Star Trek: Attack Wing 2019 Nationals Experience at Origins Game Fair

Posted: July 16, 2019 in Community, Convention, Report
Tags: , , , , ,

Greetings Fellow Star Trek and STAW Fans!

 

Congratulations to the champion, Matthew Dobson!

You can find the corresponding video for this article, HERE.

Years ago, there were WKO’s with STAW events. I remember looking them up and then disappointment setting in when I realized they were all about ten or more hours away from me. There was no way I could justify taking a trip like that for a single event. I traveled to Memphis a few times for some organized play events, and I hosted and played in our local events. But as much as I wanted, I never got to play in a major event.

I learned that Nationals, which was held at Origins Game Fair, did not require a qualification from a WKO to play. All you had to do was bring a fleet and pay the entry fee. Well, I was going to Origins anyway – which is becoming a regular thing, so I decided to play in the Nationals event. After looking over my fleet, I changed my mind and decided not to play when I realized it just wasn’t going to cut it. I changed my mind once again and decided to play after a few changes to my fleet. I was that determined to play, regardless of the match outcomes, just for the experience of it.

With a poor community experience during a Transformers event on Friday at Origins, my attendance in the Attack Wing Nationals event was once again in jeopardy. I was terrified that I’d be treated differently if I was the only girl, just like in the other gaming event the day before. I don’t like being treated differently, good or bad, I just want to be treated like a fellow player. Dice Masters had a great community for that, even though there were several cliques – folks were still welcoming to new players. Because of that fear of being treated differently, I was once again leaning towards not playing. At the very last minute, before leaving the hotel Saturday morning, I decided I was going to play – no matter what. I wandered around the game rooms for about an hour after breakfast and then made my way to the WizKids gaming area.

I saw a few folks chilling at the STAW tables, so I approached the area and sat at a vacant table. It wasn’t long, maybe five minutes, and I was approached by a friendly young man named James (Jeff Sonas’ son). He asked if I was playing STAW and we struck up a conversation. Not long after that, more folks were arriving and introducing themselves and chatting with everyone. It was such a great experience and I felt welcomed and like I was part of the community. I wasn’t looked at differently (in a good or bad way) for being a girl or a new face around the competitive scene. James even helped me with some rules I was not aware of for tournament play and was giving me advice and tips. The experience was vastly different that the one I had playing Transformers the day before. It’s all in how you approach someone and how you speak to them.

When it was time for round one to start, I wasn’t anxious or nervous about playing. A stark difference from any other competitive game I’ve played. The STAW community eased my worries and I was able to enjoy myself in a competitive event – for the first time in a very long time.

My Fleet

Utopia Link
HERE

Thanks to Jeff Sonas for putting the work into all the Utopia builds! It saved me a ton of time because I didn’t have to scan cards!

Chang’s Bird-of-Prey [22]
– Kargan 6 (Captain) [4]
– Kemocite [3]
– Photon Torpedoes [2]
– Stand By Torpedoes [3]
– N’Garen [4]
Ship Total: 38 SP

Chang's Bird of Prey

I.K.S. Vorn [24]
– Gowron 6 (Captain) [4]
– Advanced Weapon System [5]
– Photon Torpedoes [4]
– Toral [2]
– Seven of Nine [5]
Ship Total: 44 SP

Vorn

K’mpec’s Attack Cruiser [25]
– Martok 8 (Captain) [5]
– Advanced Weapon System [5]
– Phaser Array Retrofit [5]
– Worf [5]
– Leskit [3]
Ship Total: 48 SP

K'mpec's Attack Cruiser

Fleet Total: 130 SP

Generated by Utopia

For the recaps below, I won’t bore you with details on fleets. I want to focus on my experience with the person I played in each round. There is a thread in the Star Trek Attack Wing Community Facebook group that details many things about the event – here. Another thank you to Jeff for putting the fleet builds together and for the coverage of Nationals!

Just click the link in the text and it’ll take you to each of my opponent’s fleet builds in Utopia. Thanks to Chris for all the work on Utopia and that amazing trophy for this year!

Round One vs Matt Brown

Matt’s Fleet

Matt and I were set up and ready to go fairly quickly. I was familiar with most of the cards on Matt’s fleet, but hadn’t seen them used in a build like his. I kept my distance to start with, moving up ‘1’ straight for the first two turns. When I had an idea of where he was going, I went full attack mode. My attacks whiffed, like usual, and my defense rolls didn’t fair any better. They just weren’t good enough to stop the onslaught of Matt’s rolls, which were not just hot – they were on fire. I felt like I was literally being struck by phaser blasts! He took out Martok and Kargan very quickly, but Gowron survived by sheer luck.

Close to the end of the match, Matt had struck Gowron and I thought he was defeated, but Matt pointed out that he survived! I had no delusions about what would be the outcome of our match, but one thing I hate doing is giving up. I will not stop until the final blow has been dealt. I did the best I could to maneuver Gowron around but Matt’s ships were in a much more advantageous position. Gowron somehow survived a few more attacks – only by the will of Kahless. But in the end, Gowron died an honorable death as the Vorn exploded in the black vacuum of space.

