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Star Trek HeroClix: Tactics» Forums » General

Subject: A review of the 12 ship display box. rss

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Aaron Natera
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http://www.figures.com/forums/news/14679-advance-look-wizkid...

Looks like they don't have the rules yet that would come with a Starter set. But not sure where the map came from?
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Tim Mirkes
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Thanks for posting this, Aaron! It's good to finally get a look at the models and read a bit more on how the game is actually going to play.

[Warning: speculative, possibly ill-informed babble follows]

The models look nice enough when painted as they'll come in the starter/booster boxes. The paint looks pretty cleanly applied, and there's enough detail to tell they put real effort into the paint scheme. I'm not the most die-hard fan, though, so I can't comment on the sculpt or color scheme accuracy, but to a casual fan, they look decent enough.

Now if someone could just convince them to ditch that stupid "collectible" distribution model... Seriously. I'd totally buy a boxed minis game if it included everything I need to play and had more depth than a spoon. This seems to fail on both counts, unfortunately.

Figures.com forum review wrote:
Not exactly a HeroClix expansion, Tactics is instead its own game that’s 100% compatible with the standard HeroClix core rules system making it easy to pick up and play...

...All of the symbols and colors are the same as in HeroClix, and the powers work in the same ways.

I am completely baffled by this statement. Multiple sources (WizKids and this Figures.com review) have now stated that it's not a HeroClix expansion, yet those same sources then go on to explain how it's 100% compatible and uses the same mechanics in exactly the same way, not to mention the logo declares it to be a HeroClix set. So, is it an expansion, or isn't it? I still don't know for sure.

It sounds like it's functionally an expansion, but WizKids doesn't want you to feel like you're just buying HeroClix IN SPAAACE, so they're not using the "e" word. If it's just a marketing decision, it's a pretty transparent (and silly) one. Just call it an expansion and be done with it, or make it mechanically different enough that it's not just an undeclared expansion but a distinct game.

The images of the ships next to Hulk, Galactus, and Superman make me cringe. I know they're just intended for size comparison, but it just reminds me that there's no functional difference between the two games. There's so much potential here to make a good space combat game, and it just appears to be squandered so they can hang onto their precious HeroClix mechanics.

For instance: Color code a highlighted stripe with a different color for each weapon system (red = phasers, green = disruptors, etc.), and label them around the edge of the base: *BAM* Firing arcs. Put a number on the arc markings: *BAM* Weapon ranges. They did a basic version of it way back in pre-HeroClix MageKnight; why is it so hard to do here? We don't have to sacrifice tactical depth of firing arcs and functionally unique weapon systems in order to shoehorn this beast of an IP into the HeroClix system.

Heck, they could even use the flying bases from HeroClix with those little altitude adjusters to represent an abstracted form of 3D combat. Mark it with 3 levels: low, level, and high. Ships at the top level are considered "above" those at the other two levels, and so on. *BAM* Abstracted 3D combat. They're already giving Star Trek: Starship Tactical Combat Simulator a once-over a la Jackson Pollock, so why not at least use that abstraction to add some depth to game play? For example, some ships have weaker shields from above or below. Now your angle of attack matters.

Want ship criticals? Adapt the heat dial from MechWarrior. Determine a threshold that indicates a critical system hit was scored (x value over target number or whatever), then you click the critical systems dial up by 1. Penalties accrue, some weapons fail, your speed slows, your defense drops, etc. Accumulate enough critical hits, you outright explode. Game over for that particular boat.

Why is it so hard to do these things within the HeroClix system? They're kind of the hallmarks of space combat, and they're not represented here at all. I can do without power management calculations, crew efficiency rolls, and bookkeeping of damage control team deployment. But firing arcs, variable weapon types, critical system hits, these are kind of what makes the setting different from say a WWII aerial combat game, or a ground-based "characters fighting" game.

Don't hand me a bowl of runny oatmeal and try to tell me it's clearly tomato soup because you tinted it red. If you're handing me tomato soup, it'd better taste like tomato soup, have the texture of tomato soup, and truly look like tomato soup. To wit, if the game doesn't feel like space combat, then it really isn't space combat excepting that the combatants look like they belong in space.

On a personal preference side, I still think the abilties designed for individual characters being applied directly to ships is thematically lazy, but at least most of them appear to make some kind of sense. Most of them. What use a starship has for readying bat'leths, I'll never know. Do they duct tape them to the hull and ram the other ship?

