Star Trek Sunday – Balance of Terror OP – USS Intrepid

Morning Mancavers,

Today I will be walking you through the Monthly OP Event Kit “Balance of Terror” which is the second episodic OP Event Kit, after “Year of Hell” and fills the short 2 month gap between the OP Events “Q-Continuum” and”Temporal Cold War” for Wizkids Star Trek Attack Wing (STAW).

Balance of Terror comes from the Original Series (TOS) timeline and is inspired by the TOS episode of the same name:-

http://en.memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Balance_of_Terror_(episode)

It is the first time in Star Trek where we witness and experience the nefarious Romulans.

The Star Trek: Attack Wing Balance of Terror OP Kit includes everything a store needs to run an event supporting 10 players Including:
  • 1 Tournament Instruction / Score Sheet here
  • 1 Tournament Overview Sheet here
  • 1 Fleet Build Sheet
  • 10 Sabotage Participation Prize Cards
  • 3 USS Intrepid / Constitution -class Starship Pre-Painted Plastic Ships
    • 1 Plastic base (with 2 Plastics Pegs)
    • 1 Maneuver Dial
    • 10 Cards (2 Ship, 1 Maneuver, 2 Captain, 1 Additional Rules, and 4 Upgrade Cards) 5 Token Sheets (4 Captain ID, 1 Ship, 5 Action, 1 Critical Hit, 1 Auxiliary Power, 1 Fleet Action, 1 admiral, 1 Disabled upgrade, and 3 Shield Tokens)

Source: http://wizkids.com/attackwing/star-trek-attack-wing-balance-of-terror-op/

Interestingly, in addition to the OP Event mission, which can be downloaded legally and free of charge via the link above, there are as usual a participation resource “Sabotage”. Players will receive the participation price regardless of their actual placement in the tournament.

This OP resource costs 5 fleet points and can be used a total of five times. When the game starts you place five Mission markers ontop of the Sabotage Resource. Each round a player may spend one of these tokens, to obtain one of the following four effects: if you are Attacking the enemy you can (1) force the Defending ship to re-roll 2 dice of your choice or (2) force the Defending ship to roll 1 less Defense dice.  You can also when Defending force the Attacking ship to, either (3) to roll 1 less Attack dice or (4) to re-roll 2 Attack dice of your choice.  This can already be very handy albeit a bit situational. The card is also very flexible. And for just 5 points, I don’t think it will become common in my builds but its fun and may see the odd use in casual play.

For those participating in the event the kit also contains three prize ships, the USS Intrepid, a Federation Constitution Class Starship.  One usually goes one to the tournament winner.  The other two vessels are often shared by the tournament hosts (or its trusted third party, which organized the tournament, the TO) and another player from the field of competitors who has embraced the spirit of the game or played thematically….well call this the Fellowship Prize.  As the Tournament Organiser (TO) and already having three of these ships I will be returning my Prize ship back into the pool.  So First and Second and Fellowship (Most Sporting) will each receive a prize.

The Wizkids official Event Site describes the kit as follows:

Star Trek: ATTACK WING BALANCE OF TERROR OP

While on a mission to investigate attacks against the outposts near the Romulan Neutral Zone, your fleet has discovered an enemy fleet heading back towards the neutral zone. You have your fleet follow the enemy into the Neutral Zone at a distance, mirroring Their every move. Even though any act of aggression would be Considered to act of war between your people, you decide to make your move and have your fleet attack. Will you outmaneuver and destroy your enemies?Or wants They outwit you and claim victory for Themselves?

The USS Intrepid was first seen in the TOS episode “The Immunity Syndrome” and is a Federation Starship. It is, as Captain Kirk’s USS Enterprise was, a Constitution class and has a unqiue identifying feature. The entirity of Admiral Decker’s crew is composed exclusively of Vulcans!  A fact which this kit unfortunately does not do justice. As only a single Vulcan Crew card is included in this prise ship set.

