Everybody has an off-night from time to time, where nothing goes right, luck isn’t on your side, and you don’t truly your hobby. Last night was that night for me, as I had a quasi-successful but unsatisfying night of Star Trek: Attack Wing to wrap up a long and stressful day. The bad day in and of itself was work related, and it had me mentally fried before leaving the office late, arriving at the venue for this particular organized play session late, without having eaten anything, and only half prepared for Resistance is Futile OP2.
For those new to the site and to Attack Wing OP play, you can check out my summary of the Resistance is Futile Scenarios, but the high level briefing of this month’s event is that players are intended to bring two separate fleets, one Borg, one Rebel (non-Borg), and all pairings will have a Borg and a Rebel fleet facing off against each other, with the intent of playing each at least once. Great concept, mediocre rule system to support it: a 1-point per card discount heavily favors the rebels with their cheaper and more plentiful cards; but this night may have ended up proving how overpowered the Borg are in being able to overcome that advantage.
Many players don’t enjoy the Borg being a part of the game, feeling as if they unbalance things too much, so not everyone has a Borg fleet available. But as far as I’m aware, 7 of the 8 players present in this venue had Borg to use, and the 8th player only had to use their “Borg” fleet once. Overall for this event, there were 11 games played (traffic caused a first round bye), and Borg won 8 of those 11, or 8/10 if you toss out the game in which the “Borg” fleet had no Borg in it. With a 10-20 point advantage for the Rebel fleets depending on fleet designs, and all fleets being built with the knowledge that their opponent will most likely be using Borg, to have only beaten a true Borg force twice is surprising in a generally solid of a group of players; and I can give a first hand account of how those two wins happened. At this point, my Borg will be going on the shelf for any events that I’m comfortable playing anything else; I can’t lie to myself and say they are suitable for casual or semi-competitive play; I value winning as much as any competitive gamer, but I don’t have any use for an auto-win button.
As to my experiences in particular yesterday, I scrambled to assemble my two lists in time for the event’s start. My Borg list was a 3rd rendition of the Simple Shape Steamroller list, modified slightly at the last minute when I found that this venue granted the 1 point discount on ships as well as on their upgrades (note that this is NOT the general case, as per the this entry on the Wizkids rules forum). My Rebel fleet combined the heavy defenses of an Enterprise E led by the obvious Elizabeth Shelby with some of new and shiny Mirror Universe toys with potential for several high powered attacks, along with the game’s first taunt mechanic.
Simple Shape Steamroller, v3
Borg Sphere – 38 (37)
Drone – 0
Pre-discount total: 127
I wanted to run a “free” 1 point Tactical Drone from Scout Cube 608 as the captain on the 3rd ship, but was unable to find one for sale. Without the 1 point discount on ships, I would have used the same Tactical Drone from the Borg Sphere on the first two ships rather than the Queen.
Rebels Without Causes
Resource: Flagship Independent (Romulan) (10)
USS Enterprise-D- 28 (27) (Assimilation Target Prime OP Prize)
William T. Riker- 4 (3) (Assimilation Target Prime OP Prize)
Rebellion – 5 (4) (ISS Defiant)
Julian Bashir -2 (1) (ISS Defiant)
Tasha Yar – 2 (1) (ISS Defiant)
Quantum Torpedoes – 6 (5) (Assimilation Target Prime OP Prize)
Fire All Weapons – 7 (6) (Assimilation Target Prime OP Prize)
Dorsal Weapons Array – 2 (1) (Prakesh Resistance is Futile booster)
USS Enterprise-E – 32 (31)
Flagship Independent (Romulan) – 10
Jean-Luc Picard (+1 Tech version) – 5 (4) (USS Enterprise-E)
Attack Pattern Omega – 3 (2) (USS Defiant)
Adm. Maxwell Forrest – 3 (2) (Enterprise NX-01)
Elizabeth Shelby – 2 (1) (USS Yeager Collective booster)
Hikaru Sulu – 3 (2) (Constitution class Enterprise)
Tom Paris – 4 (3) (from the USS Voyager)
Dorsal Phaser Array – 7 (6) (USS Enterprise-E)
Tactical Station – 4 (3) (Stargazer OP Prize)
Multi-Adaptive Shields – 5 (4) (USS Raven OP Prize)
Enhanced Hull Plating – 4 (3) (Enterprise NX-01)
Pre-discount total: 138
The idea with this list was to approach slowly and make players fight the Enterprise-D first. The Enterprise E is a beast when fully equipped, especially with Shelby’s bonus against Borg, but it can’t always stand up to a full fleet of firepower (the law of averages eventually shows up) and doesn’t pump out enough attack dice on its’ own to guarantee that it will outrun everything that the opponent throws at it in a DPS competition. Unless it can borrow Admiral Forrest’s action to turn back in to the fight a little faster, the Enterprise-D’s poor maneuver dial combined with the lack of a reliable out-of-arc shot means that it will do most of the damage it’s going to do on the initial pass. Julian Bashir and Rebellion combine nicely to minimize the damage it will take, but force the opponent to shoot there first, or Bashir can be saved to force a shot to be wasted later on in the match. This means that the Enterprise E should still have shields and be free of Auxiliary Power Tokens during the heaviest combat, allowing it to do its’ work properly.