Figures.com forum review wrote:
Needless to say, all of the vessels are flyers, and ranges among my ships go from 5 on the Maht-H’a to 8 on several vessels (with only the Defiant, Somraw, and Klothos having dual targeting).

I'm glad to see they mentioned how they were going to address this before release day. It kind of seems like a big deal that they haven't been more excited about how they were handling the fact that ships don't often get into dust-ups like superheroes do.

The lack of weapon arcs seems to be a big oversight, but I suppose if they're trying to keep to all that "it's an expansion but it's not" garbage, they can't go too far afield of their abstracted mechanics. Nevermind that there are functional differences between phasers, disruptors, photon torpedoes, and other weapon technologies, and different reasons to use each one depending on the circumstances of a battle; they've boiled this down to "ships shoot at each other" and they're sticking with it no matter how shallow it makes the game.

Still, it won't be a ship punch-up in space, and that's a relief.

Figures.com forum review wrote:
atrox7 wrote:
But not sure where the map came from?
The first is a four-ship Starter Pack (Enterprise-A, Rhode Island, Rotarran, Bortas) that includes rules, powers and abilities card, maps, and dice.


Figures.com forum review wrote:
Each single-ship blind booster will retail for approximately $4.99...

Ugh. $5 a ship, 28 ships. 4 come in a starter and are fixed. That leaves 24 ships for the booster set. Assuming you by some miracle of the heavens get no repeats in all the boosters you buy, you're still looking at $120 (not including tax) at least. I think it's safe to assume that repeats will be the order of the day, especially with a rarity structure applied, so in all honesty you are not going to be spending just $120 if plan to buy for your collection. Then again, I'm probably just being bitter and hateful because it's collectible. Without getting into discussions of the merits of the model and the necessity of a secondary market it brings, just suffice to say, I won't be getting into any collectible game that isn't dead.

Figures.com forum review wrote:
Stores also have the opportunity to purchase an “organized play” kit for Tactics including a limited edition ship and maps!

And there's already a promised exclusive mini available only to retailers, presumably as a tournament prize (what else could "organized play" refer to, I wonder)? *sigh*

Figures.com forum review wrote:
Star Trek Tactics is going to appeal to a lot of different groups, from HeroClix players looking for something new to fans of tabletop spaceship combat games, collectors of small-scale Star Trek ships, and more.

I think that's a bit...generous. I'm speculating here, but HeroClix players won't find anything new here but ships instead of characters on their familiar old base. Tabletop spaceship combat game fans won't find a deep enough system to make them feel like their investment was worth it. Collectors of small-scale Star Trek ships are about the only ones who will see this as a worthwhile investment.

I think if I try this one, it'll be when it hits the clearance bin at my FLGS. Based on what I've seen of the game so far:

Pros -
1. Pretty models

Cons -
1. Highly abstracted space combat (too much simplification for my tastes)
2. Character-based abilities ported directly to ships (looks like some abilities didn't translate quite right)
3. Collectible (meaning I have to buy more than I'll use in order to get a complete set)
4. Blind buy beyond 4 starter ships
5. Promos are neat, but make #3 all the worse for completionists
6. Maps are a promo? (Who cares about maps? It's a space game. Who plays a space game for the maps?)

I know the game isn't out, and I fully admit I could be dead wrong about the game as this is still pre-release and thus speculative, but this does not look worth the money. At all. Little Tykes Space Fight at best, horrible mangling of an expensive licensed property at worst.

Because it's Trek, and has pretensions of being space combat, I'll keep watching in the hopes that my partially-informed assumptions are debunked. I won't hold my breath, though.

[/babble]

[Edited to add some additional thoughts about mechanics and why this seems like such a lazy cash-in effort to me.]
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Freelance Police
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...and don't forget that these are the *promotional* paint jobs and photo shots. Wait for the reviews.
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Mark Chaplin
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Map looks dreadful, but the ships are amazing. They can beam me up for this one.


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Doug Parks
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I'm disappointed that the minis are not in scale to each other. To me, this makes having sculpts of them a much lesser draw. And I would much prefer a hex-based map than a grid system.

You made many good points in your (speculative) post, Tim.
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Gabriel Marquez
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I don't mean to sound like a P***K, but this is a major disappointment. I think I'll ignore this and checkout the Mongoose publishing star trek wargame.
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Tim Mirkes
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guodskrap wrote:
I'm disappointed that the minis are not in scale to each other. To me, this makes having sculpts of them a much lesser draw.

Apparently, you're not alone.

