Monday, August 22, 2016

Character Insight No. 203: Trek Tabletop Board Games, Part 2

Welcome back to Character Insight! This week, we continue our summer game convention follow up look at Star Trek board games, with so many new titles greeting us on the 50th Anniversary.

AKA, this segment goes Collectibles, part 2. (INSERT: "war and cheeks/more antiques for your collection").

So many Star Trek board games have come out this year for the anniversary and in recent years that we had to split this segment. Check out last week for space conquest and competitive-focused games, but this week we review some cooperative/exploration-focused games.

Ever since the TNG VCR interactive board game in the 1990s with a very angry Klingon, cooperative games have been a staple of Star Trek's collection. But designers have come a long way from those early designs.

Last time we discussed the Wizkids series of games, and a couple years ago this company brought out Star Trek Expeditions as a cooperative planet-exploring game. Once again, Heroclix-type miniatures for the crew mates and for two competing ships make for an easy to keep-track of set of stats and a good depth of game. There's also a good bit of replay possibilities with Expeditions as well.

Last year Mayfair Games brought out a dice-based game called Star Trek Five Year Mission. You can use the original TOS crew or the TNG crew to roll dice to try and finish various types of blue, yellow, and red alert quest cards. Although relatively luck-based thanks to so much dice rolling, this game thematically fits Trek well and is easy for more casual gamers to pick up and play with more experienced teammates.

Another re-skin of an old game called Castle Panic came out for Star Trek this year, and it is called Star Trek Panic, made by USAopoly. Like all Panic games, the players must defend the Enterprise home base from constant attacks from all sides while also trying to collect cards to complete missions. Like Five Year Mission, this is an inexpensive and very approachable game, even though it is just a 50th anniversary re-skin.

The newest game released for the 50th Anniversary had a preview release at Star Trek Las Vegas and GenCon this month, and it is Star Trek Ascendancy from Gale Force 9. This company has made great games capturing the spirit of Firefly and Spartacus, and this is perhaps the most accurate game for capturing the spirit of Star Trek with surprising space exploration, building cultures by expansion, and small doses of conflict. It is a 4X game which has a ton of rules and takes a long time to play, but this may be as close as you get to a holy grail of Star Trek games. For those willing to spend the extra money and time on a long complex game, you will not be disappointed.

Summarizing, this week's recommendations are Five Year Mission for more casual gamers, and Star Trek Ascendancy for the best experience you can have in a Star Trek board game, in my opinion. Let's hope these designers continue to make this hobby live long and prosper for all Trek fans.


Please send future segment suggestions to @BuckeyeFitzy on Twitter.  Thank you!

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