Star Trek fans, 2021 is already shaping up to be a pretty great year with lots of announcements, our favorite shows in production, and a slew of cool products coming our way. I last spoke with you to share the news of WizKids Games’ Star Trek: Alliance miniatures game, a cool new take on Attack Wing that you can play cooperatively and even solo with the innovative AI enemy system. But that’s not all; the company is releasing FOUR new Faction Packs for the standard game in these first few months of the year, and we’re going to take an advance look at two of them today: the Star Trek Attack Wing Federation To Boldly Go & Klingon Blood Oath Faction Packs! I’m super excited for these not only because they’ve got cool spaceships, captains, and upgrades, but also because they both feature content from my favorite series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
If you’re new to Star Trek Attack Wing, you can find plenty of articles about the game here on this site, though I’d steer you first to the recent review of the Alliance version of the game (and a great way to jump in along with the Attack Wing Starter). While in the first years of Attack Wing expansions were single ship affairs, the last couple of years have featured Faction Packs, each containing four ships and all the materials you need to play them including captains and fun upgrades that are fully compatible with your existing Attack Wing expansions.
Along with similar components, Faction Packs also share the same overall packaging notes with blue star field backgrounds, familiar Trek fonts and logos, the iconic Enterprise-D logo, and more. Like the Starter Sets the Faction Packs come in flat square boxes featuring a window so you can see the included ships. Each set’s faction is clearly delineated by text as well as symbol/symbols, and a subtitle gives you a clue as to its specific theme. Finally, the back of each box has a description of the relevant faction/history along with a list of the pack’s contents and an upsell for the most recent Federation vs. Klingons Starter Set.
What do you get inside a Faction Pack? A lot! You’ll find a tray containing the four ships, a stack of cards, small bags with the base parts and dial centers, and cardboard sheets containing all of the tokens the fleet needs. Both Blood Oath and To Boldly Go each have five unique captains (one of which can also be run as an Admiral on the Federation side), named and generic versions for all four ships, and a bunch of cool upgrades. Get your fingers ready to punch out all of the necessary cardboard items: ship tiles, captain icons, maneuver dials, shield tokens, and a slew of unique tokens to represent special abilities on the captains and upgrades. Everything is top-notch and continues the high level of quality in Attack Wing products, and there are plenty of great screenshots from classic Trek episodes decorating the cards. And as always, mission cards give you ever more ways of playing the game in fun narrative stories. Lastly, it’s worth noting that these latest Faction Packs have a new style of plastic tray holding the ships, making it easier to remove them.
Oh, one more bit of shiny newness here are the Ambassador cards! Each pack has two of these as well as a handy Reference Card to explain how to use them. In short, Ambassadors are a new feature you can add to a ship with a new symbol (max one per fleet), and they do not incur Faction Penalties. Ambassadors have two abilities called “Negotiations Accepted” and “Negotiations Denied.” At the beginning of the game your Ambassador targets an opposing ship; that ship’s player must decide to accept or deny, at which point that specific effect will be triggered. Also, if the opposing player accepts the negotiation but the targeted ship destroys the vessel carrying the Ambassadors, then the Negotiations Denied effect still triggers! These cards give you a ton of narrative options and potentially entire new ways of strategizing and winning games.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the Faction Packs, starting with To Boldly Go. These Federation ships, captains, and upgrades are drawn from the events of the Dominion War in Deep Space Nine, and offer both elements new to the game as well as cool new updates to previous versions. The ship lineup is a very interesting mix, and I was surprised to see some of the details. It’s a no-brainer to see a Defiant-class vessel, which was revealed to be the U.S.S. Sao Paulo (the ship that would replace, and be renamed, the Defiant). The Galaxy-class U.S.S. Odyssey provided an incredibly impactful opening scene to the war, with the ship being destroyed by the seemingly unstoppable Jem’Hadar. Then there’s the U.S.S. Spector; we did just get an Akira-class in the Star Trek: Alliance box, but the ship is so cool and it’s so hard to find the original Thunderchild expansion that it’s great to find it here. Lastly, the Miranda-class U.S.S. Tian An Men completes the set and gives you a vintage vessel still serving during the war. As we’ve seen with other Faction Packs, these vessels have been adjusted to the current cost calculation and are more affordable than ever. For instance, the original U.S.S. Defiant was a pricy 24 points, while the Sao Paulo (with the same stats and arguably a better ability) is only 20 points.
On the tabletop, meanwhile, the Federation models themselves are cool and bring these different models into a cohesive look. All of them are really well sculpted and have plenty of tiny details, but it’s the paint that catches your eye. Over the years Attack Wing Starfleet ships have been done in a variety of colors and themes, from flat blues and grays to different metallic paints, etc., which you can see in my comparison photos. It’s nice to get updates that all work together as these share a general bright silver base color and details mainly in blues, reds, and grays. I’ll also note that during the game’s run WizKids switched up the sculpt of the Defiant-class; this more modern version has somewhat fewer surface details but is overall a little bigger, bulkier, and more aggressive looking.
Our captains here are 8 skill Benjamin Sisko who packs two INCREDIBLE abilities (add a critical damage when attacking a Dominion ship or captain, and remove an Auxiliary Power token during the End Phase), neither of which is even an action! Keogh, the stuffy captain of the Odyssey, supports nearby allies appropriately, while Worf (Federation/Klingon) can spend a Battle Stations token to convert ALL blank results to hits. Leyton can spend an action to force a nearby enemy ship to attack last in the turn (his Admiral version offers this as a Fleet Action), and Jadzia Dax gives her ship a free 1 bank during the Activation Phase and doesn’t pay a faction penalty for Klingon Elite Talent upgrades. Speaking of which, all of these captains can equip an Elite Talent.
