I really want to like this game. After all, it has Star Trek and miniature ships! Just imagine, the Enterprise dueling with a Klingon D-7! But the sad reality is that if you are looking for a dueling starship game, look elsewhere.
Out of the Box
The components of the game are fairly nice. The Starter Kit comes with four pre-painted miniatures; two Federation and two Klingon with “character cards.” Also included are two double-sided poster-size maps in nice full color. The kit also includes the Heroclix 2011 Core Rulebook, one laminated Powers & Abilities card, and two dice.
The miniatures themselves are decently painted. If you are used to the Star Fleet Battles/Federation Commander Starline 2400 series color schemes you will be a bit thrown off here since these paint schemes follow more along the movie/newer series painting guides. These are also smaller than the new Starline 2500 series supporting A Call to Arms Star Fleet. Be careful when selecting your kit off the shelf; of the four kits I selected from two had obviously deformed figures due to shifting during shipping.
The maps are really beautiful and evocative of space combat. There are four maps; Kobayashi Maru which has mines and a ship in the middle, Wolf 359 with derelict spaceship and debris, The Mutara Nebula with a nice piece of cnter terrain, and Deep Space Nine featuring the station. All four maps are done in nice colors and go well with the theme of the game.
The Rules – or Super Hero Space Brawling 101
Heroclix Tactics draws directly from the Heroclix line of duels featuring superhero characters. So does Heroclix Tactics. WizKids elected to use the Core Rules for Heroclix but instead of superheros one uses starships. The result is starship brawls in space.
Heroclix approaches combat by thinking each ship is a character rather than a weapons system. In addition to the basic combat values found on the clix base (Speed, Attack, Defense, Range, and Damage) each ship also has a “character card” with special abilities. For example, the Enterprise-A in the Starter Set has seven special abilities. My problem here is that the translation from superheros brawling in the streets of Gotham or Metropolis does not in my mind translate to ships fighting in space. To further complicate the matter, in order to use the special power you have to understand the translation. For instance, Enterprise-A has the special power/ability called “Deflector Shields (Toughness).” In order to use this power, you have to look up Toughness on the Powers & Abilities Card. This same Toughness ability is known as “Deflectors 100%, Captain” on the USS Rhode Island card but is not the same as “Deflectors to Full (Invulnerability)” on the IKS Bortas card.
Confused? If you are already a Heroclix player you are probably not; indeed in all likelihood such a person has already mastered the game. For those of us drawn by the theme the chance for disappointment is very high.
Is There Any Worth Here?
If you are looking for a starship battle game go elsewhere. Even the rules for set up reflect the brawling nature (pick a map, pick a team, fight). I will keep the basic game around because I can play it with the kids. I maybe even will enjoy it as I push the ships nicely painted ships around beautiful maps. Maybe enjoy it, but more for playing a game with the kids than playing a game of space battles.