So lets start with the ship itself, this ship model is a recycled sculpt also used for the USS Enterprise or Tinyprise from the initial “Wave 0” of the game. This is ok, given that the two ships are the same class of ship in game although the many reported issues with the engine nacelles detaching in transport for the USS Enterprise so you may see broken off engines.  I personally have never had an issue with this sculpt at all and including the ISS Avenger which also uses this sculpt own 9 of this sculpt now without issue.   As you can see, the Intrepid follows the recent trend for Federation ships that began to established over the last few waves to paint ships in Liberace-esque silvers. Silver is the new Federation Baby Blue. Following the silver Akira class USS Thunderchild, Nebula class USS Pheonix and Intrepid class USS Bellerophon we now also get a silver Constitution class.  Im not sure how I feel about this….Im not a huge fan of the Baby Blue colour but I dont see that the Silver which Wizkids are currently using is any better.  Its almost as if those guys at Wizkids have never actually watched an episode of Star trek ever.  When you see the paint jobs, the blatantly incorrect cards in some packs and the wrong ships being used for particular episodic events you have to question whether WK actually know or care any different.

The USS Intrepid has the usual stats ​​of its sister ship, the Constitution class USS Enterprise and costs, using the usual formula of doubling the total of all primary stats – 22 points for the Named Variant (game values ​​3-1-4-3) and 20 points for the Generic Constitution class.  It uses the standard Federation Action Bar of Evade, Target Lock, Scan and Battlestations.

As per all other version of the Constitution class this ship has a 180 degree front arc and no rear arc.  Its a very useful maneuver dial and will certainly help in keeping those enemy ships within the front arc.  1 Bank & 1 and 2 Fwd Greens. 2 & 3 Bank, 2 Hard and 3 & 4 Fwd Whites with 2 Reverse and Hard 3’s as Red.  No Come About at all.

The ability of the named version is nice, not game breaking or meta changing but nice.  “When attacking a ship at Range 3, if there is a Scan Token beside your ship the Defending Ship rolls -2 Defense dice instead of -1”.  There have been certain scenarios when staying at Range 3 and “fed shuffling” could win your the event.  In those scenarios this ability would have been great.  Its a nice ability if you can use it.  Its a little situational but given that this ship is a little fragile you may want the additional defensive benefits of staying at Range 3 whilst making your attacks that little bit more potent.  The larger front arc will almost certainly help with this.  This will also work on Secondary Weapons!

So who do we have at the helm of the USS Intrepid….well none other than Commodore Matt Decker (the father of Captain Will Decker from the Enterprise Refit expansion!).  Sadly this is where things start to fall apart and Wizkids lack of caring or understanding of the Trek’verse begin to show.  The USS Intrepid (NCC-1631) was a 23rd century Federation Constitution-class starship operated by Starfleet. This ship was crewed entirely byVulcans and was seen in the TOS episode “The Immunity Syndrome“.  Expanded canon described the Captain of the Intrepid as Satak.  In this pack we see Commodore Matt Decker, the captain of the USS Constitution which went toe to toe with “The Doomsday Machine” in the TOS episode of the same name.  So far Wizkids have the wrong ship attributed to the episodic OP (should have been the Enterprise) and the wrong captain (should have been Satak).  100% failure rate so far.

As there is no mechanic for using Commodores in STAW Matt Decker is listed as an Admiral which means we can use him as either an Admiral or a Captain.  The Admiral version costs 1 point and actually reduces the effectiveness of your captain but reducing his CS by 1.  A thoroughly thematic implementation of this guy!  As Captain he is a low CS2 captain.  Both versions bring an Elite Talent slot to the table which for the cost is pretty good and he also comes with an ability.  “Target a ship within Range 1 of your ship (including your ship).  Target ship gains +1 Attack die this round and suffers 1 damage to its Hull.”.  Its thematic of Matt decker and the episode he appeared in but again that wasn’t Balance of Terror.  Its an ok ability.

This ability poses a number of questions: Is it possible with Deckers Action to allow an enemy to target ship to get it on the one hand briefly to strengthen the attack value, but then to also damage as a result of the interaction?  If you were in the rear arc of a ship with no shot at you you may want to use this ability to directly apply damage to the Hull of that enemy ship.  This is a rather sneaky usage for this ability.  You could also use it against a an enemy ship at range 1 with a shot on you when you have Feedback Pulse from the Borg Sphere expansion that allows you to cancel all the damage and apply half of it rounded up aback at the enemy.  Nifty huh!  Keevan + Feedback Pulse + Admiral Matt Decker??

