Updated: Dec 3, 2019
There are a lot of Star Trek games out there and this isn’t actually one of them. Having said that, playing the game is as close as you can get to acting out an episode of the series.
Originally published by The Game Crafter and more recently reprinted by Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG), this is a fully co-operative game where all the players are working together to deal with the constant crises that occur while seeking to repair their engines and make the jump to safety. Each player controls an individual crew member with a special ability, and each turn a new Yellow Alert (and, later in the game, more seriously threatening Orange and Red Alerts) hit the crew and have to be dealt with if disaster is to be averted.
It’s fun to play because the theme comes through so strongly. Whether you are the Tactical Officer attempting to boost the constantly waning shields (ship blows up if they ever fall below zero) or the Chief Engineer struggling to collect the skill cards needed to repair the jump drive, you’ll not be able to resist doing Scotty impressions about being unable to change the laws of physics. When a character is injured and has to be dragged to the Infirmary, you can be sure someone will paraphrase McCoy’s protest with a “Damn it, I’m a Weapons Officer (or whatever) not a Doctor!”
Alerts will throw systems offline, forcing workarounds and more repairs. They’ll confront the crew with the threat of attacking alien ships, and they’ll flood the ship with hostile alien invaders. This means the crew will always be juggling competing demands on the skills and actions available to them.
There’s great replayability in the game because there are 18 different crew members to choose from, each with their own special ability. Some are
obviously better than others, so the choice of crew members is a way of altering the difficulty of the game. The game difficulty can also be adjusted by changing the initial setting of the jump core. In ‘normal’ setting, the jump core demands five sets of repairs to activate it, but you can start the game in ‘novice’ (4 repairs) or ‘coward’ (3 repairs) settings. Moving the other way, the game goes up to an ‘insane’ setting – requiring 9 sets of repairs. I haven’t yet met anyone who has beaten the game in ‘insane’ mode.
If you end up wanting more, The Game Crafter have published two ‘sequels’ as expansions. ‘Episode 2: Adrift’ has new alerts and a new scenario. ‘Episode 3: Lockdown’ was published earlier this year through Kickstarter.
It is set to be the last expansion from Game Crafter but that doesn’t mean this game has suffered the fate of the original series of Star Trek – cancelled after three seasons. The original publishers sold the rights to the game to Alderac Entertainment Group, who brought out their own edition of the core game earlier this year. I’ll post some photos on Board's Eye View giving side by side comparisons. If the game proves a success with AEG at the helm, then we can surely expect further ‘episodes’ to follow. Make it so, AEG…