Also, a quick perusal of the comments here shows that others share my trepidation about the direct porting of HeroClix abilities to starships, among other concerns. I hope WizKids is actually paying attention to the pre-release critiques and has responses ready. With the feedback that people are providing them based on pre-release buzz, I would hope they can leverage that to make a better game. Honestly, though, I don't think anyone's griping will make one iota of difference. To me, it seems pretty clear they're not really invested in this game beyond its use as padding for their HeroClix figure catalog, so odds are good they'll see mediocre to poor sales, and it'll be dead in a year if not before.
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I think they will sell a lot, first because of the heroclix players(easy for them to play the powers are the same diferent names of course),then we have people who wants to use cool miniatures and dont want to pay 100.00 dollars to monggose publishing for 12 unpainted ships or much more with starfleet battles.
In my humble opinion their will get players who want an easy and simple game and the players who want just the miniatures for better mechanic not to mention the ones who want just to collect.
I really hope they sell well so we can have new expansions with borg and so on.
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Mark Chaplin
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blacktorn wrote:
I think they will sell a lot, first because of the heroclix players(easy for them to play the powers are the same diferent names of course),then we have people who wants to use cool miniatures and dont want to pay 100.00 dollars to monggose publishing for 12 unpainted ships or much more with starfleet battles.
In my humble opinion their will get players who want an easy and simple game and the players who want just the miniatures for better mechanic not to mention the ones who want just to collect.
I really hope they sell well so we can have new expansions with borg and so on.


+1.


 
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Benjamin Kindt
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I will probably just pick up a set to pimp out my Fleet Captains game.
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Tim Mirkes
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blacktorn wrote:
In my humble opinion their will get players who want an easy and simple game and the players who want just the miniatures for better mechanic not to mention the ones who want just to collect.


Touché.

I think I've gotten stuck behind the "oh goodness this is a terrible space game" blinders and forgotten that there are actually audiences for this sort of thing besides people who like loads of little checkboxes on a control sheet. That's the perspective I'm coming from, and I have to admit you have a point I failed to consider.

I have to concede that there is probably an overlap between Trek fans and HeroClix players, and they'll jump at the opportunity to play the game. I'll wager they'll try it and quickly realize it doesn't make as much sense as the HeroClix system does for superheroes, and sales may sputter as a result. But those people are there, and even if they try it, hate it, and immediately trade or sell everything they've bought, WK will have their money. That may be enough to get an expansion or two out of them.

Metal starship minis are expensive, and I can totally see this as a good source for less expensive minis to port into another game. I would suggest, however, that people who would play a heavier system with these minis might be turned off by the lack of consistent scale, no matter how pretty they are. Still, it could account for some of the sales (how much, I have no way of reasonably estimating).

Collectors, presumably being NECA's prime audience, could be the reason they acquired the Trek license in the first place. It's a high-value collectible market, and getting a foothold there is pretty much guaranteed revenue. That makes sense for them and I can't blame them for doing what is their bread and butter, but also means we get lackluster efforts like this under the guise of being a game so NECA can get some collectibles for a well-liked and sought-after IP license into the marketplace. All the better for them, as there's even a predetermined rarity scheme so they know how to value some of the bits later on. That's fine, they can make their money, but I don't think they're in this for the gamers, and it shows. I think this is a collectible first, and a game second.

I won't admit that it's a good game for me, but you do note several audiences who'll likely float the game for a while, even if it never really takes off more broadly. I mean, HaloClix lasted a while, and that was a super-niche audience; Trek has a much deeper fan base, so maybe it'll stick.

As I've said before, I hope I'm wrong and I hope it turns out that it plays alright; I don't expect more than mediocrity at best, however, based on what I've seen. I'm honestly a bit conflicted, because I like the minis, and would also like to see other factions, but the game is just so bad as a space combat game that I can't help but wish it were more unique than just an expansion set for HeroClix. I said it above and it bears repeating: there's so much potential to pull in more of the audience for a weightier space combat game if they would just put more time into it and not try to jam the IP into an existing, incongruous game system.
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guodskrap wrote:
I'm disappointed that the minis are not in scale to each other.


This is impossible.

The Negh Var is 682 meters long.

The Klingon Bird Of Prey is 109.

If the Negh Var were a 2" model, a Bird Of Prey would be about a quarter inch. That's pretty close to the base thickness.

Or if the bird of prey were a comfortable 1.5 inch, the Negh Var would be 9 inches long.
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Mark Chaplin
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Geosphere wrote:
guodskrap wrote:
I'm disappointed that the minis are not in scale to each other.


This is impossible.

The Negh Var is 682 meters long.

The Klingon Bird Of Prey is 109.