When does this deal damage effect occur? After application of the additional die or immediately?  I would be inclined to say that the damage dealt is directly linked to the triggering of the Action occurring.  Therefore indirectly this action allows the ability to destroy his own ship itself!

On the first point, I feel the wording of the card is clear. I will go with the wording of card that you Matt Decker’s action may also employ against enemy ships! An interpretation supported by the wording of another card in this set card, the Elite Talent Flag Officer because there is a clear distinction between the terms is friendly and enemy implied.
In this form, this action is a very exciting prospect to play with, as long as you survive its use!

The Elite Talent Flag Officer allows you to target a friendly ship within Range 1-2 and that ship can perform a free Action if you discard this Elite Talent.  Its a 4pt discard Elite Talent.  In my mind for a free Action the costs of this card are prohibitively high, 4pts and a discard??  The effect itself is quite nice, but there are simply better talents for the Federation out there or uses for those 4pts in a build.

Lets look at the Crew upgrades available in this pack.  As I mentioned earlier the Intrepid was crewed exclusively by Vulcans so you could reasonably expect a Vulcan Crew heavy expansion.  Again Wizkids have dropped the ball here as they have only provided one Vulcan Crew, the Vulcan Engineer.  The Vulcan Engineer is a 3pt Action.  He’s worded thusly “ACTION: If there are no enemt ships within Range 1-3 of your ship, repair one of your shield tokens.  You do not pay a faction penalty when assigning this upgrade to a Vulcan ship.”.  Its a nice ability, not sure I’ll use it as much as other repair cards of which the Federation has quite a few.  The penalty pure element is cool and another card to add to the lists for penalty pure events but as we play pure here I cant see him getting much use.

We also have another Crew upgrade in Astrogator.  It can be deployed as a Crew upgrade or a Secondary Weapon upgrade.  Its a 3pt Action discard which is never a nice to decision to make.  It says “ACTION: Discard this card to perform an additional non-red maneuver on your maneuver dial with a speed of 1 or 2.  This upgrade may only be purchased for a Constitution class ship and you may fill a Crew or Secondary Weapon Upgrade slot on your upgrade bar with this upgrade.  No ship may be equipped with more than 1 Astrogator upgrade”.  So you can perform a non-red speed 1 or 2 maneuver as an Action, it has its uses but sadly the timing of this card limits those interactions.  Had it been a discard after you move then it could have been used to remove a Auxiliary Token after a red manuever.  But as it is an Action you need an Action to use it.  Its nice for getting out of dodge or moving into a better firing position but would closing to R1 be better than using that Action for a Target Lock or Battlestations?  Im not sure.  Its a  nice thematic card as I recall its usage in another TOS episode.  There was a failed experiment with the M5 Multitronic Computers on all Constitution class starships in the TOS episode “The Ultimate Computer”.

Last card to look at is the Secondary Weapon upgrade Dual Phaser Banks.  Its a 3pt disable upgrade which adds +1 to your Primary Weapon Attack.  It may not sound much but when you cosnider this now makes a Constitution class as punchy as a Galaxy class starship or hit even harder than a Romulan D’deridex class Warbird.  Sadly the Dual Phaser banks upgrade may only be equipped on Federation ships are used and cost another 3 pts cost if they were a vessel type other than said Constitution wants to play class. As with other similar upgrades you may only ever equip one of these upgrades to your ship.

However, this card is absolutely worth its points and a real steal of an upgrade. As the Primary Weapon attack  is boosted, you can stack this upgrade with others than boost your Primary Attack or Attack dice.  You can also use your best maneuvers to – used at the right moment – get two additional attack dice (1 for Range 1 and 1 for this card). Since you get to keep the card after use also, the ability is often performable over and over again. I personally like that, especially since I do not like disposable cards. Its too bad that cards like this will become available only via tournament play to the players.

So let me know what you think.

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