Tag Archives: Borg Sphere

Resistance is Futile OP2; Battle Report 4

Relatively fresh off of a mid-level performance on Saturday, I took another shot on Monday at Resistance is Futile OP2 for Star Trek: Attack Wing.

Again, same as last time, each player brings a Borg and a Rebel (Non-Borg) fleet, and alternates between the two playing against an opponent with the opposite configuration, here’s a link to a more detailed breakdown of the RiF scenarios. This venue does not use the 3 ship minimum or 50 point ship maximum, and chooses to give the 1 point per card discount to ships as well.

Since I wasn’t happy with my previous performances, our group has played the scenario several times now, and this event essentially doesn’t count towards our standings if we don’t score better than our previous attempt (see RiF Battle Report 2, same event series), I decided to throw a complete curveball at everyone. I have a near perfect record in Borg vs Borg matchups, and I’ve been wanting to try to find a weakness in the USS Enterprise E builds that have been so popular of late. Second of Five, from Scout Cube 608, seems to do a fairly good job by stealing the Dorsal Phaser Array off of the E, but I didn’t want to buy a new ship just for this event even if I could find a copy of it. So I decided to go for the element of surprise and give up my discounts from the scenario, bringing Borg as my “Rebels” and non-Borg as my “Borg”!

Simple Shape Steamroller, v3.1b

Borg Sphere – 38
Drone – 0

Borg Sphere – 38
Drone – 0

Borg Tactical Cube – 44
Drone – 0

Total: 120

Simple and to the point, we’re just throwing tons of dice here. I had seen a tendency for our group to only bring two Borg ships, so I knew I would be throwing a bigger pile of dice than my competition. With Captain Skill 1 across the board, I’m basically always going to be moving first against other Borg who will be buying captains with higher skill to take advantage of their discounts; so I’ll be able to use the limited maneuver dial against my opponent and block them in for action denial too.

No, Really, This Is My Borg List

Scimitar– 38
Shinzon – 6 + 4 (Scimitar)
Double Back (I.R.W. Gal Gath’Thong)
Attack Pattern Shinzon Theta (Scimitar)
Target Weapons Systems (Scimitar)
Full Stop (Scimitar)
Fleet Captain (Romulan) – 5
Photon Torpedoes – 5 (Scimitar)
Cloaked Mines – 3 (I.R.W. Praetus) – Forgot for picture
Pavel Chekov – 3 (USS Reliant)
Tactical Officer – 3 (I.R.W. Valdore)
Advanced Cloaking (Collective blind boosters)

Chang’s Bird of Prey – 22
Chang – 4 (Chang’s Bird of Prey)
Admiral James T Kirk – 8 (USS Enterprise Refit)
Photon Torpedoes (Chang’s Bird of Prey)
Kunivas – 2 (Collective blind boosters)
Prototype Cloaking Device – 6 (Chang’s Bird of Prey)

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All cloaking, all the time. I was hoping to find myself facing off against an Enterprise E / USS Voyager combo list, and imagined myself gleefully dancing around with Sensor Echo actions at Range 3 and out of firing arcs until I could kill off Voyager and hit the E with Target Weapons Systems to pull off its’ Dorsal Phaser Array. This would be helped out tremendously by the fact that I had a skill 9 Klingon and a skill 11 Romulan captain, allowing me to move last in most matchups, thus giving my Sensor Echo actions maximum effect.

Round 1

I was assigned to play as my “Borg” at random for round 1. My opponent’s reaction to my list was a bit of confusion until I explained, he thought the TO had gotten the matchups wrong.

Opponent:

USS Enterprise-E, Khan (8), Once More Unto The Breach, Flagship (Ind. Romulan), Elizabeth Shelby, Koss, Boheeka, Missile Launchers, Cloaked Mines, Barrage of Fire, Dorsal Phaser Array
USS Voyager, Picard (9), Positron Beam, Transphasic Torpedoes, Mr. Spock, Tom Paris, Breen Aide

I had a matchup that I liked… or so I thought.

Battle:

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Initial setup

Things started off going really well. I moved up slowly and cloaked on turn 1, making sure I would be able to have all my maneuvers available to me. Anticipating a head-to head advance, my opponent immediately dropped his mines. Then Khan triggered Barrage of Fire on the second turn. I wanted nothing to do with that and was already planning a denied flank, so a free Sensor Echo pulled me back out of range, and if I did everything right, those mines wouldn’t come in to play. My opponent may have had a 15-20 point advantage from those discounts, but on turn 2 I had already negated 8 of them without a shot, and I didn’t plan on decloaking and letting those torpedoes and missiles come in to play either, which took up another 12 points of his list.

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After turn 2, I thought I was going to be alright. Never have I been so wrong.

But then things went south in a hurry. My opponent rolled 4+ hits each attack without needing the Target Locks that I was denying him. Even worse, my Evade dice went cold, bringing up all blanks on the first attack directed at Chang, and his measly 3-hull ship suddenly looked like swiss cheese in space. Things weren’t much better for Shinzon’s defense rolls, but he did get off a couple of shots. I got the shields down on the Enterprise E, but passed up on using Attack Pattern Shinzon Theta. It would have caused a crit to reach the hull, but I wanted to wait and use the Target Weapons Systems instead. Two pitiful defense rolls later, and Shinzon was out of the fight. Thoroughly frustrated and a touch embarrassed at how poorly my experiment had worked out, all I could do was sit and wait for the next game. Remind me to buy a Red Bull or five for my helmsmen next time I’m playing with cloaked ships.

Round 2

This round is hereby entitled “Revenge”. Luck of the draw had me bringing my “Rebels” up against the same gentleman that I had played just a couple of days before in round two as well. He had traded in his Sphere for a Scout Cube to put a third Ablative Hull Armor on the tactical cube, but was otherwise pretty much running the same list as before. This time though, I didn’t have an experimental list to face him with, I had my own Borg ships.

