What’s better than blasting your opponents’ star fleet into sub-atomic dust? Doing it without taking any return fire, of course! But that’s easier said than done most of the time in miniatures gaming, including in X-Wing miniatures, but also especially in Star Trek: Attack Wing. The simultaneous movement phases, largely simultaneous combat, and universally equal firing ranges make it very difficult to arrange to be able to fire upon your opponent without them being able to fire back. Right now, your only options to do that are to fire first and score a kill, or completely outmaneuver your opponent with your initial maneuver, possibly assisted by having a 360-degree or rear firing arc thanks to a special ability or turret weapon. Y-Wings and Millennium Falcons can sometimes manage that in X-Wing, Borg and some Federation ships can also manage free shots thanks to their larger firing arcs or special abilities. What I want to discuss today is another method of avoiding incoming fire in both game systems; moving AFTER shooting.
My favorite X-Wing Miniatures ship released thus far is the TIE Interceptor. Fast and maneuverable, the Interceptor is tough enough on its’ own, but picking a named pilot that fits your battle plan makes the ship absolutely lethal. I tend to like Turr Phenirr, whose special ability is that he can take a boost or barrel roll action to move his ship after he attacks in the combat phase. This ability often lets him fire off his shot early in the round (PS 8 if I recall correctly, or perhaps PS 7), and then dance out of enemy firing arcs, hide behind asteroids, or even move beyond maximum range of the opponent’s guns. Pair that up with the Push the Limit talent, and he can follow that barrel roll with a boost (and vice-versa), or take a focus or evade action if you can’t avoid taking fire. Turr isn’t the only pilot that can pull these sorts of shenanigans; Jake Farrell, from the Rebel Aces expansion can potentially do similar tricks, as I’ve discussed previously in my Focus Factory Refit article.
Star Trek: Attack Wing doesn’t have an equivalent ability yet to allow you to move after shooting and avoid return fire, but there’s one coming, and you get some flexibility with it. Recently previewed on StarTrek.com, the Val Jean is an Independent ship with several really cool cards included. My group tends to play by Faction Pure rules, so the fact that these cards are Independent faction is a huge plus, as thanks to the Independent version of the Flagship resource cards from the Dominion War OP’s, any ship can be made dual faction between its’ original faction and Independent, and these cards become legal.
The two cards in particular that I’m most looking forward to out of this expansion are Chakotay and Tuvok. Chakotay allows you to use your action and take an auxiliary power token in order to take an extra movement, anything on your ship’s dial. Tuvok, on the other hand, lets you disable him after attacking in order to perform a speed 1 forward, bank, or turn maneuver.
So straight out of the box, Chakotay gives you lots of extra movement abilities and extreme positional advantage on any lower skill captains, and in some situations Tuvok can let you fly out of the opponent’s arc after you get your shot off. If you can increase your captain’s skill with something like an Admiral card and/or a Fleet Captain resource, those abilities get even better by happening later in the activation phase (more info available on where to make your second maneuver) and earlier in the combat phase (less incoming fire before taking your extra move).
Rather than attempting to move out of firing arc, an alternative use for Tuvok may be to run away from the opponent and get out of range. Unlike X-Wing, Attack Wing features many ships that can fire secondary weapons from their rear arc. Playing cleverly with captain Chakotay’s extra movements and flying away from your opponent, keeping the opponent in rear firing arc, I think it would be possible to ensure that you are either on the edge of range 3, or out of range entirely. If you’re out of range, no harm done, try again next turn. If you’re in range, fire those torpedoes and then use Tuvok’s ability to move almost a full range band away from your opponent!
The following build of the Federation Enterprise NX-01, ridiculous as it may be, will be the biggest pain to kill that your opponent faces for quite some time. This ship is is only legal as it is listed without faction purity rules in place, but would likely be just as effective with a couple less crew members and using the Independent Dominion flagship card instead (which makes the ship dual faction and gives a free target lock for your torpedoes). In its’ present form, my hurried math is right (my usual list builder is bugged at the moment and I was in a hurry to finish this article), it checks in at 58 points including the resource card attached. That gives you enough just points in a standard game to add on a relatively spartan bruiser-type ship, such as Voyager helmed by Picard, or a mostly naked Borg Sphere.
NX-01 “Tactical Retreat”
Enterprise NX-01 – 16
Chakotay – 5 (Val Jean)
Fleet Captain Ind./Klingon – 5 (Collective OP 2 participation)
Cheat Death – 5 (USS Enterprise)
Superior Intellect – 1 (USS Reliant)
Adm. James T. Kirk – 5 (USS Enterprise Refit)
Tuvok – 3 (Val Jean)
Hikaru Sulu – 2 (USS Enterprise)
Pavel Chekov – 2 (USS Reliant)
Elizabeth Shelby – 1 (USS Voyager)
Sakonna – 2 (Gavroche, The Collective blind booster)
Tom Paris – 3 (USS Voyager)
Photon Torpedoes – 3 (Starter Set)
Photon Torpedoes – 3 (USS Voyager)
Tactical Station – 2 (USS Stargazer, Collective OP 3 Prize)
Enhanced Hull Plating – 0 (Enterprise NX-01)
The whole idea is to keep your opponent behind you at range 3, fire your torpedoes, then use Tuvok’s extra movement to get out of range. Combining Admiral Kirk with the Fleet Captain gives a total captain skill of 9 for Chakotay, so there are very few captains who will shoot before you can get your extra move.
When somebody does get a shot at you, with 4 base evade dice, staying at at range 3 at all times, and using Sulu and Shelby as needed, you’re rolling 5-8 defense dice at a time, with some re-rolls and conversions available. For anything that gets through that, you can use the Enhanced Hull Plating to absorb up to two hits per attack at the cost of auxiliary tokens. If a lucky shot does get damage through, you’ve got Cheat Death available to bring you back to life.This is the toughest ship you’ll ever see with only 3 hull points.
Those auxiliary tokens are going to be added to by Chakotay’s extra movements, but not as many as you would think. Since Pavel Chekov doesn’t have any form of limit in uses per turn, if you use Chakotay’s action to take a white maneuver, the added auxiliary token should essentially bounce right off (ruling pending).
The “Tactical Retreat” won’t alpha-strike anyone right off of the table, but given time it can do some serious damage with those torpedoes, and it won’t go down easily. Once all the included pieces have been released, I look forward to bringing this out and just seeing the look on my opponents face as I spread out all the upgrades packed on to this one little ship.
– The Tabletop General