Tuesday, August 26, 2014

..aboard this tiny ship

Capt's log Stardate ...the science vessel? Really?

Well first post via ipad. We shall see how it goes.

Played Dominion War 2 tonight. Won 1 Lost 2 but had good showings in my losses.

The set up for this one is a planet in the middle of the table with an orbital weapons platform at the cardinal map points. These platforms shoot at the closest ship out to range 2 with a 4 die attack.

I was running a slightly different build. The Valdore with toerth as capt. Romulan tactical officer as crew, counter attack, plasma torpedoes.

Then i had the Yeager with Picard and Tom Paris, proton torps, and cheat death.

Then with the 13 pts i had left i had a wild hair and took the generic romulan science vessel with the 1 skill generic capt. For a 99 pt build.

The valdore could reroll a target lock use twice thanks to the tac officr. Toreth allowed a hit to convert to a crit and if i used a green manuever i added an attack die.

Picard meanwhile gained an extra defense die via Paris and cheat death would keep the ship alive a bit longer. Although it only came into play once.

I could have used my extra points to add a flagship or a fleet capt but i am still trying to stick to my 'non power' build strategy. Crazy i know :)

The first game i faced a pretty well stacked federation build. Lots of rerolls and dice control. However defensively the dice gods were with me all evening. I was consistantly rolling four ,five, even six evades. On the flip side i was only able to inflict a portion of my possible damage.

The first game i managed to destroy one of my opponents ships before he got all three of mine.

The little rom sci ship was the last to go. It flew around and just kept pinging away with its one attack die. The little guy is quite nimble however and i was able to keep him out of the firing line more often than not.

Second game was an all klingon build..cloaking vs partial cloacking. This time the dice gods were with me fully. I was still rolling hot on my defense but my attack dice finally showed up and my opponent was running very very cold on defense. Watched him whiff several times with no evades and mostly blanks on 6 dice. It hurt me a bit to watch it. And again the little science ship that could proved his worth actually getting the killing blow on one of the opposing ships...go go 1 die attacks!!

The third game was a mixes fed and klingon build. I was still rolling fairly well on defense but my attack dice started to cool and his defense was heating up...and in the end his dice control proved my undoing. But i still manage to get two of of his ships. In this game however the little sci vessel got overconfident and to far ahead of his mates and paid the ultimate price.

Overall that little guy more than proved his worth.

The main telling feature in these games was dice control. Being able to convert misses to hits. All three games came to a quick head right in the middle of the right side of the table mostly away from the weapon platforms. However trying to stay away from them did not leave you much room to move and there was more ship bumping tonight then i have seen yet.

It was an enjoyable event. I got to play opponents i had not faced before which was also a plus. In the end i kept my place as top romulan commander....course there are only two of us :)

In two weeks comes Collective 3 .... Oy haha

Before then more posts of course. Tonights games gave me a couple ideas for the next posts. Moving strategies..build possibilities out of the norm etc

Until then never ignore the tiny ship!!

Make sure you check out all of the posts for the Blaugust Initiative

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, August 18, 2014

New gaming mat

Capts Log  Stardate - Getting my creative on!

For a while now I have wanted a new star field gaming mat. Two weeks ago I obtained the felt but had not had time to sit down and paint the star field.  So when I got home from lunch I decided..today is the day.

First I sat down and looked at some images. Orion has long been my favored constellation so i wanted to incorporate that. I found the following image on the web.

Then spent probably just under and hour to produce the mat below. for a first try I like it a lot. I may end up doing a second to try to get a brighter image but all in all this will work well.

I have also considered using the splatter method to add some depth of star field but I am afraid I may end up cluttering the mat.

Until next time - I shall by a beret and call myself picaso!


Make sure you check out all of the posts for the Blaugust Initiative

Gencon - the fiasco that was the Whizkids booth

Capts Log Stardate - what in the blue hell were they thinking?

Unfortunatly I was not able to attend GenCon this year. But I did have a bit of a dog in the hunt so to speak. A friend of mine agreed to see about getting the cloaked ship box for me. Only to get there at door opening and find them sold out every single day.

And that is the tamest of the stories coming out of genCon. Rude employees, lying employees, and just general crappy customer service. The forums are full of it and it had begun before the first day of gencon was out.