Opponent:

Borg Tactical Cube 138, Flagship (Ind Klingon), Tactical Drone (rerolls), Borg Ablative Hull Armor x 3, One

Borg Scout Cube, Tactical Drone (rerolls), Feedback Pulse, Scavenged Parts, Magnus Hansen, Borg Missile

There might have been something else in there, I’m not entirely certain.

Battle:

This time, I had all the confidence in the world that I would do well. So much so, that I messed around a little bit, and deployed facing backwards, taking reverse maneuvers onto the field, which ended up confusing us both with my moves on the next turn (I planned them right, but got momentarily convinced that I had done it backwards). He slid his ships sideways left to right as I faced the field, trying to figure out how I would approach. Hoping to delay another turn and find a 3-on-1 shot, I slid sideways as well, right to left.

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The real Borg civil war.

This didn’t pan out as well as I had hoped, because he took an aggressive jump forward and had his Tactical Cube in a 1-on-1 situation with one of my Spheres.

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Ooops, in range!

I definitely got the worst of that exchange, but I got him to trigger One anyway, which essentially meant that the results would have been the same as if I had fired with at least two ships, because One re-enabled all his shields at the turn’s end, but his single usage was gone.

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Bump! Action Denied!

 

From there, it was a slug-fest, throwing fist-fulls of attack dice across the field at one another. Losing that first Sphere was inevitable, but I burned through his Tactical Cube’s shields quickly and started to chew on the Ablative Hull Armor. About the time I got through the last of that, my shields were down on my Tac Cube. A couple turns later, he drops my Tac Cube to a single hull point (running out of damage cards in the process, thus negating a crit), but fails to kill it before I finish his with my Sphere. My Tac Cube was the only ship that hadn’t fired yet that round, and I passed, calling for the next planning phase. He reminded me that I hadn’t fired my last ship yet; I looked at him, then at the Feedback Pulse on his last remaining ship, and confirmed that I wasn’t firing.

Full health Sphere and crippled Tactical Cube versus Full health Scout Cube, the outcome here looked inevitable, but I wanted to keep my Tac Cube alive. A full speed retreat gained me a single evade die at Range 3, and I regenerated, bringing my hull up to 2 points. His Target-Lock assisted attack landed two hits, and I rolled an evade. Still alive, Sphere goes to work on the Scout. I moved away at full speed again, and regenerate. Two hits, one evade die, and I rolled an evade again, hanging in there with one hit point. One more turn of fleeing, and I was finally out of range and able to regenerate in peace as my Sphere finished off his Scout.

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Safe!

Round 3

Now I’m back in this! (Sort of…) Sadly, my opponent had a higher score and wanted to go Borg hunting, which meant I was playing my cloaking list again.

Opponent:

Reman Warbird, Toreth, Admiral Hiren, Flagship Independent (Federation), Tactical Officer, Tal, Plasma Torpedoes, Interphase Generator, Advanced Cloaking, Invasion Plans

Scimitar, Shinzon (+ talents), 2x Cloaked Mines, Tactical Officer, Plasma Torpedoes

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So much for hoping for another Enterprise E build. With Shinzon in play on both sides, Chang no longer moved after the opponent, and with two cloaked mines in play for the opponent, this couldn’t go well for me.

Battle:

I gave it my best shot, but I was definitely not in a good matchup here. Toreth was a death sentence for me, as I was guaranteed to be taking critical hits. The Cloaked Mines seriously reduced my options to use my mobility, and I couldn’t get Target Locks for my Torpedoes, which meant that my opponent had an advantage in both health and damage output. I also couldn’t rely on shields, because his two Tactical Officers would make allowing Target Lock actions give him lots of extra hits.

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Initial setup.
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Placing cloaked mines, the set under the range ruler was already down and friendly.

There was a lot of fancy flying in this match, but I was out of my weight class here thanks to my opponent’s 15 points of discounts on his fleet. It didn’t help that my dice reverted to their rebellious stage from round 1. There was a quite humorous moment as he used Shinzon’s “Full Stop” talent in the photo below, hoping for a Top Gun  result (“Put on the brakes and he’ll fly right by”), but my Shinzon moved last, and had a “Full Stop” of his own, sitting at Range 1 and just outside his firing arc.

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Dueling Warbirds.

Still, cloaking wasn’t meant to be for my “Borg”, and one too many critical hits landed cleanly.

Final Thoughts

Oww.

Cloaking just isn’t for me anymore. There’s too many attack dice floating around out there, and even with the massive amounts of defense dice cloaking offers, the variance will kill you. It doesn’t matter if the opponent rolls zero hits three turns in a row somehow, but one round of rolling zero evades can easily kill a ship.

I’ve got (at least) one more run of Resistance is Futile OP2 to go, I’ll have to see what else I can come up with.

– The Tabletop General

Resistance is Futile OP2; Battle Report 3

Time to see how well my memory is holding up. I’m almost a week overdue for posting this one, but it’s been a very busy week. Last Saturday, I played in the third of at least five instances of Resistance is Futile OP2 I’ll be entering this month for Star Trek: Attack Wing. For those of you who aren’t familiar with them or just want to refresh your memory, here’s a link to the scenarios.

And for the rest of you who just need a minor refresher or just didn’t feel like clicking the link, the basic gist of the scenario is that each player brings a Borg and a Rebel (Non-Borg) fleet, and alternates between the two playing against an opponent with the opposite configuration. My lists were similar to those from the previous event; this venue does not use the 3 ship minimum or 50 point ship maximum, my Borg configuration doesn’t change much, and since luck would have it that I didn’t get to play my Rebel list in the prior event, I still wanted to give that exact same list a spin.

