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Star Trek: Expeditions» Forums » Reviews

Subject: My opinions after a single four-player game rss

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I bought the game less because of the OMG STAR TREK, having only seen one Star Trek thing ever (The new movie. I can hear the fans shaking their heads already.), and more for the OMG KNIZIA, figuring the OMG STAR TREK would bring in the other players.

Star Trek Expeditions is a co-operative game in which 1-4 players take roles on the Enterprise and work together to solve a series of problems:
* There are three 'streams' of three missions each on the planet to be solved; resolving the earlier ones better provide more promising outcomes in the later ones. Different skills are required for various missions, so each player can have a chance to solve some of the problems.
* Also on the planet are a random selection of events that can be solved for various benefits (or have to be solved because they trap the players).
* Meanwhile, a very powerful Klingon ship is threatening the Enterprise; if the Enterprise is destroyed, or you run out of time, the players lose.

It's nice to have a pure co-operative game. Many co-ops these days are traitorous co-ops: Battlestar Gallactica, Shadows Over Camelot, Sabouteur, etc. It no doubt adds to the tension, but it doesn't sound much like something I would enjoy. This doesn't require any mind games of "Am I about to be backstabbed?"

The game we played last night was long - we misinterpreted a few rules initially, and had to restart, but it went somewhat quicker after that. But it was still probably three hours for what claims to be a one-hour game. The expectation is that future games would be faster.

We managed to win the 4-player game with an average score (37), playing on the easiest level. (Each turn you flip over a "Stardate" card, which tells you what happens on the turn. "Easy" only involves the top item on the card; "Medium" includes the top two; "Hard" makes all three occur.) It was kind of close - the Enterprise was down something like six levels of health at one point, and we finished with only a few spaces left on the time tracker. I think you'd need a lot more practice at the game and better ways to judge the chances for success on challenge rolls before you could attempt the higher difficulty tiers, though the game would probably wind up shorter since the time tracker would move much more quickly.

The pieces are gorgeous; the board is a nice map of the planet orbited by the Enterprise, accompanied by the starship battle tracker and time tracker. The minis are apparently pretty well done for pre-paints according to the minis people; I bow to their superior knowledge of such things. My friends were complaining that some of the cards were kind of flimsy but were too big to be sleeve-able. I'm generally not bothered by such things, though they may have a point.

One thing I do kind of wonder, despite the branching nature of the missions, is whether the goals might get a bit bland after a few plays. Admittedly, they're basically target numbers with some flavour text, but it might have been nice to have a second set of missions that could be swapped in for a slightly different experience. The game's expansion is focused exclusively on further characters, I believe, so I don't think there's any included there. Maybe I'm mistaken in the wonder of repetitiveness on this side, there's plenty of other things that change between games, one more might be unnecessary. Of course, with my game back log, I may never actually get experienced enough to find out regardless.

All in all, from the first play, it was pretty good fun. I think the rules were a little difficult to reference - I got a fair bit of frustration from all the "Look it up the rulebook"s we did in the course of play. It might be interesting to solo it next - I don't know whether the game would be easier or harder that way. But for now, I think I'll go have breakfast and then watch the new Star Trek movie on Bluray.
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Mike Urban
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I've had the curious experience that it's a bit hard to talk people into playing this one, but that it's pretty universally enjoyed once people actually play it. I think there's something just unappealing about the packaging. It's so ... grey?

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Ostadan wrote:
I've had the curious experience that it's a bit hard to talk people into playing this one, but that it's pretty universally enjoyed once people actually play it. I think there's something just unappealing about the packaging. It's so ... grey?

I had no trouble getting people to try it. The problem was that the play itself wasn't all that exciting or memorable. We tried it twice, then put it back on the shelf, and nobody has ever suggested it again.
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yegods
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it seems to me that the game starts to get exciting when you stop playing on the easy level, and probably the medium level too. One of Knizia's best applications of theme to gameplay.
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yegods wrote:
it seems to me that the game starts to get exciting when you stop playing on the easy level, and probably the medium level too. One of Knizia's best applications of theme to gameplay.

We skipped the easy level. Obviously the difficulty scales; whether more difficulty generates excitement is a matter of taste. When I think of theme working successfully in a Knizia game, I think of Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation.
 
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