Playing Time: 1-2 Hours
I love well thought out storage, and Wizkids does a good job with the insert that holds all the pieces while they wait to boldly go where no one has gone before. The figures for both the ships and the characters are stored in slots that they snap into and are held firm. The Captain’s Log cards and the discovery tokens are all kept in place nicely. It’s the Energize/Stardate/Character cards that confuse me. They are held in this odd tiered slot that is at a weird angle and held in place by two tabs that leaves me scratching my head. The cards stay in place well enough, which ultimately trumps any other concerns, but it just seems out of place given how well everything else fits. I am also a little concerned that the insert itself could become worn and fail to hold its pieces in place. Only time will tell, and to help find this out I will just have to keep playing the game, won’t I? One other detail I would like to mention, the bottom portion of the box has the turn sequence and action info that is on the summary card (more on that later).
I actually played this for the first time with my wife at TotalCon earlier this month with a Wizkids employee at their demo table, which I have to say was a treat. So when I first read the rules it was more like a review of the rules because I already had a good handle on how the game was played. That having been said, the rule book is an easy read (although a little long at 24 pages), and is laid out so that looking up a specific rule is easy to do. As seems to be the popular trend amongst game companies, the rules are available online in pdf format. (On a side note: I really appreciate rules that are published in a searchable pdf, it makes looking up a rule question really simple.)
There are three main aspects to the game: 1)The Captain’s Log cards and the score card, 2)the starship battle, 3)the stardate track. The Captain’s Log cards are revealed when a character moves into the space holding the card. Once revealed you will find a mission or a placeholder for one of the three main missions, Rebels, Energy and Politics, which are scored on the score card. The characters then attempt to tackle the mission which will be one of three attributes represented by the following colors; Gold=leadership, Red=Operations and Blue=Science. All four characters have all three attributes, each specializing in one area; Kirk is leadership, both Spock and Bones are science and Uhura is operations. To complete a mission you roll the 2 d6s included in the game, add the attribute number from the character’s base and compare that to the challenge score. There are other bonuses that you can add, but at it’s core it’s that simple. Once the mission is completed there are varying rewards that have some impact on the game as a whole.
The starship battle is tracked on the numbered track along the top of the board. The Enterprise starts on the “0” and the Klingon battle cruiser starts on the “7” and they move towards one another each time one attacks the other, the number on the space of the ending location of the Enterprise affects the overall score you get for the game. The starship battle is the most “Heroclix” aspect of the game, as each ship takes damage they become less able to overcome the opposing ships defenses or to stand up to the opposing ships attacks. Each ship has a defense, short range, and long range value that is added to a 1 d6 roll. There are also icons noting when a close range crit is applicable.
The stardate track along the right side of the board sets the pace of the game. There are three “difficulty” options on each card; Blue=Cadet (easy), Red=Captain (normal), and Gold=Admiral (hard). The Wizkids employee I mentioned earlier told me that he does not know of anyone who has successfully finished the game on hard mode...just saying. Each character’s turn is started by turning over a stardate card and, depending on the difficulty, does the actions listed on the card. The actions listed can be anything from nothing at all to a Klingon attack. The card also has a number that represents how many actions that character has this turn. Once the stardate marker has moved all the way down the board and 30 days have passed in the game, the Klingons arrive and you have lost the game. The other ways of losing are allowing the Enterprise to be destroyed or completing the three main missions, but not scoring enough points to get a favorable result.
Other than the aforementioned demo I have played this game 4 times, once by myself (note above where it says Players: 1-4) playing all four characters (as suggested by the rules). The other three times were with varying number of friends and family. The game is fun no matter how many people are playing, I can’t say for certain what the ideal number of players is, although I am a firm believer that the more is the merrier. There are four Summary Cards included in the game that spell out what a turn involves, what actions you can take, how to calculate your challenges and the steps of a Starship battle. It is very handy. Once everyone gets into the game people start planning and coordinating how best to meet the challenges presented by the game in true cooperative play fashion. This is a Heroclix game, although it has nothing to do with normal Heroclix game play other than the fact that the figures are all on Heroclix bases. If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry, it’s all explained in the rules.
Playing Time: 1-2 Hours
The day after getting the game I purchased the Expansion, because I wanted the whole crew. The expansion is a small box that comes with Scotty, Chekov and Sulu figures and character cards. It increases the number of players up to five (although I have it on good authority that you can play with six and the board game police will not come hunt you down). Definitely worth the small price it costs.
The Bottom Line
I have been a fan of Star Trek since I was a kid and my Dad took my brother, sister and I to see The Voyage Home in the theater, and the The Next Generation started a year later. I was skeptical of the new movie, but, unlike some of my other less flexible Star Trek fan friends, I really liked it. So I have no issues whatsoever with the setting, I love it. The game is a lot of fun, and is fairly easy to learn and play. I do, however, have a few issues. First, the storage, already mentioned and not really an issue just me being nitpicky. The real two issues I have are the small number of Stardate cards, and the slight imbalance of the Starships. First the Stardate cards, there are only 14, and there are 30 days you have to get through. If you play on easy mode that will only get you through 10 days, and on normal 12. It just seems to me that they could have made more cards so no reshuffling would be needed. It’s a small thing, but it’s the kind of small thing that make a good game great. Now the Starship imbalance issue is most likely me being selfish, but the Enterprise has a very small chance of actually beating the Klingon ship. I am perfectly ok with the Klingon ship outgunning the Enterprise, but come on, at least give Kirk and the crew a chance. Anyway, other than that this is a really great game that I would definitely recommend to gamers and Trekkies (Trekkers, whatever) alike. Go boldly, seek out and kick some Klingon butt!