Simple Shape Steamroller, v3.1

Borg Octahedron – 40 (39)
Tactical Drone – 3 (2) (Borg Sphere 4270)
Magnus Hansen – 1 (0) (Queen Vessel Prime)
Hive Mind – 1 (0) (Avatar of Tomed OP prize)

Borg Sphere – 38 (37)
Drone – 0
Borg Missile – 6 (5) (Tactical Cube 138)

Borg Sphere – 38 (37)
Drone – 0

Total: 120

Pre-discount total: 127

Again, I couldn’t get my hands on a copy of the Tactical Drone from Scout Cube 608 for a free (and useful) unique captain. The only difference between this list and the previous one is that I dropped the Borg Queen captain off for the Borg Missile – this event was held before the prior ruling was reversed by Wizkids and the Borg Missile dealt multiple Auxiliary Power Tokens in addition to destroying shields without defense dice, making it a must-have card to deal with the high defense versions of the USS Enterprise E.

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)

Total: 119

Pre-discount total: 138

As I mentioned previously, this list was unchanged from my prior build. The plan is still to send the Mirror Universe Enterprise-D in with weapons ablaze, and sacrifice it to weaken/eliminate anything that would give the Enterprise-E trouble.

Round 1

The TO for this event played the scenario to the letter of the law. Since I was leading coming in to the event, I was to play Borg against the runner up from the prior month’s Rebels.

Opponent:

USS Enterprise-E, Kirk (8), Cheat Death, Flagship (Ind. Romulan), Tom Paris, Elizabeth Shelby, Seskal, Dorsal Phaser Array, Tactical Station
USS Voyager, Mr. Spock… (?)

Not a good start, memory failing right from the start. I couldn’t begin to tell you what was on that second ship, and for some reason I only have photos of the Enterprise’s cards. What I do know about this build shows the ugly side of having to get your hands on prize ships and buying certain otherwise unused ships to make an optimal build; not having the USS Raven prize ship or an Enterprise NX-01, this player didn’t have access to the Multi-Adaptive Shields or Enhanced Hull plating that really make the Enterprise-E a hard nut to crack.

Battle:

In addition to not having photos of the Voyager’s build, I didn’t give it much time to work. It wasn’t that much less powerful than the Enterprise, and it was rolling way less defense dice, so it had to go first. My opponent did a good job of concentrating fire, and brought one of my spheres right to the brink of death just as I finished Voyager.

I still had two other ships at full strength, so I wasn’t worried about the outcome of the match, but taking one more hit and losing that ship would be a serious blow to my score. Knowing that I couldn’t keep that sphere alive through another round of shooting, I retreated it at full speed. I moved perpendicular to my opponent’s line of travel as opposed to away, thinking it would be easier to reach range 3 and be out of his firing arc than escape beyond range 3 within arc. The Enterprise had a couple Auxiliary Power Tokens on it thanks to my Borg Missile, so I figured he could be taking a green 1-bank to clear a token, so I dropped another ship right in the path of that maneuver, hoping to stop it short so that my damaged ship would be out of arc and beyond the Range 2 shot from his Dorsal Phaser Array.

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Just before the failed retreat – the sphere closest to the Enterprise is the crippled one, see damage cards at bottom right. Octahedron takes a 3 to the East in a blocking maneuver, damaged Sphere moves 4 North. It almost worked…

I guessed right, the Enterprise revealed a 1-bank, and my plan worked out perfectly, but wasn’t enough; the sphere was still within Range 2 by about 2 centimeters. Sphere goes boom, Enterprise followed it shortly afterwards. It was a win, but not as clean of one as I had hoped for.

Round 2

This one was bound to be trouble. Now I had to use my untested Rebel list against someone that scored well with their own Rebels in Round 1.

Opponent:

Borg Tactical Cube 138, Tactical Drone (rerolls), Borg Ablative Hull Armor x 2

Borg Sphere, Tactical Drone (rerolls), Flagship (Ind Klingon), Feedback Pulse, Scavenged Parts

I might be missing a point or two off of his list, but at the same time, I think he was a couple points short of a complete build.

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Battle:

Trouble, indeed. I spent the first couple of turns approaching slowly, trying to prime Riker with a couple free actions to take once he reached the combat. My opponent, expecting something tricky out of me, danced sideways for a couple of turns in hopes of screwing with that plan. We had to call the judge over for a ruling on how Riker’s free actions functioned, which took a couple of minutes (apparently my opponent and the Wizkids rules committee share a pitcher of Kool-Aid, since they ruled this week that his Free Actions don’t count as Actions). With the Sphere was out front for a moment, I hoped to deny a turn of shooting from the Cube on the initial engagement. On the turn we should have all entered into firing range, I took a 1-reverse maneuver with both ships. Unfortunately, I misjudged the range, and didn’t get a shot with the Enterprise D, and the Enterprise E’s shot was reflected by the Feedback Pulse. Then we had another delay while we got a judge’s ruling on Feedback Pulse (because “round down” doesn’t mention a minimum of 1 damage anywhere).

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Right before I did the hokey-pokey in hopes of a 2-on-1 round of shooting.

Next thing I know, the Sphere has retreated behind the Cube, the Enterprise D has been blown off the map, and I’m trying to burn through 25 hit points of Borg Cube, with each move turning out to be a short chess match as we attempted to outguess and outmaneuver one another. Between my slow approach, the two rule debates, and the planning phases that took too long, I ran out of time before I could score a kill. The Enterprise E, as I ran it, wins that game with another 3 turns, and wipes the Borg entirely with another 4-5 after that. But there just wasn’t time in the match, and this one went to the Borg.

Round 3

Time to make up some lost ground. Being the higher ranking of my pairing, and wanting to further explore my Rebel fleet, I chose to play them. My opponent, not owning any Borg, had a rag-tag band that I didn’t know what to expect from.

Opponent:

USS Yeager, Khan (8), Photon Torpedoes …?
Enterprise-D, Kirk (9), Photon Torpedoes, Cheat Death …?
Bioship Alpha, Bioship Alpha Pilot, Quantum Singularity…?

