Last Saturday I participated in a Star Trek Attack Wing tournament at the Wandering Dragon. It had been close to a year since I last played, so I was curious to give it another try and see how the meta had developed.
I was interested in trying the blind booster format that Wizkids has been pushing for the past six months. The blind booster format works by having each player build a 90 point fleet and than adding a 30 point ship via a blind booster purchased as entry into the tournament.
One of the first things that I noticed once the tournament started was that the ideal of faction pure fleets was a thing of the past. The few players in attendance all used mixed fleets that maximized the best combinations for the scenario being played that day. The Scimitar (from Star Trek: Nemesis) was the default choice for every fleet but mine. A ship with a forward movement of 6, a large number of hull points/shields, and 2 for evading is nothing to sneeze at and may be a little under-costed. Clearly it was the choice for trying to attempt to reach the transwarp token on the far side of the board.
As for the scenario itself, it was a poorly conceived one provided by Wizkids. With nothing between fleets and ½ the board being a deathtrap for most ships, it encouraged players to bring ships that just moved straight ahead and had high damage output. Granted, the scenario was published in advance so players could plan around it, but again this just went back to players bring the best ships and charging at each other.
As for the atmosphere, the Warhammer community has spoiled me when it comes to player interaction and sense of community. A year ago, I was raving about how the Attack Wing community was very open and friendly. It seems since that time, the competitive element has pushed out the casual one and it now has become a hollow shell of a community. This may explain why the turnout was so low for an afternoon event with some pretty good prize support.
Given my recent experience, I am left wondering what my future is when it comes to Attack Wing. I love the game mechanics and the frequent updates, but dislike the overly competitive focus I experienced and lack of purity when it comes to fleets. I believe moving forward I will only attend events that promote themselves as faction pure as I like experiencing battles that remind me of my favorite Star Trek episodes. In the end, the game looks to remain a casual option for me and not something I will pursue on a more frequent basis.