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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Dungeons and Dragons: Attack Wing

Let's take a look at WizKid's Dungeons & Dragons: Attack Wing. Today we're going to look at the contents of the starter box and take a high level overview of the rules.

The game uses the same flight path system you may have experienced with X-Wing and Star Trek: Attack Wing, with a few small changes. The full rulebook is available for free download on their website here, but I'll go over some of the highlights a little later.

One of the big differences between the spaceship games and Dragonwing is altitude. There are three different altitudes - Flying, Swooping, and Ground. All units have a movement dial for Ground, and if they can fly, they also have a Flight dial. Swooping is only done by flyers, and it is the best of both worlds - it uses the Flight dial (which is much faster than the Ground dials), but allows you to melee targets on the ground. Otherwise, ground targets can only target flyers at "Flight" altitude with ranged attacks.

Another major difference is how armor works differently than shields in the spaceship games. In this game, armor flat out reduces the damage you take by that amount, although many effects (and crits!) ignore armor. For example, if you have two armor, and take three normal damage, the armor reduces it by two and you only take the one point of damage. However, if you take two crits and one normal point of damage, the armor reduces the normal damage to zero, but you still take the two crits.

Lastly, destroyed targets now get to "fight back". This change took some getting used to. A common strat in spaceships was to use higher level pilots to knock out lower level ships before they could fire, but that doesn't work in Dragonwing. The time-scale frame is much more compressed, and since most stuff is in a swirling melee, it makes more sense. Instead, the initiative level of the dragons plays a bigger role in the movement, letting higher level units decide their altitudes last.

As far as components, the dice should look familiar.

                                                                                    The range ruler, while roughly the same size as X-Wing, is divided into four sections instead of three. Also notice there is no bonus for close range, only the defensive bonus for long range. Generally range bands 1 and 2 are considered "melee" attacks, with 3 and 4 for "ranged"
And of course, a bajillion cardboard pieces. I keep mine organized in a fishing tackle box.

You get three dragons in the starter box - a Red, a Blue, and a Copper.

Here, we take a look at the Red Dragon and it's named counterpart, Balagos. Much like Star Trek: Attack Wing, every unit comes with a generic version and a unique "named" version. On the top left corner of the card is the points value, and the yellow circle on Balagos' version indicates he is unique - only one of them may be included in your army list. The Reds have three abilities - Dodge (same as in the spaceship games), Charge (an additional forward movement and extra die for melee attacks), and Aim (reroll any attack dice)

You also get a Blue Dragon (and it's named version Eshaedra) in the starter box. Blues have one less attack dice than the reds, and also one less hit point, but Eshaedra makes up the extra dice at long range. The Blue Dragons lose the Charge ability, but gain Concentrate (same as focus in the spaceship games).

The third dragon in the starter box is the Copper Dragon and it's named version, Galadaeros. This dragon has less attack dice, less hit points, less armor, but gains an extra defensive die and much more manuverability. Galadaeros can gain even two more defensive dice for moving fast to a whopping total of four.

They are all fairly large, being on a base similar in size to X-Wing's Millennium Falcon.

Dragons can attack in both the front and back arcs as shown on their bases. These are the basic "melee" attacks, all with a range of two. It's assumed that they can lunge forward and jump back, using jaws, claws, and tails to attack with.

 There's several different types of upgrades available. First, we have dragon upgrades. While there are many different effects, the most common are breath weapons. Each element has one, but trying to attach the wrong element to the wrong dragon usually costs a lot extra (example putting Lightning Breath on a Red Dragon). You'll notice the "cooldown" mechanic they have, forcing you to choose the right time to use the breath weapon before its out of commission recharging.

Next up are spell upgrades. Some, like the Mage Armor, are simple status changes or buffs. Some are attack spells. Fireball is a neat option - you place the marker somewhere within rangeband 3, and then the Fireball hits everything within rangeband 1 of the marker for an armor penetrating attack!

Equipment upgrades usually goes on troops or single characters. These actually don't exist in the core set, but we'll cover them more later when we look at non-dragon units.

Divine upgrades are usually some form of healing or holy power. They are fairly rare.

Melee attack upgrades are powerful bonuses to melee units. Again, these are not present in the core set.

I honestly don't even know what this upgrade type is called, but they again only effect non-dragon units. They generally function the way to unit performs, as opposed to the equipment options seen above, but frequently units can take both.

Lastly, each expansion pack comes with a new campaign scenario, which is really cool and expands the playability a lot.

Next week, we'll take a look at some expansion units, starting with Wave 1 units, and exploring how ground troops and units work into the game!

Want to join the conversation? Please sound off in the comments below, or let us know on our forum!

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