Again, poor memory and no notes. I keep thinking I’ll get better about this, but with this odd format there were too many lists floating around and being swapped to keep track of who had what on which ship.

Battle:

This time, my Mirror Universe ship did its’ job, going in with guns blazing. Without a big Borg ship to outclass its’ hull, though, Rebellion was wasted, causing me to take a little extra damage, and not deal as much as I had planned on. The Yeager turned away from the fight (not being experienced with it, my opponent forgot it had no rear arc for torpedoes), and the Bioship teleported out with a few scratches just as the 3rd ship fell. My Enterprise E battered the Yeager, but took a couple of turns to do it (Picard had named Species 8472, the most threatening of the factions present), and the Bioship came back with a vengeance for the Enterprise D. There was no escape for Mirror-Riker, he went down in flames before Picard could arrive to finish up. Again, losing a ship at the last second hurt my overall score.

Final Thoughts

Oddly enough, a 1-2 record on the day scored me third place out of eight – while the battle points are used for the overall event, fleet points are used for scoring the individual events here, with a bonus granted for winning matches. Apparently, completely wiping my first and third opponents, and not being totally destroyed in my second match, I squeaked in a couple points ahead of the rest of the pack. The first place player on the day didn’t make it to the first month’s event, meaning that I still have a solid lead for the series. If I had to have a mere decent showing, this was the way to do it.

Bonus photos:

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Back to the drawing board for my Rebels, and on to the next event!

– The Tabletop General

Resistance is Futile OP2; Battle Report 2

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 Octahedron – 40 (39)
Borg Queen -6 (5) (Tactical Cube 138)
Magnus Hansen – 1 (0) (Queen Vessel Prime)

Borg Sphere – 38 (37)
Tactical Drone – 3 (2) (Borg Sphere 4270)
Hive Mind – 1 (0) (Avatar of Tomed OP prize)

Borg Sphere – 38 (37)
Drone – 0

Total: 120

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)

Total: 119

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.

 

Round 1

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.

Table 1

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A rag-tag rebel fleet of unlikely allies (Khan is helming the Nova Class) approaches the newly discovered “Low-Rider” class Tactical Cube and its’ diminutive cousin. All available firepower was poured into the Cube, which had lots of hit points, but no more offense than any other Borg ship. There’s just not enough dice, and the Cube’s captain kept forgetting about an Auxiliary Power Token on several crucial turns…
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… which led to a very sad Borg Queen sitting on the sidelines. How exactly did it happen, you ask? Well, the attack dice that did the deed are right there on the green-nebula map. Where did they come from? Glance down to the next photo!
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Kirk had completely forgotten the Enterprise-D doesn’t just use it’s primary firing arc, but his alien love interest of this episode leaned back onto the weapons console and blew up the Tactical Cube by accident! The Scout Cube proceeded to out-duel the Enterprise, but a “Cheat Death” at the buzzer led to the Borg being defeated by a handful of points.

Table 2

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Riker stopped and asked the Borg for directions, and they were happy to tell him where to go. (Click for a hint – what the table looked like after this turn)

Table 3

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A slightly mangled quote from the player with the bioships: “I maneuvered perfectly, but I just couldn’t manage to roll hits.” His dice rubbed off on me, sadly.
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Between a rock and a hard place. This ended about like what you would expect.

Round 2

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.

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Each row of cards is one ship. #SoRidiculousItsPainful

Opponent:

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

Battle:

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.

Ouch.

Round 3

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.

Opponent:

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

Battle:

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.

Final Thoughts

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….

Zoidberg B'Rel Prize Ship

 

It had to be done.

— The Tabletop General

Resistance is Futile OP2; Battle Report 1

After holding serve at my home venue and kicking in the metaphorical door last month as I introduced myself to a couple new groups with a surprising amount of success (4 wins and 1 fellowship prize out of 5 appearances), we’re now in to month two of the Resistance is Futile organized play series for Star Trek: Attack Wing, and I wasn’t going to be taking anybody by surprise this time around. The first OP2 event in the area was this weekend. The TO for this series doesn’t use the scenarios provided by Wizkids (as per the preference of the usual group there), and instead held a basic 3 round tournament using the new suggested tournament format recently published by Wizkids.  This event was held at 120 points, single faction fleets (fleet pure), with no other objectives beyond destruction of the opposing fleet. Setup included of a planet and/or a set of obstacle tokens at the discretion of the player with initiative.

I had four different fleets designed coming in to the event, with the intent of choosing which to use based on who else was attending the event. I had builds for Mirror Universe (very suboptimal in fleet pure play, suitable against newbies), Vulcans (surprisingly decent), Federation (Tried, true, and tough, but less effective with the 50 point limit on ships), and Borg (lethally efficient). Surveying the group, there were 6 players (including the TO) present, most of which I would call tough competition, and I knew that there would be at least two fleets consisting of three Species 8472 Bioships, a very interesting matchup for Borg, so I brought them out to play with a near-identical build to the list I used in my first RiF OP1 event in the prior month.

Simple Shape Steamroller, Take 2

Borg Sphere – 38
Drone – 0

Borg Sphere – 38
Drone – 0

Borg Octahedron – 40  (generic version of Queen Vessel Prime)
Tactical Drone – 3  (from the Borg Sphere)

Total: 119

Borg Fleet in formation
The Borg “Cheesing” for a photo at the start of round 2. I love the detail from my new camera on this shot!

This version of the list drops Magnus Hansen from the Octahedron, giving me a 1 point initiative bid – with the lower quantity of maneuvers available to Borg, I didn’t want my opponents throwing out a planet token that would be extremely difficult for me to maneuver around. I was soon to learn that I had it backwards, I wanted that planet token!

Round 1

Opponent:
Enterprise E, Picard(8) …?
USS Yeager (Collective blind boosters), Mr. Spock …?
USS Voyager, James T. Kirk (8) …?

