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Overview

When I started playing Star Trek Online the Jem’hadar Attack Ship (The Bug Ship) was the object of desire. It was so different, so alluring, so…purple. It was also incredibly rare and if you were trying to buy one on the exchange, you’d better have brought a fat bankroll. So as I perused the waves of Attack Wing releases I was excited to see the Bug Ship come out a couple months ago. It wasn’t going to be a world beater but it had some interesting options for a very different way of play. Now obviously the ship wasn’t going to be a ship of the line but it gave the possibility of being the Dominion swarm ship, if four ships could be called a swarm. More intriguing to me was the idea of running a pair of them behind the 4th Division Battleship that just came out, sort of a Han Shoots First list where you run the B’ship on one side of the table and the Bugs on the other. If the bad guys turn one way, they eat the bugs, if the other, they get the battleship.

Ship
Aesthetically, the Patrol Ship is one of my favorite ships released thus far, ranking up there with the Valdore, Excelsior, and the new Equinox for pure pleasure of lines. Each of those other ships have something about them that is extremely evocative to me. The Valdore soars, the Excelsior looks like a sleek roadster (and with Transwarp Drive, she is) and the Equinox was a wonderful update on the classic Federation design philosophy, as revolutionary in it’s appearance as the Excelsior was in her day. The 5th Wing looks like a beetle, the rear hull forms the abdomen and carapace, the front the head and thorax. It works. It looks good. The provided paintjob was okay but in my opinion lacked the depth of color endemic to the line. I pulled out my old GW paints and redid them. Who knew I’d have cause to use both Warlock Purple and Tentacle Pink on the same spaceship model? If you are looking for a GW ink, Druchii Violet is what I ended up using; the Drakenhof Nightshade looked dark purple in the bottle and was dark blue on the model. Who knew? What color is Nightshade anyway. Anyway, I’ll have pictures up of the ship soon. The model is easy to paint with no annoying hidden spaces or anything like that, just a straightforward model. The underside of the rear hull can be lined with a lighter pink/purple to bring out the engines but you’ll need stead hands and a small brush.

The 5th Wing (okay, I’m just calling it the Bug from now on) is priced at 22/20 with a 3/2/3/3 statline. It’s attack is in line with the majority of the Federation ships. A durability of 6 (5 for the generic) definitely put it in the crunchy category though. It’s price puts it in the same general range as the Constitution and Miranda-class Federation cruisers, Ferengi D’Kora, the generic K’tinga and the B’Rel Bird of Prey. That kind of puts the ship in perspective. Against older ships the Bug will absolutely hold it’s own. Against newer classes, you’d better bring friends. I don’t know much about the Dominion within the Star Trek universe so I am unsure if the Bug is an older class that has been superseded by newer equipment or if it was class built as an escort type ship.

The unique ship ability allows you so spend your action to bump your attack by one at the cost of 1 defense die. Not an ability that you’d want to spend in a jousting scenario but perhaps in a maneuver scenario. Again, if you can make the enemy turn away from the Bugs you will be in better shape. The action bar for the ship includes [EVADE], [TARGET LOCK], [SCAN], and [BATTLE STATIONS] actions giving you plenty of different options. One thing I would have liked to see for this ship would have been [SENSOR ECHO] without the cloak. These ships, along with the Defiant ought to be focused on maneuver since the obviously don’t have staying power. [SENSOR ECHO] would have given the ship the ability to dance about where it could not otherwise slug it out with heavier opponents.

Along with the action bar, the ship has room for a single tech, two weapons and a crew slot. With the choice of three different crew and a pair of secondary weapons you’ll have plenty of options.
The maneuver bar provides plenty of easy options to get your 90 degree frontal arc on target. Green speed-1 and 2 bank and ahead, White speed-2 turns and a full white speed-3 and speed-4 ahead allow you to maneuver without worrying about pesky auxiliary power tokens. Only the speed-3 come about will redline your warpdrive.

Captain, Crew, Weapons
The Bug comes with two captains, Weyoun and Luaran. Wayoun is CS6 and allows you to disable him instead of a Crew Upgrade card. It can also prevent the card from being discarded. This is important when we get to the crew cards. Luaran is CS3 and drops the cost of one Dominion upgrade by 2 points. Her ability is so-so. Then again, if she had a better ability she wouldn’t be CS3 and only cost 2 points.
Crew wise we get three Jem’Hadar who can only be used on Jem’Hadar ships. What I’m unclear on is does that mean Jem’Hadar only (5th Wing & 4th Division) or does it mean for the entire faction? Can I put Omet’lklan on a Breen ship or a Cardassian? Anyway, the aforementioned Omet’lklan lets you turn one result into a [HIT], kind of like Boheeka but without the restrictions. He also costs five compared to Boheeka’s two. He’s a nice passive-aggressive buff to the ship, giving you a guaranteed single hit each turn. Toman’torax is a crew killer card but works through shields and cloak. Discard Toman and you can kill off Spock. Virak’Kara is similar but only disables the enemy crew but with the benefit of allowing you to use that crew ability. Disable Virak and you can get Spock’s ability for the turn.

And here is where Wayoun comes in. If you are in close, Wayoun is going to let you use Toman or Virak twice. This is especially powerful with Toman’torax who is going to drag two enemy crew members into a quiet corridor and shoot them in the face. If you play in a crew heavy meta, this is the way to take care of them. I’ve lamented in other reviews that I don’t see the point of using crew killers. You have to have mostly disabled the other guy’s ship and it just seemed easier to blow up the ship than to off the crew one by one. With Wayoun and Toman (and to a lesser extent Virak) crew neutralization is at least possible. Not sure yet if it’s viable.