Now in the grand scheme of things not getting the box of ships won't hurt as they were for me just an item that if I could get great if not...oh well....

But the bigger issue is Whiz Kids once again completely mishandling the event. By most accounts there was a tiny number of boxes for sale and those were normally gone either before the doors opened to the general public or 5 minutes post. People were then told "come back later", " We have plenty", only them to be told sometimes quite rudely they were all gone.

WK has a history of this sort of thing. Every year they offer some promotion and every year they mishandle it. Never having nearly enough supply. Rude employees, etc. After many Gencons you would think they learn.

And then the public forum post today that went up spinning it as "unexpected demand", oy, seriously they actually expect thier customers to swallow that?

This is the sort of thing that will turn players off in droves and cause people who are borderline curious to back away and take thier money and playership elsewhere.

The pessimistic part of me is starting to fear for the future of this game. Time will tell. Hopefully they manage to finally start caring. They so far in the past have shown no inclination to.

I have already had discussions with players over that very thing. With this sort of practice it is also hard to continue to try to drum up support for the game.

Thankfully for the casual gamer it doesn't effect them nearly as much. As long as the main line is available in stores there is a game to play. But that will stay only as long as there is a following or the company continues to make product.

Here is hoping for the best.  Next back to your regularly scheduled posting about actual gameplay :)

Until, stay gold ponyboy stay gold


And make sure to check out all the posts in the Blaugust Iniative

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wolf 359

Capt's log Stardate -Holy crap that is a lot of wreckage

The Battle of Wolf 359, for those fans of the series this Two parter was a whale of a story. Picard captured and assimilated by the borg into Locutus. Riker in charge of the Enterprise with orders to destroy the cube with Picard on it,  a nail biter to be sure. And still to this day sits at the top or near the top of any Favorite Episode list.

When the Ent D arrives at Wolf 359 they find the fleet already dead basically. Debris everywhere and just a few ships left flying.

This battle is what the Collective OP 2 scenario was about. The Borg Cube Token sits unmoving 8 inches from the far edge of the play field and in the center. Around it before the game begins the players place 6 debris tokens. The debris tokens work as an obstacle for the player, meaning it gives the target an extra defense die and if you fly thru it you can take damage. If the Borg Cube Token(BTC) fires at a ship and is blocked by debris the ship takes no damage that turn, and the debris is destroyed and the debris token removed from play.

The objective is to put damage on the BCT, You recieved one damage token for each hit and crit, also as a bonus the first crit of a given turn gave you two hits and if ALL the ships in your fleet attacked in a given turn you recieved a bonus token for each ship that damaged the cube.

In all three rounds I used this to shield as many ships as I could for one turn.

The players both deployed on the side away from the BCT in a range one deployment zone. In each round I had there was not even any trying to interfere with the other player. I know there were some games that did have that but I did not get a chance to talk to any of those players about how their games went.

Now these round descriptions will be fairly short as its really just shooting at the BCT, getting shot at by the BCT , rinse repeat. So here is the highlight reel.

First round I was with a Romulan player whose blind booster pull was the Jem Hadar attack ship. We had both more or less set up apart from each other an other than trying not bump into each other pretty much just shot at the BCT. I moved out my fleet and had two ships shot at by the BCT, The Maquis and Worf's Vor'cha. The raider was screened by debris and Worf managed to evade. In this game I did not loose any ships by our time limit game end. I put 70 damage on the BCT which was enough for a win. And got a better feel for what manuevers were needed to keep all of my ships firing. The 180 degree arc of the Koronak proved its worth as I was able to hold the BCT in the firing arc with no trouble. The 90 degree arcs on my other three ships proved more challenging. My 70 damage pts were enough to give me the win but not enough to give me the bonus battle point. In order to gain the bonus you had to have at least 20 more damage tokens on the BCT than your opponent at the end of the game.

Second round was with a highly tuned federation fleet who had pulled the B'moth klingon D7. Again this game I managed to use the debris to screen the maquis raider. meanwhile my vor'chas cloaks kept them safe. The Koronak I tried to get out of the 4 closest ships to the BCT. This game had almost twice as many turns as the round 1 which had started a bit late. This game manuevering was bit trickier and several times I had to move a ship out of its firing arc or slam into the cube.