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I didn’t think to take notes on what was where in my opponents’ lists in this event, but this was pretty close to what you would expect out of these three ships – Defensive upgrades and Dorsal Phaser Array on the Enterprise E, utility upgrades on the Voyager, and the Yeager set up as a relatively cheap torpedo boat. The list did clock in at 119 points as well, and my opponent won the roll-off for initiative and proceeded to drop a planet token in the center of the map. Not what I thought I wanted to see, but then I realized that I didn’t have any reason to come around the planet, and I could use it to split the enemy fleet.  The opponent deployed at an angle (as per the photo above), lined up to skirt by the planet and pointed directly at my ships. Unable to move directly towards my opponent, I feinted as though I would pas the planet on the other side, then halted and waited behind the planet. Sure enough, Yeager and Voyager cleared the planet on the turn of engagement, but the Enterprise didn’t make it around. If I recall correctly, one of the Federation ships got a shot off, but the other didn’t manage it. Three Borg ships returning fire took care of the Yeager and dented the Voyager. With the two remaining Federation ships separated, it was only a matter of time before the Borg swarm could burn down Voyager. Shelby made it a little harder to take down the Enterprise E, but it’s not as tough of a nut to crack with a 50 SP limit.

Round 2

Opponent:
USS Voyager, Picard(8)
USS Reliant, Kathryn Janeway
USS Enterprise Refit
Federation Attack Fighters

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Oh, look! More Federation! This was an interesting build, and the only fleet out of 6 to bring more than 3 ships (if you count the fighters). This build worried me a bit, mostly because I couldn’t figure out what the idea was for Janeway on the Reliant. Still can’t, really, I’ll have to ask its’ creator next time I see him. I also knew that with Fighters included, there was enough dice here to make a battle of attrition less than optimal – I would only shoot before the Enterprise, and Borg ships aren’t THAT hard to burn down with focused fire. With the initiative, I placed a planet token, knowing now how Borg like having cover. The idea was to force the opponent make an attack run near the planet, deny as many shots as possible, and follow behind them once they turned around.

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Borg science vessels hide from the warmongering Federation assault fleet. The Octahedron was REALLY good at hiding, currently off of its’ base here due to my tight formation.

This worked out even better than I could have hoped. From the position above, there were no shots this turn, but the opponent  couldn’t move all his ships in the same direction the next turn. Without focused fire on one of my ships, I knew I had this one in hand.

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Target acquired!

 

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You thought the Enterprise was going down first, didn’t you?

The survivors proceeded to turn and run away. I could catch them, but I was barely able to clear the Reliant before the time was called in the round, and the Federation Fighters survived. That was a little odd, but it didn’t do any harm or change the outcome in any way.

Round 3

Opponent:
USS Voyager, Mr. Spock
USS Yeager (Collective blind boosters), Clark Terrell
Enterprise E, Picard(9)

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Oh, look! More Federation! Again! It seems that somehow the Federation fleets had taken care of Species 8472 all afternoon. Either that, or they were scared, so I now I was up against the TO, which meant that coming in with 220 of 240 possible points, a solid score would win the event even if I lost the round.

I got a planet to shield myself behind again, but I messed up my deployment in this round and couldn’t get all three ships behind it without risking going off the board. Now I was just trapped in the corner! As a result, my opponent was able to focus fire and quickly destroyed one ship, and heavily damaged a second. Had he pressed the advantage, he had a good shot to survive, but he split his shots on a crucial turn and took shields off of the healthiest ship instead of destroying a second ship, and the extra damage he received in return proved to be his downfall.

One B’Rel, please! Thank you!

Here’s a handful of bonus photos from the other matches at the event:

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With one event down, it was time to go back to the drawing board and finalize my first pair of fleets for the real OP2 scenario being run the very next night. No rest for the wicked!

– The Tabletop General

Resistance is Futile OP1; Battle Report 1

In an attempt to assist with some of my home store’s declining participation in Star Trek: Attack Wing, I’ve been looking to slip in some casual games on what I would normally consider my off nights. I haven’t succeeded in doing so, but my inquiries on Facebook were met with an invitation to OP1 of Resistance is Futile at a nearby venue which I haven’t played at before. Hoping to be able to meet some new people and just figure out how things run elsewhere, I figured it was worth taking a stab at.

For those just joining us, I’ve previously provided a summary of the Resistance is Futile Scenarios. This scenario is a basic fleet engagement, with the added mechanic of trying to not catch the attention of the nearby Borg fleet.

I had no idea what to take for a fleet at first, especially not knowing the local meta. I’m very accustomed to the players and style of play at my local venue; in particular, we normally play 90 points ship/fleet pure, plus the 30 point blind buy. In contrast, this event used 120 point constructed lists with no fleet purity restrictions, and the blind boosters were to be opened and given out as prizes. Not having met any of these players before, I didn’t know what to expect out of their builds, having recently seen a post from a fellow in that area that bragged about obtaining his fifth Species 8472 Bioship, so… anything was a possibility.

One other note on squad building for this event jumped out at me – players were prohibited from spending more than 90 points on a single ship. Considering the most expensive ship in the game before upgrades is the Borg Cube, weighing in at 46 points, that just screams “dreadnought builds” to me. That made me expect to see more two ship builds (70/50 or 80/40) than four ship builds (35/30/30/25, or somewhere thereabout). Knowing that, I was really tempted to bring some sort of complicated swiss army knife style build, with a host of upgrade stealing to play tug-of-war with my opponent over our Weyoun + Varel combos, as I was certain I would see at least one of those. But truth be told, I don’t like playing that way, and I wanted something simple for my first contact (pun marginally intended) with this group. So here’s what I ended up with:

Simple Shape Steamroller, aka the Cheddar Cheese Cult.

