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Subject: Hikaru Sulu Card Discussion rss

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Keith McCallig
Ireland
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Hi,

Just thought I'd start a discussion on some cards that don't seem to see much play, but which I think may actually have some real potential. I'm going to crunch some numbers and talk statistics and averages - this is not to everyones taste and I know some people prefer to go with their gut in a game like this. I'm hoping this post will just be food for some thought.

I'll start with Hikaru Sulu - a 3 point Federation Unique Crew card. He is an 'Action' that grants you 2 additional Defense dice this turn and converts a Battle Station into a Dodge each time you're shot at as well. At first glance that seems OK but not great and he doesn't seem to see much play.

What I'd like to suggest is that this actually makes him into a mini cloaking device. Take a ship with 1 defense die basic like the Enterprise. If they were to fit the cloaking device that comes with the Defiant expansion then when cloaked they'd be rolling 5 defence dice at short to medium range and 6 at long range. That gives you an average result of approx 1.88 dodges at short to medium and 2.25 at long range.

Sulu on the other hand would give the same ship 3 Defense dice at short to medium range and 4 at long but would also give the added effect of converting one Battle Staion to a Dodge effect. That would average approx. 1.70 dodges at short to medium range and 2.18 at long range. Thats 91% of the same protection at short range and 97% of the same protection at long range.

If used on a ship with a Defense of 2 this would be even more profound. The cloaking device would provide 2.25 dodges average at Short to Medium and 2.62 at long range. Sulu would provide an average of 2.18 at short to medium range and 2.64 at long. Thats 97% of the protection at short to medium and just a touch over 100% of the protection at long range.

Stats Summary
Ship with 1 defence die basic
Range Cloak Sulu %
Short-Medium 1.88 1.70 91%
Long 2.25 2.18 97%

Ship with 2 defence dice basic
Range Cloak Sulu %
Short-Medium 2.25 2.18 97%
Long 2.62 2.64 100%


The Cloaking Device still has some advantages in that when you cloak you keep the effect until you fire and don't need to spend an action to keep it every turn. It also gives access to the Sensor Echo action that can be really useful as well.

Sulu on the other hand has the one really big advantage in that when he provides his protection he doesn't drop your shields around your ankles at the same time! Anything that hits you will still just knock down shields so there is no chance of an early Critical getting through to cripple his ship.

He also has an advantage in that you can power up his action to give your ship some protection when it has already lost its shields - something a cloak can't do. Lets face it - once you've lost your shields and a couple of hull points is the time you need all the defense you can get and is one situation where a cloak is useless.


I tend to look at things from a stats point of view - basically every shield and hull point is worth 2 squadron points. If Sulu's Action saves just 2 shield/Hull points in a game then as far I'm concerned he's given 4 points of ship for 3 points cost and paid for himself.

I know that when I'm looking at doing a fairly chunky Enterprise-D build with Picard and all the trimmings I generally try to find a place for Sulu. People seem to naturally try and gang up on a ship like this so it is nice to be able to give it some solid protection that doesn't degrade over multiple attacks while it passes through the enemy line. It can draw a lot of fire away from smaller ships and allow them to pound their own target while it (hopefully) survives everything the enemy can throw at it. I've found that often if you can survive that initial 'Charge' where both fleets meet and pass through one another at the start then it can make all the difference for the rest of the game. (It might just be me but my Enterprise-D usually doesn't survive this clash or comes out so badly shot up it looks like Kirk after a 3 day bender...)

(Note: The really nice thing is that you can combine this with a cloaking device - immagine a Romulan D'Deridex with Cloak Up and Sulu dodging - at short range thats 8 dodge dice with one Battle Station also counting as a dodge. That averages 3.90 dodges - a ship with Attack 4 could hit with everything and still wouldn't get past an average dodge roll! I tend to play ships faction pure, but you can bet I'm going to do this with the USS Defiant at some point!)

This is all just my opinion and I've been called names more than once for stopping to scribble fractions and %'s madly during a game while I work out the odds of various options! I do think its interesting enough to look for feedback/discussion though.

On another note, one thing I've done to test stuff like this is roll the dice seperately. If using Sulu on the Enterise I'll roll the single dice for the ship on its own, then roll the 2 extra that Sulu provides. That way I can see each time the exact difference that he made. I've done the same thing in a fleet with Clark Tyrell and was astounded at the number of Shield/Hull hits a 1 point upgrade could save me. Hmm... now to combine Tyrell and Sulu...

Thanks,
Keith Mc
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C. E. Freeman
United States
Kansas
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Nice analysis. The only thing I disagree with is that he doesn't get played much. Around here he is played so much he must have been cloned, a lot.
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traitor armor
Canada
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Good analysis.

But you're not seeing Sulu played much?

I thought the fairly standard Month 1 tank was

Enterprise D
Picard
Sulu
Spock

I think he's the best crew member in the game........or at least in the discussion for that title. It's going to be really hard to promote him to Captain when the USS Excelsior comes out unless his Captain ability is at least remotely as useful.

I also have him as a stable on my 'Kobayashi Maru' builds.
 
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Dave Benhart
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Minneapolis
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Wonderful write up. I'm pretty sure that Sulu will play a role in my OP2 fleet, especially if I end up flying Fed.
 
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Jonathan M D Thomas
United States
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1st game my gf played she just fumbled through the cards and ended up with Picard, Sulu, Spock and Scotty on the Enterprise-D. That ship was an absolute nightmare to fight with. Thanks to Sulu, the ship was difficult to hit. Scotty wasn't that great, but with his healing on non-attacking turns combined with Sulu's evasion I could never take the ship down.

I lost another another game with a friend last night to a sulu/picard enterprise that was tough to hit. Sulu is easily a bargain for 3 points, however he is best paired with Picard so you can still get some offensive power out of target lock or battlestations.

Sulu is the most effective crew card I've seen to date.
 
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Sax Carr
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I think in a Picard ship Sulu is a MUST fly, he's just too good when you have an action to spare, and really good if you don't.

I think my top 5 Fed crew (Picard or otherwise) would be:

1. Sulu
2. Spock
3. Chekhov
4. Scotty
5. La fORGE
 
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Jonathan M D Thomas
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Interesting thought about Sulu...do you guys still think he's worth it with Picard on a cloakable ship such as the Valdore?
 
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C. E. Freeman
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Kansas
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jmdt784 wrote:
Interesting thought about Sulu...do you guys still think he's worth it with Picard on a cloakable ship such as the Valdore?


Definitely worth it. I'll take 9 defense dice at range 3 and 8 at ranges 1 and 2.
 
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Eric B.
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East Lansing
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Yea, Sulu is incredibly powerful, especially on an expensive ship or a support ship you know your opponent will have to go after.

At only three points, I'd even go farther and say he's probably the closest thing to an auto-include for just about every list you could build.
 
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Ken Grazier
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Ohio
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RogueThirteen wrote:
Yea, Sulu is incredibly powerful, especially on an expensive ship or a support ship you know your opponent will have to go after.

At only three points, I'd even go farther and say he's probably the closest thing to an auto-include for just about every list you could build.


Now if only I could find a blasted Enterprise by Saturday!
 
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