We did have some semi exciting moment when the Voyager slammed into Worf's Vor'cha as they both tried to pass around the back side of the cube.  Even though we were not shooting at each other loosing your actions for a turn could really impact your damage rate and survivability.

Late in the game a combination of bumping and my defense dice going cold cost me both vor'chas. Loosing the cloak close into the BCT was not a good idea. :)

This round ended with me putting 75 damage onto the BCT. Unforunately my opponent racked up 95 pts and got the win and the bonus battle point.

Third round was with a one ship plus booster fleet. One fully loaded Bioship Alpha who had pulled the Yeager as his booster. This game went similarly to the second one. First turn I screened two ships with debris and he screened one. The other pieces of debris were never a factor. And again much like in the second game my defense dice went cold late in the game, and again both Vor'chas flamed out quickly leaving me with the Maquis raider sitting literally right in front of the cube. He went down soon after. This game ended with me having racked up 72 damage and my opponent finished with 85.

What made the differnce however was the bioship capt had used Counter Attack as his elite talent. So he was essentually getting two shots at the BCT a turn if he took damage. And rolling 7 attack dice that put up quite a bit of extra damage. A good play by my opponent. Until the last bit I was leading the game thru out. He got two turns of me being destroyed to fire at the BCT and it turned the tide in his favor.

Being a co-op type scenario this was vastly different from the previous OPs I have played in and I found the change to be both challenging and enjoyable.

the final Collective OP is the Battle of Sector 001 and this time the BCT really fights back. Should be fun.

Until next time may you never be one of the four closest ships to the BCT

And be sure to check out all the fun over at The Blaugust Initiative


Flights of Fancy

Capt's log Stardate at least the other player won't blow you up this time.

So Tuesday night I will be playing Collective OP 2 The Battle of Wolf 359

This is a bit different type of game. As you are not fighting your opponent. You are simply trying to put damage on the Borg Cube at the other end of the table. You cannot use any abilities or weapons against your opponent that damage them. You can use 'passives' but really that is pointless in this OP I believe. The idea is to get as much damage on the Borg Cube as you can. And if you spend time dinking around with the other player you just won't have time to get that much damage on the cube.

My fleet had two generic Vor'chas. the first Capt'd by Worf the second Nu'Daq

Hmm for some reason my Worf card is not showing up. But the Klingon version of Worf is a 3 pt 5 Skill Capt and his When attacking you may re-roll your blanks one time.  A rather handy ability. He is joined by N'Garen below which gives him a sort of Battlestations result as an action. Which is good as klingons mostly lack Battlestations as an allowable action. And Nu'Daq as you can see gives the same ability for free. again handy.

I then took the Named Koronak And Gul Danar as the Capt giving me the ability to reroll one blank But he also gets Battlestations.


The idea here is to give me as many attack dice as possible without giving my opponent much to be able to fiddle with ability wise. the rules of the OP event state you can not shoot or use abilities that directly damage your opponent but you can use abilities that do not directly damage them.

Some will already know that there is a second Cardassian ship that is similar that I could have taken. And the 180 degree fire arc on that ship as well was tempting. But the cloak gives me better defense against the Cube Tokens Unlimite range 5 die attack.

I will go ahead and put my booster ship here as well instead of in the next post.

My Blind pull for this OP was the Maquis Raider,  I don't have the card image handy but here are the stats copied from a thread on Board Game geek.  I had the Named Raider, Tooks Michael eddington as my Capt and put Focused Particle Bame on it.

Gavaroche (Maquis Raider)
Forward Arc: 90 Back Arc 0
Cost: 22 (20)
3 (2)
Evade, Target Lock, Scan, Battlestations
Action: Disable up to 2 Crew Upgrades and add +1 attack die to each of your attacks this round for each Crew Upgrade you disabled with this action.

Maneuver Dial: Identical to the Ch'tang

Weapon, Personnel, Personnel

Michael Eddington
Cost: 4
Skill: 6
Elite Talent: 1

At the start of the game, place three mission tokens on this card.

Action: Target a ship at Range 1-3 and discard 1 Mission token from this card. Target ship rolls -2 attack dice against your ship for each of its attacks this round.