A lot of the real fun happens in the upgrade cards, and To Boldly Go gives you 12 of them (14 if you count the Ambassadors that aren’t technically upgrades but essentially work as them). Crew cards bring us DS9 mainstays Kira Nerys, Julian Bashir, and Ezri Dax along with guest stars Sarita Carlson and Enrique Muniz. They provide all sorts of cool benefits, like Nerys sabotaging an enemy’s upgrades, Sarita performing emergency red maneuvers in the Combat Phase, and Ezri taking a hit (applied Time Tokens) for her captain or another Crew on her ship.
The three Tech upgrades are Advanced Shields (adding 2 to the Shield Value and repairing 3 Shields when discarded as an Action), Defiant-class Ablative Armor granting +1 defense die AND converting all critical damage to standard, and the Metaphasic Sweep you can discard for a free Target Lock even on a cloaked enemy. Beef up your ships with the four unique Weapon upgrades: Defiant-class Phaser Cannons doing double attacks at close and mid-range, Akira-class Dorsal Torpedo Pod shooting in any direction, Photon Torpedoes (two copies), and the Experimental Torpedo Bay that brings with it a chosen Torpedo Upgrade card.
And then there’s Blood Oath, a Faction Pack mostly dedicated to honoring one of the best episodes of Deep Space Nine. In it, the three Klingon Dahar Masters Kang, Koloth, and Kor come to their “old friend” Jadzia Dax and recruit her in a mission of vengeance against the brutal Albino. Not only was this a great story with links to the original series and a worthy send off to some classic characters, it also brought back the original actors who played these characters decades prior! The ships here are also multi-generational starting with the late addition of the massive Negh’Var-class in the I.K.S. Devwl (reference to Star Trek Online’s Vo’devwl class?). Then we go way back to the venerable K’t’inga-class with the I.K.S. T’Acog and I.K.S. K’tanco, Kang’s ship in the 2290s. Lastly there’s a B’rel-class Bird of Prey I.K.S. Kos’Karii (Klingon/Independent), named for a Klingon mythological serpent. As above with the Federation Faction Pack, these ships have fun special abilities and are re-costed to be cheaper than previous class versions!
The Klingon models are resplendent, again appearing in a cohesive metallic look across the different vessels. As a faction in Attack Wing, the Klingons probably have overall the best sculpted miniatures with just absurd levels of details. Every ship has tons of layers, panels, and broken up surfaces, tech bits and weapons, and even decorations. The only (slight) disappointment here is that the two K’t’ingas are painted exactly the same; I’d have loved a bit of a variation there.
As you’d expect if you’ve seen the Blood Oath episode, the captain selections here surround the three Dahar Masters. Kang, Koloth, and Kor are represented as they appeared in that episode, each at 7 skill level and with at least one cool ability like removing the enemy’s Target Lock from all allies, immediately responding to an enemy’s move with a bonus maneuver, and getting TWO bonus critical damage when attacking a captain chosen at the beginning of the game. Their wily opponent gets a slot here as well, with another 7 skill level captain in the Albino (Klingon/Independent). Lastly, there’s a fun throwback to the original series with a TOS Kang in his full glory at 8 skill level who can force an enemy to reroll its attack.
All five captains can equip an Elite Talent, and there are two in this set. A Death Worthy of Sto-vo-kor sacrifices a crewmate to kill off a Crew upgrade on an enemy ship with potential further bonuses. Then there are three copies of Dahar Master which can only be equipped to Kang, Koloth, an Kor, giving them +1 Captain Skill for each copy in your fleet AND letting them take a free Cloak or Target Lock each Activation Phase.
Crew upgrades feature Klingons Yeto (Klingon/Independent), Ch’Targh, Mara, Klingon Gunner, and Kolana with abilities ranging from Mara giving her ship Scan and sacrificing herself for her captain to the Gunner adding a hit in return for discarding her, and Kolana speeding up your ability to fire Weapons that take Time Tokens.
Klingons aren’t the most tech-oriented and appropriately this pack has just one Tech upgrade in the generic Science Station that adds another Tech slot and lets it ship perform free actions while cloaked. Lastly, Weapon upgrades are Waylay that gives its ship a free 1 bank and Evade token after attacking with even more bonuses for B’rel Birds of Prey and Concussive Charges (two copies), a bit of a complicated card that turns off the ship’s Cloak, raises shields, with additional really strong bonuses when fired from a K’t’inga.
I’m a huge fan of the Star Trek Attack Wing Faction Packs. They combine great looking miniatures with a ton of excellent game components that you can use right out of the box or in combination with your existing Attack Wing collection. I’m particularly pleased by these two sets, for a bunch of reasons. Most of the content is from the awesome Deep Space Nine, there are fantastic updates to my favorite ships and captains, and there are mechanics here that open up older upgrades in my collection for more uses. For instance, I can find the best Klingon Elite Talent to pair with Captain Jadzia Dax, and sort out the best Independent upgrades to join the Albino. If you’re a fan of Deep Space Nine, or enjoy the Federation and Klingons, you’re definitely going to want to check out these expansions.
Lastly, I want to point out once more how these even expand the whole experience of playing Attack Wing with the Ambassador cards including Sarek, Lwaxana Troi, and Korrd, and the new missions like Insurrection and the Way of the Warrior. The Blood Oath and To Boldly Go Faction Packs have been delayed, but should be arriving in players’ hands within the next couple months; if you’re interested, check with your local comic book or game store to pre-order.
Review and photos by Scott Rubin
Review samples courtesy of WizKids Games
[See image gallery at www.figures.com]