In round 1, I was randomly assigned to play my Rebel fleet against… (insert drumroll here)… Nobody! With traffic detaining our eighth player until round 2, I received a bye in this round, which at this venue is good for a “win” with a score equal to the average of the 3 winners’ scores. So I took this opportunity to snap a few photos, decompress a bit, and work on my battle report for the previous day’s event.
Sooner or later, everybody runs up against a hard counter. Sooner or later, karma comes around and bites you. This was my turn for both. Having been designated “Rebel” the previous round, I was now to play my Borg against a Rebel list consisting of two Sovereign class ships built to go Borg hunting.
USS Enterprise E, Independent Romulan Flagship, Picard (8, tech), Independent Flagship (Fed), Tom Paris, Hikaru Sulu, Elizabeth Shelby, Multi Adaptive Shields, Ablative Hull Plating, Dorsal Phaser Array, Tactical Stations, Cheat Death
Sovereign Class, Mr Spock, Dimitri Valtane, B’Elanna Torres, Dorsal Phaser Array, Photon Torpedoes, Transwarp Drive
This one was ugly. Spock was an easy kill; with no defensive upgrades he was knocked out in a single round of shooting. But I lost my Octahedron on the next turn of combat before it could fire again, and then you’re looking at a souped-up E ready for exactly what it was designed to kill (2 full health Borg ships) that had none of the possible tricks to bust the defenses (Borg Missiles, Crosis, Assimilation Tubules, Magnetometric Guided Charges, etc). I had been trying to run this list so lean and efficiently that I hadn’t included protection against hard counters when I had the points available.
I tried and failed to maneuver to Range 3 and out of primary arc, as my opponent guessed every move I made. The same goes for when I tried to block his movements and deny his actions. To make matters worse, I couldn’t buy a decent attack roll. The odds on a single attack die to roll a hit or critical hit being 50%, 75% with a target lock reroll or equivalent ability, I was managing at most three hits per attack out of six dice (I think the true average was around 20-25%). Dice get hot, dice get cold, it’s part of the game. But when the opponent is rolling 7-8 defense dice with rerolls and conversions available, I wasn’t busting through anything. I destroyed two out of his six shield tokens before my Borg were wiped off the board.
Both matchmaking and setup took forever in this event thanks to the complexity of the lists and scoring, so for this event which was scheduled to start at 6PM, the 3rd of the 50 minute rounds began at approximately 10:30PM. Being tired, hungry, frustrated from the previous match, and assuming I was well out of the running at this point, I found myself assigned to play as Borg again against the Rebel list from Table 1 in Round 1. My summary of his list is purely from memory, as I was running on auto-pilot and didn’t get a photo of his cards or make notes of the list.
Nova class, Khan (8), Photon Torpedoes, Joachim, Attack Pattern Omega
Enterprise-D, Kirk (9), Photon Torpedoes, Cheat Death, Transwarp Drive
Bioship Alpha, Bioship Alpha Pilot, Montgomery Scott, The Weak Will Perish
Again, I was on mental autopilot here, and I didn’t give the Bioship the respect it deserved – Scotty plus The Weak Will Perish makes for an eight die attack with a double re-roll! Fortunately, the Borg Shuffle, as I’m semi-affectionately calling my shell game performed with my Borg to keep making the healthier ones looking like easier targets, did its’ job here, and the incoming damage from the opposing fleet was spread across several of my ships. There were some interesting tools in the opponent’s list, but he’s still learning to use them and some of the finer points of the game like focusing fire and how various cards and ships interact. For instance, Khan (8) is awesome with Attack Pattern Omega or with Joachim, but not on a ship with two attack dice and no weapons upgrades. So the Nova class didn’t really contribute anything, and with no defensive upgrades of any kind in his fleet, it didn’t take long at all to clear board of threats and walk away with a victory.
So while I’ve logged my score for the month, this venue runs two copies of every OP event, and counts your best score towards the overall standings. Not knowing how well everyone did in run #2 of OP1, I may see if I can find time to give this one another shot in two weeks’ time to make sure I’m still up at the top. I don’t know that I see tons of Attack Wing in my future with Star Wars Armada coming up on the horizon, but it would still be nice to go out on top.
As for this event, after everything was totaled up, I somehow landed a second place finish by all of 1 (!) point. Thinking back on how the TO was scoring the event, I suppose it works out. Rather than scoring a differential, or purely what you killed, the TO gave everyone points for the ships in their fleet which survived the round. Everyone except for 1st place lost a match with 8 players, so there were 2 other players at 2-1, who all seemed to have hard-fought battles. I kept everything alive in the 3rd round, and I don’t know if anyone else at 2-1 managed to keep all of their ships in either game. Having the 3rd ship in my fleet than none of the other Borg fleets had meant that I had one more mission token, so that “perfect” victory was worth an extra 8 points, which helped me overcome potentially being behind by a point or two after the average score from the first round’s bye.
Thanks to the prize allocation method at this venue, the player winning the fellowship prize essentially received my blind booster ship. In turn, with two of them up for grabs, for the second night in a row I got to say….
It had to be done.
— The Tabletop General