Focused Particle Beam
Cost: 4
Range: 1-3
Attack: 3

Attack: Disable this card to perform this attack. During the Roll Attack Dice step of the Combat Phase, if you roll a hit or critical result on each one of your dice with this attack, continue rolling 1 additional dice, one at a time, until you do not roll a hit or critical result (max 3 additional dice). Add all additional hit and critical results from the additional dice to your total for this attack. Any blank or battlestation results from the additional dice are not added.

When the Particle Beam works it is nice and even when it doesn't I still get an extra attack die. It does mean however if I want to use it a lot I will have to use my action to reenable it each turn.

So That is my 120 Fleet for Collective OP2.  How did I do? Tune into the next post to see.

Go and check out The Blaugust Initiative

Until next time stay cloaked and hid behind the other guy!


Monday, August 11, 2014

Make it so

Capt;s Log Stardate - why does a Frenchman has an English accent?

Last time we discussed a bit about the Enterprise D. Now lets look at her capt. Jean Luc Picard.

In STAW terms Picard is one of if not the best capt choice in the game for general purposes. He is a 9 skill capt for 6 pts, which that right there puts him up front. Skill 9 is the highest base skill in the game at the moment. You can pump them up higher but it takes other cards to do it. So Picard moves last and shoots first much of the time.

Picard's ability is what really pushed him over the top. Each round you may perform Evasive, target Lock, battlestations, or scan as a free action. basically doubling the actions you get each turn. Pretty darn handy don't you think?

One thing to remember though is the rules specifically state you cannot take the same action more than once in a turn. Again there are cards that curcumvent this rule but most of the time not. Still Picard gives a lot of added punch. Target Loc + Battlestations which on a normal attack gives you a reroll of any misses and turns Battlestations results to hits. Significantly ups you hit percentage.

Battlestations + Evade for defense.

Battlestations + Scan for modifying dice on your roll and removing one defense die from whomever you are shooting at.

as you can see Picard brings a wealth of new choice and power to the table.

Placing Picard on any other ship and he is just as good really. You see him on voyager lot and you also see Picard show up on other factions ships. With only a 1 point faction penalty he is still only  7 pts for what you get.

As we move forward with the blog we will move into more detailed looks at what the card can do when combined with other cards.

Coming up next it a look at the fleet I will be flying tomorrow for Collective OP event 2 The Battle of Wolf 359. We will look quickly at the rules and see what I plan to do.

As with all current posts this is a Blaugust Initiative post. Be sure to check ALL the blogs in the Initiative for all sorts of gaming and other goodness.

Until then - avoid the delta Quadrant!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Space the Final Frontier....

Capt's Log Stardate really long string of meaningless numbers

No really originally the stardates were literally random numbers :)

But anyway the title of this post is the open phrase from one of the most famous monologues of all time. This has been voiced by Kirk, Spock, Picard, and others.

Which brings me to my topic today in a sort of oddly logical way, the Enterprise D from Next Generation Capt'd by Jean Luc Picard.  One of the best ships in Attack Wing.

Here she is in all her glory

Like most of the larger ships her agility is not much with only 1. But there are crew and things that can boost that. As well as evades and such. All in all I have found the Ent D to stand up pretty well. With 90 degree front and rear arcs she packs a nice punch. You can add Torpedoes as well easily.

The real gem though is the ability. You can make a 360 degree attack out to range 2. You do loose one attack die down to 3 but unlike Voyager there is no other penalty. Voyager has a similar ability and gets her full attack but also gains an Aux Power token. Ent'D's is better in most cases.

Really in STAW it is hard to do a ship post without talking about how to possibly crew her. If all you have is the starter you will want to put Picard on her. Picard is one of the best capts in the game. With his free actions, combined with your regular action you can do some damage. The Target Lock/Battlestations action combo is popular for example. We will discuss this more when we talk about Picard. That post is coming.

I don't have my cards handy as I am in Tulsa and they are in KC. Had to find the above image on the net. I cannot find an image of the movement card but the stats are as follows.

straights out to 4 with 1 and 2 being green moves
gentle turns of 1, 2, and 3 with the 1 being green
hard turns on 2 and 3 with the 3 being RED
and a Red 2 reverse.