Even if I had been better prepared for Matt’s fleet, the outcome would have been close to the same. Part of my trouble was not settling on a single target for focus firing. The only difference might have been me scoring a few points or keeping a ship afloat, but Matt still would have taken the overall victory. It was a great way for me to start the event because the match was a lot of fun and I learned a lot from it.

Round Two vs Gene Zuratynsky

Gene’s Fleet

I think Matt passed the phaser dice to me after our match because I rolled like I was on fire in this match – and not just my attack dice, but my defense dice too! I felt really bad about it though, because I was just in Gene’s place in the previous round. His fleet was a Dominion fleet which is something I play against when Mr. DDK and I play. I had a pretty good idea of what to expect, so I went straight for the biggest, juiciest target. I know better than to allow a Battle Cruiser to stay on the map for too long against my fleet. I may roll a lot of defense dice while cloaked, but it’s too hard to negate all the potential hits from a Cruiser or Battleship.

With the way we placed the obstacles, I was left with one opening large enough to fly my three-ship formation through. Gene seemed to notice it and went straight for it as well, which would cut me off and limit my options drastically. But I’m used to Dominion fleets, so I took it slow and steady until I was able to soft bank around some obstacles. My next maneuvers were going to be full ahead and straight for my enemy. Gene assumed I would continue my slow progression. Playing someone that didn’t know my tactics proved to be advantageous for me. Mr. DDK would have known I would go for the throat on my next turn, and that’s exactly what I did. Gene seemed a little surprised that I went as far forward as I did and it worked perfect for me. I was set and ready for the assault on the Cruiser and I took it. After a few attacks and a turn or so later, the Cruiser was down and so was one of my ships. A worthy sacrifice for such a glorious battle!

The battle raged on as we flew around the map, firing phasers and torpedoes in an effort to defeat one another. Time was running out in the match and Martok was flying around with very little left on his hull. Gene needed to take another ship to secure his victory and so he took a risk with his generic Attack Ship. He flew straight into Martok and used Suicide Attack, hoping for a Direct Hit or something else that would destroy Martok’s ship. I got lucky and Gene was down a third ship.

I know how frustrating it can be when your dice turn cold as ice and refuse to roll anything you need or want. I also know how disappointing it is when you do everything you can, but you still can’t get ahead of your opponent. I felt really bad about defeating Gene, only because of how terrible his dice rolled for him. He likely would have won if he had landed a few of those hits that I evaded. He put up a fight and didn’t give up!

Round Three vs Dan Ward

Dan’s Fleet

This match went well on both sides as far as dice rolls and maneuvering. Dan was using Cloaked Mines, which is something I haven’t played with or against. I’ve seen them on the map, but never gave enough attention to them to understand what I needed to do. This was definitely a fleet I had never seen before with two Bioships and the Romulan mine generator.

I went in with my ships focused on one of the Bioships. I decided to focus fire one of the heavy hitters, like I do with Dominion and Borg builds. That was a mistake! I heavily damaged one Bioship but not enough that it was in danger of being destroyed anytime soon. It’s shields were gone and had a little damage on the hull, which was a serious chore for my fleet. Being able to eat through six shields and dealing a few points to the hull was an achievement in my eyes! I think I popped a few shields off the other Bioship, but both were still flying when my last ship was destroyed.

My mistake was not going after that Romulan! Or I should have flown away from the Romulan ship’s area. By the time I could have made an attack, the ship would have already deployed both Cloaked Mines anyway. It’s always tough to know what you should do when you’re playing against a fleet you’ve never seen before, being piloted by a player you’ve never played against. The Cloaked Mines really messed me up though, and I was left without enough firepower to take down any of his ships.

Dan was a great person to play against. We had a lot of moments that were exciting or shocking and our reactions to them made this game loads of fun; like hits that landed when we didn’t expect them to, or maneuvers that landed one of us in an unexpected precarious predicament. I had fun all day, but I had the most fun playing against Dan. When you have opponents like this, losing is not as disappointing.

Conclusion

I re-learned a valuable lesson at Origins this year, when it comes to competitive gaming. Play what you love. I shouldn’t have changed my fleet before Origins. I should have left it Klingon pure, even though Seven of Nine and Kemocite helped me at some point. I just really wish I’d left my build the way it was because I knew that build so much better. I enjoy the new cards I added, I just hadn’t played with them enough.

When I play a competitive game, I understand that’s there’s something on the line but I want to have fun too. I will usually continue my matches until I am undeniably defeated. This perspective is usually frowned upon in other competitive games, because folks accuse me of drawing out the inevitable. This was not the case with STAW. I felt at home with these people that I had just met.

And to think, I almost didn’t play because of the negativity in a totally different gaming community. Do not judge all competitive communities based off the actions of another.

I can’t wait to play again! I spent several hours with those folks and I started to miss them all the moment the tournament was over. I just wasn’t ready for those goodbyes. A huge thank you to the community for being awesome, and also to Ben for his excellent judging!

Attack Wing
#WeAreAttackWing

But – we have Worlds to look forward to! I hope to see everyone again at Worlds and I’m excited to potentially meet more of the STAW community that didn’t make it to Origins. Until then, live long, and prosper!

Qapla’!

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