The two weapons included in the pack are the Phased Polaron Beam that is disabled to push all damage past shields. It rolls three dice and has a range of 1-2. Target Lock not required. You can put it on other ships but it is going to cost you +5 pts if you drop it into a non-Jem’Hadar ship. Same question as above about Jem’Hadar only or faction only.

The Photons are really nice as they are a 5 dice attack but are range 1-3 instead of just range 2-3. If you are in close with the Bug, these are nice because the 3 die primary attack is a bit weak.
The single tech slot is Long Range Tachyon Scan. If you are at range 3 and spend a [SCAN] you can force your target to roll -2 defense dice. Yes Mr. Galaxy-class. That means you roll no dice at range 3. Eat it!
If you have the spirit of the Kamikaze in you, the elite talent Suicide Attack will allow you (after going through the mechanics) to blow up your ship and roll 8 attack die on any ship that you are overlapping. Target ship rolls defense dice as normal, only usable on Jem’Hadar ships blah blah blah void in the UFP, Romulan Empire and where otherwise prohibited by law. I don’t see the sense in blowing up a third of my fleet to maybe get one enemy ship. On the other hand, it might be fun to run splat the Bug into DS9.

Conclusion
The question is whether to run one tricked out Bug (5th Wing, Weyoun, Omet’lklan, Phased Polaron Beam 36 pts, or 5th Wing, Weyoun, Toman’Torak 31 pts for example) or a pair of them, leaner but perhaps both with the PPB on them. If you are going to run a crew killer, Weyoun is a necessary choice so you can get as much utility as possible from the crew killer.

As I mentioned at the top of the review, one possibility is a split deployment build with one massive ship on one end of your deployment zone and a pair of these guys on the other. A possible build could be

4th Div. Battleship,Gelnon
5th Wing Patrol Ship, Dukat, Phased Polaron Beam
Patrol Ship, Weyoun (CS6), Toman’torax
100pts.

Which way to turn, who to fight first? Shoot one, the other is going to getcha. You could of course drop Toman for another PPB or Boheeka or any number of other toys, this is just a quick and dirty idea. This list also drops any resources or the like. Another interesting trick would be to take Shroud from the 4th Division pack and add it into the mix, giving Toman the ability to kill up to three crew. Shame it doesn’t work on captains.

I like the Bug as an attack ship. It’s small, it can be really mean and it is very, very maneuverable. It moves easier than the Defiant. The 100pt game structure limits the deployment of the Bug somewhat. I think it would be best as a squadron to itself, screening heavier combatants. Perhaps a larger event game where there were 300pts a side or something and the players acted as squadron commanders with an overall fleet commander. Then you could get the feeling of an attack squadron sweeping in to deal Polaron death to the enemies of the Dominion.
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Tony Fanchi
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Nice review as always. Regarding your question, the ship faction is Dominion. Jem-Hadar refers only to the patrol ship and the battleship, so the crew are limited to those ships.

How do you think a fleet of 4 generic patrol ships each with photons would fare? They'd all be flying at skill 1, but you could plan your moves to try to get in front of the opposing ships and force them to bump, depriving them of actions. If you can use United Force, you could field a few other upgrades or run a few better captains. Cloaking ships could be a problem since your attack dice will probably be unmodified, but if you can consistently bump the cloaked ship, they'll have to choose between dropping cloak and possibly not raising it again, or else not attacking.
 
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Ryan Caputo
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HMS Iron Duke
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AdmiralACF wrote:
Nice review as always. Regarding your question, the ship faction is Dominion. Jem-Hadar refers only to the patrol ship and the battleship, so the crew are limited to those ships.

How do you think a fleet of 4 generic patrol ships each with photons would fare? They'd all be flying at skill 1, but you could plan your moves to try to get in front of the opposing ships and force them to bump, depriving them of actions. If you can use United Force, you could field a few other upgrades or run a few better captains. Cloaking ships could be a problem since your attack dice will probably be unmodified, but if you can consistently bump the cloaked ship, they'll have to choose between dropping cloak and possibly not raising it again, or else not attacking.


Thanks for the feedback. I think that a 4 Bug Photon list is going to get crunched at the rate of one-two ships per turn by a competent commander. Generics have a durability of 5. They are snacks for the Kheldon, Battleship, Klingons or a host of other possible lists. Since they shoot dead last everyone else is going to get a crack at them (obviously). Personally I usually run a three ship build so I can kill one and possibly strip shields, maybe even get a hull hit or two on the second if my first shot Yahtzees the first bug). The bug fleet is going to be running lean, no crew just the ship, Joe Captain, and a torpedo.

The 90 degree arc is going to limit you somewhat and I think the bugs are going to be susceptible to a 180 arc highspeed pass. Something like Excelsior or Kheldons in an oblique approach. Arm the Excelsior with it's own torpedo or the Kheldons with their Advanced Weapon Array (whatever the +1 attack die thing is) and ouch.

Running the bugs lean means that you don't have the ability to modify dice at all. Dominion torps give you great range but you can't tweak your roll like Fed torps. You aren't going to be rolling 5 hits on those dice (okay, sometimes you will) and you can't turn blanks or battlestations. If, in some magical land populated by sparkly torpedo faries, you get all four torps off you are going to get 20 attack dice, how many of those are hits? How many am I going to be able to suck up? What if I'm rolling with Cloak, Tetryon Emissions or Sulu? It is going to take you two turns to get your torps back online and I'm going to bust at least one more ship.

The problem with the Four Bug Torpedo build is there isn't enough staying power to survive the alpha strike and still be viable. Those torpedoes aren't running in one massive salvo but in four 5-dice bursts which are far more survivable. In the OPs I've played, I crush bug ships like a Peterbilt windshield going through gnats.

So that's my two cents.
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