That is reverse not come about. There is a difference. With a come about you move forward and then turn 180 in your facing. With Reverse you keep the same facing and just move the ship backwards. This I can tell you is very handy and can be an ugly surprise.

One thing I can recommend for the new player is to get a real feel for how far each of the template actually moves a ship. Some of them are farther than you would think. the gentle 3 is a good example.

Coming back to the reverse. This may be the most useful maneuver on the dial. More than once I have used that move to spoil what my opponent had thought was a great move. Nothing like moving your ship to come around and sit right behind the D only to find the D backing straight up on its move and ending up behind you. One of the beautiful moments in this game is when you out guess your opponent and get the better move choice.

Other than the reverse the Ent D is pretty standard. Moves decent but not outstandingly. Not that fast. Certainly not as fast as the Voyagers straight 6. But can move well enough that she has some surprises.

Balance wise this works. Fluff wise the D was far more maneuverable than shown here.

Alright that is the D. Tomorrow we shall talk about her Capt a bit.

Until then may your series be ever renewed!

And be sure to check out the rest of The Blaugust Initiative!

More random thoughts and Wil Wheaton quote

Capts Log Stardate Rambling thoughts

Today's entry will be quick. Well I say that but one never really knows. Been thinking more about yesterday's talk about casual vs competitive and what makes a player one, the other , or inbetween. There really is no reason a player can't move between the types. In fact in many games I often have. Especially in things like MMOs and online play.

I played original Everquest for ages and did some raiding there. In DAoC however I stepped up and did a LOT of raiding. Main tanking, healing, crowd control, etc for the raid. It was a lot of fun but it became a job. Cause often if you are not there the raid doesn't happen if you are one of those main needs.

With miniature games I have gone back and forth from wanting to compete in tournaments to saying nope..no more. Mainly because at one point I had a run of tournies where I got "THAT" guy like every single time. The one who would always find the most broken army, combo, what have you and liked to just rub it in opponents faces. I prefer the more gentlemanly game. You can destroy me, just don't rub my nose in it. Then you just become a douche. As Wil Wheaton says "Don't be a dick"

And in STAW I have already seen both this type of players, and my favorite, the stealth douche. The guy who on the surface seems friendly even though he has a fully tuned broken fleet. Then proceeds to make sure you know every turn just how good his fleet is. This sort of player is deadly to the rookie.

I have seen more new players turned off by this sort of play than anything else. Because they think that is the norm. In some games it almost is.. or at least was when I was playing it regularly(cough MtG..cough) ,

Hopefully even if you are a competitive player you are more of an ambassador for the game rather than the evil guy. Encourage new players, help them, teach them. No matter what camp they want to fall in. You will turn a casual player into a competitive one faster by being encouraging than by brow beating.

So anyway..tomorrow back to our regularly scheduled program. Perhaps a look at the Enterprise D or one or all of the other ships you get in the starter.

Until then remember Don't be a dick!


This post is a part of The Blaugust Initiative

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

casual? competitive? What's your flavor?

In many games, especially of the miniatures variety there are a couple of "schools" of play. Those who want to play competitively in tournaments, become nationally ranked(if the game has such a thing), win world championships, etc. And those who just want to have fun.

Now let me start by saying there is nothing inherently wrong with either approach and there is in fact an in between approach. There are those who play in the tourny's but while they like to win its more important to have a good time. Some of the best games I have ever had I have lost.

And you don't really need to choose one over the other. One can slide back and forth between the two extremes easy enough.

These days I am pretty firmly in the casual camp even though i do participate in the STA Organized Play events which is essentially the tournament scene for the game. But when I do so I go in knowing that there is only really an outside chance for me to win. I mainly play in them for two reasons, 1.. the participation prizes and 2. to get games in.

It is however still frustrating to just get destroyed by a highly tuned up tournament fleet. But it is the way it is unless I choose to start powering up. And for me that is not something I want to delve to deeply into.

And this blog is planned to stay mostly casual. I have talked and will talk more about the cards and ships you can get just for participating. and even winning when I manage to get ahold of one. for example I do have the vulcan prize ship from collective OP 1. But mostly I will try to stay to the cards available to the general public as we go forward.

