The U.S.S. Excelsior, Captain Sulu’s first command and the ship he really, really wanted to replace the Enterprise for. She had a troubled history, including a failed trans-warp drive and years spent in space dock. She helped fight Chang’s Bird of Prey in Star Trek VI, and is an impressive looking ship. She was also one of the heaviest hitters available to the Federation during the Original Series movies and afterward. Costing $15 she comes with the model, a base and stand, 2 token sheets, and 13 cards. Is she worth it, or is she just a hunk of bolts like Scotty thinks?
Here is what you get in the pack thanks to gladpanda.
And here is a picture of the ship thanks to gladpande
The Excelsior comes in at 26 points. Her ability gives you a free scan action after you move if there are no enemies within range 1 of your ship. She has 3 weapons, 1 evade, 4 hull, and 4 shields, with a full action bar (evade, target lock, scan, and battlestations). She has 3 crew upgrades, 1 weapon, and 1 tech upgrade slot. Her maneuver dial is 1-4 straight (with 1-2 green), banks at 1-3 (with 1 green), red turns at 2-3, and a red backwards 2. She also has a 180 degree firing arc and a 90 degree rear firing arc. The generic loses 1 crew upgrade and 1 shield and costs 24 points. The Excelsior has a lot going for her. She’s comparable to the Generic Galaxy-class starship or Nebula class, and has 1 more shield vs. 1 less attack die over those but the 180-degree firing arc pushes her over the top for usefulness to me. Her ability is useful and rewards you for staying away from the enemy. It’s great since you can maneuver and then use it, so as long as no one gets close to you early or guesses where you will end you get a free scan action. Free actions are always great. I also like her upgrade bar, though I would want to trade 1 crew for another tech slot, but 3 crew is great. You can get a nice set of abilities on her. I don’t normally run her generic since I like the ability of the Excelsior, but the generic is an acceptable ship on her own, bringing an impressive 7 hull/shields and still having 3 attack dice. All in all the Excelsior is a solid support ship, letting you bring along some great crew to either help get your hits through or survive, or letting you use actions to benefit the other ships in your fleet. She’s also insanely powerful if you play an original-series only fight since she’s the heaviest hitter the Federation can bring and can survive in a firefight for a while.
There are 3 captains in this pack. The generic captain, Sulu, and Styles. Sulu costs 4 points , has 6 skill, and an elite talent slot, and for an action you can disable one of your crew upgrades to remove a target lock from your ship. This is just… awful. Target lock weapons aren’t commonly used, and unless I was going 1 v 1 against the Voyager or another ship with a crazy secondary 10 attack dice target lock weapon, I would never even consider using Sulu. His ability is awful, for 4 points he should at least have 7 skill, and just… all around bad. I’d rather take the hit from the torpedoes and use my action to evade or battlestations instead of this. Additionally, if he disabled the weapon or something that would be great, but this ability? Pass. Sorry Sulu, you stay in the box.
Styles costs 2 points, has 3 skill, and gives you an extra tech upgrade slot on your ship. Great for a support/secondary attack ship, the extra tech slot can give you all sorts of fun options when mixed with other Federation vessels. I really like Styles for that reason, and usually throw him on one of my other vessels if I feel like I need some additional tech/want to give a ship with no tech upgrades something to help it out. He’s not crazy, not awful, just solid, and that’ great.
There are 3 crew upgrades. Dmitri Valtane costs 3 points and lets you reroll up to 2 attack dice if you have a scan token next to your ship. Useful, lets you get some good rerolls, and synergizes well with Excelsior, High Energy Sensor Sweep, Varley, or Picard. He is a useful crewmember who I at least consider in most of my fleets, especially if have any of the aforementioned Captains/Upgrades/ships in my fleet. Rerolling is a great ability that can give you the extra damage you need.
Janice Rand costs 2 points and lets you discard her after you move to let your captain perform a free action on one of their elite talent upgrades this turn as a free action. A useful ability if you need to get multiple actions done at the same time, and deadly when used correctly, but situational depending on the captains/talents you bring. If you bring a solid action talent, I’d at least consider Rand, otherwise leave her behind. All depends on what you want to do with her.
Lojur also costs 2 points and lets you disable him instead of a weapons upgrade that you have to disable to use. A meh ability, the advent of time tokens has made him obsolete unless you really, really want to use old-school photons. He stays in the box.
There is one weapons upgrade- Photon Torpedoes! Costs 3 points, has 4 attack dice, and lets you convert a battlestations into a critical. Pass, leave in the box, etc. Not good at all.
There is one elite talent and two tech upgrades. The elite talent is Feint. It costs 3 points and lets you action- discard it to target a ship at range 2-3. If you attack it, they roll -2 defense dice. This is a great mid-ranged ability. It’s cheap, lets you get a serious hit in (hopefully), works well with Rand, and is just a fun talent to use. I really like this talent and it is often seen in my Federation fleets.
The first tech upgrade is Transwarp Drive (surprise!). It costs 3 points and during the activation phase if your maneuver dial reveals a 4 or 5 straight you can treat it as a 6 straight. I don’t find this card really useful unless you were going to be in a race scenario/get to someplace and hold the line scenario. This stays in the box since I don’t really see a ton of use for it. If it changed banks into turns… I’d be all in.
The other tech upgrade is Positron Beam. It costs 2 points and lets you discard it during the planning phase to target a ship at range 1 and give it an auxiliary power token. Cheap and interesting, this card has a lot of uses but the range 1 restriction is a bit much. If it was 1-2 that would be great. I see some uses for this card but the limited range means it usually stays in the box for me.
Excelsior is an interesting ship that is the perfect middle of the line vessel for the Federation. She has middling stats, but I would definitely prefer +1 attack and -1 shields. Her ability is useful, free actions are great, and she can bring great variety to your fleet with 3 different crew upgrades. Styles is a useful captain, Feint is great, the rest goes from situational middling (Rand) to awful (Lojur, who also has an awful name, and Sulu). I don’t mind the Excelsior and will use her in my fleets, but only as a supporting role. She doesn’t bring the firepower to be a flagship, nor the cheapness of an escort. That is her biggest strength and her biggest weakness. What do you do with her? I use her as a support escort, and nothing more, hoping to get some damage out of her but really bringing along some crew to help out my fleet. If you want any of these upgrades/love the Excelsior, I’d get her. If you don’t see yourself using her at all, I’d pass.
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