June 26, 2014

"The Arena"

Last night I ran the Star Trek: Attack Wing OP event "The Arena" at Trilogy Games. With the prospect of huge amounts of Borg firepower in the space battle, and the knowing value of high captain skill on the planet, building a fleet list that I would enjoy playing proved to be quite the challenge.

As I generally prefer to play pure faction, I decided to bring a Klingon fleet. I knew that in all likelihood I'd be outmatched on the planet by the likes of Kirk, Picard and Gul Dukat. The Klingons always love a good up-close-and-personal fight however, so off we went.

Klingons-in-the-Arena (100pts)

- Vor'cha class w/ Chang and Klag
- K'T'Inga class w/ Koloth
- B'Rel class w/ Martok (8-skill)
- IKS Somraw w/ generic captain

My plan was relatively simple: spend the first few turns moving three of the ships towards the planet and trying to keep it between myself and my opponent. In the first round Martok would grant a captain an extra action to cloak, sensor echo or target lock if necessary. Chang would break off and head directly for the opposing fleet's second- or third-ranked ship in order to attack or maybe disable their captain.

With some luck all of my captains would survive to take part in the planet battle and at least have a few resources to work with. Win or lose on the planet I should have two or even three ships still alive to hopefully outnumber my opponents with.

The Klingon ships have good mobility so I'd be in decent shape against everything, except the Borg. Not being able to get behind them and out of arc would very likely be my death. Worst case scenario my fleet could play chicken until time was called and I could win on points. Not  a very honourable tactic for Klingons, I know...

We only had three attendees including myself, which is a shame in my opinion. The local player base for Attack Wing is much larger than that, and the store helps me put on a nice tourney. If you're interested in playing the game in a fun and casual setting, you really should come down to Trilogy for our next event.

Anyway, for the first round I had the bye so I watched a four ship Federation fleet face off against a single fully-loaded, mixed-faction Borg cube, complete with a stacked sideboard! The Federation captains (Janeway, Sulu, Ransom and Data) jousted briefly with the cube before winning the planet battle. Having lost Weyoun, the Borg summoned the Queen and some Breen energy dissipators onto their ship. The Federation did a good job focusing their fire and eventually took the cube down. Twenty five point of damage to destroy that cube...holy crap.

Second round saw my fleet up against the Federation. My plan worked out well before the planet battle. I was able to collect two resources for Martok to use, only losing my Somraw to a lucky shot in round three. The planet battle went badly for me, as both Koloth and Chang rolled all blanks not once, but TWICE each. Ending up with no surviving captains I was put at a large disadvantage. In the final round however I has able to destroy Janeway on the Excelsior giving me the win in points, 29 to 18.

The third round was me vs. the Borg cube. It went exactly as I imagined. One-shot to destroy the Somraw. The next round was Koloth's turn (he would have survived if not for the console fire). I won the captain's battle, but two rounds of shooting saw Chang taken out, and another two hits saw Martok's ship destroyed. Admittedly I wasn't rolling well, on average only hitting with about 1 in 3 attack dice. On the other hand, a loaded Borg cube with Alexander, the Borg queen, and two ablative armour upgrades is extremely tough to kill. As I said, that's going to take 25 damage to destroy.

If all of my ships were firing each round I had 16 attack dice total. I'd need two full rounds of shooting and have to hit with 78% of my attack dice to actually take it out in those two rounds. My attack dice would have to be very hot for that to happen. Not to mention that the cube having access to battle stations from Alexander, on top of the normal target locks, means they're hitting with almost all their dice every shot. Even a cloaked ship isn't going to evade that kind of damage output for very long.

Oddly enough, after three games played, each player had the same record: 1 win, 1 loss, 1 bye. So it came down to points...a Federation victory!

I'll finish off with some parting thoughts on the Borg, having faced two faction mixed fleets in two different tournaments. They're very, very powerful; especially powerful when mixing other faction upgrades and captains. Do I think they're TOO powerful? No. Do I want to ban them or restrict them? No. In my opinion I think they're much like cloaking early in the game. I feel it's simply a matter of the players needing to adapt to a new challenge. My opinion may change in the future, but for now I'll reserve judgement.

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