Borg Sphere – 38
Drone – 0

Borg Sphere – 38
Drone – 0

Borg Octahedron – 40  (generic version of Queen Vessel Prime)
Tactical Drone – 3  (from the Borg Sphere)
Magnus Hansen – 1 (from the Queen Vessel Prime)

Total: 120

The concept was simple: Deny the enemy any useful upgrades to steal, force the enemy to make attack runs on a mobile pillbox with 18 total attack dice, and concentrate fire on one ship at a time. I expected to lose at least one ship per game, as a coordinated assault from an entire fleet can easily take out a sphere. Thus my initial maneuvering would be an attempt to engage only part of the enemy fleet. After the initial pass, this fleet has a tremendous advantage over anything without some form of extended firing arc.

Knowing that I wanted to be in a chase position after the initial pass, my primary targets would be anything that could fire backwards – other Borg, rear-arc torpedoes, and ships with similar abilities. I tossed about the idea of a really odd maneuver: If I was in a position to do so going into the final round and saw an advantage in firing arcs to do so, I would hug one edge of the safe zone for the initial approach, then sacrifice the 30 fleet points required to move all three of my ships out of the safe zone for an uncontested shot, moving back in to continue the engagement on the following turn.

As they say, “No plan survives contact with the enemy”, which is followed in some circles with “…unless you’re an Ork, in which case your plan is contact with the enemy”. Not having Orks available in this particular Sci-fi setting, we’ll have to work with the original version of the phrase.

Round 1

Opponent:
Enterprise D, Mr. Spock (Captain), Geordi Laforge (Enterprise E version), Cheat Death.
Enterprise E, with Picard (8), Fire at Will, Admiral Forrest, Hikaru Sulu (Constitution Enterprise version), Tom Paris, Elizabeth Shelby, Dorsal Phaser Array, Multi-Adaptive Shields, Enhanced Hull Plating, and Independent Flagship (Romulan).

So it turns out… not only was this a very familiar build of the Enterprise-E, he had actually pulled my very on build from here on the Tabletop General! He ran it without Montgomery Scott, as he had originally seen the list when I had originally posted an invalid build using the Romulan flagship and couldn’t fit that last crew member. He must have liked that version better, and he made it work well for himself. With 120 total points to work with, the Enterprise D fit in nicely as a complimentary ship, it could do similar things without posing so much of a threat as to be targeted first.

Battle: I was fully aware of how nasty of a fight I had just gotten myself in to, but I also knew that I had way more attack dice than this list could handle if I could play keep-away for a turn or two. That was easier said than done within the constraints of this mission, but I managed to strip the E’s shields relatively quickly, and thanks to some funky range on the first engagement turn I took a potshot at the D, taking off a couple of shields there as well. On the other hand, the Octahedron took a beating and a couple of early critical hits from Picard’s special ability. Picard shrugged off shots from all three ships without a scratch on his hull thanks to the Advanced Hull Plating, but that gave him a couple of Auxiliary Power tokens. With both sides being fairly close to one another at this point, I knew my best chance was to out-maneuver the E and move back to Range 3 while he cleared Aux tokens with gentle turns, and that’s exactly what happened. I switched targets and burned down the D in a turn, then after Cheat Death triggered I did it again the next round. From there the battle consisted of kiting the E around, staying at Range 3 and out of arc, rolling attack after attack until finally the dice fell in my favor enough to pierce the E’s hull on the last turn, just as time was called.

Key takeaways: It’s a small world, and my Enterprise E design has some real promise. Had I been playing a more traditional Borg build (i.e. a few more upgrades, less total attacks and hit points), I would have lost that game. He would have fared really well against the other Borg players in this event. Also, the Enterprise D should have been a much earlier target for me in this match, because it was easy to knock out and that would have reduced the incoming damage.

Round 2

Opponent:
Borg Octahedron w/ Picard (9)
Borg Sphere w/ Gul Dukat(7) (?)
Borg Scout Cube w/ Donatra.
The second captain might have been Mr. Spock, but I can’t say for sure, my memory is failing me a bit on this matchup.  There’s a couple more points that I can’t figure out what they were spent on here, but they didn’t play a role in the battle that I recall.

Battle: From the start, I knew that having a lower Captain Skill across the board was going to hurt, so I had to figure out a way to engage the enemy where I was able to deny at least one ship’s shots in order to stand a chance. Both fleets moved straight ahead on turn one, but my opponent moved his Scout Cube slightly slower, so as not to expose it as  an easy target. The second turn, he anticipated that I would move straight ahead, attempting to cause collisions and deny actions, so he picked small maneuvers. Instead, I spun all of my ships to the left, and surprised him greatly. This had all of the Spheres in range of each other, but Donatra had no shot for the first turn. I would have preferred to isolate a single ship, or at least let it be a Sphere I avoided, but avoiding the Scout Cube was enough to swing the battle my way.

My Octahedron got rocked by hot dice from both of the enemy Spheres, but it survived with a couple of hull points because of the lack of a finishing shot from the Scout Cube. My return fire then was able to slag the enemy Sphere with every last one of my 18 dice, without my third ship his Sphere would have survived. On turn 3, all surviving ships could engage, and Picard was the one to finish the Octahedron, as my opponent couldn’t risk it surviving the Scout Cube’s shot, so only the Scout Cube could shoot a Sphere, whereas in the Mirror Universe where my Octahedron was already killed, all three shots would have gone on a Sphere. Back in reality, my two Spheres heavily damaged Picard in return. With having to spend Picard’s prior round of shooting on my Octahedron, combat turn 4’s incoming shots didn’t finish off my first sphere, and Picard wasn’t long for this world galaxy. From that point, it was a mere formality to finish the Scout Cube and finish the match in what may have been record time.

