Thursday, 3 October 2013

Wee Andy looks at Star Trek Attack Wing

It's safe to say that most fighting in Star Trek takes place in the games, the tv and movies had their spats of action but it was always the story which for most drove the shows forwards.

Now Star Trek based combat games are nothing new, but appeal very much to the wargaming fan of the franchise rather than as merchandise for fan boys to buy. Amarillo Design Bureau have the extensive and famous Star Fleet Battles and its host of spin off titles, but it's fair to say its a system for the dedicated.

Power management and tactical decision making sweep ease of pick up and to some degree game play away in favour of a more accurate and detailed delivery of ship and fleet management. Star Fleet: A Call to Arms from Mongoose Publishing is for many the poor man's Star Fleet Battles.

It dispenses with the intricate math of Star Fleet Battles but does deliver a flavoured game, damage and damage control are where Star Fleet shows its best respect of Trekisms while movement and combat are much faster and miniature based, making excellent use of Amarillo Designs star-line range of ships.

There are others, but lets leave them for now and get back on track. Star Trek Attack wing is, when all is said and done, Wizkids' response to Fantasy Flight Games X-Wing the miniatures game (just as Star Trek The Motion Picture was a response to Star Wars) in fact employing the 'flight path' system from fantasy flight, already widely popular as a mechanic. If we stop at this point, all is well. We have two space franchise games using the same mechanics and delivering, essentially, the same game.

But I'm sorry I can't leave it there in good faith.

Despite my adoration of trek my Wargamer gene won't accept Attack Wing on face value. It is not the game it could or should be.

In fairness mechanically it works, but that's where it really stops being trek. You move and shoot no differently that in Star Wars. Which is fine for fighters and their like, but the Capitol ships and their cousins seem somehow dwarfed in this incarnation.

We lift the lid on Star Trek: Attack Wing

Had Wizkids like FF adopted size variations in ships and bases we would perhaps be more convinced. The ships too translate poorly within the mechanics. How poor? Poor enough for a basic weapon like a photon torpedo to become an upgrade card!
I can forgive an X-Wing being absent such armament having limited storage or being mission loaded. But a Constitution Class Starship bore some 200 odd torpedoes on board. The arcs of fire are half a step from ludicrous.  Having a forward arc on a fighter I will accept, but the limited fire open to trek vessels is beyond abstract, it's just lazy. The counters and other accessories offer little in the way of mitigating circumstances.

The two sides planet is nice but everything else is a little 'beta' and lacklustre or flavour or maybe it's just effort. The inclusion of mission cards did bring a smile, even the Tribbles feature. The cards provided are standard fare quality wise and adopt tv images for their graphic contribution. Though again there's a lack of consistency 'that will do' seems to rule the day in this box.

Finally the ships. Well, they are not X-Wing standard, that's all I'm going to say.

Summary:- The game itself 'works' as long as you accept it's relationship to Star Trek is one of imagery and intent not flavour or results. If your kid likes trek it's probably fine being as easy as X-Wing to pick up and play, but for those looking the depth and feel of the Star Trek universe look else where this mirror shines darkly.

Quality - 6/10 ships are sorry efforts
Playability - 9/10 it's x wing, it works
Value - 5/10 for the same money xwing a better product.

Would I recommend this to a friend? I wouldn't even try to sell them my copy I'm that underwhelmed, I'll play it 'cause it's trek' but I'm already adapting it. 

But hey that's just my opinion.

 Wee Andy

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