The Borg Sphere, a smaller combat vessel usually held inside a Borg Cube and sent out on special missions, to help in combat, or as an escape vessel if things were going south. I think these were seen in Voyager, but the only Sphere I remember was the one from First Contact that the Queen took back in time, beamed over to the Enterprise from, and was blown up about 6 seconds later by the Enterprise. Not the most intimidating vessel when you look at it that way… Anyways, costing $15, this expansion comes with a base/stand, the ship, and 8 upgrades. Is it worth it, or is it best staying back in the past?
Before we advance any further, it is important to note the special rules changes about the 43+ cost ships and the Borg in general. If you run a ship that costs 43 or more points, you get an additional 8 points to spend on ALL your upgrades and/or your captain. So if you run the named Tactical Cube, you have 8 points left between your captain/upgrades. Additionally, all ships with 360 degree firing arcs for primary weapons only fire at range 1-2, though weapon upgrades can still fire at range 3. Finally, ships with weird movement dials like the one found on Borg ships now have their turns changed (these are called spin maneuvers). You move whatever distance you said straight, then put a 2 forward arrow on the side of the ship you wanted to turn, then rotate your ship 90 degrees until the forward part of the ship is facing that forward straight arrow.
In essence, it looks like this:
If I did a 3 turn left I would do the following:
Ship (start, facing down)
(end of 3 straight movement, place a 2 forward on the left side of my ship and rotate until it was facing to the left side of the page as the new forward)
The Borg also add a new upgrade to the game- the Borg Upgrade. These are essentially Borg-specific tech.
Additionally, Borg Captains function a little differently. They have Drone Tokens on them that determine their skill value. You can spend the Drone Tokens to use actions on the captain and/or other upgrades on your ship. Doing so reduces your Captain’s skill value, however, and there are a few, very limited card options to give you drone tokens back. So spend them wisely!
Finally, the Borg have a unique action- Regenerate. You can use the action to heal 1 damage to your hull (either Critical OR Normal), but you cannot attack the round you use this in.
Ok, now that this is over with, here is a picture of what you get in the expansion thanks to dc0nklin!
Borg Sphere 4270 costs 40 points and has 6 attack, 0 evade, 7 hull, and 7 shields, a 360 degree firing arc, and a partial Borg action dial with target lock, scan, and regenerate. It has 2 Borg, 1 tech, 1 weapon, and 1 crew upgrade slot, and the named ability is that when you attack with your primary weapon you can split your attack against 2 vessels. You must roll at least 1 attack die per vessel. It has a maneuver dial with straights at 1-4 (with 1-3 green), spins at 1-4 (with 4 red), and backwards 1-3 (with 3 red). The generic loses 1 shield and the tech upgrade for 38 points. WOW. You can do a TON with the Sphere. I personally like running the generic with the new 130 point tournament rules. You can run 2 spheres for a total of 90 points and still have 40 points left for your booster. You can run one pimped out sphere at 50 and another generic with a 2 point captain for 40 points, or two 7 point upgrade spheres at 45 points each. At home, I run 2 spheres at 50 points and a scout cube at 30 points to have fun ripping into my competition. Seriously, for point value this Sphere is one of the best ships in the game. The generic is amazing, and unless you knew you are going against a fighter-heavy opponent, it’s ability isn’t worth bringing. It is a great ability, don’t get me wrong, but I’d prefer to let loose on my opponent with all guns instead of splitting attacks like this. It works great against swarm fleets, or at taking out secondary vessels, and has a place, but I like to run the generic and save the 2 points to get something more worthwhile for my fleet. I’m not sure that ANY other vessel in attack wing rivals the generic Sphere for value, and it is an amazing vessel. Seriously- running 2 of these and a scout cube (or blind booster ship) even AFTER the Borg nerf is still a serious fleet to contend with. It has a solid maneuver dial, though the absence of green maneuvers besides on straights is annoying, but it can easily keep pace with your opponent and pound them mercilessly while doing it. This ship is just solid all around and deserves a place in your Borg fleet.
There is one captain upgrade besides the generic. Tactical Drone costs 3 points and has 4 drone tokens. When attacking you can spend 1 drone token to reroll any of your dice once. Not a bad ability, especially for 3 points, this is a great version of Tactical Drone that works well on any Borg ship. Since they don’t have the battlestations action, they are going to need rerolls, and throwing him on a ship with a Borg Alcove is a great way to have a lot of rerolls. Additionally, I find myself using the Target Lock action when playing the Borg frequently since they don’t have the battlestations action, so either having an additional reroll or using my action for something else is a great bonus as well. This Tactical Drone is great, and for the cost he sees play in my fleets frequently.
Seven of Nine is the only crew upgrade in this back. For 4 points she is an action/disable to put 2 drone tokens on your captain. They cannot exceed their starting drone total. If you use drone tokens a lot, she is the crew upgrade to pick. She is the same cost as Borg Alcove but adds 2 tokens instead of 1. Seven is amazing if you want to spend those tokens, and works great on a generic sphere with the Tactical Captain (3 points) from this expansion and Seven (4 points), leaving you with either 5 more points to spend on this vessel or letting you upgrade another Sphere with 7 points of upgrades as well. If you use drone tokens, you want Seven. If you don’t, you leave her in the box. Amazing card depending on your style of play.