Key takeaways: I was at a big disadvantage here with action economy and Captain Skill. Knowing that I would likely enter the first turn of combat with nothing but Scan tokens up against Target Locks and Battlestations from multiple ships didn’t make me happy, and that’s exactly what happened, but I survived it. I can honestly think back and say that one ship being out of range on the first turn of engagement changed this entire battle in my favor. It’s crazy to look over this match and see how many things changed as a result of that one lost shot. Granted, that was precisely what I hoped to do, but I honestly didn’t expect it to work that well.

Round 3

Opponent:
Borg Sphere with Gul Dukat (7), Tactical Officer, Independent Federation Flagship
Borg Tactical Cube with Picard (9), Tactical Officer, Full Assault.

Battle: I was not excited to play against this build, knowing how easily I could have lost to a very similar build in the previous round where action economy and Captain Skill were in my opponent’s favor, and the Tactical Officers’ extra rerolls would only make this worse. I could legitimately expect to take 6+ damage per shot from each ship.

Again, both fleets started by moving straight ahead to enter the safe zone of the scenario, although I advanced the Sphere opposite his slightly more than the other two ships. I thought about playing keep-away again with another lateral movement on turn two, but realized I probably couldn’t pull it off, and would lose out on actions in the process (Scan Tokens wouldn’t help much here) so I changed my tactics and barreled straight ahead at full speed, getting into range so that I could take Target Locks on the Cube with all 3 ships. Just as I hoped, Gul Dukat’s Sphere colided with mine, losing both his actions. The Cube didn’t move up as far and wasn’t as close to my ships on that side to start with, so he got all of his, but better partial denial than none. The Octahedron’s hull value is high enough to get past the Cube’s special rules regarding overlapping bases, but I just didn’t think that far in advance what the likely engagement range would be.

Still, with all three ships surviving the first wave, I was able to put some solid damage on the Cube quickly, in spite of my dice turning against me (21 unopposed attack dice with Target Locks turned into about 9 damage on turn one). The Octahedron bit the dust on turn three for the second game in a row, but killing the Tactical Cube on the same turn as the dice came back to me was a perfectly acceptable trade. In the following turns I was able to press my numerical advantage against the Gul Dukat’s Sphere, as well as get in the way and deny his actions one more time, and he soon followed the Cube into oblivion.

Key takeaways: Without utilizing upgrades and discounting the base size, there’s very negligible difference between the Tactical Cube and a Sphere in a firefight. More dice > less dice. Lots of actions > some actions > no actions. And thanks to action denial, Borg mirror matches can favor lower Captain Skill if you can maneuver well enough and/or read your opponent’s hive mind.

 

Final thoughts

It’s still crazy that I faced a variant of a ship loadout pulled from my own article to start the night. It fared really well against other opponents, and was a real burden to kill. I don’t know if it survived round 2 or not, but I did see it outlast an opposing E and two Valdore class ships in round 3.

Speaking of crazy things, I just outgunned two other Borg builds who got to shoot first and had a better action economy. That doesn’t happen often.

You can do some really funky stuff with 120 points for your build. I’m rather glad that I dodged the 6 Constitution Class swarm; I think I would have been okay, but it hurts my head to think about it. I really expected to see more nasty combos here without any purity restrictions, but maybe I just didn’t face them. I heard enough discussion from the group to know that they’ll be there eventually though.

And with a 3-0 record and relatively impressive fleet points, I brought home first place on the night, which came with a copy of the Avatar of Tomed, a rather cool looking ship if I do say so myself:

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— The Tabletop General

Lore the Trickster – Collective OP 1

Star Trek: Attack Wing is not my primary game by any means, but it’s probably what I have played more than anything else lately, as it had the most ongoing support at my home store out of what I currently play. I picked up the game about seven months ago, and knowing both that some of the older ships were becoming hard to find and that the Borg were soon to be released, I committed blindly to the making the Borg my go-to faction. Since their release, a lot of players have claimed that the Borg ships are overpowered and broken, especially the Borg Spheres, and I honestly tend to agree.

The Borg Spheres pack as much of a punch as anything else in the game and have massive hull and shield reserves in exchange for having zero defense dice. Their limited movement options are extremely effective, being able to take white maneuvers in any cardinal direction, in exchange for the inability to take banking and turning moves off of those four cardinal directions, as opposed to all other factions’ ships having to move forward/turn in each movement, or possibly putting a lot of resources into being able to back up. The Borg Cube maneuvers just the same as the sphere. It has less options for moves so it appears slightly slower, but it covers basically the same distance thanks to its’ larger base. The stat line for each of these ships is near identical, with a couple more hull points for the Cube. Both ships’ odd movement patterns are enhanced by the fact that each of them has a 360 degree field of fire.

The Borg don’t take many upgrades on their ships unless you’re running a one ship list, because they’re all very effective, but also very expensive. Their captains have neat abilities (pseudo target locks without an action from the Sphere’s Tactical Drone, free actions from the Borg Queen), but with a usage limit (drone tokens). Essentially, they’re Attack Wing the embodiment of RPG min-maxing, dumping attributes that you hope not to have to use much in exchange for pumping up the ones you need in order to win the fight. I had participated in a couple of events at the tail end of the Dominion War events with two Borg Spheres in my list, but the scenarios since the release of the cube had not been conducive to its use (until Collective OP 3 that is, more to come on that later), so most of the time since I purchased my Cube it has served as a paperweight that will eventually come to life and assimilate everyone when we least expect it.

The Soong expansion introduces a Borg ship which doesn’t work like the others The Soong represents a splinter group, in game terms they are both Borg and Independent. Its movements are fast, and follow traditional patterns (it turns and banks rather than spinning). It also only has a 90 degree forward field of fire, although it hits just as hard as the other Borg ships.  The crew is mostly cheap and expendable, the upgrades are interesting and expensive. The Soong was released around a week or so before our first of three Collective OP series kicked off, and I planned to put its cards to good use, even if I can’t justify using the ship itself for the mission at hand.