I don't know anyone who likes to loose. So my aim is to help the casual capt to maybe see a few things they wouldn't have thought up. Not so common uses for cards or ships. Won't make you into a tourny wrecking machine but it will hopefully enhance or add to your fun along the way.

I have played games competitively and it gets tiring trying to keep up with the jones' all the time.

At this point i just want to enjoy myself, and not get destroyed every time out of the gate.

Stay tuned and hang in there is way more to come. This blog and game are just getting started.

And be sure to check out the rest of The Blaugust Initiative

till next time may your attack dice come up crits!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Learning the Ropes

Capt's Log - Stardate - In the Beginning...

I was thinking last night that so far I have talked here and there about the games verious details but not a lot on what to actually do. How does one start?

Over the years I have played a heap of ship games... Full Thrust, A Call To Arms: Babylon 5, BattleFleet Gothic, just to name a few off the top of my head. And that is just the space ship games. Have also played sailing ship games... its a particular interest of mine.

And Ship games in general have some of the same charactristics... mainly because even though space is 3D you only really have 2D to simulate it. Some plane games get around by using telescoping bases to denote different height levels. But most space ships games really boil down to sailing ships in space. They move like Age of Sail ships and they tend to fight like them. Cloaking and other abilities not withstanding.

Star Trek is no different. In fact the entirety of star ship combat in trek is modeled after sea vessels. The only time you see 3D used is for dramatic effect... for example Star Trek 2 when Spock tells Kirk that Khan's thinking is decidely 2 Dimensional, and the final episode of TNG All Good Things(part 2) when Riker comes in from under the enemy ship to destroy it. Other than dramatic effect 3D is conveinently overlooked. Babylon 5 and the new Battlestar Galatica did a bit better job but the Bab5 games goes right back to 2D space. Only so much you can do on a table top.

Something to keep in mind is you are limited by the 2D space we are using to simulate the 3D environment.

Anyway.. so you have your starter and maybe a couple extra ships and you are ready to put together a fleet.. so now what?

First I suggest you keep it simple. Add your Capts, maybe a crew or two , and a upgrade. Often this first upgrade is Photon Torpedoes. I do not reccommend going all in and upgrading ships to the max to start as how the cards work is often confusing. remember keep it simple. If you are in luck you have someone to teach you that has already played for a bit and is not in the 'beat them until they learn" camp.

But even with the best cards the name of the game is getting your ships into firing position and keeping them there, while getting hit as little as possible in return.

As I mentioned yesterday make sure to set up a table with a couple obstacles, maybe a planet to fly around. Setting up on a pure open table is okay for a teaching game but tossing in something to fly around helps them learn to maneuver. Again when i am teaching I often allow movement do overs if they make a wrong choice or thought they had made a choice other than what shows on the dial. It does happen. it is actually quite easy to choose the wrong turn direction.

Typically in age of sail games you want to bring the most guns to bear which for those ships was normally a broadside. But for trek that is most often the front first arc. Most of the ships in the game(with some notable exception) have either a 90 degree front firing arc or 180 degrees. The ones with 360 can give you fits. Some ships also have a read firing arc which ifyou forget can make for getting a nasty surprise. I had an opponent forget about a rear arc once only to get forcably reminded when I hit him with a big quanton torpedo shot heh... ouch..

Anyway in general you want to get into either the side arc or rear if the ship doesn't have a rear arc itself. If you can get in there and stay in there you have it made. Of course its never that easy and one of the things I really like about STAW is the fact your moves are chosen first then hidden. You must learn to predict your opponents move. WAY easier said than done. But there is very little that gives more satisfaction of sliding into a position you know they cannot escape from.

For your first couple of games keep it simple, use the time to learn how the ships move.. what the different turns do.

Also DO NOT assume you won't bump if you have two ships together and they make the same move. They might look like they would stay together but the nature of the templates do not actually make that so.

But for your first games concentrate one learning the order of the turn, what to do when. When do take your actions, what the actions do. that sort of thing. Don't even worry so much about winning. Just in figuring out how it works. Once you have a handle on that start looking deeper at the cards and how they interact. The game is quite deep and it is not something that gets learned over night.

As always for the month of August this post is a part of The Blaugus Initiative

Until next time - May you always be in your opponents rear arc.