If the Negh Var were a 2" model, a Bird Of Prey would be about a quarter inch. That's pretty close to the base thickness.

Or if the bird of prey were a comfortable 1.5 inch, the Negh Var would be 9 inches long.


Couldn't put it better myself.

This whole thing is a replay of the scale argument that was had over Star Wars Starship Battles.


 
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Geosphere wrote:
Common sense.

Agreed.

Yugblad wrote:
This whole thing is a replay of the scale argument that was had over Star Wars Starship Battles.

For my part, I don't care about the scale. I'm perfectly comfortable with fighters being as big as capital ships as they sit on the table. It's a concession to practicality that I don't take issue with (who has a 15' square table to play on at "realistic" scale?).

I have other concerns that go deeper than "the minis aren't to scale".

[Edit to fix quote formatting]
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Currently in Star Trek Fleet Captains, the Defiant is absurdly huge in comparison to the other ships. I would have preferred a constant scale, even if it meant a 20 mm Defiant and a 100 mm Negh'Var.

A big part of miniatures is the look. I think scaling at least in relative proportions goes a long way towards the look.

But I can understand if others don't mind, after all the Galoob Micro Machines line sold pretty well. (But so did the Romando 1/7000 series).
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fenyan wrote:
20 mm Defiant


Which would make a Bird Of Prey 12 mm. That's just silly.
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Having them all in scale with each other is just ridiculous. No set of miniatures that I've seen for Star Trek has done this, the closest was F-toys who had the TOS Enterprise, Enterprise Refit, Defiant, and NX-01 all to scale with each other, and the Enterprise-D half the size it would have been just for common sense.

Anyway as I've noted before, the Rhode Island design is wrong, but otherwise they look very good.
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Keith Anderson
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I've played and enjoyed many of the detailed space combat games and I'm also in the camp that is not concerned with consistent scale between the ships. In large part this is due to the ships already being so very far out of scale with the space, the hex / zone/ portion of board, that they sit in. The distance between the models is no way in scale with the models. Seeing any ship at all represents zooming in on them. Just think of it as putting them on screen.

Also, if I'm going to have minis, I'd like them to be big enough to see well.

I would not be so forgiving if this were a game that had humans standing twice as tall as their horses.
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Keith Anderson
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As to the heroclix rules for these, well so far it looks like I would buy these for use with other rules systems. I realize that 'buy anyway' decision deemphasizes their need to create a great new ruleset for these and is counter to my always wanting a great, new innovative ruleset for space combat.
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Rob Pruden
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Agreed - not a fan of the decision to use Heroclix rules. Which rules set will you be using these miniatures for?
 
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I just think it will be hilarious if they do the exact opposite with them than they did with the Halo clix. If they release it as a clone of the Heroclix rules, the fans complain, so they re-release a future set with modified, more original rules. And all those who spent a ton of cash on the original release now have a bunch of models they can't use for the current game because the core of the game is integrated into the model itself.

You know, now that I think about it (and I know I'm not likely to make many friends here), but that's kind of a flaw to the clix paradigm, I mean they have reference cards anyway, why not just do like everyone else and put the stats on the cards. If the whole idea of having the stats on the base is to eliminate extra record keeping anyway, it's kind of counter intuitive to have cards anyway.
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Mike Brown
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I'll buy some to use in Fleet Captains. Must say I'm bummed with them being the same as Hero Clix
 
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Argggggg!!!!!

I agree with Tim, they seemed to have really missed the boat with this one. As someone that has and does play Heroclix, I wanted this game to be more like Fleet Captains - or at least different than Heroclix!

The models look great - The dials SUCK. They show no effort on their part. This is just a money grab, not an opportunity to actually create a new successful product.

The Heroclix line is going strong and doing great. What is WizKids thinking? Their other releases (Street Fighter, Gears of War, Lord of the Rings, Halo, etc) aren't even officially legal in Modern Age Tournaments. These things are going to be a joke. As the judge at my local venue, I already allow any Heroclix figure to be used. Based on the dials I've seen, I may even allow these - for laughs. I doubt they will pose much of threat to even basic Heroclix figures - let alone the cream of the crop.

For now, I might just wait for the game to fail and pickup stuff on the cheap.

Unless the rules really change things, this is "Heroclix in Space"

Based on Fleet Captains, I had high hopes for this game.
soblue
 
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Mike Brown
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Dammit Jim! I'm a Starship not a Superhero!cry
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awesome pix, solid review. Thanks man. This is going to be a light family game for us; we can't wait.
 
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