With that being said, for the first event of The Collective event series, I wanted to bring the big guns. I started playing Attack Wing OP events about halfway through the Dominion War series, and didn’t have a chance to catch up in the overall event standings. I wanted to make sure I was in the running for The Collective’s grand prize, Assimilation Target Prime. The first scenario, for those who haven’t played it, involves a neutral Borg Cube Token (BCT) which assimilates upgrades from nearby ships or shoots at them if there are no remaining upgrades to steal, and then moves in a random cardinal direction, so long as there is at least one ship in that direction which it could attack. Players cannot attack the BCT, and instead are attempting to eliminate each other’s ships from the game and be the last one standing. One important strategic consideration is that you get bonus points for the campaign results for eliminating your opponent yourself (as opposed to letting the Cube finish off their last ship). We used the 90 point list +30 point blind booster rules without exchanges for this event series, and the first two events were classified as Faction Pure.

My list for this first event started with the prize card of the Soong expansion – Lore, leader of the Soong’s rogue Borg. He is an Independent captain with a decently high Captain Skill of 7, he allows you to bring along an extra crew member, he can discard crew to gain attack dice, he has one Elite Talent slot, and he can ignore faction restrictions and faction penalties when selecting Elite Talents. Our group normally runs all our events as “Faction Pure” – you can mix factions among your fleet, but all of your upgrades must match the faction of the ship carrying them. Lore represents a way to bring Elite Talents that I would normally not have access to, and would let me combine cards that no other captains can under this rule set.

I spent all week browsing through all the Elite Talents available, and I found two that I really liked as a matching pair, so I committed to bringing a flagship card that would grant me an extra Elite Talent. I was on the fence about the cost of The Weak Will Perish, as no official word was available at the time regarding whether Lore ignored its’ +5 point cost restriction, but cleared it with our TO in advance. It was later officially ruled that The Weak Will Perish costs 10 points for Lore, so in retrospect I would probably drop Joachim if I wanted to fix that and clock in at an even 90 points.

Lore the Trickster

Borg Sphere 4270 – 40
Lore – 4
The Weak Will Perish – 5 (from the Species 8472 Bioship)
Once More Unto The Breach – 5 (from the I.K.S. Kronos One)
Goval – 1
Joachim – 4 (from the U.S.S. Reliant)
Feedback Pulse – 8
Subspace Distortion – 6
Transwarp Conduit – 6
Flagship Independent [Klingon] – 10
Total: 89 points

For those wondering about Lore (Independent) on a Borg ship, don’t forget that assigning a ship as an Independent Flagship makes it dual faction of Independent and its’ original faction.

The concept here was to build one ship which could avoid the BCT’s attacks as long as possible, gain a positional advantage on the enemy even if it had to sacrifice an upgrade or two to do it, and deliver a punishing alpha strike at the right moment to take the enemy off the board and pick up those bonus points.

Transwarp Conduit, a Borg upgrade from the Soong, played a large role in gaining the positional advantage. This upgrade allows you to take a turn to warp to any other position on the board (outside range 1-3 of enemy ships). My tactic of choice was to send my blind booster ship on a suicide run (I pulled the Dominion ship that can get bonus attack dice if its’ shields are destroyed), and then warp the Sphere behind the enemy, keeping them between my Sphere and the BCT. Subspace Distortion (action; for this turn treat your agility as equal to your starting shields, reroll up to your active shields in dice each time you defend), also from the Soong, and Feedback Pulse (attacker takes half damage from the attack, cancel the other half) both allowed me to cancel a large amount of incoming fire when I wasn’t able to stay behind my opponents after warping or if I needed to start the game going head to head.

Survivability and maneuvering aside, the real kicker to this list was its’ punishing alpha strike. With the Sphere’s 8 attack dice as a flagship, Once More Unto the Breach allows two attacks of 7 dice each. I would also potentially be able to discard Goval via Lore for an extra die, and if splitting the attack with Sphere 4270’s ability at close range, you can potentially get 10 dice in a single attack (with another attack still to follow), and The Weak Will Perish gives you a double reroll on the attack of your choice. The flagship card gives you the ability to take a free scan token, which does end up applying to both shots and both ships when you’re splitting fire too, so that cancels up to 4 defense dice by itself. Oh, and to make matters worse, Joachim lets you choose between two cards every time that ship assigns a critical hit; I actually ended up choosing a Stunned Helmsman (cancels the ship’s next attack) over a Warp Core Breach (inevitable eventual death) at one point, knowing I would have a kill shot the next turn. I was a little surprised that Joachim didn’t come in to play more often, but I was usually tearing straight through opposing hulls in a single shot, so it didn’t really matter what the critical hits were.

This list went 3-0 on the day, with the only scary moment being when I got cocky and went head to head with a Federation fleet rather than warping behind it. I forgot about the Auxiliary Power Token coming from Feedback Pulse until the next turn, and I had already revealed and used a white maneuver. Concentrated fire from the Feds brought down my shields and dealt a single critical hit, which happened to be another Auxiliary token. I dropped one token and killed Voyager the next turn, but took another critical which was yet another Auxiliary token. But my opponent’s good luck ran dry, and the next couple of attacks couldn’t quite finish off the Sphere’s hull before I could clear the rest of the Auxiliary Power Tokens and warp across the board to safety with my Transwarp Conduit, knowing that I had scored more with the Voyager kill than I gave up with my Dominion ally.

Looking back on it, I never had a chance to use all of my upgrades in the same match. In fact, as it turned out I never used the Subspace distortion at all. But I had a surprising amount of flexibility available to me, and Lore always had something in his bag of tricks to deal with the situation at hand.

Our store runs at least two instances of every Attack Wing OP, but there wasn’t any point in bringing this list to the second series. Instead, I took the least Borg-like action possible: I had mercy on my opponents, played nice, and left this list at home.

– The Tabletop General