combat ensues. The game uses templates of various distance ranges and angles to position a ship, which requires some finesse and second guessing of your opponent to line up and attack vector. Combat is then resolved in descending initiative order, thus allowing ships that moved last to fire first, if they have a target. Once a target is in a ship's firing arc and within range of its weapons, the player rolls a number of 8 sided Attack dice as determined by the ship or any weapon upgrade cards. Once the number of critical and normal hits have been determined, the target rolls a number of 8 sided Agility (Defense) to negate the hits. Any hits that are not negated get through and either deplete the ship's shield value or are applied directly to the ship's hull. Once a ship's hull points are reduced to zero, the ship is destroyed.
Unsurprisingly, I can't help but compare the two games to one another. They both have their strengths and weaknesses, but in the end these are very minor and do not detract from the enjoyment of playing. I really enjoyed how evocative the game is of the television series. Indeed, this is one of the games strengths: the sheer amount of lore and star ships WizKids can draw on. There are already 8 expansion ships available! Component wise, the game is acceptable if not unimpressive. The ships themselves are great sculpts, but the paint jobs leave a lot to be desired, especially when compared to the FFG miniatures. The WizKids painting is very Mage Knight-y. The card design and layout is great, but the imagery is stock photos we have all seen before. I think this is a missed opportunity. It would have been great to see some new art or images here. However, the rest of the game is decent and worth the price.
Customizing your fleet is one of the best aspects of the game. Your ship's effectiveness is determined by her captain, her crew, and any upgrades you may purchase. Again, great flavor and translation here. The powers the fleets have access to depends on your faction. For example, I loved how Attack Wing handles the Cloaking ability. So simple, yet a perfect representation of the technology translated into game mechanics. The Klingons and Romulans have access to cloaking ships, and a ship firing from cloak is dealing death!
Game play is engaging and fun. Not overly complicated (or at all once you play your first few games) but there are enough tactical layers there to make Attack Wing worth the price of admission. For the same reasons I love X-Wing, dogfighting in space is very immersing. However, I feel there is a slight disconnect here as the rules were meant for smaller, one man craft, not enormous capital ships. It did feel odd trying to bring my Valdore around to line up her front arc. But, this mechanic is one of the games strengths, as planning and thinking ahead (and even second guessing your opponent) are paramount when executing a tactic.
In short, if you are a fan of Star Trek, you should go out and purchase Star Trek Attack Wing. If you are a fan of aerial dogfighting combat games, go out and purchase Star Trek Attack Wing. If you are a fan of both, you really are doing yourself a disservice if you do not own this game. Go out and purchase Star Trek Attack Wing!
Star Trek Attack Wing is published by Wiz Kids with a MSRP of $39.99 for the Starter Box and $14.99 for the Expansion Packs.
Strength and Honor,