Monday, August 4, 2014

of Factions and purity - to mix or not to mix

Capt's Log supplemental - Stardate the eternal debate

This subject comes up time and time again in discussion of Attack Wing. Faction Pure, or mixed.
heck its not the first time it has come up already in this blog...sure it will not be the last :)

 Before we ramble on a bit lets set some definitions:

Faction Pure - all ships and upgrades in the fleet are from the same faction.

Ship Pure - all ships in the fleet contain upgrades from that ships factions but each ship can be from a different faction

Non Pure - pay the 1 point penalty build as you will.

The main "issue" with this debate is simple. the game is not designed to be played Faction Pure. The penalty for putting a non faction card on a ship is only +1 point. Nothing really. And this allows for some seriously devastating combos of cards. Especially when put on to the Borg ships.

Some people in the faction pure camp also allow independants on ships and still ruling that as "pure"

The problem with faction pure play, even after the design reason, is currently some factions are pretty heavily penalized when you enforce this rule. Romulans come to mind. They just don't have the cards. In fact I would go so far as to saying a faction pure game weights towards the Federation pretty heavily as they already have the most available cards to choose from. Although an argument can be made that this is in keeping with Trek in general. Being "fluff" oriented is not normally good for game balance.

Which brings up another point.. should the game be balanced? Again the Borg come to mind. right now they are powerful. Much like they were when they first appeared. Yep its in keeping with the trek story but it throws the game balance all out of whack.

It has always been my opinion that if you are going to build a miniatures game around a given universe some things will have to give way to balance. Given good solid play or outstanding play I should be able to take any fleet in the game and have a reasonable chance of winning. Die rolls and superior play by the opponent none withstanding. My choice of fleet should NOT be predicated on needing to play that faction to win.

I saw a similar situation in the A Call To Arms Babylon 5 game. When the 2nd edition came out the Minbari were deemed by some to be way overpowered. Without revealing anything that might get me a stern talking to :) if players thought the release list was powerful they should have seen the one the testers were sent...reminds me a WHOLE lot of the borg in STAW right now.

And while powerful Minbari are in keeping with the Bab 5 universe they are not in keeping with having competitive play with any faction.

In order to make Faction Pure trek viable there would need to be some card packs released to bring all the factions in line with one another.

Ship Pure seems to be a variation gaining popularity. In other words I can have a Fed ship, Romulan Ship, and Klingon ship in my fleet but each of those ships can only have that factions upgrades. This does go a long ways to helping keep the balance but does still leave a few combos in the hands of only a couple factions. So while we get closer to balanced its still not perfect.

Playing the game as designed however as has been stated really opens up some broken combos. adding Picard and company to a Tac Cube can get ugly. By the same token not all is rosey in faction pure land. I have seen a Fed ship rolling 8 attack dice with free scans and battlestations.  ouch :)

So waht is the answer? Honestly... a complete overhaul of the factions top to bottom with some actual external playtesting :)

What have we learned? Nothing really? Where you fall will depend greatly on who you play with. In casual games having house rules to correct the imbalances in the game is much easier. Just make sure those rules are spelled out and clear.

In Organized Play events its a bit murkier even though there are many who have house rules enforced on them. Oddly this is a stance I tend to avoid as much as possible even though I know it will mean lots of broken builds.

Until next time, keep the house rules clean and target locks on!

And don't forget the big Blaugust Initiative!


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Deck Building or Maneuvers.... which is most important?

Capts Log Stardate I like to move it move...

To begin the opinions expressed here and well thru out this blog are mine and mine alone. While I am often correct and rarely wrong :) :) :) :) these remain simply my opinions :) Now go forth and make my words the gospel of STAW...  no seriously this is just one players opinion so feel free to disagree. Even comment on it and we can discuss it. As long as you keep it civil. Now on with our regularly scheduled blog post.

Okay so there is a bit of a debate among STAW players about the most important part of the game. Deck Building seems to have a clear lead based on my totally non scientific manner of research. But oddly the general leanings tend to be toward the cards being more important than moving your ships.

This makes no sense to me. I have seen this happen on both sides of the table. A ship that is just stacked to the gills with as many roll modifying cards as they can get. Re-rolls, Free Battle stations, etc. Basically a ship that when it shoots is pretty much guaranteed a 75% or better hit rate. Only to see that player not ever get to use the ship because it has a 90 degree fire arc and they can never bring it to bear.