There is one weapons upgrade in this expansion. Cutting Beam costs 8 points but has an impressive 10 attack at range 1. To use it, you must have the target ship held in a Borg Tractor beam (Borg Upgrade contained in this pack and explained later) and disable the card. You can only put this on a Borg ship. Allright, 10 attack sounds impressive (and is), but it isn’t as good as it seems. Since it costs another tech to use, you have to spend 15 points (Tractor Beam costs 7) to use this combo. Additionally, with the changes in the point rulings explained above, currently no Borg ship can run this combo because they will exceed their point limit. So, while this card is amazingly thematic, it does not work in competitive play at all since it costs too much to use. However, there is nothing stopping you from running this in casual play at home, and I have had a lot of fun running a fully-equipped tactical cube and a scout cube with this combo, or running a Borg Cube with it on it just for the heck of it. This upgrade is amazingly thematic, but only works in casual play since the point rules restrict any Borg ship from having enough points to fit this and a tractor beam on them. Sad, but it was Wizkids way to help balance out the game. I rarely use this upgrade, and only do when I want to run a thematic Borg vs. others game.
There is one tech upgrade in this expansion. Feedback Pulse costs 8 points and, when you are attacked, before dice are rolled, you discard this card and the damage is halved with you taking no damage and half the damage going back to the attacker. They cannot take critical damage, so any critical hits are converted into normal damage. You put an auxiliary power token by your ship. Since you are still the target, you roll defense dice like normal, but with 0 evade, you can just ignore that! Essentially, you are paying 8 points to deal 2-3 damage back to an attacking ship and not take any. While this is useful, don’t get me wrong, I don’t see this as 8 point discard useful. It is a one-trick pony, but if you know that someone is bringing a pimped out ship with a huge weapon (like those special torpedoes from Voyager) this is worth bringing. Otherwise, I don’t like taking up 3/4 of my points with a single-use discard card. It is great, don’t get me wrong, but not great with the 50 point rule limit now.
There are 3 Borg upgrades in this expansion. The first Borg upgrade is Borg Ablative Hull Armor. It costs a mere 10 points and when defending you turn all critical hits into normal hits and place them on this card. When there are 4 damage cards on it, discard the Armor and assign any additional or future hits to your ship as normal. Getting +4 hull is great, and this card is a great upgrade as long you can fit it on a ship. It just depends on what you want your Sphere to be. Do you want it to be a damage soak/huge target but nothing else? Run the generic Sphere and add this to it with a 2 point captain. Do you want it to be a damage dealer with a better captain or more options? Run the generic and use your upgrades. This card is great depending on your fleet, but having a 17 or 18 point ship between hull and shields is a BEAST to take down and fun to run. Maybe not the best in competitive, but fun to run nonetheless. This is a great upgrade that is dependent on your playstyle, but +4 hull is nothing to look down at!
The second Borg Upgrade is Assimilation Tubes. Assimilation Tubes costs 8 points and an action/discard a drone token to target a ship at range 1-2 and steal 1 tech, crew, or weapons upgrade from that ship even it if exceeds your limitations. It comes over disabled and you cannot steal a Species 8472 upgrade. Here it is, the reason for the Borg. Drop this in any Borg fleet and have a BLAST. There are no restrictions besides range, so steal away! The only downside is that it doesn’t work on the Scout Cube, and you can only run it with a crappy captain to get under/at the 50 point limit, but this is an amazing upgrade. It works great on any ship, especially a ship that is not action heavy. A really fun thing is to steal a Borg Alcove/Seven from one of your own ships so you can just steal away. This is an action hog, but a blast to use and can really screw with your opponent which is a great thing indeed!
The final upgrade is Borg Tractor Beam. Borg Tractor Beam costs 7 points and for an action you target a ship at range 1 and place a tractor beam token on them and the corresponding token on your ship like a Target Lock. Additionally, explained on the rules card (but not the card itself) a ship taken by a Borg Tractor Beam disables 2 shields OR if it is cloaked becomes uncloaked and raises all but 2 shields, cannot recloak or raise additional shields, and must choose a maneuver speed 2 or less during the maneuver phase. If it is not within range 1 of the Borg ship at the end of a activation phase, the tokens are removed. A must have if you run the Cutting Beam, I don’t find this combo really useful. I can spend 15 points a LOT better in a causal setting, and the restrictions make this useless in tournament play. This combo stays in the box and I only run it if I want to do something fun and thematic, like the Enterprise-D vs. a Cube, or reenact the Battle of Wolf 359.
The Borg Sphere is definitely worth picking up simply for the ship itself, though the Tactical Drone and Seven are great as well. Feedback Pulse is situational, depending on your fleet, and the other upgrades are all copies from the Tactical Cube or Queen Vessel Prime Expansion. That being said, this is an amazing ship that you can easily run 2 of and be a major threat in the game when combined with either a blind booster ship or a Scout Cube. This ship is amazing, no two points about it, and having 2 of them is great. I cannot recommend this ship more, and expect to see it as a Borg staple for years to come.
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