Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Monday, 12 May 2014

D7 Part 2.

As promised, i've painted up the D7 in the classic grey colour scheme.
Unfortunately my digital camera is once again broken, so i've been reduced to using the camera on my tablet, so apologies for the quality.

I'd also like to add a note to my previous post about getting rid of the surface detail: When filing an Attack Wing ship, do it outside. Whatever plastic they've cast these in, it's pretty horrific stuff and you don't want to be breathing in the dust.

Also painted this week is an additional Galaxy class Starship from a second starter set.

The U.S.S McGann NCC-1996, will be taking to the tabletop in a couple of weeks for another attempt at destroying the Scimitar. My gaming buddies and i tried the scenario yesterday, without success. In the course of two games, the Scimitar took out two Valdore class warbirds, two D'Deridex class warbirds, the U.S.S Enterprise -D, and two Miranda class starships. And we only got it's shields down once.

But next time we shall triumph. Either that or i'm bringing in the Klingons.

Until next time, i remain

Your Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-pope.

Friday, 2 May 2014

How Do You Solve A Problem Like...

...the I.K.S Gr'oth?

As my last few posts have detailed, i've delved into Star Trek: Attack Wing. Initially i'd planned a Federation fleet, but the lack of supply to the U.K (Pull your ruddy finger out on restocking stores, Esdevium) means that unless i want half a dozen tiny Enterprises, i'll have to settle for alternative purchases at my FLGS.

So i went with my second favourite faction as a backup, the pasty headed Klingons.

For those unfamiliar with Star Trek, first, welcome back from the Moon, i trust you found someone to rent out the rock you were living under. Second the Klingons are a warrior race, and were the antagonists for most of the Original Series and it's movies, before allying up with the Federation and becoming the good guys.

In the process they went from this:

To this.

And later to this, but the less said about that the better really.

Anyhow, the next purchase i made was a nice little D-7 Battlecruiser, the I.K.S Gr'oth. Except there's a little problem. It's not a D-7.

For whatever reason, Wizkids have released the wrong sculpt as the D-7, instead using the K'Tinga again. What should look like this:

Looks like this:

So what to do? Well since i already have the I.K.S Kronos I, i figure it's not really fair to my opponents to use an identical model for a different class with different capabilities.

So i decided to break out a file and set about removing detail. And believe me, that's weird for me too. Normally in our hobby we're seeking to add detail to fix something.

After a few minutes i went from this

to this

I've not removed all the surface detail, and i've not touched the underside of the model. But i figure i've done enough that when coupled with the new paintjob, will make it clear to anyone i play that it's not the same class as my I.K.S Kronos I.

Next up: The Painting.

Until then, i remain,

Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-pope.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Perhaps today is a good day to die

Okay, so for the uninitiated, just what exactly is Star Trek: Attack Wing? (abbreviated to STAW from now on)

STAW is a tabletop wargame revolving around fleets of space ships from the Star Trek franchise battling each other in turn based combat.

The game uses the Flightpath game system first developed by Fantasy Flight for their 'Wings of War' tabletop game, but really saw it's rise to fame when they adapted it for their bestselling, critically acclaimed 'Star Wars X-Wing' tabletop game.

Players construct a fleet of vessels, choosing from pre-painted miniatures available in single ship packs, and then use various cards to upgrade them. The system uses a points system as per most tabletop wargames to balance out the choices available to would be Admirals.

There is an element of deck building to the game thanks to these cards. Each ship needs to be allocated a Captain card. The Captains range from level 1 officers, who seem to have barely graduated from Starfleet Academy, to the highest level captains so far - the level 9 legendary Captains like Jean-luc Picard and the first and best, James T. Kirk.

The Captains level plays a big part in the ruleset. Lower level captains get to move first, but attack last. This means they risk being out maneavered by their higher level opponents, and risk not living to make their own attacks. But they do however have the redeeming feature of being much cheaper in points.

This in turn allows for more resources to spend of the other cards in the game - upgrades. There are four types of upgrade available: The common Crew, Weapon and System upgrades and the Elite Skill upgrades that can be used with certain captains.

Crew allow for certain actions to be made, or to afflict the enemy in someway. Weapons give new options for attacking, ranging from Photon torpedoes to Cloaked minefields. And system upgrades improve your ships performance in some way.

Elite upgrades represent your captain pulling something special out of the bag. The Enterprise (no bloody A, B, C or D) expansion for example comes with the card 'Cheat Death', which allows a ship to return with one hull point after being destroyed.  This was critical in a game i played a few days ago, as my Enterprise was shot down inches away from safety, only to have Kirk save the day and keep them alive long enough to win. 

