Well folks, Christmas is a week away so this will be the final installment of the Holiday Mega-Guide. I hope you all have enjoyed the recommendations so far. I’m wrapping things up this week with miniatures games, which hold a special place in my heart. I’ve been collecting, assembling and painting miniatures for far longer than I care to admit. Most traditional miniatures games offer a rewarding hobby experience with multiple model kits that must be assembled and painted in addition to their deep strategic and tactical game play. Some forego all the mucking about with glue and brushes by offering pre-assembled, pre-painted miniatures. In the future, I’ll discuss the merits and flaws of various miniatures games that follow these models, but for now let me share a few favorites that you might just find wrapped and waiting for you this holiday season…
I’ve sung the praises of Fantasy Flight Game’s Star Wars: X-Wing the Miniatures Game on several occasions. It’s a great game and well worth checking out, but lately I’ve been exploring it’s younger cousin Star Trek: Attack Wing. Basically, WizKids went to FFG and said, “Hey, you guys created a brilliant set of mechanics for moving ships around – why not let us slap it onto the Star Trek license we have?” Fantasy Flight was more than happy to oblige them and after a little tweaking, WizKids was able to adapt a set of rules used to simulate dogfights in space to the more complex maneuvers of capital space craft battles.
Players will choose 1 of 4 factions and create a small fleet of ships crewed by various popular figures from all across the Star Trek universe. The starter set contains 1 ship for the Romulans, Klingons and the Federation with the Dominion (which includes Cardassian ships) as a “sold separately” entity. The game itself deseverse a full review (FORESHADOWING), but the basic run down is that each player has 100 points to spend with each ship, crew member and upgrade costing a certain number of points. Once you’re ready to play, you can select a mission and get to exploring and )more importantly) battling across the final frontier.
Attack Wing offers both veteran miniatures gamers and newcomers a lot. The game has a great set of mechanics that are easy to learn and hard to master. The various references and nods to each of the Star Trek shows and movies are enough to keep die hard Trekkers hooked, but the components are a mixed bag. The cards, movement templates and tokens for the game are all high quality card stock with a nice linen finish. The screenshots used for most of the cards are just fine, but some characters get some very unflattering images (I’m looking at you, Dukat). As if that wasn’t bad enough, the ships have a serious scale problem. Suffice it to say that the Defiant is bigger than the original Enterprise. It’s cirngeworthy if you’re a fan, but doesn’t really hinder the game at all. All in all, Attack Wing is a great game with plenty of material to keep Trek fans happy!
The classic image of orcs and elves clashing against one another spans both miniatures games and more than a few collectible card games. With Dungeon Command, Wizards of the Coast has created something that takes the best of both genres and distilled it into an easy to play game with a fast set-up and compelling distribution method. In Dungeon Command, players engage in skirmishes between warbands made up of various fantasy races. During the course of the game, they will spawn troops and attempt to lower their opponent’s morale in order to claim victory. Currently, boxed sets exist for Orcs, Goblins, Undead, Drow (dark elves) and Adventurers (a mix of humans, elves, halflings and dwarves). Each box contains a selection of pre-painted figures and several interlocking map tiles.
Unlike many miniatures games, Dungeon Command is played on a board that players assemble from the map tiles included in their faction box. These tiles have a grid of 1″x1″ squares and indicate where a figure can move on a given turn. The map tiles are nice thick card stock and are double sided to represent either a woodland battlefield or a set of dark cavernous tunnels. The figures are pre-painted soft plastic and are decent for the $40 cost of entry. It’s worth noting that these miniatures can easily be re-purposed for the fantasy roleplaying game of your choice and each Dungeon Command boxed set comes with cards so that the pieces can be adapted to the Adventure System series of board games.
Wizards of the Coast really hit it out of the park with DC. I would’ve easily paid for each of these faction boxes just so I could use the miniatures for an old fashioned game of Dungeons & Dragons, but the fact that there’s a solid game in and of itself there is just excellent. The card driven mechanics help keep the game within the realm of skill rather than chance – though players will still have to draw the right cards from their deck at the right time to ensure victory. If the space ship battles of Attack Wing don’t aren’t your cup of tea, then you may want to take up your sword and sally forth with Dungeon Command.
Happy Holidays, everyone!
That wraps it up for the 2013 Holiday Mega-Guide. I hope you guys get exactly what you’re looking for this holiday season. As always, your feedback on Tabletop Tuesday is greatly appreciated! Happy Holidays!