Part of this leaning I think is the nature of the way I see a lot of pick up games going. No obstacles to fly around, no planets to block line of site. Just an open killing field. This sort of playing field heavily weights the game into the stacked deck camp. Its is a whole lot easier to stay in firing position than when you have a clear field than when you have to go around planets or can get the bonus for hiding behind obstacles.

In a recent game I managed to save a ship and get a few more shots in by ducking behind and going around the planet on the map. Of course I have also managed to remove a ship I needed from a game for several turns because I choose wrong at the start about where my opponent was going to go and ended up with a planet between us for several turns. So yea it works both ways.

My main point though is ALL the great cards in the world will not help you if you can never get an enemy in the cross hairs. Being able to move your ships correctly and outguess where your opponent will be is far more important than having an unbeatable card combo. Because you never get to use the thing.

I have seen more game decided by good flying than I have broken combos. Thankfully.  But in reading what I can find online it varies from region to region. Everything varies from region to region. In the shop where I am currently playing there is a pretty active group that shows up for OPs, while just four hours down the road they are about to run their last OP and just stop because they don't have enough players.

Once again however I digress...back on topic!

One thing I have noticed the power players doing is finding ways to get around this goal. Using ships that have a 360 degree fire arc, which makes maneuvering far less important. And on the aforementioned open table makes those ships far far deadlier because now you can't get away.

I like to use open tables for teaching games the first time, or tables with only a couple obstacles, or one planet. Enough to give them a chance to see how those objects function in game. And fleet testing can be good on an open table. But at the same time you cannot see the real value of your build if you don't test it under all types of conditions.

In the end so far I have seen that maneuvering is still far more important than having the killer combo of cards. In fact some of the most successful builds don't have a lot on them at all. So choose wisely and in the end play the game, make up your own mind, and see what works for you.

As with all posts this months for more bloggy goodness on many topics check out the Blaugust Initiative

Until next time May you never face Picard on a Tac cube!

And don't forget Blaugust!!


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Turning around when you can't turn around

Capt's Log : Stardate why can't my ship turn around

Its a annoying fact that not all ships in STAW can turn around or as is termed in the game... Come About.

This is at times quite frustrating. But all is not lost there is now away to give any ship with a red maneuver a Come About.And that wonderful little card is...Skilled Helmsman which was the participation prize for the Tholian Web OP event.

 As you can see Skilled Helmsman is a 5 pt resource.  Here is the movement template you get with that resource.
So what good is this? As you can see by the card text you can give any ship with a red move this move instead. Like all red moves it does give you an Auxiliary power token, which is an annoyance but no more so than any other Aux token :)

I like this resource. Now arguably Flagship is better but its also more points.

For example the Romulan D'Deridex does not have a Come About move on the card. Yes it does have a 2 reverse but that is not always what you want to do. It takes a minimum of two turns to turn the thing around and so this move is handy. Its pretty satisfying to watch an opponent who thinks they have moved to where you cannot get them realize that you can in fact whip around and shoot them again next turn.

For a resource its not outstanding but it is useful and more useful I think than most people find it.

You can find plenty of folks who have multiples of this and are willing to sell or even give it away and they can be had for cheap on ebay if you missed the Tholian Web OP.

You do not see this a lot in the competitive game as most folks want the 10 pt flagships. But I can easily see this if you just don't have those ten points or don't want to spend them.

What about you? In your local scene do you see this played at all?

For other various blogs hit up the Blaugust Initiative!

Until next time target their engines and open fire!


Friday, August 1, 2014

Blaugust comes

Capt's Log Supplemental Stardate: Misc postings

There will soon hopefully be many more postings here. I am going to participate as much as I can in a little contest/initiative being spearheaded by a friend of mine calleed Blaugust.

The Link

The idea is to one post a day for the entire month of August. With my new job and everything else I don't know if I will make that.. probably won't but I am certainly going to try. I have a few card reviews in the pipeline already as well as card reviews, combo suggestions, etc. Plenty of things within STAW to talk about to fuel the posts and more stuff happens all the time.

So stay tuned for a month of posts!!

Until then set course second star to the right straight on till morning