Putting aside my frustration with Wizkids for now, StarTrek.com has released the latest preview for next month’s Star Trek: Attack Wing releases. This release is the first of its’ kind, a retail version of the Attack Fighters resource which had been previously made available via Organized Play rewards only.
The statistics and health tracking mechanic for the First Wave Attack Fighters appears to have been carried over from the previous versions, but the preview images don’t actually show any of the stats. Borrowing from the Borg Drone token mechanic, there is a token for the Attack Fighters that is marked as “Start”, so presumably the statistics will be found on the opposite side of the tokens identifying the ship type and Captain Skill. Interestingly enough, the ship card specifies how many tokens are used, and the tokens shown are marked with the same name and unique symbol as the named version of the ship, leading me to believe that there may be a consistent difference in stats between the named and generic versions of the squadron.
The 1st Wave Attack Fighters expansion brings with it a new upgrade type, Squadron Upgrades. These upgrades are intended to enhance the functionality of fighter squadrons but aren’t available to other ship types. This lets you customize your squadrons to fit your play style and lets the upgrades work specifically with the Attack Squadron mechanics and uses.
When I look over them, the Squadron Upgrades available break down into 4 distinct categories: Offense, Defense, Support, and Utility, with two cards in each category.
For Utility, we have Aft Disruptor Wave Cannons and Photo Lock-On. Aft Disruptor Wave Cannons are a 5 point upgrade that lets you disable them to fire your Primary weapon out of your rear firing arc, a situational card, but quite handy if that situation comes up. Photo Lock-On costs 2 points, and is discarded in order to obtain a target lock within Range 1-2 during the Declare Target step of your attack. I feel that Photo Lock-On is an appropriately costed card for a minor bump in action economy and letting you lock on to ships that may have moved into range after your activation.
Under the Support heading, we have Escort and Flanking Attack. Flanking Attack costs 3 points and is a single use (discard) ability which allows you skip your fighters’ attack for the round and hand your attack dice to a friendly ship nearby for their attack. This will come in really handy for when your target has a lot of defense dice, or when your other ship is the only one with a target lock, or similar situations. Escort costs 4 points, and takes an action and disabling the card to grant defense dice equal to your squadron tokens to a friendly ship at range 1. Escort is a phenomenally powerful card, considering that the wording doesn’t even require you to remain at range 1, and you’re granting up to FIVE defense dice. Bring a higher skilled captain on a Dominion Battleship and trigger that action before sending your Battleship into the thick of the fight, while leaving your “escort” fighters safely out of range!
For Defense cards, we have Cover Fire and Support Ship, each costing 4 points and only working once. Support Ship functions as a “Cheat Death” card for the squadron, being discarded instead of removing the squadron’s last token. Cover Fire allows you to add your current primary weapon value in defense dice to a single roll. Truthfully, neither one of these cards really moves the dial for me – Cover Fire isn’t guaranteed to help you out, Support Ship doesn’t help until you’re not putting out much damage, and in either case they’re stopping (at most) a single hit for 4 points, 20% of the squadron’s hit points for just under 20% of the cost, and tying up an upgrade slot at the same time.
Last, but not least, we have the Offensive cards; Galor Class Phaser Banks and Break Formation. Break Formation costs 5 points, and is disabled as an action to take a free Primary Weapon shot at -1 attack dice (max of 3) so long as you’re not within range 1 of a friendly ship. Not a lot of dice, limited economy use, and your ship can’t be near friendly ships… It’s useful against other fighters (being able to potentially remove two tokens in one turn with separate attacks), but in general this doesn’t look like a great card. Galor Class Phaser Array, on the other hand, costs 7 points, and does two very nice things for you – extends your attack range out to 1-3, and gives you +1 Primary Weapon Value. Maybe a little too expensive to justify in most builds, but a great upgrade to the fighters in general.
All said and done, this is the first Attack Wing expansion in quite some time that I’ve looked at and said to myself “How soon can I get it?”. I don’t know about everybody else, but I’ll need multiple copies of the First Wing Attack Fighters. Who needs dreadnoughts when you can just swarm the enemy???
– The Tabletop General