Gameplay follows an activation system based on the skill rank of each ships Captain. Lowest skilled Captains move first, and shoot last.

Movement is done using a dial to select the distance and direction you are going to move. Each player secretly chooses their maneuver at the start of each round, and reveals them in turn.

After it moves, each ship can perform one action. Crucially this is done before the next ship down in skill activates.

Attacking is done by rolling a number of red dice equal to your ships attack stat, vs green dice equal to your opponents defense stat.

Most ships are equipped with shields, which get removed as the vessel suffers damage. Once the shields are gone, the hull starts taking damage.
Attacks can also cause critical hits, ranging from your helmsman being knocked out and leaving your ship barely able to move, to the infamous Warp Core Breach that can blow up an otherwise fine ship.

The ruleset is one of those classic systems. At first glace it appears deceptively simple, but it hides a huge depth of tactical options. Movement becomes a tense affair, the secrecy forcing you to try to out think and out plan your opponents likely moves.

Actions are equally important. Do you do an action that grants you an extra opportunity to cause damage? All while knowing  your opponents move could bring them out of your firing arc or expose you to heavy fire with a reduced defense.

I would be remiss however if i don't mention the few issues with STAW. They mainly revolve around the ship models themselves.

To be frank, the quality of the miniatures is pretty low. Some feature parts in the wrong place - like the bridge of the K'Tinga. Some use the wrong molds - the D7 is identical to the K'Tinga. Some have damage or warping - if you look at my Constitution class ship you may notice the saucer section is chipped. And all of them have pretty abysmal paintjobs.

Personally i think the rules system is strong enough to overlook these flaws. If you're a board game player, you'll be used to abstract tokens representing things so a dodgy looking ship shouldn't impact your fun too much. And to be fair once you are in the middle of a game, you tend to be thinking more about whether or not a Breen is going to shut down your entire ship for a turn, than the squiggly line on your Galaxy class' nacelle.

If you're a miniatures gamer like myself, the best option is to repaint them.
 The models will take a coat of paint no problem, and once you pick out the details they look a thousand times better. I've repainted all my ships so far and plan to do so with everything in the future.

As i said in my previous post, i really do urge any fan of tabletop games to check out Star Trek Attack Wing. Or if you don't like Star Trek, try the equally good Star Wars X-Wing.

Or if you hate science fiction all together (which makes me wonder why you are reading this) then rejoice as Wizkids have announced Dungeon and Dragons Attack Wing. Yes that's right, you will soon be able to have dragons shooting fireballs at each other while facing off against other fantasy beasties.

So until next time i remain,
Your Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-pope.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Boldy Going

I have to admit, when i was younger i was a Trekkie.

A really trekkie Trekkie.

Seriously. I had a uniform (Early DS9, Gold shoulders, rockin' it Chief O'Brien style), i devoured the novels, i spent every evening watching the various incarnations on BBC 2 at 6pm.

I was livin' long and prospering.

Then came the Jar Jar Abrams reboot, which frankly killed my enthusiasm stone dead. The heroes i'd grown up with were made into caricatures, Kirk went from brave leader to sex pest hiding under the beds of cadets, the ship had a fugly makeover and installed a brewery drive and Leonard Nimoy sold out to have one last leg over William Shatner.

And the less said of the sequel, Into Dumbness, the better.

So the franchise that had dominated my youth was now dead to me and i moved on.

Until a week ago.

I'd been pestered by a friend who'd just discovered Star Trek for himself, rejoicing in the Romulans, to try Star Trek Attack Wing.

I was aware of the game, along with the donor of it's ruleset, X-Wing, but hadn't spared much thought over it. Like i said, the world of Warp Drives and Dilithium Crystals was closed for me.
But never underestimate the power of nagging.

So last Friday i gave in, nipped to my nearest Waterstones and grabbed the starter set. Taking it to the till, i was fully expecting to spend the next month berating my friend over my purchase.

I broke out the set, grabbed the quick start rules and enlisted my son in playing out a few games.

And boom. I'm hooked.

Before i knew it i was rendezvousing with Riker, dodging disruptors with Data and have an absolute blast. A one of purchase quickly ended up with another visit to the store, grabbing an Enterprise and a K'Tinga before beginning round two.

I cannot stress how good the game system is enough. I'll be doing a full review in the near future, but if you haven't tried out Attack Wing or X-Wing i urge you to do so at you earliest opportunity. It's fantastic.

So that's it then. The pointed ears are being dusted off and the phaser is being reset to stun.

I'll leave you with a shot of my Federation "fleet" (Do two ships count as a fleet?) and thank Wizkids for restoring part of my childhood.

Until next time, i remain

Your Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-pope.