Wednesday, October 15, 2014

To boldly clix, part 3

The release of Star Trek Heroclix: Tactics came as a bit of a surprise to me. Wizkids Games had already released Fleet Captains, so I wasn't expecting another Star Trek game from them, let alone one that appeared to use the same ship models. I was even more surprised when it turned out that Tactics used the regular Heroclix rules word-for-word, with no changes made to accommodate the fact that it's starships rather than superheroes. Powers and abilities were renamed on individual ship cards, but the rule book and reference card refer to ships having incongruous powers like Super Strength or Psychic Blast.

In all honesty I found the whole thing more than a little bit silly, and as the game did appear to use all the same ship models that had been included in Fleet Captains (although in Tactics they are fully painted, at least), I decided to give the whole thing a miss.

That is, until the first expansion came out. Tactics II introduced Romulan, Cardassian, and even Vulcan ships to the game, but the ship model that sold me on the game after all was the bright orange Ferengi ship, proving that human beings do indeed respond emotionally to bright colors.

We bought a bunch of ships and played a few games. I suppose it was nice that we didn't need to learn a new rules set, but it still seemed a little silly when the odd superhero term would come up during a game.

In spite of that, the Heroclix rules do lend themselves fairly well to the way space combat is depicted on Star Trek. Game pieces in Heroclix don't move fluidly so much as hop around the board from square to square, and they have to stop moving before making an attack, which is more or less what happens on Star Trek, with its ponderous starships slowly moving into position and then firing until the other ship is destroyed or surrenders.

While Heroclix is a tried and true game system, at the end of the day it reduces Star Trek to a simple fight, with none of the drama or intrigue offered by the various television shows, or even by the other two Star Trek clix games.

I still thought it was odd that Wizkids had two competing Star Trek starship games on the market, so imagine my surprise when the announced Star Trek: Attack Wing, yet another ship combat game that would use the same models from Tactics and Fleet Captains, but with the rules system licensed from from Fantasy Flight's Star Wars: X-Wing. I'm definitely not touching that one...

Rating: 2 (out of 5) While Heroclix with space ships works surprisingly well, Star Trek Tactics suffers in comparison to the more interesting Fleet Captains.
Date played: September 14, 2014

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